July 12, 2004

Some Prince History On The Record [10:46 pm]

The article details his current trick of including an album with each concert ticket sale, scrambling (in the minds of some) the record charts: For Prince, a Resurgence Accompanied by Spirituality

As he puts it:

“I didn’t do this to usurp power from Billboard or SoundScan,” he said. “But the real power is in community, in actually connecting with people.”

But I also like to see a formal statement of what "The Glyph" was really all about:

Prince’s new visibility is not exactly a comeback. He never stopped making albums or touring, but for years he left behind the star-making machinery of the major labels. His longtime contract with Warner Brothers Records turned sour in 1993 as he changed his name to an unpronounceable glyph and appeared with the word “Slave” written on his face. Albums credited to Prince, with songs from the Vault and titles like “Chaos and Disorder,” continued to appear on Warner until the contract ran out, while albums credited to the glyph were released independently. He is now negotiating with Warner Brothers over the release of remastered versions of his old albums, including a 20th-anniversary edition of “Purple Rain.”

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A (Sadly) Familiar Tale [10:39 pm]

Larry Lessig had a weblog posting about this sort of problem over a year ago that he ended up taking down because he learned about it in confidence — here’s one where the fight is a little more public: Siva’s posting of the article from the Chronicle of Higher Education — More Copyright vs. Knowledge; Ernest’s writeup: The Right to Hire an Attorney at an Academic Press

Two letters arrived in book reviewers’ mail in the middle of June. One missive came from Indiana University Press, withdrawing its just-published A Rebecca Clarke Reader from circulation. Citing “errors in the production of the book,” the letter asked reviewers and editors to ship it back at the press’s expense.

The second letter came from Liane Curtis, editor of the Reader and founding member of the Rebecca Clarke Society. The label pasted onto the face of the envelope was bold and succinct: “DON’T RETURN your Rebecca Clarke Reader! The recall is groundless! We are fighting back!!”

A tangle of alleged copyright infringement and mutual recrimination — hitched to rising scholarly interest in the late Anglo-American composer Rebecca Clarke — lurks behind the dueling letters and the book’s withdrawal from circulation last month.

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Sorry About The Paucity Of Postings [9:08 pm]

But I had to open my G5 box and see how it all came together. Overall, it’s been a blast. Sadly, the order wasn’t completely fulfilled, as OS X Server wasn’t installed — meaning that it’s going to be just that much longer until Furdlog moves over to the new machine. But, in the interim, I still get to do some learning before I try to make a go of it.

I should be a little better tomorrow, but it’s a busy day, and having two keyboards on my desk means that I’m always picking the wrong one when I need something quick <G>. But I should be getting the hang of it soon!

And boy, is it fast compared to my 833 MHz box!

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Speaking of Words [9:04 pm]

When is an innovator a destroyer? It’s all in the eyes of the beholder: For Hackers, Shop Talk, a Warning and Advice (also A Gathering to Hack the System)

Stephen Wozniak, a founder of Apple Computer, was speaking to the choir Saturday at a conference in Midtown Manhattan, recalling an era when the word “hackers” referred to technological wizards, not rogue computer users.

His choir was a group of self-described hackers, about 2,000 of them, listening to Mr. Wozniak’s keynote speech at the H.O.P.E. conference - Hackers on Planet Earth - put on by the hacker magazine 2600 News.

Update: for another view, see Man Accused of Infiltrating Computer at Verizon

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The Power of a Word [9:01 pm]

A demonstration of just how debased the public discussion of copyright has become — the New York Times publishes an article that, with a straight face, argues that there’s a parallel beween lowering the transactions costs of the used book business and Napster-style copyright infringement: Online Battle of Low-Cost Books

IS Amazon.com becoming the Napster of the book business?

The analogy may not be far off, say some observers of the used-book industry. Publishers, particularly textbook publishers, have long countered used-book sales by churning out new editions every couple of years. But the Web, particularly sites like Amazon and eBay, have given millions of consumers an easy way to find cheap books - often for under $1 - without paying royalty fees to publishers or authors.

Shameful. Just think about what’s next — used CDs, for sure.

Update: Note that this is nothing new — here’s a Slashdot discussion from 2002 (sorry, the NYTimes article is behind the paywall): Authors Guild To Members: De-link Amazon.com

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CRIA On The Attack [8:57 pm]

What you do if you don’t have a tame Orrin Hatch in your legislature: Canadian record labels appeal P2P ruling

The Canadian Recording Industry Association on Monday appealed a court ruling in which a judge ruled that peer-to-peer file sharing was legal in Canada.

Like its American counterparts, the Canadian group is trying to sue file-swappers who are trading copyrighted music online. But in March, a court blocked the label’s trade group from obtaining the identities of alleged file traders, saying that trading music over programs like Kazaa did not appear to be illegal.

The record labels group said the March ruling had put their industry–and other copyright holders such as movie producers and software companies–in jeopardy. They’re asking the Federal Court of Appeal to reverse the lower judge, and let their lawsuits proceed.

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Innovation Wins One — For Now [8:54 pm]

Don’t get too happy, though. This time, network effects worked to our benefit, but Microsoft has been too shrewd an expoiter of network effects to make the same mistake again. Look for a new tactic from them soon: iPod undermines Microsoft on copy-locked CDs

When a copy-protected CD hit No. 1 on the U.S. music sales charts last month, it marked a breakthrough for the antipiracy technology in all but one sense: The music still wouldn’t play on Apple’s iPod.

Now the two companies responsible for most copy-protected CDs are scrambling to create new versions of their technologies that are compatible with Apple’s popular digital music player. In the process, they’re both making substantial changes in the way CDs are digitally locked, changes that could ultimately be a setback to recent Microsoft strides into the music business.

And don’t forget that, in the end, Apple is still a pro-DRM firm:

Indeed, if Apple is able to license its digital rights management technology for use on copy-protected CDs, it could be a promising new revenue source, depending on the terms. Apple declined to comment on the issue.

Analysts said the move toward iPod compatibility is very important if copy protection for music CDs is to succeed.

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Don’t Forget The Fluoridated Water Conspiracy [3:33 pm]

Piracy blitz unites film industry

Campaign posters have hard-hitting messages including: “Terrorist groups sell DVDs to raise funds.”

Northern Irish paramilitaries and Afghan Sikhs are involved in selling DVDs in the UK, according to the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact), the industry’s anti-piracy unit.

But Fact director general Raymond Leinster admitted terrorist involvement was not rife in mainland Britain.

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