March 4, 2005

Sharman Assets Frozen In Australia [10:20 pm]

Kazaa Assets Frozen in Australia

The maneuvering comes just days after Altnet said it would set up a fund designed to give independent record labels a share of Kazaa’s advertising revenue. Lee Jaffe, Altnet’s president, told Wired News the asset freeze is nothing more than an attempt by the major record labels to choke off a revenue stream destined for the cartel’s smaller rivals.

[...] However, Michael Speck, the managing director of Australia’s Music Industry Piracy Investigations, a division of the Australian Recording Industry Association, says the action has more to do with preserving the assets of the respondents in the Kazaa case.

“What freaked us out is finding out they’d sold their homes,” Speck said. Sharman CEO Nikki Hemming recently sold her house to Sharman’s accountant for a profit, only 12 months after she bought it, Speck added.

If the music industry’s suit is successful, the assets may be awarded as damages to the music industry.

Pretty high profile for a guy who’s resigned his post.

Later: Slashdot - Kazaa’s Australian Assets Frozen

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Consent Decree in Vonage VoIP Port Blocking [5:13 pm]

In the Matter of Madison River Communications, LLC and affiliated companies (File No. EB-05-IH-0110, DA 05-543) (HTML/PDF from the FCC.gov site)

To avoid the expenditure of additional resources that would be required to further litigate the issues raised in the Investigation, and in consideration for the termination of the Investigation in accordance with the terms of this Consent Decree, Madison River agrees to make a voluntary payment to the United States Treasury, without further protest or recourse to a trial de novo, in the amount of fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000.00) within ten (10) business days after the Effective Date of the Adopting Order. The payment may be made by check or similar instrument, payable to the order of the Federal Communications Commission. [...]

[...] In order to resolve and terminate the Investigation, the Bureau requires, and Madison River agrees, that Madison River shall not block ports used for VoIP applications or otherwise prevent customers from using VoIP applications.

Slashdot: FCC Fines Company for Blocking Access to VoIP

Susan Crawford raises some objections: It’s Not Okay To Tell ISPs What To Do With Ports - Madison River’s (and affiliated companies’) WWW site, a rural communications provider with certain economic incentives to block VoIP. See also US slaps fine on company blocking VoIP

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Suits Still Being Settled [5:04 pm]

Still no actual court cases: Music industry ‘nails UK pirates’

The UK music industry has claimed victory in its first battle with illegal file-sharers after 23 people paid £50,000 to settle out of court.

The UK internet users, ranging from a student to a local councillor, have admitted putting up to 9,000 songs each on the web for other fans to download.

“These settlements show we can and we will enforce the law,” the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) said.

The BPI has launched a second wave of cases, pursuing 31 more file-sharers.

Slashdot: UK Record Industry Starts Suing Filesharers

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The EU Means To Pass S/W Patents [3:31 pm]

Come hell or high water, apparently. EU Sees Approval of Contested Software Patent Bill [pdf]

European Union (news - web sites) President Luxembourg expects the bloc’s ministers to approve a controversial draft law on patenting computer-based inventions on Monday, a Luxembourg official said.

The decision would mark a victory for advocates of patenting some computer software, notably big firms such as Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT - news) and Nokia (news - web sites) (NOK1V.HE), against many small companies, which fear the planned law would push them out of the market.

The ministers’ approval of the draft law would send it to a second reading — the phase in which it is more difficult for the skeptical EU Parliament to push through amendments.

“The directive on computer-assisted inventions … is an A-point at Monday’s meeting,” the official said referring to an issue which in the EU jargon is to be approved without a debate.

[...] Poland, the EU’s biggest newcomer, has been postponing the approval on the proposed rules for more than two months, saying it needed more time to analyze the impact of the legislation on small and medium-size software companies.

But Polish diplomats now say they will remain silent at Monday’s meeting of competitiveness minister unless other countries raise objections.

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