2003 January 21

(entry last updated: 2003-01-21 19:04:46)

  • Here’s a hoot – a technology that will identify a song upon hearing someone hum a few bars.

  • Verizon loses and has to disclose the name of the mystery KaZaA user. The opinion is online via the DC District Court Opinions WWW Page – Ed Felten’s had time to read it and gives his thoughts. LawMeme has also posted something. And here’s the Slashdot article

  • Something to drop into the mix: How to manage a dream factory from The Economist. A look at what seems to work (and doesn’t) in the entertainment industry today. Note particularly the discussion of EMI Music.

  • Of course, the alternative is to use the inconsistencies in the Eldred v. Ashcroft decision to take on the DMCA.

  • In all the hue and cry over the Eldred decision last week, I missed this article in the New York Times by Edward Rothstein (note that Larry has already commented on this in conjunction with a Doc Searls post at AOTC – also see LawMeme): The Owners of Culture vs. the Free Agents. It is important to read this critique of the Lessig position. It makes its points compellingly, and it shows that the current articulation of the problems that the present construction of copyright create is inadequate – this article is very possibly a roadmap to the flaws in that discussion. For example:

    It may be that one reason passions have flared so high is that a dominant style of popular culture in the 1990’s was pastiche, which is indeed hampered by copyright. But if cultural health were really affected by whether Mickey and his contemporaries were in the public domain, there may be other, more serious problems to consider first — like why a truly creative culture can’t find other ideas to work with.

    The unfortunate part of Larry’s and Doc’s postings are the fact that this is just restating an issue that has been kicked around for quite a while – how to reclaim the rhetorical high ground in this argument? (For example, look at this particularly egregious example from last year) The conflation of copyright with property has been cited as a problem for quite a while, yet we seem to have gotten no further in debunking the position.

    The only way to beat it is to find an example that will force everyone to agree that they are distinct – picking the example is hard, though. So far, the only one that I can come up with is for us to start arguing that, if it’s property, then either property taxes should be assessed or someone needs to argue why property taxes should not be paid – sort of a Chuck Rangel (D-NY) strategy.

    Donna’s added a few more links to the mix.

  • Findlaw’s Chris Sprigman weighs in on the Eldred decision. After recapping the standard set of complaints voiced by others, he closes with a claim that this decision is just one more demonstration (most notable in Bush v. Gore) that:

    [w]ith Eldred, the case that ours is an era of conservative judicial activism – in which law is trampled by conservative politics even on the Supreme Court – only gets stronger.

  • Business 2.0 has a piece on the “truce” declaration last week between some consumer electronics companies and the RIAA. After a lot of the usual stuff we’ve already read, a little light:

    The RIAA is perhaps more flexible now than it has ever been, and it’s time for technology companies to put the consumer experience ahead of the recording industry’s interests, once and for all.

    I’m not talking about condoning Kazaa and its ilk. Rather, I’m talking about creating digital rights management systems and payment models that are built with the consumer — not the recording industry — in mind.

  • Robbie Williams, European pop star has the following summary of online P2P filesharing:

    Singer Robbie Williams has said he believes music piracy is a “great” idea.

    … He said: “I think it’s great, really I do.

    “There is nothing anyone can do about it.

  • Another entrant into the fray between those who what to maintain the artistic purity of movies and those who want to be able to control what parts of a legally purchased DVD actually get through to the viewers – a look at a new DVD player proposed by ClearPlay Inc. and the legal fight – in SFGate. Stunning quote:

    “This is an abomination,” said Robert Giolito, general counsel for the Directors Guild of America. “I have more regard for music pirates. At least they respect the product.”

  • More on the Microsoft DRM package here at The Register. Some interesting information about the prevalence of WMA files in European music downloads. CNet also has an article based on the Reuters newswire. eWeek has picked up a BetaNews article on the subject as well that tells us that

    Sinead O’Connor’s new CD “Sean-Nós Nua” and Len Doolin’s “Once in a Lifetime” are the first albums to utilize a beta version of the Windows Media Data Session Toolkit. The technology has also been adopted by MPO, the world’s largest independent CD manufacturer.

    SFGate has an article that also discusses the Macrovision technology that was introduced the same day at the same event.

  • Not unexpectedly, the Jon Johansen verdict is going to be appealed. Slashdot discussion: “DVD-Jon” Faces Retrial. Wired news has the AP Wire report. The Register’s article is up.

  • Slashdot also discusses our friends north of the border (from whence comes the current bone-chilling cold here in Cambridge!). The loophole that allowed Canadians to put broadcast TV on the Internet has been closed, and the issue of media levies on all digital media (shades of DAT) remain a hot topic.

  • Last Sunday’s User Friendly points out that the power to shutdown P2P sharing is already in the hands of the RIAA.

  • CNet reports on the upcoming Digital Download Day, a followup to an earlier promotion to get people off the free download habit…. and into the pay download one instead. The NYTimes is carrying the Reuters newswire

  • In case you missed it: RIAA: Put ISPs on the hot seat – Ed Felthon’s interpretation