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:

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Apple hits another content market. All launched by that paragon of substantial, noninfringing use, the iPod.

Nice interview with the Nicholas Reville.

More on a recent topic: how DRM can sustain monopolies outside of the traditional RIAA/MPAA oligopoly. Microsoft is now bragging about this.

Wentworth on reformalizing copyright.


Friday, August 27, 2004

Someone claiming to be one of the 5 hub operators whose homes were raided speaks out. If his/her statements are true, particularly those regarding their frequently discouragement of users from sharing copyrighted works, then their case is much different from what is being portrayed in the media. Furthermore, media reports have not indicated clearly so far that the hubs themselves were raided, not the users sharing files on those hubs. This is a critical distinction, particularly in light of MGM v Grokster, which essentially legitimizes running a hub with the possibility of substantial, non-infringing use.

INDUCE gains speed in Congress.

WSU students can download software for 'free.' Part of a general move towards including everything students would normally pirate in their student fees. This model has been proposed for places outside college campuses in the form of compulsory licensing.

Another chink in the CSS armour
...which started out pretty weak to begin with.


Thursday, August 26, 2004

French lawsuit over DRMed CDs.

Apple rejects MS DRM appeal. Looks like violating the DMCA's the only way to go now.


After attempted abuse of court system, it turns out that Guthrie's song was in public domain all along.

DC network users raided (well, five of them, out of the thousands). Significant not for the numbers, but for the fact that the Justice Dept. is finally getting involved. And for the ignorance of technology issues inherent in much mainstream reporting. For instance, Direct Connect is not a Web-based technology.
The RIAA has gone on the offensive again after the recent MGM v Grokster ruling. Expected cost of file-sharing still ~$0.03.

Many, brilliant postings by Judge Posner. And commentary.

Free music.

Expensive music.

Don't Induce Act just one of many INDUCE alternatives proposed recently by major players.

MPAA sues DVD-chip makers in attempt to not allow you to skip their previews. While we're griping about the overly-restrictive schemes imposed on DVD-owners via these contracts, perhaps we should mention the pain imposed upon foreign-language teachers everywhere when they buy DVDs overseas and cannot show them to their classes, or the horror that is buying the Mission Impossible DVD, only to find quality issues and compression artifacts that make a 1-CD DivX look pristine.
In related news, the EC looks into DRM as a weapon of monopolies, even as Microsoft quietly rolls out its digital music store.
How, exactly, do they intend to stave off customers' ability to skip previews, anyway, when Linux-based players are creeping into the market? As an aside, Gentoo automatically installs DVD support when you 'emerge mplayer.' In essence, it breaks the law for you so you don't have to in order to play DVDs on Linux.

Substantial, noninfringing use in politics. Substantial, noninfringing use in literature.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

UK music downloads up. "But contrary to past dire warnings of a P2P-driven market collapse, physical singles and album sales grew in value between Q2 2003 and Q2 2004."

RIAA lawsuits against individuals seem to be netting results. Expected value of file-sharing still $0.03 or so. It's interesting that the fines are so low ($11K is cited as a large one), since defendants were settling in the very beginning for ca. $3000.

Eight hours pass before NBC shows major news on prime-time. Old paradigm meets new.

Ruckus MIT-developed network expands to NIU. This seems very much like it exploits the very Fair Use rights the RIAA opposes: "Ruckus is “tethered” so students can still download music and movies without officially owning, buying or burning downloads, said Marone. "

Justice Department official skeptical about Pirate Act.

First new P2P software released after Morpheus/Grokster decision.

Boston Globe editorial on change in the music industry.

Bandwidth headaches over XP SP2 release. Too bad MS didn't allow SP2 to be distributed over the BitTorrent network, which would have nicely solved the problem.

Successful band derides traditional record company business model. RIAA's tactics come back to haunt them--"Record companies, schmecord companies – who needs ‘em? That’s not where the money is. The business is with the real customers – the fans." From a band's perspective, the record companies are not where the real money is, since they keep almost all the profits from an album.


Monday, August 23, 2004

Judge Posner points out the Aimster case as a prior example of a trial based on substantial, noninfringing use.

The politics of INDUCE.

MPAA's sponsored research is junk data.


Sunday, August 22, 2004

RIAA abuses legal system. Nothing new here. Move along.

TV on your cell phone.

Another iTMS DRMed feature cracked.

9th circuit court decision will probably not fastrack the INDUCE Act.

Substantial noninfringing use.

This one's been mentioned before, but more substantial noninfringing use.


Friday, August 20, 2004

Ninth Circuit Court rules in favor of innovation...err...Grokster

MGM v Grokster has been decided. Lessig thinks it will go to the Supreme Court. News and analysis here and here and here and here. Ernest Miller supposedly has some great commentary, but couldn't be reached at the time of this post.

Virgin Radio uses Napster chart.

iTMS coming to Australia?

Publishing industry prepares for Napsterization.

Eolas patents seen as frivolous by court.

Two FCC's?


Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Music industry heads into cell-phone ringtones directly.

Another typical example of poor use of data: more than 50% drop in copyright citations in the dorms at UC Davis, which must mean that there is 50% less downloading, surely. Here's one statistic you might bet on: the likelihood of there being only 94 students downloading in a school with 19,000 undergradutes is 0%.

Lucas once again shows that he produced nothing of value after the 1980's, and copyright law allows him to try to toss a great cultural work into the dustbin of history in its original form. Fortunlately, Kazaa et. al allow for substantial, infringing use.

Substantial noninfringing use--a new economic system?

Substantial noninfringing use.

Digital radio hampered by short-sightedness of RIAA.

Lessig on the Losers' Paradox.

Canada becomes worry for MPAA.

Sliver of sanity in INDUCE saga?

Wentworth on the perils of pay-for-use.


Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Bunches of SNIUs

Substantial, non-infringing use.


Censorship-resistant P2P network paper
BBC reports on censorship circumvention via P2PPublius
Leaked military secrets

Real is aiming to be profitable--excluding litigation expenses of course. Record companies also benefit greatly from Real's sales, as royalties paid are fixed per track. Part of the Industry's pattern of squeezing the middleman.

Substantial, non-infringing use on the Internet2.

More substantial, non-infringing use.

NYTimes bashes INDUCE.


Monday, August 16, 2004

A while back, I posted a link to "The Living Room Candidate," a collection of clips of presidential ads throughout history. The ever-insightful Ernest Miller commented that you cannot download those ads. "Why not? 'Some of the permission obtained to exhibit this material was contingent on the Museum's assurance that the material would not be downloadable, and would not be edited.' This despite the fact that 'Most of the commercials were obtained from various presidential libraries, and are in the public domain' or that US taxpayer dollars paid for at least a portion of the commercials.
See, "

Thanks for pointing that out and sorry it took me so long to notice the comment. It is certainly a disappointment that material so public in nature is not available in every form possible. And why? One explanation is that the Museum decided that fewer people would actually visit in person were the material available for download, even though more people would be exposed to the material they are charged with disseminating. Another is that the campaigns which contributed material wanted to make sure that the material was not used to combat their campaign--a vain hope, since the quality of Internet downloads is still low, and since the recent material for which this would be an issue is freely available to anyone with a VCR and a TV set. Which brings up a key point about Copyright law. Like all good economic policies, the purpose of the law should be to align the best interests of the individual (within the framework established by the law) with those of society (for whom the law is effectively irrelevant...only the result matters). Current Copyright law fails on that account, and this is certainly an example of that. The recent CBO study neglected this also, excusing it as outside the realm of economics. I heartily disagree. The true economics of society are not particularly well-measured in GDP. Certainly this example proves that true--if viewing the movies at the Museum is an economic activity, why shouldn't viewing them in the privacy of your home over the Internet, or repeatedly once you have saved them to your hard drive be an economic activity. If it contributes value to society in one context, it must do so in another.


Fader, Peter wrote:
> It would be a damn shame if the Way Back Machine were stifled. It’s a valuable research resource besides being a lot of fun.

I agree. The Way Back Machine is amazing--and an incredible resource for a society that has relied on paper records to document history for so long. I had a conversation with my girlfriend Tara yesterday about how bad the DMCA was. I had called it one of the stupidest laws on the books, and she pointed to anti-miscegeny or anti-homosexual or similar type of laws as being worse. And certainly those are terrible laws. But they're easy to point to as examples because the victims are clear. With laws like the DMCA, the cost is in freedom of speech, in loss of our cultural heritage and history, in loss of freedom in general--so it's good to see examples of the pain experienced before it's too late, examples like political criticism silenced through copyright law, like the Internet Archive being worried about shutting down, like engineering students and tinkerers everywhere being forced to think about legal consequences before inventing the next great thing that will drive the world economy on the back of American inventiveness. So I'm glad that the Internet is the great place that it is, that there are still dark corners in which people who are targeted by the Copyright Inquisition can do their work, and most of all I'm proud when the Gallileos of our time do not mutter silently under their breath but instead shout proudly "It is true!" and I'm goddamn proud to live in a country that still rewards them for it. Will your daughter live in such a country when she is my age, Dr. Fader? That I do not know. I can only hope.


Hollywood afraid of Microsoft--meanwhile, the EC postpones investigating DRM as a tool to maintain Microsoft's less market-friendly practices.

A less-than-spectacular post on Lessig's blog, but the commentary is interesting in that it is both reasoned and diverse in viewpoint.

Substantial, non-infringing use.

Editorials on the INDUCE Act.


New, ineffective, DRM scheme lauded by Industry for preventing legitimate access and doing nothing to stop organized or Net piracy.


New, ineffective, DRM scheme lauded by Industry for preventing legitimate access and doing nothing to stop organized or Net piracy.


New, ineffective, DRM scheme lauded by Industry for preventing legitimate access and doing nothing to stop organized or Net piracy.


New, ineffective, DRM scheme lauded by Industry for preventing legitimate access and doing nothing to stop organized or Net piracy.


A few choice quotes from this NYTimes article on culture clash between the Industry and some MP3 blogs they asked to post their music:
"Thanks!!" Gotta love the suit using extra exclamation marks in a form letter to seem cool.
And from a WB VP: "'We're really progressive in trying things,' she said." Priceless.
"Mr. Nosnitsky also mocked Warner for sending a rock track to a hip-hop site."

Is using a common plot device plagiarism? It's odd that they use this instead of copyright as a bludgeon--plagiarism has always been a more sane form of IP, in that Fair Use is accepted as long as you cite.

Individually-watermarked software to combat piracy. That's great, and a better solution than resorting to misguided laws, but it can still be cracked (at least in theory: just gather multiple copies of the software with different watermarks and you can figure out exactly where the watermark resides).

Paranoia surfs the high seas: Pirates of the Internet.
"But what's really at stake for the movie industry with all this piracy?
“Ultimately, our absolute future,” says Peter Chernin, who runs 20th Century Fox, one of the biggest studios in Hollywood.
He knows the pirates of the Internet are gaining on him.
“I think it's probably in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions,” says Chernin. “It's only gonna grow. Somebody can put a perfect digital copy up on the Internet. And with the click of a mouse, send out a million copies all over the world, in an instant.” "


Saturday, August 14, 2004

Workarounds for attempts to cordon off Olympic broadcasts by geography.

Substantial, non-infringing use squelched. History repeats itself. Hitler invades Russia in winter.

Famous libertarian on IP.

Substantial, non-infringing use.

Substantial, non-infringing use, new and improved.

Register uses NewSpeak to elucidate government bias in copyright issues.

ALA fights back in schools.

Online publishing model successful.

The Economist on spectrum policy. Since limited spectrum is one of the limiting factors in the crumbling IP régime of yesteryear, this is a key development. It turns radio into something more like the Internet. Where are the snowy screens of yesteryear?


Friday, August 13, 2004

No induced infringement for credit card companies.

Substantial, non-infringing use thwarted.


Thursday, August 12, 2004

A reasonable argument.

The Economist weighs in on the open access debate.

The NY Times reviews movie downloading services.

"When Piracy Becomes Promotion." I call it the IMDB effect: distributed groups of fans know far more than Siskel and Ebert ever did. When Hollywood taps into that knowledge, it makes money.


Mixerman is back. An inside look at recording studio daily life.

The prolific Jon Johansen is at it again, having just cracked Apple's Airport content protection scheme. Johansen, also known as "DVD Jon," became famous for breaking the CSS scheme used to protect DVD's, thus allowing them to be played on Linux and other operating systems which the MPAA refused to support.

Windows XP SP2 interferes with heavy network users, including P2P. Also, Microsoft has objected to people helping them distribute SP2.


On NPR today there was an interview with a music exec who described the payola system currently in place. Apparently it happens mostly with medium-sized radio stations, as for the large ones, their ratings are too valuable. The system works like this: record company contracts a middleman who works with a particular radio station. Record company pays hundreds-of-thousands of dollars per year to such middlemen across the country. Radio stations allow these middlemen to select parts of their playlist for them. Voilà payola.

"Eastern and Southern Illinois universities run popular textbook rental programs that could be replicated on other campuses, though it would involve large up-front costs." A clearcut case of illegal textbook sharing--do they have a specific license allowing them to rent out these books?

Napster offers discounted rate for US soldiers.

Windows SP2 introduces P2P networking to the base windows install. Even the IP behemoth itself agrees that substantial noninfringing use is a reality.

Broadcast continues its market penetration across the world, surely INDUCing infringement.

BSA continues indoctrinating school children.

Open publishing battle continues. This is perhaps one of the most clear-cut cases of the dangers of overly-broad IP law. Public funds pay for the research; public funds pay for the publication in many cases through page fees; private publishers then own the content and restrict access to it.

Whose work is it anyway?

CBO studies copyrights; does a better job than most, but hampers its reach with strictly-economic framework.

Copyright as Orwellian device.

DVD X Copy rises from the ashes.

New filesharing legal framework.

TV, via the Internet. Maybe the TV business should have embraced TiVo a little sooner, as this would give most users the functionality they need to not have to download.

Battle for the TV console.


Wednesday, August 11, 2004

RiP, 321.

File-sharing as competition for monopolistic IP régimes? Microsoft's pricing is falling in developing markets, and I've noticed that movie prices are falling as well.

Nice summary of the perils inherent in the direction things are going: "Technology will be impossible to fully control, but bad laws can make it dangerous to use."

Substantial noninfringing use?

Boucher blogging for IP issues.

WSJ opposes IICA (née INDUCE). The beginning of the end?


Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Roxio becomes music-only middleman, changes name to Napster.

Broadband becomes faster, cheaper, for many users. Economy boosted. RIAA lawyers hard at work.

TiVo becomes cheaper. Economy boosted. MPAA lawyers hard at work.

News roundup.

Substantial, non-infringing use. This is where BitTorrent provides a significant advantage over traditional client-server models. Various Linux distributions have been available over BitTorrent almost since day one (of BT, not Linux, obviously), and it's substantially simpler then selecting a mirror from the endless lists.


Monday, August 09, 2004


I bought eight movies this weekend. Six were 'classics...' Jane Eyre, Heidi, Gulliver, and were $1 each. The others were two for $15, and one of those was a 'classic,' the original Frank Sinatra version of the just-released The Manchurian Candidate. The Sinatra film cost over seven times as much as other films made a decade or two earlier, but $7 is still pretty reasonable. This same weekend that I obtained 8 movies for $21, I went to see the remake of Manchurian with my girlfriend. That cost me $16, and it was also worth it. Some day the MPAA members will wake up and realize it is not selling a product, it is selling a service. That might be the same day that the RIAA realizes that the future money will all be in concert ticket sales.

Substantial noninfringing use.

FCC wants out of copyright?

Amazing technological illiteracy in state AG P2P warning.

The Simpsons and copyright.

JibJab a Guthrie family hit.

Fair Use for FairPlay?

RIAA hits licensing snag.

Newton's works to be available on the web, thanks to copyright expiry.

This just in: overly-agressive IP regimes stifle competition. Disney undeterred. Nor the Olympic committee.

Congress sees the virtues of fair use when it has to foot the bill.


Friday, August 06, 2004

Copyright extension takes its toll in Australia.

UK Government to teach 'good' copyright virtues.

Apple pays protection money.

TiVo decision makes neither the MPAA nor the public happy.

Better legislation, but not likely to be passed.

Free music from indies.

College undecided on protection money to RIAA.


Thursday, August 05, 2004

DRM a hinderance to Linux? Or Linux a hinderance to DRM?
* "While there is a need to protect digital media in all its forms, it's also important that open software be able to participate in this environment," Fink said. "If we fail, we will create an environment in which one company has de facto control over your documents.
* "Open source is going to allow companies to take cost out of the system at an amazing rate," he said. "Companies will not be able to afford to not take advantage of this change."


One step forward, thirteen steps back.

The JibJab parody is emerging as an important test case for Fair Use rights.

FCC says TiVo can share shows. No word on whether they will allow circumventing the broadcast flag to do so.

Substantial noninfringing use.

Microsoft profits from piracy with Portable Media Center. INDUCE?

Predictions of Copyright in eight years.

40 states warn P2P programs. Open source alternatives likely to be developed soon after.

Meanwhile, technologies to prevent tracking are being further developed and released by the US Government. INDUCE?


Wednesday, August 04, 2004

DMCA comes to Australia.

Overly-broad IP grants may take their toll in human lives. And their toll on businesses. And innovators' rights.

Meanwhile, iTunes will rack up more sales due to one of the few areas IP law has not yet reached--Windows/MacOS emulators. And allmusic will be better off until it decides to sue.

Apple un-DRMs its own DRM.

Shutting down competitors via abuse of the legal system now pathetically easy. Actually, it's really abuse of the threat of the legal system, since fear will ensure that most such cases never see the courts.


Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Substantial noninfringing use.

Syndicated business model in decline. Poorly-written legislation surely on the way.

Broadcast flag becoming a more public issue. And a commercial one.

Classic Valenti comments, in memory of his career.

Patent warfare.


Monday, August 02, 2004

Monday link dump,1367,64434,00.html?tw=rss.TOP,1412,64397,00.html?tw=rss.TOP,1284,64402,00.html?tw=rss.TOP,1284,64428,00.html?tw=rss.TOP