New French internet piracy law in effect.

Illegal downloaders will be sent a warning e-mail, then a letter if they continue, and finally must appear before a judge if they offend again.

Artist sues store for selling “defective” art supplies:

Macias, who said in the suit he is known for “vibrant” art, claims the degradation of his pieces has harmed his reputation and that total damages far exceed $75,000.

“(Macias) fears, as time passes, evidence of such damage and deformity will begin to appear in other of his paintings and art,” according to the suit filed Thursday.

One for the Japanophiles. A lovely story about an American man who takes care of a small, dying Japanese town and its inhabitants:

It is one of thousands of withering Japanese villages. Home to more than 100 residents in the 1950s, Tsuchikure has seen its young people move away in search of jobs and never return. After eight years without a death, it had four villagers die this year; three are in the hospital and one-fifth of the houses sit empty.

A review of a biography of the talented Patricia Highsmith
, author of Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Highsmith was all too aware of the demons that fueled her writing. At 26, on New Year’s Eve 1947, she wrote a 2:30 a.m. entry in her journal: “My New Year’s Eve Toast: to all the devils, lusts, passions, greeds, envies, loves, hates, strange desires, enemies ghostly and real, the army of memories, with which I do battle — may they never give me peace.”

Reform movement for English libel laws:

Science journalists and academics are among those who have complained vociferously about the current libel laws in England and Wales, with the case of bestselling science writer and broadcaster Simon Singh becoming a cause célèbre for the libel reform movement.

A 2008 article written by Singh for British newspaper The Guardian included critical observations of the effectiveness of chiropractic and the evidence for the effectiveness of its treatments. A writ from the British Chiropractic Association soon followed, with the BCA alleging that Singh had impugned its reputation.

Italian police uncover stash of stolen fine art in the collection of a defunct dairy company:

Italian courts have ruled that Parmalat founder Calisto Tanzi bore the brunt of responsibility for the 2003 collapse of Parmalat. The daily and juice multinational was brought down by billions of dollars of debt in fraudulent bankruptcy. Many small investors losing life savings were among some 40,000 defrauded bondholders.

Sordid art: not everyone enjoys the work of painter Tracey Emin.

In the modern age, we are surrounded by man-made ugliness. And artists, who used to devote their efforts to idealising the human form, to recording the charms of nature and bringing order and beauty to our sorrows, are no longer interested in those tasks.

Galleries of contemporary art are filled with the debris of modern life, with subhuman figures purposefully designed to demean and desecrate the human image and with ludicrous installations that mean nothing at all.

The young Harry Potter actors: a softball story about their future, with vid. I like these kids.

His co-star Rupert Grint, 21, who plays Ron Weasley, says he has no doubt that Harry Potter will be the “biggest thing” he will be involved with.

“I make the most of it and enjoy it,” he says.