2003 June 18

(entry last updated: 2003-06-18 10:28:20)

Just a reminder: msl1.mit.edu is being physically relocated this afternoon, so Furdlog will be offline starting around 1:00PM and won’t be back until the nameservers pick up the new IP address that goes along with relocation – probably Thursday AM.

And I forgot to mention: I had a great evening yesterday getting together with Matt and Donna to talk weblogs, IP and future plans. Karen, who’s just getting started, had a great time, too. We got to hang out at one of my perennial dining establishments and the home to my favorite mole poblano outside of Monterrey: Casa Mexico.

  • Via a blog doesn’t need a clever name: V2V, a Video Sharing Syndicate Conspiracy


    Technological innovation came along with new regimes of restricting the use

    of media and rebinds the liberating potential to ever more advanced systems

    of command and control. Technological change is always accompanied by great

    enthusiasm and new esthetical paradigms that in the last instance reinvent

    the wheels to carry forward the same old industries.

    […] We believe in images with open sources: Reaccessing the cinematic heritage

    of other generations, broadcasting the general intellect, empowering

    collective story-telling, changing the views, fast sharing of content, skills

    and resources, enabling multiple connections between creative nodes and networks.

    Production and distribution will finally merge into a process of sharing

    your images with others.

    Virtual images that everyone can edit, change, forward, rewind and PLAY.

  • From today’s Onion What Do You Think? interviews: FCC Media Deregulation

    Yeah? Well, if this

    is such a big problem,

    why aren’t we hearing

    more about it on the news?

    Mitch Ahearn

    Auto Mechanic

  • Mary Hodder takes Larry to task on something he glibly said in his response to the Rimmer article. She’s right, too – while the cultural artifacts in the public domain are at least 75 years old, it would be really hard to defend the argument that it’s irrelevant to current culture (luckily, Larry does say "much of current culture") Writing off the great literature, music and art of more than 75 years as largely irrelevant to our culture is a bit of an overstatement, I would say.

    The operational distinctions between irrelevance and invisibility are hard to perceive when you’re trying to develop a political movement. But irrelevance means that the movement will never take off, while invisibility means, as Mary points out, that there’s hope for as long as people are still willing to think and learn.

  • Also from Salon, yesterday’s Farhad Manjoo piece: Can anyone stop the music cops? – a discussion of a proposed piece of legislation known as the Brownback Bill that’s apparently making the rounds – Salon’s copy is here

    The draft prohibits the Federal Communications Commission from requiring tech companies to include DRM technology in their devices; for example, if the bill becomes law the FCC would not be able to force electronics manufacturers to make CD players that play only copy-protected CDs.

    The provision seems to be a direct response to the efforts of Sen. Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings, the South Carolina Democrat who attempted, last year, to mandate tech companies to produce devices that obey DRM schemes; Hollings’ bill delighted the entertainment industry, but it didn’t get very far in Congress.

    The Brownback proposal also requires all copy-protected products — for instance, CDs, DVDs, e-books or digital songs bought from the Apple Music Store — to be clearly labeled with their restrictions. Finally, the proposal would prohibit copyright holders from easily getting the names and addresses of people they suspect of copyright infringement on the Internet — this is the section of the bill that Verizon is most interested in. If the bill becomes law, content owners would be required to first file a civil lawsuit against an anonymous alleged digital thief; only if a judge decides the case has merit will the Internet user be identified.

  • A contrarian take on iTunes from Salon: iTunes — the "i" doesn’t stand for innovation

    I bought Tool’s most recent album, “Lateralus,” because I couldn’t get the harsh yet slightly ethereal guitar of “Schism” out of my head. The repetition of its play on a hard-rock station, like the repetition of the final guitar segment, had me whipped. After listening to the song over and over, I turned to the other tunes on the album where, I discovered, the real integrity and uniqueness of Tool’s artistry resided. In the end, my favorite song on the album, and perhaps the best by any measure, is a track I have never heard on the radio.

    Sound familiar? How many times have you bought a band’s album for an overplayed song, only to discover that the more gratifying tunes are the ones you’ve never heard before? But now that iTunes and other online music vendors have finally arrived, don’t expect to experience that same epiphany in the future. iTunes is helping to usher in an era where songs are sold individually, thus putting an end to what I call “bundled innovations.”

    This is an echo of the argument that, with internet news services, people will actually be less informed because their ability to direct their news services means that they will miss reading things that they didn’t expect to want to read. While I agree that it’s a problem, it’s also the case that people have found other mechanisms to ensure that they get a reasonable exposure to what’s going on.

    In fact, one might even argue that P2P sharing has to become the advertising/promotional side of the iTunes-inspired record company of the future. After all, once Clear Channel buys up the last radio station, how else will there be a market for anything but songs on the charts?

  • CNet reports on some recorganization at a leading DRM vendor: Macrovision splits into two units

    The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company on Tuesday said the Entertainment Technologies Group will include video and music technology and the part of its consumer software division that handles its SafeDisc protection technology. The company’s Software Technologies Group will comprise its enterprise software division and SafeCast protection technology.

    Macrovision, which makes copy-protection software, said it decided to reorganize because entertainment and software companies have different protection needs.

    This is actually a quite interesting claim, that software and entertainment have "different protection needs." I’m going to have to give that some thought….

  • Think someone explained "conflict of interest" to Mary Bono? Lawmaker downplays RIAA job rumors

  • To read Sen. Hatch’s published statement from yesterday’s hearings (rescheduled) you wouldn’t expect to get this Slashdot story, Sen Hatch Would Like To Destroy Filetraders’ PCs, but the AP Wire piece cited [pdf] does in fact say the following:

    The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee (news – web sites) said Tuesday he favors developing new technology to remotely destroy the computers of people who illegally download music from the Internet.

    The surprise remarks by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, during a hearing on copyright abuses represent a dramatic escalation in the frustrating battle by industry executives and lawmakers in Washington against illegal music downloads.

    During a discussion on methods to frustrate computer users who illegally exchange music and movie files over the Internet, Hatch asked technology executives about ways to damage computers involved in such file trading. Legal experts have said any such attack would violate federal anti-hacking laws.

    […] “If we can find some way to do this without destroying their machines, we’d be interested in hearing about that,” Hatch said. “If that’s the only way, then I’m all for destroying their machines. If you have a few hundred thousand of those, I think people would realize” the seriousness of their actions, he said.

    “There’s no excuse for anyone violating copyright laws,” Hatch said.

    The New York Times has a variant: Senator Takes Aim at Illegal Downloads [pdf]

    Illegally download copyright music from the Internet once, or even twice, and you get a warning. Do it a third time, and your computer gets destroyed.

    That’s the suggestion made by the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee at a Tuesday hearing on copyright abuse, reflecting a growing frustration in Congress over failure of the technology and entertainment industries to protect copyrights in a digital age.

    Is somebody not getting his way? Sounds like somebody needs a nap — or maybe needs to wake up! I’m sure there will be more about this as the day develops….

    Update: Dave Winer does the correct thing and links to the BBC article: Destroy ‘pirate’ PCs, says politician

    Donna’s got links to a class going on at Harvard now that’s generating followup discussion of this topic: Hatching a Plan to Tame P2P

  • Saw this on the front page of the Financial Times, but it’s not yet hit the US press apparently: Microsoft takes 15 spammers to court:

    Fifteen complaints were filed in the U.S. and U.K. against alleged spammers said to have sent out more than 2 billion e-mails. Microsoft held press conferences on both sides of the Atlantic to promote its campaign against “flooding Microsoft’s customers and its systems” with spam.

    Wired has the Reuters newswire: Microsoft Ups Ante in Spam Fight; NYTimes: Microsoft Sues 15 Organizations in Broad Attack on Spam E-Mail [pdf]