2003 April 24

(entry last updated: 2003-04-24 20:37:22)

  • Missed this: Glenn Fleishman writes [pdf] in the NYTimes about Internet giveaways and bandwidth fees. [via Matt]

  • End of Free Redux: Technorati stats (8:25 PM) – www.nytimes.com; 242,059 weblogs watched; 10,549,891 links tracked; 5980 inbound blogs (up), 15615 inbound links (down) (first noted change in numbers since day before yesterday)

  • Florida’s super-DMCA has been expedited for consideration tomorrow: Ed Felten and Kevin Heller have details

  • Even though a week’s worth of weather doesn’t usually get me to say it, this upcoming event, in addition to this week’s typical, dismal "spring" weather makes me think that maybe I am on the wrong coast <G>: Label/Bounty SPAM Legislation: Will Professor Lessig be Forced to Resign?

  • Verizon loses [pdf] – via Derek

    Bates also refused to stay his earlier ruling against Verizon until an appeals court considers the case, granting it only two weeks to seek such protection. Barring a reversal, Verizon must reveal the names of the subscribers to the RIAA, the trade group for the largest music labels.

    CNet: Verizon gets 14 days to ID file-swapper

    Here’s the opinion from the DC Circuit WWW page for recent opinions. I have a deadline to meet this evening, so I’m not going to be able to give an in-depth assessment of this opinion, but upon a one-time read through, it is probably more accurate to say that Verizon got creamed – this judge not only disagrees with Verizon (well, he agreed that Verizon had standing to argue the First Amendment rights of its subscribers), he completely buys the RIAA’s claim that (a) they are losing tons of money to copyright infringement and (b) that the RIAA will not argue mootness upon appeal if Verizon complies with the order in the next 14 days. Riiiiight.

    Moreover, the judge appears (remember, one-time-read) to believe that the fact that the requirements of the DMCA for a sworn statement from the petitioner for a subpoena is a sufficient basis to ensure that there will not be misuses of this “ministerial” clerical action to the detriment of subscriber privacy. So, that means the little guy is going to have to be prepared to somehow get a perjury complaint against the RIAA if s/he is feeling abused.

    Again, only a quick read-thru, but this looks terribly dismal.

    Update: Press release from Verizon

    Verizon today said it would immediately ask a U.S. Appeals Court for a stay of a lower court ruling forcing the company to reveal the identity of an Internet subscriber accused of music piracy. Verizon is seeking to protect a subscriber’s privacy following a decision today by U.S. District Court Judge John Bates to deny the company’s original request for a stay.

    …”Today’s ruling goes far beyond the interests of large copyright monopolists — such as RIAA — in enforcing its copyrights. This decision exposes anyone who uses the Internet to potential predators, scam artists and crooks, including identity thieves and stalkers. We will continue to use every legal means available to protect our subscribers’ privacy and will immediately seek a stay from the U.S. Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals has already agreed to hear this important Internet privacy case on an expedited schedule.

    Go here to hear Cary Sherman crow

  • Since this seems to be a day about musician protest and Clear Channel, here’s something else from Billboard: Beasties Question U.S., Chinese Regimes

    On the American front, Yauch responded to a question about cuts in airplay for the anti-war Dixie Chicks, saying, “most of the media outlets are basically acting like cheerleaders for the whole war and for the Bush administration. Shortly after Sept. 11, some of these major corporations stopped playing things like John Lennon songs that just said anything about peace because they just wanted to be very careful not to do anything anti-American,” he said.

    Facilitating the trend, he added, “most of the radio stations are being bought up by Clear Channel and a few other corporations.”

  • The 321 Studios lawsuit (request for declaratory judgement in re their DVD copying software) has been postponed – court scheduling conflicts are cited.

  • Although the title is geeky, anyone worried about the super-DMCAs needs to understand this Slashdot discussion: More On Detecting NAT Gateways (note that NAT = "network address translation" – a standard tool for connecting a non-routable home network to a single Internet connection – and something that is arguably outlawed by the text of these laws.)

  • Linus Torvalds’ thoughts on DRM & Linux at Slashdot – he’s going to be agnostic about it and entertain incorporating the ability to manage signed materials – but he also makes an important point:

    Btw, one thing that is clearly _not_ allowed by the GPL is hiding private

    keys in the binary. You can sign the binary that is a result of the build

    process, but you can _not_ make a binary that is aware of certain keys

    without making those keys public – because those keys will obviously have

    been part of the kernel build itself.

    So don’t get these two things confused – one is an external key that is

    applied _to_ the kernel (ok, and outside the license), and the other one

    is embedding a key _into_ the kernel (still ok, but the GPL requires that

    such a key has to be made available as “source” to the kernel).

  • Mary Hodder discusses the Pam Samuelson interview in Technology Review (I’m not a reader since they changed their format, but I’m glad that someone is watching – Mary should archive the piece, as TR erects a costwall in much the same fashion that the NYTimes has done)

  • Derek Slater points to an interview of Siva Viadhynathan that exposes where he’s going with his upcoming book.

  • Howard Rheingold’s presentation (Cory Doctorow’s notes) to the Emerging Technologies Conference gets coverage in Wired

    “Our freedom to innovate is not necessarily going to be as free as it was in the pre-Internet era,” he cautioned. “We are at a pivotal point in the history of technology and a lot of assumptions should be questioned.”

    Rheingold said the explosive growth of Internet-connected PCs, handhelds and cell phones had dramatically altered the cultural landscape. Thanks to connected computers, passive consumers have been transformed into active users, who create as well as consume content.

    But vested interests — the music and movie industries, telecommunications companies and governments — are starting to clamp down politically and economically to protect their interests.

    “They would very much like to get us back to the days when there were three radio stations and one telephone company,” he said. “We’re going to have to fight to remain users and not be turned back into consumers.”

    …Rheingold, author of Smart Mobs, had planned to talk about the social implications of millions of cell phones and peer-to-peer connected PCs, but switched topics at the last minute to deliver a more urgent message to the hundreds of technologists in the conference audience.

    He told the assembled programmers and developers to lobby politically for their right to innovate, but also to figure out ways to move around political and legislative barriers.

  • Billboard describes the upcoming Dixie Chicks’ TV appearance to discuss their post-Bush-critique experiences. SFGate carries an AP Wire piece on this program, as well as the Chicks’ claims that they’ve been threatened, but remain firm that they have every right to be critical. (Salon’s got the wire piece on the subject.) With the demise of the NYTimes links, I can’t point you to Paul Krugman’s piece on the Clear Channel relationships, but you can see LawMeme’s summary as well as the excerpts that I posted in Furdlog. Otherwise, you can read this snotty editorial from Jane Ganahl from the SFGate/SFChronicle: Bush has artist’s singing a new tune. And, as you can see from the right, the Chicks are taking it to the May 2 Entertainment Weekly magazine.

  • Speaking of Clear Channel, Eric Boehlert has a new piece on them over at Salon. This time, it’s the politics of Hispanic radio consolidation – part of his ongoing series on radio consolidation in general, and Clear Channel in particular.

    Pending FCC approval, a new consolidated media, music, and radio powerhouse may soon be born. The $2.4 billion deal between the Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation, the leader in Spanish-language radio stations in the U.S., and Univision Communications — already the market leader in Spanish-language TV, cable and music — would create a new company that controls nearly 70 percent of Spanish-language advertising revenue in the United States.

    The deal is big and contentious, and involves politics, music and media — and, to make matters even more interesting, Clear Channel, the U.S. radio station conglomerate, has a starring role. Clear Channel is HBC’s largest shareholder, and the company has been accused by opponents of the deal of maneuvering illegally behind the scenes to exert control over HBC, as well as spreading rumors of drug use about the CEO of HBC’s chief competitor.

  • Looks like the investment in American Idol’s Kelly Clarkson is paying off – according to Billboard, her album has debuted at #1 on the charts. (The NYTimes piece – [pdf]) This masterstroke of packaging and selling market research as entertainment, and then selling the results of the research under a draconian contract is chilling – but nothing that you wouldn’t imagine after seeing Merchants of Cool.

  • CNet reports that the Australian authorities are getting into the student prosecution business, with the closing of MP3 WMA Land.

  • EMI has put what is claimed to be the bulk of their catalog online (BBC story), throught about 20 European online distributors. Mark Mulligan at Jupiter Research asks what this means for the European market.

    One question this initiative raises is just what do the major record labels have in mind for Europe? It seems that EMI have been a little more generous with the amount of content made available for their service than they have previously granted to third party distributors such as OD2. This is not to say EMI have been any more of less generous with OD2 than most of the other majors as all have been equally stingy. However, it does seem they saved the best for themselves – which is understandable enough but it does make you wonder how seriously they are taken the third party providers.

    To be fair to EMI, they have been among the most proactive and innovative players in the digital arena – due in no small part to their need to counter the advantage other labels gain from their parent companies. But EMI would be ill advised to go it alone online. Choosing a wide variety of distribution partners is an important move, but it should be accompanied with EMI making such depth of catalogue available to other aggregators.

    EMI are setting the standard for the amount of content which should be made available for digital distribution, but they and their fellow majors should be equally generous with third party aggregators if they are to have any hope of stimulating Europe’s fledgling online music market.

    Slashdot discussion: New Online Music Push by EMI