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:

Thursday, June 30, 2005

One item in the iTunes release that has seen surprisingly little comment: publish your podcast to iTMS. With GarageBand, Apple really seems to be moving towards allowing end users to commercialize content easily. At the same time, they haven't been making it easy for indie labels to get into iTMS. Could this be the ultimate goal? Use the major labels for legitimacy and then eliminate the middlemen for anything that isn't a member of the RIAA? Ok, that's a stretch, but Apple's continuing moves to promote increasing professionalism in the amateur space are impressive, and a good business move for them given that the pro sound and visual space is where they have their strongest history.
And some more news from another marketplace that's beginning to look a lot like online music stores.

"This latest release lets you search only pages your friends (address book, Messenger buddies or Yahoo! 360 contacts) have bookmarked and recommended." Social bookmarks move mainstream. More collaborative filtering.

A new Internet? Seems like a bad idea for a few reasons. One is that a more restrictive framework designed to stifle spammers can easily be used to stifle others. Another is that it gives ammunition to the claims of censoring nations such as China when they try to build their own networks.

Credit reports. Not usually fodder for posting, but one quote cuts deep in light of the ACS/PubChem debate right now: "Chapman called the legislation unconstitutional and un-American because it cuts into profits."

Old news already, but DVD Jon broke the Google Video scheme in a day.

Patent laws are making progress.

Creation through derivation.


12% is still a lot for a public interest.

Some sort-of reasonable analysis of format wars.

Felten dissects a GAO study of P2P networks and comes to the opposite conclusion of the study itself. Porn Rare on P2P; Filters Ineffective. It's sad that Congress will only get the official conclusion.

And a cool example of Fair Use.

The Daily Grokster
I'll start with Miller's roundup, 'cause it's most all the commentary out there.
Grokster may haunt Podcasting. "Apple's new podcasting service could be in a sticky situation if podcasters post copyrighted material, thanks to Monday's Grokster decision by the Supreme Court, some experts say." But wait, it's already happening with Google's brand new video service.
The Times coins a term for the Grokster doctrine. "don't ask, don't sell"
The Register has a different term for the ruling. "Confusing sin and sinner."
Sony and Mashboxx hook up.
Joe talks of digital communications systems which leave no trace, simply as a method of covert communications to avoid an intent ruling under Grokster. I wonder, on sort of a tangent, how this fits in with the 'everything's a copy' paradox of the digital age. Say you used such a system to share a song with a friend. Such a communication would still be a copy or perhaps many copies, but the movie industry would generally say that it is not, and I'm not sure the Court would disagree. In this world of implications-based tests, they might well see that as analagous to playing the song over at your friend's house. But taking it just one step further, I can't see them agreeing with the statement that this is substantially similar to downloading a song from a friend off a P2P network and then deleting it afterwards, even though to a machine the two are exactly the same. The conclusion here is disturbing. When the action is controlled by code, it is permitted. When it relies on humans doing the right thing, it is not.
Prof. Wu doesn't have a problem with the Grokster ruling. I've been wavering back and forth, but am generally inclined to agree. Certainly there will be a flood of uncertainty and lawsuits, but as Wu says, that's the case in many fields of law. The real problem is just the assymetry of free capital to spend on lawyers between entrenched interests and startups.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A new music industry strategy....

I'm behind in my linking (have them opened at work, but didn't have a spare minute to post them today), so I think this comes before the link that it's based on, but Miller carrying discussion of Cohen's manifesto being a joke, wrote: "the Supreme Court seems to have left the door open to a "taint by association" for technology companies. So, if one company is found to be an active inducer, subsequent companies built on the same technology seem to have one strike against them already. And if you get one strike, the strike zone gets much bigger."
So a new industry strategy: start companies with the worst possible intent down on paper, then sue them out of existence. Not only can they control derivative works, but now they can control derivative businesses as well. Almost certainly not practical because the scheme would have to be on such a massive scale as to be impossible, but an interesting thought experiment nonetheless.


The Register on blog and mainstream coverage of Grokster.

MS and RSS.

Germany goes after 15K Warez buyers. So if it's possible to go after the masses, why do we need Grokster?

More format wars. And more.

The legal campaign against Indymedia continues.

IPTV standards body formed. And Video Blogs added to one provider's offerings.

Frivilous trademark suits. More trademark law. And patents (fee diversion) And the patent office remains no better organized than the Copyright office, despite spending lots of money on it.

-Speculation has mostly focused on the next target. BitTorrent is a favorite. C.f. FTT.
-Miller's coverage here and here and analysis here and here worth a read.
-Patry disappointed with the wimpiness of the ruling.
-There was no music stock movement on the announcement.

Movie slump, natural causes, not too much accusations of P2P at fault. Is this a tacit admission that the causality is weak-to-nonexistant between filesharing and sales slumps?
-Interesting Picker thread about the practical implications of the Grokster test.
-"Read in light of today's opinion, for instance, a laywer should translate Apple's "Rip. Mix. Burn." into a simple "Sue. Me. Now.""

Public info online via hard work.

DRM lowers prices? No, competition lowers prices. Just ask drug companies.


Monday, June 27, 2005

Non-Grokster news

Yesterday's Dilbert on patents. While I was looking this up (originally saw it in local paper here), I noticed that when you go to the Dilbert site it shows you today's clip, and then a button, "Buy this clip." Now there's a concept for you. It would deserve further comment, except that the Court today seemed to take it as a given that massive infringement doesn't necessarily significantly harm profits.

Yummy, alpha. Social PDF bookmarking service. And they link to another service, PrintFu. Both cool services. Both might actually pass the Grokster test.

More software patent bruhaha.

The Register gets it wrong, sort of. "and that the P2P firms made little to no effort to curb illegal file-trading." While they did say this, as I summarized before, making little effort to censor the network by itself does not appear to be sufficient evidence of intent. It will be interesting to see how this case continues to play itself out in the media.

"A sacked TV pilot about a large number of people who stay in touch through an underground data network has popped up on ... well, an underground data network."
"The pilot's unauthorized distribution is "unacceptable and illegal ... no matter what the underlying motives" and said the company hasn't ruled out taking legal action "when it comes to stopping the illegal distribution of our copyright material."" No lessons learned....

Our news world narrows again. Reading only channels which support your view is becoming a bigger and bigger problem, but now you can filter out anything that possibly isn't related. Kind of worrisome, but like all interesting new tech, has great potential for good as well.

Slate does another great in-depth examination of Hollywood financing.


Crawford: BrandX more important than Grokster. Given that Grokster didn't really decide that much, I'm inclined to agree.

From Professor Geist: "Though not core to the decision, I find Justice Breyer's willingness to question the economic impact of P2P on the recording industry noteworthy. Over the past three weeks, the OECD, FTC, and now the U.S. Supreme Court have all cast doubt on the linkage between P2P and declining music sales. That makes for a strong trio and should help move the debate beyond unsubstantiated claims of a direct correlation between file sharing and the recording industry's bottom line." from the WSJ roundtable. It's remarkable how bad the tech on that roundtable is. No permalinks to individual entries, and it reads backwards, so that the top of the page will forever contain commentary about not being able to comment too much becuase the text of the decision isn't out yet.

Notes from a pro-Grokster press conference.
Of note: "Quite concerned about a new theory of liability will be harmful" --VP of Technology Policy, of the Consumer Electronics Association
"Sony upheld. But if you consider Sony an umbrella and shield, it is now full of holes." --Edward Black, President and CEO of the Computer and Communications Industry Association

Patry: The Court Punts


"James Burger (11:13 a.m.) It is hard to comment at this juncture given that we do not have the text of the decision." From a WSJ Grokster roundtable. Which reminded me that I haven't yet posted links to the actual decision:
"No. 04-480, MGM Studios v. Grokster, reversed 9-0, in an opinion by Justice Souter. Justice Ginsburg concurred, joined by the Chief Justice and Justice Kennedy; and Justice Breyer concurred, joined by Justices Stevens and O'Connor." via SCOTUSblog

Ok, so the Picker mobblog has some good coverage, as expected given the quality of the professors doing the writing:
Two interesting posts, which basically say the decision seems to permit, rather than prohibit, future tech:

Interestingly, Hillary Rosen, the former RIAA head, wrote yesterday that, "Because while the victory of whoever wins maybe important psychologically, it just won.t really matter in the marketplace."


A few points on a quick readthrough:

* There seems to be a new test: intent to encourage infringement. "We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties."

* The ruling is in spite of acknowledgement of substantial, non-infringing uses of peer-to-peer networks: "Given these benefits in security, cost, and efficiency, peer-to-peer networks are employed to store and distribute electronic files by universities, government agencies, corporations, and libraries, among others."

* The court seems to find that the software companies' not storing of any data on central servers doesn't matter because they could just search and find out: "Although Grokster and StreamCast do not therefore know when particular files are copied, a few searches using their software would show what is available on the networks the software reaches." This seems a particularly weak argument to me, particularly given that they later acknowledge that finding information about what goes on in these networks is difficult: "no one can say how often the software is used to obtain
copies of unprotected material...."

* The court gets caught up in the scope of the infringement, calling it "the vast majority of users' downloads" (MGM claimed 90% and even this was disputed), and drawing the conclusion that "the probable scope of copyright infringement is staggering" given the total number of downloads. Note that this same argument could be used to show that the probable scope of non-infringing expression is staggering as well, as any percentage of the use of the "100 million copies of the software in question [...] known to have been downloaded" is going to be staggering.

* Despite the introduction, the real test seems to be knowledge of infringement again, as indicated in the search quote above, and here: "From time
to time, moreover, the companies have learned about their
users’ infringement directly, as from users who have sent
e-mail to each company with questions about playing
copyrighted movies they had downloaded, to whom the
companies have responded with guidance.6 App. 559–563,
808–816, 939–954. And MGM notified the companies of 8
million copyrighted files that could be obtained using their

* The court goes on to give evidence of actively inducing infringement, mostly on its leeching users from OpenNap. And perhaps a little irritation of the courts didn't help anything: "StreamCast even planned to flaunt the illegal uses
of its software; when it launched the OpenNap network,
the chief technology officer of the company averred that
“[t]he goal is to get in trouble with the law and get sued.
It’s the best way to get in the new[s].”"

* The court decries the lack of efforts to filter the material from the networks, even turning down offers to help and blocking the IPs of monitoring individuals.

* II A is very interesting, as they take into account technological innovation but rule that the decision doesn't affect it overly: "The more artistic
protection is favored, the more technological innovation
may be discouraged; the administration of copyright law is
an exercise in managing the trade-off." "As the case has been presented to us,
these fears are said to be offset by the different concern
that imposing liability, not only on infringers but on distributors
of software based on its potential for unlawful
use, could limit further development of beneficial technologies."

* The rule-of-law argument crops up: "The indications are that the ease of copying songs or movies using software like Grokster’s and Napster’s is fostering disdain for copyright protection."

* They offer that someone must be held accountable, and that suing 100 million users proves impractical: "When a widely shared service or
product is used to commit infringement, it may be impossible
to enforce rights in the protected work effectively
against all direct infringers, the only practical alternative
being to go against the distributor of the copying device for
secondary liability on a theory of contributory or vicarious

* "One infringes contributorily by intentionally inducing or
encouraging direct infringement," "and infringes vicariously by profiting from direct infringement while declining to exercise a right to stop or limit it,"

* The Sony test is still alive, but unclarified: "It is enough to note that the Ninth Circuit’s judgment rested on an erroneous understanding of Sony and to leave further consideration of the Sony rule for a day when that may be required." This goes back to the intent to infringe--when present, SNIU is not a defense. "Sony’s rule limits imputing culpable intent as a matter of law from the characteristics or uses of a distributed product. But nothing in Sony requires courts to ignore evidence of intent if there is such evidence, and the case was never meant to foreclose rules of fault-based liability derived from the common law."

* They hold to the reproduction terminology: "As mentioned before, Grokster and StreamCast reply by citing evidence that their software can be used to reproduce
public domain works." Distribution is probably a better term for such actions, as (Miller?) has often said, 'copying' means nothing in a world where everything's a copy.

* There seems to be surprisingly little in the ruling debating whether or not Grokster et al. could actually stop infringement. It is taken as a given, instead, which is not at all the case.

* They lay out three features of the intent, and provide evidence for each:
"First, each company showed itself to be aiming to
satisfy a known source of demand for copyright infringement,
the market comprising former Napster users."
"Second, this evidence of unlawful objective is given
added significance by MGM’s showing that neither company
attempted to develop filtering tools or other mechanisms
to diminish the infringing activity using their software."
Third, the more the use, the greater their profit, thus they had incentive to encourage infringement. "This evidence alone would not justify an inference of
unlawful intent, but viewed in the context of the entire
record its import is clear.
The unlawful objective is unmistakable."

So, a summary:
- Sony is intact, and the wording of the test seems to be clarified (there were multiple different versions in the original): "substantial noninfringing commercial uses."
- Clear evidence of intent to encourage infringement makes the Sony test irrelevant.
- Failure to attempt to filter the infringing materials can be held as evidence of infringement, although it is not clear that such failure would be sufficient without the other evidence of intent. This point is the only really disappointing one to me, in that it holds the significant possibility of hampering technological innovation. The entire Internet consists of technologies which could easily be used for infringement (and in many cases are, c.f. USENET, IRC), but that a filtering requirement would kill. Moreover, the more decentralized a network, the more unfortunate a filtering requirement becomes.

Overall, although the unanimity is a little shocking, this is not a terrible thing for the Internet.


Justice Ginsberg's concurring opinion holds a little differently. The dispute here is over the 9th granting summary judgement. "The District Court declared it “undisputed that there are substantial noninfringing uses for Defendants’ software,
” thus obviating the need for further proceedings. 259 F. Supp. 2d, at 1035. This conclusion appears to rest almost entirely on the collection of declarations submitted by Grokster and StreamCast. Ibid. Review of these declarations reveals mostly anecdotal evidence, sometimes obtained second-hand, of authorized copyrighted works or public domain works available online and shared through peer-to-peer networks, and general statements about the benefits of peer-to-peer technology." In Ginsberg's writings, the question of SNIU appears central. "Even if the absolute number of noninfringing files copied using the Grokster and StreamCast software is large, it does not follow that the products are therefore put to substantial noninfringing uses and are thus immune from liability." I think what he goes on to say is that infringing files are more popular, so even if many different varieties were available, the sharing of the infringing files would still likely dwarf the SNIUses.
"Further, the District Court and the Court of Appeals did not sharply distinguish between uses of Grokster’s and StreamCast’s software products (which this case is about) and uses of peer-to-peer technology generally (which this case is not about)." This is often a problem for me in maintaining It's clear that P2P has many SNIUs, but finding SNIU on the mainstream P2P networks is difficult.

In short, Ginsberg holds that SNIU is the critical test here, and that more debate is needed to determine whether or not Grokster et al. pass that test.


Brand X also ruled on

Big day, not a good one.


Incredible. Whodathunkit? Guess things are going to move further underground now.


"The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that developers of software violate federal copyright law when they provide computer users with the means to share music and movie files downloaded from the internet."

The Self Archive Campaign started today, with the hanging of 5 posters at UAB.


More poorly-written laws which move towards censorship. The saddest part is that such laws don't have a hope of actually stopping the flood of semi-pornographic e-mails. Time for some gratuitious Franklin quotage: "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty or safety."

I still haven't figured out why Australia has become the most restrictive copyright-enforcing regime in the world, but they sure have.

1K books, 8K dollars.

Google Video finally launches.

At least they don't have to clear copyrights on all that.

Indie online music store profile.


Sunday, June 26, 2005

I think I've already posted this link, but wanted to point out this:
"The biggest problem was granting Most Favored Nation status. [Granting a rights holder Most Favored Nation status requires giving them the highest fee you pay for a comparable song. For example, if Warner Chappell asks $10,000 for a clip but you have to license a Sony clip for $12,000, you'd have to also give Warner Chappell $12,000 if it has MFN status. - ed.] I would only agree to that for the classics. Things like Frank Sinatra hits." These high profits are why there's such an incentive for CTEA-like retroactive term extensions. Too bad those old guys were so good, because the incentive is not so good.

NYTimes article on new media old media. The guy with the typewriter heading it all is just classic.

USPTO does its job again! And some patent abuse.

S115 still boiling. And more.

Miller's latest pre-Grokster roundup, including a Hillary Rosen piece that is definitely worth a read. Choice Rosen quote, in which she denies the recent studies of questionable methodology claiming iTMS is second: "These services have traffic at a rate 40 to 50 times the traffic of legitimate sites."

The SCOTUSblog link for Grokster coverage. That and the Picker Mobblog should be two amazing sources for commentary and info tomorrow, if tomorrow's the day.


I've proposed an alternate fix to this mess: “Musician Donations Anonymous". Why not allow those who don't pay for their music to make direct micro-payments to the artists?
Posted by Daniel H to GrafoDexia at 6/23/2005 11:54:28 AM

I read your post Daniel. Micropayments would be great, but there's no mechanism for that coming out in the near future (they've been promised since the dark ages, however). Macropayments have worked for some artists outside the mainstream industry, which suggests that a micropayment system might work. The incentives might be different, however. The premise behind a micropayment system is something like the penny jar at store counters--no one cares about a few cents, so they'll give to feel good about it. The macropayment systems that have worked for artists that I've seen generally rely on appeals to the diehard fans and are somewhat extortionary, in that they claim that the music will not continue without their support (we'll call it "the NPR model"). Ultimately, though, I'm just not sure that either would scale to cover the whole industry, because suddenly you're not dealing with fans so much as casual listeners, and the donation becomes just one more lower price--and a dramatically lower one at that.


"Trying to marry decentralized file transfer with central control just doesn't seem like a magic bullet."
Well said! This was exactly what I was thinking when I saw this announcement. It's P2P, except with a central server, ie. without P2P.
Posted by Ethan Glasser-Camp to GrafoDexia at 6/26/2005 08:37:00 PM

Thanks. It's still P2P, however, but with a centralized control scheme overlaid. The only advantage I can see to such a network is that it offloads bandwidth costs to the end users. Now, if someone would come up with a scheme whereby the control and currency traveled back via P2P as well, that would be truly exciting. Perhaps it could work via a referral fee mechanism--if you could get on Kazaa or its ilk as an authorized dealer and successfully compete with the infringing files you would send a percentage of that to the company that provided the music. But we're not going to see any experimentation in that direction, because there's no market for it since the RIAA member entities won't buy.



Today is the one year anniversary of the blog/archiving. The e-mails have been going on for a few months more than that. Seems like it hasn't been that long, but I guess a year isn't so long anyway.

UPDATE: Well, this wasn't supposed to publish for another few weeks, but Blogger messed up, so here it is.

It's an oft-made argument, at least by lobbyists for a certain industry, that piracy hurts the economy. From an economic perspective, the argument that not spending money on any item hurts the economy is a little weak, given the offsetting effects of personal savings. But the issue is thrown into particular relief by a quote from this study I linked to earlier on software piracy: ' "Teenagers are being tactical spenders," said Dr Bryce. "The money saved lets them spend more on mobile phones, going to the cinema or eating out." ' So if there is a fixed pool of capital among teens, the prime infringers, and that capital is spent on real property with high global opportunity cost (e.g. others are denied the good) instead of on IP (with low global opp. cost), is there a net gain to society?
Simplistic model- say a teenager has a $50 entertainment budget. Games (or the IP item of your choice) are $25 apiece and provide utility according to the function Ug=25-5x (so first item provides 20 utils, second provides 15, etc.). Eating out (avoiding cinema for clarity's sake because that's also IP with low marginal cost) costs $10 with a utility function Ue=50-10x (not sure about the assumption inherent here--that marginal utility is higher for the first meal than for games, but declines more rapidly as you run out of hunger to satiate and friends to dine with--because MU declines pretty darn quickly for games since each takes up so much limited leisure time).
So, looking at some budgetary possibilities:
0g, 5e: 100 utils
1g, 2.5e: 100 utils [not a great example because of the fractions]
2g, 0e: 35 utils
Not a great model at all, but it's good enough for 2am.
So focusing on the first two possibilities, moving from two to one with the additional purchase of a (we're going to assume free) pirated game. Now we have 120 utils within the same budget. So clearly if society were just made of consumers, the picture would be easy.
So we come to the reason I started writing this in the first place. Which is better for producers? The question can basically be boiled down to, "Which item deserves more consumption?" since the marginal cost of the game is essentially zero. Another way of phrasing the question that shifts the whole debate is, "How distortionary is the pirated purchase?" since the method of purchase means that market cues for value cannot be used. This distortionary effect clearly must have a cost, and I'm sure someone's written a paper on it at some point.
The final factor, closely linked with the previous one, is the effect on incentive to invest. This is why the distortionary effect matters.

Anyway, don't think there's anything truly new here, but I'm going to wiki it and keep pondering. I'm way past my level of econ here, so it's posted and if mysterious angels happen to come play and fix all the little gaps and come up with a nice model, that would be great, but I'm going to go to sleep now, which is the proper time and place for dreams....


Copyright as culture. More.

Nice summary of Second Life. More Second Life news.

Smart. Really smart. Extension of an SNIU.

Grokster reader's guide.

Shady RIAA accounting. I wrote about it here, and George Ziemann had done much more even before I started working on mine (rant warning).
More funny accounting from another four-letter-clad organization.

Must-see TV (ads).

Tie-ins with norms battle news item of the day.

Grokster coverage
Hollywood Reporter article on Grokster. Surprisingly balanced.
From the new Picker MobBlog.
Miller's take on the coverage.

Libertarian dissociates property from IP. Perhaps the greatest framing victory ever was labeling IP property. I've tried avoiding using the term, and it just fails. The InfoAnarchy group, when it was just getting started, had a whole long conversation about what to call it instead, and came up with no satisfactory alternatives. The term is here to stay. But the concept is simply destructive, because IP has the potential to violate the most fundamental rule of property--two people can't own the same item--with spectacular results, but only if it is allowed to behave like something distinct from property. So when someone can come up with a good term for IP besides IP, I'll be the first to switch over.
My other little pet terminology war is with "content creator" versus "content controller" (here I'm generally successful in avoiding "content owner," because controller still seems plenty clear to me). This came up in the Peters testimony frequently, and she regrettably conflated the two concepts several times.

Broadcast flag.

50% PVR adoption by 2009.
Miller does the sentimentalist in me proud:
"I disagree. It's not about the number of hits you get, it's about the knowledge produced. My contribution may be small, my readership not even a blip compared to Instapundit, but I believe my contribution worthwhile. And, for the reasons I've shown above, I encourage others who think they can move the knowledge ball down the field, if only a little, to give it a try. For all this talk of power law distributions and A-lists, the creation of knowledge is not pre-determined. Newton may have stood on the shoulders of giants, but he also stood on the shoulders of guys who weren't so giant, who filled in the gaps, who made a small contribution. They may be forgotten now, but they contributed. If I can contribute, I'll be happy."

They get it? We'll see, but it does seem like this might be a great example of new media in action.

Most of the above comes via Ernest Miller's scarily prolific blog.

Nice tale of how remix culture can rapidly turn to political speech.

PLoS Biology finally has an impact factor, and it's pretty darn good.

Daily dose of Patry.


Saturday, June 25, 2005

Professor Lessig on S115. Criticism of Lessig's criticism. And more, by Miller. I think the back and forth is happening because of the proposal was ambivalent in the true dictionary sense of the word, pulled in two directions. On the one hand, putting all the rights in one place is clearly the right decision in this world of online stores. On the other, replacing a mechanism for compulsory licenses with a voluntary one, without counterbalancing this by reducing the monopoly power (Peters' one-MRO-per-work requirement), is a net negative.

MS adopts a CC license, and Lessig isn't surprised. I sure am, though. CC licenses really are an amazing concept, although they're deviously simple. Just like the GPL, they use the existing laws to release rights, and provide a hint that, as much as the battle is against Congress passing more stupid laws, it's really a culture war first and foremost. The Broadcast Flag victory (for now) certainly makes it clearer than ever that as long as enabling technologies are given enough time to become entrenched, the freedom to tinkerers will have a broad enough base to preserve fair uses present and uses future.

Have a bunch more links which I'll add later tonight, and then it's probably no more until after Grokster; trying to give Joel a clear summary of the case, as much as will be possible between Western blots.


Wired on authorized P2P. All of this misses the point: most consumers don't really care how it's distributed, they just want the social aspects (and price) of the commonly used P2P networks. If the lawsuits can succeed in making everyone hide their libraries, and if the official services can offer the social experience of filtering by exploring the library of someone whose taste you enjoy, then they will succeed. But there's no reason why a centralized network couldn't do just the same thing, without the bandwidth issues of one-to-one P2P (as opposed to something like BitTorrent or more advanced protocols). Right now, the only real net gain from the authorized P2P services really seems to be accruing to the store operators by offloading bandwidth costs onto consumers, and the price doesn't really drop in a manner commensurate with that.
Anyway, there are many ways the social aspects could be improved with, e.g. iTMS. If Apple really cared about selling more tracks (vs. selling more iPods), they might more closely link the biggest social aspect of iTunes in with iTMS (having a buy me button show up when you view shared libraries on your local network, for instance). Authorized P2P may yet succeed, but if it does it will be because they have found new ways to make the experience of finding music better in a way that the early P2P services did, not because of any magic in P2P. Trying to marry decentralized file transfer with central control just doesn't seem like a magic bullet.
/. coverage of authorized P2P.

Speaking of large corporations grabbing on to the latest craze.

Ars dissects the annual CD piracy report. Looks like it might be an uphill battle for them.

Is the patent reform movement finally starting to scare the USPTO into doing its job? Unlikely, but regardless of the cause, it would be a wonderful thing for the world if this was the start of real introspection on the USPTO's part.

First come the proof-of-concept cracks, then the easily-accessible-to-the-mass-market cracks, then the lawsuits. DRM remains a pipe dream.


Thursday, June 23, 2005

New ways of reading.

New ways of controlling your environment. Of course, new ways of invading it are ever more present by the day.

More real work from the edges, from my favorite childhood obsession.

EU patents.

More on the monetization of virtual property.

Grokster decision might be out Monday.

The real P2P insecurity.

Mercora's legal hacking, continued.


The FTC just put out a report on P2P.
"The report recommends that industry and government take steps so that consumers receive the many benefits from this technology while avoiding the risks that it creates."
At least there's a little skepticism of some of the traditional claims: "Consumers face risks when using commercial P2P file-sharing software programs, including risks related to data security, spyware and adware, viruses, copyright infringement, and unwanted pornography. There was little empirical evidence submitted in connection with the workshop, however, addressing whether these risks are greater with P2P file-sharing programs than with other Internet-related activities such as surfing websites, downloading software, and using e-mail or instant messaging."
And then says they believe in balance, but won't make recommendations until Grokster comes out.


Interesting bit of history I just came across...

"1993: Playboy Enterprises Inc. v. Frena

The Florida Northern District Court held that Frena, an electronic bulletin board operator, had violated Playboy's copyright when one of their photographs was digitized and placed on the bulletin board system by one subscriber and downloaded by another subscriber. According to the decision, "it does not matter that Defendant Frena may have been unaware of the copyright infringement. Intent to infringe is not needed to find copyright infringement. Intent or knowledge is not an element of infringement, and thus even an innocent infringer is liable for infringement; rather innocence is significant to a trial court when it fixes statutory damages, which is a remedy equitable in nature." "


UPDATE: Timely, as 18 USC 2257 went into effect a few hours ago.

CNN video goes free.

Wiki wades through war docs.

Register bashes industry claims.

The cover makes a comeback. Good timing given the discussion on Section 115 yesteryday. Speaking of which, there's more ,from the Silicon Valley Media Law Blog, and it's excellent coverage, and much less optimistic than everyone's (myself included) from yesterday.

Looks like no Grokster ruling today. Could be out Monday.


Clever move. Are they extending the concept of defensive portfolios as well? I'd guess so.

Small world.

Past, Present, Future of Research in the Information Society.

""News stories," Joshua Marshall once said, "have a 24 hour audition on the news stage, and if they don’t catch fire in that 24 hours, there’s no second chance. [...] But that's not the way world works anymore."


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Another video/stock deal.

Triple DES encryption for hard drives should open up major advances in privacy and users' control over their own data.

Ok, this is just cool.

Videoblogging and VOD roundup/

WaPo article on consumer resistance to CD copy protection. The industry is making a big tactical error here. Their entire press strategy rests of villifying new technologies while extolling the virtues of the old, so why are they allowing consumers a cetirus paribus experiment in what DRM does? Create a new format, add features, take away some rights, that's the only strategy that has a hope. And then phase out the old one so no one remembers what we used to have.

Of the coverage so far on this issue, tdmwl puts it best: "For the second time this month, a suspiciously glib “study” has been released that promotes the idea of authorized music downloading drawing even with P2P file-sharing."

Another attempt at controlling P2P.

More format wars.

Profile on accounting firm deploying P2P control software.

Radio on cellphones.

Active inducement Grokster prognosication.

Ok, so I stand a little corrected. I wrote yesterday that: "It's the people that matter." I meant to elaborate a little, but for whatever reason, didn't. If the service can be banned entirely (see article on accounting firm above), or if the mere possession of the service is a crime (as came up in a recent case with PGP), technological censorship is easy. If not, then a censor has to rely on massive amounts of manpower, which is why P2P succeeded in the U.S.--try censoring 60+ million people by hand.

Copyright abuse.

Alternative compensation.

Peters testimony roundup. Miller's roundup. Everyone seems very enamoured of it, but the fundamental problem remains: one MRO per work. That's no 'free market' as she claims it is. The streamlining is a big leap forward for online music stores, which seems to be her main concern.

Publishers ask Google for moratorium on scanning copyrighted books

Patry's addictive, I swear.

EFF broadcast flag campaign seems to be working.

Ode to Real. via Miller

Copyright Office Open Works comments and public roundtable discussions.

The Open Media 100.


Summary and some analysis of Peters' testimony

Marybeth Peters' proposal before Congress.

* She uses the term 'author' and 'copyright owner' interchangeably. Never a good sign.

* "Clarification that all reproductions of a nondramatic musical work made in the course of a digital phonorecord delivery (“DPD”) are within the scope of the Section 115 license." I can't tell if this means she thinks that every copy made in the course of delivering a digital file falls under one license, or whether each copy requires its own. I can't imagine she really believes that the latter option would be best, so going to assume the former--which looks like a good thing.

* In her list of outside proposals: "Creation of a complete and up-to-date electronic database of all nondramatic musical works registered with the Copyright Office." I've often remarked on how incredibly disorganized the Copyright Office is, even when visiting in person. This would be a nice step forward.

* From the same list, "Shifting to the sound recording copyright owner the burden of obtaining the rights for online music services." Perhaps a good step in correcting the imbalance of power and profit from online music.

* Same list, "Provision for an offset of the costs associated with filing Notices with the Office in those cases where the copyright owner wrongfully refuses service."

But Peters favors eliminating the source of the problem: statutory licensing itself: "Although some of these options may still be viable, my testimony today focuses on the elimination of the statutory license in favor of marketplace collective administration because that is the solution I believe is most likely not only to remedy today's problems, but perhaps more importantly, also to provide a workable solution for tomorrow's issues. Moreover, it is the solution that comports with the Copyright Office's longstanding policy preference against statutory licensing for copyrighted works and our preference that licensing be determined in the marketplace where copyright owners exercise their exclusive rights."

Regarding meetings between the National Music Publishers' Association, Inc. (“NMPA”) and its subsidiary The Harry Fox Agency, Inc. (“HFA”), the Digital Media Association (“DiMA”) and the Recording Industry Association of America, Inc. (“RIAA”): "The key parties were willing to consider a blanket license that, similar to the licenses for performance rights offered by organizations such as ASCAP and BMI, would relieve licensees of the burden of seeking separate licenses for each nondramatic musical work they wished to use. But on issues such as the scope of the license, the royalty rates and terms, and other issues, the parties were far apart."

She goes on to say that there is concensus that Section 115 needs to be fixed, and that prior attempts to incorporate digital advances into the statute have been mere band-aids, albeit useful ones. The Copyright Office long ago proposed the elimination of Section 115. "Section 115 and its predecessor have rarely been used as functioning compulsory licenses. Rather, it has served simply as a ceiling on the royalty rate in privately negotiated licenses."

So what does she hope to solve? "A new mechanism is needed to make it possible quickly and efficiently to clear the several of the exclusive rights of copyright for large numbers of works." "The reality of digital transmissions, though, is that in many situations today it is difficult to determine which rights are implicated and therefore whom a licensee must pay in order to secure the necessary rights. Faced with demands for payment from multiple representatives of the same copyright owner, each purporting to license a different right that is alleged to be involved in the same transmission, licensees end up paying twice for the right to make a digital transmission of a single work." Peters dodges the question of whether or not this 'double-dipping' is fair--although she leans towards saying it is, and even explicitly decries the use of the term. She goes on to say, "But whether or not two or more separate rights are truly implicated and deserving of compensation, it seems inefficient to require a licensee to seek out two separate licenses from two separate sources in order to compensate the same copyright owners for the right to engage in a single transmission of a single work."

She stresses the importance of streamlining the process for piracy deterrence:
" The increased transactional costs (e.g., arguably duplicative demands for royalties and the delays necessitated by negotiating with multiple licensors) also inhibit the music industry's ability to combat piracy. Legal music services can combat piracy only if they can offer what the “pirates” offer. I believe that the majority of consumers would choose to use a legal service if it could offer a comparable product. Right now, illegitimate services clearly offer something that consumers want, lots of music at little or no cost. They can do this because they offer people a means to obtain any music they please without obtaining the appropriate licenses. However, under the complex licensing scheme engendered by the present Section 115, legal music services must engage in numerous negotiations which result in time delays and increased transaction costs. In cases where they cannot succeed in obtaining all of the rights they need to make a musical composition available, the legal music services simply cannot offer that selection, thereby making them less attractive to the listening public than the pirates. Reforming Section 115 to provide a streamlined process by which legal music services can clear the rights they need to make music available to consumers will enable these services to compete with, and I believe effectively combat, piracy."

Other alternatives? "We have tried the regulatory approach, and it has failed. Perhaps it has failed because of insufficient regulation: if Section 115 were to be expanded to encompass a blanket license for all (or at least many more) uses of nondramatic musical works, at rates to be established by a mechanism similar to that which is employed with the other statutory licenses, record companies and online music services might finally be able to obtain the right to offer what consumers are clamoring for, and to provide appropriate compensation to composers and music publishers for the exercise of those rights. Last year I tried in vain to guide the interested parties to consensus on such a proposal, and I would not be disappointed to see such a proposal be adopted. Unfortunately, I do not believe the various parties will be able to reach a final agreement on such a proposal; if it is to be enacted, it most likely will have to be because you have concluded that it should be enacted notwithstanding the objections of some or all of the interested parties."
This fits with the impression that has been building until now, that despite Peters' talk of free-markets in the introduction, her objection is mainly to the double-licensing and its barriers to online music store catalog building, and that she will take anything that can streamline the process.

She aims her canon briefly at the PRO she has heretofore praised, for their real-world actions in inhibiting digital licensing, and then comes out with this:
"As always, my focus is primarily on the author. The author should be fairly compensated for all non-privileged uses of his work."
The few commentaries I've read so far mostly blast her for this, saying she should focus on the public good as well, but the next sentences seem to indicate that she meant it in opposition to focusing on the 'copyright owners:'
"Intermediaries who assist the author in licensing the use of the work serve a useful function. But in determining public policy and legislative change, it is the author - and not the middlemen - whose interests should be protected." This meaning is reinforced soon after, when she talks of a "balance between the rights of copyright owners and the needs of the users in a digital world."

Her proposal is to create Music Rights Organizations, similar to the ASCAP et. al of today, "authorized by a copyright owner to license the public performance of nondramatic musical works." Indeed, the current performing rights societies would automatically become MROs under her proposal. The key is the pairing of the two formerly divergent paths: "An MRO that is authorized to license public performance rights in nondramatic musical works would also be authorized to license reproduction and distribution rights for phonorecords of the same works." The proposal also attempts to eliminate the double dipping to some extent, by requiring that any license to publicly perform a work via digital methods also includes the requisite rights to do so (effectively acknowledging that all digital transmission is copying, and saying, 'so what? don't play games'). She later extends a similar framework to cover digital music sales.

And then the free-market turns out to be not so free:
"A copyright owner could not authorize more than one MRO to license the right to a particular nondramatic musical work at any given time. That is essentially what happens today with respect to the public performance right. This provision is necessary for the efficiency this proposal seeks to foster. By having only one MRO authorized at any time to license a particular nondramatic musical work, the prospective licensee can more efficiently identify which MRO it must contact to obtain a license, and the MRO can more easily calculate and account for the royalties owed to the copyright owner and any other applicable parties." In the final accounting, she's still thinking like a regulator. If someone can't find the second MRO, they'll just use the primary one. Moreover, if MROs have to compete for business, they might find it in their best interest to offer an easily accessible catalog of the works they can license. Instead, her proposal provides a regulation mechanism to ensure that they put forth lists of the works they can license. Then it discusses the potential anti-trust issues that limiting each work to a single MRO creates. Excuse me, but creating a monopoly and then setting about regulating it doesn't seem like the best idea unless there's absolutely no other choice.

The MROs aren't compulsory. For one, there are several of them. And a copyright controller need not even use them at all: "Copyright owners of course retain the ability to enter into direct licenses on whatever terms to which they choose to agree, as they always have. Nothing obligates a copyright owner to utilize a MRO, but the increased efficiency of that structure provides an incentive for them to do so, just as they have all utilized performing rights organizations. Copyright owners may also authorize as many entities as they wish to license mechanical rights (other than those involved in digital audio transmissions) for their nondramatic musical works."

It does seem like this proposal makes much sense, with the exception of the single-MRO-per-work requirement. Indeed, it may well be significantly overdue, given that "existing performing rights societies appear to have all of the data and resources necessary to be effective and immediate MROs," indicating the barriers to adoption were strictly legislative.


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Just think of the piracy implications of this sucker.


Adopt a Chinese blog. Ultimately, the human infrastructure is what drives the freedom of expression on the Internet. FreeNet has been in development for years, and PGP has been stable and secure for years, but most people don't use these tools (unfortunately). It's the people that matter, which is why the years of demonizing Napster without a viable alternative were so disastrous for the RIAA and its constituent members.

Cohen dismisses MS P2P software as vaporware.

As with most things P2Pnet, once you get past the rant, the idea is pretty solid.

"Rather than being content to recoup IP development costs indirectly by selling products based on new standards, vendors increasingly expect to be paid for the IP that they contribute." via Miller

The spread of unfreedom around the world continues.


Bad news for EU Patents.

LATimes Wikitorial experiment ends after repeated posting of obscene images. In the end, this may be the major failure of collaborative filtering. Applications with zero tolerance for problems simply may not be ever able to make it work. OTOH, if 99% is good enough, the results can be spectacular. And an obit.

It's sad that iPods need a sepearate program/hack to do this.

Interesting interpretations of a new study. I'd say the news is that 49%, which I'd guess is statistically indistinguisable from 50%, of those over 30 oppose banning P2P services. Of course, it's a little disturbing that half those over 30 agree with banning (or, more precisely, attempting to ban) a new technology simply because some of its uses are less than savory.

"Applications like IM, web conferencing and P2P, deployed by the end user and elusive at the network level are described by FaceTime as 'greynets'. Learn how to enable the good ones and block the bad."

"The success of the new Napster"?!

Blizzard v. BnetD More depth.



Free David.

More Patry. Actually, my post-Sept. 11 experiences photographing Congressmen and senators would seem to indicate that there's still startlingly little security surrounding them. Security around the president, however, was very tight, particularly for the press in this anti-media administration. Normally while shooting I overcome my natural disinclination to break rules and go hop over barriers and such to get the shot, but when three secret service persons say no, you tend to listen....

Mashboxx accepting beta signups.


Monday, June 20, 2005

E-mail from the EFF

EFFector Special Action Alert, June 20, 2005


Rumor has it that this Tuesday, June 21st, in a
sub-committee on Commerce, Science, and Justice, a single
senator will propose an amendment, hidden among many
others, to re-animate the MPAA's broadcast flag and burn
it into law.

On Thursday, the full Senate Appropriations Committee
will vote on that amendment. If they nod it through, the
Broadcast Flag will be law.

It's the lobbyist's oldest, and most desperate, trick. If
you can't win in the market, snag a regulator. If you
can't snag a regulator, get a law passed. And if you
can't get a law, sneak an amendment into one of
Congress's giant Appropriations Bills.

If you've received this mail from us, your senator is one
of the few with the power to put a stop to the flag.


Your senator is on the relevant sub-committee or the full
Senate committee. You have less than 24 hours to warn him
or her of Tuesday's manoeuvre. You have only 48 hours to
warn the full committee.

Letters are too slow. The press will be too slow. Only
you, as a constituent of a senator on the committee, can
reach them in time, by personal phone call or by fax.


Click here to use our action center: read, add your own
comments, and then send a message directly to your
senator via fax and email.


Here are the list of senator contact details. Pick the
one that matches your state, and leave a personal message
warning of what's planned in the Appropriations committee.

Please be cool, collected and polite. There's a sample
script after the phone list.


ALABAMA Senator Richard Shelby (202) 224-5744
ALASKA Senator Ted Stevens (202) 224-3004
HAWAII Senator Daniel Inouye (202) 224-3934
IOWA Senator Tom Harkin (202) 224-3254
KANSAS Senator Sam Brownback (202) 224-6521
KENTUCKY Senator Mitch McConnell (202) 224-2541
MARYLAND Senator Barbara Mikulski (202) 224-4654
MISSOURI Senator Christopher Bond (202) 224-5721
NEW HAMPSHIRE Senator Judd Gregg (202) 224-3324
NEW MEXICO Senator Pete Domenici (202) 224-6621
NORTH DAKOTA Senator Byron Dorgan (202) 224-2551
TEXAS Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (202) 224-5922
VERMONT Senator Patrick Leahy (202) 224-4242
WASHINGTON Senator Patty Murray (202) 224-2621
WISCONSIN Senator Herb Kohl (202) 224-5653


MISSISSIPPI Thad Cochran (202) 224-5054
PENNSYLVANIA Arlen Specter (202) 224-4254
MONTANA Conrad Burns (202) 224-2644
UTAH Robert F. Bennett (202) 224-5444
IDAHO Larry Craig (202) 224-2752
OHIO Mike DeWine (202) 224-2315
COLORADO Wayne Allard (202) 224-5941
WEST VIRGINIA Robert C. Byrd (202) 224-3954
NEVADA Harry Reid (202) 224-3542
CALIFORNIA Dianne Feinstein (202) 224-3841
ILLINOIS Richard J. Durbin (202) 224-2152
SOUTH DAKOTA Tim Johnson (202) 224-5842
LOUISIANA Mary L. Landrieu (202) 224-5824


"Hello, Senator _________'s office"

"Hi, I'm a constituent. I'm registering my opposition to
the broadcast flag amendment being introduced in the
Senate Commerce Justice and Science Appropriations
subcommittee mark-up on Tuesday, and in full committee on

(*** You can give your own reasons for opposing the flag
here. Here's a sample: ***)

"The Broadcast Flag cripples any device capable of
receiving over-the-air digital broadcasts. It give
Hollywood movie studios a permanent veto over how members
of the American public use our televisions. It forces
American innovators to beg the FCC for permission before
adding new features to TV. "

"This is an important issue which will affect all
Americans, and should not be inserted at the last moment,
with almost no debate."

"Please oppose the broadcast flag amendment. My name and
address are ___________________."

"Thank you for your time."

And thank you for reading this,

The activists at the EFF.

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Membership & donation queries:

General EFF, legal, policy, or online resources queries:

Why do other things not get such strict protection, yet copyrighted items do?

Recording industry gears up for Grokster.

Canadian politico response.

Miller points out short investment horizons and their relation to copyright. Surprised?

More collaborative filtering speculation.

The latest Geist column.

More on PubChem. Oy.

Grimmelman on Code.

More Patry. A good bit denser than the last entry on this topic.

Oversight Hearing on "Copyright Office Views on Music Licensing Reform. Tomorrow morning. And a live webcast, from the government. What's next, torrents?


One week left for Grokster ruling this session.

More on the format wars.

It's very strange seeing the NYTimes write about IP blogs.

Outfoxed, social networking master's thesis.

Wireless nation.

NYTimes picks up Glickman pressbites. The graphic is curious. What does 'other video' mean in context, and which services are monitored? BigChampagne's website seems curiously mute on the latter question. And what composes 'other?' Software? The BSA might find those numbers quite low. The porn indutry might find the 'images' category low as well.


UPDATE: Including the link this time. Oops.

In the spirit of the Blawgosphere census, over at PrawfsBlawg, here is a preliminary census of the IP blogosphere, in wiki form so that it will stay current.
I wouldn't normally have spent this much time on it, but I was just fascinated by how many of them there are--90 so far--and how many of them I hadn't seen before. The exercize also reinforced the 'echo chamber' nature of the 'blogosphere,' seeing the same three or four current news items posted literally dozens of times across all of these.


Saturday, June 18, 2005

BnetD DMCA case.

Licensing grafitti?

DRM blocks iPod use. All's fair in love and (civil) war?

Seven of the top 10 digital music sites, moreover, remain unsanctioned by the record labels." A very basic point to go along with the assertion that all they're doing is driving it deeper underground and undermining rule-of-law. However, the data they used for "top 10" was the junky NPD Group data.

More idle threats? "Internet Service Providers won't get movie content licensed, unless they provide the indentifying information of their customers on demand."

More copyright abuse.

TV tuner gone. May spur modularity? Or will it just lead to cable providers providing their own boxes with more control? Probably the latter.

More DRM suckage.

Rent v. Buy?

Another DRM crack.

Google Scholar content will be fairly open.

"Oddly, Philips did not charge royalties on their cassette patent, allowing numerous other companies to use their design for free. This ensured the quick acceptance of it as a new form of media." Walt has a better explanation.

Amazon labeling copy protected CDs.

"The question, therefore, is whether defendant took from plaintiff's works so much of what is pleasing to the ears of lay listeners, who comprise the audience for whom such popular music is composed, that defendant wrongfully appropriated something which belongs to the plaintiff." The world would be a much better place if this test were applied more broadly.

The Canadian Press reports Videotron has agreed with the music industry's claim that putting songs into these networks is copyright infringement. They say it's strange for other companies to fight the court order, since many of them own entertainment networks and are part of groups that are losing money due to free file sharing."


Friday, June 17, 2005

Au voleur.

WSJ article on OA journals. The innnumeracy is staggering: they show a graph of total research library expenditures on all periodicals, and claim it shows that the cost of scholarly publications is rising. Now, the cost of scholarly publications is rising, but it would be nice if they'd use the right graph.

AdWare on BT. Interesting that a shady industry has now moved even shadier by contributing to piracy directly.

Music phones no iPod killers.

"Furthermore, if you contact Sony and ask how to get the files off of your Windows PC and onto your iPod (or any other non-WM-DRM-supporting portable), Sony will tell you how to bypass the copy protection entirely."

Oh boy.


73% of 'people' prefer movies at home.

Why is it that pornography has to always be the harbinger of future free speech?



Thursday, June 16, 2005

Wired on Boucher.

Video-on-demand. I had a chance to play with it while in Boston, and it's quite cool, although the delays are pretty hefty at times. The biggest problem? We're not at the celestial jukebox movie I wanted to watch disappeared the next day before I had a chance to watch it. Still, with a much larger catalog, a virtual NetFlix might do very very well, as it solves the impulse buy problem of not being able to just arrange it with friends and go see a movie or rent one.

CoverBuddy certainly seems like a nice step towards my most-pined-after MP3 player feature: grouping tracks together.

Macrovision lawsuits.

Interview on Second Life and virtual property.


IP TV revenue projections big.

More Canadian Copyright bruhaha.

Macrovision. More.

Curious bedfellows.

$2.3K Datamonitor report. Thank you Lippincott.

Eventblogging of Intellectual Property Meets Contract Law conference.

Average of 21 iTunes sold per iPod.

MS releases BT-like protocol, Avalanche.

More free music. That's free as in beer, not as in speech, mind you.

eBay/Live8 saga continues.

CC bashing. Not that CC, Professor Lessig....

Deep search. Follow the money....

Ran across a new term: Grey Literature.
"Information produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commerical publishing i.e. where publishing is not the primary activity." There's even a journal.



Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The power of the bored. via MeFi

'Strand suggested the link-up was a way for Ericsson, the world's largest wireless equipment supplier, "to get themselves associated with a cool brand."' Napster hasn't been a 'cool brand' for a half decade already.

Ho, hum. iPod data theft.

The latest Patry. Scalia and copyright.

Another p2p report.

Belgium adopts doctrine with fair use exemption for anti-circumvention.


My favorite paper covers homebrew wifi public access.

More on We Media.

eBay backs down from no-right-of-resale dogma. It's a shame those tickets weren't auctioned off to begin with and the money donated to the cause.

Nice summary from Ars about Apple and OS/X DRM possibilities.

Why don't companies release specs? The usual /. discussion...lots of inane comments. But the question goes to the heart of the freedom to tinker battle.

Why MGM v. Grokster is a marketer's dream.

Glickman gears up for Grokster ruling.

Enclosure movement commentary.

McD's CD kiosks.

'“As far as standalone hard-drive-based media players, Apple has pretty much locked up the market,” said Directions on Microsoft analyst Matt Rosoff.'

HP eBooks.

NZ looks into DRM problems.


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

More on Snocap.

More free music and video. At this rate, the only value left in content will be the commercial value. Ok, I don't really believe that, but there sure is a lot of free music flowing. The commercial value proposition is a tempting one, and would seem to strike a balance between profiting from cultural cachet and handcuffing culture in the first place. A balance in an absolute sense, of course--from where we are now it is simply a net loss for content controllers. Still, other fields have become more balanced.

HD Radio.

Anonymous ranting.

Gaming grid?

"Blogs may be grabbing all the media headlines, but online communities like FlyerTalk are ielding a different kind of influence in the corporate world."

Another try at sterile burning.

DRM lockdown for Intel OS/X.

P2P iTV. SNIU. Too many TLA's.

Internet censorship moves inexorably forward in South Asia.

DRM Law summary.

Ends and means dilemma.

WalMart stops selling VHS. The end of an era.

Anti-TiVo experimentation.

Google getting into video, with generous terms.

Limited book 'screeners.'

Don't blame Berne.


Monday, June 13, 2005

Wikis need a database component. Or databases need a wiki component. There really isn't a good way right now to collaboratively-author a database. Collaborative filtering, yes. But every concept out there that I've seen relies on individuals being responsible for the content of each entry, perhaps with some moderation thrown into the mix. If collaborative filtering is to become a reality, such tools will need to be made more available.


Debunking iTMS #2 story. Gut instincts of many prove correct.

Fair Use defended (sort of) by Rep. Barton.

Another musical gender copyright abuse.

The Infinite Library.

"Song catalogs have become hugely lucrative in the last two decades due to the compact disc boom, rising sales of Internet downloads, and movie studios and advertisers willing to pay royalties to use hit songs in film scores and commercials." Only one of those was claimed to be threatened by P2P downloads.

P2P solutions from Professor Samuelson's class.

Two more excellent Patry posts. 2

Anti-fee diversion patent bill also introduced.

Indie labels start own trade group.


Halfway done with the backlog from this vacation

EFF Whitepaper: fighting infringement without compromising speech.


More on Canadian law proposals.

Average size of shared files nearly trebles.

de minimus unclarity.

Basic laws of economics still hold. Decrease price, increase quantity demanded.

DRM holds back connected home.

The Chief Infringer clamps down (but lightly, perhaps) on innovative hacks.

A good point: website service lock-in. I always wonder what will happen when IMDb goes non-free before I can get my favorites list out.

Metadata for print papers.

Perhaps our society will return to the Popular Mechanics days of tinkering with everything.

CDT paper.

MS to offer switch campaign.

How to cheat BitTorrent and why nobody does. Worth a read.

Grateful Dead and Fair Use.

The perils of low-traffic Wikis. These are failings right now only because of the way our authority systems are built-up. For most things, we are used to detecting quality by location (e.g. NYTimes, Science), rather than by individual metric (e.g. IMDb rates that movie a 8.7). There are certainly exceptions: restaurants (Zagat's), movies (IMDb). OTOH, I read a paper recently that showed that people's perception of quality correlates strongly with how strong a memory the item triggers: bad press may indeed be better than no press.

Warner tinkers with simultaneous DVD releases. Although it's a minor movie, it seems a positive step: no reliance on DRM, just plain old-fashioned obnoxious measures like video-encoded subtitles (as opposed to overlaid) and not encluding certain content.

Brown appointment IP aspect.