2003 May 19

(entry last updated: 2003-05-19 17:05:01)

  • Doc Searls ties together the Google/blog story and the loss of perpetual access to online news articles in this discussion: Printwash and More on Printwash

    Blogs are one big fat op-ed section for the news organizations out there. Thanks to the ethics of linkage (crediting sources — a polite grace learned from orthodox journalism and years of compiling footnotes and bibliographies for term papers in high school and college) and of Google’s PageRank algorithms, the blogosphere is a vast watershed of credit-giving: an authority-granting system of a high order.

    It is vastly dumb, given this situation, for the newspapers to continue hiding their stories and archives from search engines. The cost in lost authority far outweighs the benefits in selling those archives for $2.95 (or whatever) per story.

    They almost get it, but not quite.

    Dave Winer points to a Guardian piece that continues the discussion: The blog clog myth

  • Ed Felton discusses Orin Kerr’s Cybercrime’s Scope: Interpreting ‘Access’ and ‘Authorization’ in Computer Misuse Statutes

  • This one’s going to be interesting, given that the airwaves are in the public domain. What sort of encryption will they use? Disney in Plan to Beam Films to TV Viewers [pdf]

  • A few more pieces from CNet on the 321 Studio case:

    • Judge mulls DVD-copying case

      The judge in a closely watched lawsuit challenging the legality of DVD-copying software said she was “substantially persuaded” by past court rulings that favored copyright holders, but closed a hearing Thursday without issuing a ruling in the case.

    • DVD-copying case heads to court

    • Napster killer takes on DVD copying – a story on Russ Frackman:

      …the same lawyer who has represented the recording industry against Napster and a host of other file-swapping services. Over the course of four years, he and his legal team have made a deep mark on Net culture and history, stopping in their tracks some of the all-time fastest-growing and most-popular online services.

  • Findlaw has a guest editorial today: Enforcing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Internationally:

    Why Congress Shouldn’t Lock in the Current DMCA By Approving the Current Version of the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement

    The FTA’s language regarding copyright circumvention technology goes no further than the DMCA’s. However, its status as an international treaty adds a new facet to the debate, especially as the FTA does not contain any of the DMCA’s exceptions to the scope of digital protections for copyrighted works.

    Unfortunately, in Congress, at least, the debate on the FTA is likely to be limited. The FTA was negotiated by the President under the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) – formerly called “Fast Track” authority – delegated to him by Congress. Accordingly, Congress may only consider the FTA as an entire package – voting up or down on it as is, rather than considering amendments.

    …Unless and until the FTA is enacted, courts will be able to narrow the DMCA’s scope to respect free speech and the public domain. After the FTA, however, that will be impossible: it is not the judiciary’s role to decide whether the United States should honor its treaties.

    I’m with Derek in that I think the author overstates the degree of judicial deference afforded treaties. In fact, the Constitution says:

    Art III; Sect. 2; Cl. 1

    The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;….

    See also Missouri v. Holland (1920) where we find this tidbit:

    It is said that a treaty cannot be valid if it infringes the Constitution, that there are limits, therefore, to the treaty-making power, and that one such limit is that what an act of Congress could not do unaided, in derogation of the powers reserved to the States, a treaty cannot do.

    Justice Holmes for the majority

    However, it is true that there has been a certain amount of end-running undertaken in the copyright area when it comes to duration – the arguments about reconciliation of WIPO and US copyright, for example.

  • Roxio, the owner of Napster, is getting ready to get into the business with the acquisition of Pressplay, according to CNet. Is it really the case that the problem with the record industry online sites is brand recognition? Or is Roxio going to change the pricing model?

    Update: Amy Harmon has a piece on the NYTimes – Deal May Raise Napster From Online Ashes [pdf]

    Update: The Register report: Napster reborn! Roxio buys PressPlay; and Slashdot: PressPlay + Roxio?

  • Even *I* got one of these this morning, so check it out: Why is support@microsoft sending me computer virii this morning?