November 4, 2004

DMCRA Hearing Transcript Available [5:29 pm]

Serial No. 108-109 — The Digital Media Consumers’ Rights Act of 2003, May 12, 2004 (big pdf) - go here to find a text/html version [via Infothought]. Lots of useful nuggets - for example, Larry Lessig’s testimony starts on page number 16 (20th in the pdf) — and his response to the chair’s followup questions on page number 129 (133rd in the pdf).

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A Reason “Artists” Resist A New Business Model? [5:09 pm]

Lip-Synching Has Always Been the Standard [pdf] — and a set of questions about what *is* a song; the (technologically enhanced) recording or the performance?

Producer Jimmy Jam, who’s worked with artists ranging from Janet Jackson (news) to Usher, said he too was surprised over the Simpson incident — surprised that it was such a big deal.

“I thought everybody knew that everybody lip-synched,” he said. “I just thought when you went and saw Britney Spears, you knew that she lip-synched the whole concert. … They’re seeing a show, and to them, that’s what a show is.”

Not for everyone. R&B veteran Patti LaBelle, known for her booming voice and creative improvisations, lamented that “the whole world is so phony today so people are accepting it. People are loving phonies.”

[...] While Taylor Hanson of the group Hanson acknowledges that not all lip-synched performances are evil, he complains that record companies today are manufacturing artists who can’t perform live even if they wanted to.

“There’s so many great bands who are performing, and singing their guts out every night, and the prevalence of artists being represented … and saying, ‘Hey everyone does this, everyone sings to track,’ I just think it’s lowering the standard,” he fumed. “It’s totally insulting to so much great music out there.”

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It’s Official (updated) [4:41 pm]

Studios to Begin Suing Illegal Film File Swappers [pdf] [via BoingBoing] [see yesterday's A Hint From Xeni (updated! again!)]

“Illegal movie trafficking represents the greatest threat to the economic basis of movie-making in its 110-year history,” said MPAA President and CEO Dan Glickman, who was joined during the announcement by studio executives, union leaders, filmmakers and others. “People who have been stealing our movies believe they are anonymous on the Internet, and wouldn’t be held responsible for their actions. They are wrong. We know who they are, and we will go after them, as these suits will prove.”

[...] Lawsuits will be filed against individual file-swappers across the country beginning Nov. 16 by MPAA member companies. The civil suits seek damages and injunctive relief. Under the Copyright Act, statutory damages can be as much as $30,000 for each separate motion picture illegally copied or distributed by an individual over the Internet, and as much as $150,000 per motion picture if such infringement is proven to be willful.

Later: This Slashdot article probably helps to explain what made the MPAA start up this process: BitTorrent Accounts for 35% of Traffic, based on data reported in this presentation from CacheLogic, describing a tool that they sell that does packet sniffing to establish the protocol used, rather than relying on port traffic, to estimate bandwidth consumption. Their results are interesting.; also, Katie Dean’s article: Movie Lawsuits on the Way; CNet’s Hollywood lawsuits to strike Net pirates

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OT: More Photography “Crimes” [11:45 am]

As a companion to Once Tripods Are Illegal … and OT: More Weirdness For Photographers, see Ian Spiers’ Humiliated, Angry, Ashamed, Brown.

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Some Names To Add To My Blogroll [8:46 am]

IP Blog Roundup [via I/P Updates]

For lawyers in many fields, blogs are becoming the new “pocket part.” With their immediacy and focus, they provide up-to-the-minute news and analysis of judicial, legislative and regulatory developments. More than in any other area of law, this is the case for intellectual property. Dozens of blogs now track developments in patent, trademark and copyright law. Written by practicing lawyers, full-time academics and even non-lawyers, they discuss events virtually as they happen, often adding their unique perspective and analysis.

Here is a survey of selected IP blogs. The listing is alphabetical, not by ranking.

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OT: Garry Wills on This Election [8:22 am]

The Day the Enlightenment Went Out

Which raises the question: Can a people that believes more fervently in the Virgin Birth than in evolution still be called an Enlightened nation?

America, the first real democracy in history, was a product of Enlightenment values - critical intelligence, tolerance, respect for evidence, a regard for the secular sciences. Though the founders differed on many things, they shared these values of what was then modernity. They addressed “a candid world,” as they wrote in the Declaration of Independence, out of “a decent respect for the opinions of mankind.” Respect for evidence seems not to pertain any more, when a poll taken just before the elections showed that 75 percent of Mr. Bush’s supporters believe Iraq either worked closely with Al Qaeda or was directly involved in the attacks of 9/11.

The secular states of modern Europe do not understand the fundamentalism of the American electorate. It is not what they had experienced from this country in the past. In fact, we now resemble those nations less than we do our putative enemies.

And there are going to be a lot of consequences. For example, it may be that California’s stem cell initiative (along with Harvard’s effort) will stem the migration of research dollars offshore, but there is such a thing as “research climate” and its effect on innovation cannot be ignored.

Update: A less bleak way of looking at the results.

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A New UK Fad [8:11 am]

iPod-crazed youths invade London station

It’s 6:45 pm on a drizzly Wednesday evening at Waterloo Station. The main concourse is crowded more than usual due to train delays. Anxious faces stare at blue screens hoping for their cue to sprint to a platform in the hope of a seat. The middle aged lady with handbag in one hand and mobile phone in the other looks down for a second and stares in bemusement at two young ladies who begin dancing to the sound of their personal stereos. She shakes herself to check her senses are not playing tricks as a Conga line streams past behind her with 20 or 30 people listening to their own personal stereos. Other commuters look on dumbfounded.

Welcome to the world of Mobile Clubbing. Simply, mobile clubbing is turning up at a pre-arranged public place on mass where you begin to dance to the sound of your own personal stereo. It is unclear where the concept of Mobile Clubbing originates but one thing is clear and that in the world of spontaneous mass public gatherings, it has replaced Flash Mobbing. Throughout the UK, events are organised on the Internet, informally among groups of friends and the word passes via chat rooms and news forums.

See http://www.mobile-clubbing.com

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