2003 April 4

(entry last updated: 2003-04-04 16:25:19)

TPP Open House this morning here at MIT – actually, Open House for many MIT applicants accepted for the fall. Naturally, therefore, our weather has put on quite a show – sleet, freezing rain this morning, with a threat of an ice storm this evening. Ah, spring time in New England!

  • Pearl Jam become new Dixie Chicks: Dozens walk out after anti-Bush remarks.

    DENVER — Dozens of fans walked out of a Pearl Jam concert after lead singer Eddie Vedder took a mask of President Bush and impaled it on a microphone stand.

    …Vedder used a Bush mask in Australia and Japan to perform the song “Bushleaguer,” from the band’s latest album, “Riot Act.” The song’s lyrics say, “He’s not a leader, he’s a Texas leaguer.”

  • The Chronicle of Higher Education brings together all the elements of the Penn State’s policing of file sharing activities.

  • Slashdot: Forgent Networks Wins $25M from Sony for JPEG Patent

  • Sony’s left brain speaks: Sony TV would grab streams from the Net; Sony DVR to sport broadband

    Sony will release a digital video recorder with a hard drive and DVD recorder, as well as a broadband Internet connection and Web browser, the company has announced.

  • Doc Searls points out that he expected the change in the NYTimes online policy.

    I’ve written about this before. Even though I was told, after that last linked piece, that the Times made millions by selling old content, I still think the lost opportunity to assert authority far exceeds whatever monetary gain the paper gets by selling old fishwrap.

    Advantage: blogs.

    (See Jenny Levine’s comments) (Dave Winer’s got more today; his requiem from yesterday)

    So, here’s an experiment that I’ll be trying to do, but I’ll take data from anyone who’s got the inclination. According to Technorati, this morning (on April 4 at 7:00 AM EST with 194,063 weblogs watched and 12,980,008 links tracked) there are 14,036 inbound links and 5,268 inbound blogs for www.nytimes.com. Let’s see how (if?) that changes over the course of the next month.

  • Now, I’m sure that everyone read the BSA report yesterday that explained how piracy was bad for tax revenue, and therefore the economy. So, what does this Microsoft policy to loosen the requirements for the purchase of the student version say?

    Technically, only students or teachers were licensed to use the product. Microsoft did not license the software for other members of the household or people who were not faculty or students. That technicality apparently meant little to consumers looking for a good deal. Consumers snatched up 300,000 copies of Office XP Standard for Teachers and Students versus 121,000 for Office XP Standard during the academic product’s first 10 months on store shelves, according to market research company NPDTechworld.

    In fact, Office XP Standard for Teachers and Students continues to outsell the standard version by a huge margin. For boxed productivity software sold at retail, the student and teacher version has 34.4 percent market share versus 4.7 percent for Office Standard, according to NPDTechworld.

    Under the new licensing scheme, anyone in a household with a qualifying teacher and student will be able to use the forthcoming version, Office Student and Teacher Edition 2003. Microsoft also plans to extend the license so that the product can be installed on up to three computers. In a third change, the license would not expire after a college student graduates. Finally, Office Student and Teacher Edition 2003 would be upgradeable later to another version of the suite. Consumers who bought the earlier version were not eligible to buy upgrades.

  • I see that Mary Hodder has already followed-up on Matt’s testimony and experiences at the MA super-DMCA hearing. Mary’s also followed-up here and here on some of Ed Felten’s postings yesterday.
    Update: The Chronicle of Higher Education recounts the librarians’ objections to these laws. A bit from that piece:

    Vans Stevenson, the motion-picture group’s senior vice president for state legislative affairs, accuses the library groups of misunderstanding state antitheft legislation.

    “People are seeing demons where there are none,” he says, adding that the state laws are intended to thwart theft, not legitimate academic research.


  • I heard this on NPR this AM, and now there’s a CNet article: Webcasters, RIAA propose new royalties

  • Today’s Boston Globe discusses [PDF] the rising tide of potential California legislation directed at rectifying some of the issues raised by artists over the last couple of years.

    ”I still think a lot of this is ripe for discussions with the companies and the artists,” Murray said of the industry, which employs 28,000 Californians.

    Murray’s bills aim generally to toughen penalties for companies that underpay recording artists. The bills also provide greater access to internal accounting within labels. Murray would also modernize and simplify royalty accounting methods, some of which date to vinyl albums.

    …In New York, where recording is also a major industry, Sheldon Silver, the state’s Assembly speaker, expects to reintroduce a bill called the Artistic Freedom Act limiting contracts to seven years. Meanwhile, staff members for Representative John Conyers, Democrat of Michigan, who has discussed national legislation to limit contracts, says colleagues are ”waiting to see what happens in California.”

  • HP is gearing up to put a DVD-burner on each of their machines.

  • The age of digital distribution of movies is here: Indie films go digital with Microsoft – Slashdot discussion: Windows Media 9 in Digital Theaters; Wired’s story

  • CNet has their piece on the RIAA lawsuits of student P2P music swapping networks. The RIAA press release is worth a read, on a number of levels. The Register takes their own potshots

    These particular students took it upon themselves to provide their peers with massive collections of song, while the RIAA floods trading networks with fake files. And you can be sure that the students respect the integrity of the artists they promote by not “enchancing” the files with clicks, dropouts and white noise.

    So it would seem, once again, that the pirates are actually doing more to promote music than the recording industry itself.

    Derek points to the legal complaints, as does Ed Felten. Billboard’s article; Wired’s article; Dawn Chmielewski at SiliconvValley.com