July 8, 2003

2003 July 8 [8:43 am]

(entry last updated: 2003-07-08 17:35:38)

  • Today’s Senate Commerce Committee hearing on media consolidation, with its close focus on the Dixie Chicks boycott and the McCain questioning of Lewis Dickey of Cumulus Broadcasting, is making NPR this afternoon, so I expect to see ink tomorrow - hmmm, Blubster and online anonymity tools are the next story on All Things Considered — with Jonathan Zittrain’s dulcet tones emerging from my radio now <G>

  • More from Declan on anonymous P2P: P2P’s little secret

  • Slashdot on the New Yorker article about business method patents: The New Yorker on Business Process Patents

  • While Scott Rosenberg promises some comments on ILaw 2003 (how did we miss him? - I’ve added a link to my draft ILaw 2003 writeup/commentary), the other half of his posting is a nice take on the latest in media political reportage - and something to give Zack of the Dean Campaign heart!

  • Declan McCullagh: Piracy and peer-to-peer. A look at the countermeasures to the RIAA suits.

    News.com: Should file swappers have any expectation of privacy?

    Ian Clarke [of Freenet]: Everyone, including file swappers, should have the ability to communicate freely without someone looking over their shoulders. Free communication is essential to free thought, which is essential to democracy.

    Matt Oppenheim [of the RIAA]: An individual who illegally distributes music on a peer-to-peer network has less of an expectation of privacy than a bank robber wearing a mask when holding up a teller. And, just as the bank robber cannot be heard to complain when the guard pulls off his mask, an infringer on a P2P network cannot complain. The bank robber can at least claim that until his mask is pulled off, nobody knows who he is. In the case of an infringer on a P2P network, the (Internet service provider) knows exactly who the individual is and has typically told the user in advance in their terms of service that they will turn over information when they receive a subpoena.

  • From the NYTimes: How to Make a Sonic Puree From Pop Snippets [pdf]

    This mangled medley was not remixed by a mischievous D.J. Instead, the mismatched music was generated by new software. N.A.G., as the interactive program is called, works like a cross between Google, the Morpheus music file-sharing network and a Cuisinart kitchen appliance.

    It allows users to search for words - like “Presley” and “love” - in areas of the Internet where MP3 song files are, for the most part, illicitly swapped. But the program is not designed to play complete tunes. As N.A.G. retrieves song files labeled with the selected words, it slices off audio snippets and blends them into sonic collages.

    [...] “N.A.G.” results can resemble coarser versions of “mash-ups,” recordings on which D.J.’s combine two musically related tunes to startling effect. A search for “Beethoven,” for instance, might yield a blend of the “Moonlight” Sonata, a techno remix of the Ninth Symphony and “Roll Over, Beethoven.” Or pick a sufficiently rare search term like “Norah” or “Ginuwine” and hear what sounds like a defective greatest-hits album.

    But surprises can occur when the program successfully merges musical material whose relationship is primarily linguistic, as when a search for the singer of “Beat It” produced a crosscultural patchwork by an unusual version of the Jackson 5: Michael, Janet, Alan, Wanda and Browne. And by running two searches in quick succession, users can forge imaginary duets between Toby Keith and the Dixie Chicks or another improbable pairing.

    Debra Singer, associate curator of contemporary art at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, said Mr. Freeman’s software turned anyone into a sample-crazed D.J. “The spirit of it is a sort of subversive populism,” she said.

  • A striking article on Milton’s Areopagita, a 1644 essay on free speech - an annotated online version

  • For anyone who wanted more details on what Reed Hundt had to say at ILaw, see this posting from David Weinberger from another event (SupraNova) where Reed spoke recently: [SN] Reed Hundt

  • This doesn’t happen often: an article from TechCentralStation that I recommend - Perfect Pitch is a discussion of the technology of music recording. Another illustration of one of the key points of The Audible Past: the notion of what constitutes a "good" recording is a carefully constructed artificiality that has emerged out of a extended trajectory of technological change and social convention. And, increasingly that technology is beoming accessible to more and more performers without having to go through the record companies for financing.

  • Today’s Tangled Web is all about WWW sites that offer concert downloads: U2BloodRedSky.com and LivePhish.com

  • From CNet, some newsmaking by the president of Grokster: Trade group to back P2P efforts

  • From CNet News: Court backs thumbnail image linking

    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision is a partial win for defendant Arriba Soft–an image search engine now known as Ditto.com–in its case against photographer Leslie Kelly. Kelly sued Arriba Soft in April 1999 for copyright infringement when the company’s software had recorded miniatures, or thumbnails, and full sizes of Kelly’s digital photos and made them accessible via its search engine.

    The court ruled that use of thumbnail images in search engines is legal, confirming an earlier ruling by the same court from February 2002. But the court withdrew a previous decision on the display of full-size images, which it had deemed out of the bounds of fair use because it was likely to harm the market for Kelly’s work.

    Note also that the reason the court overturned the finding of the district court in the case of full-sized images was that these images were not a part of the plaintiff’s original complaint, not that the full sized images were found also to be fair use.

    For anyone who was confused by my writeup of Terry’s talk on the doctrines used to evaluate a claim of fair use under copyright, the opinion in this case is a very clear example of the application of the current doctrine.

  • The Boston Globe has some details on the emerging Roxio/Napster business plan: Napster founder developing new file-sharing technology [pdf]

    Regardless of whether the gambit works, it demonstrates that the now 22-year-old Fanning has moved beyond the service that made him a household name. Yet Fanning, who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and declined to be interviewed, is still trying to shape the future of the music industry — this time by working with his onetime competitors.

    Fanning’s new program relies on audio fingerprinting that identifies every song being offered by users on a file-sharing network. As the user submits the song, it would be checked against a database at Fanning’s company to see whether it is copyrighted. If it is, the song couldn’t be distributed without payment.

    [...] Fanning has been acting as a consultant for Roxio while also pursuing his new file-sharing venture independently. Record-company executives say Fanning has been making the rounds of the major labels in recent weeks, demonstrating his technology and urging them to invest in and endorse his system.

    If they do, he has told the labels, he will ask Kazaa and other leading peer-to-peer networks to sign on as well.

    ”It’s fantastic, but it only works if Kazaa goes along with it,” said a label executive who asked not to be named. He said his label was impressed with Fanning’s demonstration and is reviewing the plan.

  • Pursuant to Yochai’s discussion of peer-based production systems, this Slashdot article on the distributed translation efforts underway for the latest Harry Potter: Harry Potter in German, not Czech

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