August 22, 2003

2003 August 22 [8:37 am]

(entry last updated: 2003-08-22 20:29:09)

  • GrepLaw comments on Blame Canada:

    File Sharing and Downloading in Canada

  • I couldn’t let this wait: Fox Blocked In Suit Against Al Franken Book

    Fox’s claim was “wholly without merit, both factually and legally.” The network had argued Franken’s book — “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right” — could trick some consumers into believing the book is associated with Fox.

    NYTimes link: Judge Decides Franken is Fair and Balanced {pdf]

  • Now that the thunderstorms have stopped, it’s time to go home. Here are a couple of weblog entries to read:

  • Slashdot on the "Jane Doe" fighting the RIAA subpoena: Anonymous User Challenges RIAA Subpoena

  • Offtopic: I am listening to Terry Fisher declaim (on WBUR/NPR’s Here and Now) on the US Constitution and the Judeo-Christian tradition in re the current Alabama/Ten Commandments Monument decision.

    Now it’s on-topic: a roundtable on the "fair and balanced" lawsuit.

  • Larry Lessig is justifiably miffed (I had another word in mind, actually) about recent WIPO actions cited in this Washington Post article: The Quiet War Over Open-Source [pdf]. Read his comments here: the extremists in power

  • CNet News: Net music pirate faces years in prison

    The U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday that it accepted a guilty plea in a criminal copyright case involving the former leader of a Net music piracy group called the Apocalypse Crew.

    The defendant in the case, 21-year-old Mark Shumaker, faces a maximum prison sentence of five years and a maximum fine of $250,000. Shumaker helped coordinate the supply and release of albums online before they hit retail stores and ran the Apocalypse Crew’s Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel, federal investigators charged.

    [...] Shumaker’s case, part of the long-running Operation Buccaneer federal antipiracy investigations, is believed to be the first involving criminal penalties specifically for online music trading, a Department of Justice spokeswoman said. Buccaneer has targeted many other individuals, however, and has resulted in more than 22 convictions of felony copyright infringement involving software piracy groups such as Drink or Die, prosecutors said.

  • Infoworld: SCO CEO says IBM behind open source attacks. I look forward to learning the name of Daryl McBride’s pathology. But, in the interim, consider this incredible paragraph:

    However, SCO’s public relations (PR) department has had a busy few months. McBride proudly dumped two phone-book-sized binders of press clippings on the stage during his SCO Forum keynote on Monday as proof that his company had become more relevant in the high technology industry. [emphasis added] SCO has issued 46 press releases since filing suit against IBM on March 7. Last year it issued only 29 press releases between March and August.

    "Relevant" isn’t exactly the word that comes to mind……

    Update: Slashdot’s article, SCO Says IBM is Beating Up on Them, is similarly dismissive - plus it points to Eric Raymond’s thoughts: An Open Letter to Darl McBride

    I’m in at least semi-regular communication with most of the people and organizations who are causing you problems right now. The only conspiracy among us is the common interest in preventing the open-source community from being destroyed by SCO’s greed and desperation. (And we think it’s a perfect sign of that desperation that at SCOforum you ‘proved’ your relevance by bragging about the amount of press coverage SCO generates. Last I checked, companies demonstrated relevance by showing products, not press clippings.)

    Yes, one of the parties I talk with is, in fact, IBM. And you know what? They’re smarter than you. One of the many things they understand that you do not is that in the kind of confrontation SCO and IBM are having, independent but willing allies are far better value than lackeys and sock puppets. Allies, you see, have initiative and flexibility. The time it takes a lackey to check with HQ for orders is time an ally can spend thinking up ways to make your life complicated that HQ would be too nervous to use. Go on, try to imagine an IBM lawyer approving this letter.

  • After reading this NYTimes article, F.C.C. Discloses New Rules for Telecom Industry [pdf], it’s probably worth reviewing the Reed Hundt discussions at ILAW (links to other bloggers comments). From the NYTimes article:

    The rules elaborate on a contentious F.C.C. decision six months ago that local telephone companies generally must share older equipment for voice transmission at wholesale rates but not newer technology dedicated to high-speed data.

    [...]

    The final order, a result of a Congressionally mandated review, has pleased almost no one and will certainly lead to a wave of litigation. “Every word will be challenged,” said Dana Frix, a telecommunications lawyer with Chadbourne & Parke who often represents the rivals to the Baby Bells. “My children will go to college on this stuff. This is a lawyer’s dream.”

    Infoworld’s piece: FCC phone competition rules may be finalized soon; CNet News: New broadband rules draw criticism

  • Wired News on the buying of search terms: Keywords: To Buy or Not to Buy

    But as more merchants look to snap up the same keywords, search-engine experts say they also appear to be pushing up prices.

    Based on bidding activity at the two most popular paid services — Overture (soon to be acquired by Yahoo) and Google’s AdWords program — the cost of delivering ads tied to certain search queries has skyrocketed in recent months.

    Recall that there are some legal questions regarding trademarks, etc. also in the mix.

  • Always interesting to contrast what happens here in the US with the Australians. This Slashdot article, Australian Court Doubles CD Importers’ Fines discusses fines set to stem anticompetitive practices by record companies who wanted to penalize retailers importing cheaper CDs via non-standard distribution channels. Press release: Penalties More Than Doubled to Over $2 Million as Full Court Upholds Part of CDs Decision

    The Full Federal Court has today upheld that Warner Music and Universal Music had breached section 47 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 dealing with exclusive dealing when responding to the parallel importation of music by small business.

    [...] At trial, Justice Hill held that Warner and Universal had breached the Act by threatening to refuse to supply Australian retailers who stocked parallel-imported CDs, and later refusing to supply retailers who stocked such imports. Those findings made by Justice Hill preventing Warner and Universal from refusing, or threatening to refuse supply to retailers for the reason that they source or propose to source non-infringing copies of music within their catalogue from an alternate source, were upheld by the Full Federal Court.

  • The Register on the RIAA’s Grokster ruling appeal

    Ironically, Grokster CEO Wayne Rosso told The Register last week that he has sought licences from the major labels represented by the RIAA to build a music sharing network not unlike the Apple iTunes Music Store model. Apple allows single tracks to be bought, burned and shared locally for a small, one-off fee. Rosso says the labels have refused his request.

    Rosso has asked the UK’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to investigate the labels’ refusal, claiming it is an example of anti-competitive behaviour on their part. He also plans to take the issue to the European Commission’s anti-trust team, he told The Register.

  • Dave Winer points to these Copyright Questions from a Blogger

  • Today’s Arlo and Janis raises a few questions about the differences between the CD and LP.

  • Kevin Heller has found a radical proposal in the Denver Post: Time to give up on copyright law? [pdf]

    So there’s hope that American copyright law will allow creators to control how their work is distributed. But any law that can be twisted the SCO way, enforced the RIAA way, extended the Disney way, or abused the Ziff-Davis way is a law that ought to be repealed. All it does is enrich lawyers and big companies, and they’d probably get along just fine without it.

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