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, November 30, 2006

Audiophile vs MP3? The article's premise was good, but then it strays. They don't mention compressed lossless files, for instance, just WAVs, which is ridiculous. Also, they buy right into the view that MP3s are bad quality, which is simply not true at the higher bitrates. It's well-nigh impossible to tell a well-encoded 320Kbps VBR MP3 from the WAV it was encoded from, and many a double-blind trial has been done on audio forums to prove the point. The headphone issue is a bigger one, but that's a matter of price, not size. For $1K, Ultimate Ears will sell you IEMs that will blow away any speaker system under many thousand more.
But the initial premise of the article, as I said was good: to some degree there's a split between volume-seekers and quality-seekers. It would be interesting to see if hi-fi headphone or speaker sales are increasing concommitantly.

It isn't often that Google completely kills a product, which makes the announcement of the end of Google Answers noteworthy. Interesting failure of a collaborative content creation experiment.

Pirates of the Arabian Sea.


Ars is on a tear lately.  And then some others.

Russian government says "nyet" to (updated)
The Russian government must stop collection societies in the country from acting without the permission of rights-holders—a clear dig at licensing group ROMS. has claimed for some time that they are legal under Russian law because all of their works have been licensed by ROMS, and ROMS itself says that it "carries out its activity on the basis of the powers given directly by the Law, irrespective of the presence or absence of a contract with a rightsholder." In essence, ROMS has given out licenses to music without any permission from the copyright owners to do so.

Time Warner and Blockbuster looking at movie downloads
t the Reuters Media Summit in New York, two major players in the entertainment business let it be known that they are contemplating entry into the movie download business.  Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons said that at some point in 2007, his company would allow consumers to download burnable versions of movies on the same day they are released on DVD.

Analyst shares vision of consumer-friendly media future
Wang says that Time Warner and Disney are the traditional brands most likely to make it into the next stage of broadcast history relatively unscathed, on the strengths of their powerful brands. That branding is one key way for intrepid consumers to identify the songs, video clips, or other content nuggets they desire. The other way is through aggregators like YouTube or MySpace, where media is organized for you into categories and popularity rankings, and also searchable by keywords or tags. No company today has both a strong media brand and a usable aggregation service, according to Wang, but News Corp at least has a finger in each pie with the Fox production house and MySpace online presence.
I wouldn't call this "consumer-friendly," as that term usually means anti-DRM and the like.

Universal to seek money for each iPod sold
And so it begins. Universal Music Group exec Doug Morris told the Reuters Media Summit that his company is interested in receiving a cut of the profits from each iPod sold. "It would be a nice idea. We have a negotiation coming up not too far. I don't see why we wouldn't do that... but maybe not in the same way," Morris said. His "same way" comment is a reference to the Zune, which Universal already gets $1 from after signing a deal with Microsoft.

Wal-Mart to launch video download store
Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer, has announced its intention to jump into the video download business at some unspecified time in the future. As announcements go, it's not particularly thrilling, and the service won't work with the iPod. Rock on. More interesting is the company's new plan to offer customers the "opportunity" to download copies of movies that they buy in-store. Why would anyone want to do this? Kevin Swint, a divisional merchandise manager for digital media, explains: "They have the DVD as a collectible and for viewing on their home theaters, plus the freedom to download and watch the movie on multiple devices, including portable media players, PCs and laptops." Let's put our collective heads together for a moment and think about this statement. What Wal-Mart is offering is the chance to pay extra cash for downloads of already-purchased films in order to watch the movies on a PC or portable media player.

TiVo selling ad space at end of recordings
TiVo's new Program Placement service will give advertisers another shot at TiVo subscribers, this time at the end of recorded programming. Advertisers will be able to purchase a block of time from TiVo and insert a commercial that will run at the conclusion of a recorded show.

Slashdot | US Bans Sales of iPods To North Korea
The United States has created their list of products banned from being exported to North Korea. This list includes iPods....
How about we only export iPods permanently loaded with _The Voice of America_ podcasts?

Internet Archive Forums: View Post
Thanks to the hard work of two great law school students of Peter Jaszi of American University, Jieun Kim and Doug Agopsowicz, the Internet Archive and other libraries may continue to preserve software and video game titles without fear of going to jail. This is a happy moment, but on the other hand this exception is so limited it leaves the overall draconian nature of the DMCA in effect. A total of more than $50,000 of pro-bono lawyer time has been spent to just affect this exemption and its continuation.

Zune surprises in first sales week - Nov. 29, 2006
Reports of lackluster sales of Microsoft's Zune that surfaced earlier this week might be a bit premature. Microsoft's newest MP3 player, which launched just over two weeks ago, took second place in the portable digital player market in its first four days of sales, according to numbers generated by the market research firm NPD Group. zune.03.jpg Microsoft's new Zune MP3 player did not fare as poorly as some predicted during its first week of sales. Video More video Online retailers are creating their own shopping traditions. CNN's Kyung Lah has more. (November 27) Play video "Considering it is a new brand, it's a very good first-week showing," said Ross Rubin, director of industry for NPD Group.

Online Companies Want a Piece of Old-style Media Business - Knowledge@Wharton
"A lot of people viewed advertising as a sacred area where only advertising people have expertise. I say 'Phooey.' There's no reason any smart, resourceful firm should not be able to get in on the game -- particularly those with a proven track record in a related area," he says, adding that Google and the other Internet firms are looking at traditional media sales as an inefficient market where they can quickly harvest "big, tasty, low-hanging fruit."
I agree, but the other profs in the article clearly don't so much.  Perhaps the difference is in "low-hanging fruit" vs. "large companies."  It could be that they will see great success with smaller companies, and less with large ones.  Still, that's basically what's happened with AdWords, and they're clearly not suffering from it.  In a way, it makes them less threatening to newspapers, because the market will be segmented between old, large advertisers who have relationships with individual newspapers and newer and smaller ones whom Google will bring into the market.

The 'Traveling Salesman' Goes Shopping: The Efficiency of Purchasing Patterns in the Grocery Store - Knowledge@Wharton
Cool it's out. 
"Other shoppers may not have enough knowledge of the store to remember where the products they wish to purchase are located."
Still other shoppers may be in Fresh Grocer, where the layout makes no sense at all except to that one really nice store manager.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Techcrunch » Blog Archive » Russia Agrees To US Request To Shut Down
An official document posted to Digg today summarizes an agreement between the U.S. and Russia in which Russia has agreed to close down, and any sites that “permit illegal distribution of music and other copyright works.”
Crying shame.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Listening Post
Acoustic recognition is helpful enough when it enables Gracenote to replace missing album art in iTunes, but the idea of similar technology analyzing voices in public places in order to activate video surveillance or contact the authorities is just a wee bit unsettling.

Gear Factor
The U.S. Copyright Office specified new rules Wednesday allowing cellphone owners to hack software designed to prevent them from using their phones on competing carriers. Retrogaming enthusiasts will also be permitted to crack copy protection on abandoned titles, albeit for "archival" purposes only. The rules also allow teachers to copy "snippets" from DVDs for educational compilations, and confer the right to have third-party software read copy-protected electronic books --if you're blind. 

While the copyright office didn't offer everything campaigners wished for--they refused to protect the copying of DVDs to other media, for example--they granted an unexpected bonus for abandonware fans: it's now going to be legal to hack copy protection on obsolete computer software and video games, including those that use hardware-based methods such as "dongles."

Great, but the DMCA was passed in 1998, IIRC.  It's a kludge of a process.

Gear Factor
Production house Flach said that Google's hosting of the movie -- the uploader wasn't named -- resulted in 43,000 hits in "a very short period," and was only cut off after the firm was notified of legal action. Issuing a writ at a Parisian commercial court, they alleged Google's French subsidiary infringed their copyright by allowing the free distribution.

Monkey Bites
When Break launched last year they offered $50 per video and later raised that to $250 before yesterday’s increase to $400. With Google backing the massively popular YouTube, competitors have increasingly turned to paying contributers in an effort to lure them away from YouTube. Metacafe launched a similar program called “producer rewards” earlier this year. In the case of Break, the only stipulation on getting paid is that your video must make it to the homepage.

Listening Post
Microsoft Zune's inability to honor the spirit of Creative Commons licenses in its sharing feature, which expires songs licensed by their creators as freely sharable in the same way that it expires the MP3s of copyright holders who'd prefer that their work not be freely sharable.

Wired News: Fine-Tune Your Music Discoveries
I tested all the sites in the same way, searching for bands similar to Neutral Milk Hotel, Talib Kweli and Justin Timberlake. Oddly, I found the more mainstream an artist is, the less precise your results are likely to be.

Wired News: The Day the Music Died
It's coincidental, I guess, that I stumbled into the new realities of collecting music around the same time that Tower Records, an icon of my generation, went under. I knew the internet was the primary reason Tower foundered -- does anybody actually buy CDs anymore? -- but I had no idea people were amassing collections of this size.

Gear Factor
Users will have to pay $15 a month for Verizon Wireless' Vcast service, which will also allow them up upload their own content to YouTube using a short pincode instead of an unwieldy email address. I could try harder, I guess, but I'm finding it increasingly hard to care about this kind of thing. Once these video-to-phone schemes have been operating for a while, then we'll know which among them amount to a "service."

Vista: no CableCARD streaming to other PCs
Consumers who hoped to use their new Vista boxes to blast recorded TV content to other PCs on their home network or to a laptop while traveling (much like a SlingBox) will be disappointed, as Vista engineers bowed to the cable industry's demand for content protection by enabling streaming only to Media Center Extenders.

Microsoft on wrong side of Korean patent ruling
The Supreme Court of Korea has upheld the validity of a patent that could prevent Microsoft from selling copies of Microsoft Office in South Korea. At issue is a feature in Microsoft Office that enables automatic switching between English and Korean.

Experts rate Wikipedia's accuracy higher than non-experts
Thomas Chesney, a Lecturer in Information Systems at the Nottingham University Business School, published the results of his own Wikipedia study in the most recent edition of the online journal First Monday, and he came up with a surprising conclusion: experts rate the articles more highly than do non-experts.
Controls are your friends.

"Psiphoning" data past the censors
Here's how it works: "psiphonodes" are set up by users in uncensored countries, who then distribute the site address only to users in censored countries whom they actually know or trust.

Why does the fashion industry thrive in spite of rampant IP "piracy"?
In spite of the lack of IP protection for clothing designs—or rather, because of this lack, the authors argue—the fashion industry remains vibrant and profitable, exhibiting none of the negative effects on creativity that advocates of strong intellectual property (IP) rights would predict in the absence of government-enforced monopolies on creative "content."

Do Google and YouTube have ethical responsibility for their video services?
Google, which already faces several lawsuits in Europe, now finds itself part of an Italian inquiry into a video clip recently posted to Google Video. The clip shows students at a Turin school bullying an autistic student, and has helped to spark a national examination into the rise of bullying in the country (violent video games have yet to be blamed). What makes this case even more interesting is that state prosecutors appear to be considering charges against the search giant.

YouTube makes the move on TV's "old rich people"
Not only are older viewers a large proportion of YouTube visitors, but they are also likely to be well-heeled. Comscore's data put only 38.4 percent of visitors' income bracket at below $60,000, with 61.6 percent earning above that figure.

Beatles music to start entering UK public domain in 2012?
Artists and publishers want the term extended from its current 50 years to 95 years, but an inside source has now confirmed that the Review will not recommend the 45-year extension, according to the BBC.

The value of the public domain
In the US, much of this data is gathered by the federal government and made available to home users and corporations free of charge. In the UK, though, government weather data is controlled by the Met Office, which charges for access. Which model generates more social and economic benefits? According to an official EU report (PDF), it's the American model. The US government spends only twice as much as the EU on gathering public sector information like weather and mapping data, but generates 10 times the economic value that Europe does by simply giving it away.

Slashdot | RIAA Subpoenas Neighbor's Son, Calls His Employer
the RIAA not only subpoenaed the computer of Ms. Lindor's son, who lives 4 miles away, but had their lawyer telephone the son's employer.

BBspot - MPAA Lobbying for Home Theater Regulations
The MPAA is lobbying congress to push through a new bill that would make unauthorized home theaters illegal.

The MPAA defines a home theater as any home with a television larger than 29" with stereo sound and at least two comfortable chairs, couch, or futon. Anyone with a home theater would need to pay a $50 registration fee with the MPAA or face fines up to $500,000 per movie shown. 
Just because you buy a DVD to watch at home doesn't give you the right to invite friends over to watch it too.
Has all the ring of a parody, but stranger things have come out of the ??AA's. No business model for HDTV, CBC tells CRTC
As television shifts towards high-definition channels and programs, broadcasters are finding no business model for HDTV and are instead being forced to foot the massive bill, the head of CBC warned Monday.

iTWire - Fake chinese electronics selling better than the originals!
It’s a funny old world. Chinese manufacturers are copying the circuit boards and designs of products from Japan and Korea, and they’re doing it so fast that by the time the originals arrive in the marketplace, they’re seen as the fakes

Businesses Split on Patent Case -
Some of the largest companies in the United States are facing off in a Supreme Court case over gas pedals, with one side hoping the justices will put the brakes on an out-of-control patent system

Furdlog » The Shifting Music Market Target
AT 52, Martha Stinson is not quite sure where to turn when it comes to new music. The local Tower Records in Nashville, where Mrs. Stinson is an owner of a general contracting company, is going out of business, and she never did figure out how to load music onto the digital-music player she bought a couple of years ago. But she may soon receive an overture from a source not known for its musical savvy: AARP. She is the kind of consumer that the association is targeting with a sweeping marketing campaign that it hopes will entice millions of new members, as the first kids weaned on rock ’n’ roll turn gray.

Furdlog » Reworking Distribution
ArkivMusic, a four-year-old company based in Bryn Mawr, Pa., maintains a database of more than 70,000 classical CDs, DVDs and SACDs (super audio compact discs), all sold through its Web site. Over the last two months, the company has added more than 1,600 ArkivCDs to its site: custom-burned CD-Rs of otherwise unavailable recordings, packaged in standard jewel boxes with facsimiles of the original cover and tray card. So far, liner notes are not included.
Don't believe the new DMCA software ruling covers this....

Furdlog » Google Settles With Belgian Papers
The company has a similar case with Agence France-Presse, which protested Google’s linking to the news agency’s articles and pictures in the United States and in France last year.

Furdlog » I Hate These Kinds of Write Ups
a few more technically-competent folks in seats of power can only be a good thing for a lot of important issues

Furdlog » Social Mapping and Regulatory Failure
CTIA-The Wireless Association petitioned the F.C.C. to draft rules guaranteeing basic privacy protections, like requiring that customers give explicit consent before any information was disclosed to third parties and that all location information be protected from unauthorized access. When the F.C.C. considered the request in 2002, it declined to act, arguing that existing legislation was enough.

Furdlog » Inducement v. Safe Harbors
Universal Music Group on Friday sued, claiming the online social-networking hub illegally encourages its users to share music and music videos on the site without permission.

Furdlog » DoubleTwist
“He imitated Apple’s system; he didn’t remove any copyright protections,” said Monique Farantzos, whose DoubleTwist Ventures plans to license the code to businesses. “He made a system that behaves in a similar way.”
Jon goes legal, but not in a way you'd expect.

Target, Disney in DVD truce - Los Angeles Times
With the holidays and the DVD release of the blockbuster "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" approaching, Target Corp. and Walt Disney Co. appear to have reached an uneasy truce in their standoff over terms in the rapidly changing home-video business. Target made Disney testy in September, when it fired off a letter demanding the same low wholesale prices on DVDs that Apple Computer Inc. is paying Disney to offer movie downloads over iTunes. At the time, Target threatened to cut back on its efforts to sell Disney's DVDs. Disney countered that DVD buyers get something different from what iTunes customers get: an actual disc packed with commentary, deleted scenes, trailers and other extras. Disney charges conventional retailers about $16 for new DVD releases, between $1 and $2 more than Apple pays.

Wired News: Rhapsody's a Raspberry
For the last several weeks I've been trying to use RealNetworks' Rhapsody subscription music service with one of SanDisk's Sansa players. I knew there were problems, but I've been truly shocked at how crappy it is. This isn't news to anyone who's tried to use one of the many devices based on Microsoft's PlaysForSure system, which even Microsoft has abandoned with the Zune.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Slashdot | Does the RIAA Fear Counterclaims?
The RIAA seems to have a fear of counterclaims. In Elektra v. Schwartz, a case against a woman with Multiple Sclerosis, the RIAA is protesting on technical grounds Ms. Schwartz's inclusion of a counterclaim against them for attorneys fees.

Slashdot | Draconian Anti-Piracy Law Looms Over Australia
A law is being rushed through the Australian legislature that would criminalize great swaths of the citizenry.
Australia's always been the worst in the world for copyright issues for some reason....

YouTube - UCLA Police Taser Student in Powell
UCLA Police Taser Student in Powell.
Hard to watch, but important.  Definitely a different experience than reading the usual he-said, she-said in the paper.   As much as the Rodney King incident was a dramatic illustration of the power of video, this is pretty clearly an illustration of the power of user-accessible distribution networks.  No TV station would show this in its 7-minute entirety, but it wouldn't have the same impact in a 15-second clip with an anchor talking over his screams.

Yahoo, newspapers ink pact on content sharing, classifieds
Internet portal Yahoo announced a deal encompassing over 170 newspapers that will see the online giant deliver search, advertising, and other content to the newspapers' web sites.

Nielsen study: video use on iPods very low
. Nielsen conducted its first ever study on iPod usage in October this year, following the habits of 400 iPod users from October 1-27 as part of its Anywhere Anytime Media Measurement initiative. Its conclusion was that a surprisingly low percentage of iPod users seem to have any interest in watching videos on their devices.

FM recording ability silently reappears in some Creative players
Firmware 1.60.01 for the Creative ZEN Vision:M, issued late last week, has restored its lost FM recording functionality. Last month we reported on Creative's disabling of the FM recording functionality for some of their products.

Judge rules for Craigslist in discriminatory housing ads case
Strahilevitz argues that the most important distinction among these three types of exclusion is the amount of information that landlords and potential buyers/tenants either have or can cost-effectively obtain about each other. In other words, informational asymmetries—and the costs associated with overcoming those asymmetries—guide a landlord in selecting among these three, generally interchangeable exclusionary strategies.
Ars' great writeup of the common carrier decision.

Internet users cannot be sued for reposting defamatory statements
The California Supreme Court ruled yesterday that individual Internet users are generally protected from libel actions when they repost material written by others, even if notified that such material may be libelous.

Comcast, Disney near agreement over on-demand video
Comcast and Disney are reportedly on the verge of signing a deal that would add some ABC shows to the cable provider's on-demand arsenal.

CBS agrees that online video is not the enemy
David Poltrack, chief research officer at CBS Corporation, has seen the light of other days, and now admits that there is a place in the media world for video downloads—even of clips that are CBS property.

Wired News: Second Life Will Save Copyright
So you would think that Linden Labs would be pulling out the big guns, including digital rights management technology, or DRM, and intellectual property lawyers, to fight the Copybot problem. After all, there's a lot of liability to go around.
But Linden Labs has confronted this threat to its bottom line in a different and novel way.  Instead, Linden Labs will take another approach. In the short run, it believes that use of Copybot violates its terms of service agreement, allowing the company to ban an offender's account. Long term, Linden says it will create better information identifying creators and dates of creation for in-world content. This will allow copyright owners who've been aggrieved to bring infringement claims against offenders personally, at least in theory.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Universal sues Myspace
Universal Music Group, the largest music company in the world, has made good on CEO Doug Morris's threat to sue MySpace, filing a lawsuit against the site today "just hours after MySpace... said it launched an enhanced copyright protection tool to make it easier for content owners to remove unauthorized material," according to Reuters.

Second Life could be second target
The next aspect of real life to become part of Second Life could be the all-too-real prospect of an RIAA crackdown on unauthorized music, although labels could face difficulty in proving that Linden Labs has any culpability.

Yahoo!'s new Bix could be next
Most contestants battle each other in karaoke or lip-sync videos of a common song, but Bix also hosts stand-up comedy contests, beauty contests and competitions styled after "stupid human tricks."

MPAA sues over DVD-to-iPod service
The customer then gets the iPod with the movies loaded on it and a copy of the DVD that she legally purchased.
This may be another casualty of the DMCA.  The question is, why is the motion picture industry suing something so clearly good for them, unless they really believe they can sell the same content to users two and three times (it's kind of working for the RIAA members right now with ringtones, sadly, but even there I doubt there's much overlap in customers).

File-sharing defendant says Kazaa has him covered
David Greubel argues that even if is found liable for copyright infringement, Arista and the other record labels are barred from recovering any damages because the of the Kazaa settlement.
Not sure this will work (IANAL), but it's interesting to see people fighting back.

Lawrence Lessig
Drop an MP3 on OWL. It will analyze it and show you similar sounding Creative Commons licensed music.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Wired News: Rescue Your Stranded Tunes
There are no hardware or firmware restrictions that stop you from transferring music off an iPod, and so a number of non-Apple, third-party developers have released tools to help you reclaim your iPod's contents.

Listening Post
The main discovery was that the Zune runs on a Freescale iMX31L processor, which can also run Linux.
This is not unrelated to the link above.  Unless there's some serious hardware encryption on there, the Zune's much-discussed DRM may be moot quite soon, nothing more than another example of DRM as speed bump, not road block.

Wired News: The Song Doesn't Remain the Same
Community sites like Jamglue, Splice and SingShot are combining social networking with innovative tools that let users create, share and remix each other's songs inside a web browser.

Slashdot | Clear Channel Goes Private and Streamlined
Clear Channel Communications Inc., the nations largest radio, billboard, and entertainment outlet, announced their intention this morning to sell the company to a consortium of private-equity firms for over $26 billion.

Slashdot | Skype Unleashed onto Cell Phones
Today Hutchinson announced that it would provide unlimited cell phone to cell phone Skype calls via a 3G connection. SNIU

Slashdot | Mark Cuban Declares War on GooTube
Cuban is so convinced that GooTube will be a failure that he is in the process of acquiring the news agency owned by Robert Tur, currently involved in serious litigation with Google over copyright violations.

Slashdot | Are New DRM Technologies Setting Vista Up For Failure?
Trusted Platform Module, Output Protection Management, Protected Video Path and various Windows Media software components are designed to 'protect' copyrighted content against security breaches and unauthorized use. The article notes that many of the DRM technologies were forced upon Vista by the entertainment industry, but that may not garner Microsoft or Hollywood any sympathy with consumers.

Slashdot | CSIRO Wireless Patent Reaffirmed in US Court
The CSIRO has won a landmark US legal battle against Buffalo Technology, under which it could receive royalties from every producer of wireless local area network (WLAN) products worldwide.

Slashdot | British "Secure" Passports Cracked
The Guardian has cracked the so-trumpeted secure British passports after 48 hours of work.
Someday, politicians will understand encryption.  Today is not that day.

Lawrence Lessig
You might wonder how it could be a problem to save a YouTube video to your machine, when it isn’t a problem to save a television show to your VCR? Welcome to the terror of the Terms of Service world: Whether or not it is a violation of copyright law (which it isn’t, though the lawyers for YouTube seem to assert to the contrary), the view of many is that “fair use” rights can be promised away just as your first born male son can be promised away (wait, except he can’t).
I'm surprised no one's tried shrinkwrap licenses for CDs/DVDs yet, unless LA lawyers are certain it wouldn't work....

News from PC Magazine: Dell to Sell PCs on Second Life
On the island, customers will pay for their virtual Dell machines in Linden, the official Second Life currency. Customers who want to order a physical machine to be ordered to their home will pay in US dollars.

The shady one-man corporation that's destroying hip-hop. - By Tim Wu - Slate Magazine
First, in 2005, Bridgeport convinced Nashville's federal appellate court to buy into its copyright theory. In that case, Bridgeport Music v. Dimension Films, the defendants sampled a single chord from the George Clinton tune "Get Off Your Ass and Jam," changed the pitch, and looped the sound in the background.
I'm not sure that a specific exemption for sampling is the answer here.  It's easy to villify my thug sample troll here, but mainstream record companies haven't exactly been derivative works-friendly in any way, shape, or form. Artist-controlled copyrights might help, though.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Interesting enough to deserve an extended quote:


Are online possessions much riskier than real-world ones?

Another Microsoft launch.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Listening Post
With all of this talk about the Zune's DRM situation, it must be pointed out again that the device can play unprotected MP3 and WMA files. To those who say it's more closed than the iPod DRM-wise, I respond that while the Zune limits playback of friend-obtained songs to three listens within three days, the iPod doesn't allow you to give songs to your friends at all.

NBC to offer free video podcasts of news shows
He still believes that on-demand, ad-supported streaming video is what most users really want.
For the nightly news?  I rather agree.

Best Buy tries to copyright sales prices
FatWallet's case was dismissed with the judge ruling that the bargain-hunting site had not suffered injury because of the takedown notice.
I'm not sure ad images shouldn't be copyrightable, but this ruling sets a high bar for DMCA abuse challenges.

Coming Zune: the Zune experience still missing several key pieces
First, the points system points to more. What trusted sources tell us is that part of the impetus behind the points system was to make purchasing music easy from within the Zune itself.

Every Vista computer can have its own domain name
Simply put, Computer Name allows users to identify their machine by a unique name, rather than an IP address, from anywhere on the planet.
Boon for piracy, or boon for catching casual pirates?

RIAA: we love fair use. No, really!
He goes on to note that fair use is intended for criticism, comment, news reporting, and scholarship, saying that "it is certainly not an excuse to boost the sales of electronic devices and services on the backs of hard-working creators."
Redfinition as insidious attack on fair use.

Lycos Cinema ties chat to movies; content library, technical details disappoint
For me, the inability to go full-screen detracted from the viewing experience, and I suppose the chat function could be fun with friends and family, but I only had total strangers with whom to bounce oddball comments.

Fox to sell low-cost DVDs in China to combat piracy
The first studio to announce such a strategy was Time Warner, which said in August that it planned to start releasing cheap DVDs in China in an attempt to fight piracy. The movies were to be released on DVD soon after their theatrical release for about 10 yuan (approximately $1.25) apiece. 10 yuan is close to the typical price for a pirated movie in China.

Google sees a future with free, ad-supported cellphones
Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that cell phone price subsidies should increase in tandem with the amount of advertising delivered over cellular networks. "Your mobile phone should be free," Schmidt said to Reuters. "It just makes sense that subsidies should increase."

Slashdot | Making the Jump From Web To TV
The former host of Rocketboom, one of the most popular of the video blogs, with roughly 211,000 daily viewers, has a new gig as a contributor for ABC. She's not alone.

Slashdot | VR Cures Amputees' Phantom Limb Pain
Scientists have developed a virtual world like Second Life where real-life amputees have their limbs restored.
Incredible to see that this works.  Phantom limbs are fascinating, crippling, well-studied, and uncured.  Score one for the video games.

Slashdot | iPod Seat-Back Video Coming To Flights
Apple announced partnership agreements with Air France, Continental, Delta, Emirates, KLM, and United that will let you display video from your iPod on the screen of the seat in front of you.

Bloglines | My Feeds (26) (1)
We alleged a change in perhaps the most fundamental "traditional contour" of copyright protection -- the shift from the opt-in system that copyright was from 1790=1976 to the opt-out system that copyright has become in the period since.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

UofA sues artist for paintings. Having grown up in Alabama and seen many of these things, they're clearly commercial, but does that make them less art, less entitled to protection?

Google sued again in advance of YouTube takeover.
YouTube self-censors what appears to be a pretty dramatic way in response to a DMCA complaint.

Attempt to end next format war. I don't know how much this will help, as you'll still have to have separate lasers, which aren't cheap.

Walkman creator leaves Sony.

New tactic in countering RIAA lawsuits: excessive damages.

Sony's YouTube equivalent offers 100 famous clips for free. I can see this really working as a marketing tool, but it sounds like they're doing this in a very lukewarm fashion. If they picked right, though, they could easily drive sales of DVDs that people have forgotten about but used to love.


Friday, November 10, 2006

I can't think of a good reason for Microsoft to do this, but it looks like they are.

No good reasons for this either, but we're used to such behavior from the various foreign RIAA pawns.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Plays Perhaps(tm)

Australia: Piracy statistics made up.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Curious ringtone ruling means artists will get even less. Pretty egregious, given how expensive ringtones are relative to full-length singles. Also, I believe uses a similar licensing loophole to have their claim of legitimacy. Curious to see the RIAA members behaving similarly--but unsurprising.

Last KaZaA lawsuit settled?

Wikipedia imitation at the CIA.

Is the value of a music contract declining precipitously?