Utah and Broadband

In today’s ESD.10 class, I mentioned the NYTimes article on Utah and broadband. Here’s the article I mentioned, In Utah, Public Works Project in Digital, as well as this companion from yesterday’s Times, Fast and Furious: The Race to Wire America. There’s also a Slashdot discussion: Utah Cities To Provide High-Speed Net Access — the comments touch upon some of the points that were raised in class today.

Moreover, I spoke with Sharon, who’s cited in the first article. As one might expect, she spoke for over an hour with the reporter, yet all that made it through was the cheerleading quote. Sort of an object lesson in the "Lessig Dilemma" from today’s lecture (big PDF!).

Joke of the Day

[Via BoingBoing] Send Them Back!!

Send Back Your MP3s!

We knew stealing that music was wrong. Stealing is never OK. But, it was just too easy. So we told ourselves we were just “sharing” the music, because everyone knows that sharing is a good thing.

But then we learned what we were really doing. We heard our favorite recording artists telling us that our “sharing” is really shoplifting and piracy. We were stealing from the musicians and singers we love!

That was when we looked at each other and said: “No more! It’s time to make it right by giving back what we stole!” And that’s just what we did! We sent back all the MP3’s we’d illegally downloaded. Everyone one of them!

Won’t you join us in sending them back?

Send them back! Right back to the Recording Industry of America Association, the industry association that helps our favorite artists keep on making the music we love.

Send them back! We did…and we feel great!

It’s Easy! Here’s How!!

Garage Doors Are Not Protected By the DMCA

Opening Doors With the DMCA

A universal garage door opener is not in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, even if used on a system made by another company, a U.S. District Court ruled Thursday.

The court ruled on a dispute between Skylink Technologies, the manufacturer of a universal remote control for garage door openers, and Chamberlain Group, the maker of garage door opener systems.

Slashdot discussion: DMCA Doesn’t Protect Garage Door Remotes; an old FindLaw’s Writ piece by Chris Sprigman: Copyright Versus Consumers’ Rights; the EFF page on the case

Innovation in Windows iTunes

Update: MyTunes downloads shared music files using iTunes

A U.S. programmer has developed a software tool that allows users to download shared music files using the Windows version of Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes software, which was released last month.

The software undermines anti-piracy features developed by Apple to ensure that iTunes is not used to distribute music illegally, although the author warns that the software should not be used in any such illegal fashion.

MyTunes overrides a feature in iTunes that prevents users from downloading music files that are shared over a network, according to information posted on the Cow Pimp Productions Web site where MyTunes has been available for download since Oct. 26.

A Look At The Music Fringes

Two articles on less-than-mainstream music: The worst of Irwin Chusid and The Band That Can’t Stop Recording

From the Globe article:

These and many more are the “outsider musicians” whose work has circulated for years among a small circle of mesmerized cognoscenti, fans not just of “bad music” — whatever that may be in a world where Clay Aiken goes to No. 1 — but of truly committed musical delusionaries.

The chief standard-bearer of outsider music, and the man who coined the term in a 1996 article, is Irwin Chusid, a Hoboken, N.J.-based record producer, radio personality, and music historian. Chusid for years promulgated the sounds of this atonal fringe on his weekly “Incorrect Music Hour” on the New York City-area radio station WFMU.

From the Times piece:

Mr. Pollard knows that every album, every single and all the side-project discs he issues will probably be bought by at least a corps of diehard fans, which he numbers at about 3,000. Several Guided by Voices albums have each sold about 50,000 copies. While those aren’t platinum figures, they’re enough to allow Mr. Pollard to continue answering his apparently chatty muse.

Pearl Jam Continues The Online Experiment

Pearl Jam, on Its Own, Seizes the Moment and Sells CD on the Web [pdf]

When Pearl Jam’s contract with Sony Music Entertainment’s Epic Records expired earlier this year, how the iconoclastic band would exploit its new freedom quickly became a topic of great interest to music industry executives.

The band’s manager, Kelly Curtis, assumed that he had until next year to decide how the band would distribute its work now that it controlled its own master recordings. But the future arrived earlier than Mr. Curtis had expected when the band came up with a new song called “Man of the Hour.” Mr. Curtis and the band had to figure out how to get the song to fans.


Two days after the band’s Web site, pearljam.com, began accepting orders on Nov. 10, almost 4,800 CD’s had been sold, Mr. Curtis said. By way of comparison, the top-selling single for the two weeks ended Nov. 9 has been the Christian band MercyMe’s “I Can Only Imagine,” which sold more than 7,000 copies both weeks, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

[…] Making 50,000 copies of “Man of the Hour” and issuing the song for streaming and downloading is an initial step to determine what the band is capable of on its own, Mr. Curtis said. “It’s a way for us to get our feet wet and see what works for us and where we need help.”

Microsoft Loses Patent Suit Over NetMeeting

Microsoft ordered to pay $62M in patent suit

SPX said its Imagexpo subsidiary sued Microsoft in October last year for infringing on its patent with a feature of Microsoft’s NetMeeting conferencing product. The patent related to real-time conferencing, SPX said in a statement.

The jury awarded Imagexpo $62.3 million in compensatory damages and found that Microsoft willfully infringed the patent, the company said. The court has yet to rule on other aspects of the case that could affect the final outcome, SPX said.

“We are disappointed in the jury’s verdict and we continue to stand firm in our belief that there is no infringement of any kind on the patent” and that the Imagexpo and Microsoft technologies in question are “quite different,” Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake said.