Friday, April 29, 2016

Who "owns" the "Klingon" language?

Do you Speak Klingon?   Is that really a language?  Should people fight about it?

A federal judge gets an earful of Klingon proverbs from a language society intent on making sure that Paramount Pictures can't claim ownership.

A California (yea, you knew "only in California") Federal Judge is hearing the copyright case over whether the owner of the Star Trek enterprise has a copyright on the Klingon "language".  Paramount Pictures is claiming ownership to the use of the Klingon terms.

Not So Fast, says the Language Creation Society.  They claim in their briefing that thousands of people have studied Klingon and use it to communicate with each other.  Therefore, Klingon is an established language and can't be copyrighted.  They estimate that there are at least 250,000 copies of the Klingon dictionary.  Furthermore, even Microsoft (Bing) has a English-to-Klingon translator.

Paramount pictures claims that the language is "wholly fictitious, original and copyrightable."  Further, the studio claims that because there are no real Klingons with whom to communicate, the "language" is clearly no language at all.

The full briefings of the parties will be May 9th.

maw', qar'a'?  (you KNOW you want to look it up)

You can find the Amicus brief here:

Friday, April 1, 2016

Michigan Supreme Court decision on obstruction of license plate, not good news for drivers

About a year ago, I posted a blog entry on what you could do to get stopped by the police, or more importantly what you could stop doing to keep from being pulled over. 

I mentioned that the Michigan Court of appeals reviewed a case where a Michigan citizen was pulled over because he had an "obstructed license plate."  That obstruction was a trailer ball for a trailer hitch.  The Court ruled that the trailer ball did not rise to the level of "obstruction" intended in the statute prohibiting an obstruction.

However, last week, the Michigan Supreme Court unanimously reversed the decision of the lower court.  In its opinion, Justice Markman concluded that the Michigan Vehicle Code requires vehicle owners to attach their registration plate in a place where it can be seen without obstruction.

So... Drivers BEWARE.   If a towing ball is on your vehicle (or a bike rack or a trailer hitch or anything else), and it obstructs a police officer's view of your license plate, the officer can pull you over, the Michigan Supreme Court has ruled.