The Wildy's World Top 40 albums of 2011

Yes, we're on the cusp of a new year, with new experiences out in front of all of us.  But before the tide turns again, let's take a look back at the top 40 albums we reviewed on Wildy's World during 2011.  No big fanfare or drawn out countdown this year.  Just the facts, ma'am.

40 Amy Black One Time
39 Anna Atkinson Mooniture
38 Monika Borzym Girl Talk
37 Andy Statman Old Brooklyn
36 Ron Sexsmith Long Player, Late Bloomer
35 Jeneen Terrana See The Light
34 Hannah Miller O Black River
33 Gattis E.P.
32 OST Catch Me If You Can - Original Broadway Cast
31 Laura Roppe I'm Still Here
30 Renee Wahl Cumberland Moonshine
29 OST Anything Goes - New Broadway Cast Recording (2011)
28 The 23 String Band Catch 23
27 Beth Bombara Wish I Were You
26 Tally Hall Good & Evil
25 Imelda May Mayhem
24 Sarah Jarosz Follow Me Down
23 Eric Church Chief
22 Sutton Foster An Evening With Sutton Foster: Live At The Café Carlyle
21 Forrest Day Forrest Day
20 John Shipe Villain
19 Abbie Barrett & The Last Date The Triples: Volume I [EP]
18 Mark Erelli Little Vigils
17 Jason Plumb And The Willing Alive & Willing
16 Skyler Take You Away
15 Zaz Zaz
14 Sierra Hull DayBreak
13 Shayna Zaid & The Catch Lighthouse
12 Seth Glier The Next Right Thing
11 Jeannine Hebb Whileaway
10 Bruce Cockburn Small Source Of Comfort
9 Bess Rogers Out Of The Ocean
8 Grace Stumberg To Whom It May Concern
7 Sunday Wilde Whay Man!? Oh That Man!!!
6 Emmanuella Grace London Stories
5 Tommy Shaw The Great Divide
4 Brandon Schott 13 Satellites
3 Marian Call Something Fierce
2 Paul Simon So Beautiful Or So What
1 Ron Hawkins Straightjacket Love

A New Year

I've been thinking a lot about the new year lately. Usually, it stands as a fresh start, the opportunity for growth. Everyone makes resolutions in order to spark some sort of change in their life, whether that be flossing more often (for me, yes) or drinking less gin and tonics (for me, never).

But for 2012, I don't even know what I should resolve to do. There's been so much change in 2011 that I'd appreciate some sort of stasis in the next year. My life was turned upside-down: I left Evanston for a NYC (read: miniscule) apartment surrounded by pigeons and litter, somehow landed a wonderful job for which people pay me to write (I know, right? And you're getting this for free!), and my best friends either moved to Africa or stayed in Chicago. Do you know what it's like when your best friend is in the Tanzanian jungle? It feels horrible. I don't wish it on anyone but my very worst enemies.

So I'm just going to do what I should have been doing anyway. I'm going to floss because my dad's a gum surgeon who went on a long lecture about gingivitis the last time I let him look at my teeth. I'm going to keep my network of scattered friendships as close as possible, given the circumstances. And most of all, since I already have that New York City shoebox, I'm going to explore the city. Really, really explore it. This means walk outside the radius between my apartment and my office.

Hope you have the happiest New Year ever!

[photo cred here, here, and there]

Does Provisional Trump Regular Patent Application?

Dear Rich: Can you answer a question about provisional patent applications? We've invented an automobile accessory and we filed a provisional patent application. Then we filed a regular patent application. We recently learned that someone else has filed a regular patent application before ours (but after we filed our provisional). Do we lose the race because they filed a regular application before us? Under current patent law (first-to-invent) there is no race to the patent office. The issue is who invented the device first. That said, filing dates are important because they often reflect the date of invention (or constructive reduction to practice). Your filing of a provisional patent application, assuming it accurately reflects the invention in your regular application, can be used as prior art to stop a later inventor (or filer in this case) from obtaining a patent. In summary, if you wrote a good provisional patent application, you're probably the winner. This rule was demonstrated in a court case about a year ago. An inventor, Giacomini, filed a patent application claiming a method of selectively storing sets of electronic data. Another inventor, Tran, filed a patent application after Giacomini for a similar invention. However, Tran’s application was based on a provisional patent application that accurately described the invention and was filed before Giacomini’s application. In that case, the Federal Circuit held that Tran as “first inventor,” could claim patent rights and use his patent application as prior art against Giacomini. In re Giacomini, 612 F.3d 1380 (Fed. Cir. 2010).
Would the outcome be any different under the America Invents Act? On March 16, 2013, the U.S. switches to a first-to-file system. Under that system, the first inventor to file gets the patent. So, the outcome would likely be the same as your provisional patent application would be considered the first filing. Again, that's assuming your provisional patent application accurately reflected the invention claimed in your regular application.

Adam Cross - Sirens

Adam Cross – Sirens
2011, Adam Cross
Aiken, South Carolina singer/songwriter Adam Cross has seenhis heartbreak.  This is evident on Cross’self-released debut album, Sirens.  Whether you take the title as a warning, orperhaps as a treatise on the things that draws us out of ourselves (andsometimes pushes us back in), Sirensis a remarkably mature and subtle disclosure of vulnerability and strength,healing and pain. 
Sirens opens withthe pure pop rock of “Dance”, a catchy-yet-reserved statement of intent that isthe perfect intro to Sirens.  Cross has an appealing voice; staying withina comfortable range that doesn’t restrict his ability to deliver a quietlydynamic performance.  “A Feeling” is amelancholic reflection on love as faith, in a love that, if not requited,certainly isn’t available.  Cross buildsthe song nicely throughout, growing in intensity through the final bridgebefore drawing back.  “Scared To Pieces”is a love ballad written from a less than tenable romantic position.  The smooth, radio-ready chorus is full ofsound and sonically appealing.  Cross isreminiscent of an edgier Rob Thomas here, both for his sound and for his pop sensibilities.
Cross engages in a confessional style on the stripped-down“Save Me”, punctuating the effort with a jump into his upper vocal register onthe chorus.  This last leaves him a bitexposed with a sound that’s less than ideal, but the song has great flow andworks on many levels.  “Time Of OurLives” is a wonderfully upbeat love song, although the verse has a stilted feelthat’s somewhat distracting.  Theexecution here doesn’t quite match the intent, but it’s a solid, pop-friendlyeffort.  “Thursday” is a song of loss,written through the perspective of time, although Cross’ deliberate vocal styleoffers the impression of a suitor who is choosing his words carefully.  He’s still in love, you see, and still pursuingher even if he isn’t certain what it is he wants from the pursuit.  There’s a stylistic grace to this song thatworks, even with its somewhat awkward pace, as he struggles with the competingfeelings of love and hatred.
“Burning Castles” wants to a big pop/rock song but neverquite lives up to its pretensions.  It’sa solid tune, but just never fully becomes. The chorus is mildly catchy, and Cross builds the musical tensionappropriately, there’s just never a payoff. “Time Wasted” laments a relationship that didn’t work out, seen again,through the lens of time.  This one has anice, Adult Alternative sound that will play well with radio programmers andfans alike.  “Tragedy” finds Crossintroducing more of an electronic element into the arrangement.  The result is a somewhat uninspired soundthat seems ripe for pop radio but fails to live up to either the melodic orcreative potential Cross seems to possess. Sirens closes with “Lost”, asix-minute acoustic number that’s among the best on the album.  There’s a prayerful melancholy that pervadesthis number, as Cross laments both a past lost and a seeming lack of future.  The chorus is gorgeous and slow, dressed indark musical timbres.
Adam Cross impresses with Sirens, even if he doesn’t always hit his mark.  There’s a distinctive musicality in Cross’songwriting that has an edgy, Indie-feel, yet a melodicism that pop sensibilitythat make him accessible to the commercial market.  Musical melancholia fans will enjoy Cross’tales of love lost, just missed or never gained.  All of this is delivered without a sense ofself-pity, but rather with a clinical eye that has assessed the past andpresent, and in spite of the pain, taken something of a logical approach toeach heartbreak.  If Sirens is any indication, there are great things to come from AdamCross.
Rating: 3 Stars(Out of 5)
Learn more about Adam Cross at or 

Project Progress: the RestoBar

so i have been working on this project for quite some time now, and construction will start as soon as the holiday has finished :)

Reality is, you can squeeze your brain out every time you have to design for something but you also have to consider the (1) Budget (2) Market (3) Period of Lease (4) Maximum Capacity (5) Kitchen Space (6) Food/Drinks that will be served etc. etc. so restraining one's self should be observed.

Initially, we had to go Modern + Minimalist since the idea was to mix Asian + Western (Burgers +Milk Tea + Beer at night) so I had this in mind...

Moodboard: White Brick walls, Cement finish, Oak Wood, Tom Dixon inspired drop lights, and suspended bulbs...

And another option with the flooring and walls...
And here was the Layout...
I was already excited with the execution of the design, but after some thoughts the partners decided to skip with the "Milk Tea" and go straight with "Burgers + Bar + Beer". So I have to revise everything again (STRESS- was already done with the elevations, rcp, and shop drawings, but ohwell :)

and this is what we have agreed upon to :)
Some items were retained, but the furniture went from Modern to Masculine. Also the ambiance got a little rustic and old-feel. While the suspended light accents MUST stay :)
Then Option 2 without the divider between the bar and booth seat :)
I'm already excited (and scared) at the same time with the outcome of this project :) We would be expecting that the Opening would be before Valentine's Day :) But after meeting with the contractors and clients again, we have to expect some changes... cost-wise. But anyway, I hope its nothing major, and I hope it would still look great with the revisions of materials and some layouts they were suggesting. But as always, whatever the client says, stays. And our role as designers is to help clients get what they want, not ours (unless given the opportunity, why not :)

but for now, i have to enjoy the Holiday and will keep you posted :)

Happy New Year Everyone :)

Can I Reproduce Images From Crystal Bridges Museum?

Dear Rich: I live near Crystal Bridges, America's newest art museum. Crystal Bridges is the brain child of Wal-Mart Heiress, Alice Walton and is a billion dollar museum. We here in Northwest Arkansas are so excited to have access, free access in fact, since the museum has been given an endowment by Wal-Mart that will allow the non profit museum to be forever free to the public, to see great American art from colonial times to the present. Many of these artworks are early works (pre 1923) and are part of the public domain. I have a new website I’m developing for public domain images. Crystal Bridges allows photographs to be taken of the art as long as a tripod or flash is not used. However, their photography policy states that photos of the art are only to be used for personal use. I take this to mean that they can not be used on my site which shares images with the whole wide web world. Am I correct in my assumption that they don’t have the right to restrict the use of my photographs of their public domain artworks? I am not trying to claim copyright of the photographs, since they will be merely reproductions of public domain works. Whether you can reproduce imagery that's in the public domain really depends on one thing: Did you enter into an agreement with the museum not to reproduce the images? You're probably thinking, "I didn't enter into any agreements with Crystal Bridges." But obtaining an admission ticket, if the ticket contains certain terms and conditions, may qualify as the type of agreement we're talking about. This may seem incredibly creepy -- to condition admission into the museum based on your promise not to reproduce public domain imagery -- but it's not uncommon in the copyright world and these so-called licenses are generally enforceable. Here's what public domain expert Steve Fishman has to say about the practice in his excellent public domain guide.
Many copyright experts believe that licensesimposing copyright-like restriction on howthe public may use public domain materialsshould be legally unenforceable. This isbecausethe federal copyright law preempts(overrides) state contract law and preventspeople from using contracts to create theirown private copyrights. Moreover, thereare sound policy reasons for holding suchlicenserestrictions unenforceable—theirwidespread use diminishes the public’saccessto the public domain.However, almost all courts have ignoredthe experts and enforced these licenses. 
What's a valid license? To have a valid license, you and the museum must assent to the terms and conditions, typically at the time when you enter. If the admission ticket contains no restrictive provisions and you never assented knowingly to such conditions, there probably is no license in place. For example, it's unlikely that an after-the-fact assertion of rights -- a sign on the way out of the museum that tells you that you cannot reproduce the imagery --  is legally enforceable as a contractual license.
What about the Crystal Bridges website? Each page of images at the Crystal Bridges website contains the statement:
Works of art in Crystal Bridges' collection are protected by copyright and may not be used without permission. For more information visit Rights and Reproductions. 
That sounds foreboding but we're not sure that statement creates a binding license. It reminds us more of a tip jar, left in view in the hopes that its presence will trigger a hoped-for result. The museum would have a much stronger argument that its terms and conditions are binding if the user had to assent to these terms and conditions -- that is, click a "Yes, I Agree" button to access the works. The fact that the site includes "copyrighted" photographs of public domain artworks also doesn't affect your ability to copy and reproduce that artwork. Courts have held that "slavish copying" of public domain works does not make the photographs protectible under copyright law. Although we're not a betting blog, if we had to bet, we'd place our money on the fact that currently public domain images at the site can be copied and reproduced without permission.
One last thing. Just because a painting was created before 1923 doesn't mean it's in the public domain. It must have been published before 1923. You may be surprised to learn that displaying a painting in a museum, for example, does not amount to publication. Publication (scroll down) refers to reproduction of the image, for example in a magazine, post card, or book.  To learn more about these tricky public domain rules, check out Fishman's tome.
One other last thing. We're not encouraging you to get chased by the museum and we appreciate the fact that great art is being made available to the masses at no charge. But is it really free? The driving force behind these efforts to restrict reproduction is a desire to jack up gift shop sales and generate licensing revenue. We hope the museum rethinks its desire to reclaim and restrict rights to artwork that our government has designated to be freely available to the public.

Can I Use Artwork Created from Coloring Books?

Dear Rich: My daughter, who has Down syndrome, loves to color design coloring books such as Ruth Heller's Designs for Coloring. She has a good eye for color and puts hours into each picture. She would like to submit her work to a book compiled by Woodbine Publishers about Down syndrome artists. Is she allowed to? We think you should try to get permission first. Assuming you can get in touch with the copyright owners, we believe they are likely to grant permission. We think that because the reproduction won't harm their sales, it's the right thing to do, and it's good public relations. If you can't get permission, we think you can probably get away reproducing the imagery without permission (though we can't guarantee that result).
How do you get permission? The copyright is likely held by the Ruth Heller Trust Fund but we think the place to start your request is with Grosset and Dunlap/Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, the publisher. They have an online permission system and a set of FAQs explaining the process and their online database indicates they control about a dozen Ruth Heller books. If the coloring book you are using is not covered, perhaps G&P can lead you to the proper source or to the trust.
Can you use it without permission? We think including one or two images (with proper attribution) would probably not trigger a cease and desist letter. Although the copyright pages of the coloring books don't specifically grant permission for uses like yours, a coloring book is an implied invitation to create a derivative work. It can also probably be argued that the sale of a coloring book implies a limited right to post and reproduce the resulting "colored-in" works. And for what it's worth, the company has not objected to the posting of colored-in versions of their imagery at Amazon. Again, we can't guarantee that the copyright owner won't object to your use, but it's difficult to imagine that they would.

Jeremy Schonfeld – Iron & Coal

Jeremy Schonfeld –Iron & Coal
2011, Jeremy Schonfeld Music
Growing up in a family of Holocaust survivors, JeremySchonfeld has a different perspective on life than many Gen-Xers.  His understanding of the world around him isshaped by the tales of suffering of an entire generation of European Jews atthe hands of Nazi Germany.  This darknesshas occasionally entered into his songwriting over the years, but Schonfeld hasshown a remarkably bright side as well. His musical Drift (writtenwith Craig Pospisil) had a two-year run at the New York Musical Theater Festival.  He is also a founding composter and lyricistsfor A-Train Musicals.  Schonfeld’sperformance style is enigmatic and powerful, as audiences at such venerated NewYork venues as Joe’s Pub, Birdland, B.B. King’s, CBGB’s and Lincoln Center havecome to know.  Schonfeld’s must recentwork, Iron & Coal, is his mostpersonal to date, however.  It is arecast of his father’s memoirs of Auschwitz; a highly personal and powerfulstory born of his father’s experiences, his own emotions, and that fine linebetween fact and art that breeds the best of stories.
Schonfeld himself is an enigma.  If Gordon Lightfoot had gone into musicaltheater instead of folk/rock they’d sound quite similar.  Whatever imperfection you might perceive in Schonfeld’svoice become a part of his larger persona, i.e. Randy Newman or Bob Dylan.  The theatrical flair in his songwriting isalso never far from the surface. Schonfeld knows how to create moments in song.  Opening with “I Gotta Song”, Schonfeld offersup an exultant and beautiful prayer of thanksgiving for “borrowed time”.  The song is in movements like a classicalpiece, but is a folk/pop/Broadway blend than runs nine minutes without everfeeling tired.  “Story Of Love” is aninspired tune that thrums with Schonfeld’s persona.  This is a true performer’s moment that makesyou wish you could take in the song from the third row of a concert hall withthe lights low and just Schonfeld and a piano on stage.  “The Mourner’s Kaddish” opens in Hebrew butturns into story-song full of the oft-complicated love of a song for hisfather.    Love and the drive todifferentiate are at war here, but it’s not the sort of battle that does harmto anyone other, perhaps, than the one writing it.  It’s a powerful tune that will cut deep forthe male listeners in the audience.
“Dead Beat Heart” finds Schonfeld moving more into a 1980’srock sound.  Big guitars and even biggermelody are built around a mellow groove for a very enjoyable listeningexperience.  “Good Stuff” is a rock androll party song, pure and simple.  Verycatchy and danceable, this one is likely to become a guilty pleasure for fansof Kim Mitchell of Cheap Trick.  “SaveMe” is an angry and argumentative number that asks for succor but seems tofight it with every note and every word. Schonfeld uses the percussion here to give the song a deeply unsettledfeel – a theatrical contrivance that’s quite effective.  “Yedid Netesh – Good Man” fades quickly intothe glam, funk and soul of “Bad Man”. While the song itself is catchy and entertaining, Schonfeld’s backupsingers provide the perfect counterpoint that makes the song fly.
Schonfeld is emotionally lost on “Piece Of Me”, a solidpiece of pop/rock songwriting that is sonically pleasing: a high quality albumtrack that holds its place by advancing the story and very quietly holding moreof your attention than you might at first expect.  “Nothing Really Matters – Stop, Stop” begins asa musical soliloquy and turns into a frenetic rockers.  This one will get stuck in your head with itsmanic feel.  “If Ever” opens with anintriguing pizzicato string arrangement and turns into one of the bestnon-traditional ballads to come out of 2011. Don’t be surprised if this song gets covered many times over down theroad.  “Time”, the penultimate track onthe album, advances the story, but feels like its simply holding place.  This isn’t inappropriate in the story line,but it is something of a pause musically that’s simultaneously distracting andpossibly necessary to the story line. Schonfeld brings down the curtain with “Yet”, a song of self-convictionabout moving forward and remember that things will somehow be okay.  It’s a quietly powerful moment that exploresthe resilience of human heart in the wake of inescapable tragedy, wrapped up ina stunning arrangement that’s perfect for the Broadway stage, but easilytransmutable to the pop/rock/folk world.
Jeremy Schonfeld lives on the edge of death for much of Iron & Coal, but like hisprotagonist he truly lives.  The factthat the lines at times become blurred between protagonist and story-telleronly makes the story more powerful. Schonfeld’s compositions are golden – everything flows as if time itselfwere the driver.  You could easilyimagine this cycle being reworked into a show, although it perhaps flows bestas it is.  A successful musicalpresentation would force too many changes, but as a single work of art, Iron & Coal is a thing of beauty.
Rating: 4.5 Stars(Out of 5)
Learn more about or

Making Merchandise from Video Game Characters

Dear Rich: For a while I have been making digital merchandise based off of famous movie and video game characters. At first I wasn't really making any money off of them. I know now that not making a profit doesn't change anything as far as trademark violations, but I thought it did before, so I stopped selling the merchandise a while ago because I had started making real money and didn't want to make money off of other people's creations without their permission. But now, after so many months, I find myself still wanting to make and sell that merchandise, and other people are asking me to as well. Its a bit frustrating, because I see other people creating things based off of trademarked characters, both in my market and in other markets on the internet. Like all of the Star Trek merchandise you see on Etsy. What's the likelihood of a small one-person business like me getting permission to create merchandise like this? If it's possible, how do I do it?  The likelihood of getting permission is very slim. Owners of video game characters usually only deal with established merchandisers (with serious sales voodoo). Also, they often enter into exclusive licenses. That means they can't grant permission to you without violating their license with someone else. It's possible that if you were offering a new product category, you might have a chance. But that's tough to pull off. (PS. Here's the lowdown on trademark licensing.)
How do other people get away with it? It's a matter of odds. The owners of valuable character properties usually put their resources into pursuing the bigger fish, and for the most part, that often bypasses individual sales at Etsy or eBay. So, unless the trademark owner is intending to make an example of a small fry infringer, a cease and desist letter may be sent, and that's sometimes the end of it.
What should you do? We wish it wasn't frustrating to get permission. Like, wouldn't it be great if you could pay "per impression" for reproductions of licensed characters.  Of course, that may blow any standards of quality ... but hey, merchandise happens. Anyway, infringement is always a gamble and we'll leave the risk assessment to you.

Snafu Caused Loss of Domain Name: Now What?

Dear Rich: I had a URL (domain name), connected to a network of 3 sites. Due to an email account error, the registration was lost. The day it went public and I found out it got bought. I have been running the domain name for a mortgage network and I've owned this site since 2004. I noticed the place-holder page put up for the domain is for a company that is in the Cayman Islands so I am sure it is a crook who bought it for cybersquatting or to steal it. I have sent the company a letter saying they must release it or they will get a cease and desist and I will file with ICANN. What are my rights, what can I do? We're sorry to hear about your domain name loss. Apparently there are companies out there who wait for domain names to expire and then snap them up. Sometimes, the purchase is made in order to sell it back to the previous owner (who is often unaware that the domain has even expired). Sometimes, it's purchased because the new buyer believes that the domain still has some SEO value and so, it can be sold to a third party who can milk it for a few percentage points in Google Analytics.
Is it cybersquatting? Cybersquatting is when someone buys and sells a domain name with the bad faith intent to profit from another company's trademark. (We explain it in more detail, here.) For example, it would likely be cybersquatting if (1) the company set up a site that diverted your customers, (2) the company, in advertising the domain name for sale, mentioned that the potential buyer could trade off your previous traffic, or (3) the company set up a page with Google Ads listing you and your competitors. If the company contacted you, unsolicited, after buying the domain and offered to sell it back to you at a much higher price, that would likely be cybersquatting, too. It would not be cybersquatting if the company set up a non-competitive site for another company or if the company did nothing but set up a  blank page. That's because there's no proof of bad faith intent. After all, it's not illegal to simply buy and sell domain names (without bad faith).
Should you proceed to ICANN? You are unlikely to get the domain name back by sending threatening letters. Most domain name dealers are not cowed by legal letters. They know you can only get the domain name back by (1) filing a federal cybersquatting lawsuit (probably way too expensive for you), or (2) by seeking domain name arbitration at ICANN. If you go the ICANN route, your filing expenses are, at minimum, $1500. It takes six months, requires a considerable amount of paperwork and documentation and may cost more if lawyers are involved. Remember, it's not enough to say that the company bought your domain name, you need to prove bad faith. And of course, there's no guarantee you'll prevail (although complaining parties prevail in 84% of the cases). Many people don't want the wait or the uncertainty of ICANN so they simply contact the new owners and pay for the domain name -- often forking over a sum between $2,000 and $3,000 because that's how much they would likely end up paying in time and money for an ICANN arbitration.

Can We Use European Poster?

Dear Rich: I am an author in the process of publishing a book about modern day Europe. There is a poster (left) which was issued years ago by the Council of Europe, with a slogan which says "Many Tongues One Voice." We would really like to include this in our book but the publisher says we must first get permission from the Council of Europe since the poster is copyrighted. Could you advise as to the proper procedure to get this done? In case you're not aware, there are many who believe that Satan had a hand in the creation of this poster. We don't know if that contribution rises to co-authorship but we sure wouldn't want to run up against the Evil One in a federal court case.
Right, you had a question. The typical procedure for getting permission would be to contact the apparent owner of rights -- the Council of Europe -- and to ask for permission. Here's their contact information. Although the Council of Europe is a multinational organization --  a bit like the United Nations -- it can retain copyrights. For example, the Council of Europe is listed as copyright claimant for seven U.S. copyrights (although there is no registration for the poster). You can review their U.S. copyrights by searching at the Copyright Office. Click "Search the Catalog" and filter your search by "Name." If you can't get a response for your requests, document your attempts in the event that you decide to claim fair use. As we've indicated before, there are a line of cases that make thumbnail reproductions, whether in books or on the web, more likely to be excused as a fair use, especially when accompanied by commentary or criticism.

Does the VEOH Case Affect My Website?

Dear Rich: We're a web startup (a pre-startup, actually).  Can you explain the effect of the recent VEOH ruling regarding website infringement? Wow, a pre-startup! That sounds hopeful!
The case you're referring to -- UMG Recordings v. Shelter Capital, Partners -- has to do with the level of policing required by a website when users post infringing content. Veoh, a site that permits users to upload video content, was sued by Universal Music, after infringing videos were discovered on the site. Veoh had complied with all requests to remove content and had used software to seek out and identify infringing content, but some infringing music videos still made it on to the site.
DMCA as a shield. Universal argued that Veoh (our source for the kitty video) must have known of the "apparent" infringements and should not be able to use the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (scroll down) as a shield. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals -- the first appeals court to rule on this issue -- held that the burden was on Universal to report the infringements to Veoh, stating,"Copyright holders know precisely what materials they own, and thus are better able to identify infringing copies than service providers likeVeoh." The ruling doesn't shield websites from liability for infringement but it does permit websites to use the DMCA as a shield when the website has anti-infringement policies and has otherwise responded to all requests for takedowns.

Fur Better

Ann Taylor has fluffy and adorable fur pillows ($78; YOU ARE WELCOME.

[photo cred here]

Does Filing For Patent End NDA?

Dear Rich: If company A and company B have both signed a legal nondisclosure agreement (NDA) and then company A applies for a patent on the business plan covered in the NDA, does that make the information public and therefore make the NDA null and void? Information in a patent application becomes public when the USPTO publishes an application 18 months after filing. If the applicant does not plan on filing in foreign countries, the applicant can opt out of the 18-month publication program. If the applicant has opted out, the application will only become public if the application issues (or the applicant changes position on foreign filing). (We've discussed that previously, here.)
What happens after publication. Whenever the information is published, that information can no longer be protected as a trade secret and will not be subject to an NDA. That doesn't necessarily make your NDA "null and void." If other nonpublished information has been included as part of the NDA, that should still be protected. For more on the subject, check out our NDA site.

On the Dot

Let's talk about polka dots. I was never a fan of them as a print on clothing (too ladylike for my taste, I think), although I could see myself falling for them on a silk tie-neck blouse. Otherwise, I think they're far more fun in decor. I love them as an accent, whether they be on a duvet or on a lamp. An entire room of polka dots is tempting (oh so tempting), but probably not doable in real life. What is?

This rug (left, $99 and up; and that lampshade (right, $49; are perfect examples. I love that the rug's dots are off-kilter and not at all uniform. It seems so playful and quirky; I could totally see it on my floor and under the coffee table. The lampshade is special because it's white-on-white polka dots. The texture is so special, and the ripple pattern, genius. What do you think?

[photo cred here and there]

Scotty Alan - Wreck And The Mess

Scotty Alan - Wreck And The Mess
2011, Spinout Records

Scotty Alan lives on the south shoreof Lake Superior in Michigan, in a log cabin he built himself.  Alan lives very much on his own labors,hunting, fishing and farming.  Livingwithin two-and-a-half miles of the house he grew up in, Alan is part of anextended family.  While his ruralexistence didn’t expose him to a lot of music over the years, Alan has beenmaking his own since his early teens. From punk to singer/songwriter, Scotty Alan has always shown a penchantfor understanding and commenting on the world around him through song.  Scotty Alan’s latest effort, Wreck And The Mess, finds Alan treadingthe backwaters of country, Americana and pop.

Wreck And The Mess opens with "Goodbye", a rustic song of partingwith a messy, organic feel. Amidst the violin, slide guitar and perfunctorypercussion, Alan plies an amiable, off-kilter voice that's part Luther Wright,part Roger Waters and part Mike Scott. "Your Hero?” a swaying littlecountry rocker, has a hypnotic appeal and a chorus that will get caught in yournoggin; you'll be singing along by the second time Alan runs through thechorus. "Ain't Much" blends spoken word and sung vocals in anyincredibly catchy number built on a minimalist arrangement with its roots inrockabilly. "Barn Dance" has a plaintive, relentless feel; a sense ofbelonging as palpable as it is ever-present.

"Not Ready To Be"describes a pair of star-crossed lovers in cliché-ridden imagery. In spite ofthis, there's a stubborn authenticity to the song that demands to be heard. On"Do It Alone", Alan takes a comically DIY perspective on his nextgreat love. The song is incredibly catchy and entertaining; the sort that wouldplay well on a movie soundtrack or on the old Dr. Demento Show. "Was ItEver?" looks back on a relationship in sadness, questioning everything andunderstanding little. The emotional impact of the tune is striking, especiallygiven the plaintive, almost rock-a-bye feel to the arrangement. Scotty Alanfinds a mild Pogues vibe on the country-flavored "So Loud". Startingout as a promising love song, "So Loud" descends into an emotionaldestruction that seems inevitable even if the song's narrator never saw itcoming. The song is catchy, with rudimentary pop hooks that snag your attentionand won't let go.

"Dusty Hollow" reflects aseemingly eternal angst born of having better places to go but no motivation toleave a place with little left to offer. The song ends in an almost spokenresolution, but it's not clear whether momentum ever changes in thefatalist-melancholy that pervades. Similarly, "Sinkin' In" wallows ina deepening sorrow over a goodbye that may or may not be final. Alan'sarrangement is sorrowful and dark yet retains a distinctive melodicism in spiteof its plaintive, dirge-like feel. Wreck And The Mess winds down withthe exuberance of "Someone To Fight", driven by a rapid-speak vocalstyle that's entertaining and raw.

Scotty Alan brings a unique andentertaining charisma to Wreck And A Mess, rough around the edges yetpossessing a distinctive, hard-won polish that simply can't be practiced. Itcan be difficult to stay with Alan through some of his more depressing countrynumbers, as the mood that pervades often surpasses melancholy quickly on theway down. Yet when Alan is changing up speeds between his darker and lightmaterial, and using his not inconsiderable wit to highlight the spaces inbetween, the results can be very entertaining. Wreck And A Mess is certainlynot an album you take lightly, for the darkness of mood here is more than justpalpable at times, but Alan has a way of throwing in the occasion backroomanthem with a wink and a nod just to let you know that everything is going tobe alright. Maybe.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Scotty Alan at or 
Please note that the prices listed above are as of the posting date, and may have changed. Wildy's World is not responsible for price changes instituted by

All Wrapped Up

This weekend, I finished up my Christmas shopping. I had a long list this year: my family, of course, my friends, and then the wonderful people who helped me get to the place I am today (which would be: employed). At first, I was a little lost. What should the price point be? Are there any things I shouldn't give?

I'm not a very good gift-giver, but I have one rule when I'm searching for the perfect present: it has to be something that the person will love but wouldn't normally buy him- or herself. Things like Lollia bubble bath, which is beauty-editor approved (not by me, but a seasoned beauty director)(I promise), is just extravagant enough without being excessive. C. Wonder (created by Tory Burch's ex-husband and co-founder of her eponymous clothing line) also has a fantastic selection of affordable yet adorable trinkets. I love these bright enamel boxes and pretty glass plates.

What are your go-to gifts?

[photo cred here and there]

Can We Report Neighbor for Blasting Copyrighted Christmas Music?

Dear Rich: Every year, my neighbor blasts Christmas music (and some non-Christmas music) with a synchronized Christmas light show. As you can imagine he goes overboard and drives most of the neighbors crazy. We've asked him to turn it down (or off), complained to the authorities, and none of it does much good. We're thinking of suing him as a nuisance. One of the neighbors wondered if we could report him for playing copyrighted music without permission. Is that possible? To whom do we report it? That's the Christmas spirit! We can totally relate. We once visited a Dear Rich Staff member in the hospital at Christmas time and somebody down the hall was blasting 'Silent Night' on a toy piano (talk about an oxymoronic choice of material). What is a 'humbug,' anyway?
Right, you had a question. The neighborhood blasting of copyrighted music would likely qualify as a public performance (sidebar on right) under U.S. copyright law. In other words, it falls into the same category as playing music at a ballgame or at a bar, and requires permission. If it is done without permission, it would be considered an unauthorized use of the music -- that is, an infringement. The gatekeepers for almost all of these public performance rights are two organizations, BMI and ASCAP. They grant permissions on behalf of thousands of songwriters. They also enforce rights and sue organizations and individuals who publicly perform music without permission. You could report your neighbor to the appropriate organization although you would need to identify the copyrighted songs from the performing rights organization's repertoire -- for example, BMI has over 7,000 registered songs with the word "Christmas" in the title. The organization could then choose to enforce rights. That's where you might run into a problem. Following the strange flap over the Girl Scouts/Macarena debacle, performing rights societies might be gun-shy about going after a homeowner playing Christmas music in his cul-de-sac. We think you and your neighbors would be better served by handling this in the traditional American way -- small claims court.

I am writing to you today with a mixture of sadness andexcitement.  All good things musteventually find their terminus, and so it is with Wildy’s World.  Wildy’s World has been a labor of love forthe past four years.  With over 2,600 reviewsand closing in on 400,000 distinct visitors, the site managed to carve its ownlittle niche in the Indie Music landscape. Wildy’s World has been a resource for Indie musicians, major labels andeveryone in between.  So it is with somesadness that I announce you today that Wildy’s World will cease publication asof December 31, 2011.

The last few weeks have been inconsistent.  I’ve been sitting with the decision for awhile, wanting to make sure it was the right one.  But at this point in my personal andprofessional life I have so many other priorities that I cannot dedicate thetime to Wildy’s World that it needs to continue to successfully serve the musiccommunity at large.  I’d rather go outwell than feebly.  To that end, there arestill reviews to be published this year, and we will close it all out with ourtraditional year-end countdown of the Top-50 albums reviewed by Wildy’s Worldin the past year.

As many of you know, Wildy’s World was always a hobby; onethat found a place alongside my professional duties in the working world (awayfrom music) and my family.  Because ofWildy’s World I have also been offered opportunities to write commercially,writing the occasional review for pay for various publications and ultimatelywriting artist biographies and project pitches. I have been writing bios for a NYC-based agency on a free-lance basisfor over a year now, and have done a handful of on-demand projects privately aswell.  Going forward I will be focusingmore of my energies in that direction.  Iwill also continue to publish music reviews through BlogCritics, although at amuch less frequent rate than with Wildy’s World (likely 1-2 per week).  I may also look to start something else inthe social/digital atmosphere after I’ve taken a couple of months away frompublishing every day.  We shall just haveto see.

So if you wish to submit material for review on BlogCritics,I suggest you send me streaming or sample files so I can check them out.  If I choose to review, I will, as always, askyou to submit a hard copy for that purpose. But as I am previewing the music, I won’t ask for a hard copy unless Iplan a review.  To that end, the emailaddress, andthe physical address will not change.  Ifyou need the address just drop me a line. If you’re an Indie or established artist whose trying to do DIY, but youneed help with a bio or one sheet or need a one time writing project done,please drop me a line and we’ll see if I can help you out.  If you work in PR or the industry and needsomeone to craft bios, liner notes, pitches or other such projects, get intouch with me and we’ll see how we can help each other out.

It’s been a lot of fun spending almost every day with youover the last four years.  I’d love tokeep it going, but I just don’t have the time or energy to do this the rightway anymore.  I hope to continue to be aprofessional resource for the creators and purveyors of Indie Music.  And you never know, I may get bored and startsomething else up down the line.

In the mean time, if you’ve contributed to Wildy’s World inany way over the last four years, thank you. Whether you’re an artist who has submitted music to be heard, a PR rep,a label rep, a music fan or even the multitude of spam bloggers in Asia andRussia who continue to pepper the blog with spam comments, you’ve all made itinteresting.  I wouldn’t trade theexperience for anything, and I’ve even made a few new friends along theway.  So thank you.  We’re still here for two more weeks, and we’llclose out the year counting down to the best album of 2011, just likealways.  Until then, my friends, be well.