2003 February 20

(entry last updated: 2003-02-20 19:11:25)

  • Ed Felten points us to a very thoughtful and lengthy essay posted at LawMeme: Accidental Privacy Spills: Musings on Privacy, Democracy, and the Internet (Donna likes it, too)

  • News.com shows us one way that the end-to-end design of the Internet is being subverted at the University of Wyoming, where Audible Magic‘s technology is being deployed (Slashdot discussion). I mean, why should we use these next generation processors that Intel and AMD want to sell us to cure cancer or search for extraterrestrials when we can instead use them to cripple our networks and save the record industry from itself?

  • NewsFlash! Dead horse being beaten – literally! This is the kind of innovative record industry thinking that’s going to solve their problems – cannibalism!! (A popular word, I see!)
    (Note: Jenny’s worried about losing the “Grimmys or Grammys?” article – here’s a local pdf)

  • A little off-topic, but the Image of the Day for 2/20/2003 documents a little-known WWII-era product – the Mickey Mouse gas mask

  • LawMeme reports that the decision to pre-release an album on vinyl to music critics, etc. did nothing to stop the “leak” of the album to the Internet P2P nets – so the album release is being bumped up.

    So here’s the $64 question – what idiot thought that this approach was actually going to keep this material off the P2P networks? "I know! — we’ll just release it on vinyl! We’ll go retro with – get this – pure analog! Those P2P pirates will never figure out how to rip an MP3 from that." Do you suppose s/he got paid to offer up that kind of lame advice? I mean, hasn’t the measure of the music aficionado always been the quality and extent of his playback tools? Of course someone will have a good AtoD setup to deal with vinyl. Sheesh!

  • Woo-hoo! Siva Viadhynathan’s weblog configuration is fixed so it’s now possible to link to individual entries – for example, this interview with a recording artist that he posted a while ago.

  • To mark the close of the comment period on the broadcast flag, Cory Doctorow points to the submission of an MIT graduate student who decided to test Jack Valenti’s assertion that the broadcast flag protections are necessary to prevent casual file sharing of HDTV – he documented his efforts and supplied them as a comment.

  • Wired has a provocatively titled summary of the Digital Rights Summit: Summit: DMCA Blocks Tech Progress

    “I’m here today to tell you that I’m scared. Silicon Valley is under threat,” said Joe Kraus, co-founder of Digitalconsumer.org. “The DMCA’s blatant restriction on circumvention threatens a few of the core foundations of Silicon Valley: interoperability, innovation without prior permission and Silicon Valley’s (belief in) empowering the consumer.

  • Also from the Digital Rights Summit: Rep. Ron Wyden plans to introduce a bill that "[r]equire[s]anything that has antipiracy technology built in to be clearly labeled and let consumers decide at the cash register" (Slashdot discussion) Also, Larry Lessig is quoted supporting a compulsory licensing scheme – Terry Fisher’s?

    “Never in our history have fewer been in a position to control more of the creative potential of our society than now,” Lessig said. “We have to buy them off, so they don’t break the Internet in the interim.”

    Slashdot discussion

  • This writeup of the Digital Rights Summit from SFGate is more colorful than most:

    At a heated Digital Rights Summit at Intel Corp.’s headquarters, Lessig joined entrepreneurs and other academics in warning that Hollywood’s copy-protection demands could strike a lethal blow to the U.S. technology industry.

    Punctuated by hisses, applause and shouts of “Amen!” from members of the 100-person crowd, the four-hour debate illustrated the gargantuan gap between Silicon Valley and Hollywood when it comes to so-called digital rights management.

    …The lone Hollywood defender in the four-hour conference blasted technophiles’ allegations as “overblown and simplistic.”

    Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., said Silicon Valley’s complaints were little more than trivial self-pity.

    A less colorful article from SFGate makes a few other points about innovation in Silicon Valley.

  • Donna points to a further summary of the Digital Rights Summit, as well as alerting us to the fact that Ben Edelman’s research project continues to move forward – (as well as the fact that she’s seen today’s entries <G> – thanks, Donna!)

  • Derek Slater points to bIPlog’s Digital Rights Summit rundown.

  • Pursuant to yesterday’s rundown on the Clear Channel issues, there is a New York Times editorial today that puts some more fuel on the fire: The Trouble With Corporate Radio: The Day the Protest Music Died

    Liberal Democrats are horrified by the legion of conservative talk show hosts who dominate the airwaves. But the problem stretches across party lines. National Journal reported last month that Representative Mark Foley, Republican of Florida, was finding it difficult to reach his constituents over the air since national radio companies moved into his district, reducing the number of local stations from five to one. Senator Byron Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, had a potential disaster in his district when a freight train carrying anhydrous ammonia derailed, releasing a deadly cloud over the city of Minot. When the emergency alert system failed, the police called the town radio stations, six of which are owned by the corporate giant Clear Channel. According to news accounts, no one answered the phone at the stations for more than an hour and a half. Three hundred people were hospitalized, some partially blinded by the ammonia. Pets and livestock were killed.

  • Salon’s Eric Boehlert keeps up the heat with Is pay-for-play finally finished?

    It can costs a label $250,000 just to get a new single played on rock radio. That doesn’t guarantee the song will become a hit. It just gains access to the airwaves. If the song actually does become a mainstream Top-40 hit, indie costs balloon to more than $1 million per song. When consumers complain about the price of an $18 CD, most have no idea how much money record companies spend trying to market those CDs to radio.

    The problem for record companies today is that fewer consumers are spending $18 on CDs, or even $13. Thanks in large part to free downloading and file-sharing, CD sales have plummeted nearly 20 percent in just two years, and record companies don’t seem to have a clue how to stop the free-fall.