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:

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Intellectual property and voting. I've been following the open voting issues for awhile, but they are only now gaining traction so I figured I'd post it.

Lessig on a bunch of issues, including Grokster.

Fascinating move on the part of some states to truly treat intellectual property as property. The real bum deal of the 1998 laws (SBCPA and DMCA) is that it takes away many rights inherent in the traditional world without allowing the new abilities of digital distribution to be harnessed on the behalf of the consumer. For a dramatic illustration of this, try telling the MPAA you're going to copy their DVD and watch the lawsuits fly. Now, instead, try telling them that, because the DMCA has made it illegal to circumvent their flimsy copy protection that was broken by a teenager in Norway (not to diminish John's accomplishments), you want them to replace the DVD that you couldn't back up because it was scratched. People have tried. It doesn't go anywhere.

FCC fines more than nuclear fines.

Berklee College of Music on the future of music. "The Future of Music punches gaping holes through the foundation of a record industry that refuses to adapt. If you love music, have discovered digital music and download or rip MP3 files on your computer, or download ring tones to your cell phone - then this book is for you."

BitTorrent inventor moves to for-profit venture.

An comprehensive summary of the Industry's arguments.

Keep TV Free. This message brought to you by Hollywood.

Contributory infringement.

The kind of overcontrol that kills innovation.

Summary of A2K.

Spectrum wars. And spectrum grabs.

Townsend's covering the Orphan Works comment period. Poke around her site for more coverage.

Widespread CD copy protection may be coming. For the 'no resistance among consumers' claim, see my earlier post about the methodological flaws in one prominent survey on the issue.



Friday, February 25, 2005

Nice bit of SNIU.


Patents and science.

Freedom to Connect conference.

Broadcast flag arguments summary.

IT and the law.

Poison pawns.

WIPO 'Development Agenda' runs up against ??AA Agenda.


Infrastructure vs. use.

Cato Institute sees DRM as the answer to solve a market problem. Solution to a market problem is allowing companies to set the rules of their own monopoly? launches.

Kyoto-like Medical IP treaty. Strange and unusual.



Different perspective on LOCKSS.

IP monopoly on anti-piracy software. Oh the irony.

The battle against the real pirates takes a new twist.

Podcasting goes commercial.

Pretty egregious...Microsoft won't let those users with a legitimate copy of Windows run it in an emulator.

An interesting thought experiment in copyright.

Consumers are ok with DRMed CDs? Well, actually, the study would seem to show that consumers attach some value to DRM-free CDs.

IPTV advances.

Real P2P networking on the way? It certainly solves the problem of knowing whether or not you're swapping with the RIAA....



Lexmark DMCA case finally (almost) reaches closure. This is what happens when you write bad laws.

Broadcast flag.

Not even kow-towing to the Industry has saved TiVo. Slashdot readers, predictably, suggest it become the 'anti-cable' and reverse its path of compliance.

Distributing/grid projects.

CiteULike, an academic citations database, appears to be a CDDB-like database in that users create the database as they use it and find missing entries. Particularly interesting, though, is that it tells you who has the article. Is it possible to use this as a manual P2P network (e.g. contact those who have the article and ask them to e-mail it to you)? I know I occasionally download articles for people I know at other U's which lack Penn's rather amazing set of journal subscriptions.


Thursday, February 24, 2005

Post-exam postings

Free Internet TV.

Broadcast Flag takes a hit. Phew.

Contributory infrigement.

Amusing anecdote about the pressures on filesharers. All of these studies have the same serious methodological flaw, though--if the effect of a warning letter is to move students towards harder-to-detect methods of filesharing, shouldn't the activity be harder to measure as well?

The perils of hoarding data. It's well-known that Microsoft tolerated individual piracy in the early days, even while railing against it, to gain market share. The SciFi Channel seems to understand this.

2005 Wired Rave Awards. Pages 6, 7, and 12 are IP-related.

How to get paid for content when content is free. If this works, it could be the start of a new era. But it seems highly unlikely.

Wired on Podcasting.

Radio revival.

Nice example of how the web, combined with authorship- rather than ownership-style reuse and IP policies allows for tremendous innovation. I'm not a big fan of this particular presentation--I rejected it as useful some weeks ago from a photojournalism perspective--but the concept is sound. A 4x4 grid would be much more useful, because the pictures have no impact in their current, tiny size. WP and AP have had week-in-photos for a long time now, and I started one at the DP. It quickly became one of the most popular areas of

Prime candidate for a joycott? After 60 years it should be in the public domain anyway.

That wonderful corporate infringer does it again. Google Movies.

Label-free bands. If it's really this easy to get your track into iTMS, Napster, et. al, and the only real reason the middlemen labels exist any more are for distribution reasons, is this the death-knell? Concerts are still huge business, and still organized by major promoters, but I'm not sure how closely they are tied to the labels.

Russia may go after

Radio Revolution: The Coming Age of Unlicensed Wireless. From 2003.

Remixer releases new album for free in 50 snippets.


Monday, February 21, 2005

NYTimes article on broadcast flag. Commentary.

Game deals on movies aren't doing well. Venture capital firms give their investees plenty of time to develop before expecting the world; Hollywood greedily grabs, to the point of losing potentially-valuable opportunities. In Negotations here the common theme is that leaving money on the table often results in better long-term outcomes. So are they once again shooting themselves in the foot?

Still think the medium matters?

Canadian free-market spillover.

Copyright Criminals a very passed-around link.


Sunday, February 20, 2005

More distributed computing SNIU.

Napster files Grokster brief. Irony.

More LokiTorrent commentary.

Industry will attempt to introduce proof-of-concept filtering in time for Grokster case. Just enough time not to have anyone able to circumvent it yet, if they time it right.

U.S. Government supports content industry stance on Grokster.

Nice set of links.

Data hogging costs money and lives. Not to say that removing the incentive to publish for profit doesn't cost lives, but there are other systems (e.g. academic reputation) that could compel hospitals to share freely.


In honor of the WinAmp/Napster hack-which-isn't, an old-school way of breaking copy protection. This whole incident is highly amusing. Of course you can record from your soundcard. The industry has been worried about the so-called 'analog loophole' for years, which is why they keep proposing draconian solutions like those which kept the high def audio tapes from ever taking off.


Saturday, February 19, 2005

Freedom of Expression, available through CC license. The best part is the trademark of 'freedom of expression.'


Natural experiment.

P2P VoIP conference.

EULAs bad.

Broadcast flag.

Copyfight documentary.

Fair use?


Fairly typical arguments on the perils of over-vigorous enforcement of derivative works rights.

DRM bad.


Are bullies after our culture?

First the genes in our body, now the color orange?!

The Viral Marketing chart.

Verizon-only debut of TV series. So the solution to rampant TV 'piracy' is to release things only in one format, for one set of customers?

Another distributed project collects its eighth trophy.

EU Software patents safe for now.

The criticism of the DMCA is that it went beyond the traditional bounds of copyright by making technological solutions to distribution issues protected by law. This case shows that doing so not only harms copyright principles, but more broad legal principles such as right-of-resale. However, in concept, this isn't much different from national exhaustion on drugs. The question is, are such rights desirable? With drugs, they would seem to allow price discrimination without which poorer countries would have no hope of affording the treatments (c.f. the AIDS drug crisis). With computer games, it's hard to make a case for such restrictions.


Thursday, February 17, 2005

10 myths about copyright.

DRM failure inevitable.


Tuesday, February 15, 2005

More details on the Macrovision anti-copy tech.

Kazaa trial speculation.

AG of Utah weighs in on Grokster. It's fairly significant that he lumps in child pornography, as no one is claiming that the P2P software providers are encouraging the distribution of such materials.

Stallman on Bill Gates' changing view of the facts. Parallels what Hollywood has done to the public domain.

Podcast about IP issues.

Grokster. More.

Some nice data tidbits on the content industries from the IIPA.

I just added a Wiki to accumulate data from around the Internet.

Furdlog's skepticism about the Washington Post article. Apparently I'm not the only one who thought it was wishful thinking.

"The annual list [of the 50 top-earning pop stars], which entails some guesswork, reverses the common perception of pop music. Not only is it not the province of youth; it's also not the province of CD sales, hit songs and smutty videos."

MythTorrent, an RSS feed of everything recently MythTVed.

Fair use can be signed away? Combined with shrinkwrap lincenses, is fair use dead?

Still fighting over contributory infringement to the contributory infringement.


Big one, and there's more to come

Macrovision releases hardware-based anti-DVD-rip tech.

Steganography in the backbone of the Internet. All that driving P2P underground would do is increase the development and prevalence of such attacks, creating problems for things that are more deserving of scrutiny.

Future of radio?

Music hits phone market. Someone told me the other day it costs something like $4 per ringtone, which I find hard to believe. If so, that makes a snippet of one song a substantial fraction of the price of an album. Even $1/ringtone is ridiculous. If you buy the cable, you can turn any of your own music into ringtones, perfectly legally. Someone could make a fortune by stocking up on cables and loading for consumers.

The value of SNIU for scientific research.

Speak of the devil. Annodex allows some of the capabilities I was lamenting the lack of in DVDs, not so much on the playback end as on the browsing end. Still can't use it directly on DVDs, though, must rip them first.

Schneider wins first Grammy for a web album. Not just significant because it's a web album, but because it's an ArtistShare album, which is a form of distributed patronage. Her tracks also seem to be 320Kbps, un-DRMed MP3s. I can understand the high bandwidth, as her songs have this incredible texture that gets muddied at lower quality settings.

Telecos move into TV via the Internet.

MPAA tries fingerprinting music. Good luck with that.

Starry-eyed prognostication about future formats. It's great that we won't have to buy a new format every few years, but with DRM, that's really not very likely. Just look at the issues between moving between music *players* now (e.g. iTunes to WinAmp).

Intel working on Media Center-style chipsets.

SNIU panic button for elderly.

Press still doesn't understand tech. Equivalent to the 'analog loophole,' but still digital.


On control

It's been opined over and over again that the Internet was revolutionary because it established few limits on what could be done with the technology and the content, but I'm waning philosophic today, so I'll add my tuppence worth. In a sense, technologies like CSS have continued this trend even further by decoupling content from presentation: you can make someone else's webpage display pretty much however you want by changing which style sheet you use. And this is a good thing--blind users can have their pages read by text readers, text can be zoomed on demand, and those of us who remember the dark ages of the Internet know what a curse the blinky tag can be.
The consequences of senders having control over presentation range from the mundane to the serious. Spammers often utilize images--which remove the text from its parseable form--to avoid Bayesian filtering (among the most effective methods)...with no text to parse, no patterns can be found. Anyone who has spent much time on instant messenging services will have run across the friend who sends all their text in light pink, bold, italicized, curlique font. Most clients don't let you change this, even though you're the one who has to read it. DVD players force you to use the same menu on a computer as on a consumer electronics player with an order of magnitude less capability. Why should a consumer be forced to wait 5 minutes just to start playing the DVD they bought? It's restrictions like these that make DVD Shrink a more convenient way of playing DVDs than the non-DMCA-violating ones. MPlayer is also considerably better at this than the 'legal' ones. Bad DVD design contributes to this problem, intentionally or otherwise. For instance, the Sex and the City DVDs don't have a scene change flagged at the end of the credits. As a result, the viewer is forced to see the same intro with the same music over dozens of episodes--TiVo gives you more control over content you didn't pay for than that which you did (in a different example; technically the consumer pays directly for HBO content). A well-designed non-restricted player might include a "jump x seconds" feature for just such instances, but such features are not available, along with 'bookmarks' in the DVD to jump to your favorite scenes and the like. Why shouldn't DVD players offer you as much control over your viewing experience as your browser does over text?


Sunday, February 13, 2005

Pixar's blockbuster a little smaller this year. It's interesting to compare this to big pharma, where the lack of blockbusters is really starting to hurt. Incredibles is supposed to be quite good, but with a smaller audience than Nemo. In effect, Pixar suffered because they didn't homogenize for a larger audience. There's been much talk in recent years of micro-marketing and sub-segmentation of markets, but when the product costs as many millions as films do, is that really possible? Pharma, on the other hand, steers away from development of drugs that don't have the potential to be blockbusters, due to the high cost of development, with the effect that many promising drugs aren't made. If Pixar takes a lesson from this and focuses only on certain, larger, markets, it will be the first step in the dilution of a great company.

Enterprise fans buy full-page LA Times ad. Still think of TV-watchers as passive consumers?

The semantic game over copyright and peer-to-peer. There were some interesting discussions about this ~2 years ago on a listserv called (most unfortunately) InfoAnarchy.


Saturday, February 12, 2005

Some proposed paper ideas. Other ideas are very welcome.


Extremely useful summary of cases leading up to Grokster by the Berkeley folks.

Loki folds, despite raising $40K for legal costs.

Paid music services can't even compete with P2P when they're free? Hard to believe, given the double-whammy of the threat of lawsuits (however small in expected value terms) and increasingly poor-quality files. I'd like to see more data from other U's.

A bit on the Cell processor's DRM. The first real product of several initiatives towards 'trusted computing.' Moral relativism in technology? Used for good or used for ill.

Napster plans agressive campaign against iPod. Good luck with that.

Blogging as P2P journalism.

European software patents gain a new detractor: the Dutch have joined Poland.

Stealing the physical copy of a DVD of a TV show carries a far lesser penalty than sharing such a copy.

Norway outlaws filling your iPod with songs you own already. If such a provision were enacted worldwide (and could possibly be enforced), you'd see windfall profits like those of Hollywood during the conversion from VHS to DVD.

Music piracy more common in Canada. Would be great to do a longitudinal study--how much did piracy increase after the court rulings made it essentially risk-free?


Another mini-article pointing out that BT is more efficient than most centralized schemes. This likely explains the gap in SNIUs between BT and the other P2P architectures.

Take that, Steve Jobs.

Some SNIU P2Ps from the DCIA.

There are countless ways to subvert this technology, with the easiest being simply to use another network. C.f. steganography.

'Ownership culture.'

Another one of those chilling effects of DMCA-like notices.

One nice test for Grokster: "Dogan concludes that the Napster software probably would have been created even if only for noninfringing purposes, and so qualifies as a staple article of commerce with SNIUs."

"About 47 percent of people who downloaded music in December and who were age 12 or older paid a fee to do so, the market researcher said." Extremely hard to believe, given the relative download information on paid vs. unpaid services.

Romania adopts what amounts to compulsory licensing for music transmission.


Thursday, February 10, 2005

On the need for The Internet Archive

The information on the "before" cereals came from a General Mills Web site,, which a company spokeswoman said was five years out of date and has been shut down. She refused to provide numbers for any of the cereals as they were before the reformulation. Current nutritional figures are available at
With recent threats to the survival of The Internet Archive, such stories become all the more important to take into account.


Copyright discussion difficult? I just don't see what's so hard about the basics: it's not property, it's a limited grant to spur innovation. *Resists urge to insert Princeton jab.*


TV Piracy. It's those darn TiVo's fault, somehow.

'It was easier before the computer.'

Miller makes nice distinction between copying and public performance.

Lessig on West Wing. Strange, but cool.

Middle ground?

Chicago parks are now copywritten.

Orphan works bill.

SSRN paper on the high cost of lawsuits.

Analysis of artist's earnings and copyright in a digital world.


Interview with Robertson.

Privacy laws on the Internet may be altered by a drug case.

More politics in EU software patents.

Napster still not as popular as the last.

Low power FM may come to the US. Equivalent of P2P in terms of access and variety?


SNIU of iPods. Good thing we're still not arguing this one any more.

More on Eyes on the Prize.

Open Source biology. Impressive.

Don't hold your breath for a sat. radio iPod.

DMCA rears its ugly head again.

The Economist on sharing and technology.

Fast track to DVD, a new marketing technique.

VoIP regulation bad, quoth the Wharton profs.

Galambosianism, an extreme form of IP, self-destructed.


Monday, February 07, 2005

Hollywood tries to move into video games--it's the margins.

Lack of education makes copyright messages difficult.

Another next-gen format.

Regionalism. Nice opinion piece.

Not with a bang, but a whimper. The (non)ending of disposable DVDs.

Latest Kazaa documents. How stupid are they?

NewYorker article on the economics of the movie industry.

Utterly non-scientific, nearly useless study shows that record stores are better than online stores for historical music. Furdlog calls for an update.

Open Sony questions.


Sunday, February 06, 2005

Death, taxes, lawsuits.

Napster math doesn't add up.

Anecdotal evidence for lawsuit deterrance. So why are downloads up?

Raids on students in NZ?

BitTorrent community persists.

Copyright and corporate blogs.

Common error in mainstream coverage of BitTorrent.

Napster might actually pay artists.

More on BayTSP's monitoring of infringement.


A la droite de faire protester.

Rent vs. buy.

Region coding.

Eiffel Tower copyrighted.

Boycott of high-priced proprietary journals.

Benefits of infringing promotion. That's a good term, come to think of it. Maybe instead of filesharing the term should become 'infringing promotion' in a framing battle.

Limited carveout of rights.

Interview with the new head of the MPAA.


Thursday, February 03, 2005 updated. Just did a major update. Exams are over....


Napster launches first of Microsoft-enabled DRM services. The amusing thing is, DRM is entirely against the interests of Napster--songs with no DRM can play on the iPod, but those without cannot.

EU starts software patents process over. Maybe they will take more time to deliberate this run.

Cell: an SNIU processor/architecture.

First french P2P case closed. The contrast with the way things work in America is interesting. First, it wasn't settled. Second, the asked-for amount seems small. Third, the court didn't award (relatively) that much. $13K seems like a lot, but the expected costs of filesharing are still in the pennies.

Napster uses new MS DRM. It's still DRM, and it's DRM that only works on a few players.

This new service, on the other hand, is DRM-free. No word on whether the industries will sign.

Tinker, tinker. DRM for Altoids tins next?

Satellite radio in your pocket.


It's not just the P2P services that get sued....

Another DRM failure.


Daily Illini on filesharing.

Why would a capitalist give something away for free? To make money, of course.

Why would a capitalist ignore piracy? To make money, of course.


Archival problems.

'Napster for nerds.' The SSRN and semi-open access.

Hatch's latest bill(s) passes Senate.

Library Digitization Projects and Copyright.

Copyright Office reforms. When I was researching freshman year, the Copyright Office was worse than useless. You would think it's just a distance problem, but even at the actual office itself no one knows anything and no summary records exist.


DP on school-sponsored downloading.


Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Another rights grab as they move into digital.

Regulation of the net fails. Again.

Great for patents, but what about copyrights?

TiVo for your radio. My AverTV Studio card could do this years ago.

Speaking of TiVo.

Derivative works. Time for copyright law to be applied only to those works that are profitable?


$3.99 per track?!

First steps towards legitimate online video content from the majors? That service I tried the other day had a pretty limited selection....

Interesting reference to the tragedy of the commons. Backwards from how you usually see it.

More on the difficulties of regulating the net.

Water the wine and cook the books.

Apple restricts DVDs beyond what is required by MPAA.

Librarians propose WIPO agenda.

Confusion over fair use.


Case studies on copyright.

Ownership/authorship controversy.