January 6, 2007

A Dimension of the Lindor Suit [6:15 pm]

From ArsTechnica: RIAA fights to keep wholesale pricing secret

The record labels are strenuously opposing Lindor’s attempts to gain access to the pricing information. They have argued that it shouldn’t be divulged, and if it is, it should only be done so under a protective order that would keep the data highly confidential. The RIAA regards the wholesale price per song—widely believed to be about 70¢ per track—as a trade secret.

[...] The pricing information could be crucial for Lindor as she makes the argument that the damages sought by the RIAA are excessive. In this and other cases, the labels are seeking statutory damages of $750 per song shared. Lindor argues that the actual damages suffered by the RIAA are in line with the wholesale price per song, and if that is indeed the case, damages should be capped accordingly—between $2.80 and $7.00 per song—if infringement is proven.

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A Chilling Statistic [5:38 pm]

Attack of the Zombie Computers Is a Growing Threat, Experts Say

Although there is a wide range of estimates of the overall infection rate, the scale and the power of the botnet programs have clearly become immense. David Dagon, a Georgia Institute of Technology researcher who is a co-founder of Damballa, a start-up company focusing on controlling botnets, said the consensus among scientists is that botnet programs are present on about 11 percent of the more than 650 million computers attached to the Internet.

[...] “It’s a huge scientific, policy, and ultimately social crisis, and no one is taking any responsibility for addressing it,” said K. C. Claffy , a veteran Internet researcher at the San Diego Supercomputer Center.

The $6 billion computer security industry offers a growing array of products and services that are targeted at network operators, corporations and individual computer users. Yet the industry has a poor track record so far in combating the plague, according to computer security researchers.

“This is a little bit like airlines advertising how infrequently they crash into mountains,” said Mr. Dagon, the Georgia Tech researcher.

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China Lurching Along [11:17 am]

China Media Battle Hints at Shift on Intellectual Property - pdf

One of China’s largest newspapers has filed a lawsuit against one of the country’s leading Internet portals claiming that it violated copyright laws, setting off a media war and highlighting the first signs of a possible shift in policies toward intellectual property rights here.

[...] The lawsuit, however, is headed to court at a time of accelerating legal change and signs of increased efforts by law enforcement to protect copyrights and intellectual property. It is also a critical time for China’s newspaper industry, which grew explosively in the last decade or so but now faces an even faster-growing rival: Internet-based news media.

Now, as in the United States and many other countries, with computer use and broadband access booming here, newspapers are losing readers to large, corporate-owned Web sites. What had set China apart from much of the rest of the world until recently was that these Web sites faced no legal obstacles in copying material from newspapers, often wholesale.

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NYT On Berman’s Ascendancy [11:11 am]

As I noted earlier: Copyrights and Congress

ADVOCATES for looser restrictions on copyrights had high hopes for the new Democratic Congress. Those hopes faded somewhat last month when Representative Howard L. Berman was named chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees the Internet and intellectual property.

Putting Mr. Berman in charge of the panel, diminishes the chances for “real reform” of copyright policy, Lawrence Lessig, perhaps the best-known authority on the legal issues surrounding intellectual property and the Internet, wrote last week on his blog (lessig.org).

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