Monday, January 30, 2006

Grain mountain growing

There is a common assumption that intervention mountains are a thing of the past. This is not necessarily the case. The EU's grain mountain is growing fast and looks like getting bigger.

It is now at a highest level for nearly a decade. At the start of the 2004/5 there were just 5mt in store. By the start of the 2005/6 marketing year this had trebled to 15.48mt. By mid-January, assuming that all grain submitted into intervention, the potential total was 18.6mt. And with nearly five months of the buying in season left, the stockpile could rise to 20mt or more by the end of May.

The problem is concentrated primarily in five countries in the middle of Europe - Germany, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. These five countries accounted for 93 per cent of the nearly 7mt offered in intervention between November and mid-January.

These countries have experienced two strong successive grain harvests? One might think that they could have sold the grain to drought hit Spain, but transport costs by road were roo high. The rationalisation of the region's pig and poultry markets prior to EU accession has limited the size of the feed market. And to the east, competition from the main Black Sea producers is fiercer than ever before.

So those, like the Austrian presidency, who are calling for a period of stability in CAP reform should remember that many of the old problems are still with us.Any source

Saturday, January 28, 2006

DeNadie Wins Sundance Audience Award

Congratulations to our client, Tin Dirdamal, whose film DeNadie won the World Cinema Documentary Audience Award at Sundance.

The film follows immigrants from South America as they traverse Mexico on a dangerous journey to try to reach the Promised Land, the United States. While there have been films that have explored the poor treatment and abuse of Mexican immigrants in the United States, this is the first film I have seen that has shown how immigrants from Honduras and Guatemala are robbed and beaten by both vicious Mexican gangs and the police.

Sundance programmer Joseph Beyer has said: “First-time filmmaker Tin Dirdamal displays moving photographic grace and sophisticated understanding of his subjects as he follows their search for the sustenance their native countries can't provide. These personal stories force deeper understanding of the United States' border crisis, while exposing hypocrisies in a Mexican culture faced with equally uncomfortable intolerance of its own. All this from a film that doesn't take political stances; it merely brings us the voices of those affected, the results of which are far louder.”

Read more about the film at:

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Federal Court Affirms that National Geographic May Republish Works by Photographers Digitally without Consent

Federal Court of Appeals Affirms Ruling That National Geographic May Republish Works by Freelance Photographers and Journalists w Digital Formatithout Consent in Many freelance photographers and journalists contributed to the National Geographic Magazine over its history. Most did not specifically license the magazine to republish their work on a recent CD-ROM and DVD entitled “The Complete National Geographic: 108 Years of National Geographic Magazine.”The Federal District Court ruled in the magazine’s favor and the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision on copyright infringement claims filed by photographers and journalists.

The Court of Appeals concluded that the digital versions were a privileged “revision” of the works published in the printed magazines. The Copyright Act allows publishers of collective works a privilege to republish any contributions to the collective work as part of a revision of the collective work. The Court gave two reasons why it considered the revision privileged in this case. First, the Court pointed out that “the original context of the magazine is omnipresent” in the digital versions. Second, the digital versions consist of an “almost” identical presentation of the original magazines. An unprivileged revision, on the other hand, “precludes the reader from viewing the underlying works in their original context.”

The Court ruled against the journalists and photographers on their contractual claim. Though the contracts did not specifically authorize the republishing of the work, the Court concluded that the journalists and photographers had an affirmative obligation to specify in the contracts that their work not be republished in digital format, if that is what they sought.

Faulkner v. National Geographic Society, 409 F.3d.S 26, 2005 U.S.App.LEXIS 3642 (2nd Cir. 2005).

Hustle & Flow Nominated For Numerous Awards And Now Released on DVD

Congratulations to our client writer/director Craig Brewer on the DVD release of his award winning film Hustle & Flow. After earning more than 22 million at the box office, 600,000 copies flew off the shelves in the first week of its home video release, exceeding all expectations.

Actor Terrence Howard received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance, a nomination for the Breakthrough Award at the Gotham Awards, and Best Male lead for the Independent Spirit Awards. The cast was honored with a nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast at the SAG awards, and the film won the Audience Award at last year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Perhaps most impressive, Ain’t It Cool News Harry Knowles named Hustle and Flow as simply the Best Film of the Year. Ain't It Cool News:

MGM and Universal Find Out That They Must Comply with Every Detail of the Red Tape Associated with Filing Satellite and Cable TV Royalty Claims with the U.S. Copyright Office

MGM and Universal Studios lost a copyright suit over some stamps.

U.S. Copyright regulations require that cable and satellite TV royalty claims be filed each year in the month of July. Claims can be filed so that they are delivered by July 31st or they can be postmarked during July. However, the regulations specifically provide that postage meter machine postmarks are not sufficient to establish a claim. MGM and Universal sent their claims out on July 30 using a Pitney-Bowes postage machine. The Copyright office received the claims on August 2nd or 3rd and refused to accept them.

The studios went to court. MGM and Universal submitted uncontested affidavits from employees and the U.S. Postal Service itself in order to establish that the claims had been mailed in July. The Postal Service even confirmed that if the mail arrived by August 2nd or 3rd it had to have been mailed in July. Finally, affidavits (also uncontested) were submitted showing that there is no possible way for the postage meter machines to print a backdated postmark.

MGM and Universal argued that the rejection of the claims violated the Copyright Act, the Administrative Procedure Act and denied them their Constitutional right to due process. The District Court dismissed the case and the Court of Appeals affirmed. The Court of Appeals ruled that the Copyright Office had not misinterpreted its rule, due process had not been denied and the refusal to waive the requirement was not arbitrary nor capricious.

Universal City Studios v. Peters, 402 F.3d 1238, 2005 U.S.App.LEXIS 5664 (D.C.Cir. 2005).Any source

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Ron Silliman recently posted a thoughtful & adequate discussion of this book on his blog. The book, published by Broadstone Books ( contains the complete correspondence between poet Jonathan Greene & Father Thomas Merton from 1967-68. During this time Merton published the magazine Monks Pond while Greene edited Gnomon. The correspondence reveals the way in which both Merton & Greene, as editors of little magazines with virtually no financial assistance and limited distribution, supported one another, propped one another up. Each played a role in sustaining the work of the other, all of this in Kentucky, a region on the periphery of the 1960s literary community. Despite limited finances and their location on the ragged edge of the literary world, their mutually supportive relationship allowed each of them to carve out a substantial place for themselves and their work. Within the correspondence we find Merton offering poetry contributed to Monks Pond to Gnomon, poetry given to Gnomon offered to Monks Pond. The letters also provide a window into the less exciting, logistical end of small press publishing: the search for financial and material resources, the desperate need for a good typewriter, the issue of balancing the editorial responsibilities of running a small magazine against other, more pressing responsibilities.

Between the two of them they managed to publish important work by, among others, Anslem Hollo, Wendell Berry, Jonathan Williams, Christopher Middleton & Lorine Niedecker. This is indeed more than anyone can ask of a little magazine and, as their correspondence indicates, Merton & Greene were able to accomplish this through their resourceful & affectionate support of one another.
Any source


One Day And How It Was
Theodore Enslin
Granite Press 2005
27 Treverbyn Road, St Ives, Cornwall, UK
Prolific as ever, I pity the fool burdened with the task of compiling a comprehensive bibliography of Ted Enslin's published work. The spontaneous, decentralized nature of small press publishing undoubtedly confounds such a task further. Here one minute, gone the next. Tracking down several dozen small press publications and magazines might be difficult but it is nonetheless possible; tracking down a body of published works comparable to the number pumped out by Enslin would require a Herculean effort. The same is of course true for the corpus of work by Cid Corman, one of the first to publish and promote Enslin's poetry back in the late 50s. Both poets have, in addition to their larger works and poetic sequences, published dozens of slim, seemingly negligible volumes of verse. Many of the books are gorgeous works of art themselves--letter pressed, silk screened, hand sewn, printed on beautiful stock. Coming into such publications is more akin to reading a deeply intimate, private correspondence than a book manufactured by a larger publishing company and shipped out of a warehouse. Like literary correspondence, the slim independently published volumes can not only be read for their own sake but also to broaden & further develop readings of more substantial works by an author. In the case of Enslin, we could, for example, ask how a small volume like One Day might lend itself to a reading of his longer works such as the three volumes of Forms (Elizabeth Press) or the two volumes of Ranger (North Atlantic Books).

Where Enslin's two volume epic Ranger is long and indeed dense, a philosophically & historically complex work grounded, in part, in the tragic destruction of Mesoamerican culture in the sixteenth century, the short poems included in One Day are seemingly transparent, bound neither spatially nor temporally. These poems could have been written anywhere at anytime. Beyond the use of modern American English, the poems include no details specific to a particular time or place. They speak in a very general, transhistorical & transcultural way of things held in common by all at all times: language, song, clouds, earth, sky, beginnings, ends, wealth, poverty. Were the poems peddled as contemporary English translations of Greek lyric poems, T'ang poems, classical Korean shijo, or brief verses written by an African griot, no one other than highly specialized scholars would know the difference. Take the following:

To sell or sing
there lies a difference
one who sings may sell
but at his peril
song is precious is of wealth
but cannot be accounted for
the selling lies

Enslin is clearly playing here with, among other things, the distinction between literal material wealth and figurative spiritual wealth, privileging song over gold, singing over commerce. Aside from language there is nothing to tie this poem to a particular time or place, no one detail which would lead us to a particular moment or region. Yet there is a conviction, a value revealed. Singing and selling are diametrically opposed, the two advanced as mutually exclusive dualities. This conviction is, to be sure, a foundational theme upon which Enslin's larger, far more complex works are built.

To read such a slim volume as a window into the larger works is thus possible and profitable. To read it for its own sake is, of course, a pleasure all its own. Granite Press does wonderful work. The book is as delicate as the poems contained within. Hand sewn, printed on fine stock. Like dozens of other small presses Granite Press is completely DIY, done out of the home & as homes change, addresses change. Several years back they were based in Slovenia. Now they're in England. The address: 27 Treverbyn Road, St Ives, Cornwall, UK.
Any source

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

2014 could be zero hour

The year 2014 could be zero hour for a new look CAP argues Agra Europe. By then export subsidies should have been phased out and the current financial perspectives agreement will have expired.

The EU budget deal does contain provision for a wide ranging review of the CAP in 2008/9, but no timetable for reform is built into it. France has effectively locked the CAP into current spending patterns with the deal it secured in 2002. What has changed, however, is that spending on new member states Romania and Bulgaria will have to be accommodated within the budget ceiling originally agreed for 25 member states.

Meanwhile Commissioner Fischer Boel has revived the idea of a €300,000 limit per farming enterprise (what actually constitues a 'farm' is not easy to define) on CAP payments for discussion in the 2008/9 review. This is like a red rag to a bull with the UK who scuppered the idea along with Germany in the 2002 negotiations. The UK's argument was that such a ceiling would penalise 'efficient' farmers, but its real concern was that it would hit the many large-scale farmers in Britain, including members of the aristocracy and the royal family.Any source