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, April 30, 2006

Infinite Loop: First senatorial iPod from IPac: Rejected
The iPod donation, says Klindt, “is the first time we have received something technological” as a donation, adding that “it’s just not a donation that we want” and confirming that while Burns does not presently own an iPod, “if he wants an iPod, he’ll buy one.”

TechCrunch » Yahoo Launches DVR Service: Yahoo Go
The feature list is comprehensive: Use Yahoo Go to manage photos, search Yahoo videos, watch stored movies on your hard drive, listen to music and manage television shows via a full DVR (like Tivo or Microsoft Media Center). Yahoo Go is only available for Windows machines.

It’s going to be hard for Yahoo Go to compete with Microsoft’s Media Center for the simple reason that it won’t be built into millions of PCs like Media Center is.

Congress readies broad new digital copyright bill | CNET
The draft legislation, created by the Bush administration and backed by Rep. Lamar Smith, already enjoys the support of large copyright holders such as the Recording Industry Association of America.

ScienceDaily: Software Allows Neighbors To Improve Internet Access At No Extra Cost
"PERM exploits the diversity of broadband Internet access in residential areas to improve connectivity in a managed way," Luo said. "Our design requires no support outside the user's wireless router, and is immediately deployable."

By pooling all available Internet connections, neighbors can enhance their Internet connectivity at no additional cost. That is, if neighbors are willing to share.

BBC on | MetaFilter isn't just for humans. Matt Biddulph, a systems architect for the BBC, rigged a homemade plug-in for (Previously on MeFi) that, over the course of a year, transmitted over 50,000 songs played on BBC 6Music to a account named Sekrit.

Neil Young - Living With War
          "Click here to listen to the full album." Enough said.

Wired News: 'Web Empire' at Public Expense?
Delivering on a promise made months ago, Warner Home Video has announced the first hybrid disc to feature high-definition (HD) DVD content on one side and standard DVD content on the other.

Monkey Bites
It raises some interesting points, the most curious of which is Yahoo Go's almost complete lack of DRM.

Video Handsets Mostly Just Used as Phones - New York Times
More than a quarter of cellphones now in use can play such videos. But only 1 percent of wireless subscribers are using their phones to watch them, according to a recent survey by the NPD Group, a market research firm.
Maybe it's because content is way overpriced?

Judges Stress Intellectual Property in Microsoft Appeal - New York Times
Judge John Cooke, who will write the decision in the case, appeared to chastise commission lawyers for not taking the company's concerns about protecting its intellectual property seriously.

Listening Post
The Skype VOIP Skype service has hit the 100-million-subscriber mark, and although it officially denies it, apparently plans to launch a subscription/download store along with the ringtone store released earlier this week.

Classic rock acts sue Sony over digital sales royalties
The recent spike in online digital music sales has been great news for the Big Four record labels and the music stores doing the selling. In fact, downloads are so strong right now that EMI has recently been able to reverse a years-long revenue decline. Are the artists getting to share in all the downloading love? According to a lawsuit filed by The Allman Brothers and Cheap Trick, they've been tied to the whipping post by Sony, receiving only a small fraction of the money made off of downloads.

Will Hollywood sue the SlingBox out of existence?
"Content owners don't like it [Sling] because they think it violates their copyrights," HBO CTO Bob Zitter said during a panel here Tuesday. Zitter's comment came in response to a question from the audience.
The technophobia of the content industries never ceases to amaze.

Canadian musicians create consumer-friendly coalition
To our alarm, the labels advance these demands not merely on their own behalf, but in our names as necessary for the well-being of individual Canadian musicians in the digital age. Today the people who actually create Canadian music are speaking out for themselves.

Looking at the new dual-tuner TiVo
If you had asked me in mid-2003 whether or not TiVo would be trumpeting new units with dual analog tuners in 2006, I would've laughed. Now, however, the painfully slow development of standalone DVRs such as TiVo has turned that laughable notion into a cold, hard reality. Without a doubt, we need to only look to CableCARD to understand one major cause of such delays, so pointing the finger exclusively at TiVo isn't exactly fair. Nevertheless, delay or no delay, there's reason to doubt that this new dual-tuner product will spur TiVo uptake.

RIAA sues computer-less family, 234 others, for file sharing
"I don't understand this," said James Walls. "How can they sue us when we don't even have a computer?"

Music industry guilty of collusion?
When Napster was first launched, the music labels did not embrace Internet distribution of their music, but realized that they had to make at least a token effort in this direction. To that end, the labels joined forces and launched two music services, pressplay and MusicNet, neither of which impressed anyone. They did catch the eye of the Department of Justice, however, which looked into possible antitrust issues raised by the stores.
The irony.

Apple Pushes For iPod Content On Blu-Ray Discs :: iPod Hacks :: The Latest and Greatest News and Info for Your iPod
Apple has approached studios in an effort to have iPod-formatted video content included, alongside the main content, on forthcoming Blu-ray discs.

Slashdot | Digital Music Downloads Too Expensive?
Parallel imports are unavailable in the Australian digital market, however. Australian consumers cannot purchase downloads from iTunes or Wal-Mart in the US, which are often cheaper than downloads available here, without a US-issued credit card.

Slashdot | Senate Bill May Ban Streaming MP3s
Senate bill (S. 2644) sponsored by Senators Feinstein (D-CA) and Graham (R-SC) would effectively ban streaming MP3 for licensed music by requireing 'casters to use the most restrictive streaming format available (e.g., Windows Media or Real) rather than simply the most restrictive features of a chosen streaming format (e.g., Shoutcast or streaming MP3).

Slashdot | Azureus Inc. Moves Toward Commercialization
Future releases of the most popular BitTorrent client, Azureus, will come bundled with a 'platform' for media companies to promote their product to Azureus' multi-million users, reports Azureus Inc., who are the newly formed company behind the Azureus software, plan to generate a profit from the platform in the future, but in the short-term are hoping to help independent film companies find their audience.

Bloglines | My Feeds (166)
According to some estimates, Intellectual Ventures has amassed 3,000-5,000 patents, with the help of a $400 million investment from some of the biggest technology companies, including Nokia, Intel, Apple, Sony, and Microsoft. As the patent stockpile grows, so does the speculation--and the fear. IP lawyers and tech executives worry that Intellectual Ventures is less interested in changing the world with big ideas, and more focused on becoming an über patent troll, wreaking litigation havoc across industries with its patents.

Slashdot | Blu-Ray/HD-DVD Talks End
Last minute talks to unify the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray formats have failed.


Saturday, April 22, 2006

Slashdot | ISP Rise Against P2P Users
Especially ISPs who are leasing their bandwidth by the megabyte are more inclined to resort to 'shaping your traffic' by throttling ports, setting bandwidth limits or even classifying accounts according services used.

TechCrunch » Most Popular P2P Files: PeerMind
It’s a regularly updated list of the most popular music, movies, games, software and ringtones being downloaded on theEDonkey 2000 and Gnutella networks. Once this includes BitTorent, which is apparently coming soon, PeerMind’s lists will be a much more interesting indicator of consumer demand for media than other top lists determined by more indirect methods.

Wired News: The Man Behind Scrambled Hackz
König says Scrambled Hackz was designed specifically to infringe copyright. But it has substantial non-infringing uses, so it passes the main litmus test for whether a piece of software is legal.
Bzzt! That defense was out with Grokster.  Sorry.  But I don't really see how this was designed specifically to infringe copyright.

Wired News: Tech Firms: Don't Fence Us In
Media and technology companies warned Tuesday that new European Union broadcasting rules could restrict the growth of emerging media formats such as video broadcasts through the internet and mobile phones.

HD-DVD Review: The Last Samurai | High-Def DVD Digest

Now, at last, the results. Watching 'The Last Samurai' at 1080i via HDMI on the HP was certainly an impressive experience. Quite simply, it delivered the best video I've ever seen on a pre corded consumer format.

Furdlog » Technology, Culture and Journalism
Every few days, I get an RSS feed that lists the new books added to the University of Pennsylvania Library’s catalog of online books, and I go foraging.

iTorrent alpha-1 Released :: iPod Hacks :: The Latest and Greatest News and Info for Your iPod

iTorrent alpha-1 has just been released for Mac OS X and Windows. iTorrent allows you to download BitTorrent podcasts from iTunes. The application transforms BitTorrent podcasts such that you can update them as you would any "normal" podcast from within iTunes. / Asia-Pacific / China - Skype says texts are censored by China
Skype, the fast-growing internet communications company that belongs to Ebay, has admitted that its partner in China has filtered text messages, defending this compliance with censorship laws as the only way to do business in the country.

TechCrunch » Mozes: Secure Your Keyword
Hear a song on the radio that you like and want to bookmark? Text the radio station (ie, KROQ) to 66937 (which translates to “Mozes”). Mozes will note the time and station name and bookmark the song title in your Mozes page (and sms you the song information).

Television Stations Are Urged to Break a Few Rules - New York Times
"In media today, I don't think there is a single rule that can't — and frankly, probably shouldn't — be broken. "This isn't just about driving growth," she added. "It's about staying in business."

EMI finally sees music sales increase
For the first time in five years, EMI is reporting an increase in sales from the pervious years. One of the factors in the increase was sales of downloaded music. Revenues from sales via online music stores doubled from the previous year, and now account for over 5.5 percent of the label's sales and £110 million in sales.

The RIAA vs. the EFF: who will redefine copyright for the digital age
In a recent editorial, an attorney representing a defendant in one of the RIAA's 19,000 lawsuits over P2P technology made the case that the RIAA's arguments in Elektra v. Barker, if accepted by a judge, have the potential to undermine the very nature of the Internet. Here at Ars, we've previously touched on the RIAA's radical notion, first introduced in this case, that simply making files available on a shared folder constitutes infringement (regardless of whether the files were actually accessed by another party).

Philips files for patent to force ad viewing
Flush with heady optimism after successful products such as the digital compact cassette (DCC) and the super audio CD (SACD), the redoubtable European giant has developed a way to keep television free for the masses for the foreseeable future—a patent application for a device which prevents a user from changing the channel during commercials.

Warner tackles Chinese piracy with cut-price DVD - Financial Times -
Warner Home Video has begun trial sales in China of a movie DVD priced at just Rmb12 ($1.50), a move likely to anger consumers in developed markets such as Europe and the US, who typically pay $20-$30 for a recently released film on DVD.
Not sure I agree with the analysis here.  Price discrimination across country borders takes a long time to rile people (e.g. pharmaceuticals).

Slashdot | Music Downloads = Expensive Concerts?
Before the advent of illegal downloads, artists had an incentive to underprice their concerts, because bigger audiences translated into higher record sales, Professor Krueger argues. But now, he says, the link between the two products has been severed, meaning that artists and their managers need to make more money from concerts and feel less constrained in setting ticket prices.'

Slashdot | Porn Industry Trials Burnable DVDs
The LA Times has an article discussing porn giant Vivid following the likes of King Kong in allowing users to download and burn movies to DVD. Unlike in the Hollywood plan, these DVDs will be viewable on other DVD players.

Slashdot | FCC Commissioner Wants To Push For DRM
Techdirt reports that 'Newest Commissioner Deborah Tate has apparently announced that while she knows its outside the FCC's authority, she's a huge fan of copy protection and hopes to use her new position as a "bully pulpit" on the topic.'

Slyck News - CRIA Falling Apart
Shortly after, 6 of Canada’s leading record labels quit the CRIA.

Apple Adds New iTunes Features For TV Fans :: iPod Hacks :: The Latest and Greatest News and Info for Your iPod
Two new features / song categories have been added to the iTunes Music Store that help cut out the manual searching for such great tracks. "Commercial Success" is a collection of songs used in various TV commercials from companies including Apple, Old Navy, Anheuser-Busch, Cingular, and Hilton. Right now there are 26 songs in this list, complete with description. We expect the list to rotate over time. "As Heard On American Idol" is a week-by-week collection of the original versions of songs performed by contestants on TV's American Idol. A handy resource for fans of that show.

Freedom to Tinker » Blog Archive » HDCP: Why So Weak?
Why did they choose the weak system? The academic paper on HDCP, by Crosby et al., says that HDCP’s designers were given a “budget” of 10,000 gates.
A much more plausible answer is that HDCP encryption exists only as a hook on which to hang lawsuits. For example, if somebody makes unlicensed displays or format converters, copyright owners could try to sue them under the DMCA for circumventing the encryption.
Great article; well worth reading in full. - the original daily p2p and digital media news site
"More than one-third of college students illegally download music," says a new 'study'. CRIA is short for the Canadian Recording Industry Association of America and CAAST equals Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft. And both industry organizations say Canadian students are wicked thieves, bent on doing the honest, hard-working corporations ill.

Miro Heirs Quash Google Tribute. Copyfight: the politics of IP
Fair use saves us from the sanitized world where only authorized tributes or commentary are permitted. Moral rights, applied in many European countries but not the U.S., protect the "integrity" of artists' works -- but even that was hardly under threat.

Open Access News
has made the full text of its $24.95 hardcover edition available for free download. Will that hurt sales? "We want people to share the ideas," says Gil Student, president of Yashar Books. "We are convinced that an open give and take of ideas will create the right atmosphere for more learning and more book buying."

Open Access News
The Williams house’s apparent invisibility is caused by the eagerness of the Post Office and Ordnance Survey (OS) to sell their postcode and geographic address data sets respectively.
I prefer examples where the difference is not just one of price but of the ability to manipulate the data itself (or include it in free CDs, for example), but this is pretty egregious.

License adoption estimates | Creative Commons
The small change appears to be in the direction of using more liberal licenses.

Open Access News
One that caught my ear recently was this interview with J. Scott Armstrong, a Wharton School professor whose interests include scientific peer review and transparency in medicine. At one point he discusses his own experience with prostate cancer. This guy is clearly not a typical patient. He regards his personal physician as an adviser who points him to relevant medical literature, discusses it with him, and helps him reach decisions.

Furdlog » FCC Looking Into Pay-For-Play
The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday launched formal investigations into pay-for-play practices at four of the nation’s largest radio corporations, the biggest federal inquiry into radio bribery since the congressional payola hearings of 1960.


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Podcasting shakes up local media |
It was good news for NPR, which has become a major player in the podcast world. Not so for the 350 NPR member stations that broadcast "Wait Wait." They're worried that making the program available to iPods could mean a loss of listeners - and consequently the donations and ad dollars that keep the stations afloat.

Bloglines | My Feeds (169)
In the real system, where the secret vectors have forty entries, not four, it takes a conspiracy of about forty devices, with known private vectors, to break HDCP completely. But that is eminently doable, and it’s only a matter of time before someone does it. I’ll talk next time about the implications of that fact.

EFF: DMCA Archive
* This document collects a number of reported cases where the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA have been invoked not against pirates, but against consumers, scientists, and legitimate competitors.

Lawrence Lessig
Yochai Benkler’s book, The Weath of Networks, is out. This is — by far — the most important and powerful book written in the fields that matter most to me in the last ten years. If there is one book you read this year, it should be this. The book has a wiki; it can be downloaded as a pdf for free under a Creative Commons license; or it can be bought at places like Amazon.

Smart Mobs: How Kerry campaign ditched Dean campaign p2p tactics
The key was that the Dean campaign, like the Clinton Gore campaign in 1992, trusted us to communicate amongst ourselves in a true, symmetrical, peer-to-peer model. As a result, both Clinton and Dean enjoyed powerful benefits created by their supporters. In contrast, the Kerry campaign did not.

Slyck News - Spanish Police Target 15 Indexing Sites
The global campaign to stomp out BitTorrent and eDonkey2000 indexing sites continued today, this time in the P2P stronghold of Spain. In raids conducted this morning, Spanish Police arrested 15 administrators/owners related to 17 BitTorrent and eDonkey2000 indexing sites.

Open Access News
This is where the "Request eprint" button comes in. Whenever record of a stored eprint tells a would-be user that an OA version of the full text copy is not accessible, a dialogue box appears inviting the user to paste in their email address and send a request to the author for a copy of the paper. This request is emailed automatically to the author, offering three choices in return: to email the requested eprint, to reject the request, or to make the eprint OA in the repository. Since the requested eprint is already in the repository, and merely invisible, a simple process enables the author to make a selection and activate that choice with a single click....
This is brilliant, particularly the third option.  By providing a useful service (handling reprint requests) even to those who don't want to self-archive yet, and then making it easy to self-archive from there, the incentives are all in the right place to make for much quicker adoption of SA.  It's all about lowering the cost to near-zero.

The Tale of the Tapes - New York Times
After all, mixes aren't bootlegs at all— they're advertisements. Here's how mixtapes work: Record companies release hip-hop artists' new songs as both finished products and separate musical and vocal tracks. These tracks are made available to D.J.'s, who piece them together to create remixes. These mixes, distributed largely through retail stores, thus give fans the latest music available — and whet consumers' appetite for official releases issued later. So record companies (aware of the promotional power of these tapes) provide music to D.J.'s specifically for mixes, and the rappers themselves — who are often the copyright holders — endorse the mixtapes by appearing on them. Are we to really believe that the recording industry doesn't want these mixes distributed to fans? Of course it does.

Furdlog » The *Other* Side of (Software) Piracy
The proliferation of pirated copies nevertheless establishes Microsoft products — particularly Windows and Office — as the software standard. As economies mature and flourish and people and companies begin buying legitimate versions, they usually buy Microsoft because most others already use it. It’s called the network effect. “The first dose is free,” said Hal Varian, a professor of information management at UC Berkeley, facetiously comparing Microsoft’s anti-piracy policy to street-corner marketing of illicit drugs. “Once you start using a product, you keep using it.”

Promote the Progress® ::: What would you pay for a "Gold Plate" patent
Under the Lemley proposal, "gold plate" patents would be entitled to the presumption of validity, while those receiving standard examination would carry a weakened or non-existent presumption.


TechCrunch » Subscription Music Services Compared: Part 2
Overall, the best service based on pure stats is Virgin Digital, which boasts the largest catalog of music (2 million songs) and the best overall price at $8/month. Unlike all of the other services, Virgin charges one price for both the PC and to go versions. Virgin also has excellent additional features like user reviews of music create a social atmosphere.

TechCrunch » TV Moves Aggressively to the Internet
News Corp.’s Fox network has signed a six-year agreement with its affiliates that will allow it to show reruns of its television programs on the Internet.

O'Reilly Radar > Rhapsody Distributes Their Music
Yesterday, they made a significant step towards this vision when Rhapsody (Real's subscription service) enabled anonymous users to listen to whole albums on demand for free with links from third-party sites.

Wired News: Here, There, Everywhere
The Beatles are preparing to sell their songs online after years of
refusing to take part in the internet music boom, according to
testimony given by the head of their record company.
"I think it would be wrong to offer downloads of the old masters when I am making new masters," he said in a written statement submitted to the High Court in London earlier this month.
Because people who download 128Kbps files really care about quality....

In Silicon Valley, a Man Without a Patent - New York Times
Mr. Goodfellow, an early participant in Silicon Valley's grass-roots computer culture, disdained the notion of protecting his ideas with patents. And Thomas J. Campana Jr., a Chicago inventor with no such qualms, patented the idea of wireless electronic mail almost a decade after Mr. Goodfellow's original work.
Thus the NTP patent.

People Who Watch People: Lost in an Online Hall of Mirrors - New York Times
With the latest crop of videos, a new style has emerged, though, one that is at once absolutely mundane and completely postmodern: people posting videos of themselves watching YouTube videos. And that's just the start.

Read It? Watched It? Swap It - New York Times
To the delight of her 7-year-old son, Ms. Perlmutter recently used the site to barter her tape of "Fried Green Tomatoes," the 1991 Kathy Bates drama in which an unhappy housewife befriends an elderly woman in a nursing home, for a tape of Steven Spielberg's digital dinosaur blockbuster, "Jurassic Park." "You feel like you're getting something special, that you're getting the better part of the deal," Ms. Perlmutter said. "Wow, somebody wants your stuff. I guess it's one man's trash is another man's treasure."
How will this work in a digital world?  We've already seen efforts to severely curtail resale of digital files that you "own."

Rockers aim to extend UK, European copyright terms
"Of course, for Pink Floyd, Elton John, Rod Stewart - and I'm not short of a few bob - this may not be a problem," says Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson. "But the unsung heroes of the 1950s depend on royalties to pay heating and nursing home bills." Well, silly me. I thought copyright rules were in place to encourage creation of new works in the first place, and the term is limited to ensure a rich public domain that can serve as a platform for the imagination of the next generation.

Fox to share online, VOD revenue with network affiliates
Under the new deal, the 150 network stations look to share a percentage of the gains from video-on-demand and online delivery deals for up to a year after the original air date of each program. The affiliates had been complaining about doing their part to promote Fox programming and then realizing no beneft from the "new media" deals Fox has been eyeing.

TiVo victorious in major DVR patent suit
TiVo alleged that EchoStar infringed upon proprietary TiVo technology when the company designed its own DVR for its Dish Network. At the center of the clash was a patent for a "multimedia time warping system"—a patent so broad that many expect TiVo's victory to have reverberations throughout the DVR landscape.

France to Apple: don't act so surprised
Lagarde told reporters that "it should come as no surprise. Any time a company restricts competition in a market, it gets the attention of regulating agencies. We have to play by the rules of the game."

Samsung prepares to ship first Origami PC
Samsung claims the unit will get 3.5 hours of battery life under typical usage, or 1.4 hours playing back a DVD—presumably ripped to the hard drive first, as there is no optical storage in the unit.
Planning on breaking the law.  Thanks DMCA.

Radio stations: blame Spitzer for less musical diversity
Radio programmers lay the blame for this directly at Spitzer's feet, saying that they feel highly scrutinized and that they are afraid of playing non-mainstream tracks on their stations for fear of payola allegations. "I don't want anyone to look at my playlists six months from now and speculate about why I added a particular song, when our competition didn't add it," said one programmer. "People have been fired for less."

RealNetworks rep to Linux: DRM or die!
The consequences of Linux not supporting DRM would be that fixed-purpose consumer electronics and Windows PCs would be the sole entertainment platforms available," Ayers said. "Linux would be further relegated to use in servers and business computers, since it would not be providing the multimedia technologies demanded by consumers.

Are illegal downloads on the way out?
While most eight-year-olds don't download music, for instance (only nine percent do so), most 18-year-olds do (52 percent). The same trend can be seen in most categories, leading the BSA to argue that "as kids grow older, they begin to view cyberspace as a virtual 'wild, wild West'." As with many BSA statistics, it's not clear that these are truly representative of the total situation. A recent report from research firm Big Champagne, for instance, found that P2P usage has doubled in the last two years, not declined.

Remote storage DVRs pose "gigantic copyright issues"
See, while the idea is intriguing to cable executives, it's threatening to their TV industry counterparts.

BSA: Software piracy costs countries money
The report argues that cracking down on software piracy will generate more local IT businesses, create millions of new jobs, and bring in billions in tax revenue. This soft sell seems to be the new industry standard, replacing the hectoring lectures that came before with paternalistic discussions of "what would be best for the people?"

Canadian music industry: forget the levies, bring on DRM heaven
Now Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) President Graham Henderson has told Billboard Magazine (subscription) that his industry wants no part of the media levy, saying that "we don't want a private copying levy that, in effect, sanctions online theft."

Streamcast to slug it out in court with RIAA, MPAA
Streamcast Networks, which is responsible for the file-sharing program Morpheus, has decided to take its chances in court, breaking off settlement negotiations with record labels and movie studios. The RIAA and MPAA had informed Streamcast along with seven other companies of their intent to file suit against them in the wake of the MGM v. Grokster ruling last summer.

Sun DRM finds a home in Korean IPTV pilot | The Register
Sun Microsystems may have already found its first customer, in a Korean IPTV system, for its DReaM (DRM Everywhere Available) open source DRM, a system that is not meant to be completed for at least another 12 months.

Slashdot | Prying Open the Cable Market
FCC chief Brian Martin discusses his efforts to make it easier for new entrants--especially telecoms-- to compete with traditional cable and satellite companies in delivering video services.
Too bad they aren't so vigilant about protecting VoIP.

Slashdot | States Seeking Levies on Digital Downloads
15 states and the District of Columbia currently tax online media, with others eager to begin their own taxes.

Free Net TV threatens telecoms and cable | CNET
Walt Disney's bold move to let people download TV shows for free could spell trouble for cable and satellite providers, but it also throws into question the strategy of telephone companies spending billions to get into the paid TV business.


Monday, April 10, 2006

Healthcare Economist » Blog Archive » Where there is no doctor
Unlike most the publishers of most reference guides, the Hesperian Books encourages individuals to copy relevant sections of the book and distribute them to needy communities as long as the material is provided at no cost. Since the book has been translated into over 70 languages, literate populations in developing countries now have a resource to educate themselves on their own healthcare needs.

Disney to Offer Some ABC Programs Free on the Web - New York Times
In an effort to extend its broadcast economic model to the Internet, the Walt Disney Company said today that it would offer some of its most popular ABC programs free on its Web sites but with commercials that cannot be eliminated.
Read the Journal article on the way up, and from that, three things jumped out at me:
-DRM: Ostensibly they're doing this only because they have what they think is effective DRM, but it really seems to me that for once they actually understand that DRM isn't really going to prevent piracy and they're using it for something it's more suited for--controlling the actions of most end-users (e.g. ad-watchers).
-Google: They aren't partnering with Google, but the dynamic, targeted insertion of ads is something straight out of Google's AdSense playbook.  In fact, not only are they not using Google Video, but they're adopting an entirely different model (no fee).  Whether or not they are directly working with Google, still the big G seems to be defining the marketplace (either you're a clone or your model is in opposition to theirs).
-Shows: They're leading with big shows. 
No "Bubble" release here.  The Industry has a nasty habit of testing new technology/concepts with shows/movies which are going to fail anyway and then proclaiming the new concept useless. 


Saturday, April 08, 2006

TechCrunch » New Features at MusicStrands
They launched new features recently (including some today) that make it an excellent side service to whatever music player you use.

Wired News: Podcasting Roils NPR Fund Raising
Her local Las Vegas affiliate, KNPR, kicked off its spring membership drive last week with program interruptions pleading for donations, so Michaels is bypassing that semiannual annoyance by loading up her MP3 player with various National Public Radio programs available in whole or in part for free as podcasts.
I think few who have sat through April sessions of CarTalk would argue that "piracy," in this case, is a huge social good.

Wired News: No. 1, Thanks to Downloads
"Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley sat atop the British singles chart Monday, the first track to reach No. 1 based solely on computer download sales.

The song, by producer Danger Mouse and hip-hop artist Cee-Lo, went on sale in record stores Monday, but it had already sold 31,000 copies through the internet, making it the previous week's best-selling track.
Danger Mouse is doing pretty well these days, post-Grey Album.

Slashdot | Frustration With Oblivion Mod Costs on Xbox Live
For example, I would expect to pay $20.00 for the soon to come Perfect Dark Zero maps or new cars for Project Gotham. On the other hand, I would expect any additional costumes for PDZ to be free. I imagine there is good arguments on both sides, but one can see that the potential is there to exploit an eager fan.

Slashdot | Google Music Store Inches Closer?
Forbes is once again reporting on Google plans to launch its own competitor to iTunes, a Google music store. From the article: 'The music industry is broadly unhappy with the fixed pricing and lack of subscription options at the market-leading iTunes Music Store and likely to support alternative services. - the original daily p2p and digital media news site
Hollywood will for first time "allow" Americans to pay up to $27 for 'new' flics, and $10 to $20 for older ones - and keep them.

Decoding the Drivel. Copyfight: the politics of IP
Actually, what they're selling is the ability to download and view a copy of the movie. So a better headline would be "Hollywood studios sell additional movie viewings via the Web." Let's call a spade a spade and refer to these as "tickets" because that's the model at work here.
Nice term.  As with "Intellectual Property," the metaphor is important.

Prime Time No More: The Television Industry Struggles Against Digital Distribution Upstarts - Knowledge@Wharton
Broadcasting, as we know it, is an artifact of historical limitations on distribution, which are increasingly irrelevant in the digital broadband age.

TechCrunch » Let’s Buy Some Music: Part 1
The choice for best overall service is dead simple. The best service by far is Music costs $0.02 per MB (about 9 cents per song), and it can be downloaded in any common audio format and quality level. It is so cheap and easy to use that many people choose to download music from AllofMP3 in lieu of ripping their own CD collection.

Wired News: We Want More From Our Phones
The survey conducted last month found that 6 percent of cell phone users play music on their device, for example, while 19 percent wish their phone had that feature. A mere 2 percent watch mobile video or TV, but 14 percent said they would like to. The study also found unsurprising differences between the generations, with younger adults more likely to use their phones for entertainment. For instance, nearly a quarter (23 percent) of those ages 18-29 wanted to watch TV on their cell but only 15 percent of the 30-49 age bracket, 4 percent of users between 50-64, and 6 percent of those 65 and over were interested in that capability.

Verizon threatens heavy EV-DO users with higher prices
BroadbandAccess' increased usage is starting to raise warning flags for Verizon Wireless, which is threatening to implement a tiered pricing structure to punish the service's heaviest users of bandwidth. Verizon would prefer its customers limit their BroadbandAccess usage to checking e-mail and non-bandwidth-intensive web browsing.
Yet another reason the US lags in broadband adoption.

HD DVD and Blu-ray drives cost over US$400 to build
The report starts off by analyzing a bill of materials for "blue laser players" and came up with a round figure of about US$400. This includes not only the hardware, but royalty licenses for the various codecs included in the players.

RIAA crying wolf all the way to the bank
One is the overall decline in sales of physical media (e.g., CDs, CD singles, vinyl, music videos, and DVDs), from 860 million units in 2002 to 749 million last year—almost 13 percent. More importantly, legal downloads have gone from zero to 554 million in two years. Perhaps most telling is that despite a decline of 151 million units of physical media sold since 2002, revenues have only dropped by US$340 million—about 2.7 percent.

Microsoft leverages P2P technology to create BitVault
BitVault is a distributed application that runs on multiple PCs, called "bricks." Each brick is a bare-bones PC with a large hard drive, and hundreds or even thousands of bricks can be connected together to run the application. BitVault then allows users to search for information that is stored anywhere on the brick network, and guarantees that the data will be valid even if it has been modified or deleted on some of the bricks.
More SNIU from Microsoft.

Britannica attacks Nature in newspaper ads
Britannica's biggest gripe, though, has still not been addressed. They mention several times in their advertisements that Nature has been unwilling to turn over all of the documentation behind the study, and Nature's response does not indicate that they will do so.

Netflix awarded business model patent, immediately sues Blockbuster
Netflix contends that Blockbuster knew of the pending patent application, but "willfully and deliberately" launched a copycat service anyway.
Have I mentioned I despise business method patents?

Slashdot | RIAA Recommends Students Drop out of College
the RIAA has been known to suggest that students drop out of college or go to community college in order to be able to afford settlements.

Slashdot | RIM Chairman Wants Changes to U.S. Patent Law
The Globe and Mail is reporting that James Balsillie '... called on U.S. lawmakers yesterday to fix a system that he says boxed the company into one of the largest legal settlements in U.S. history. - the original daily p2p and digital media news site
While copyright wasn't listed as a top priority of Canada's new Conservative government, there have been indications that the new Heritage Minister wants to table a copyright bill soon. Silicon Valley, Technology, & Media Podcast » Blog Archive » BET CEO Lee Says Media is a Wireless Business
Steve Jobs of Apple forged the first major deal with the record labels and even he admitted, in apparent frustration, that the deal was in danger of unraveling because content owners were pushing too hard for too much. “Digital distribution initially posed a huge threat in the form of peer-to-peer file sharing,” said Debra Lee, Chairman and CEO of BET Networks and a keynote speaker at CTIA Wireless 2006. “But ironically, digital distribution has fueled a great comeback story.”

Daniel Brookshier's Blog: JXTA at 5 Years Old
The market for P2P is still growing and JXTA is still the only viable multi-purpose solution. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of P2P out there, but mostly for file sharing and not writing business critical applications. The only alternative is Groove and that's owned by Microsoft. It also costs quite a bit. JXTA is open source and it is simple to set up your own P2P network for pennies on the dollar.

'Stageside' in different P2P arena
Taking the concept even further, the soft drink giant is bypassing traditional television to get "Stageside" out to its target audience. Island Def Jam R&B star Ne-Yo is the first artist to be showcased on "Stageside," which is being distributed from its own Web site and via peer-to-peer networks like BitTorrent in formats optimized for viewing on computers and on such portable devices as iPods and PSPs.

The Patry Copyright Blog: No Fleas on Grokster
on contributory infringement, the court rejected the relevance of an inducement claim outside of the Grokster context.

The One-Eyed Man is King. Copyfight: the politics of IP
In this view, Apple & co are helping people "take media away from the media business itself." Which would be nice if it were, y'know, true. It's not.

Open and Shut?: Interview with Lawrence Lessig
Having enrolled to study economics and management at the University of Pennsylvania, Lessig rapidly concluded that business studies were really rather dull. He did, however, enjoy the history of economics.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

In a Wired South Korea, Robots Will Feel Right at Home - New York Times
Since January, Koreans have been able to watch television broadcasts on cellphones, free, thanks to government-subsidized technology. In April, South Korea will introduce the first nationwide superfast wireless Internet service, called WiBro, eventually making it possible for Koreans to remain online on the go — at 10 megabits per second, faster than most conventional broadband connections.

Piracy hits European newspapers | MetaFilter
Major european newspapers are daily avaiable as downloadable torrents. You’ll find todays copies in full lenght of the Spanish El Pais, the Italian Liberazione, Deutche Welle and many more. These files are not scannings from print copies, it seems to be pre-press files.
Interesting that the leak is occurring from within just as in movies.

Creative Creative Commons Creation | MetaFilter
Schmap is an online/desktop travel guidebook. They are taking Creative Commons licensed photos from Flickr and using them in their city guides. It is kind of like Google Maps + Flickr + Lonely Planet. [Contains some flash, and to try out the guide you have to install the Schmap Player.]
Copyright clarity and geographic metadata make for an interesting mashup.

Composing Music Using Apple Computer's GarageBand Software - New York Times
"Eventide" scored only five listens until I got five other bands to add me to their lists. Thereafter, it scored just two more. My tour of MySpace was beginning to feel suspiciously like the nonvirtual world of agents and editors, the capricious gatekeepers the Internet was supposed to usurp.
There's no question there are gatekeepers in this version of collaborative filtering.  I'm sure there will be some residual stickiness to their power--people's habits are slow to change.  But the barriers to become a gatekeeper (and to lose your status) are much lower, and consequently you should see far higher quality of filtering.  In addition, the human element allows for more challenging pieces to be brought to a wide audience.  If the piece takes a few listens to start to appreciate, that may work in this kind of situation vs. a death-by-committee approach of something like Digg.

Slashdot | Apple to Face iPod Clone Attack
speculating that significant competition from the likes of Nokia and Motorola will rapidly relegate Apple's presence in the market to a corner
I'm starting to think that all the talk of iPod killers only helps to keep Apple's image as the underdog, which certainly helps sales in an image-driven product.

Slashdot | The State of Digital Music in 2006
While the young, usually the first to adopt and adapt to new technology, have been downloading and swapping music for quite some time, there's been a ripple effect into the older, warier area of the population, one that will only increase. Thank--or blame--Apple and its iPod, or any of the many other makes selling like hotcakes in the stores.

The Patry Copyright Blog: Small Infringement Claims Proposal
There was not much enthusiasm and along with the division among witnesses this might well doom such efforts. That would be unfortunate: it was truly a good government effort by Chairman Smith to hold such a hearing and put the time in to deal with a serious problem: the effective lack of protection for individual creators of works with relatively low commercial value.

The Patry Copyright Blog: Injunctions, Patents, and Copyrights
It was, of course, the imminent threat of an injunction in the Blackberry dispute that led to the astonishing $620 million settlement. There are different issues with injunctive relief in patent than copyright cases, including compulsory licensing and whether the plaintiff was "working" the patent, and it may be that those differences are sufficient to render the Supreme Court's eventual decision in the eBay case to be of little relevance in copyright cases. Indeed, it is amusing only in a sardonic sense to read the Court's opinions, where it variously finds an historic "kinship" between the two areas, or finds them quite different.

The Open Rights Group » Guardian Changing Media: Digital Rights Management
Some control, not full control - you certainly can’t expect to put your new Britney Spears CD out and not see it online within five minutes.

Slashdot | More Music File-Sharing Lawsuits in Europe
20,000 cases in 10 countries were brought against file-sharers in Europe, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI)
Actual number appears to be 2,000.

Legal movie downloads come to the US, but limitations abound
Previously the studios were shy about licensing online stores for anything but video rental, but that looks to have changed, and it wasn't Apple's iPod that managed to pull it off, either. Pricing will be "competitive" with DVD, which is to say that pricing will be expensive for what you get.

Comments sought on copyright exemptions for libraries
For those who wonder why something named "Section 108" would possibly interest them, the short answer is that the rules will have a profound effect on the ability of archives, local libraries, and universities to archive digital information.

Now Playing on YouTube: Web Videos by Everyone - New York Times
So exactly what videos are drawing viewers to this ascendant site, which, less than a year after its launch, averages around 25 million hits each day?

Wired News: Reasons to Love Open-Source DRM
If DReaM works, consumers will be able to access their purchased songs through a number of providers, and using a wide variety of devices.
Yeah, but....

Wired News: A Pretty Good Way to Foil the NSA
How easy is it for the average internet user to make a phone call secure enough to frustrate the NSA's extrajudicial surveillance program? Wired News took Phil Zimmermann's newest encryption software, Zfone, for a test drive and found it's actually quite easy, even if the program is still in beta.
Someone proposed using Skype as a Darknet a while back.  This would be much more secure, if one were so inclined.  The bottom line is that policing Darknets is going to be a nasty business.

Wired News: Stop the Presses ... Go Online
Newspapers' online audiences are growing rapidly, according to a new industry study, highlighting a key growth area that newspapers are seeking to exploit as print circulation continues to be challenged.

Slashdot | New "Dark" Freenet Available for Testing
This is a major departure from past approaches to peer-to-peer network design, embracing a 'scalable darknet' architecture, where security is increased by allowing users to limit which other peers their peer will communicate with directly, rather than the typical 'promiscuous' approach of classic P2P networks. This means that not only does Freenet aim to prevent others from finding out what you are doing with Freenet, it makes it extremely difficult for them to even know that you are running a Freenet node at all.
Speaking of the Darknet....

EFF: Breaking News - Clear Channel patent reexamined
The patent -- for a system and method of creating digital recordings of live performances -- locks musical acts into using Clear Channel technology and blocks innovations by others.

Freedom to Tinker » Blog Archive » Korean Music Industry Puts Negative Value on DRM
The above figures can be read in a number of ways. Most importantly, they reflect the idea that users can do less with DRM-protected tracks than with unprotected ones, including some things that provide a better user experience and/or are allowed under Korea’s copyright laws.

Furdlog » Virtual Theft in China
China has upheld a guilty verdict and fine against a man who stole and sold players’ games IDs and online equipment amid growing calls for more concrete virtual property laws, state media said on Monday.

The Patry Copyright Blog: Smithsonian Showtime Agreement
Instead, the issue centers on restrictions on access to the physical objects.
From von Lohmann's comments: We are in the midst of a debate at WIPO over a Broadcasting Treaty that would extend to broadcasters exclusive rights of their broadcasts. Under current copyright law, anyone would be free to record the programming created by Showtime, extract any public domain elements, and do with it what they like. After all, if Showtime has already acquired by contract the exclusive right of (commercial) access to the only known underlying physical copies, this would be the only remaining avenue for commercial creators to have access to these public domain works. Would this still be true after the implementation of a WIPO Broadcasting Treaty? If not, then Showtime may be on its way to effectively privatizing an important collection of public domain material.
Just as with the DMCA, non-copyright access to content is declining.  This is bad, as it denies any chance for fair use.


Saturday, April 01, 2006

Los Angeles Times: The big world of the small screen
The movie business is threatened not so much by red-state reactionaries as by the proliferation of consumer-controlled venues — a development symbolized by the small screen, with all its connotations of privacy and autonomy.

Pushing the Pseudo-Reality Envelope By Edward Jay Epstein
In the case of Natural Born Killers, for example, a producer arranged for the director Oliver Stone and other members of the production to get two free pairs of cowboy boots in return for showing the boots' brand name, Abilene, on a truck passing by the open convertible driven by the character Mallory Knox (Juliette Lewis). This meant that the two vehicles—Mallory's car and the Abilene boot truck—coming from opposite directions, had to arrive in front of the camera at precisely the same time. Over and over again, both drivers, starting their approach a half mile apart, had to be cued with walkie-talkies as the camera, which was mounted on a crane, swooped down. So, to get his free boots, Stone had to shoot numerous retakes, which delayed a production running at $300,000 a day.


Monolith can be used for exploring the boundaries of digital copyright, and the rest of this website is devoted to such an exploration. The core questions: What happens when we use Monolith to munge copyrighted files? What is the copyright status of the resulting .mono file? These questions are considered in depth below.
Not dissimilar in concept to this.

TechCrunch » Pandora and Together…sort of
People who love music seems to either be Pandora folks or folks, and the two groups often disagree (see, for example, the comments to this post).

TechCrunch » AllOfMP3 Launches allTunes
allTunes is a windows desktop or smartphone interface to the AllOFMP3 library, allowing users to find and download high quality music easily.

O.K., Knockoffs, This Is War - New York Times
But for the Council of Fashion Designers the issue is black and white. Rather than calling imitation the sincerest form of flattery, as they have done for decades, leading designers are acknowledging that inexpensive copies — which they label acts of piracy — have negatively affected the luxury business.

Smithsonian Agreement Angers Filmmakers - New York Times
Ken Burns, whose documentaries "The Civil War" and "Baseball" have become classics of the form, said in an interview yesterday that he believed that such an arrangement would have prohibited him from making some of his recent works, like the musical history "Jazz," available to public television because they relied heavily on Smithsonian collections and curators.

Wired News: A Burning Need for More Porn
If you could buy a porn video, download it in about an hour and burn it to a DVD that will play in any standard drive, would you do it? What if it had built-in digital rights management (DRM) code that only let you burn the file to disk one time, and one time only?

Wired 14.04: START
Isn't the real problem that my local AMC charges $10.75 for a movie ticket?
One of the most agressive lines of questioning and some of the most disengenuous answers in an interview I've seen.

Wired 14.04: Global Gaming Crackdown
A few years earlier, a Chinese court ordered a game company to restore virtual biochemical weapons someone had pilfered from a player. Other governments are taking an interest in MMORPGs as well. Players in South Korea have been prosecuted for stealing virtual property. More than half of the 40,000 computer crimes investigated by South Korea's National Police Agency in 2003 involved online games.

Gear Factor
Wal-Mart is pulling all PSP movie discs off its shelves to make room for something that might, you know, sell. It's not that UMD isn't good at storing and playing movies. They work just fine. But to ask ordinary consumers to spend $30 for a movie they can only watch on a PSP's 4.3-inch screen is absurd, and now the verdict is in.

YouTube caps video lengths to reduce infringement
We did some analysis of the videos in our system over 10 minutes in length, and we found the overwhelming majority of them were full length, copyrighted videos from tv shows and movies. However, we also recognize that there are legit content creators out there who may have videos over 10 mins, so we've created a Premium Content Program for those of you with professional-produced videos.

TiVo's salvation... is in the courts?
Even with a win, few expect EchoStar to roll over and play dead: they could potentially attempt to outlast TiVo through an appeals process, and some fear that they wouldn't have to last long due to TiVo's own lackluster situation. Less likely, TiVo could also lose the case and end up with nothing to show for their efforts, but TiVo picked a venue known for siding with plaintiffs on patent cases. Last but not least, EchoStar retaliated against TiVo's lawsuit with a suit of their own, charging that TiVo has violated some of EchoStar's own patents. In short, it's a legal mess, which is to say it's par for the course for patent litigation.

Google set to woo music industry
Google has invited 20 of the top executives in the music industry to a special conference. The agenda for the roundtable discussion is not publicly known, but many expect that it relates to Google's possible entrance into the digital music download industry.

Universal opts not to downscale HD content; ICT dead on arrival?
Following on the heels of Sony, Universal has confirmed that they will not be using such capabilities to downgrade video on their offerings, at least for now. This marks what looks to be a major studio to turn away from the so-called image constraint token—the name given to the AACS software functionality that allows for downsampling video to 960x540 (approximately NTSC). Paramount, Disney and Twentieth Century Fox have all backed off of using the ICT, leaving Warner Brothers as the only major studio saying that they will use the it.

Skype hit with RICO suit
VoIP company Skype is the target of an interesting lawsuit filed in the US District Court for the Central District of California. Filed by Streamcast, makers of the once-popular Morpheus file-sharing software, the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) lawsuit centers around the FastTrack peer-to-peer technology that powered both Morpheus and Kazaa.

Slashdot | Viiv 1.5 May End Traditional Media PCs
Instead, we'll be streaming content to digital media adapters from a PC in our home office. From the article: 'The existence of digital media adapters will totally remove the need to have a media centre PC taking up space in your living room, unless you're one of the few users that finds it practical to do anything other than passively soak up multimedia content whilst relaxing on the couch.'

Slashdot | Google Accused of Bio-piracy
Google has been accused of being the 'biggest threat to genetic privacy' this year for its plan to create a searchable database of genetic information

Slashdot | Nanomedicine Patent Thickets Threaten Future
Over 5000 nanomedicine/nanotech patents have now been granted, and the patent land grab continues unabated.

Slashdot | Replacing Your Tired Old DVR
Called RS-DVR, it allows customers to record shows on centrally located business-owned servers.

Slashdot | First HD-DVD Player Goes On Sale
If you live in Japan, you can get your hands on the first commercially available HD-DVD player as of today.