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, October 31, 2005

"So they got tricky. They hired a marketing firm to search the hard drives of members of peer-to-peer services like Kazaa. When the firm found one filled with porn, WantedList emailed an invitation to a free trial."

"Even more remarkable is the way Public Enemy has structured its distribution deals. Whereas many bands sell publishing rights to their record labels in exchange for an advance, Public Enemy grants its distributors a limited license. After a specified period, the rights revert back to the group."

So much for the Philadelphia plan being anti-commercial. More competition usually doesn't hurt consumers. C.f. this.

$2.50 a track.

Sony DRM installs rootkit. Is that even legal?

Apple takes in major haul.

Google involved in fair use case with AFP. For the record, the AP wire is a good bit more useful than Getty/AFP.

Viral video ads.

First annual P2P litigation summit.

Notes from a debate on UK term extensions.


Sunday, October 30, 2005

New indie store survival technique.

PeerFlix doing well.

iMesh launch.

Business Week on sharing.

Bollywood uses digital projectors already, just low-quality ones.

Online music consumers price-inelastic?



Compulsory license for patents?

Picker misses the point on SNIU. It's not that today's Gutenberg is centralized, it's that tomorrow's public domain video service needn't be. Both of these are examples where centralization makes sense. What about other examples, where it makes less sense (e.g. individuals distributing homebrew CC-licensed content)?

Copyright used in Kansas evolution case. Not sure I agree with this, and it may be fair use anyway.


An open-source rival to Google's book project.
In other OA news for me: I'm meeting with these people soon to talk about self archive stuff. I also signed away my copyright again for another paper I'm publishing. Interestingly, the wording included a provision to retain copyright if you're a federal employee. Makes all the posturing around the NIH policy seem like just that--posturing. The situation reminds me of the perennial claims of the music industry that if copyright is not extended another 20 years retroactively there will be no more music.


Saturday, October 29, 2005

Random buying among media companies?

Chinks in the Web 2.0 armour.


A tale of two screens.

Happy new MP3 stereo device.

US still unhappy with Chinese piracy.

It'd be better if they were public domain.

Freedom to tinker.

Exactly. I believe Spielberg edited out shotguns in the DVD release of E.T. I showed a history major friend the Wayback Machine today, and she was flabbergasted at the historic value. There is no similar thing for other new media forms.

MS hits antitrust wall with media players.

Format wars.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

In other words, because as an industry we/they/you sell RF so cheaply, you've let $4 Billion slip right through your fingers. That's the proof.

Stock Photo Talk | Special Interest Blog: The History Of A Study, Strictly For Internal Use
Interesting example of failed price discrimination.

White House Cease & Desists to The Onion

Slashdot | White House Cease & Desists to The Onion

iMesh also has some social networking features

Music P2P goes legit

This past January Chan Nai-ming was arrested in Hong Kong for distributing films over the Internet via BitTorrent, and today he was convicted of that charge in court.

BitTorrent conviction in Hong Kong
This is being made a big deal of, but really, the whole point of Grokster was that the labels wanted to be able to sue the P2P software provider directly. The ability to sue the individuals, whatever network they are on, has never been in question.

Google Base is Google's database into which you can add all types of content.

Google Base: All your base are, in fact, belong to us

I'm very interested in this, but we'll see how it pans out. What makes databases useful is the programming (nothing sophisticated technically, just the human process logic embedded in the code), and this doesn't look like it's aimed in that direction. Still, with an open interface, it's not hard to envision coders writing sites which use Google's database in a specific interface, rather like Google Map hacks.

'King Kong' Blurs Line Between Films and Games
Wing Commander III and IV did it long, long ago.

Consumers want an iPod phone that will play any song, anytime, anywhere. Just four little problems: the cell carriers, the record labels, the handset makers, and Apple itself. The inside story of why the ROKR went wrong.* (*And what it will take to make a truly rocking music phone.)

Wired 13.11: Battle for the Soul of the MP3 Phone

With Apple Computer's new video-playing iPod, the adult industry is largely staying away.

Wired News: No Porn for You, Video IPod!

Monday, October 24, 2005


Gnab uses a decentralised P2P network to offer downloads whose original content is hosted on centralised servers.

Bertlesmann to launch music service -

SNIU, sort-of.

The concept of "copy" in the infringement sense predates the defintion of "copy" in the 1976 Act by over two hundred years, and as noted last week, has had, historically, a limited application; that is, many substantial reproductions (like fair abridgements and translations) were not deemed a "copy" at the infringement stage, even though the unauthorized work was quite fixed.

The Patry Copyright Blog: A Common Law of Copy

How can a hit television series like “Frasier” gross $1.5 billion and yet be $200 million in the red?

Furdlog » The Joys of Entertainment Industry Accounting

So, if fair use is merely a way to account for how difficult clearing copyright can be, then the protection is growing less and less necessary.

Open Access News

Dr. Robert Gilbert’s “Projects in Marketing” class is on a mission to educate Pitt students on the dangers of illegally downloading and burning music from the Internet.

The Pitt News - Students form new group to combat filesharing

Groove P2P System Assists Hurricane Relief

Groove P2P System Assists Hurricane Relief



British musicians and labels are fighting bitterly over money as sales of online music change the economics of the industry.

Wired News: Divvying Up the Download Payload

Sorry about the multiple posts. Discovered Flock has a bug pasting linked text. Flock 0.5 it is, indeed.



screeners will
be getting new DVD players in the mail

Oscar screening DVDs get bonus encryption

What has prevented the studios from closing the video window is simple: Wal-Mart.

Will Mark Cuban (Finally) Revolutionize Hollywood? - His plan to break the video window. By Edward Jay Epstein


First post with Flock

Flock is still in beta, but the Shelf functionality is great.




Sunday, October 23, 2005

Mossberg urges DRM boycott. Wiki-fied list of DRMed CDs is here.

Author opposes publishing company's anti-GooglePrint stance. Same old story: lesser known acts benefit from wider distribution, even if it's free. The publishers/labels/studios, however, make their money not from the lesser-known acts, but from the blockbusters.

Copyright clearinghouse built into Blackboard.

P2P sentences up 40%.

More payola.

Patry: second copy may be Google Print's undoing.


Saturday, October 22, 2005

NYTimes on Google Local hacks.

Flock beta released. "The Shelf is a neat little tool that lets you copy and store text and images you see on a web page. When you drop the clipping into a blog entry it is automatically formatted and cited. Very cool." Would make my life much easier if this were available as a Firefox plug-in.

Studios stonewalling NetFlix downloads.

Studios adopting neutral stances towards format wars. Others see a Blu-Ray win.

DVD Jon comes to US.

Our last, best hope for peace. The ineptitude is at once not surprising and utterly shocking.

Swedish filesharing battles.

A different kind of iPod tax.

Open design for next media player.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Excellent article on the failings of collective content creation. Wisdom of Crowds author Surowiecki spoke here last week, and I tried to strike up a conversation on a similar topic during a break, but he, perhaps unsurprisingly, fell into the rapid pro-Wikipedia category.

Google presses forward with Google Print. In a larger context. The legal aspects.

Gates goes after DRM in Blu-Ray again. An emerging (and certainly unsurprising theme): companies use DRM for competitive advantage when it suits their purposes, and decry it when it works against them. Not so interesting except that it highlights the anti-competitive uses of DRM's relative prominence over their purported purpose in anti-piracy enforcement.
More DRM controversy.

iPod video harbinger of change for affiliates.

More game economies.

WinMX keepalive. PING/PONG.

Another ugly anecdote.



Sunday, October 16, 2005

From the NAS report: "Rising above the gathering storm."
Action D-1: Enhance intellectual-property protection for the 21st century
global economy to ensure that systems for protecting patents and other forms of
intellectual property underlie the emerging knowledge economy, yet allow research to
enhance innovation. The patent system requires reform of three specific kinds:

• Protect resources for the Patent and Trademark Office to give that office
sufficient resource to make intellectual-property protection more timely,
predictable, and effective.

More money to the patent office is a good thing, and non-diversion would be a good start.

• Reconfigure the US patent system by switching to a “first-inventor-to-file” system, and by instituting administrative review after the patent is granted.
Those reforms would bring the US system into alignment with patent systems
in Europe and Japan.

The harmonization argument pops up yet again. I'm not sure that the goal is so terrible, though, except that it's a real problem if the patent office doesn't get its act together and start actually finding obvious prior art for some of these applciations.

• Shield some research uses of patented inventions from infringement liability.
One recent court decision could jeopardize the long-assumed ability of
academic researchers to use patented inventions for research.

No complaints here.

• Change intellectual property laws that act as barriers to innovation in specific
industries, such as those related to data exclusivity (in pharmaceuticals) and
those that increase the volume and unpredictability of litigation (especially in
IT industries).

Not quite sure what they're going after here.

There are other parts of the report that I disagree with but that don't have to do with IP, notably its emphasis on training more scientists who will only go on to bleak career prospects. Of course, they spend much time in the preamble talking of how cheap scientists are to hire in other countries, so there's certainly some twisted logic in their recommendations that they don't want to elaborate on. It's ironic because the report starts with a quote:
Ninety-nine percent of the discoveries are made by one percent of the scientists. ~Julius Axelrod, Nobel Laureate. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 149, No. 2, June 2005.
I say ironic because if one were following Axelrod's guidance, recommending grants for those 1% of scientists who currently have no problem with funding through Ph.D. programs but have a terrible time with post-post-doc funding would make more sense.


Saturday, October 15, 2005

Underwhelming vPod?
Overwhelming iTMS TV service? And protests.

Self-publish DVDs.


Why is the BSA pushing this?

Darknets on the rise? It will be interesting to see whether smaller darknets mark a return to a more social P2P world.

Swedish lawsuits start.

MS+Real vs. Apple.

Verizon launches fiber TV.

ePaper finally here?

EU commissioner calls for elimination of music boundaries.

Felten on games and the limitations of code as law.

Skype competitor.

This looks interesting. Haven't read it yet.

Strange. I'm not sure I see the need for this in the sharing content industries.



Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Interesting number crunching.

Align the stakeholders' interests. The 1% kickback is very clever.
Less positive about this one. iPod tax moves to Japan.

First thought: stupid. Second thought: not such a bad idea after all. Plays into the whole ownership thing that iTMS' success over the subscription services demonstrated, but also provides instant gratification.

Yahoo launches podcasting service.

Felten on game economies.

Impact factors.



Monday, October 10, 2005

As Dr. Prewett of tenth-grade history fame would say, "Tar 'em with a pinko commie brush."

Felten on SNIU.

More mash-up mess.

Darknets. The lede is inaccurate in that it ignores the 'shadow internet,' which just got bigger with TimesSelect.

DRM supports monopolies. Just maybe not the one you might think.

Broadcast flag politics. Europe's seems to be worse.

I like Geist.

I like Patry.

I like Ike?

"Travelers say the no-phone policy has saved them from their own compulsions." Good timing...precommitment.


Sunday, October 09, 2005

So my browser's going crazy and I can't access the URLs for the 45-or-so links that were destined to become today's entry, but the highlights:

Google has an RSS reader now. Yay. Strange potential SNIU. Slate pans new iTunes phone, along with everyone else, apparently.

The Copyright Office is putting in its regular request for exemptions to the DMCA. If history is any guide, they will receive many and accept 2-3.

More format wars. China's launching its own. MS is unhappy about managed copy interacting with its devices. Region coding seems to be a thing of the past. MS can't agree on royalties with the labels.

Universal is making the first 9 minutes of Serenity available online for free. Good marketing. Universal also wants to offer movies online within the year.

The RIAA is going after satellite radio again.

Finland just adopted majorly restrictive copyright legislation.

The BBC's SNIU just went online.

Sony has joined the ranks of record labels posting instructions on how to circumvent its own DRM.

That's all until I fix my browser and work through some more of the backlog.


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Remix happiness. Now if only this were a reality.

Finnish DMCA.

Google offers San Francisco free WiFi. Mayor declares it a "human right."

Progressive thinking on simultaneous release.

Bad movies, bad sales.

After years of bugging them, the DP finally interviews someone who knows something about the issue! It used to be a running joke on the ed board that every time they were discussing an RIAA article and I started to speak, they would say, "we know, we know, call Peter Fader." And then they never would.

Digital sales soar, physical sales drop. From Ars. Artists suffering. Ringtones seem to drive most of it.

No content preference. Good move.

China sends pirate to US for prosecution.

Video search.

And then there were three. And this one's carrying a big gun.

Yahoo partners with OCA to 'rival Google Print.' Not I understand it OCA is public-domain only, and thus more like Gutenberg than Google Print.

eDonkey still looking.

Nice article in the International Herald Tribune. via Suber's superb OANews


Saturday, October 01, 2005

Felten's great test for new IP rights.



BT VC report.

Don't panic.

US is WIPO holdout.

Radio flag worse than TV flag.


I'm a little less skeptical of Peters now.


First Sale challenged. Patry's comment.

This is a bad idea.

Debate on UK copyright terms.


Link dump

We swim in an ocean of media.

RSS and Uncle Sam.

PressThink article.

DRM doesn't help sales.

Post-Grokster legislation? More coverage.

Sony PSP now open to hacks.

DIY animated movies. Similar to the opening of recording technologies, just delayed because video is so much more complex.

Podcasting gold rush.

Build-your-own iPod.

Cellphones and music.

Secondary book market thrives on Internet. Once they go to eBooks, they'll try to claim it's piracy.

BT gets $9M in VC.

Google TV.

Broadcast flag, try deux.

MS trys new DRM.

iGrid for hi-res. SNIU?

SNL amateurs. Low barriers to amateur content creation lead to an explosion of content and a changing role of major providers from content creators to what becomes more or less a filter. We're not there yet, but getting there slowly.

Filesharing eroding the morals of Canadian youth.

Massive peer-reviewed Canadian law copyright book.

More bogus DMCA claims.

RIAA claims too vague to withstand a lawyer?