2003 April 28

(entry last updated: 2003-04-28 18:29:38)

Ugh! I thought I was going to get ahead of the curve today, but the gateway server for my building seems to have died around 7:10 AM today, so I’m offline (and inaccessible!) until MIT Network Services decides to come by and restart the server. 🙁

8:13 AM – The gateway’s back, but traffic is really sluggish.

  • Benny Evangelista gives a rundown on the ubiquity of the MPAA’s efforts to protect their copyright monopoly, kicking off with the super-DMCAs. [pdf]

    “These guys are everywhere,” said Fred von Lohmann, senior intellectual property attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a digital rights advocacy group in San Francisco. “They’re pushing their agenda in places we haven’t even begun to look at.”

    “Everywhere I turn over a stone, there’s been a bevy of MPAA people who have been working that area for years,” he added. “I almost never encountered that with the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America).”

  • The Register reports on something that’s been brewing for a bouple of days: MS issues Visual FoxPro OS statement …, wherein Microsoft asserts that the EULA makes it illegal for someone with a legit license to run the application on Linux.

    Prior to the demonstration, Hentzen received a call from Ken Levy, Microsoft’s Visual FoxPro marketing manager, telling him that he would be in violation of the EULA (End User Licensing Agreement) for VFP if he demonstrated (or ran) the development tool on Linux.

    But developers had previously been led to believe from Microsoft that “as long as licenses were in order” running VFP on Linux as a developer environment was permissible, if not exactly encouraged.

    “It appears that Microsoft is trying the tie its applications (developer tools) to their operating system,” Hentzen told us.

  • The Apple iTunes Music Store is open (press release) – new iPods, too

    It’s easy, it’s fair and it’s legal

    The iTunes Music Store is fast and convenient for you, and fair to the artists and record companies. In a nutshell, you can play your music on up to three computers, enjoy unlimited synching with your iPods, burn unlimited CDs of individual songs, and burn unchanged playlists up to 10 times each.

    The CNet piece: Apple unveils music store

    “We were able to negotiate landmark deals with all of the major labels,” he [Jobs] said of the company’s newly launched iTunes Music Store. “There is no legal alternative that’s worth beans.”

    … The songs cost 99 cents each to download, with no subscription fee, and include the most liberal copying rights of any online service to date. Jobs has been an outspoken opponent of so-called digital rights management (DRM) in the past, arguing that limitations on digital music will undermine the market for legitimate content.

    Slashdot discussion: Apple Introduces iTunes Music Store, iTunes 4, new iPod;
    Denise Howell’s thoughts

    The Register: Apple launches 99c a song music service

    Slate’s Paul Boutin: The 10-10-220 of File-Sharing

  • Derek’s got some good comments on the recent rulings. On point #6, however, I would ask him to elaborate upon the basis for his conclusions <G> – although I would agree that there are definite indications (beyond the pictures) of something odd about her site. Nevertheless, it’s a worthwhile place to check in on for updates on AIMster/Madster.

  • Declan describes his upcoming Lessig-Lofgren event today at Stanford: A modest proposal to end spam. And it looks like Declan’s unconvinced by Larry’s proposal:

    It’s a great idea in theory. But I doubt it will work in practice. If Congress even gets around to enacting it, instead of some of the competing antispam bills, I think Lessig will have to kiss his current job goodbye.

  • As Larry pointed out, this group does seem to be intent on preserving the open architecture of the Internet: Slashdot cites this San Jose Mercury News article, Disney, Microsoft and others form alliance to lobby FCC on Internet access, which describes the lobbying efforts of the recently-formed (well, last November to be exact) Coalition of Broadband Users and Innovators (see this December letter and the FCC response) – Slashdot discussion: Companies Join Together to Maintain Open Internet – and a little more detail from law.com

  • A chance to learn a little more about professional music recording (and an interesting addition to what I’ve been learning by reading The Audible Past: Cultural History of Sound Recording): What, no pitch correction? [pdf] – via Instapundit

    In the past, a producer would force singers to redo subpar vocals again and again, but “now they just have them sing it five times in a row, edit that together and then use Pro Tools” to tune it, according to Nevers.

    “My own opinion is that it can be a very, very handy tool, but unfortunately now it is something that is cropping up on the records of artists who can actually sing,” says Andy Karp, vice president of A&R for Lava/Atlantic Records. “You’re hearing [computer program] Auto-Tune all over, and that’s a shame. It also maybe suggests to record companies that they need to focus on finding artists who sing well as opposed to just look good.”

    According to several producers, the practice of tuning and correcting vocals is especially prevalent in mainstream country music. Studio software can help artists hold a note for what seems like forever, and can help them sound as if they can belt out high notes as easily as Patsy Cline could.

    … Pitch correction is “more and more economical and easier to use, so artists and producers are saying to themselves, `Why not?’ especially since many singers are simply incapable of performing in perfect tune, even though they may be great communicators,” he says.

  • Wired’s brief interview with Rick Boucher [D-VA] is online

  • A datapoint in alternative distribution models from kuro5hin: The Tip Jar as Revenue Model: A Real-World Experiment

  • The NYTimes discusses the recording industry’s push for DVD singles [pdf]

    DVD singles, which sell at list prices from $7.98 to $9.99, may be an avenue for labels to make up lost sales in the traditional singles market. Shipments of CD singles, which never received the support labels gave vinyl 45’s, fell to 4.5 million last year from a high of 66.7 million in 1997, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

    The new DVD format may also be a weapon to combat illegal file-sharing, especially among young listeners who have become accustomed to downloading audio tracks free but are willing to pay for products in the popular DVD format.

    … The task for record labels is getting young buyers into the habit of buying DVD singles now, so they continue paying for them even when video footage is quickly downloadable, said Silvio Pietroluongo, who oversees Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart. When music companies shunned CD singles in the 1980’s and 90’s in favor of promoting full-length discs, they taught a whole generation of listeners not to look for them, he said.

    At this point, sales of DVD singles hold more promise than profit

  • To read today’s Boston Globe [pdf], you’d believe that Apple’s Steve Jobs will save the music business by showing them how to adapt to music downloads. It’ll be something to see.

    The New York Times’ article [pdf] is a little more subdued, plus it cites the fact that Hilary Rosen will attend the announcement.

    Hilary B. Rosen, the chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America, said she believed Apple had struck an industry-friendly balance. Apple’s music service “has compatibility with a hardware product that is elegant and easy to use,” said Ms. Rosen, who said she planned to attend Apple’s news conference. “The Apple system has the potential to do for music sales what the Walkman did for the cassette,” she added.

    CNet’s coverage: Apple tunes up for music pitch