Something I Missed While Out of Town

A lecture by Larry Lessig in Cambridge: Rip, Mix, and Burn: Lessig’s Case for Building a Free Culture

In a low-lit auditorium at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig leaned against the podium and clicked a remote control. Above him, a video with Peanuts cartoons filled the screen—Linus sawed on a cello as a familiar chord progressions began. My baby don’t mess around/ Because she loves me so/ And this I know for sure… The audience shifted uncomfortably. OutKast? Was he really playing OutKast in the middle of a speech at Radcliffe? The characters danced in syncopation with the overlaid music, and by the time the Hey Ya! chorus started, disbelief had given way to laughter. The cartoon was brilliant, bizarre, creative, and funny.

And illegal, Lessig added.

To Lighten the Mood

To cheer yourself up after reading about the 321 Studios decision below, read this posting from Bag and Baggage [via How Appealing]: Reason No. 8,372 Appellate Oral Argument Is The Best Part Of The Legal Process

Would have loved to have seen Judge Posner’s face!

Update: Crescat Sententia (Latin for something like "an opinion might be emerging" — you can try to figure it out) has a key followup — Bra and Panties

Yikes! Summary Judgment in 321 Case

MPAA Prevails in DVD Copying Suit

Hollywood’s major movie studios have won a widely-watched copyright lawsuit against the maker of computer software that allows users to make copies of DVDs, a spokeswoman for the Motion Picture Association of America said on Friday.

A federal judge in U.S. District Court in San Francisco issued a summary judgment in favor of the movie studios’ and their representative, The Motion Picture Association, and against privately held 321 Studios, the spokeswoman said.

From the EFF site (dated yesterday?): Order Granting Defendents’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and Resolving Related Motions — Judge Susan Illston

Further, this Court enjoins plaintiff 321 Studios from manufacturing, distributing, or otherwise trafficking in any type of DVD circumvention software. This injunction shall take effect seven days from the issuance of this order.

Update: News.com’s article — Judge: Stop selling DVD copying software

Also, the EFF’s press release: Court Endorses Ban on DVD Copy Technology

Update: Interestingly, Slashdot rejected my story submission yesterday, but CowboyNeal’s posting is there now: MPAA Prevails Against 321 Studios’ DVD X Copy

Austrialian Search Orders On Trial

Music industry’s search orders on trial

Two weeks ago, Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI) obtained Anton Pillar orders encompassing 12 premises across Australia, which allowed it to search for and seize material on the premises it believed may contain evidence of copyright infringement. The following week, lawyers for Sharman Networks told Justice Murray Wilcox that they would challenge the orders on the grounds that not all appropriate evidence was presented during the discovery phase of the orders.

Sharman Networks, the parent company of the popular Kazaa software, is arguing that the case the Australian record labels bought is substantially the same case currently being fought in the United States and should therefore be set aside or deferred until the U.S. case is finished. Lawyers for the record labels argued that the two cases were distinct and independent. […]

Also from Wired News: Aussie Copyright Case Grinds On

In Case You Missed It

TiVo’s watching you. But who’s watching TiVo?

Whaddaya know? Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” turned out to be the most popular TiVo moment during last month’s Super Bowl game.

We now know this, because TiVo was watching many of you, while you were watching TiVo.

While everybody from Michael Powell to the Wild Man of Borneo weighed in on the debate over the propriety of Jackson’s titillating moment on stage, some eager beaver at TiVo spotted an opportunity for free and easy publicity. But after publishing that information, TiVo was instead forced into damage control, as the Jackson data disclosure invited a round of knee-jerk breast-beating.

[…] There’s a more pressing question deserving of examination. TiVo’s big eye in the sky lets the company track what’s been watched as well as the number of times particular moments get replayed. Even though TiVo says it strips out any information that might otherwise get traced back to an individual viewer, that’s still a fine line to straddle. The company swears that no demographic information ever gets relayed, but we’re nonetheless left hoping that the folks who make that pledge live up to their word.

Speaking of Digital Photography

Here’s the kind of thing I guess we’re all going to have to get used to as the election season gets going: Doctored Kerry photo brings anger, threat of suit: Software, Net make it easy to warp reality

The photographer who snapped John Kerry attending a 1971 anti-war rally says he and his photo agency intend to track down — and possibly sue — whoever doctored and circulated a photo that made it appear that the then 27-year-old Vietnam veteran was appearing alongside actress Jane Fonda.

Ken Light, now a UC Berkeley professor of journalism ethics, says he photographed Kerry at an anti-war rally in Mineola, N.Y., on June 13, 1971. The decorated Vietnam veteran was preparing to give a speech at the rally — but Fonda was never at the event.

Light’s photo gained prominence when someone took it and merged the shot of the now Democratic presidential front-runner with another separate photo of Fonda — one taken by photographer Owen Franken as the actress spoke to a 1972 rally in Miami Beach, Fla.

The fabricated Kerry-Fonda photo was circulated with an identifying logo of the Associated Press and became the subject of talk show fodder after it was placed on many Web sites as evidence of Kerry’s “anti-American” activities after his war service.

[…] A spokesman for Light’s photo agency, Corbis, said its photographers’ work and copyrights are treated seriously.

The agency will “investigate this matter and take appropriate action as necessary,” the spokesman said.

Lessig in FT on FCC, Comcast and Content

Internet providers must not dictate content [pdf]

The danger in a marriage between Disney and Comcast is that this right- thinking company will be bent in the way other right-thinking companies have been bent before. Disney’s views today are the same as AOL’s before it bought a content and cable company (Time Warner). They are the same as AT&T’s before it started buying cable companies.

But both AOL and AT&T quickly changed their views of network neutrality once their marriages were announced. And the fear of many is that the same fate could befall the mouse.

Enter the second important announcement made last week. In a speech in Boulder, Colorado, Michael Powell, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, at last signalled his position in the network neutrality debate. While Mr Powell did not go as far as some had hoped, he certainly removed the uncertainty that has clouded the debate so far.

He found the claims that networks were being biased when it came to providing content unconvincing, but made it clear that strong evidence would force the government to respond. He offered “the private sector a clear road map by which it can avoid future regulation”.

Under his plan, networks would guarantee consumers access to the content and applications of their choice, allow consumers to connect devices to the network that do no harm, and provide meaningful information about the service plans that they offer.

Put differently, if the network owners preserve “internet freedom” they can avoid FCC regulation. The chairman likes the neutral internet and intends to ensure it survives.

The Pepsi Cap Scam Hits CNet

Low-tech ‘hack’ takes fizz out of Pepsi-iTunes promo (see this earlier FurdLog posting)

iTunes fans have “hacked” a high-profile Pepsi promotion aimed at giving away 100 million songs through special codes marked on the underside of bottle caps. The codes can be entered on the iTunes site to download a single for free. One in three bottles is a winner, but it turns out that the markings can be read without removing the cap.

CNET News.com confirmed that it is not only possible to pick out winning bottles in advance; careful scrutiny can reveal the full 10-digit redemption code, meaning no purchase is required to get a free iTunes single courtesy of Pepsi.

JoHo points to a related discussion of Diebold voting machines: Tilting Diebold Voting Machines 25 Degrees Reveals 1 in 3 Are Rigged