The Copyright Wars

A new world of digital entertainment beckons, but industry clashes impede progress

8 min read
illustration of soldier throwing paper planes amid flying CD discs.
Illustration: Tavis Coburn

When you opened your Web browser this morning, the start page listed the Oscar winners. Bowling for Columbine and The Chubb Chubbs had never made it to your local Cineplex, and you feel like you’re missing out.

Or maybe you just started reading the hot new novel Gilligan’s Wake and decided that to truly appreciate the author’s artistry, you ought to review a few episodes of the classic 1960s television show on which the novel is based.

Keep reading... Show less

Stay ahead of the latest trends in technology. Become an IEEE member.

This article is for IEEE members only. Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

Can the Artemis Moon Mission Revive the Glamour of Big Tech?

It’s no wonder the tech centibillionaires are building rockets

3 min read
An image of an astronaut having moon soil fall from his hand.

NASA's planned Artemis lunar exploration mission could help burnish the image of big tech.

NASA

Today, the phrase “big tech” typically resonates negatively. It conjures up disturbing aspects of social media and the rise of megacorporations that seem beyond the reach of the law. And yet decades ago, big tech was typically associated with the glamor of motion: of speed, of power, and the thrill of exploring new frontiers.

Two leaders, Wernher von Braun and Juan Trippe, became household names as they made bold bets that paid off and enabled people to go where few thought it possible not long before. Von Braun had a troubling history: As a 30-year-old, he had convinced Adolf Hitler to fund his V-2 missiles, of which thousands were built, with slave labor. They rained down on Paris, London, and other cities, killing 9,000 people, mostly civilians.

Keep Reading ↓ Show less

Before Ships Used GPS, There was the Fresnel Lens

This bright idea revolutionized lighthouses and saved lives

3 min read
 A Fresnel lens at the Seguin Island Light Station in Maine.

The Fresnel lens used in the Seguin Island Light Station in Georgetown, Maine.

Edwin Remsberg/AP

Ships today use satellite-based radio navigation, GPS, and other tools to prevent accidents. But back at the beginning of the 19th century, lighthouses guided ships away from rocky shores using an oil lamp placed between a concave mirror and a glass lens to produce a beam of light.

The mirrors were not very effective, though, and the lenses were murky. The light was difficult to see from a distance on a clear night, let alone in heavy fog or a storm.

Keep Reading ↓ Show less

Harnessing the Power of Innovation Intelligence

Through case studies and data visualizations, this webinar will show you how to leverage IP and scientific data analytics to identify emerging business opportunities

1 min read
Clarivate
Clarivate

Business and R&D leaders have to make consequential strategic decisions every day in a global marketplace that continues to get more interconnected and complex. Luckily, the job can be more manageable and efficient by leveraging IP and scientific data analytics. Register for this free webinar now!

Join us for the webinar, Harnessing the power of innovation intelligence, to hear Clarivate experts discuss how analyzing IP data, together with scientific content and industry-specific data, can provide organization-wide situational awareness and reveal valuable business insights.

Keep Reading ↓ Show less