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:

Friday, April 29, 2005

Gaming editorial. Gaming conference.

Skype for smartphones.

Another tools of production getting cheaper story. I wasn't quite as impressed with the film when I saw it a few weeks ago as he was, but it was still an impressive work. Mostly the acting wasn't so hot.


New copyright blog.


European online digital library to rival Google's.

Dutch iPod tax is truly enormous.

Solipsis, P2P MMORPG. SNIU. Too many acronyms!

CMU forms resource group for RIAA suees.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

WalMart CDs go customized.

Hollywood looks to gaming again.

Skype commentary/review.

DMCA abuse.

Radio abandons new rock.

More RIAA settlement abuse.

Orphan works.

More by Joe.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Dutch iPod tax.

Podcast--> broadcast.

HD Satelites won't work with HD TiVos. Nor does HD cable work with HD tuner cards. Compatibility nightmare?

Real to give away 25 songs/mo. I'm sure they're DRMed to the hilt.

Older legal method for RIAA subpoenas fails.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

'Trusted' computing inches forward. Funny how I trust it less....

Rhapsody plans changed.

More on the French DVD DRM ruling.

World IP Day.

Britons frustrated with DRM and pricing of online music services. Last I checked, they were still paying 99 pence instead of 99 cents, so the pricing concern is certainly valid.

iPod + sat radio. Now will the studios allow it to happen?

Universal's China move.


Some cute statistics on music.



Open Media Network. SNIU


Commons Music. Flat-fee buy-in service. Sounds a lot like the failing Napster model to me.


USPTO considering first-to-file.

German anti-P2P ruling.

Access 2 Knowledge treaty.

Fair Use and libraries.

DualDisc launch.

Firefox plugin allows you to control more about your browser than the author would almost certainly want. How much is enough. Would this be illegal in France?

Academic remix LP from 1967.

Impressive tale of international tax loopholes financing Hollywood blockbusters.


Monday, April 25, 2005

Innovative sports TV spots.

French court bans DVD DRM.

Illegal payoffs to NYPD for piracy busts.

FT editorial.

Podcast search engine.


Congressional patent reform.

Nikon DRM broken a week after their decision to implement it.

On the shoulders of giants.

5 improvements to iTMS et. al.


Democratic innovation.

Nice history of early ASCAP.

More content bad?

Another industry moves slowly towards creator-autonomy.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Congress confuses manslaughter with filesharing.

Mobile DRM pricey.

DVD format reconciliation may be possible. Perestroika without glasnost?

India rejects software patents.
Europe got a little safer as well.

iTunes mobile news. And more.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

P2P a threat to those who use it improperly.

PeerioData, a server-free filesystem.

P2P United lobby working with FTC on RIAA's claims.

The Boston Strangler, redux.

Another Mashboxx article.

Korean resistance to pay for downloads.

DRM patent fight.

More on Grouper

Received today as an anonymous comment:
This is the first we have heard anything of the RIAA going after Grouper. No one from the RIAA has contacted us in any way. No news is good news as far as we are concerned. Grouper's founders, Dave and Josh, began their careers in the entertainment industry and Internet radio. They went on to create Spinner, which was the first company to bring multiple channels of music to the Internet. Spinner worked with the RIAA, and, over time, fellow media companies, to help develop and then adhere to new laws that protect copyright holders and still encourage innovation. Given this history, Dave and Josh are committed to protecting the rights of copyright holders, consistent with the privilege of fair use. This perspective has greatly influenced execution of the company’s core mission, which is to enable efficient and safe sharing among family and friends.

From the Chicago Tribune Article:
<< In addition to limiting the size of groups and accessibility, they say, their program requires songs to be streamed--that is, played through the Internet--not downloaded.
Those limits may not add up to a legal service, argues Nicolas Firth, chairman of BMG Music Publishing Worldwide.
"I'm not so sure that I see a big distinction between this and, say, Grokster because you're at 30 people," Firth said. "Where are you going to draw the line at what constitutes unlicensed use of copyrighted music?" >>

That has to be the worst slippery-slope argument I've ever seen.


Book review: The Future of Music.

Make a bad law? Just fix the parts that appeal to you.

Just like music can be converted to ringtones so you don't have to buy them again, this little MPEG4 play allows video conversion for mobile devices.

More details of the Comcast leak. ArsT calls it extortion, and the method does seem to be a little over the top.

Music battles over mobiles. Why buy the whole song when you can get the ringtone for...$2.50.

More DVD format wars.

Pre-release piracy to be criminalized.

SNIU, and just plain cool.

Interesting solution for software patents.

Monetizing online game posessions. Gives a whole new meaning to IP.


Make your own ringtone from music you already own. Fair use.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

DMCA abuse.
There's no place like Penn....
Hollywood changing, at least the production side of it.
Torn about film sanitizing.
Next-next-gen DVD discs.
Geist on huge industry tarrifs
Slate on the Fiona mess.
Open music samples.
What the Cartel thinks.

HRRC endorces DRMCA.
In other news ABCD kills WXYZ.

More of BBC CA.

The RIAA is going after Grouper, something clearly intended as SNIU.
Particularly interesting since the Grokster trial largely centered
around intent.,1,4458442.story?ctrack=1&cset=true
The entertainment industry may be taking issue with yet another
file-swapping program: This time it's Grouper, a system that lets people
create their own peer-to-peer networks of 30 or fewer people. Grouper
doesn't let its users download MP3s or search for files on other
people's private networks, but some industry lawyers say they still
consider the software a useful tool for music and movie pirates.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Next-gen DVD format news. And analysis.

DRM snake oil?

Behavioral experiment on music preferences from Columbia.


DRM analysis.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

A Globe editorial with some lovely disingenuous arguments.

Sue the President.

More Canadian copyright controversy.

New cell phone initiative.


Friday, April 15, 2005

Jupiter Research says MP3 players reaching critical mass. Seems logical enough.

ESS sued for releasing DVD decoding chips to those without the MPAA's blessing.

A true crack for Napster DRM may be near.


Filesharing conference at a certain location in upstate NY.

The next copy protection scheme is released for next-gen DVD formats. Doesn't look like they learned much from the rapid cracking of the original CSS. One scary feature is that they have the right to revoke any given model of player's ability to play any discs if it is compromised. When does a device you own still really stay yours?

Bill to free the Internet from FCC jurisdiction.

Hollywood looking to BitTorrent. SNIU

Maya design SNIU.

Protecting digital 'property' without legislation. DRM and lack of anonymity are the answer, apparently.

A podcast search engine.

WIPO summary.

Actors' Union blocks CC-licensed film.

Why VZ challenged the early RIAA subpoenas.


Thursday, April 14, 2005


Australian pop star not on legal downloads services yet.

P2P cultural games.

So much effort required to allow free sharing of a speech.

Labels dump their attempt to produce their own online download store.

Running the numbers.

Michael Geist on Canada's equivalent to the DMCA harming medical research.

Apparently MPAA missed a major deadline for something or the other; can't read full story, because I hate registering.

Fired for legal activity. A casualty in the RIAA's unsubtle definition of filesharing. As such things as this and ISP crackdowns on all P2P traffic, are we creating a new kind of orphan work, one which results from ignorance of the details of the law? Confusion can be powerful--self-censorship often takes tolls far beyond what official censorship would truly punish. Witness the Saving Private Ryan cancellation in the wake of the Janet Jackson episode.

P2P and the rule of law. I've been shocked in the past by people who I know are major infringers--to the tune of hundreds and hundreds of movies and thousands of songs, who spend hours upon hours collecting content--argue vehemently that things like pirating only works more than 28 years old (Founder's copyright) would be morally wrong. It's a strange view that argues for acceptance of the RIAA theme of "all piracy is bad for society and thus wrong," even among those who defy the conclusion, "therefore don't share." Another odd example, Penn's ITAs put up posters saying "Your mother taught you to share; your mother was wrong." I always thought those posters were a potent reflection of the weakness of the RIAA's fundamental argument, and that filesharing was a brilliant term, reflecting a need to do a better job of owning the terminology in the debate. "Filesharing" not "piracy," "infringers" not "pirates."

Update from Freenet

Posted to the Freenet announce group. One of my favorite projects is moving along again. --Ari

People could be forgiven for thinking that the project had somewhat stagnated given the lack of activity on these mailing lists, so I wanted to provide an update because this could hardly be further from the truth.

Oskar Sandberg, Matthew, and I have been developing some ideas for 0.7 which represent an even more fundamental architectural shift than have been proposed to-date, and which should address one of the most fundamental shortcomings of Freenet as it relates to Freenet's usage in a hostile environment, and which I believe represents a significant new innovation in the P2P-space.

As most people will be aware, Oskar was one of the core Freenet developers in the first few years of the project. He is now working on a PhD in Mathematics. Over the past few months he and I have been collaborating on gaining a much deeper mathematical understanding of how Freenet does what it does. While this work is far from complete, it has given us some extremely useful insights and much more confidence in determining what aspects of Freenet's design work well, which don't, and why.

To understand the new idea, I should start with some theoretical background. Consider a simple "graph". A graph in the mathematical sense consists of a set of nodes, some of which are connected to each-other. At this stage nodes don't have a position in space, all we know or care about them is which nodes are connected to each-other. We can assume that connections are bi-directional.

The "diameter" of a graph is the minimum number of nodes you must go through to get from any one particular node to any other particular node in the graph. Note that it may not be easy to find this path, but the important thing is that it exists.

There is a mathematical result which tells us what kind of graphs have a small diameter. Basically imagine we have three nodes, A is connected to B, and A is also connected to C. The mathematical result says that if, given that both are connected to A, there is an increased probability that B is connected to C, then the graph will have a small diameter.

So, if we have a graph that has this property then we know that we *can* get from any one node to another in a small number of steps, but we don't necessarily know *how*.

Now imagine that each node in the graph has a position in space, this can be 1 dimensional, 2 dimensional, 20 dimensional space, it doesn't matter too much. Imagine that we want to get from one particular node in this graph to another particular node. A simple approach is, from our starting node, go to whichever node we are connected to is closest to the node we want to get to. This approach will work quickly in a graph that is a "small world". In essence, a small world graph is where there is a higher probability that nodes which are close together are connected than nodes which are far apart.

In the ideal case, the probability that two nodes are connected is proportional to 1/(d^n) where d is the distance between them, and n is the number of dimensions in the space in which our nodes reside. This mathematical result is due to Kleinberg.

A small-world graph therefore not only has a small diameter, but provides an efficient means to find it.

Anyway, back to the story. One of Freenet's weaknesses in terms of its usefulness in a hostile environment, is that while its goal is to make it very difficult to determine who is publishing and reading what, it doesn't make it all that difficult to determine who is running a Freenet node. This could be problematic in a situation where the act of running a Freenet node is itself sufficient to incur the wrath of one's oppressors. Those oppressors can just harvest Freenet node addresses one by one, it wouldn't be easy, but it wouldn't be impossible either.

The only real way to address this is to limit the nodes your Freenet node talks to to people whom you are confident are not working on behalf of your oppressor. In effect this is the same idea employed by "darknets", but the problem with darknets is that they don't scale. We are talking about a darknet that could potentially scale to millions of users.

Initially it was felt that NGR would allow us to do this, but when, based on Oskar's and my research, we realised how fundamental the network topology is to the small world principal, we felt that we wouldn't be able to maintain a small world link structure if we weren't able to automatically create links to new nodes.

But then we remembered that human relationships already tend to form small-world networks (this is the origin of the whole small world idea), this was a key realisation. If we have a network created by linking people who know each-other, we know that the network will have a small diameter, simply because that is how human relationships work (ie. if I know John, and I know Fred, then there is a greater probability that John knows Fred than of two randomly selected people knowing each-other).

But, for a network of low-diameter to be useful, we need to turn it into a small world network, and this means each node in the network needs a "position" in space such that Kleinberg's topology holds. Our first thought was that NGR might be able to do this. Matthew has been running some experiments to test this theory, and results so-far have been promising but not yet conclusive.

Meanwhile Oskar and I have been testing some alternative algorithms for achieving this should NGR fail to do what we need it to do. We have also had some success in this regard, but again, nothing conclusive yet.

Assuming we can find a good algorithm for assigning positions or "identities" to nodes, we are in a pretty good situation as we can now efficiently route requests for data in our globally scalable darknet.

Anyway, that is where things stand right now - as can be seen it is still a work in progress, but I hope people agree that this is an exciting and promising new direction for Freenet that remains true to Freenet's ultimate goals. If successful, Freenet will be a globally scalable darknet and will be resistant to a whole class of "harvesting" attacks.

Lastly, however, I need to point out that our current funding situation is not healthy, as anyone can see by looking at the website. As a result, if anyone out there wants to support this effort, and many already have, then please visit the website and make a donation so that Matthew doesn't starve while he works on this stuff.

All the best,


Founder, The Freenet Project
CEO, Cematics Ltd
Personal Blog

Stifling rates for MPEG DRM lowered.

Progress in the next format war?

Sony still doesn't get it.

Gore TV's model may be difficult to pull off.

P2P fuels global bandwidth binge. Given as right after the bubble the excess capacity was a huge worry for economists, I should think this is a positive.

Piracy in China.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

More on the IBM patent release. And a call for patent reform.

Presidential piracy. "The president also has an eclectic mix of songs downloaded into his iPod from Mark McKinnon, a biking buddy and his chief media strategist during the 2004 campaign." A nice illustration of just how far the social norms campaign of the RIAA has to go.

Commentary on the Fiona Apple third album issue.

Orphan works.

Skypecasting--perversion of a SNIU. Control is impossible.

OECD report.

DMCA library exemption.

WIPO meeting.

Grokster commentary.

More British content to be available soon.

RIAA readies another U. blitz. Hard to see how the I2 can be targeted if the RIAA can't access it.

Computer-aided music distribution.

The controversy over P2P's effect on music sales.


Sunday, April 10, 2005

TV changing.

Lessig speaks in NYC.

Music download service review.

The other format wars.

Analysis of P2P's effect on music sales.

Napster shows year-end numbers.

More on Naxos, the NY case.

Copyright wars down under.

Supreme court ends debate in Skylink case. That's one fewer abuse of the DMCA.

Content industry wishlist.

NASA uses BitTorrent. SNIU

Piracy as strawman.

Morality as strawman.

Nice analysis of a recent paper.

If correlation implies causation....


Friday, April 08, 2005

Google wants your home videos. Yes, even porn.

Yet another form of non-P2P 'piracy.'

Register opinion on online movie stores.

The downside to centralized communications.

Reality TV meets politics meets the Internet.

The NYTimes puts Grokster in historical perspective.

Congress unified DRM hearing.

New FCC chairman on deregulation and decency.

Canada DMCA-like law battle rages on.

EFF guide to anonymous blogging.

EU software patent threats.

Content companies once again hinder progress with cold feet.

Using a company name in your URL does not constitute copyright infringement.


Thursday, April 07, 2005

Grokster transcript

It's a good read, actually. My favorite exerpt is a little dig that
Taranto gets in at the MGM lawyer: Page 38
MR. TARANTO: Let me suggest why that's not odd
17 and why the cases are not just different, but critically
18 different. Napster rests -- never mind the exact words of
19 the opinion -- Napster involves something more than
20 distribution of a product. Napster, the company, was
21 sending out, in response to requests, "Where is this
22 filed," an answer, the information, "The file is here."
23 Every time it sent out that information, if it had been
24 told by Mr. Verrilli's client, "That file may not be
25 shared," it was, with specific knowledge to that file, giving assistance.

Note line 24, pointing out Verrilli's former affiliation with Napster


v. Grokster transcript is out.
They really do seem to be arguing
for an active infringement doctrine. MGM lawyer: "It's not just the
absence of commercially significant noninfringing uses that demonstrates
contributory infringement."

testimony on interoperability.

on libraries/digital info.
There's another point here, though, that
the same high-thoroghput techniques they intimate will spread because of
Google could bring about a bloom of P2P piracy of books.

takedown notice.
Fulfilling an unmet market need for free just
ain't the business it used to be.

50% of infringers use networks other than P2P.
This is a huge finding.

argues that CDs make more sense than DRM.
Could this be the real
goal of DRM on CD? To prevent the analogy to the old way of doing
things as the Industry argues for greater control?

IM, P2P threats

was like winning the lottery, but backwards," Vique said, referring to
the odds of being targeted among millions of users.

on Demand.

29% of MP3 player
owners have downloaded a podcast.

sees P2P as an advantage.

Lower income
contries slowly move towards piracy enforcement.


High Court upholds what amounts to an extension of copyright.

from the man who invented the Internet?
"The new network, planned
for an Aug. 1 premiere, will enable Internet users to send video content
through the online system "to help us make the viewer-created content
that will be a large and growing part of what we put on the air," Gore
said. "

a TiVo mod that doesn't hurt consumers and bolsters advertisers.

Policy conference.


flag defense.



Major update to Did a major reorganization in the last few days, and it now has a nice little heirarchial table of contents and is in wiki form.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Lessig and co. are hosting another conference at Stanford.


A campaign to post SNIUs to P2P networks. The campaign itself. The SNIU campaign wiki page I threw together for them to track the results.

Found footage festival.

Wired predicts net distribution.

Mix tape as creative force.

College downloads.

DVD Jon interview.

Slow worldwide rollouts spawn BT threat.

Google video.

The difficulty of enforcing national bans on information, even without P2P.

The return of fair use?

Patent databases cause problems for inventors.


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Audio recording

In light of the recent WinAmp/Napster controversy, here are some utilities that can be used to exploit what amounts to something in between an analog loophole and a digital one, but what's commonly known as the principle of fair use of equipment the consumer buys:
Rogue Abmoeba's software.

A list of a few dozen pieces of software.

From Microsoft.

Ejoysoft's instructions.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

DVD profit margins double that of VHS. At least at MGM. Unclear whether the information was meant to be public or not.

Ask /. on how to survive without labels.

Patents and science.

Nice April 1 prank.


Economist on France and Google.


Friday, April 01, 2005

Sony online movie store.

Another paid P2P.
Anonymous speech with Tor/Privoxy.

Orphan works comments. Over 700 of them. Impressive.

TV and P2P.

Variety of open-source programs like Poisoned would keep Grokster's network alive even after a potential shutdown.

Another misconception. I'm pretty sure it's illegal to download a copyrighted work, even if you own it. Time-shifting is legal; space-shifting is not.

Interview with Anatomic P2P developer--decentralized BT.

Data on music services.

iPod demographics.

Truth in advertising?

One step forwards....

To promote the progress of the useful arts and sciences.

Miller roasts bad editorials.



Hundred-year-old legal precedent to overturn Grokster? Or April fool's?

Space-shifting and Grokster.

More 100-year-old legal precedent.


More on the real pirates.
"Most people I spoke to later agreed that, if one followed the money-and-production trail all the way back, one would eventually arrive at the [Chinese] government—although which government, local, regional, or national, was a question."

Hollywood tries the make-fewer strategy the RIAA used. Fewer movies released, total sales go down, sales per movie go's the fault of P2P.