November 8, 2004

U2 Album P2P Sightings Confirmed [7:29 pm]

Pirated U2 Album Hits Net, Release Date in Limbo [pdf]

Pirated versions of U2’s new album “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” have emerged on Internet file-sharing networks two weeks before it goes on sale, throwing into question its official release date.

Recall their earlier threat, cited in U2 and Theft (And Maybe P2P), quoting a Wired News article:

Irish rockers U2 will release their recently stolen album on Apple’s iTunes music store if it shows up online, according to a report in the London Daily Telegraph.

An advance copy of U2’s brand new album, which is not due in stores until November, was stolen last week at a photo shoot in the south of France.

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Anti-WIPO Talking Points [8:10 am]

From Cory Doctorow in the face of Canadian ratification of the 1996 treaties: Save Canada’s Internet from WIPO - UPDATED

Copyright is a system for regulating technology — it regulates technologies used to make and distribute copies. We have lots of technology regulation in the world: there are rules that govern the operation of automobiles and rules that govern the marketing of electrical appliances. This isn’t per se wrong.

But when the 20 horsepower locomotive was invented, the blacksmiths weren’t able to successfully lobby to have 80 horseshoes welded to each engine, despite the rule that said that every “horse” used for transport needed four shoes. When you invent a railroad, you need railroad-rules for it, not horse-and-buggy rules. The facts that the railroad doesn’t need shoes, or oats, or curry-combs don’t reflect bugs in railroading: they are the feautres of railroading.

The Internet has one overarching feature that makes it superior to the technologies that preceded it: it can copy arbitrary blobs of data from one place to another at virtually no cost, in virutally no time, with virtually no control. This is not a bug. This is what the Internet is supposed to do.

It was really foresighted in 1996 for WIPO to sit down to update copyright law to suit the Internet. They recognised that the Internet was a fundamentally different thing from the technologies that came before it, and of course, a new technology needs new rules and regulation.

But WIPO got it horribly wrong.

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Wired News on BitTorrent [7:56 am]

Citing the recent CacheLogic statistics that assert that it constitutes a large fraction of net bandwidth: File-Sharing Thrives Under Radar

A file-sharing program called BitTorrent has become a behemoth, devouring more than a third of the internet’s bandwidth, and Hollywood’s copyright cops are taking notice.

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Threading the Needle [7:53 am]

Finding the combination of technologies and delivery techniques that keep out of copyright’s way — and, by the way, points out the implicit weakness of the subscription model for music e-tailing: Music sharing that’s free and legal

A new twist on file sharing is holding out the promise of allowing millions of people to share their song collections online, at no cost–and without legal risk.

The trick involves marrying peer-to-peer technology with Internet radio. Using that combination, some companies are creating powerful tools that automatically broadcast people’s private playlists onto the Web. The output is then pulled together into a searchable database that lets listeners find the music they want, when they want it.

Safeguards are in place to prevent unauthorized downloads, ensuring copyrights are honored. But if the technology behind the networks keeps improving and the number of people using them keeps growing, the services could one day turn into something akin to free, on-demand request radio.

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Pop-Up Ads Move Off The ‘Net [7:47 am]

And are tied to music distribution over cable: Music Channels Move Into Video and Messages Meant for You

Music Choice’s biggest innovation, though, may be in the way it combines advertising with music videos on the video-on-demand cable offering. It will be the first company to display commercials that are selected for each user based on behavior. Using a special computer installed in each cable “head end” - the control center for each neighborhood - the system will track each user’s music video choices to deduce demographic information. Different sorts of people, even neighbors, will be shown different commercials. “If we see that you listen to soft rock, and we know what else you picked, we know you are an over-35 female,” said David Del Beccaro, the chief executive of Music Choice.

This sort of targeting is common on the Internet, but it has not been used in cable television until now, said Josh Bernoff, an analyst at Forrester Research who follows both the cable and music industries. “Nobody else is even close to doing these things, and this is where the industry needs to go,” he said. “Until now, the advertising model for video-on-demand has been totally random and largely nonexistent.”

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Project Gutenberg, GWTW and (c) Jurisdiction [7:43 am]

One Internet, Many Copyright Laws

Earlier this year, the Australian affiliate of Project Gutenberg posted the 1936 novel “Gone With the Wind” on its Web site for downloading at no charge. Last week, after an e-mail message was sent to the site by the law firm representing the estate of the book’s author, Margaret Mitchell, the hyperlink to the text turned into a “Page Not Found” dead end.

At issue is the date when “Gone With the Wind” enters the public domain. In the United States, under an extension of copyright law, “Gone With the Wind” will not enter the public domain until 2031, 95 years after its original publication.

But in Australia, as in a handful of other places, the book was free of copyright restrictions in 1999, 50 years after Mitchell’s death.

The case is one more example of the Internet’s inherent lack of respect for national borders or, from another view, the world’s lack of reckoning for the international nature of the Internet, and it is also an example of the already complicated range of copyright laws.

p2pnet’s post: The Borderless Internet A Problem For International Copyright Issues; see also Wendy’s Copyfight post: Mitchell v. Project Gutenberg .au: Lawyer Surprised by Effect of C&D

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Renee Montagne is a Brave Woman [7:29 am]

She was willing to be the “guinea pig” for this morning’s Morning Edition piece on the use of pitch correction software in music recording. It’s one thing to sing badly; it’s something else to be willing to be broadcast doing so (inter)nationally: Software Helps Singers Find Perfect Pitch

With several good links, including one to TechnoPop: The Secret History of Technology and Pop Music

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