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August 26, 2005

Band Life [11:54 am]

Axl Rose Sued by Former Bandmates - Yahoo! News [pdf]

Two former members of the rock band Guns N’ Roses have sued frontman Axl Rose for allegedly naming himself sole administrator of the group’s copyrights.

The suit was filed Aug. 17 in federal court by Slash and Duff, otherwise known as Saul Hudson and Michael McKagan. It accuses Rose of profiting from their revenue shares to the tune of about $500,000 a year.

The suit claims Rose directed the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers to send all publishing royalties to his publishing company, bypassing the band’s other partners.

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Looking for the Deep Pockets [11:19 am]

Adult-site publisher takes action against Google [via Slashdot]

Adult magazine publisher Perfect 10 is seeking a preliminary injunction against Google to stop the search giant from allegedly displaying copyright images of its models.

[...] Perfect 10 first became aware of Google serving up text links to other Web sites that allegedly carried copyright images of Perfect 10 models back in 2001, Zada said in an interview on Thursday. The company then sent notices to Google, under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, asking the search giant to discontinue linking to the other sites.

Last year, Zada said, he learned Google was allegedly displaying photos of its copyright work on its Web site through its images feature that links to other Web sites. Perfect 10’s request for an injunction is part of a copyright infringement lawsuit that it filed in November against Google.

In case you missed the point, here’s a Slashdot comment that raises (albeit a little imperfectly) the nasty question that Google has been trying to work around for quite a while now:

Re:robots.txt (Score:4, Insightful)

by bedroll (806612) on Friday August 26, @09:20AM (#13406769)

(Last Journal: Wednesday August 24, @11:08PM)


Strangely enough, these people are suing google for the actions of others. They are suing google because google’s webcrawler doesn’t automatically block sites containing their copyrighted works. They’re basically saying it’s Google’s job to police the entire web to enforce their copyrights.

Replace Google with Napster and Perfect 10 with the RIAA. Is this really such an open and shut case in favor of Google?

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Another Blow To Logkeeping [10:42 am]

Studios mine P2P logs to sue swappers

Hollywood studios filed a new round of lawsuits against file swappers on Thursday, for the first time using peer-to-peer companies’ own data to track down individuals accused of trading movies online.

The Motion Picture Association of America said it filed 286 lawsuits against people around the United States based on information acquired from file-trading sites shut down earlier in the year. Most of those sites were hubs connecting people using the BitTorrent technology, a peer-to-peer application designed for speeding downloads of large files

Slashdot: New Round of P2P Lawsuits from Hollywood

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Convergence [9:39 am]

Wonder if anything from Red v. Blue will get in? Deal for Film Version of Microsoft Game

Microsoft has signed a deal with two film studios to make a movie based on its popular space-based video game series Halo, Universal Pictures said on Wednesday.

Universal and 20th Century Fox agreed to pay Microsoft $5 million plus a percentage of ticket sales. The total price being paid is capped at 10 percent of domestic box-office receipts.

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Audiobook Lending Library Technology [9:29 am]

And in illustration of the quandry facing those doing product development in digital media these days: Libraries Offering Audiobook Downloads [pdf]

A new way to borrow audiobooks from the library involves no CDs, no car trips, no fines and no risk of being shushed. Rather, public libraries from New York City to Alameda, Calif., are letting patrons download Tom Clancy techno-thrillers, Arabic tutorials and other titles to which they can listen on their computers or portable music players - all without leaving home.

[...] There’s still one big hitch, though: The leading library services offer Windows-friendly audiobook files that can’t be played on Apple Computer Inc.’s massively popular iPod player.

Vendors such as OverDrive Inc. and OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc.’s NetLibrary have licensing deals with publishers and provide digital books using Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Media Audio format, which includes copyright protections designed to help audiobooks stand apart from the often lawless world of song swapping.

A patron with a valid library card visits a library Web site to borrow a title for, say, three weeks. When the audiobook is due, the patron must renew it or find it automatically “returned” in a virtual sense: The file still sits on the patron’s computer, but encryption makes it unplayable beyond the borrowing period.

“The patron doesn’t have to do anything after the lending period,” said Steve Potash, chief executive of OverDrive. “The file expires. It checks itself back into the collection. There’s no parts to lose. It’s never damaged. It can never be late.”

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OT: Kafka’s America [9:24 am]

Library Challenges FBI Request [pdf]

A member of the American Library Association has sued the Justice Department to challenge an FBI demand for records, but the USA Patriot Act prohibits the plaintiff from publicly disclosing its identity or other details of the dispute, according to court documents released yesterday.

The lawsuit comes as Congress prepares to enter final talks over renewal of the Patriot Act, a counterterrorism law that was overwhelmingly approved after Sept. 11, 2001. But parts of the law, including provisions that could have an impact on libraries, have since come under fire.

Justice Department and FBI officials have repeatedly declined to identify how many times Patriot Act-related powers have been used to seek or obtain information from libraries, but they have strongly urged Congress not to limit their ability to do so.

The suit, originally filed under seal in Connecticut on Aug. 9, focuses on the FBI’s use of a document called a “national security letter” (NSL), which allows investigators to demand records without the approval of a judge and to prohibit companies or institutions from disclosing the request. Restrictions on the FBI’s use of NSLs were loosened under the Patriot Act.

The identity of the institution, the records being sought and numerous other details are edited out of the public version of the complaint released by the American Civil Liberties Union, which is a party to the lawsuit.

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Evolving Business Models [8:50 am]

A reflection of Bronfman’s speech? Or just an accident of timing?: Music Releases Online, on DVDs Could Mark CDs’ Slow Death [pdf]

When Ohio-based rock band the Sun releases its first full-length album next month, it will be available on DVD, online and on vinyl record. But not on the medium that’s still the biggest seller in the music industry today: the compact disc.

“It’s a tip of the hat to the past and the tip of the hat to the future,” said Perry Watts-Russell, a senior vice president at Warner Bros. Records Inc., which signed the band.

[...] The digitization of music has created a shift in how tunes are shared and consumed. Because it’s faster to copy and transmit digital music, more people are copying and sharing tracks — prompting copyright concerns from the entertainment industry. On the other hand, the cheapness of Internet distribution allows many no-names to release music that otherwise might never be seen or heard outside a garage.

The Sun’s 14-song album, “Blame It on the Youth,” will be released Sept. 27 and will come with one disc option — a DVD of music videos that can be manipulated through a computer to download the songs onto an MP3 player or burn them onto a CD. Actually, there is a second disc, but it’s made of vinyl — a nod to a burgeoning subculture that is reviving the old long-play format.

Having a new generation of listeners who may be building libraries of songs by piggy-backing off their friends’ collections doesn’t bother Sam Brown, drummer and songwriter for the Sun, which had a $50,000 budget to produce the videos for the album. “As more people find out about our band, more people will turn out when we play,” he said. And for smaller acts like his, live performance is where the money is.

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