2003 July 14

(entry last updated: 2003-07-14 15:37:27)

This is a summer cold that just won’t quit!

Oh yeah – Happy Bastille Day!!

  • John Palfrey points out a Terry Fisher op-ed over at CNet News: A royalties plan for file sharing

  • The latest Tech Law Advisor newsletter is up

  • I forgot about this other Globe article: Reselling high-speed Internet [pdf]. The subject is Speakeasy, a DSL provider who’s not only unworried about the use of WiFi to share internet access, but is looking to facilitate the process:

    One reason might be Speakeasy’s policy on sharing. The company just doesn’t care. If you want to let the whole block share your DSL account, go right ahead. Apgar figures it’s a good way to attract new customers. ”The more people you can give a taste of what you can do with broadband, the better,” he said.

    Still, Apgar is as interested in making a buck as the next fellow. Which is why Speakeasy has just launched an innovative new option called Netshare. The concept is simple: Instead of giving your excess bandwidth to a neighbor, why not charge him for it?

    A Netshare customer asks his neighbors if they would like to pay, say, $20 a month for wireless broadband access. Those who agree are given a Web address, where they sign up. Speakeasy bills the neighbor, thus avoiding backyard feuds. The new subscriber simply gets his own WiFi card and logs onto his neighbor’s wireless Internet router. Half of the money collected goes to Speakeasy, the other half to the Netshare account holder. ”It effectively in many areas will give people the ability to get broadband for $20 a month,” said Apgar. ”It’s a terrific way to try it.”

  • The latest Technological Innovation and Intellectual Property newsletter is out, discussing a topic that got a certain amount of coverage at ILaw – the recent UK report from the Commission on Intellectual Property: Integrating Intellectual Property Rights and Development Policy

  • Harry Potter and the Internet Pirates [pdf]

    So far, authors and publishers have mainly stood on the sidelines of the Internet file-swapping frenzy that has shaken the music industry and aroused fear among makers of motion pictures. But the publishing phenomenon around the young wizard appears to be forging a new chapter in the digital copyright wars: Harry Potter and the Internet pirates.

    A growing number of Potter devotees around the world seem to be embracing the prospect of reading the voluminous new book (766 pages in the British edition; 870 in the American version) on the screen. And at least some of them are assisting in the cumbersome process of scanning, typing in or translating the book, which its author, J. K. Rowling, has not authorized for publication in any of the existing commercial e-book formats.

    […] “What is unusual for us as people who deal with piracy of books is that these are people who are not directly making money for having put them on the Internet,” said Ian Taylor, international director of the Publishers Association in Britain. “That is obviously what’s been happening with peer-to-peer music, but it’s not something we’ve had to deal with before.”

    related Wired News article: Germans Just Wild About Harry

    But Rowling’s imaginative universe has also moved a group to form an online community devoted to bringing the book alive in German translation. More than 10,000 people, with an average age of 16, have joined the virtual community at the Harry-auf-Deutsch website.


    Despite press reports, the idea is not simply to hurry the book into German so more readers can enjoy it, but rather to turn the work of translation into an ongoing point of departure for discussion, disagreement and collective imagination.

    Put another way: Translating Potter is not a mere diversion, it’s a way of life.

  • Today’s Globe covers the Illegal Art exhibition: Art attack [pdf]

  • Declan on the Initiative for Software Choice: The politics of open-source software. A look at the implications of all these initiatives.

  • Carlton Vogt’s Ethics Matters column today is about the ethics (rather than the legality) of music downloading – he’s clearly trolling for flames with this summary:

    So putting aside legal considerations, the ethical question at hand is, “Have I harmed anyone?” That is, have I set back any of their important interests without justification? Because I have no obligation to buy a CD, if I don’t want one, it’s hard to say that I have harmed either the artist or the recording company by not buying the CD. And in downloading the music, I may have advanced at least one of the artist’s interests because I am listening to the music.

    On the other hand, if I am downloading or sharing the music to avoid otherwise buying the CD, then you could say that I was harming both the artist and the recording company because I was depriving them of income they otherwise would have had — my money. And that makes all the difference.

    The fly in the ointment lies in who determines whether or not I would have bought the CD. You certainly don’t know and neither does the recording company. I may think I know, but we have a remarkable ability to deceive ourselves, especially when self interest is involved.

  • Slashdot starts the day off with a couple of copyright topics: