America’s Cup

I received several emails at work urging me to watch live coverage of the American contender for the America’s Cup. Being somewhat curmudgeonly by nature this didn’t sit well with me (“watch the live webcast of us spending your pay raise!”), but I think it’s actually the CEO’s money, so fair enough. I wouldn’t want to be around the blessed Larry this morning, however:

VALENCIA, Spain, May 20 — The United States’ quest for the America’s Cup ended Sunday in a humiliating defeat for BMW Oracle Racing. It lost to Luna Rossa of Italy, which won the sixth race of the Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals to clinch the best-of-nine series, 5-1.

Aboard the USA-98 yacht was the software billionaire Larry Ellison, who backed the California-based team’s four-year quest for the trophy, a challenge that rivals said cost upward of $200 million. He stood grim and unsmiling in dark sunglasses as crew members of Luna Rossa celebrated their victory with bear hugs in front of a huge fleet of spectator boats on a day of brisk winds reaching up to 15 knots.

It was Ellison’s second failed attempt to bring the Cup back to the United States, which has not won the race since 1995. But he left it to Dickson to explain the team’s defeat.

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The UK government is currently considering extending the life of copyright on musical works (currently 50 years) to be something closer to that for books (life plus 70 years). I think copyright should be kept fairly short – the idea is to encourage creative endeavours by, as the US Constitution puts it, “securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries”. I can well imagine someone not bothering to perform a song if they could only make money off it for 5 years (though given that scarcely any songs make money after their first year, even that’s questionable), but not bothering because you only get rewarded for 50 years instead of 60 is questionable.

You won’t be too surprised, however, that an extension is meeting with political approval, inspired in part by political stupidity:

“Given the strength and importance of the creative industries in the UK, it seems extraordinary that the protection of intellectual property rights should be weaker here than in many other countries whose creative industries are less successful,” the report said.

Traditionally the preferred tactic is to copy people who are better than you at something, not the ones who are worse.

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