September 30, 2004

Tote That Barge, Lift That Bale - Life As An RIAA Lawyer [9:39 pm]

INDUCE/IICA may be delayed, but the RIAA keeps right on slogging: RIAA Fires New Round of Volleys (see also The Register’s RIAA hunts down more file-trading scum)

A recording-industry trade group said on Thursday it had filed lawsuits against 762 people it suspects of distributing its songs for free over internet “peer to peer” networks like Kazaa and eDonkey.

The Recording Industry Association of America has now sued roughly 5,400 people over the past year in an effort to discourage the online song copying that it believes has cut into CD sales.

Cory points to research that says the RIAA has a long row to hoe — and it’s just getting longer (The True Picture of Peer-To-Peer Filesharing; presentation).

Later: Slashdot covers this and a related story in Iceland and USA Feel the Copyright Industry’s Wrath

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Woo-hoo! The Copyright Sword (sometimes) Cuts Both Ways! [7:44 pm]

Free Speech Vindicated in OPG v. Diebold (includes links to the decision) The EFF press release

Last October, Diebold threatened dozens of ISPs with lawsuits if they allowed users to post or link to a Diebold email archive documenting flaws in the company’s e-voting technology. Online Policy Group, IndyMedia, and two Swarthmore students, Nelson Pavlosky and Luke Smith, didn’t want to cave in, so EFF and the Stanford Cyberlaw Clinic sued Diebold on their behalf instead.

Today, that action was vindicated. Judge Fogel ruled that “there is no genuine issue of material fact that Diebold, through its use of the DMCA, sought to and did in fact suppress publication of content that is not subject to copyright protection.” He further held that sending claims of copyright infringement to ISPs when their users are not infringing violates the DMCA’s Section 512(f) prohibition on “knowingly materially misrepresent[ing]” infringement. Because Diebold “actually knew, should have known if it acted with reasonable care or diligence, or would have had no substantial doubt had it been acting in good faith, that it was making misrepresentations,” it was liable to the OPG and Swarthmore student plaintiffs under 512(f).

Earlier FurdLog postings are all here.

Note in particular that Jason Schultz knows what he’s talking about.

Later: Wired News’ Diebold Loses Key Copyright Case

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MS FAT Patent Claims Rejected [2:04 pm]

Microsoft’s FAT Patent Rejected by Patent Office, At PubPat’s Request [via Slashdot] (see earlier coverage here)

At PUBPAT’s Request, Patent Office Rejects Microsoft’s FAT Patent: All Claims of Reynolds ‘517 Patent Ruled Invalid

NEW YORK — In the reexamination proceeding initiated earlier this year by the Public Patent Foundation (”PUBPAT”), the United States Patent and Trademark Office has rejected all of the claims of Microsoft’s patent on the FAT file system, which Microsoft describes as “the ubiquitous format used for interchange of media between computers, and, since the advent of inexpensive, removable flash memory, also between digital devices.”

Relying predominantly on evidence provided by PUBPAT when the reexamination was requested, the Patent Office made multiple rejections of the Redmond, WA based software giant’s patent.

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Archiving in the Digital World [1:28 pm]

Little on the technical issues long term, though: Grants Will Preserve Paperless Bits of History [pdf]

THE Library of Congress is giving $15 million to eight institutions to preserve a range of electronic material, including Web sites relating to the 2003 California gubernatorial recall election, digital maps, sound recordings and decades’ worth of social science data.

[...] Myron P. Gutmann, a history professor at the University of Michigan and director of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research at the university’s Institute for Social Research, said much of this data has not been properly archived. It resides on the computers of individual researchers and research institutions, on Web sites, and even in storage boxes filled with punch cards.

“Without aggressive activities to locate and preserve it, it will disappear for good,” Dr. Gutmann said. “Our goal is to assure that the material remains accessible, complete, uncorrupted and usable over time.”

For the punch card data, that will mean converting it to an electronic form first.

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A Step Back From The World of Joseph K. [1:19 pm]

Judge Strikes Down Section of Patriot Act

The ruling came in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union against a kind of subpoena created under the act, known as a national security letter. Such letters could be used in terrorism investigations to require Internet service companies to provide personal information about subscribers and would bar them from disclosing to anyone that they had received a subpoena.

Such a subpoena could be issued without court review, under provisions that seemed to bar the recipient from discussing it with a lawyer.

Judge Marrero vehemently rejected that provision, saying that it was unique in American law in its “all-inclusive sweep” and had “no place in our open society.”

See also the Washington Post’s article, Key Part of Patriot Act Ruled Unconstitutional, as well as their blog-like rundown of coverage elsewhere in Digitizing the Bill of Rights

Note: Joseph K. is the central figure in Franz Kafka’s The Trial.

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Auf der Maur Profile [1:03 pm]

A datapoint on the business models of artists from this profile of Melissa Auf der Maur: From the Sidelines to the Front Lines

Ms. Auf der Maur is a deeply committed bohemian, born to the phrase. Her father, who died in 1999, was a well-known journalist, politician and raconteur in Montreal and her mother, at 62, is an arts journalist with no retirement plan, who cheered her daughter’s plan to finance her own record, even when it meant she would spend just about every nickel she made during her time with Hole and the Pumpkins.

“When I told my accountant that I planned on financing my own record, he said I was crazy,” Ms. Auf der Maur said. “When I told my mother what I was going to do, she said, ‘Of course you are, that’s what money’s for.’ ”

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Technology & Creativity: A Look at Yo-Yo Ma [1:01 pm]

So - what if the IICA were law in 1964; would Yo-Yo Ma’s father have been able to find a tape recorder? Their Own Devices: A Virtuoso and His Technology

“The cassette tape recorder came in and that was a big thing, you know, a portable kind of device that actually might be able to record things in live situations,” he recalled backstage last month at the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Mass. “I have to say that I’ve learned that so much of what makes an acoustic performer do well is how well they know the spaces that they work in.

“Now, the thing that is really hard to do, that I think may be one of the hardest things to do, is to be in one place and somewhere else at the same time, which means to be empathetic to another space other than your own. What I learned from hearing recordings from, let’s say, a mike that was placed at 20 feet versus 60 feet away is it makes the tempo sound different. It makes what you think may have been the right speed to do something - it may be wrong by the time you go 60 feet away. You can only really know that when there’s evidence. And a tape recorder actually gives you that evidence.”

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NYTimes on Today’s Expected IICA/INDUCE Vote [12:58 pm]

Panel Considers Copyright Bill (there are some graphics in the dead tree version not available online…yet) (Note: CNet reports that the markup has been delayed, although it’s still listed on today’s agenda)

“This is not just closing loopholes,” said Susan Crawford, a professor of Internet law at the Cardozo School of Law in New York. “They’re creating nooses.”

[...] Eric Garland, the chief executive of BigChampagne, predicts this battle will be a blip in the evolution of the music and film industries. “This is really not so different from what happened with radio over 70 years ago,” he said.

The current legislative and legal battles, Mr. Garland said, are merely the desperate attempts by the content industries to hold on to an old business model that affords them a remarkable amount of control over how and when their products are consumed. Once they accept the new paradigm, “these types of technologies are eventually going to make people in the creative chain a lot of money,” Mr. Garland said.

From the graphic in the paper: Shared Files By Type: for August (possibly from BigChampagne? The reference is not clear)

Audio 62.5%
Film and Video 22.8%
Images 4.1%
Software 2.2%
Other 8.4%

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Emotions running high [10:38 am]

(Sorry for the paucity of postings — big deadline) File-sharing debaters swap harsh words

Here at Digital Hollywood, the debate over peer-to-peer technology rages–literally.

On Wednesday, executives from P2P software companies, along with audience members from a panel at the Digital Hollywood conference, openly argued–Jerry Springer-style–about whether sharing and downloading copyrighted film and music files over distributed file networks is legal.

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