July 26, 2004

I’m Outta Here [7:09 pm]

Good luck, Boston, with the convention, but this is my chance to get a little R&R before the cycle of preparation for the new term begins.

I hope to be back ready and able to tackle the final stages of moving the server over to the new machine, and to being a better weblog host than I have the past few days.

And my PowerBook keyboard developed a sticky shift key that necessitated a replacement, so I’m not even going to be able to be tempted by posting until I’m back!!

You’ve all probably already discovered that there are some terrific people behind the blogroll to the right. If you check them out, you’ll certainly stay up to date — better than I will for a little bit!

And we can only hope that our President will keep Senator Hatch and his IICA/INDUCE cronies busy with responses to the 9/11 Commission Report in the coming weeks, so they’ll be too busy to further destabilize the institutions and instruments of creativity!

See y’all soon!

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Surprise [7:16 am]

The public performance right is only now being defended in Canada? How odd: Music industry drills dentists for royalties

The tranquil music that wafts through many dental offices to soothe patients and mask the sounds of the drill may soon be silenced. The music industry is putting the bite on dentists – demanding that they pay for the right to play it.

The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, which collects royalties for musicians, has targeted dental offices in its latest campaign. The group is asking them to cough up a yearly fee if they use copyrighted music to entertain patients.

The fee, a minimum charge of $100, has enraged some dentists.

“I just feel it’s a money grab,” said Vancouver dentist Kerstin Conn, who recently received a letter from SOCAN at her office. “We paid for our CD and we’re using it to listen to, and half the time my patients … don’t even hear the music.”

Of course, that defense has routinely failed in US courts, but the Canadian courts have tended to see some things differently. See also Dentists confused about music fees and the Slashdot discussion: Canadian Music Industry Drills Dentists

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Mousetrapped? [7:10 am]

Today’s Boston Globe is full of the news that RealNetworks has announced that their digital music files from their online retailing can be used on iPods: RealNetworks says music now transferable to iPod and RealNetworks Upgrades Software for IPod. So the question is going to be just how Jobs wants to position Apple in the face of what certainly could be litigated as a DMCA anticircumvention violation.

RealNetworks Inc. says it has created technology that allows songs purchased through its online music services to be played on Apple Computer Inc.’s popular iPod player, just a few months after complaining that Apple was rebuffing attempts to form an alliance.

[..] On Friday, Glaser said the new system, called Harmony Technology, will let people securely transfer music bought using RealNetworks’ music download services to an iPod or virtually any other portable music player.

[...] Glaser said the new system works by essentially translating the various antipiracy technologies, to make the players’ systems compatible with RealNetworks’ system. RealNetworks said it was not concerned that the system would be illegal.

See also CNet News’ RealNetworks breaks Apple’s hold on iPod;

Note that The Register’s Real to ‘free’ iPod from iTunes Music Store asserts that this is not likely to be considered anti-circumvention, but rather software license violation and/or straight copyright infringement

Since the system does not bypass target DRM technologies, it’s unlikely to fall foul of the European Union Copyright Directive (EUCD) or the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which forbid such intervention.

However, it could present Real with legal challenges if Apple believes its intellectual property was suborned during the development of Harmony. As yet, Apple has not commented on Harmony, and is probably waiting to see exactly what the software can do before responding.

RealNetwork’s press release: RealNetworks Introduces Harmony, Enabling Consumers To Buy Digital Music That Plays On All Popular Devices; Wired News’ copy of the AP newswire: RealNetworks: Files Play on iPod; Slashdot: Real Networks Hacks iPod; .rm & Real Store for iPod

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