Slashdot on the Broadcast Flag

What Critics of the Critics of the FCC Rule Miss, citing this BusinessWeek article: What Critics of the FCC’s TV Rule Miss. Closing paragraphs of the editorial (note the leap of faith on the effect of the broadcast flag):

Finally, critics say loading PCs with content-protection rules will prevent new innovations, such as the next TiVo. But as the PC and media worlds meld, such regulations may become unavoidable. True, the feds must use a light touch to avoid interfering unnecessarily with innovation.

All in all, the FCC has taken a reasonable first step. If consumers want their HDTV, they have to accept limits on the ability to redistribute TV shows on the Web. Shelter from pirates will help broadcasters venture into the digital era. And that will benefit everyone except the pirates.

One commenter describes just what will kill the domestic consumer electronics industry once and for all:

That’s why I’ll make a killing. (Score:5, Insightful)

by Quasar1999 (520073) on Tuesday November 11, @05:13PM (#7448487)

( | Last Journal: Thursday October 10, @03:54PM)

When companies like Apex, simply ignored the Region coding stuff, they sold like hotcakes… So I plan on doing the same thing, simply ignoring the flags (or whatever they end up being), manufacturing my units in some country the US can’t touch (say China), and making a fortune…

What part did I mess up? I must have missed something… This seriously is too good to be true… I’m gonna be rich!!!

Barry Robinson Says “It Wasn’t Me”

The Register: Penn State trustee and RIAA lawyer denies conflict of interests, citing PSU’s The Collegian: Trustee member says work for RIAA played no part in deal

Despite recent speculation about a possible conflict of interest, Penn State trustee Barry Robinson said his work with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) played no role in a recent agreement to bring the Napster online music service to Penn State students in the spring.

[…] Robinson said he was notified of the agreement, which provides Napster’s premium service to Penn State students for no cost, 36 hours before it was officially announced Thursday in Anaheim, Calif.

He added there is no connection between his work as a trustee and legal counsel for the RIAA.

“I or any other trustee … want to make sure the [university’s] broadband capacity is used legally,” he said.

[…] Robinson and Penn State President Graham Spanier serve on the Joint Committee of the Higher Education and Entertainment Communities, a group investigating a legal solution to music piracy. RIAA President Cary Sherman and Motion Picture Association of American President Jack Valenti also serve on the committee.

Commentary on the EU IP Directive

From the BBC: A continent full of criminals. The larger question is whether the EU process will be more responsive to this sort of complaint than the US Congress was when the DMCA was up for consideration. Note also that Bill Thompson is possibly a little conflicted about this topic.

As a writer I rely on copyright law to ensure that I get paid for the things I publish, and I do not want to see copyright disappear because of the ease of online file copying.

But any new law should attempt to balance the interests of rights holders, whether they are large multinational corporations or individuals, and those of the wider community.

We should never forget that copyright and patents are a bargain, a deal between the people and the creators of anything from a story to a song to a great film, and the bargain needs to work for both sides.

It is probably not a coincidence that Janelly Fourtou, the MEP who is pushing the current draft directive forward, is married to Jean-Rene Fourtou, the Chairman of Vivendi, one of the world’s largest media corporations.

All of the proposals she has made, especially the suggestion that even non-commercial file sharing over P2P networks should be a criminal act, favour large corporations like the one her husband works for.

[…] I don’t want to go to jail just because I share a few songs online in the way that I’ve shared cassette tapes and videos for years, and I don’t see why copyrights in music, movies or software should be enforced with criminal sanctions when my rights to make reasonable and fair use of the same material are taken away from me.

If I was sitting in a warehouse in Bristol making thousands of copies of the new Sophie Ellis-Bextor album, then I’d hold my hands up when the police came knocking at the door, but making a copy so my daughter can listen to it on her own CD player doesn’t seem like breaking the law to me.

Or, I suspect, to many other people outside the record industry.

Does the Porn Industry, Once Again, Understand New Tech Better Than Most?

Ernest makes a strong case in Printed Porn Dying – Publishers Blame Old Models, Not Piracy (see also Porn Mag Sales Going Limp)

Certainly, the porn industry has been one of the key drivers for some of the technological developments, online and otherwise, and they have not been particularly squeamish about file sharing. It will be interesting to see what form Goldstein’s Screw will take if (when?) it comes back. And, it’s important to remember that there’s still that Acacia Technologies lawsuit and licensing out there.

Commentary on Amazon’s New WWW Book Browsing Service

From CNet New: Steal this book online

The company says it has agreements with 190 publishers to publish their books’ actual pages online. But I’ve not heard of Amazon asking for permission from the books’ authors, and, as an author myself, I can say for certain that neither Amazon nor Random House directly asked me to participate in this feature.

Just like individuals who “share” digital music on the Internet without permission from the necessary intellectual property rights owners, a company that reproduces books without permission from the copyright owner may be responsible for copyright infringement. Part of the reason e-books have never taken off is because publishers have been concerned about widespread copying.

The legal issues surrounding “Search Inside the Book” are novel.

[…] If Amazon’s new search feature increases sales of my book, then I’ll be a happy author. If, on the other hand, this search feature somehow enables the technically savvy to easily create and distribute electronic versions of my book, or otherwise substitutes for sales, then I’ll be an unhappy attorney. For now, though, the author in me says the final chapter has not been written on the effect of this program, and, of course, the lawyer in me says the jury is still out.

IFPI Announces "One Stop" Webcaster Licensing

Via Gigalaw: Recording industry announces new one-stop-shop for webcast licensing

The recording industry today announces a new international agreement that will allow internet webcasters to stream music programmes to consumers on the basis of a single “one-stop” licence.

The agreement will allow webcasters to clear record producers’ rights in a multitude of countries by entering into a licence in one participating country. It will come into force as it is signed by national collecting societies over the next few weeks.

The accord significantly simplifies licensing for webcasters, who up until now have needed separate producer licenses from different national licensing entities.

I Can’t Resist…..

From Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. v. Passport Video

TALLMAN, Circuit Judge:

The King is dead. His legacy, and those who wish to profit from it, remain very much alive. To what extent may a film maker, under the banner of fair use, incorporate video clips, photographs, and music into a biography about Elvis Presley without permission from the copyright owners of those materials? The district court — weighing the four statutory fair use factors under 17 U.S.C. § 107 — held that the film biographer in this case likely did not use the copyrighted materials fairly and enjoined the film maker from further distribution of its biography. We affirm.

Benny Evangelista on Recent Berklee Music Moves

First cited in the Lessig blog, we have this exposition on Berklee Shares from SFGate: Free music lessons thanks to file sharing: Noted school at odds with recording industry viewpoint

The recording industry has gone to war against file sharing, but a prestigious Boston music school is embracing the technology.

The Berklee School of Music, which has an alumni roster that includes Quincy Jones, Diana Krall, John Mayer and Melissa Etheridge, on Monday began giving away music lessons that are free to be downloaded, copied and passed around using popular file-sharing networks such as Kazaa and LimeWire.

Moreover, the school hopes its new program, called Berklee Shares, helps teach future musicians and recording industry executives to accept, not fear, online file sharing as the new future of the music industry.

[…] File sharing is a key promotional tool for the vast majority of musicians who derive their income or enjoyment from performing, not by selling records, [Berklee Associate VP Dave] Kusek said.

“Our charge is to teach students young and old about what the business is going to be like in five years, and for us to say those file sharers are evil . .. is just not practical,” he said.

Kevin Martin, whose band The HiWatts found success by offering free song downloads in an online promotion sponsored by the makers of Yoo-hoo Chocolate Drink, was encouraged that a music college was promoting file sharing.

“I’d rather you download my music and come see me live than buying my record and not come see me,” Martin said. “You have to embrace the change, and the major labels have not embraced it.”