2002 September 13 Links

(entry last updated: 2002-09-13 18:44:44)

I’ve been barely able to keep up with things, so today’s posting is going to be a little terse – and I’m still going to be behind.

Donna and Ernie continue the post Lessig-Red-Herring discussion. I think I still stand by what I posted to Ernie’s comments: “I have to say that I think the only credible explanation for Larry’s position is that he’s doing what any good lawyer does when confronted with a losing battle – trying to find a compromise that will at least preserve something of his client’s interests. Certainly after hearing that Intel has gone over to the dark side with LaGrande, it’s hard not to be pessimistic.”
Update: Donna has posted her latest (and quite comprehensive) summary of the discussion to date at Copyfight. Well worth a review (even if it does include some of my comments <G>)

Update 2: Bag and Baggage has a few thoughts, as does Doc Searls

Napster gets another, albeit tawdry, potential lease on life. And I catch up from yesterday… Plus, an interesting report from the UK Commission on Intellectual Property Rights that’ll anger the SBA and others, as the TalkBacks to the ZDNet UK article posted below demonstrate.

(6 items listed below)

  • Will TiVo dodge a bullet by partnering with Neilsen?
  • The Register reports that a porn distributor wants to buy Napster from Bertelsmann.
  • Dan Briklin discusses the folly of the RIAA strategy with respect to P2P
  • Major league baseball’s foray into webcasting geta a looking over, with some interestings issues developing.
  • Brad King introduces “squishy” DRM in Wired News. Almost a variant on this Lessig discussion that we’re having right now.
  • ZDNet UK reports that The Commission on Intellectual Property Rights has a new report with some conclusions on the use of open source and the construction of IP legislation that will worry those who count on copy protection to maintain profitability. As the opening to the Executive Summary states:

    There are few concerned with IP who will find that this report makes entirely comfortable reading….

    Perhaps there is something about the era we live in that has encouraged blind adherence to dogma. This has affected many walks of life. It certainly has affected the whole area of intellectual property rights. On the one side, the developed world side, there exists a powerful lobby of those who believe that all IPRs are good for business, benefit the public at large and act as catalysts for technical progress. They believe and argue that, if IPRs are good, more IPRs must be better. On the other side, the developing world side, there exists a vociferous lobby of those who believe that IPRs are likely to cripple the development of local industry and technology, will harm the local population and benefit none but the developed world. They believe and argue that, if IPRs are bad, the fewer the better.

    This is going to require some serious reading!!

2002 September 12 Links

(entry last updated: 2002-09-12 17:23:29)

A little BBSpot humor (?) today, following up on the Intel LaGrande announcement. And there’s a multi-way conversation getting started up over Larry’s Red Herring piece with Donna, Ernie the Attorney (and commenters) with Larry.

More on this from me below

(2 items listed below – although there are more new items in the ESD.10 links)

  • BBSpot reports on the Microsoft/Intel plans for the copyright-protecting CDS Operating System

  • Following up on Larry’s provocative Red Herring article, I’ve been trying to think about the implications of Palladium for the architecture of computing, and I keep coming up with reasons to dislike and fear it, irrespective of the problems that automatically spring to mind when one considers the source of the concept. While I see Will’s and Larry’s point that, as a layered method to handle access control, Palladium does a better job of maintaining the end-to-end model of the network, it does that by interfering with another, far more important end-to-end model. I am referring to the ultimate terminal elements of the Internet — the users themselves.

    The basic notion of the end-to-end network is “smart devices, dumb networks” — networks just move bits around, and the devices at the ends assemble them into some kind of meaningful form. However, the concept of “meaningful” relies upon the true terminal elements of the network — the user. And, if we extend the end-to-end model to include the user, then it seems to me that Palladium implicitly violates the structure, because now there’s something in the communication channel that knows more, or is more privileged, than the terminal element.

    After all, the computer at the end of the traditional network channel is just the gateway between network-speak and human-speak and experience. And, in the end-to-end model, that gateway should not be designed so that it needs to know more than the user does. But, Palladium breaks this meta-end-to-end model by raising the computer above the user in the permissions heirarchy – moreover, it sets up other intermediaries (content owners, software writers, signing authorities) as equally necessary permission-granters in the process of networking.

    (This gets into something that I’ve been trying to grapple with formally for the last couple of weeks. Copyrights cover the production and distribution of expressions that, through a varieties of alchemies, become experiences – things that induce human responses. When we consider a book, my acquisition of the expression then gives me the opportunity to convert it into experience though the agency of my reading the book. As copyright enters the realm of digital expression, it is being used not only as a defense against illicit mechanical reproduction, but it is also being used to defend a right to control the process whereby the expression becomes an experience. Reading is entirely a process of my own undertaking; listening to a CD involves an intermediate mechanism which alienates me from the process of conversion of expression into experience. And now, with things like Palladium, the copyright holder wants to control an aspect of the conversion of expression into experience that was not available to him before. But, that’s another essay that is even less well baked than this one….)

    And, I think that’s why so many recoil when confronted with DRM in this guise too. If, as suggested, Palladium is an opt-in, then maybe the user can still assert his/her desire to stay outside the “protected zone.” But, given the degree to which the industry seems to be planning to make these choices for us, and our legislatures desire to enforce them, I find it hard to believe that there’s going to be any “opt-” at all.

2002 September 11 Links

(entry last updated: 2002-09-11 11:01:52)

Donna at Copyfight points me to Larry Lessig on Palladium. I can infer only one thing from this – Larry believes that DRM really is inevitable and believes there’s a choice between "being shot and being hung." Rather, DRM is the Jack Benny choice – "your money or your life" – and Valenti only understands $$.

The Register is finally heard from on the Intel LaGrande scheme – more fodder for the Stuckist Web.

(3 items listed below)

  • Larry Lessig has a commentary in Red Herring wherein he offers a kind of defense of Palladium – while DRM is not good, the form represented by Palladium-like technology may be less egregious/intrusive/limiting than other proposed solutions to the “P2P problem” as perceived by Hollywood. However, because Microsoft is immediately perceived as (1) evil, (2) controlling, and (3) rapacious in light of past behavior, a thoughtful consideration of the good elements of Palladium is never undertaken.

    A faintly peculiar argument, IMHO. This reads like Larry (who hates software patents) telling us that, since one could use software patents to achieve open access to techniques through their pre-emptive use, software patents may not be that bad a thing. After all, although IBM and Microsoft have all these software patents now, we can count on them to just use them to benignly protect everyone’s ability to produce software – they never would use them in some other fashion!! (Whistling past the graveyard, I fear)

    The fact that he thinks there is merit in splitting hairs on DRM is, unfortunately, an indication of just how bleak the position of those who oppose it must be within the Beltway.

    And, if he’s right and DRM is inevitable, then we can all expect to see the collapse of the US microelectronics/microcomputer industry as consumers flock to those offshore suppliers who elect not to incorporate such restrictive technologies in their products. Because, while the automobile industry was able to survive throwing money down the economic rat-hole of enforced deployment of the electric vehicle, I really don’t believe that Intel and AMD can afford to develop a line of microprocessor that finds NO buyers – Microsoft is not going to be able to create so compelling an argument to upgrade that people will buy LaGrande microprocessors in spite of the DRM elements in it – hyperthreading or not.

  • Donna also points to a succint description of the merits of end-to-end: The Paradox of the Best Network

  • The Register analyses Intel’s LaGrande scheme – and a host of others, promoting the Stuckist Net (an earlier Palladium article where the phrase is coined)

2002 September 10 Links

(entry last updated: 2002-09-10 17:00:13)

Unbelievable! Intel’s LaGrange – one more "innovation" to end all innovation. When I read about this in The Boston Globe I had hoped it was just poor interpretation. But the drumbeat is starting….

And I don’t even have to look around the Internet to see that Steve Gillmor’s latest from InfoWorld is going to stir up a lot of people (even with this small correction)!

(4 items listed below)

2002 September 9 Links

(entry last updated: 2002-09-09 15:00:18)

Another hay fever night. 🙁

Bruce Perens is out of HP because he tickled the dragon’s tail. Salon dissects the current upheavals at SonicBlue. And David Coursey continues to whale on Microsoft’s Windows XP for Media – Wired picks up on some of it as well.

John Borland gives a look at the state of play in the ISP/content provider copyright fracas. And more on the Pavlovitch case.

(6 items listed below)

2002 September 8 Links

(entry last updated: 2002-09-08 13:48:24)

Garry Trudeau strikes a blow for musicians.

(1 item listed below)

  • Garry Trudeau tells us about Johnny Thudpucker, an online success with a backup job at Red Lobster.

2002 September 6 Links

(entry last updated: 2002-09-06 13:42:21)

When an unabashed Microsoft shill like David Coursey doesn’t like something from Microsoft, you know they’ve got an uphill row to hoe. And he hasn’t yet gotten to the DRM problems with the Windows XP Media computer-thing!

A high-profile Republican senator bolts over the amendments to the anti-counterfeiting bill extending its scope into the digital realm. Drew Clark puts together a comprehensive look at the pending copyright battles between Hollywood and the computer industry. And something new on the DeCSS front!?

(4 items listed below)

2002 September 5 Links

(entry last updated: 2002-09-05 18:29:13)

Politech is carrying a message from Berman’s office defending the P2P hacking bill. The NYT has an article on governments and open source. And Duke University gets an anonymous donation to reset the balance in copyright law.

Donna emailed to let me know that the Eldred response brief has been filed – see below. And an excellent snipe at this nasty Microsoft Windows XP for Media travesty over at LawMeme

(7 items listed below)

2002 September 4 Links

(entry last updated: 2002-09-04 23:00:58)

The shutdown of Napster is starting to percolate through the internet. A strong commentary on the dangers of the recent DMCA-based lawsuit over Listen4Ever is on CNet. And the Madster/Aimster is in trouble today, too. (Check out the Madster’s weblog here)

And Melancholy Elephants is available online?!? A look at an alternative rationale for giving copyrights for only "Limited Times."

(5 items listed below)

2002 September 3 Links

(entry last updated: 2002-09-03 18:50:33)

Ah, the power of hay fever. It leads me to an early start on today’s links 🙁

Julie Hilden at Findlaw’s Writ discusses the Clean Flicks lawsuit. Copy protection is not as popular with the labels as it used to be, at least in the US. And Microsoft and HP introduce the next product bomb – Windows XP Media Edition. A Slashdot discussion of file spoofing on P2P networks makes it to Business 2.0.

And a depressing story at the LA Times – will this one be enough to get people active?!

(7 items listed below)