June 22, 2004

n + 482 [8:32 pm]

The RIAA Sues 482 More People (Wired news: RIAA at it Again: 482 More Sued)

The identities of the alleged offenders are not known. The labels identified them only by their computer addresses. The music companies must receive a judge’s permission before they can subpoena a defendant’s Internet service provider for the name of the alleged file swapper.

CNet: RIAA takes hundreds more ‘John Does’ to court; The Register - RIAA sues 482 more unnamed file-sharers

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GrokLaw on the EU Patent Vote [12:50 pm]

EU Patents - It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over

If you thought the EU patent story was a done deal, I suggest you read this account by Arend Lammertink on his efforts to turn things around in the Netherlands, which may result in the Dutch Parliament revoking its vote approving the patent directive. Lammertink holds a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Twente and works as a Software Engineer for dGB Earth Sciences that specializes in quantitative seismic interpretation software and services

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Archiving, Infringing — All In A Day’s Work [9:21 am]

beSpacific points to a NIST report, Information Technology: Care and Handling of CDs and DVDs — A Guide for Librarians and Archivists.

Surprisingly, the report fails to mention the implications of DRM techniques for these archiving strategies. And, reading all this discussion of copy-making for archival purposes, you have to wonder what the copyright cabal would like to make of these instructions……

A potentially more immediate threat is technological obsolescence. Technological advances will no doubt make current optical disc types obsolete within several years. If the software currently used to interpret the data on optical discs becomes unavailable, a migration or emulation technology will be needed to access the data. Also, if the current disc-drive technology becomes unavailable, and if disc drives produced in the future lack the backward compatibility to play today’s discs, the information on the discs will likewise be inaccessible. Film and paper are much more stable in this regard, as human language does not change as rapidly as computer software, hardware, or the media format. Ink on paper, for example, has been used for centuries, and film has not changed significantly over the years.

The importance of ensuring that information can be read by future generations cannot be overstated. It is vital to have in place a preservation strategy that guarantees the sustainability of the collection for as long as possible. The computer-user industry standard for data storage on removable digital media has changed considerably over the past few decades (TASI 2002). As shown in Figure 1, digital media used as recently as 20 years ago are already incompatible with most of today’s systems.

[...] The ability to make copies of equal quality (digital-to-digital) means that it is possible and recommended to archive one copy of a given digital collection (preferably the original) by storing it in a location separate from that of frequently accessed copies. Presumably, then, the archived (original) media will be needed only for inspection, production of additional copies, or migration to new media. One of the most important benefits of archiving is increased security; it helps prevent information loss caused by disaster, theft, or mishandling.

If budgetary limits preclude separate locations, then multiple copies should be kept at the same location. The original can be designated as archival, and the copies accessible. If the original is in analog format, then the analog version and the original digital copy should both be archived. [...]

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Ludd’s Latest Follower: Orrin Hatch [8:38 am]

Moore’s Lore: Luddite Laws [via Jim Flowers]

Here’s Ludd. (Image from the Salt Lake City Tribune.) He thinks his name is Sen. Orrin Hatch, but he’s Ned Ludd all right. I can prove it.

His solution to the technology of copying files. Ban it. Sen. Ludd’s latest idea, called the INDUCE Bill, would not only make illegal any technology that copies files (such as, I assume, caching them) but encouraging people to make such technology.

[...] If it weren’t for the fact that many technology companies are so hungry for government protection, or funding, that they’re eager to make common cause with Luddites, we might have a way to organize against them.

As it is, we’ll need the pressure of the market, the growing pressure of China and India, to get any rational policy.

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Upcoming Hearing on P2P [8:06 am]

The US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation (McCain, chiar, Hollings ranking Democrat) will be holding a hearing, The Future of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Technology, this Wednesday afternoon.

Related: Hatch’s INDUCE Act is still expected to hit the Senate floor this week — and note that the PIRATE Act (S.2237) is still listed in the Senate’s General Orders

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OD2 Sold To Loudeye [7:50 am]

Realignments in the European emusic business: Peter Gabriel sells digital music firm

Essentially, Loudeye is buying OD2’s European customer base and music licenses, saving it the effort of setting up a competing operation from scratch, doubling the buyer’s revenue at a stroke. Since OD2 is only pulling in $2.5m a quarter - and making a loss - according to figures provided by Loudeye - which must [mean?] the company is clearly banking on considerable growth going forward, not only to reverse the downward trend in Loudeye’s own revenues but to justify the cost of the transaction.

And that’s the big question: is that growth there? There are certainly plenty of bullish predictions as to the size of the global digital music market. Loudeye notes that $11bn worth of recorded music were sold in Europe last year, and that researcher Forrester is anticipated European digital music sales of $1.6bn come 2007.

But who will take the lion’s share of that total?

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Huffman: More Than A Coder [7:39 am]

In addition to Huffman coding, a part of MP3 technology, David Huffman had some other intriguing interests: Cones, Curves, Shells, Towers: He Made Paper Jump to Life. Worth a read, if only to see what paper can do. See Geometric Paper Folding, from the Geometry Junkyard

See also Slashdot’s Computational Origami and David Huffman

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Taking on Section 1201 [7:19 am]

Tech heavies support challenge to copyright law

Skirmishes between content-producing companies seeking expansive copyright protections and hardware and telecommunications corporations on the other side have resulted in a legislative deadlock on Capitol Hill.

Some of the most influential technology companies are planning to announce on Tuesday an alliance that they hope will end the impasse. Called the Personal Technology Freedom Coalition, its purpose is to coordinate lobbying efforts in opposition–at least initially–to the most controversial section of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

[...] But members of the nascent coalition, including Intel, Sun Microsystems, Verizon Communications, SBC, Qwest, Gateway and BellSouth, are lending their support to a proposal by Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., to rewrite that part of the DMCA. Boucher’s bill says that descrambling utilities can be distributed, and copy protection can be circumvented as long as no copyright infringement is taking place.

One participant in the coalition, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said its members already have met with representatives of more than 20 congressional offices. Their sales pitch: Beyond harming “fair use” rights, the DMCA also endangers computer research vital to national security.

Other members of the coalition include: Philips Consumer Electronics North America, the Consumer Electronics Association, the American Library Association, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Consumers Union, the Consumer Federation of America, Public Knowledge, the American Foundation for the Blind, the United States Telecom Association, and the Computer and Communications Industry Association.

Slashdot discussion: Boucher’s Anti-DMCA Bill Gets High Profile Allies

Ed Felten: Tech Giants Support DMCA Reform

Rich Boucher at CNet: The Hill’s property rights showdown

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