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August 21, 2004

Larry’s Latest Guest Blogger [4:20 pm]

Guest Blogger

I’m Dick Posner; I’ll be Larry’s guest blogger next week (week of Aug. 23). If you don’t know anything about me, you can check my home page: Richard A. Posner

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Has Ludlow Music Backed Down/Settled? [4:16 pm]

Mary, Ernest and TechDirt are all reporting that Ludlow has elected to settle with JibJab — but there’s nothing at the EFF or JibJab site.

The tenor of the discussion centers on a suggestion that there is no record of the copyright being renewed, suggesting that Ludlow has no rights whatsoever. In the face of that, it may well be that Ludlow is not prepared to go to court to find out whether or not the copyright obtains, and will instead settle and continue to collect royalties. Much is made of the fact that, while the EFF has intervened, they have, atypically, not posted their materials online or otherwise publicized anything other than the fact that they are involved.

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"Bad actors" [4:07 pm]

In INDUCE chases Marybeth Peters, p2pnet suggests the current working rhetorical phrase in the next step of the fight over p2p

‘Badactors’ is a phrase gaining currency within the entertainment industry and now Hatch and three other powerful politicians are trying to rally support against them, using Peters as a front.

Urged on by Hatch, Senate Republican leader senator Bill Frist, Democratic leader senator Tom Daschle and the Judiciary committee’s senior Democrat, Patrick Leahy, are asking for Peters’ help.

[...] And, “Paralysis is not an option,” the Hollywood Reporter [pdf] has RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) boss Mitch Bainwol saying. “We remain eager to work on a common-sense compromise that fulfills the ultimate objective of targeting bad actors who are jeopardizing the future of music.”

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Sharman Networks on the Grokster Ruling [3:59 pm]

Kazaa owner takes heart in P2P ruling

Sharman said that, as consequence of the decision made by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, it will file a motion for a similar ruling to be held over its U.S. copyright infringement case, with the group’s lead counsel for the trial, Rod Dorman, demonstrating a new air of confidence.

“Sharman Networks will be filing a motion for summary judgment nearly identical to the successful motions filed by Grokster and Morpheus, and we are confident that Judge Wilson will find that our product, Kazaa, is a lawful product as well,” he said.

Dorman describes the decision as a victory for the technology industry and for fans, artists and owners of entertainment content.

“Entertainment industry executives in the U.S. must now embrace peer-to-peer technology and work with software developers and other partners to commercialize it. It is time for them to take their business back from their lawyers and steer it into the future of digital distribution,” Dorman said.

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Some Napster Competition [3:55 pm]

More colleges get cheap online music

Another group of colleges is getting access to cut-rate digital music subscriptions, care of MusicNet and partner Cdigix.

Cdigix, which offers packages of video, music and educational services to schools, said it will distribute MusicNet subscriptions to students at Marietta College, Ohio University, the Rochester Institute of Technology, the University of Denver, Wake Forest and Yale University beginning this fall. The service will cost $2.99 a months for unlimited access to music, plus 89 cents to download a song permanently. Napster has deals with another eight universities to offer similar services.

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FCC Continues To Require Access [3:53 pm]

FCC sets interim network-sharing rules

In an order and notice of proposed rule-making released late Friday, the FCC said it will require that until the agency creates new so-called unbundling rules, the incumbent carriers — often called the regional Bells — must offer competing carriers their switching, enterprise market loops and dedicated transport under the rates in their interconnection agreements as of June 15. The FCC plans to create new unbundling rules by the end of 2004, according to the order.

The FCC order also solicits comments on a plan that would go into effect if the commission does not approve new rules by the end of 2004. That six-month transition period would allow the prices the Bells charge their competitors for unbundled network elements (UNEs) to rise up to 15 percent in the absence of new unbundling rules.

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Confirmation of the Rumors [3:41 pm]

You’re Athletes, Not Journalists

The International Olympic Committee is barring competitors, as well as coaches, support personnel and other officials, from writing firsthand accounts for news and other websites.

An exception is if an athlete has a personal website that was not set up specifically for the Games. [ed. see, for example, bobbyjulich.com]

The IOC’s rationale for the restrictions is that athletes and their coaches should not serve as journalists — and that the interests of broadcast rightsholders and accredited media come first.

[...] To protect lucrative broadcast contracts, athletes and other participants are also prohibited from posting any video, audio or still photos they take themselves, even after the Games, unless they get permission ahead of time. (Photos taken by accredited journalists are allowed on the personal sites.)

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NYC Going Wireless [3:34 pm]

New York set for citywide wireless. Not everyone’s thrilled, though.

Lilly Martinez, from Brooklyn, was using the service for the first time, and found it slow with the sheer volume of users logged on.

She said she was “freaked out” by the idea of a huge microwave expansion.

“What does this mean for my brain?” she asked.

“The service is not for me, it’s going to be all about them, and what they can get out of it.”

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Here’s A Striking Patent [11:08 am]

Via Slashdot’s Microsoft Patents sudo6,775,781

Administrative security systems and methods

Abstract

A computer such as a network appliance executes an administrative security process configured to run under an administrative privilege level. Having an administrative privilege level, the administrative security process can initiate administrative functions in an operating system function library. A user process executing under a non-administrative privilege level can initiate a particular administrative function that the process would not otherwise be able to initiate by requesting that the administrative security process initiate the function. In response to a request to initiate a particular function from a process with a non-administrative privilege level, the administrative security process determines whether the requesting process is authorized to initiate the particular administrative function based on information accessed in a data store. If the requesting process is authorized, the administrative security process initiates the particular administrative function. In this manner, the administrative security process facilitates access to specific administrative functions for a user process having a privilege level that does not permit the user process to access the administrative functions.

The discussion is worth a read, as the Slashdotters go though prior art, obviousness and the distinctions between applications and server daemons. But, really — should the USPTO allow patent examiners who don’t know the first thing about running a Unix/Linux system review computer method patents?

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Profile of RIAA Suits [11:03 am]

Slow-moving lawsuits over music downloads producing court twists [pdf]

A woman in Milwaukee and her ex-boyfriend are under orders to pay thousands to the recording industry. A man in California refinanced his home to pay an $11,000 settlement. A year after it began, the industry’s legal campaign against Internet music piracy is inching through the federal courts, producing some unexpected twists.

[...] The campaign has also produced worries, even from one federal judge, that wealthy record companies could trample some of the 3,935 people across the country who have been sued since the first such cases were filed in September 2003.

“I’ve never had a situation like this before, where there are powerful plaintiffs and powerful lawyers on one side and then a whole slew of ordinary folks on the other side,” said U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner at a hearing in Boston. Dozens of such lawsuits have been filed in her court.

[...] In a few courthouses, the music industry has stumbled even in victory. A judge in California rejected an injunction banning Lisa Dickerson of Santa Ana, Calif., from illegally distributing music online. Although the judge agreed Dickerson was guilty, he said there was no evidence she was still breaking the law and determined that such a ban on future behavior would violate her rights. She was ordered to pay record companies $6,200 in penalties and court costs.

Still, the California consultant who recently agreed to pay the largest settlement in any of the lawsuits, $11,000, urged Internet users not to take solace in rare procedural victories.

“It scares me,” Plank said. “For anyone fighting any of these lawsuits — unless they have nothing to lose — the only thing to do is settle. You have no power against these people.”

Slashdot: RIAA Grinds Down Individuals in the Courtroom; see also p2pnet’s Big Music vs Ordinary Folks and Music cartel nails KU girl

See Derek’s post on the EFF connection: P2P User Defended by EFF Chooses to Settle with RIAA

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