June 19, 2006

More on Data Mining, Terrorism and Privacy [4:20 pm]

Data Mining Still Needs a Clue to Be Effective [pdf]

In the two decades or so since software scientists began “mining” computerized databases for information they were never designed to yield, the sophistication of their techniques has increased dramatically.

And although marketing companies today — especially with the advent of the Internet — can routinely predict who you will vote for, where you will eat dinner and, most of all, what products you will buy, experts say it is far less clear whether security agencies can sift mounds of data to track down terrorist networks — unless they start with a useful lead.

[...] “Even if one out of 10 searches is a hit, the technique is useful,” one expert said. “But one out of 1,000 or one in 1 million?” In these cases, experts suggest, maybe the technician would be more cost-effective by searching something besides phone logs.

So, is that an excuse to collect more data, or to change tactics and focus a bit more on pure investigation? Which strategy do you expect we’ll see coming down the road?

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Dutch Court Overturns Decision Favoring P2P Site [9:19 am]

Dutch site linking to MP3 files loses court case - pdf

A Dutch music website which links to MP3 files had to stop promoting the infringement of artist rights and copyrights, the Dutch court of appeal said in a ruling that overturned an earlier one in favor of the site.

The website www.zoekmp3.nl, operated by Techno Design, had been taken down on Monday after the ruling on Friday which said that failure to comply with the injunction would lead to fines of 10,000 euros ($12,590) per day, or 1,000 euros per infringing file.

[...] A warning to users on zoekmp3.nl not to infringe copyright did not excuse Techno Design from liability. “Such a warning ignores the reality that the lion’s share of visitors are looking for unauthorized MP3 files,” the court said.

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Combatting “Intel Inside” [8:45 am]

A Nod From Knopfler: I Want My A.M.D.

It’s not unusual for guitar heroes to credit their guitar makers in album liner notes, or drummers to thank Zildjian for their cymbals. In the notes for “All the Roadrunning,” an album of duets by Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris, Mr. Knopfler offers thanks for a different kind of instrument: a computer chip, in particular the Opteron microprocessor made by Advanced Micro Devices.

[...] Many musicians use the recording software Pro Tools, for Macintosh or a modestly configured PC. But Mr. Ainlay and Mr. Knopfler prefer a program called Nuendo, which they say can capture higher-quality audio but requires a more powerful chip.

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This is Progress on Net Neutrality?! [8:37 am]

Internet plan doesn’t protect price equality - pdf

Stevens’s compromise would also create an FCC complaint process to be used if consumers believe that their access rights have been violated. The FCC would be authorized to adjudicate complaints with penalties, according to the draft.

However, the FCC would be barred from issuing any regulations under the new law that would add to the obligations on Internet service providers.

A Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transporation markup hearing on the bill is scheduled for Thursday, with a webcast.

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Charlie Nesson’s Vision [7:07 am]

An example of Nesson’s notion of how to resolve the Lessig Dilemma: Now she has their attention - pdf

To many in the industry, YouTube, launched in February 2005, and other sites like it are potential enemies, the TV version of Napster, whose early reputation as a song-piracy enabler made it a pariah to record companies. After all, in addition to allowing people like Brodack to distribute their own work, these sharing sites also allow the free exchange of previously broadcast, copyrighted material — exactly the kind of stuff that studio executives hope to make big syndication and DVD dollars from down the road.

That’s why in February, NBC, Daly’s own employer, asked YouTube to take down the “Saturday Night Live” clip “Lazy Sunday” — even though the site was largely responsible for turning the rap spoof into an Internet sensation. (NBC now sells “Lazy Sunday” for $1.99 on the Apple’s iTunes site, though you can still watch it free plenty of other places online). C-SPAN, of all networks, last month demanded that YouTube remove videos of Stephen Colbert’s infamous address at the White House Correspondents Dinner.

[...] But [Carson] Daly isn’t alone in seeing YouTube as fertile frontier rather than pirates’ cove. Major TV studios have also started trolling YouTube and similar destinations for the next generation of acting and directing talent. In the process, the Web is offering the kind of instant connection to Hollywood that countless denizens of public-access talk shows have craved and seldom received.

For example, Twentieth Century Fox Television, producer of “The Simpsons” and “24,” has junior executives scouring the video-sharing sites. “We also have a casting executive assigned to discovering new talent, and these sites can be particularly fertile ground,” Jane Francis, senior vice president of Fox’s boutique programming arm Fox 21, said in a statement. “While these efforts have not yet resulted in a major piece of casting or story idea or project, we believe it is only a matter of time.”

In fact, the networks may need YouTube more than YouTube needs them.

[...] It doesn’t mean prime time will soon be filled with faux music videos by a teenager who borrowed his dad’s digital camera. As Daly put it, “I don’t think you’ll see a 30-minute sitcom made from someone’s bedroom.”

But at the very least, Hollywood’s gate-keeping practices might change: Schwabs’ Drugstore may have been reinvented, electronically.

“I just love it that no middleman is involved,” said Daly, who has yet to meet Brodack face to face but hopes to work with her on “webisodes” — Web-based video content — and other material. “There’s no agent, nothing. The pipeline is direct. I think it’s going to exponentially change how the business is run.”

See also, ‘Star Trek’ Fans, Deprived of a Show, Recreate the Franchise on Digital Video

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Boston Globe Supporting Digital Restrictions Management [6:40 am]

And rewriting history.  To read this editorial, you’d think that someone *forced* record companies to migrate from analog vinyl to digital CDs.  And the companies were warned that they should think about what would happen when computers were equipped with CD players.  But, hey, why rain on the parade, when the companies knew that they were going to get huge sales as people converted their collections to CD?  A dumb, and ill informed, editorial from the Boston Globe:  Let iTunes be iTunes - pdf

The consumer ombudsman in Norway thinks Apple is in violation of that nation’s laws. After all, shouldn’t consumers, once they purchase a song, do with it as they like?

The answer was “yes” when music was sold only on records and tapes, and for the first few years of the compact-disc era. Importing songs to portable devices usually meant making a single cassette tape.

All that changed when the compact disc was mated to the personal computer. With the help of Napster and other file-sharing programs, millions of digital copies were traded across cyberspace, to the delight of consumers and the rage of music companies and the other copyright holders. If copyright means anything in the age of the Internet, there have to be technical limits on the way music is swapped and played.

Hmmm — does anyone imagine that the record companies are going to offer price reductions to reflect these “technical limits?”

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