2003 April 2

(entry last updated: 2003-04-02 19:29:28)

  • CNet has an interview with Microsoft’s “digital media mogul:” Dave Fester. I don’t have a lot of time to digest it now, but here’s one stinker – the view that the market will solve all our problems:

    How will the proper level of rights protection get decided?

    The market will determine what level of rights protection is adequate for businesses and acceptable to consumers. The key is making sure the rights management technology is flexible and powerful enough to adapt to these forces. The technology is ready (and) broadband is growing faster than ever. There is a broad set of customers who are digital media-ready. And so now more than ever, this is poised for success.

  • Derek’s back from the MA Super-DMCA hearing. Sounds like he had a great time!!! John Palfrey’s notes are here, and you can find his testimony here. John posts:

    The opponents were ordinary people who had taken personal days to voice their concerns. They learned about the problem through Weblogs, listservs, word of mouth. They came out in force. It was a great vision of the kind of democracy that the Net can foster. I even overheard one lobbyist whisper: “These guys all read the Weblogs.” How subversive.

  • The BSA is itching for a fight: CNet reports that they’ll be releasing a report that claims that there’s an inverse relationship between piracy rates and IT industry growth:

    The study, commissioned by the BSA and conducted by IDC, found that in general, nations with the lowest piracy rates had the largest IT sectors, as measured as a share of the countries’ gross domestic product(GDP). Conversely, countries with high piracy rates, such as China and Russia, had the smallest IT sectors.

    This’ll be good. I look forward to getting to read something more than a press release…..

  • Sorry, this is off-topic: here’s an example of just how intellectually and morally bankrupt some of the opinion pieces that get posted over at Tech Central Station are (as well as my inability to just pass them by): this piece, titled Another Coalition Enemy, actually argues that limits in American battle readiness (and, therefore, increases in battle deaths) are a direct consequence of environmental legislation. There are plenty of smart people at the Hoover Institute, and most of them know to restrict their comments to topics about which they are knowledgeable – this author certainly is not a member of the latter category, and is probably not a member of the former, either.

  • Ed Foster’s April Fool’s column from Infoworld is an echo of Stallman’s The Right to Read, updated to today’s state of affairs. [via Shifted Librarian]

  • Derek’s off to the MA Hearing on our version of the super-DMCA law today. (Matt of Matt Rolls A Hoover is going, too) His weblog also points to an article with a provocative title: What Federal Gun Control Can Teach Us About the DMCA’s Anti-trafficking Provisions. Without yet reading the paper, the abstract indicates that the linchpin of the discussion will be as follows:

    The article questions whether the above described sacrifice of public rights is really necessary. This criticism starts with the observation that both federal gun control and the DMCA’s anti-trafficking provisions respond to the misuse of technology. People misuse guns to commit crimes, and people misuse circumvention technology to commit copyright infringement. In both cases, Congress has used criminal law to keep technology away from those who might misuse it. In the case of circumvention technology, Congress has banned such technology at the expense of public of access to such technology for lawful purposes. In the case of guns, Congress has not imposed a ban precisely because it was concerned about preserving access to firearms for lawful purposes.

    Of course, consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, but it looks like an interesting argument. More at LawMeme

  • On the subject of record industry pop constructs, this review of Kelly Osbourne’s concert in New York is a hoot:

    And so Friday night a few hundred devotees barged in on Ms. Osbourne at Irving Plaza, where she was doing the one thing she should be able to do without anyone watching: she was singing. Luckily, she had brought along a four-piece band, and with their help, she spent about an hour trying in vain to disperse the crowd.

    …Still this didn’t seem like a night that Ms. Osbourne herself would have enjoyed. If that charming, short-tempered young woman from the television series had wandered into Friday’s concert, she probably would have curled her lip, muttered a few pithy phrases and walked right out.

  • I started to read this SFGate Daily Dish column because it was another recounting [nytimes.com] of Madonna’s decision to drop broadcasts of her antiwar video, but the real stunner appears further down:


    Country trio the Dixie Chicks have received support for lead singer Natalie Maines’ controversial attack on President George W. Bush — from former Vice President Al Gore.

    Gore spoke to a college audience last week on the subject of fewer companies owning more media outlets, and what he sees as the increasing lack of tolerance for opposing views.

    According to publication the Tennessean, Gore used recent attacks on the Dixie Chicks that followed anti-war comments by Maines as an example.

    Gore told the audience, “They were made to feel un-American and risked economic retaliation because of what was said. Our democracy has taken a hit.

    “Our best protection is free and open debate.”

    Is this the reemergence of Al Gore? As a losing candidate who nevertheless received more than 50% of the popular vote in the last presidential election, I have always thought that Mr. Gore had a responsibility to speak for those of us who voted for him, rather than hiding away. The Democratic party, with its total lack of credible candidates with nation-wide name recognition, need a spokesman for the loyal opposition.

  • Pursuant to the super-DMCA legislation, we have this article from CNet News: Report: Networking entertainment is in (company press release). Yet another demonstration of the schism between the copyright industries and the consumer electronics industries.

    In the report released Tuesday, research firm In-Stat/MDR says developments in home networking will not only make it easier for people to play and share their own digital music, video and other content, but will also encourage emerging applications such as online gaming.

    More manufacturers are adding networking connectivity to their products, allowing electronics devices such as televisions or stereos to link to PCs via Ethernet or wireless. Sony, with its RoomLink system, and Hewlett-Packard, with its Digital Media Receiver, are among those companies that have already stepped into the market for “converged” networking.

    “The emergence of converged network products is due to the acceptance of traditional home networking,” said Mike Wolf, an analyst with Scottsdale, Ariz.-based In-Stat/MDR, in a statement.

    The ability to share a broadband connection to the Internet over a home network has been the big draw for early adopters for the past three years, Wolf said. However, the market is growing and reaching into the mainstream, he said. [emphasis added]

    Note that “sharing” a broadband connection on a home network (typically achieved via NAT) is something that this set of legislation declares illegal because such technologies obscure the absolute source of the packets, as Ed Felten points out

  • The Register reports that a date for the appelate hearing in the Jon Johansen verdict has been set: December 2. Slashdot discussion (with an inaccurate title): Jon Johansen To Be Retried On Piracy Charges. Even Billboard gets into the act, and is particularly successful at repeating the standard canard that DeCSS promotes piracy.

  • Yesterday Penn State; today CSC Corp is in the crosshairs of the Copyright Cops.