November 2, 2005

The Article TItle Says It All [5:17 pm]

Broadcast flag resurfaces in new bill drafts [pdf]

Lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee are circulating drafts of three bills that would give federal agencies the ability to write regulations preventing digital radio and TV broadcasts from being pirated.

Two of the legislative proposals would give authority to the Federal Communications Commission to approve so-called “broadcast flag” regulations that would prevent digital broadcasts from being uploaded on the Internet.

A third would prevent companies from manufacturing, importing or selling devices that convert copy-protected digital broadcast program into an analog program. Converting digital broadcasts into analog broadcasts is known as the “analog hole.” The Patent and Trademark Office would develop the regulation regarding the analog hole.

Slashdot discussion and more links: New Bill Threatens to Plug “Analog Hole”

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Dogmatism [5:14 pm]

Grandpa sued over grandson’s downloads [via TechDirt] [pdf]

A 67-year-old man who says he doesn’t even like watching movies has been sued by the film industry for copyright infringement after a grandson of his downloaded four movies on their home computer.

The Motion Picture Association of America filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against Fred Lawrence of Racine, seeking as much as $600,000 in damages for downloading four movies over the Internet file-sharing service iMesh.

[...] The Racine man said his grandson downloaded the movies out of curiosity, and deleted the computer files immediately. The family already owned three of the four titles on DVD, he said.

“I can see where they wouldn’t want this to happen, but when you get up around $4,000 … I don’t have that kind of money,” Lawrence said. “I never was and never will be a wealthy person.”

Kori Bernards, vice president of corporate communications for MPAA, said the movie industry wants people to understand the consequences of Internet piracy. She said the problem is the movies that were downloaded were then available to thousands of other users on the iMesh network

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Digital Promotion Blitz in Music [3:20 pm]

Pop stars tap new technology to market music [pdf]

Major artists are increasingly using the Internet, mobile phones and music appliances like Apple Computer’s iPod to generate hype and sales, combining technological advances with the traditional mainstays of live performance and interviews.

[...] “Everyone these days has a mobile phone, so for major artists, this is a perfect tool to stay in touch with the fans,” said Matthias Immel, who is involved in international marketing at T-Mobile, an arm of Germany’s Deutsche Telekom.

“There is a major trend in the music industry from physical to digital formats, and this of course will continue,” he said.

“What will happen is that mobile phones will be the dominant hardware used as digital music players. iPod is successful, but it is still a high-end device.”

The music business is only beginning to come to terms with Internet downloading, much of which has been done illegally, and piracy of physical CDs.

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OMG - Rootkits in DRM!?!? [2:43 pm]

(Still overwhelmed with other work — and ‘way behind — but I am at a down moment at a conference.)

Sony Raids Hacker Playbook

Sony BMG has configured some of its music CDs to install antipiracy software that uses techniques typically employed by hackers and virus writers to hide the program from users and to prevent them from ever uninstalling it.

The CDs in question make use of a technique employed by software programs known in security circles as “rootkits,” a set of tools attackers can use to maintain control over a computer system once they have broken in.

People may differ over what exactly a rootkit is, but the most basic ones are designed to ensure that regular PC monitoring commands and tools cannot see whatever has been planted on the victim’s machine. Because rootkits generally get their hooks into the most basic level of an operating system, it is sometimes easier (and safer) to reformat the affected computer’s hard drive than to surgically remove the intruder

[...] I understand Sony’s desire to protect its intellectual property, and piracy certainly is a problem. But installing software that opens people up to further security risks and potentially destabilizes the user’s computer can’t be the best way to address that problem.

Slashdot’s got other articles: More on Sony’s “DRM Rootkit”

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