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:

Monday, January 31, 2005

No linking in Germany? U.S. Courts decided years ago that linking was ok, no matter the content, and wisely so. Norway didn't.

More grid computing SNIU.


Execs talk.

Orphaned works comment period.


Clearance culture.

Small labels becoming bigger threat due to tech?


Freeriding not a major threat. Of course not. BitTorrent solved it pretty effectively.

Founders' copyright.


Sunday, January 30, 2005

An NYT article that just scratches the surface of how much better MythTV is than proprietary equivalents.


EFF encourages building PVRs before the broadcast flag kicks off.

Copyright and scholarly communications. Arguing for open access.

SNIU: Distributed computing.


Friday, January 28, 2005

Four book reviews.

I2Hub keeps going.

Please, think of the children.

iTunes DRM interview.

Linking legality. This link might cost me $18, for linking to a news article which linked to his site which linked to songs.

Infringement, surely.

Lessig's happy.

Wired article on Wilco, whose success is due to the Internet.

DRM perils.


Facebook launches grouped P2P service. Brilliant. It's DC++ coupled with a mechanism for automatically vetting friends.

Amusing. The 'second enclosure movement.'


New bill, courtesy of old favorite, Orin Hatch.

SARS genome as IP.

Media consolidation slowed.

Different perspective on music industry. But it's the dream of a hit that keeps people going. Or is it?

Different take on the move towards cell music services.


Thursday, January 27, 2005

German court rules to keep IDs secret.

Substantial Infringing Use.

Viral marketing backfires? Because consumers just might not realize it's a satire. (Here's the first clue...if it's funny, it just might be parody.)

But they're playing without having purchased the broadcast rights!

The 'them'/'us' divide.

Nice VoIP SNIU summary.

Leave it to the IEEE: "File-sharing technology serves as the basis for the Internet and should be unrestricted to produce future revolutionary digital products."

Broadcast flag.

Porn vs. IP.

Truth in advertising.

This just in: laws of economics still hold. Price and quantity sold still inversely related for normal goods.

Update on Grokster briefs.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Is There a Pattern to the Music Industry's File-Sharing Lawsuits?
'The Recording Industry Association of America has subpoenaed 85 colleges seeking the names of suspected song swappers in lawsuits filed over the past year. College administrators wonder whether the choice of campuses reflects careful strategizing or is just a crapshoot.' (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

Sun follows in IBM's footsteps and releases 1,600+ patents for use in open-source projects. Given I can't remember the last time I heard of an OS program paying for patents--the money just isn't there--this seems to be smart business: price discrimination coupled with network effects only make the patent more valuable.

Studio filmmaker on the virtues of low-budget.

Grokster. Grokster. Grokster. Grokster.

Better (funded) Patent office on the way?

Future systems as precedent? Interesting, but seems a little out-there, Joe.


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Big news day

BBC Internet Radio. Time-limited. The new model? Only works if DRM works.

More on the DVD patent lawsuit.

Major semi-open access move.

DP Perspective on downloading.

Wireless streaming to theaters.

Liquid Information, a WikiWeb? Great, except that it entirely devalues expertise.

Google infringes yet again. They have shown time and time again that innovation proceeds best when rights are not overly-restrictive and can be negotiated later, on their terms.

Kahle v Ashcroft appeal.

Hurricane Electric SNIU.

Napster moves into movie downloads.

Ballster, a strange and wonderful P2P VoIP SNIU.

eXeem commentary.

The other lawsuit.

Still don't get it.

Mashups. Official mashups.

Grokster. Grokster. Grokster. Grokster. Lots of links.


Monday, January 24, 2005

Poland blocks software patent hearing again. No one has clearly articulated yet why they care so much, but it's great.

Oxymoron of the day: Open Source DRM.

More on HSS.

If the phrase were 'illegal downloads,' of course, the RIAA would want them sued.

Novel IP defense. Doubt the court will buy it, but I'm not a lawyer.

Lost 1984 Mac video survives because of the Betamax decision. Similar video of Windows 1.0

EFF's new 'Endangered Gizmos' list.

More Mercora funding.

MGM v. Grokster opening arguments. '"A ruling from the court could help us move to a world when file-sharing goes legitimate," says Mitch Bainwol, CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America.'


MGM v Grokster news.

Course at Berkeley, tutored by Mr. Hall, who is currently building on for his master's project. And The class blog.

Creative Consequences of the Rights Clearance Culture for Documentary Filmmakers.


Sunday, January 23, 2005

Another article on CableCards.

Macrovision DRM. Same old talk about the major threat to the industry.

Patronage as form of funding.


Music industry. In Canada.

Interview with the (IMHO) poorly-named Warez P2P client. Warez refers to the pirating of commercial software, a term much older than P2P. In this case, it comes from's sponsorship of the client.

A clear need for some real quantitative research.

Disappointing NYTimes article on iPod loaders. Would liked to have seen something on whether or not they can save time by not re-ripping CD's, but use CD's copied from others, provided they see proof of ownership.


Saturday, January 22, 2005

MGM v Grokster starts up. Not sure what that first brief means, but requiring network software designers to restrict content in any way doesn't seem like compromise to me.

eXeem is out. There's a spyware-free version eXeem Lite floating around out there also, although one version behind.

Another anti-restrictions call.

New compression technology. Cool stuff.

Rhetorical question of the day.

Panel of tech experts agree: P2P here to stay. I'm sure a panel of MPAA experts would agree, it's going.

More details on the AltNet patent letters.

Online music store analysis.

Big book review of the 'copyfighters.'


Friday, January 21, 2005

Date set for Supreme Court review of Grokster v. MGM.

Interesting article that touches on the Microsoft DRM debacle.

Now it's the investors' fault.

DRM not so good for sales.

Software patents coming back?


Thursday, January 20, 2005

Tech lobby talks tough in DC.

Smithsonian catalogue goes online. America's heritage, for $0.99 apiece.

Region-coded printer cartriges. DVDs were bad enough.

DRM interoperability advances. A move towards a standard? If so, it will only work if the standards are durable e.g. not cracked in weeks like happens now.

A reminder that network monitoring is harder than it looks.

Art as parody.

Critical copyright case appealed.

Looming copyright expiry induces rerelease of mothballed songs.


Tech lobby talks tough in DC.

Smithsonian catalogue goes online. America's heritage, for $0.99 apiece.

Region-coded printer cartriges. DVDs were bad enough.

DRM interoperability advances. A move towards a standard? If so, it will only work if the standards are durable e.g. not cracked in weeks like happens now.

A reminder that network monitoring is harder than it looks.

Art as parody.

Critical copyright case appealed.

Looming copyright expiry induces rerelease of mothballed songs.


Response to Joycotting comments

While it may seem disingenuous to argue in one breath the network effects make P2P considerably less damaging to the RIAA et. al's profits and in the other to propose the joycott as an ethical solution, the key is that each are different consumers. However, as you point out, the term itself doesn't accurately reflect the intended use. I see the joycott as most useful for non-mainstream content: if you wanted to sample the RIAA's goods without paying for them, joycotting is not necessary, you can simply turn on the radio. In a society that the media seems obsessed about tagging as 'increasingly polarized,' apparently because a 51% margin of victory versus a 49% margin of victory means that the country has shifted dramatically in just four years, there is definitely a real problem of polarizing news media. It happens in the mainstream--I believe it was Penn's Annenberg school that showed that FOX News was ~70% pro-Bush and CNN is ~70% pro-Kerry--but to a greater degree at the fringe. My ultra-liberal friends read a non-intersecting set of specialty newsmedia than my fundamentalist friends. I'm always fascinated to read both, but unwilling to support either agenda by subscribing to them. Which brings up another point. Joycotting is not just about financial boycotts, but about statistical ones as well. Given the common misinterpretation of statistics, it makes sense to try to exclude oneself from a subscriber statistic for an agenda one does not support. Many times the evidence for a fringe group's support comes in the form of the depth of interest in its publication, for, after all, who would want to read anything by them unless you believed it?

I don't entirely agree with this argument. I think the owner of a work benefits indirectly when you use or distribute their work. After all, it's free viral marketing. Some works have a network-effect value (value = O(n) for n people that use it) -- if a song is being used in a movie, then it helps the owner of the copyright on the song bargain if the song is known by many people (as the maker of the movie can use the same song to communicate to more people).
I think it is irresponsible to distribute the work of, for instance, the RIAA, as you are essentially lending the work free marketing. I prefer to find freer music that I can distribute and enjoy.
I understand that information is key, but the term "joycotting", as well as the examples you pose, suggests the information being illegally copied is being used for entertainment, not for the vitality of democracy. The entertainment industry hasn't even said "thanks" for all the marketing we get them. In fact, they'll try to sue me for helping them make a buck. As a result, I don't want to help people get their information.
Ethan Glasser-Camp

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

P2P hub operators plead guilty. And here.

German National Library gets a no-DRM license. How necessary was it? How about the rest of us?

Cali-INDUCE. Poor Ed.

DivX seeks to beat out the giants. A villified technology might actually make the MPAA money?

Micropayments and the end of ads. Since those online music store subscriber models are working out oh-so-well.

Bollywood goes where Hollywood won't yet.

Online music sales over 200 million in 2004. Still not close to the billions on P2P networks.


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Boycott 2.0 – The Joycott

With the rise of the Bin Laden book, it is time to take a look at a new type of boycott. In this age of information, knowing what your enemy—political or martial—is thinking is critical, and for a democracy to function, all citizens should be informed. Yet in this age of escalating copyright law, gaining access to the mass works of such an enemy means you must support that very work's dissemination. Fortunately, there is another way. By using P2P networks to 'pirate' the work, you can boycott it and yet still discuss it intelligently, countering the usual “don't knock it 'till you've seen it” argument effectively, without having to support a work one finds morally repugnant. I call it “Joycotting,” because you can boycott the work but still enjoy its perusal. Jihad, Jihad for a Jew, Farenheit 9/11 for a Bush supporter, Disney films for a Southern Baptist, Passion of the Christ for moderates, Requiem for a Dream for a conservative, the Bin Laden book for any American, all prove worthy candidates for such a boycott. Some other suggestions follow:

Boycott works of poor quality, e.g. The Mission Impossible DVD, where they simply didn't take the time or energy to look at the DVD before stamping out millions of copies and pawning them off on unsuspecting customers.

Boycott works which should be out of copyright, but aren't because of Congress' actions. This one is particularly salient because it only requires a few copies to break even since the production costs are sunk costs, making each copy purchased a stronger incentive for them to push for copyright extensions in the future. Many older DVD's also fall under the boycott poor quality works argument, as pictures like Metropolis could be easily fixed, but aren't, and they are still more expensive than modern movies, despite the poor quality transfers and zero filming costs.

Some will argue that joycotting provides an easy way out for those who wish to justify their piracy, but this argument fails under the sheer weight of 60+ million Americans downloading off P2P networks. People, it seems, don't need any justification to enjoy works which in many cases should be in the public domain or freely shareable, nor to they need a justification to support the production of new works . Joycotting thus provides the basis for a moral framework for what to download, which should decrease the numbers of works being shared over P2P networks. Respecting the Founders' Copyright is one example of such a system, with the joycotter providing funding for recent works (economically, providing justification for the content producer's assumption that investment in future projects will be rewarded, by supporting profits for their past investment, and providing the capital to produce such future projects). Another option would be refusing to support the output of poor-quality works from Hollywood, instead buying only those movies which provide substantial value. Whichever framework is chosen, it will at least be consistent, an improvement from the status quo.

Mandela's name and IP.

Maybe 'pirates' are Commies after all, Bill.

Copyright kills culture?

Seeders targeted.

Now artists are shelling out for the fairly ineffective HSS.

Report criticizes online stores for, among other things, DRM.

More on networks manipulating start times to hinder TiVos.

NYTimes picks up the CBS DRM story.

A new kind of Civil Disobedience? I wrote some thoughts on this a few months ago that I'll post in a second.


Monday, January 17, 2005

There's now a Wiki for Here.

Old-world legislation to give consumers control over their media experience.

Open Source research.

More on TiVo.

A P2P manifesto. Vaguely rantish, but it is a manifesto after all.


Nice story about works entering the public domain.


Sunday, January 16, 2005

Montesano and IP piracy with seeds.

Industry appears to be trying automated DMCA notices again.

Major hack causes redirected e-mail. Other articles have shown how the backbone of piracy is not the P2P networks but the underground rings. This just illustrates yet again how easy it is for truly-knowledgable individuals to coopt other networks to their ends.

Strange tale of IP.

IP Law and art.


Friday, January 14, 2005

Watch Gates stammer.

Lessig on the legal issues behind Google Scholar.

DRM used to block criticism.

Copyright used to stifle criticism.




Lessig's latest project: CC mixer.

DRM. More DRM. And even more DRM.

Napster sued for (patent) infringement.


Simultaneous releases as anti-piracy tool.

Hash patents.

More BT.


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The wisdom of crowds. Peer-to-peer decision making. Oh, and Gladwell's wrong. Again. When he spoke at Penn two years ago, he seemed to think that steroids are only illegal because people don't like letting people work harder, and that's just what they did. Grr.

IBM pledges 500 patents free to use for open source projects. Blatant price-discrimination. And it's brilliant. OS projects aren't likely to buy their patents anyway--they're likely to invent their own solutions instead, spawning competition.

The Absurdism of Perennially Extending Copyright.

IPac launches new activism site. seeks to be the definitive source for everything music-industry related. If it's true, it will be an incredible resource.

Another Beatles mashup.

Wentworth on why Canada's new scary legislation conflicts with calls for a national digital library. There are other reports that Google's library of public domain documents is not available in Germany and other countries.


Monday, January 10, 2005

U.S. urges China to "put people in jail" over IP infringement. An interesting tidbit from my pharma class today: patents provide the right not only to prevent U.S. companies from producing infringing items, but also to prevent the importation of such items from countries where it is otherwise legal. It's often said by industry and government that our content industries are in peril because of foreign, particularly Chinese, disregard for IP, but it's also true that preventing the reimporation of alternatives allowed in foreign countries harms all U.S. industry.

Downloads overtake singles. The single was dead anyway.

Peercasting, P2P television, moves forward.


3 HBO films go OA?

The much-anticipated NYT Mag article on China and IP.

Pornography's influence on the next DVD format.

Copyright awareness overboard. Even if they were copyrighted, sketching paintings was still legal last I checked.


Saturday, January 08, 2005

LokiTorrent fights subpoena.

Balancing stakeholder interests.


Reaction to Billy G's comments.

Nice article from NewsForge on Open Source's problems. Key to the discussion is a recognition that 'piracy' on a small scale is good for commercial software--something the BSA certainly does not admit.

First hardware DRM chips hit the market. Unlike the new DVD copy protection spec, these may spell the end of fair use if the bad legislation continues.

Berkman Center report on content and control.


Friday, January 07, 2005

'If you went into a physical bookstore, and all the books were shrink-wrapped shut, would you sell more that way? Probably not.'

BSA wants ISPs more liable for infringement.

More on Exceem.

Once again CD variety declines.

P2P filesharing increases.

Yet another way the Internet breaks the old rules.

Visual art mashups.

Payola by middlement is declining, but it may not be a good thing.


Thursday, January 06, 2005

FairPlay ain't fair.

Copyright myths.

Mobile phones to have DRM standard soon.

Online music stores might be spurring physical CD sales. So why shouldn't P2P downloads, of which there a good many more?

HD Radio marches on.

Cable TV boxes threaten innovation.

DRM may make current DVD players useless.

Billy G. as himself.

Doctorow on DVD crippling.

The Future of Digital Media.


Wednesday, January 05, 2005

'Perfect storm' ends with a whimper. Boston strangler didn't materialize either.

The next DRM. Someone should launch a futures market on the dates these things will be broken.

DMCA subpoenas not looking good for RIAA. Score one for the constitution.

Piracy seen as major threat to Hollywood by Hollywood. Surprised?

Congressional analysis.

Los Gatos takes steps to plug within-industry leaks.

Grey Album named Best of 2004.


Monday, January 03, 2005

TiVo adds another feature. We'll see how long it lasts.

In this interview at the very end, Frankel, who wrote WinAmp and WASTE, hints at more subversion to come.

Ten industries vie for control of your home. Puts the battle over INDUCE in a whole new light.

Lessig being Lessig.

Haven't read it yet, but it looks like a nice academic review of the legal aspects of copyright.

American jukeboxes hampered due to copyright law.


RIAA infecting P2P networks then warning users about them. Meanwhile, California sets fines for infection.

Exeem. And more.

Better patents on the way?
A bizarre 'double-patent' was just created.

German court sets copyright levy on PCs.

After 50 years, the threat of losing copyright forced EMI to invest more in their works. A nice illustration of what most sensible analysis has said all along--extending copyrights beyond a certain point has negative benefit.