This site is devoted to copyright and issues of 'intellectual property,' particularly the issue's analytical aspects. It also concerns itself with the gap between public perception and the true facts, and with the significant lag time between the coverage on more technical sites and the mainstream press. For site feed, see: To see the list of sites monitored to create this site, see:

Tuesday, November 30, 2004,1283,65651,00.html?tw=rss.TOP,1412,65860,00.html?tw=rss.TOP,1558,1731735,00.asp?kc=ETRSS02129TX1K0000532

Time for bed.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Major studios back HD DVD.

Kazaa trial opens in Australia. Australia is really unbelievably far towards the restrictive end of the IP spectrum.

Along the lines of yesterday's distributed content post, there are Wikis. Not sure news would work so well, as the need to constantly update is high. Maybe if they started with, say, the AP article and allowed people to modify it to correct it, that would work, but IP law almost certainly prevents that.

Grumbling about the FCC's P2P workshop.

Heritage Foundation authors comment on P2P and traditional morality.

P2P aggregator client. And here.

Infringers! The whole lot of 'em.

FLAC's been around for awhile, but with increasing bandwidth perhaps it will start to become sonomymous with 'evil' the way MP3 has among the un-techno-literate.

RIAA-authorized download search aggregator.

UK recorded music sales.

Paid P2P options gain more traction.

Patent law changes in the latest omnibus bill.


Sunday, November 28, 2004

Ready availability of professional tools

One of the most dramatic shifts of the Internet age is towards production of valuable resources by amateurs. It has happened to some extent in almost every field, but some have benefitted more than others. Fields like telescope making, where amateurs have made substantial contributions for a century or more, have seen the most dramatic effect, with resources like the ATM List (of which I was an early, if inexperienced, member) allowing rapid communication between the pioneers of the community and from the groundbreakers to the early adopters. Inventions such as the Dobsonian concept (although not an Internet-mediated invention, its dissemination was certainly accelerated by the Internet) and Mel Bartel's splendid tracking systems made it into commercial designs at every level from inexpensive to astronomically pricey. The Open Source software movement is, of course, another example, with the Internet itself relying on core technologies developed in an open manner, and Linux running some of the largest computers around. What's the point of all this? Certainly not that the traditional IP creators will be gone in another decade. They have plenty to contribute in many areas. However, just as the most important images of the recent war were produced by amateurs with simple equipment, the thousand-eyeballs technique can certainly produce dramatic results.
Until we have sufficient free alternatives for the best commercial software today, we will be constrained to allowing piracy at an individual level or to simply writing off a good bit of our economy's productive potential. Much of the work I do in various fields would be near-impossible were I not a student. JMP statistical analysis software costs $995. Much of the Adobe suite is around $500 per piece of software. Music composition software like Finale is less expensive, probably because it is a field which acknowledges the market for amateur work. So what is the problem with requiring someone to spend these sums to produce their valuable product? A major problem is that the value mostly accrues to society, not to the producer. IP law does not create incentives to create for free products. Another major issue is the upfront cost: even if I were willing to pay full price for JMP now, given how valuable it was to me in writing two mini-papers, had I been required to pay $1K at the start, I would not have been willing to do so just to explore the possibility.
So what's the solution? Software companies could distribute low-cost or free software as long as it was not used for commercial purposes. If this proves too vague, a central commons site could be set up where users of the software would be required to contribute at least one item per piece of software per year, an item that the community vetted as valuable enough to deserve the software. The commons community could be given a certain number of credits to distribute, and at the end of the year, those whose contributions were deemed valuable could choose who got free licences next year. There could even be an arrangement to require repayment for the year's license fee at a discount if the individual didn't receive a credit.
N.B. This is most useful for a particular kind of program, those few well-designed pieces of software that seem perfectly-suited to their role and fill a niche, with a minimum of frills. This is most common in science and academic fields, but graphics design and CAD fields also have some nice applications in this mold.



Doesn't really have much to do with IP, but I've been innundated with SPAM recently, and it's on my mind. N.B. this idea would never work; it relies on thoughtful self-interest on the part of spammers, which is unlikely. If even a small percentage of all spammers didn't do so, then spam would increase, not decrease. At any rate, the idea is you create a national registry of e-mail addresses, where every spammer can go to find people to spam. Then, when the spam is sent, if someone buys or even clicks on it, the spammer registers this in the directory. After a good number of spams (let's say anywhere from 15-50, people get the picture that this person is in no way going to buy anything from spam, and leave him/her alone. A few other problems with the idea include that spammers have no incentive to publicize a successful hit--it will only invite their competition to saturate the client, and that from their perspective it makes it less likely for someone to click on their link, since they know if they do the word will get passed on. But it was a nice thought.

Friday, November 26, 2004

UK Album sales up. Must be the lawsuits.

Better stop this new technology before it induces infringement.

TV Piracy gains ground. But I thought the Broadcast Flag was needed to prevent all this?

DVD Jon strikes again. He's brought DVDs and WMV files to Linux and un-DRMed Apple's FairPlay. What's next?


Thursday, November 25, 2004

BitTorrent, Simplified.

Enlightened IP policy...from Microsoft?! "Our goal is not to prosecute the individual, our goal is to get to the source."

Historical analysis of the music labels move from anti-P2P (most of their history) to the general avoidance of too much of a knee-jerk reaction whenever the word is mentioned these days.


Wednesday, November 24, 2004



SNIU. Peer Impact signs 3 labels. Seems like an attempt by Peer Impact to take advantage of the P2P hype, and like an attempt by RIAA execs as an attempt to buy into the latest craze a few years too late.


IICA defeated for now; PDEA not, as best I've read.


UK looks to market forces. FCC still stuck back two decades ago.

MPAA has to follow the rules like everyone else.

Wired does Powell.

Somewhat flexible DRM...for the copyright owner.

IP Czar created. There's the War on Drugs, the War on Cancer, the War on Terror, and now I guess the War on Customers?

Please don't download me, loyal fans, because you'll affect our ratings! Please don't release shows months apart in different parts of the world, producers.

Internet Archive admissible as evidence. Big news. Now if only someone would decide if it's legal or not.


Tuesday, November 23, 2004

UMe Digital, first all-digital label from a major company, debuts.

US continues WIPO push, despite setback.

Senate passes CREATE.


Some OS bigwigs unite against software patents. Not that they were ever divided to begin with....

AOL shuts down Nullsoft. Home of Gnutella, WinAmp, Waste, and lots of other revolutionary programs.

US proposal seems to be loosing ground at WIPO summit.


Wired on the new bill. Good things here, or at least not bad ones.

MS and Time Warner to make anti-piracy software. So let's see, it'll either crash or be fuzzy all the time.

Maybe if enough frivolous, INDUCE-like lawsuits target Wall Street's darling company the message will start to sink in?

Kazaa adds some more SNIU.

The uber-productive Clarke comes up with some nice SNIU.

Commentary on
a spectacular article in the FT.


Monday, November 22, 2004

Whither, freedom? It's hard to argue these days that the anti-P2P battle isn't harming free speech. on the first real legislative setback the MPAA/RIAA have seen in awhile.

BSA's 'education' campaign takes off.


Pretty good commentary, given that it comes from the Crimson....


Wentworth being less analytical then usual, but no less interesting.

Labels experiment with digital-only acts.


Sunday, November 21, 2004

The NyTimes finally summarizes, however briefly, the economic arguments over filesharing affecting downloads. Never mind that they cite that crappy NBER study.


Saturday, November 20, 2004

Decent article on the interaction between IP law and the glut of information on the 'Net.

Yet another private network app.

More on the WIPO negotiations.


Friday, November 19, 2004

Rant, but a sort-of well-reasoned one.


More on the vending machines and interoperability.

Let's apply Occam's Razor here. Which is more likely, that online downloads have gone exponential, or that a few hundred more lawsuits tripled online sales?

The other IP war. And other news from the WIPO summit.

More news from the left coast.

MPAA seems to think they're a University now.

Creative launches ad campaign.

McCain for president.

Tor subverts traffic analysis.

Free music.


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

TiVo continues its transformation from consumer-driven to ad-driven model.

CEA expresses concern over copyright legislation.

Video of Felten's lecture. Might be interesting; I haven't watched it yet.

Letter to Congress about lame-duck IP legislation.


Tuesday, November 16, 2004

SCARY ALERT: New bill moving through Congress at full lobbying speed.

SCARY ALERT Number Two: All your computer are belong to us.

College social networking ventures into P2P. Peer to peer indeed.

Let the lawsuits begin.

MS to promote GarageBand.

Creative companies again battle innovation. It's sad to see a company that was founded on the premise of rights for content creators over the rights of content aggregators sue its most valuable customers.

Yet another government investigates music royalty corruption. Who's the pirate now?

The King of the Pirates.

Nice Felten comment on Gladwell's excellent article on plagiarism v copyright.

More on Shawn Fanning's latest post-Napster venture.

Good v bad DRM.


Monday, November 15, 2004

Grokster launches P2P radio. Vaguely SNIUish.

Digital music kiosks.

Empirical evidence for the Fader postulate....

The Economist weighs in on the sorry state of patents worldwide.

SNIU for reverse engineering. Another example of what them bad laws coming out of Congress would ban.

And a legitimate business function potentially inhibited by the now-defeated INDUCE.


DRM does occasionally work. Too bad for customers.



Sunday, November 14, 2004

Reinterpreting Rob/Waldfogel.

More legal P2P ideas on the way.


SNIU? a la iTunes sharing.

Social networking.

The House passes another whopper.


Nielsen adopts the PVR.

Time-out DVDs make another go, despite being unsuccessful previously.

NYT whines about IP theivery.


Saturday, November 13, 2004

TiVo silently cripples its product.

Microsoft might find itself wary of supporting knee-jerk IP infraction punishments if a few more incidents like this pop up.


Wednesday, November 10, 2004

New study from two Penn profs on Penn undergrads. Now how come they didn't ask me?


Student activism anti-INDUCE.

In praise of the PA court decision.

Microsoft indemnifies against IP suits.

Anti-RIAA criticism.


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Register rambles on why the MPAA will not go the way of the RIAA.

Online non-infringing video download service hits the U.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.


EFF on SNIU and Grokster.

BitTorrent and P2P. Nice analysis.

SNIU along the lines of MIT's model. It's unfortunate that this kind of 'legal engineering' has become necessary.

TiVo permalinks. First decent marriage of TV and web I've seen.


Monday, November 08, 2004


The Economist on the proximate causes of the decline in CD sales. Hint: It's not necessarily downloading.


Confusing copyright law hinders public domain.

More BitTorrent SNIU.

Another for-pay download service debuts. My favorite part is their decision to justify using Microsoft DRM as opposed to Apple DRM: "When you buy a DVD you wouldn’t expect the retailer to dictate what player you played it on would you?" So why have DRM at all?


Sunday, November 07, 2004

The dangers of adopting standards which are 'owned'.

This link claims the CacheLogic study shows the failure of RIAA lawsuits to dissuade filesharing. I'm not seeing it in any of the media's description of the study, and can't find the study itself, so I can't be sure.


Bush has been reelected. Now the Ashcroft cruxade will continue.

Copyright Education Act poses new threats.

Also floating out there but I can't find a link for, it appears the IICA (née INDUCE) is dead.


Artists don't so much like taking 6 cents when the label gets 69 per track.

MPAA is suing. Let's see...profits up, ticket sales up...let's sue our customers!

More abuse of the IP regime

Back catalogs and online stores.


Friday, November 05, 2004

Remixing. SNIU?


Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Nice batch of articles:




Seemingly rigorous model of copyright and innovation. Haven't looked at it yet, but should be fun.

HBO kills Fair Use

Do unto others...


Damn the lawsuits! Full speed ahead.

When P2P is illegal, only criminals will have P2P.

Dept. of Homeland Security enforces expired patent. The first casualty in Ashcroft's war on IP.

Internet TV still at fringes as major players move their lumbering apparati into position.

TiVo promises to serve customers worse.

Video iPod could be illegal. Seems kind of silly given that others have similar products out, but whatever. More likely is that Apple is using the iPod Photo to fine-tune the concept of a display-based iPod without messing up a good thing.

RIAA sales up; latest attempt to force upgrading music collection down.


Monday, November 01, 2004

WalMart wants $10 CDs. In a world where good movies are 3 for $20 from Best Buy, in a world where production costs are dropping, in a world where distribution costs are near-zero, why should CDs cost more than movies?
(This one's old, and I may have posted it before...)


Call for boycott of firms advertising on P2P sites.

Overuse of click-through agreements--another example of a silly technology law.

Courts order better protection for John & Jane (Doe).

Larry and Hilary?!

Universities are interested in practical applications more then ever. How does this affect basic science, literature, etc.?

Is Sony finally figuring out that alienating their consumers doesn't work? 1 2
TiVo hasn't.