December 31, 2004

OMG - Term Extension Proposals?! [7:02 pm]

Recall yesterday’s discussion of parking place markers in Boston. Today’s proposed solution: Parking-marker compromise sought [pdf]

City Council president Michael F. Flaherty and councilor James M. Kelly said they will ask the mayor to relax the space-marking rule so that residents can hold onto spaces they cleared for longer than 48 hours after a major snowstorm.

A week would be fairer, Flaherty said. Both councilors said the time limit should depend on the severity of the storm and how long it takes the snow to melt.

”I don’t think people should be entitled to the space until spring,” Flaherty said. ”But I don’t think 48 hours is enough. It should depend on the snowfall. If we get a light dusting, I don’t think you should be allowed to put anything out. But in heavier snowfall, a week makes sense. It’s fair and it’s reasonable.”

Kelly said his office received nearly 150 calls from residents throughout the city agreeing with the longtime commandment of Boston parking: You shovel it, you own it.

See also a discussion of the consequences of a lack of parking space liquidity: Bucking Boston’s parking ‘rule’ [pdf]; and here’s the AP wire report: No more reserving parking spots in Boston [pdf]

Later: From the NYTimes: Boston Mayor Wants Vehicles, Not Cans, in Parking Spaces

Following the 2005 Jan 22 snowfall, a reconsideration in the face of clear illiquidity in parking spaces: Mayor hints he might relent on parking-spot claims [pdf]

Even later: the fight gets national exposure: Kelly’s parking pitch hits national arena [pdf]

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December 30, 2004

Groping Toward A (c) Doctrine In China [3:02 pm]

CoCo’s posted recently about the recent upsurge in copyright enforcement in China. Here’s another one: Nike Kicks Up Fuss in China Again with Cartoon Ad [pdf]

But a Beijing court has ordered Nike Inc. to pay damages to a Chinese cartoonist who said his stick figure was copied in the footwear giant’s ads, local media reported on Thursday.

The court said the stickman character 28-year-old Zhu Zhiqiang created was nearly the same as one used in Nike advertisements, and ordered the company to pay 300,000 yuan ($36,000)

[...] Although the damages are just a fraction of the $242,000 Zhu had requested, Nike representative Zhang Zaiping said the company would likely appeal against the decision and argued that the figure was too generic to deserve a copyright.

“Zhu’s stick figure is within the public domain and lacks originality,” he was quoted as saying.

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Things You Find When You Don’t Want To Work [10:59 am]

I have lots to do, but instead I came across this article from The New Yorker Online that I missed back in September: an interview with Sasha Frere-Jones on the then-current pop music scene:Red-Hot Pop [pdf]

Why am I posting it? Aside from the overall insights into the pop business (making the whole thing worth a read), there’s this little gem:

So the more things stay the same, the more they change?

It’s a feedback loop: radio hits inspire other radio hits, which in turn inspire songs that exhibit a certain novelty because they don’t sound like the other radio hits—and they become hits for that reason. Hit songs create their own playing field. If people make choices, they’re making choices from a set of commercially available iterations, and then reacting against them. This is usually cast in fairly negative terms by journalists and critics—you know, the big, bad money people forcing the poor people to hear focus-grouped music that all sounds the same. I don’t see it quite that way, though there are certainly many aspects of the hit-making machine that we can all rue: usurious contracts, monopoly control of radio programming (which spurred the rise of file sharing, which I still see as a grassroots regrowth of radio). [emphasis added] And I think it’s probably a pain to be a pop star twenty-four hours a day. But commercial pressure is a great spur for artists. Record executives, even if they pray to Mammon, tend to have the same taste as I do: big hooks, lots of energy, and a general sense of vigor. Musicians are lazy, entitled people, and they need something to push them.

And, while we’re at it, a different look at the role of payola in radio and the music business: The Price of Payola [pdf]

You say that payola can increase diversity of content. This is the most controversial moment in the piece, because it seems, on its face, extremely unlikely. But you have an argument, which is that it levels the playing field for anyone with the money. It breaks strangleholds of habit and institutional power and permits participation by the nouveau riche. It’s the democracy of money rather than the inertia of power. What are some examples? Is this the Ross Perot phenomenon?

I think that the nineteen-fifties, the heyday of payola, is a great example. There, the stranglehold of the major labels on popular music really was broken. Black artists got far more exposure than ever before, and small labels put out records that everyone was listening to. I’m not convinced that would have happened without payola. Ross Perot is a good example, at least if we take “good” in a broad sense.

I also think that you have to expand your idea of what “levelling the playing field” means. The real inertia of power is not just on the producer side–the record labels, the publishing houses. It’s on the retailer’s or the radio station’s side, too. So, in the absence of things like slotting fees and paying for space at bookstores, the range of products you’d see prominently featured at stores would be much smaller. It’s a familiar lament that if you walk into a bookstore all you see are well-known authors, but it’s empirically not true. Look at the “New Arrivals” tables in most big bookstores, and the range of authors and subjects there will surprise you. Most of them will be published by major houses, but that’s a function of the fact that major houses are more likely to publish books that a large audience will want to read. Again, the defense of payola isn’t that it makes it more likely that good products will get a shot but that it makes it more likely that potentially popular products will get a shot.

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Adam Curry on Podcasting [8:55 am]

Podcasts bring DIY radio to the web

A podcast is basically an internet-based radio show which podcasters create, usually in the comfort of their own home.

They need only a microphone, a PC, and some editing software. They then upload their shows to the internet and others can download and listen to them, all for free.

Using technology based on XML computer code and RSS - Really Simple Syndication - listeners can subscribe to podcasts collected automatically in a bit of software, which Mr Curry has pioneered.

The latest MP3 files of shows can then be picked up by a music playing device automatically.

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How Internet Users Use Their Time [8:38 am]

Internet Use Said to Cut Into TV Viewing and Socializing

The average Internet user in the United States spends three hours a day online, with much of that time devoted to work and more than half of it to communications, according to a survey conducted by a group of political scientists.

The survey found that use of the Internet has displaced television watching and a range of other activities. Internet users watch television for one hour and 42 minutes a day, compared with the national average of two hours, said Norman H. Nie, director of the Stanford Institute for the Quantitative Study of Society, a research group that has been exploring the social consequences of the Internet.

The study is not yet available online, but will be here after the weekend

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Communities, Sharing and Public Goods [8:26 am]

Hobbyists Fill Out the Weather Map

Thousands of armchair sky watchers are pairing computers and consumer-grade meteorological equipment to share their observations of local conditions online. Posted on personal Web sites or community weather pages, the data is helping neighbors and beginning to have a larger impact on meteorology, by shaping a more detailed view of weather patterns than was previously available.

“We use those reports,” said Mike Nelson, KMGH’s chief meteorologist. “It’s been useful for television to get more reports from all kinds of locales, compared to just the airport. The old joke goes, no one lives out there.”

Even without building Web sites, backyard meteorologists can contribute to the professional weather world. They can send their data to a number of organizations that aggregate the information and post it online.

One such group that has achieved official recognition is the Citizen Weather Observer Program (www.cwop.net), an association of weather watchers who collect information, share it online, and forward it to outlets like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s giant pool of freely available weather research data, the Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System.

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We’re Your Cable Company, and We’re Here To Help [8:24 am]

Streamlined Cable TV in a Card

WHAT if I told you about a new product that could improve your TV picture, eliminate one of your remote controls, simplify your home-theater setup and save you money every month?

And then what if I told you that your local distributor wished, in its heart of hearts, that nobody even knew about it?

[...] The CableCard’s simple mission is to eliminate your cable box. The card stores all the account information that used to be monitored by the box, like descramblers for your movie channels - a bit of circuitry miniaturization that’s about 15 years overdue.

[...] Is it really possible that the government, cable companies and TV makers all sat down one day and cheerfully agreed to a new, advanced standard designed to save you money and simplify your life?

Don’t be silly.

As it turns out, hammering out the CableCard standard wasn’t especially quick or amicable.

In fact, it took years. [...]

[...] In fact, you may get the distinct impression that the cable companies are trying to talk you out of a CableCard. At a Web site for Time Warner Cable, a Frequently Asked Question about CableCard televisions (also called Digital Cable Ready sets) reads; “Q: Why should I get one? What are its advantages over a set-top box? A: A Digital Cable Ready television may not be for you. If you want to take advantage of Time Warner Cable’s interactive services, such as iControl or our Interactive Program Guide, then you want the expanded features of a digital set-top box.” (Um - those are advantages?)

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It Snows, You Shovel, You Mark [7:57 am]

After our big snow, our mayor starts his fight over the public commons: On parking markers, Southie, city dig in [pdf]

In a battle that shows no signs of waning soon, Mayor Thomas M. Menino dispatched crews to South Boston yesterday to clear away anything and everything that residents placed in the streets to stake claims to parking spaces they had cleared of snow.

But just as quickly as the jaws of city garbage trucks crushed the myriad shopping carts, traffic cones, and furniture used as markers, many residents replaced them with new parking-space holders.

“I’ve got more barrels than he’s got trucks,” said James M. Kelly, the neighborhood’s city councilor, who used a trash barrel yesterday to reserve his pristinely shoveled spot near N Street. City crews moved his barrel to the sidewalk yesterday, but a neighbor moved it back.

It’s an unwritten law almost as old as the automobile in densely populated Boston neighborhoods: You shovel it, you own it. But Menino decided last December that the vigilante justice sometimes meted out for violating the law of the streets — slashed tires, broken windows, or keyed car doors — was getting out of hand. So he began ordering city crews to pick up parking space markers 48 hours after a major snowfall.

Relevance? See DRM Is A Folding Chair — moreover, Cory has followed up his earlier posting on this Wired article with an even more pointed discussion: Cory responds to Wired Editor on DRM. And another

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Wired Looks At Pirate Nets [7:41 am]

Shadow Networks Spawn Bootlegs

It’s a commonly held belief that P2P is about sharing files. It’s an appealing, democratic notion: Consumers rip the movies and music they buy and post them online. But that’s not quite how it works.

In reality, the number of files on the Net ripped from store-bought CDs, DVDs, and videogames is statistically negligible. People don’t share what they buy; they share what is already being shared - the countless descendants of a single “Adam and Eve” file. Even this is probably stolen; pirates have infiltrated the entertainment industry and usually obtain and rip content long before the public ever has a chance to buy it.

The whole shebang - the topsites, the pyramid, and the P2P networks girding it all together - is not about trading or sharing at all. It’s a broadcast system. It takes a signal, the new U2 single, say, and broadcasts it around the world. The pirate pyramid is a perfect amplifier. The signal becomes more robust at every descending level, until it gets down to the P2P networks, by which time it can be received by anyone capable of typing “U2″ into a search engine.

This should be good news for law enforcement. Lop off the head (the topsites), and the body (the worldwide trade in unlicensed media) falls lifeless to the ground. Sounds easy, but what if you can’t find the head?

Later - Slashdot’s got two articles; Inside the Shadow Internet and Online Groups Behind Bulk of Bootleg Films (& Games)

Later: The Boston Globe picks up an LA Times article - Bootlegged films building online [pdf]

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December 29, 2004

Cory Doctorow in Popular Science [3:40 pm]

Go Ask Hollywood: Why can’t you back up your DVDs? Because entertainment execs don’t want you to

The holiday shopping guides were all atwitter over the new DVD formats, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD–competing systems for recording and playing back high-definition movies. Both feature hugely increased pixel counts, more bit-depth and a surfeit of storage. But here’s an important question that goes unasked in all the hype: What features won’t your next-generation DVD device have?

It won’t have a button for making a backup copy of the DVD you just bought, or for sending the movie to any portable video player. And if you put one of these long-awaited new discs in your PC, you won’t have the option to rip it to your hard drive the way you do when you insert a CD.

[...] We can’t rely on the vendors to act in our interest these days, dragging the entertainment execs kicking and screaming to the money tree. The irony is that the tech companies say that this is all done in your interest, that by pleasing the studios, they can give you a device for which Hollywood might make a few movies available. But it will be on their terms, not yours. With friends like that, who needs the Boston Strangler?

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Irony? Or Validation? [3:36 pm]

Pho is also pointing out that Entertainment Weekly’s Best of 2004 - Music list puts The Grey Album at #1.

Later: Grey Album Named Best of 200

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A Look At Online Distribution Economics [3:32 pm]

From IEEE Spectrum Online - Selling Music for a Song: Online music stores make at most a dime per track — where does the money go?

Who’s getting all the cash? Back in November 2003, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said the then 7-month-old service was falling shy of merely breaking even. He explained that out of the 99 cents that Apple charges for a song, about 65 cents goes to the music label that recorded it. Another 25 cents goes for “distribution costs”—mainly credit card charges, but also for the servers, bandwidth, and other expenses needed to operate a large online service. Marketing, promotion, and the amortized cost of developing the iTunes software itself eats up the rest. In the first quarter of 2004, the iTunes Music Store finally made a “small profit,” Jobs claimed recently.

Other online digital music retailers aren’t minting money either. This summer, RealNetworks Inc., in Seattle, quickly sold a million songs at a promotional rate of 49 cents. It’s clear, though, that even at its regular price of 79 cents per song, with about 65 cents going to the music label, the service cannot be profitable. Others, such as Musicmatch (recently purchased by Yahoo! Inc. to invigorate its own music service) and the now commercial Napster, fare no better.

[...] NOR ARE MUSICAL ARTISTS getting rich from online sales. Industry experts believe that those who have signed with a major record label end up with only 3 to 5 cents of the 65 cents that the iTunes Music Store and others pass on. That’s about the same as what they get per song when a CD is sold. Even as they complain about digital “piracy,” the record labels seem to be using the new technologies to propel their profit margins toward the stratosphere. After all, they’re getting about the same revenue, with much lower costs.

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Working A New Business Model [3:23 pm]

The Most Merchandised: $50 Million for 50 Cent

Recording artists who endorse products or license music to advertisers used to be labeled sellouts; now they are entrepreneurs. The year 2004 will be the first in four that the music business has managed to increase American album sales. But sales are up about 2 percent, a meager showing over last year’s weak figures. That places high pressure on artists to ferret out other sources of income. The stars-turned-marketers range from Britney Spears (television movie, fragrance) to Lil Jon (energy drink, adult film and soon an authorized Halloween costume). But few have out-hustled 50 Cent, the Queens-bred rap star who has been striking deals with the urgency recommended so starkly in the title of his debut CD, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’.” Sources close to the artist say 50 Cent’s forays into fashion, entertainment and even beverages in the last 12 months or so generated income in the $50 million range. Here’s a rundown of his ventures.

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What’s Cool? [3:19 pm]

A look at kid culture [via the Pho list]: Cool to pay for ringtones, not downloads say teens as 2004 draws to a close [pdf]

A funny thing happened this year in the digital music universe - teens were inspired to pry open their Hello Kitty wallets for 30-second ringtones while four-minute song downloads still couldn’t shake loose a single penny.

And the threat of the heavy hand of the law continued to unfaze the notoriously irreverent group. At least one teen finds it funny that so much cash is wasted on music pirates.

“I’m soooo not worried,” says Jami, a spunky 17-year-old Toronto student who, like many of her peers, consumes heaps of music round the clock.

[...] Jami and her friends pose the latest conundrum for music makers, who want to encourage music revenue from new sources like cellphone ringtones but also want to throttle teens who don’t pay for their song downloads.

[...] “The nature of the beast is such that whether it’s a court decision or whether it’s a legislative amendment, the matter is not just overnight going to stop being an issue,” said [Gilles] Daigle, an Ottawa lawyer who specializes in the copyright law. “The pace of technology is changing so quickly that it’s almost such that by the time you solve one problem, the underlying issues have completely changed because of advances in technology.”

He equates downloading music to the practice of photocopying textbooks in school libraries. Both should be illegal, yet the activities continue on a daily basis, he says.

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NPR Series on Online Music [10:14 am]

I’m barely keeping up, but I’ll try to accumulate the names and the URLs of the program here — you have to click-through to their page to spawn the Real streams. (Hmm - it seems that the tsunami has pushed this series off their schedule, for the moment anyway.)

  • Monday, Dec 27, 2004:

    Online Music Services Still Face Major Hurdles

    Apple’s digital music player, the iPod, was one of this holiday season’s hottest gifts, with many retailers selling out. But online music sales haven’t seen the success of the iPod and continue to be dwarfed by the amount of music traded for free unauthorized sites. NPR’s Neda Ulaby reports.

  • Tuesday, Dec 28, 2004:

    CD Baby Finds Success in Online Music Niche

    Though online sales make up only about 4 percent of overall music sales, one Oregon company has found success in the Internet market. CD Baby has found a middle ground between corporate record labels and the independence of the Internet. Marcie Sillman of member station KUOW reports.

  • Wednesday, Dec 29, 2004:

    Tracking Royalties for Online Music

    Songwriters and musicians get royalties when their music is played in public, on the radio or in clubs. With the advent of Internet radio and digital cable broadcasts, performers are also entitled to royalties. In the final story in our online music series, NPR’s Neda Ulaby reports on Sound Exchange, a company dedicated to tracking the music and sending royalties to musicians.

  • Thursday, Dec 30, 2004: Looks like there wasn’t anything today, probably pushed aside by the increasingly detailed news about the tsunami disaster.

  • Friday, Dec 31, 2004:

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Food For Thought [10:08 am]

Via CoCo - Fighting Keywords: Translating the First Amendment to Protect Software Speech by Robert Plotkin at SSRN

In the following sections I propose an alternative analytical approach in which the kind and degree of First Amendment protection afforded to source code in particular cases depends upon the intent of the speaker-programmer and the strength of the causal connection between the speaker-programmer’s speech and the alleged harm. This approach incorporates conventional principles of tort law, criminal law, and First Amendment jurisprudence, thereby preserving as much freedom of expression as possible while promoting the legitimate public interest in regulating harm, in addition to avoiding the need to answer the question of whether source code is speech or a device.

I focus on the issues of intent and proximate cause because both would be critical elements in any civil or criminal claim brought against a programmer for harm allegedly caused by the distribution of his or her source code, and because First Amendment jurisprudence takes intent and proximate cause into account when determining whether and to what extent the First Amendment shields a particular defendant-speaker from liability. [...]

The hypotheticals are very instructive, but I need to think a bit more on the notion of software as “powerful” speech meriting distinguishing treatments. Since the “power” of software arises from the degree to which actions are delegated to (and thus alientated through) technological instruments, there’s a question of responsibility and intent to resolve, I would say.

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Vonage Wins Appeal, Too [9:48 am]

Court Bars Regulation of Web Phone Service

A federal appeals court upheld a lower court ruling yesterday that prohibits the state of Minnesota from regulating Internet-based phone calling as if it were a traditional telecommunications service.

[...] In a lower court decision in this same case, the Federal District Court of Minnesota ruled in October 2003 that Vonage should be properly defined not as a telecommunications service but as an information service, a designation that would free it from some state regulations.

Last month the Federal Communications Commission issued its own rules on the subject, stating that Internet phone services should not be governed by the same state regulations as traditional telephone companies. The F.C.C. decision left open the possibility that the states could still tax Internet phone businesses.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission then asked the appeals court to consider whether the F.C.C. ruling pre-empted the lower court’s decision. But the appeals court wrote in its two-page order issued yesterday that the F.C.C. rules actually supported the district court’s injunction against the commission.

The order gives a slightly different picture, IMHO

The FCC concluded that the interstate and interstate components of Vonage’s service are inseverable, such that it is not possible for MPUC to regulate the intrastate component of the service without impermissibly regulating the interstate component. See id. ¶ 31. We sought supplemental briefing on the impact, if any, of the FCC Order on our disposition of this case. Because we conclude that the FCC Order is binding on this Court and may not be challenged in this litigation, we now affirm the judgment of the district court on the basis of the FCC Order.

The Administrative Orders Review Act (“Hobbs Act”) prescribes the sole conditions under which the courts of appeals have jurisdiction to review the merits of FCC orders. See 28 U.S. C. § 2342(1); 47 U.S.C. § 402(a); see also FCC v. ITT World Communications, 466 U.S. 463, 468-69 (1984). An aggrieved party may invoke Hobbs Act jurisdiction by filing a petition for review of the FCC’s final order in an appropriate court of appeals naming the United States as a party. See 28 U.S.C. § 2342; id. § 2344. No collateral attacks on the FCC Order are permitted. Id. The case before us is not a Hobbs Act petition for review. Therefore, this is not the appropriate forum for MPUC to dispute their merits of the FCC’s filing.

Later: TechDirt notes that California has filed an appeal to the FCC ruling, citing this blog entry. Slashdot discussion: Federal Appeals Court Sides With VoIP Providers

Even later - related: Another sort of argument: Wireless Firms Fight Taxation In Maryland [pdf]

Cingular, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon Wireless are challenging the right of Montgomery County and the City of Baltimore to impose local taxes on wireless telephone lines.

In letters filed yesterday with the departments of finance in both jurisdictions, the four companies requested a refund of more than $12 million in taxes. The taxes are imposed on companies, which pass them on to consumers.

[...] The refund request is the first step before the companies can file a court challenge. If the departments of finance deny the requests, the companies have 30 days to bring the matter to tax court. If the departments don’t respond, the companies can go to court after six months, Silverberg said.

The companies cited two reasons for their challenge. First, the county and city can impose sales taxes only on utilities, and cellular phones are not defined as utilities, Silverberg said, adding that only the state can impose taxes on anything else.

Also, the county and city can’t tax activities that occur outside its boundaries, Silverberg said, noting that cell phones can be used outside the county.

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First of Several From Jan 2005 Wired [8:51 am]

The January Wired magazine (got it for free with my Salon subscription) has several pertinent articles - here’s the first: The BitTorrent Effect

BitTorrent lets users quickly upload and download enormous amounts of data, files that are hundreds or thousands of times bigger than a single MP3. Analysts at CacheLogic, an Internet-traffic analysis firm in Cambridge, England, report that BitTorrent traffic accounts for more than one-third of all data sent across the Internet. Cohen showed his code to the world at a hacker conference in 2002, as a free, open source project aimed at geeks who need a cheap way to swap Linux software online. But the real audience turns out to be TV and movie fanatics. It takes hours to download a ripped episode of Alias or Monk off Kazaa, but BitTorrent can do it in minutes. As a result, more than 20 million people have downloaded the BitTorrent application. If any one of them misses their favorite TV show, no worries. Surely someone has posted it as a “torrent.” As for movies, if you can find it at Blockbuster, you can probably find it online somewhere - and use BitTorrent to suck it down.

With so much illegal traffic, it’s no surprise that a clampdown has started: In November, the Motion Picture Association of America began suing downloaders of movies, in order to, as the MPAA’s antipiracy chief John Malcolm put it, “avoid the fate of the music industry.”

[...] You could think of BitTorrent as Napster redux - another rumble in the endless copyright wars. But BitTorrent is something deeper and more subtle. It’s a technology that is changing the landscape of broadcast media.

“All hell’s about to break loose,” says Brad Burnham, a venture capitalist with Union Square Ventures in Manhattan, which studies the impact of new technology on traditional media. BitTorrent does not require the wires or airwaves that the cable and network giants have spent billions constructing and buying. And it pounds the final nail into the coffin of must-see, appointment television. BitTorrent transforms the Internet into the world’s largest TiVo.

See Cory Doctorow’s thoughts on the article, and the overall spin it puts on DRM. Then, his first and second followup postings.

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Convergence Train Leaving Station [8:46 am]

Playing Net movies on your TV

As 2004 comes to a close, the world is at once very different and much the same for video enthusiasts wanting to take movies from the Internet, store them on their PCs and shoot them over to giant TV screens. What’s new is the growing list of devices coming out that can connect the two worlds, either wirelessly or with cables. But one thing that hasn’t changed, Cai said, is the dearth of high-quality legally available content that would justify the investment for most people.

“The idea of the digital-media adapter has been around for years through devices like Sony’s RoomLink, but they never really took off,” Cai explained. “One problem has been a lack of consumer awareness. But the bigger problem is the lack of content–not self-created content like home movies, but premium content, meaning first-run Hollywood movies.”

Efforts to make more legal content available are underway, but it will be awhile before they catch up with the hardware.

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December 28, 2004

Andrew Orlowski with Terry Fisher on Promises to Keep [11:30 am]

Digital music: flat fee futures

When Steve Gorden, a flat fee proponent and former Sony attorney, made his case on NPR recently the RIAA stepped up to the plate, asking “Do you want Government to set the price for music - for Beethoven?” This absurd claim was left unchallenged by the producers, but it was typical of objections left during Fisher’s stint as a guest on Lawrence Lessig’s weblog. Not only did this bring out the usual array of bedroom hopefuls, touting their own software, but the objection to state involvement in the market for cultural goods. This gets short shrift from Fisher.

“These objections have a lot of rhetorical power, but they’re wrong headed. I point out in the book that the entire music industry is already shot through with government involvement: copyright confers power on producers insulating them from market forces, the entire intellectual property regime requires a major involvement of the government; and the past shows that the industry is full of devices such as compulsory licenses which required government involvement. The idea that an ACS for digital music represents a new involvement by government is entirely wrong”.

That said, Fisher notes, some objections seem quite legitimate and a successful ACS must address them.

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