2002 August 19 Links

(entry last updated: 2002-08-19 17:00:44)

I’ve been fuming all weekend since reading about the new tactic being tried by the record companies – forcing ISPs to block sites that offend the RIAA. I’m sure that there are lots of articles, but I needed to get Amy Harmon’s article from Saturday up ASAP. Illiad at UserFriendly, for example. Jonathan Zittrain and Ben Edelman’s research (a paper, a general article) takes on a heightened importance.

Update: Via Boing-Boing – an ISP has decided that, given that the RIAA is likely to hack their customers’ computers (c.f. Berman-Coble), the RIAA site will be blocked. From the announcement: "we feel the RIAA will abuse software vulerabilities in a client’s browser after the browser accesses its site, potentially allowing the RIAA to access and/or tamper with your data." Hah! However, once the message gets made and everyone gets their yucks, I hope they reverse the policy – it’s still evil to block like this.

A weblog discussion between Dave Winer and Doc Searls on the subject of Larry’s OSCON speech puts me back onto thinking about Charlie Nesson’s vision of creating v. consuming as the dominant Internet activity. Dan Gillmor has echoes of that discussion in his Sunday column,

Scott Adams takes up the Evan Brown case, sort of. The Boston Globe describes another copyright controversy brewing in the movie area.

Speaking of ILaw, Donna points out that Steve Levy was not just attending, but also collecting information for his current Newsweek article on blogging (see the third-to-last paragraph).

And, according to the BBC, I might be able to buy a DVD player with a clear conscience soon. But, The Register expresses my worst fears that I won’t be able to buy the computer I want by then. But John Perry Barlow is still a believer.

(12 items listed below)

  • The New York Times reports that the RIAA believes the DMCA gives them the power to control which sites anyone can access. And, given the deference the DMCA has received in the courts, they might win this one too!!

    On the other hand, Illiad believes that the RIAA has taken on more than they can chew, this time.

  • Judge Cooper has changed her mind, allowing users to enter the ReplayTV suit. An earlier article at CNet is also available. Slashdot has a discussion, as several of those allowed to join have been active Internet presences. Carrie Kirby’s write-up at SFGate is probably the most thorough.
  • Declan McCullagh argues that overly shrill complaints about the effects of the DMCA just undermine the argument over the very real problems with the law. Slashdot discusses: Debunking (some) DMCA Myths
  • A weblog discussion between Dave Winer and Doc Searls in the subject of Larry’s OSCON speech puts me back onto thinking about Charlie Nesson’s vision of creating v. consuming as the dominant Internet activity. See the cycle: Dave_1, Doc_1, Dave_2, now Doc_2. After reading these, I sent Dave an e-mail which included the following:

    However, it is also the case that Larry represents one particular extreme; one which the founding director of the Berkman Center has a different perspective on. Prof. Charles Nesson made a stab at presenting it at the Program, which went badly – he selected a poor strategy to get it across. But I think it’s a powerful set of ideas, and it’s one that suggests that you are doing more than just innovating without patenting.

    [editor’s note: reading this, I see that I am putting words in Charlie’s mouth here – he may not actually believe that Larry’s argument is “elitist,” but he does seem to believe that it’s doomed to be pessimistic because he fails to consider creativity.]

    Charlie’s basic point is that the reason that Larry’s story is so pessimistic is that, in the end, it’s a somewhat elitist Weltanschaung – you need to be pretty clever and educated about the technology to understand the threats he sees. Otherwise, you have to take his word for it – not something that a Rep. Coble, for example, is going to do, even if he is sympathetic to your views.

    Therefore, Charlie believes that the effective response to the threat is to get more and more people involved in the Internet as a place for creativity. Each person who becomes invested in the Internet as a platform for creativity is a person who will react negatively to ANY challenge to their ability to be creative, whether or not they appreciate the subtleties of Lessig’s argument.

    Charlie sees the answer as resting with educating more people to use the Internet as a place to create, rather than as a place to consume. And, I would argue, weblogs are certainly a way to make that happen.

    To see my notes, etc. on the Nesson argument, see these links from my small weblog efforts for the class:



    So, I think you’re doing more than just not patenting, IMHO!

    I got an e-mail from Dave saying that this e-mail gave him some ideas for this "rant." And here’s the next one from Doc.

  • The Evan Brown case gets picked up at kuro5hin, and Scott Adams dances around it
  • P. J. Connolly rails against the DMCA, using the SnoSoft case as an example.
  • Hiawatha Bray writes about the host of companies (MovieShield, ClearPlay, TVGuardian, and Clean Flicks) that exist to excise, bleep and otherwise shield viewers from the seamier parts of modern movies.
  • Dan Gillmor’s Sunday column has some interesting things to say about consumers v. customers on the Internet, and the copyright lobby.
  • The New York Times profiles the rise and fall of the BackStreet Boys – a look at record industry practices.
  • The BBC writes that, in an age where almost all DVD players can be modified to become multi-region players, region encoding is on the way out. Slashdot is not as sure.
  • Andrew Orlowski goes into overdrive, giving voice to everything that I fear most about Palladium in this article: The Stuckist Net – what is your post-Palladium future? (I had to hunt to find out what he means. Here’s The Stuckist Manifesto, although this PDF from the Stuckist Party is a little more on point.)
  • It’s a slow download, but John Perry Barlow refuses to believe the copyright cartel has a chance. See Slouching Toward Hollywood