PIPA/SOPA

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.031  Friday, 27 January 2012

 

From:         Jim Marino <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         January 26, 2012 3:53:02 PM EST

Subject:     Re: PIPA/SOPA

 

I would echo Gabriel Egan’s concerns about the proposed PIPA/SOPA law. Although Larry Weiss evidently finds Gabriel’s worries about a “Star Chamber proceeding” alarmist, that alarm is exceedingly well-founded. The chief thrust of the PIPA/SOPA legislation is to create extra-judicial “remedies” for those who wish to pull the plug on a given web site, remedies that utterly circumvent due process and misplace the burden of proof. It is in fact a bill designed to create Star Chamber proceedings, and this such proceedings are not incidental but the primary goal. (The unspoken mottoes of the bill are “No more YouTubes” and “No more inconvenient requirement to sue.”)

 

The objection that the law “is unlikely to pass . . . in anything like its present form” strikes me as no reason not to oppose the present form of the law. The proposed law does have powerful sponsors, both inside and outside Congress, who seem deeply committed to passing the elements of the law which seem most objectionable. Passage of those noxious measures, sooner or later, is not only possible but probable unless such measures are actively resisted. Nor does the implication that the law will eventually pass in some as-yet-unknown but more palatable compromise version, about which we need not worry, have any genuine value as an argument. No such compromise legislation exists, and so appeals to its reasonable nature are simply appeals to Larr Weiss’s imagination.

 

And while Larry Weiss seems to sniff at Gabriel Egan as a copyright violator, surely it should be acknowledged that the scope of what is “protected” by copyright has grown enormously in the recent past, and the domain protected by fair use has correspondingly shrunk, driven in almost every case by the agenda of deep-pocketed plaintiffs. Copyright piracy is not what it used to be; rather, it is now a great many more things than it used to be. That expansion of property rights has been defined by what one set of parties, the owners, decide to be reasonable. PIPA/SOPA would enforce those parties’ opinions of their own deserts with the full power of the law. That, surely, is unreasonable.

 

Jim Marino

Nichol Williamson Dies December 16

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.030  Friday, 27 January 2012

 

[1] From:         Thomas Davis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         January 26, 2012 1:56:57 PM EST

     Subject:     Re: Nichol Williamson

 

[2] From:         Michael Zito <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         January 27, 2012 9:32:14 AM EST

     Subject:     Re: Nichol Williamson

 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

From:         Thomas Davis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         January 26, 2012 1:56:57 PM EST

Subject:     Re: Nichol Williamson

 

The 1969 Hamlet film isn’t a great film, but it’s a truly great performance. Williamson’s “Nay, I know not: is it the King?” is one of the most thrilling lines I’ve ever heard. And Williamson is the only Hamlet I’ve seen where I actually believed he was seeing his father’s ghost. 

 

Tad Davis

 

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:         Michael Zito <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         January 27, 2012 9:32:14 AM EST

Subject:     Re: Nichol Williamson

 

My favorite Macbeth.  I'm sorry to hear about this.  Even Nixon, in his book of memories, in a paragraph succeeding one about Sinatra performing at the White House, recalls having enjoyed Williamson recite from Hamlet for him and Mrs. Nixon . . . 

 

Williamson’s dagger speech and banquet scene are, to me, the best and most convincing in the business . . . . 

 

To the very echo,

mz

PIPA/SOPA

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.029  Thursday, 26 January 2012

 

From:         Thomas Davis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         January 25, 2012 11:35:08 AM EST

Subject:     Re: PIPA/SOPA

 

I don’t want to sound alarmist, and I don’t think SHAKSPER is in any real danger from this. But if you’ve been following this controversy, you’ll know that even without this new legislation, web sites are already being shut down without a hearing. A defense is only possible if you’re notified ahead of time of the impending action. In situations where this has happened, notification was made only after the domain name had already been seized. In one case the government held the site for a year before admitting it had made a mistake. 

 

Tad Davis 

 

Nichol Williamson Dies December 16

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.028  Thursday, 26 January 2012

 

From:         Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         26 January 2012

Subject:     Nichol Williamson Dies December 16

 

When I was attempting to “prime the pump” a few days ago, I mentioned a stage production of Othello that opened the text to me in ways I had not considered before. Reading today’s newspapers reminded me of a similar moment in the 1969 film of Hamlet, directed by Tony Richardson, staring Nicol Williamson, staged at the Round House where it was originally produced: http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9B07E0DC1131EE3BBC4A51DFB4678382679EDE

 

This particular beat surrounds the business of Hamlet’s death at the end of the play/film.

 

As the dead Laretes falls out of the frame to the left, Williamson’s Hamlet in a one-shot says, “Heaven make thee free of it! I follow thee.” Then he turns to the right and falls into a closely framed two-shot with Horatio, saying, as he stares into Horatio’s eyes, “I am dead, Horatio. Thou liv'st.  Report me and my cause aright to the unsatisfied.” To which, Horatio responds, “Never believe it. I am more an antique Roman than a Dane. Here's yet some liquor left.” To this, Hamlet immediately says, “Give me the cup. Let go. By heaven, I'll ha 't.” Horatio pauses, looks at the cup, and hands it to Hamlet who drinks the remainder of the poison in the chalice as the death scene moves toward its conclusion.

 

This film received decidedly mixed reviews, but I found these moments stunning, never having seen before or since, if my memory serves, these lines played this way.

 

Oh, yes, the news. It was just reported by his son Luke that Nicol Williamson died on December 16, 2011, in the Netherlands, his home for the past twenty years.

 

Here are some excerpts from the Washington Post, New York Times, and the Guardian, respectively:

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater-dance/nicol-williamson-tempestuous-but-talented-stage-and-screen-actor-dies-at-75/2012/01/25/gIQAyeLTRQ_story.html

 

Nicol Williamson, tempestuous but talented stage and screen actor, dies at 75

By Adam Bernstein, January 25

 

Nicol Williamson, a Scottish-born theater star heralded as one of the finest actors of his generation but whose menacing unpredictability onstage and off diminished his career, died Dec. 16 in Amsterdam of esophageal cancer. He was 75.

His son, Luke Williamson, confirmed the death to the Associated Press. Mr. Williamson had lived in the Netherlands for more than two decades. The news of his death was reportedly delayed at the actor’s wish to die anonymously — an understated ending to a stormy life.

 

Mr. Williamson was a galvanic presence in dozens of stage and film roles and drew favorable comparisons with Laurence Olivier and Charles Laughton.

 

Author Samuel Beckett pronounced him “touched by genius.” The British playwright John Osborne, who made Mr. Williamson a marquee name in the 1964 drama “Inadmissible Evidence,” considered him “the greatest actor since Marlon Brando.”

 

With his nasally twang, receding ginger hair, despairing eyes and hangdog face, Mr. Williamson had little of the young Brando’s beauty and raw physical power. He compensated with a demeanor that conveyed cunning, an explosive temperament and a general aura of sweaty self-loathing.

 

[ . . . ]

 

Willfully or not, Mr. Williamson seemed determined to torpedo his reputation through heavy drinking and erratic, often abusive behavior.

 

[ . . . ]

 

The son of a foundry worker, Nicol Williamson was born Sept. 14, 1936, in the Scottish mining town of Hamilton and raised in Birmingham, England. He appeared in repertory theater before joining London’s Royal Shakespeare Co. in 1962.

 

He dazzled audiences with his versatility and his ability to play much older characters convincingly. He was frequently mentioned as a leader among a crop of promising young talent that included Albert Finney, Anthony Hopkins and Ian McKellen.

 

[ . . . ]

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/26/theater/nicol-williamson-a-mercurial-actor-is-dead-at-75.html

 

January 25, 2012

Nicol Williamson, a Mercurial Actor, Is Dead at 75

By BRUCE WEBER

 

Nicol Williamson, a Scottish-born actor whose large, renegade talent made him a controversial Hamlet, an eccentric Macbeth, an angry, high-strung Vanya and, on the screen, a cocaine-sniffing Sherlock Holmes — and whose querulous temperament could make his antics as commanding as his performances — died on Dec. 16 in Amsterdam, where he had lived for more than 20 years. He was 75.

 

The cause was esophageal cancer, his son, Luke, said Wednesday on the Web site nicolwilliamson.com. “He didn’t want any fuss made over his passing,” Luke Williamson said in an e-mail, explaining the delay in reporting his father’s death. “He was not interested in publicity.”

 

Mr. Williamson was rarely described as dull, sometimes as uncooperative, more often as unpredictable or tempestuous.

 

[ . . . ]

 

Mr. Williamson played Macbeth more than once, perhaps because his aggrieved Scottish temperament seemed so suitable for that tormented Scottish general and king. The first time, in London, he was directed by Trevor Nunn, and the performance was acclaimed. Later, in a Broadway production he directed himself, the eccentricities he brought to the role overwhelmed the production.

 

[ . . . ]

 

Mr. Williamson was born in Hamilton, Scotland, on Sept. 14, 1936, and grew up mostly in Birmingham, England, where, he once told The Globe and Mail of Toronto, “As a boy I always felt superior to others.” After serving in the British Army, he left home to become an actor in 1960, joining the Dundee Repertory Company and later the Royal Court in London, where he began garnering acclaim, and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

 

[ . . . ]

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2012/jan/26/nicol-williamson?newsfeed=true

 

Nicol Williamson

Actor whose reputation for unpredictability never undermined his electrifying talent

 

 

Nicol Williamson, whose death of oesophageal cancer at the age of 73 has been announced, was arguably the most electrifying actor of his generation, but one whose career flickered and faded like a faulty light fitting. Tall and wiry, with a rasping scowl of a voice, a battered baby face and a mop of unruly curls, he was the best modern Hamlet since John Gielgud, and certainly the angriest, though he scuppered his own performance at the Round House, north London, in 1968, by apologising to the audience and walking off the stage. The experience was recycled in a 1991 Broadway comedy called I Hate Hamlet, in which he proved his point and fell out badly with his co-star.

 

The Round House Hamlet was directed by another great maverick of that time, Tony Richardson, who had directed Williamson as the dissolute lawyer Bill Maitland in John Osborne's Inadmissible Evidence (1964) at the Royal Court theatre. This was his greatest performance, and one from which he never really escaped, reviving it on the stage and making the 1968 movie; the play was seen again last year at the Donmar Warehouse, with Douglas Hodge in the leading role.

 

After a couple of chaotic performances in his own one-man show, and as the equally wild and unreliable actor John Barrymore A Night on the Town at the Criterion Theatre in London in 1994, Williamson was last sighted on the stage at the Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, Flintshire, as King Lear in 2001.

 

Its director, Terry Hands, a one-time colleague at the Royal Shakespeare Company, allowed him free rein to wander through the play, but many of the speeches were misplaced. Like Eric Morecambe playing the piano, he knew all the notes, but not necessarily in the right order. Still, the performance was fretted with moments of golddust and heartbreak, and you would not willingly have exchanged it for many a more competent or predictable performance.

 

Hands had taken the sensible precaution of cancelling the second-night performance as the first one was followed by the mother of all first-night parties, with Williamson banging out the jazz standards he loved to sing with a group of willing musicians, including the film critic Ian Christie.

 

Williamson's talent for acting and lust for life were brilliantly recorded in a 1972 essay by Kenneth Tynan for the New Yorker which charted his haphazard preparation for a concert at the White House for President Richard Nixon. When it was published, warts and all, Williamson was furious and never spoke to Tynan again.

 

He was born in Hamilton, near Glasgow, the son of Mary (nee Storrie) and Hugh Williamson. He trained for the stage at the Birmingham School of Speech and Drama and made his professional debut at the Dundee Rep in 1960. In the following year, he appeared as Flute in Richardson's Royal Court production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

 

[ . . . ]

 

When Trevor Nunn presented a season of Shakespeare's "Roman" plays at Stratford-upon-Avon, and later at the Aldwych in London, in 1973, Williamson gave a coruscating performance as an unusually virulent and misanthropic Coriolanus. He returned to Stratford in 1974 as a sour-faced, vinegary Malvolio in Twelfth Night and a wolverine, prowling Macbeth in the studio theatre, the Other Place. Nunn had started that production (Helen Mirren was Lady Macbeth) on the main stage in London, but cut out the Gothic excess for Stratford in a journey with the play that took him to the defining chamber version of it soon afterwards with Ian McKellen and Judi Dench.

 

[ . . . ]

 

He had lived mostly in Amsterdam since 1970, but could sometimes be seen in various north London pubs, where he was quite happy to mind his own business and leave the pursuit of glamour and glory to other, less deserving performers. No one who saw him on stage will ever forget him, but it is difficult to see his career as anything but unfulfilled.

 

[ . . . ]

 

PIPA/SOPA

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.027  Wednesday, 25 January 2012

 

[1] From:         Duncan Salkeld <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         January 24, 2012 6:27:56 PM EST

     Subject:     RE: SHAKSPER: PIPA/SOPA 

 

[2] From:         Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         January 25, 2012 12:58:46 AM EST

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: PIPA/SOPA 

 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

From:         Duncan Salkeld <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         January 24, 2012 6:27:56 PM EST

Subject:      RE: SHAKSPER: PIPA/SOPA

 

Maybe before it gets shut down for links to rogue sites, SHAKSPER could institute and award prizes – perhaps one for sheer brass neck and self-promotion.  

 

Duncan Salkeld

 

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:         Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         January 25, 2012 12:58:46 AM EST

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: PIPA/SOPA

 

John Briggs asks me to comment on a possible policy of OUP demanding that authors in multi-author works agree that their contributions are “works made for hire.”  Unfortunately, without knowing the details, I cannot offer much guidance.  I agree, however, that this has not been the universal custom for publishers of compilations, although some do require it in at least some cases.  Compilations are the type of work for which the doctrine was devised (see definition (2) of “work made for hire” in 17 U.S.C. § 102).  Much depends on the type of compilation; for example, an anthology of essays obviously differs from a textbook.  Much also depends on the relative bargaining power of the author and publisher.

 

John also asks about the Research Works Act, a bill introduced by Darrell Issa (R Cal) and Carolyn Mahoney (D NY), which would roll back the government policy of requiring open network access to publications which follow from studies funded by the government.  Don’t worry, I don’t see any chance of enactment.

 

Gabriel Egan is to be commended for alerting Hardy that he has in the past posted links to his website which he seems to admit deliberately pirates copyrighted works.  Gabriel seems concerned that SHAKSPER might be shut down in some sort of Star Chamber proceeding “without due process.”  I see no need for such alarm.  In the first place, it is hardly likely that the legislation will pass, at least in anything resembling its current form.  One of the reasons I am sanguine about this is that the bills are much too ambiguous as to what is covered, as Gabriel correctly points out and as I mentioned in my last post.

 

Gabriel seems to have misunderstood something I said in the prior post.  In the portion of that post which Gabriel seems to feel is naive about the conceivable consequences of PIPA/SOPA in possibly not allowing defenses, I was not addressing the legislation but, rather, the current state of the law of contributory infringement.  Defenses are certainly available now.  Also, as for inadvertence, I was referring to Hardy’s lack of knowledge, not the scienter of the rogue site.  I cannot believe that Hardy has any idea that Gabriel is operating a pirate site.

 

My previous post was intended only to set out the current state of affairs; I did not provide my personal views on the issue.  But if anyone is interested, here it is:  I am torn on this.  As someone who spent a good deal of my career protecting the rights of authors, artists and other creators of intellectual property, I am jealous of their interests.  On the other hand, I am also constitutionally opposed to unnecessary government regulation, especially the kind that tends to chill the liberal exchange of information, and I surely don’t like the ambiguous quality of the present bills.  Perhaps the solution, as in most cases, is to leave it to the marketplace and the gradual evolution of remedies in accordance with common-law principles.  For example, it seems to me that if Wikipedia, for example, links to a site that provides cheap or free downloads of movies, songs, books, etc., the copyright owners would have ample remedies under Title 17 as it now exists, with all the procedural safeguards of U.S. law.  The doctrine of contributory infringement is universally accepted by the courts and well understood.

 

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