April 15, 2004

Copyright Enforcement [12:20 pm]

The BBC reports Two arrests under camcorder law in California [via Slashdot's Projectionists Using Night Vision Goggles in Theaters].

Ruben Centero Moreno, 34, was arrested after the projectionist used night vision goggles to spot video cameras.

And Min Jae Joun, 28, was arrested on suspicion of recording a screening of The Passion of the Christ on 10 April.

Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America, said he hoped it would “send a clear signal such crimes will not be tolerated”.

“In both cases, the LAPD’s fine work would not have occurred without the swift actions of the employees of Pacific Theatres,” he told the Hollywood Reporter magazine.

As the Slashdot poster notes: "The lesson is clear: stay out of movie theaters and you won’t get arrested." A more moderate and reasonable statement of the problem is:

Re:So? (Score:5, Interesting)

by Xepo (69222) on Thursday April 15, @10:52AM (#8869096)

(http://www.trifault.net/)

Yes, it is good that they caught them. That’s a good thing, most people on here would agree.

What we disagree with is the fact that they’re enforcing copyright violations as if it’s drugs, or terroristic activities, or whatever. Putting someone *in jail* for filming a movie for “a long time” is what I disagree with. I don’t think they should even go to jail, that’s too harsh for a copyright violation. Simply slap them with a large fine, and be done with it.

It’s very similar to slashdot’s general attitude towards malevolent hackers. We don’t think it’s right that someone is spreading a virus, or cracking into systems, and defacing a web site, but we also don’t think it’s right that these people are being punished like they killed someone.

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Siva Viadhyanathan at firstmonday [10:03 am]

The state of copyright activism

Abstract

One of the great hopes I had while I researched and wrote Copyrights and copywrongs (New York: New York University Press, 2001), a cultural history of American copyright, during the late 1990s was that copyright debates might puncture the bubble of public consciousness and become important global policy questions. My wish has come true. Since 1998 questions about whether the United States has constructed an equitable or effective copyright system frequently appear on the pages of daily newspapers. Activist movements for both stronger and looser copyright systems have grown in volume and furor. And the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in early 2003 that the foundations of American copyright, as expressed in the Constitution, are barely relevant in an age in which both media companies and clever consumers enjoy unprecedented power over the use of works.

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Bowie Mash-Up Contest [9:58 am]

Never Follow is an Audi product competition/promotion site that encourages the creation of Bowie-based mashup, not to mention distributing/promoting the tools for making them [via The Tangled Web, and CopyFight]

If you’ve seen the new Audi commercial, then you’ve already heard a mash-up of the David Bowie classic “Rebel, Rebel” and Bowie’s brand new rocker “Never Grow Old” from his new REALITY album. On April 12th, another mash-up by Mark Vidler will be released as a single. But what about NOW?

Now it’s your turn to create a great Bowie mash-up and possibly win an Audi TT coupe for your efforts!

Reading the contest rules gives you a sense of what a recording contract must look like:

3. Ownership:

By entering your Mash-Up in the Contest, you acknowledge and agree that: (a) db.com will maintain ownership of the elements (including, without limitation, the Masters), and will own all Mash-Ups entered by you in the Contest or otherwise uploaded to the Website (the Mash-Up and all parts of the contest entry being collectively referred to herein as the “Materials”), and (b) as between you and db.com, db.com will own all publishing rights in and to the Materials. Each entrant into the Contest hereby irrevocably grants, transfers, sells, assigns and conveys to the Sponsors, their successors and assigns, all present and future right, title and interest of every kind and nature whatsoever, including, without limitation, all copyrights, all music and music publishing rights, and all rights incidental, subsidiary, ancillary or allied thereto (including, without limitation, all derivative rights) in and to the Mash-Up(s) for exploitation throughout the universe, in perpetuity, by means of any and all media and devices whether now known or hereafter devised (the “Rights”). Sponsors shall have the right, in their sole discretion, to edit, composite, morph, scan, duplicate, or alter, the Mash-Up(s) for any purpose which Sponsors deems necessary or desirable, and each entrant irrevocably waives any and all so-called moral rights they may have in the Mash-Up(s) submitted by him or her. Each entrant hereby acknowledges that such entrant does not reserve any rights in and to the Mash-Ups. Notwithstanding the forgoing, an entrant will retain whatever rights such entrant had in and to any Additional Elements that may be incorporated into a particular Mash-Up, subject to an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, non-exclusive license to use such Additional Elements throughout the universe in perpetuity in any and all media now known or hereafter devised.

4. Use of the Masters:

By entering the Contest, each entrant acknowledges and agrees that: (a) Sponsors are granting entrants a limited, non-exclusive license to use the Reality Masters and Bowie Masters in connection with, and solely as a part of, the Contest and then only for the duration of the Contest, (b) entrants shall have no right, title or interest in the Masters, and ( c) any use of the Masters other than as permitted by these Official Rules will constitute a violation of the Contest Rules and may constitute copyright infringement.

An alert reader points out, with a contract like this, it’s really important to understand the terms — so who *is* db.com?

By participating in the Contest, each entrant unconditionally accepts and agrees to comply with and abide by these Official Rules and the decisions of davidbowie.com c/o UltraStar Entertainment, LLC 135 East 55th Street, New York, NY 10022 (”db.com”), and RZO Theatricals 250 West 57th Street, Suite 1101, New York, NY 10107 (”RZO”, collectively with db.com, the “Sponsor(s)”), which shall be final and binding in all respects.

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CRIA Reponds [9:49 am]

Canadian Recording Industry Files Appeal Of Court Decision On Music Piracy

The Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) today filed an appeal of the recent court decision denying CRIA’s request for Internet Service Providers to reveal the identities of alleged flagrant uploaders of digital music.

“Today we filed an appeal of last month’s court decision,” commented CRIA General Counsel Richard Pfohl. “We will argue that the decision was in error on a number of legal bases.”

“In our view, Canadian copyright law does not allow people to make copies of hundreds or thousands of musical recordings for global copying, transmission and distribution to millions of strangers on the Internet,” he concluded.

“This appeal is important for virtually all Canadian intellectual property owners,” said CRIA President, Brian Robertson. “Any owner of intellectual property that can be digitally transmitted has a stake in this appeal process.”

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MS Can’t Get Ahead Of MA’s Complaints [9:41 am]

State questions Microsoft search plans

Massachusetts said Wednesday that it is continuing to investigate whether Microsoft is unlawfully wielding its desktop dominance in its plans to enter the red-hot search engine market. The state, the only one still pursuing antitrust claims against Microsoft, said in a legal filing that it is still reviewing “issues regarding Internet search engines, document format programs, and other functionalities that Microsoft allegedly plans to incorporate into the next version of its Windows operating system.” Microsoft has said that it plans to release a new search engine in the next year and embed better search features in its next-generation Longhorn operating system.

A federal appeals court is weighing Massachusetts’ appeal to a final ruling by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly that approved a settlement deal and effectively ended the long-running antitrust case. In its legal filing, Massachusetts took a swipe at the settlement, saying its “competitive impact” in some areas appears to be “essentially nonexistent.”

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A New Media Experiment [9:39 am]

Call Me E-Mail: The Novel Unfolds Digitally

A former English professor who teaches executives how to write, Mr. Brown, 59, calls “Intimacies” a digital epistolary novel, or DEN, terms that he has trademarked. The plot of “Intimacies” is based on “Pamela,” the 18th-century work by Samuel Richardson that is one of Western literature’s first epistolary novels. It is the format of Mr. Brown’s work rather than its story that makes it postmodern: it is meant to be read with the aid of a software interface designed by Billy McQuown, an employee at Mr. Brown’s consulting firm, Communication Associates.

The story unfolds through e-mail messages, instant-message conversations and Web sites, all within a window generated by the DEN software; the program can be downloaded free from Mr. Brown’s Web site, www.greatamericannovel.com.

But more intriguing than “Intimacies” itself is Mr. Brown’s plan to begin selling a version of the software that he used to write it, one that will help fans of the form execute their own digital epistolary novels.

[...] Thom Swiss, editor of The Iowa Review Web and a professor of English at the University of Iowa who focuses on those forms of hypertext, said that to him Mr. Brown’s creation seemed mechanical. “While inventive if buggy, I’m not sure how useful it is,” he said. “At this stage of its development, it’s more of a game and less literature - and not because of the pulp story but because the formal elements of composing the piece are given to you: you just fill in the content.”

Still, Mr. Brown’s digital novel has drawn praise from some scholars interested in new media, especially those who hope to take e-literature mainstream.

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Can’t Own Data…Yet [9:15 am]

Copyright ruling favors site that aggregates yacht sale listings [via EFF MiniLinks] (eWeek version)

Nautical Solutions Marketing Inc. of St. Petersburg runs a Web site called YachtBroker.com which uses a software program to harvest yacht sale information from other Web sites, including one owned by Boats.com of Lake Forest, Ill., and then compiles it for its subscribers.

Nautical’s practice of collecting yacht listings, photos and product descriptions from various Web sites represented lawful use of facts that weren’t protected by copyright law, Judge Steven D. Merryday ruled April 1.

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Sharman/KaZaA Update [8:42 am]

Sharman Shuffles Legal Team

“Sharman Networks has made the strategic decision to reinforce its legal representation in Australia by retaining the services of Clayton Utz,” a Sharman representative told Wired News.

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The move comes at a critical stage in proceedings against Sharman, as the record companies officially filed suit against the company last week.

The statement of claim lodged in Australia’s federal court in Sydney alleges not only that the respondents have directly infringed on copyright works, but that Sharman Networks and companies affiliated with it have breached Australia’s Trade Practices Act and fair-trading laws by engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct. The recording industry wants the company shut down, and is seeking as-yet unspecified monetary damages.

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New Google Offering [8:38 am]

First GMail, now this: Google to target Web surfers by city.

[...] Google Local is circling in closer to consumers, tracking Web surfers’ location down to the city level. That means that advertisers (in the United States) can tailor promotions to hit people in a specific city, so, for example, a surfer in New York who searches for “sushi” may get results accompanied by ads for local restaurants. Advertisers can also tailor ads so they appear on Google and its partner Web sites only when a visitor originates within a defined radius of a business’ physical address; Google calls this feature “customized targeting.”

For the first time, customized local targeting will be available to international advertisers.

So, no one might know you’re a dog, but they sure seem to be working on knowing your territory!

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Gamesmanship [8:07 am]

RealNetworks Seeks a Musical Alliance With Apple (particularly in light of Profit at Apple Almost Triples on a Sharp Rise in IPod Sales)

The offer to create a “tactical alliance” was made on April 9 by Rob Glaser, chief executive of RealNetworks, the Seattle-based Internet music and video service, in an e-mail message to Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s chairman.

But if an alliance with Apple could not be struck, Mr. Glaser strongly hinted in the e-mail message that he might be forced to form a partnership with Microsoft to pursue “very interesting opportunities” because support for Microsoft’s media-playing software seems to be growing.

A pact with Microsoft would be a startling reversal for RealNetworks, whose complaints about Microsoft’s business tactics form a major part of the European Commission’s antitrust case against the company.

[...] In his message, which was obtained by The New York Times from a person close to Apple, Mr. Glaser asked Mr. Jobs to consider licensing Apple’s Fairplay digital rights management system to RealNetworks to permit customers of the RealNetworks music service to play their digital music collections on iPod players.

In exchange, RealNetworks would make the iPod its primary device for the RealNetworks store and for the RealPlayer software.

The message notes that both RealNetworks and Apple support the same digital music technology standard, known as AAC. But because it is not possible for RealNetworks’ encrypted music services, Rhapsody and the Real music store, to be played on iPod, RealNetworks is considering switching to Microsoft’s competing WMA format, which would make the RealNetworks services work seamlessly with Microsoft’s technology.

More on Apple’s results at InfoWorld; Slashdot discussion: Real Begs Apple for Alliance

Update: Other reactions - Apple on a Roll and the Reuters writeup; CNet’s comments on Apple’s apparent rejection: Will iPod suffer fate of the Mac?

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