July 21, 2004

Culture MashUps [9:39 am]

I got an e-mail from David Goldschmidt of mediatrips.com (where “sampling popculture is not a crime”), who is conducting competitions in media arts, with entries composed of audio and video mashups according to specified themes

In late 1999, I joined Rhizome.org (an online community of net.artists) and discovered a real affinity for their work. Specifically, I love it when artists rip (and remix) images and icons from American popculture. It’s fascinating to see how people react to the modern media environment. Scriptwriters, and filmmakers in general, follow the industry format for creating movies and television programs. The Mediatrip — however– is a critique/reaction to what one sees on TV.

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July 20, 2004

The Political Economy of IP [7:08 pm]

Donna points to the American Enterprise Institute’s publication, The Political Economy of Intellectual Property by William Landes and Richard Posner, wherein public choice theory is applied, albeit not as a complete explanation of recent trends.

Whether the increases in the legal protection of intellectual property since 1976 have conferred net benefits on the U.S. economy is uncertain. But the political forces and ideological currents that we describe, abetted by interest-group pressures that favor originators of intellectual property over copiers, may explain the increases. An additional factor is the growth in the market for intellectual property. That growth cannot be dated to 1976; but there is no doubt that recent decades have seen a marked growth in that market, as the economies of the advanced nations shifted from “industrial” economies to “information” economies. That growth increased the potential economic rents from intellectual property rights and so may have increased the asymmetry of incentives that we have been stressing between supporters and opponents of expanded intellectual property rights.

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Beating the Registration Wall [6:55 pm]

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Login [via TechDirt]

Increasingly, Web publishers, and in particular newspaper sites, are demanding that readers give up some of their personal information — like e-mail addresses, gender and salaries — in exchange for free access to their articles. The publishers say they need this information to make money from advertising. But anecdotal evidence and online chatter suggest readers are annoyed with the registration process. Some readers enter bogus information, while others are looking for ways to bypass the registration roadblocks.

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Ahh - Database Patents and Deep Linking [6:52 pm]

Techdirt:Websites Who Want To Remain Bad

Sometimes you have to wonder what certain companies or organizations are thinking. A few years ago, when Ellis Island put their records online, they had a dreadful interface. A genealogist with the skill and the time, created a new, much more user friendly front end that quickly became the preferred way for many genealogists to search the site. Of course, Ellis Island then threatened to sue him to shut down the site.

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Waiting for the Witness List [4:29 pm]

Upcoming Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this Thursday: An Examination of S. 2560, The Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004 [via CopyFight]

Ernest’s got it

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Protecting Innovation, One Body At A Time? [8:57 am]

HP memo forecasts MS patent attacks on free software

The memo — its full text is provided later in the story, along with HP’s response — briefly explains a patent cross-licensing deal between HP and Microsoft. By itself, that’s not a big deal, especially since it was sent two years ago. But the memo asserts that “Microsoft will soon be launching a patent-based legal offensive against Linux and other free software projects.” Leaders in the open source community have been warning of such attacks for some time. The memo reveals there may be very good reason for the worry.

Slashdot: HP Memo Predicts MS Patent Attacks on Open Source

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Something For Siva [8:53 am]

I’m reading Siva’s Anarchist in the Library, and this story is like a little message from him: Downloading for Democracy

While legislators in Washington work to outlaw peer-to-peer networks, one website is turning the peer-to-peer technology back on Washington to expose its inner, secretive workings.

But outragedmoderates.org isn’t offering copyright music and videos for download. The site, launched two weeks ago, has aggregated more than 600 government and court documents to make them available for download through the Kazaa, LimeWire and Soulseek P2P networks in the interest of making government more transparent and accountable.

Slashdot: Using P2P To Make Gov’t Documents Easy To Find

Update: Ernest points out that outragedmoderates.org should have done their work [a little] better.

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Evolution of Jobs’ Strategy [8:46 am]

Macrovision and SunnComm court Apple for a seachange in CDs

The two big US copy protection specialists, Macrovision and SunnComm are both touting the idea that they need to become Apple iPod compliant and they might need the help of the big record labels to twist Apple’s arm into helping them.

[...] It is clear that both companies were deliberately leaking to the press in order to get their message across to Apple that they need to work together. Apple clearly isn’t so sure and has not yet responded to the overtures from the two companies.

It’s always nice to be fancied, though

Related: Dolby adds High-Efficiency AAC to MPEG 4 patent pool

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Hall of Shame [8:44 am]

More universities agree to RIAA/Napster ‘protection’ — Slashdot: RIAA Co-Opts More Universities

Cornell University, the George Washington University, Middlebury College, University of Miami, the University of Southern California and the Wright State University (Ohio) have all pledged to have Napster up and running in the near future. The schools join Penn State University and University of Rochester as Napster subscribers. That’s a grand total of eight schools in the last nine months that have agreed to become music vendors and pay an RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) tax to avoid lawsuits against their students.

There might be something noble about the schools protecting their children if it were not for the dubious circumstances surrounding these deals. None of the schools have yet to say how much they actually pay for the Napster service.

Contrast with Duke University Giving iPods To 1650 Freshmen (also Duke Gives IPods to Freshmen)

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July 19, 2004

Traveling…. [9:36 am]

Posting will be pretty sparse, I expect. I leave on a trip today, and I have another next week. I’m counting on the usual suspects to keep *me* up to date, and I hope you’ll check them out, too. I’ll get a few things up, I’m sure, but I’m under the gun for a while here. We’ll see what kind of wi-fi I find.

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Eric Eldred in the Boston Globe [7:50 am]

Fighting to be free [pdf]

But Eldred had barely driven his white-and-red camper into the parking lot of the Walden Pond Reservation and tacked up a handwritten sign reading “Free Walden” when a state park ranger asked him to leave. Eldred said he was told he needed a permit to hand out copies of the book, free or not, and would be arrested if he continued.

“Obviously, Thoreau didn’t ask for government permission before he published ‘Walden,’ ” said Eldred, sitting inside his bookmobile last week. “It seems absurd for me to go the government and have them look at the content and see whether it’s approved or not. . . . It demeans the whole spirit of Thoreau’s work.”

Eldred, 60, has been seeking legal advice on whether the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, which oversees the Walden Pond State Reservation, is violating his constitutional right to free speech if it refuses to allow him to distribute the books.

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July 15, 2004

The Reg on Mobile Phone DRM [8:31 am]

Guilty until proven innocent - DRM the mobile phone way

Digital Rights Management on mobile phones hasn’t so far been much of an issue, but with highly capable multimedia devices and mobile music download services starting to appear, that is going to change. And the bad news for the consumer is that the phone industry appears to have learned from the PC business, where DRM can still be resisted because you still have a choice. Handset manufacturers and mobile phone networks, on the other hand, have a power beyond Microsoft’s wildest dreams, because they really can outlaw non-DRM compliant devices. Up to a point.

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New Acronym on the Radar: CPTWG [7:58 am]

These article of the past day on the subject of DVD copying and new alliances are based upon this group: Copy Protection Technical Working Group, who are not that new, but have been operating on several issues in the past (see the ADRG writeup from March 2003; also see the posting on the Broadcast Protection Discussion Group). Wired News has some background on what may prove to be an unholy alliance: Can Odd Alliance Beat Pirates?

IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Disney and Warner Bros. will work to develop the Advanced Access Content System, or AACS, standard for upcoming high-definition video recorders, players and displays. It’s the first time Hollywood and technology companies have agreed to work on such a project. In the past, tech companies have accused Hollywood of trying to impose too-restrictive copy-protection technologies through legal and legislative moves, stifling development.

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Profile of the New MPAA Head [7:34 am]

Although it’s just one article, it looks like the MPAA got exactly what they wanted: Mr. Glickman goes to Hollywood [pdf]

But movie buff or not, how can someone who spent much of his career preoccupied with farm policy now make the transition to showbiz? Glickman deadpans: “Culture is the biggest part of agriculture.” Playing along, a questioner asks: How, exactly? His reply: “Well, for one thing, it’s got the most letters.”

But then he gets serious and ticks off several plausible-sounding reasons that his background has amply prepared him for the MPAA presidency. The farm industry and the movie industry each occupy a large place in the national psyche and in the national economy, each industry relies heavily on its exports, and each considers itself beset by debilitating economic threats.

In the case of the movie industry, that threat is film piracy, in which movies are illegally filmed in theaters by camcorders, copied, and distributed around the world on the Internet or via home video. Finding ways to crack down on that practice, which costs Hollywood an estimated $3 billion a year, will be one of Glickman’s top priorities.

Several bills dealing with film piracy are pending on Capitol Hill. Although he resists the term “lobbyist,” Glickman concedes that he expects to “use the good will” he has built up in Congress to “have some access” to lawmakers on legislation affecting piracy and other issues.

Grove, of Hollywood Reporter.com, says Glickman has “obviously got a lot to learn about the business of filmed entertainment, but what Hollywood was clearly looking for was someone plugged in to the Washington circuit. They want a Beltway insider, because Hollywood perceives its major problems as coming from Washington.”

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July 14, 2004

Speaking of Creativity [10:10 pm]

Lou Reed Reveling In Remixes

“I’ve been getting all these great mixes sent to me out of the U.K. for years and years,” he [Reed] told Attitude magazine, “and I just started saying to the record company, ‘Look, I really, really love what they are doing.’ I think that my record company was a little taken aback but, genuinely, if I could make that type of music then I would. If I could master the equipment then I would love to. Maybe I will now that I’ve got my own studio set up.”

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Writing Their Congressmen [10:08 pm]

P2Pnet reports on the RIAA’s letter writing campaign: RIAA to US Senate …

Dear Senator:

It is no secret that the intellectual property assets of our nation are under assault, as never before. That is why we support S. 2560, an effective, bipartisan bill drafted by Senators Hatch and Leahy and introduced two weeks ago. The bill is aimed at ensuring the vibrancy of both our creative community and our technology community.

[...] Therefore, when you hear criticisms of this bill, I’d encourage you to ask a simple question: Is the criticism about the core purpose - getting at bad actors that are destroying the funding of new creativity - or is the criticism about definition? If it’s about who gets caught in the net, then I’d suggest the response to the critics should be to seek their suggestions for improving the definition.

[...] I’m available if you have any questions.


Mitch Bainwol

Well, if you put it that way, then if I were to talk about “getting at bad actors that are destroying the funding of new creativity,” I’m almost certainly sure that P2P wouldn’t even be on my radar. In fact, when I consider who exactly comes up with things like “American Idol,” Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan, and every boy band/hair band/etc., the parties responsible for the loss of funding for new creativity are not that hard to identify, IMHO.

Later (although Ernest posted earlier — I’ve got to get myself fully moved over to this new machine — I’m missing too much!): Ernest Miller deconstructs the letter, line by line: The Excessively Annotated RIAA Letter on the INDUCE Act (IICA); Later: Slashdot, with more links — RIAA Sends Letter to Senate Supporting INDUCE Act

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Talk About A Verbose Hearing Title [9:27 pm]

Competition and Consumer Choice in the MVPD Marketplace — Including an Examination of Proposals to Expand Consumer Choice, Such as A La Carte and Themed-Tiered Offerings (Note, no testimony has yet been published online). The Wired News article at least tells you what it’s really all about: Cable a la Carte Still Half-Baked (followup: Cable Debate Generates Static )

It’s one of the most perplexing questions ever to face humankind: Why can’t you buy just the cable channels you actually watch?

At a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet on Wednesday, a diverse panel of witnesses representing cable operators, cable channels, consumer advocates and religious broadcasters will jockey for position in the debate.

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A Working Business Model [9:21 pm]

iTunes selling Mac hardware? Macs, Music Boost Apple’s Profits

Apple Computer posted stronger-than-expected third-quarter profit and revenues Wednesday on heavy sales of its computers and portable music players.

For the three months ended June 26, Apple said it earned $61 million, or 16 cents per share, compared with $19 million, or 5 cents per share, in the same period last year. Revenues increased 30 percent to $2.01 billion.

Apple’s press release: Apple Reports Third Quarter Results

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Well, Well, Well [9:19 pm]

Glad to see I’m not the only one complaining: Searching for The New York Times

Two years ago, Martin Nisenholtz, chief executive of New York Times Digital, bet $1,000 that nytimes.com would outrank all blogs on Google by 2007, based on a search of five keywords on a topical news issue. Unless Google and the Times work on their relationship — Nisenholtz says they’re talking, although they haven’t come up with any answers yet — there may be a day when The New York Times doesn’t show up at all on the Net’s most popular search engine. Ultimately, this could be a direct threat to the Times’ legacy.

[...] Perhaps an even more impenetrable barrier is the Times’ paid archive. Because it stows material more than a week old behind an archive wall, you have to cough up $3 per article. Since few are willing to pay for content they can get free elsewhere, search engines, which often base results on relevancy (read: popularity), will continue to dis the Times — as well as other media sites that make you register or pay for old news (The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal).

Although, it is nice to discover the New York Times Link Generator

Later: Slashdot — Searching for The New York Times

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We’ll See [7:14 pm]

Some kind of balance? Or not? Move agreed on legal DVD copying

Film fans would be allowed to make legal copies of DVDs for use on portable players, under a plan agreed by US media and technology giants.

The move, involving companies such as Disney, IBM, Microsoft and Warner Bros, marks a shift in the movie industry’s stance on online movie piracy.

Slashdot: Industry Group Would Permit (Some) DVD Copying; CNet News: Tech, studio giants team on new DVD locks Nd Tech, Hollywood heavyweights create content coalition; p2pnet: Hollywood DVD copying scheme

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