August 14, 2003

2003 August 14 AM [9:15 am]

(entry last updated: 2003-08-14 17:09:28)

  • Denise Howell reports that Ken Hamidi is on the California recall/gubernatorial ballot

  • A new push on COPA - the Child Online Protection Act: DOJ Pushes Stiffer Porn Law

  • I like the Berkman Center and the work they do, and Andrew Orlowski does go out of his way to nail bloggers (not to mention generate stunning screeds), but he also echoes my reaction to the e-mail I got about BloggerCon: Webloggers deal Harvard blog-bores a black eye (although, in case you missed my earlier recommendation, here’s the kind of thoughtful stuff that I wish Orlowski would do more of).

  • A new twist, with a lot of precursors: In refugee camp, a P2P outpost

    Deep in the tense Jenin refugee camp in the Palestinian West Bank, a new file-swapping service is daring record labels and movie studios to turn their piracy-hunting into an international incident.

    Dubbed Earthstation 5, the new file-swapping network is openly flouting international copyright norms at a time when many older peer-to-peer companies are trying to establish themselves as legitimate technology companies. One of the brashest of a new generation of file-trading networks, it is serving as a new test case for the ability of high-tech security measures and international borders to preserve privacy on the Net.

    [...] “We’re in Palestine, in a refugee camp,” said Ras Kabir, the service’s co-founder. “There aren’t too many process servers that are going to be coming into the Jenin refugee camp. We’ll welcome them if they do.”

    On its face, Earthstation 5 appears to be at the leading edge of the movie and music industry’s next nightmare–copyright-flouting networks based in a territory without strong intellectual property laws, with security built in that protects users from scrutiny. Indeed, the company is confident enough in its territorial immunity that it even streams and offers downloads of full albums and first-run movies like “Terminator 3″ and “Tomb Raider” directly from its own servers, an activity that has previously resulted in lawsuits and the prompt disappearance of predecessors.

    [...] He’s not worried about legal attacks from the RIAA or the Motion Picture Association (MPA), groups that have successfully shut down many of the most blatant copyright violators online, he said. In the West Bank and Gaza, the Israeli government has ceded civil law enforcement to the Palestinian Authority. That body has propagated copyright rules that protect Palestinian copyrights but don’t have strong protections for foreign works, he said.

  • From the BBC: Download battle reaches Europe

    Microsoft has launched a music download service in Europe after the success of a similar service run by rival Apple in the United States.

    CNet News: Europeans to get Windows music store; The Register: Microsoft beats Apple iTunes Music Store to Europe

  • From the Boston Globe: Choice cuts [pdf] - an article on the schizophrenic response of the music industry to mix CDs and their distribution.

    Mixtapes have left everyone happy — except for executives at the Recording Industry Association of America. In its eyes, they’re as illegal as counterfeit and pirate CDs. DJs are arrested for reproducing and distributing them; stores in Lawrence and Downtown Crossing have been recently raided for selling mixtapes and counterfeit CDs.

    It doesn’t matter if the record industry helps the scene thrive, says Frank Creighton, RIAA’s executive vice president and director of anti-piracy. “Just because somebody in the promotion department or marketing department gives [DJs] a CD and they turn their back on what they’re doing with it doesn’t mean what [DJs] are doing is legal,” he says. It’s an upstairs/downstairs predicament that has the business side of the industry objecting to copyright infringements while the creative side wallows in the benefits.

    Complicating the issue is the fact that the mixtape arena extends beyond professional DJs, who string songs together uniquely and stamp their mixtapes with the words “For promotional use only” to show they’re not profiting from the discs. There are also hungry Internet or basement DJs with no record industry contacts who download MP3 files, blandly bind them together, and sell them. Mixtape DJs generally consider the latter group scoundrels.

    "Director of Anti-Piracy" - there’s a title!

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