"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Monday, July 05, 2021

Copyrights and Digital Tokens: NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens, e.g. in Digital Art) and Fungible Tokens (e.g. Cryptocurrency)

Fungible and non-fungible "tokens" have emerged as new forms of digital assets first popularized by cryptocurrency (fungible, i.e. interchangeable tokens) and followed by non-interchangeable NFTs, Non-Fungible Tokens, e.g. in digital art.

As written at the BBC in What are NFTs and why are some worth millions?

"Digital tokens can be thought of as certificates of ownership for virtual or physical assets."

Cryptocurrency is controversial. "Caveat Emptor!" (Buyer Beware!).

As for the newly emergent NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), it is important to recognize that they are separate from copyrights. As explained at the Wikipedia:

 "A non-fungible token (NFT) is a unit of data stored on a digital ledger, called a blockchain, that certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable.[1] NFTs can be used to represent items such as photos, videos, audio, and other types of digital files.... NFTs are tracked on blockchains to provide the owner with a proof of ownership that is separate from copyright." ....

"The unique identity and ownership of an NFT is verifiable via the blockchain ledger. Ownership of the NFT is often associated with a license to use the underlying digital asset, but generally does not confer copyright to the buyer: some agreements only grant a license for personal, non-commercial use, while other licenses also allow commercial use of the underlying digital asset."

 Harrison Jordan at TechCrunch in "No, NFTs aren't copyrights", writes:

"[T]he reality of NFT ownership is much more complicated than one might imagine. As a new crypto asset class, NFTs appear to exist almost unbound by current regulatory systems. But when combined with art, there are overlaps to consider. Understanding the legal pitfalls of the contemporary NFT ecosystem is the first step in unlocking its potential....

The NFT purchaser owns nothing more than a unique hash on the blockchain with a transactional record and a hyperlink to the file of the artwork."

Digital tokens represent brave, new digital AND legal worlds and it probably behoves us all to keep informed about them.


Thursday, July 01, 2021

The Exploitation of College Student-Athletes Limited by the U.S. Supreme Court, Leading to a Landmark Change by the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Regarding Permissible Player Compensation

At the New York Times in Supreme Court Backs Payments to Student-Athletes in N.C.A.A. Case, Adam Liptak and Alan Blinder write that:

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled ... that the N.C.A.A. could not bar relatively modest payments to student-athletes ... [in] a college sports system that generates huge sums for schools but provides little or no compensation to the players.

In a concurring opinion to the Court's unanimous 9-0 decision, Justice Kavanaugh said it best (National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Alston):

Nowhere else in America can businesses get away with agreeing not to pay their workers a fair market rate on the theory that their product is defined by not paying their  workers a fair market rate. And under ordinary principles of antitrust law, it is not evident why college sports should be any different. The NCAA is not above the law.

The regrettable exploitation of college student-athletes has been a topic at LawPundit for the last 10 years, as we have loudly challenged the notion that colleges and universities can forcibly impose an "obey or not play" "amateur status" on their student-athletes to subsequently deny them various kinds of compensation for their efforts.

See some of our postings about sports and the NCAA generally.

We quote here from a previous posting of ours as follows:

[C]ollege athletes are being exploited to the hilt [while] coaches ... command princely salaries so high that the highest paid government employee in most every state is a head college sports coach. So writes Matthew Michaels in Business Insider,The highest-paid public employee in most states is a college football or basketball coach, according to a new report from ESPN.”)

The NCAA has now begun to see the writing on the wall, not only because of the Supreme Court decision cited above, but also because of impending State laws impacting player compensation. Alan Blinder has the story at the New York Times in College Athletes May Earn Money From Their Fame, N.C.A.A. Rules. As Blinder writes:National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Alston

The N.C.A.A. agreed ... to allow college athletes across the country to capitalize off their fame for the first time. The decision will allow students from coast to coast to strike endorsement deals, profit off their social media accounts, sell autographs and otherwise make money from their names, images and likenesses, potentially directing millions of dollars to college athletes every year....

The [Division I Board of Directors] acted less than 12 hours before state laws designed to challenge the N.C.A.A.’s generations-old rules were scheduled to begin taking effect from Alabama to Oregon.

 

Friday, June 18, 2021

Morning Brew Reports that SCOTUS Gives the ACA (Affordable Care Act, aka "Obamacare") its 3rd "You may pass Go" Card

*Morning Brew" is easily one of the most refreshing news-oriented additions to the digital world ever since the World Web Web was invented, and so we honor its University of Michigan-based origins and its now global effervescent style by citing to its readable report on the most recent of the sometimes otherwise dry United States Supreme Court decisions on the Constitutionality of Obamacare. We quote Morning Brew, below, and "You may pass Go" there for more at http://morningbrew.com/daily/stories/2021/06/17/aca-survives-third-supreme-court-challenge....

"Yesterday, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) nabbed its third "You may pass Go" card from the Supreme Court. In a 7–2 vote, justices ruled that Texas and 17 other Republican-led states don't have the legal standing to challenge the law in federal court."

Monday, April 12, 2021

Google Wins Landmark Android Java API Declaring Code Intellectual Property Copyright Case Against Oracle Via a Fair Use Defense

"The copyright case of the decade".

In a major far-reaching digital intellectual property law landmark case
the Supreme Court of the United States ("SCOTUS"),
as reported by Adam Liptak in the New York Times
at Supreme Court Backs Google in Copyright Fight With Oracle,

decided in a 6-2 holding
in an opinion written by Justice Breyer
that Google's use of Java declaring API code in Android software
was "fair use" under the prevailing copyright laws,
although the question of whether such software code was at all copyrightable,
was left unanswered, as an issue whose resolution was not required to decide the case. See Google v. Oracle America, (Google LLC, Petitioner v. Oracle America, Inc., No. 18-956, Apr 05, 2021, Judgment REVERSED and case REMANDED. Breyer, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Roberts, C. J., and Sotomayor, Kagan, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh, JJ., joined. Thomas, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Alito, J., joined. Barrett, J., took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

We posted at length about this eminently significant case previously at LawPundit, for which see:

We are thus happy to report that the Supreme Court's holding in this case keeps intact our spotless record of predicting correctly the Supreme Court reversal of appealed cases that we have regarded to be wrongly decided in the lower instance by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

We were also happy to see via the court records of the proceeding that Kannon K. Shanmugam in the Washington D.C. office of the international New York City headquartered law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP -- our former law firm -- represented the petitioner Google before the Supremes.

Well done lads and ladies !


Monday, March 29, 2021

The Hebrew Calendar Starts Autumn 3761 B.C. Why? Because the Autumn Equinox Location in the Stars Was Virtually at the Center of Our Galaxy in that "Creation" Era

We came to the conclusion some years ago that the main focus of Stonehenge alignments (our independent discovery) is the galactic center of our Milky Way Galaxy (the "Galactic Centre"). 

Megalithic culture seems to mirror an ancient belief of mankind that the galactic center of our galaxy was the origin of souls, a location in the stars to which human souls were correspondingly also believed to return upon worldly passage.

We examined the origin of the Hebrew Calendar and found it to be similar.

What reason did the Hebrew forefathers possibly have for starting their calendar in Autumn, 3761 BC?

People did not likely say, "Oh, let's start a calendar today!" just any day. They surely had a very strong TIMELY reason for their choice.

We were then not surprised to find that the Autumn start of the Hebrew Calendar in Autumn 3761 B.C. corresponds to the location of the Autumn Equinox in that era at the Galactic Centre of our Milky Way of stars.

At TimeAndDate.com, Konstantin Bikos writes at The Jewish Calendar that:

"12th-century Jewish philosopher Maimonides established 3761 B.C. as the biblical Date of Creation". [link added by us]

That post facto later date creationist-type explanation arguably reflects ancient astronomical religious knowledge, myth or legend as conceivably passed down over the generations by astronomically calendric-savvy Jewish diaspora priests.

We present below an image of the stellar center of our Milky Way galaxy, via an underlying clipped star map made by us via Starry Night Pro astronomy software, to which the present author of this posting, Andis Kaulins, the LawPundit, has added a circle to represent the Galactic Centre with arrows added to show the "striking" lines of stars pointing to the center of our Milky Way Galaxy.

There is of course no way to fully "prove" that this theory of the origin of the Jewish Calendar in 3761 B.C. is correct beyond doubt, but we think it adds some new astronomical and calendric sense to the origin of mankind's calendar time-keeping by the positions of the "Sun, Moon and Stars".

Note that the position of the Center of our Milky Way Galaxy must have been known by the ancient stargazers already in that era. These ancient "astronomers" likely formed the "purposeful" if also subjective figures of the nearest surrounding stellar (star) constellations viz. asterisms or similar groupings of stars to correspond to their astronomical knowledge of the location of the Galactic Centre.

These ancient "druids", for lack of a better term, also surely drew prominent "pointing" lines of stars using bright magnitude stars in their subjectively drawn figures, precise intended lines that point to the Galactic Centre, specifically:

  • the tip of the arrow of Sagittarius points to the Galactic Centre
  • the stinger of Scorpio points to the Galactic Centre, and
  • the lowered (we think, then serpent head of Ophiuchus), or one could view it as the bottom head of the "staff" around which the serpent of Ophiuchus perhaps twined, also points to the Galactic Centre. One can be of different minds about which precise stars the ancients actually intended, but the posited scheme is clear.

 "Striking" Stars at the Milky Way Galactic Centre

Some might suggest that this confluence is chance only, but such a pure coincidence would be unlikely given the "striking" nature of the figures used.

The three constellations Ophiuchus, Scorpio and Sagittarius not only "surround" the Galactic Centre but are specifically characterized and marked by what might be called "striking" directional lines of stars aimed at the Galactic Centre. In our view, such an unusual merging of purpose was INTENDED by the ancients.

As one can read in our other postings, it was this galactic center that was the focus of attention of major later megalithic sites, e.g. Stonehenge in particular.

 

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Words, Acts and Cognition in Life and Law: Speech as an Act of Performative Utterance: Language Performativity Suggests Rethinking the ImpACT of the Human Word

What a superb article by Peggy Noonan at the Wall Street Journal (WSJ)
at Why We Care About the Royal Family Feud.

Noonan's "performativity"-centered discussion about the British Monarchy has had a special bonus for us, by opening up a new way of thinking about human communication and interaction in the form of "speech acts", which analysis also provides an unexpected connection to "critical legal thinking" (see the link below).

The Wikipedia writes: "Performativity is the concept that language can function as a form of social action and have the effect of change. The concept has multiple applications in diverse fields such as anthropology, social and cultural geography, economics, gender studies (social construction of gender), law, linguistics, performance studies, history, management studies and philosophy." [link added]

Indeed, "performativity" suggests to us that the unending mainstream media discussion about controversial social topics such as e.g. White House lies and untruths over the last four years have completely -- and we mean completely -- missed the point in their analysis of the significance of an avalanche of Twitter Tweets from the past U.S. President and from his similar performative utterances. Something else -- arguably more important than truth -- was at work.

As the language professionals writing about performativity suggest to us, it is not the content of spoken words per se or even the truth or falsity of that content that is at issue, but rather the purpose viz. societal influence of a given "speech act",
ala John L. Austin.

Read on below .... where we find to our astonishment ... really, in a fascinating turn of analysis ... that the assertion of truth or untruth has nothing to do with it.

Who would have thought it. Performativity is even applicable to basic science.

It is thus likely e.g. that the truth of history or other content being written about is not the chief issue in academic publications, as otherwise alleged by the powers that be, but rather the often hidden ulterior motives lurking behind such publications that are among the main driving forces of science. Scientific periodicals and human interactions at gatherings such as congresses can thus fundamentally be viewed as forums for performative acts. Recall that the motto is "publish or perish" but NOT "publish the truth or perish".

We have always known the above to be true, but never understood why.

Now we suspect to know a little more.

Hat tip to CaryGEE.



Friday, February 26, 2021

Amazon Mounds and Earthworks Updated: Too Difficult for Contemporary Archaeologists or Modern Astronomers?

One of the primary obstacles that we face in our megalithic research -- an obstacle that is greater than the difficulty of astronomical decipherment of standing stones themselves -- is the lack of a wide, knowledgeable audience.

Many contemporary archaeologists and people in related professions erroneously seem to assume that e.g. megaliths or earthwork mounds erected by prehistoric societies are properly the realm of study of Archaeology, even though most archaeologists seem to know little about megaliths, and even less about astronomy. The sky above is exactly the opposite of their chosen "geo-bound" interest. Who cares about the far distant stars above them? Pots rule.

Similarly, those few researchers who call themselves archaeoastronomers or astroarchaeologists, often do not go beyond elementary solar and lunar considerations, virtually ignoring the starry night of stars -- thus suggesting to us that their understanding of ancient mankind is very limited. We expect little help from their ranks.

We have found, contrary to flawed prevailing directions of research -- research is an area in academics that we taught at the university level -- that the starry night of stars and the ever-present band of the Milky Way DOMINATED ancient society as the domicile of their gods.

As we have written at Megaliths.net

"Megaliths.net is a systematic graphic-supported analysis of megaliths and megalithic sites around the world which shows that ancient megalithic sites are land survey sites located by prehistoric astronomy. As observed by Alice Cunningham Fletcher (Alice C. Fletcher) in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist, there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska, geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens. FLETCHER, A. C. (1902), STAR CULT AMONG THE PAWNEE —A PRELIMINARY REPORT. American Anthropologist, 4: 730–736. doi: 10.1525/aa.1902.4.4.02a00050."

However, that knowledge has not seeped into so-called mainstream science. Unless one is shooting rockets into the sky for war or putting new satellites into orbit, the stars are ignored. Indeed, even the Zodiac of stellar groupings has been relegated to the realm of esoteric Astrology. Any hermetic "as above, so below" explanation for prehistoric mankind's cultural focus is not taken seriously.

Sadly, the profession of astronomy itself has not persevered where Archaeology and related professions have dismally failed, thus leaving a "black hole" in science as regards serious research regarding the megaliths and similar constructions. 

Paradoxically, so-called modern astronomers and people in related professions spend a lot of resources studying "black holes" in far distant space that bear little relation to human life on Planet Earth, now or ever. A stellar connection for ancient human technology is of no interest to them. Indeed, your average academic astronomer seems no longer to know much about the visible stars -- those that we humans see above with the naked eye. How ancient mankind viewed the wide expanse of the starry sky above them is not a scientific question for modern skywatchers. That is "below them". Their eyes are focused on distant space, where billions are spent on NASA, planetary visits (mostly by machines), and the search for extraterrestrials.

Those same dedicated people, however, seem to consider it lunacy to allege that ancient mankind ALSO had an overriding interest in the stars.

You figure it out, we can't.

Perhaps mainstream scientists just find this entire field to be too difficult for them. Just two months ago we posted Landmarks by the Stars in Ancient Days: Amazonian Pre-Columbian Earthworks & Geoglyphs Represent Stars in the Sky in a Cosmic Geo-Hermetic Stellar Map "As Above, So Below", which contains an explanatory map for perusal by contemporary archaeologist and/or modern astronomer. That posting at our Ancient World Blog has 27 hits thus far. It should be hundreds of times more than that.

Too tough? We post an elementary explanatory visual update below:

and here is how we explained it in the previous posting:

"Why would the ancients have used stars of the starry night to "map" their Earth?

Just imagine trying to make your way in a tropical climate in ancient days. How did you get around and know where you were?

We think stars and landmarks based on stars are the answer.

West & SW Amazonian Pre-Columbian village mounds viz. earthworks, geoglyphs and "enclosures" identified by archaeologists are shown here in our independent decipherment -- not related in any way to the publications of the archaeologists -- as having been located by the ancients to represent the Milky Way and corresponding stars in the stellar constellations Aquila, Sagittarius, [Scorpio perhaps via a natural mountain formation], Lupus, Centaurus, Crux, Musca, Carina, Vela, Pyxis, & Puppis. Note that the ancients may have grouped and designated the respective stars somewhat differently, but the principal star locations in the sky remain the same nevertheless, concentrating on the sky's brightest stars by magnitude, which form the "shape" of artificial star groupings.

The star correspondences shown below were discovered in December 2020 by Andis Kaulins after reading an article in Smithsonian magazine about Amazonian Pre-Columbian mound villages and other earthwork and similar constructions. See the article by Livia Gershon in Smithsonian magazine at These Amazonian Villages Were Laid Out Like Clock Faces https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/archaeologists-find-clock-face-layout-amazon-villages-180976553/.

As retained down to this day, we find that the ancients placed their religious "gods" in the heavens, i.e. stellar locations which provided a natural, fixed easily accessible map, which was mirrored geographically on Earth "as above, so below".

Please note that our decipherment star maps -- shown below -- were created using our clips of star maps produced via Starry Night Pro astronomy software, to which we have added explanatory texts, labels, and figures, as necessary.

See http://www.starrynight.com/

In the image below, the upper section shows a geographic map clip by us from

-- a geographic map at Iriarte, J., Robinson, M., de Souza, J., Damasceno, A., da Silva, F., Nakahara, F., Ranzi, A. and Aragao, L., 2020. Geometry by Design: Contribution of Lidar to the Understanding of Settlement Patterns of the Mound Villages in SW Amazonia. Journal of Computer Applications in Archaeology, 3(1), pp.151–169. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/jcaa.45 --

which shows the locations of the Amazonian archaeological sites in question, together with our added star labels and the appropriate Milky Way section of stars. These identifications were made independently by Andis Kaulins, Traben-Trarbach, Germany, who is not affiliated in any way with any of the authors of the article cited above. We use the geographic map as fair use for research purposes.

In the article cited above, Iriarte et al. mention a possible "cosmic" meaning to the locations, as follows:

"Arranged in symbolically significant ways with no clear hierarchy, the villages' circular layouts may reflect their Indigenous inhabitants' conceptions of the cosmos (Iriarte et al., Journal of Computer Applications in Archaeology, under CC BY 4.0)".

To that we can independently add: YES ... the COSMOS ... We find that the cosmos referred to is comprised of specific "landmark" stars and sections of the Milky Way of stars visible from the identified Amazonian locations.

 

Still too difficult?

-- given the map update further above in this posting??? 

Take another look at the updated explanatory map.

You want to go contra? Forget it.

It is time for you all to bring your "science" up into the modern age.