2003 May 30

(entry last updated: 2003-05-30 18:14:25)

Sorry for the relative paucity of links today: MIT’s grades came out today and, with graduation a little over a week away, there are all sorts of evaluations, checks and meetings that get held to make sure that the academic programs are on top of the situation. A long day……

  • Something that came over the transom as I was getting ready to head home – a datapoint in the Aimee Deep discussion:

    Subject: Aimee Deep – EFF amicus filed

    From: “Aimee Deep” <suppressed>

    Date: Fri, 30 May 2003 17:06:30 -0400

    To: <furd@mit.edu>

    Hi Fred, [sic]

    I thought you’d be interested to know that the EFF has filed an amicus brief

    in our appeal. I blogged a little at musicpundit.com. Oral arguments are

    June 4. Would love to see you there! (Maybe I could prove that I exist. I

    understand your skepticism. Right now it’s just, I link, therefore I am.)

    Thanks for the kind words. I’m grateful,


  • Mary Hodder is on top of the current activity around the DMCA good faith takedown provisions and the Internetmovies case: In MPAA We Trust

  • DeCSS back in the news: Arguments made in DVD-cracking case (Slashdot: DeCSS Arguments in CA Supreme Court Case)

    California Attorney General Bill Lockyer called DVD-cracking software DeCSS a tool for “breaking, entering and stealing” during a hearing before the California Supreme Court on Thursday.

    …California’s high court is considering whether a ban on the posting of the code, which cracks the content-scrambling system designed to protect DVD movies, violates free speech. Lockyer, who’s gearing up to run for governor next year, appeared on the side of the DVD Copy Control Association, which is arguing that the posting of the code on the Net should be banned.

    The case, DVD CCA v. Bunner, started four years ago, when the DVD CCA sued Andrew Bunner and hundreds of other people, saying they violated California trade-secret law by displaying links to the code.

    See also Donna’s collection of links: DeCSS Code–Free as in Speech?

  • From BBSpot: Sony Unveils New Self-Destructive DVD Player

    Wang addressed the safety concerns of destroying a DVD player: “Sure there are safety issues, but most homes are equipped with smoke detectors these days, and are chock full of pirated material which would be destroyed in the blaze. OK, their house might burn down, but isn’t that a small price to pay to combat piracy?”

    Instead of the standard low-powered laser most DVD players are equipped with, the SD-DVD player from Sony has a high-powered laser which will eventually burn through the DVD and ignite the highly flammable material from which the player is made.

    …Hollywood applauds the move. Chairman of the MPAA Jack Valenti said, “Not having a DVD player makes it absolutely impossible to view pirated content, which makes copying a DVD entirely useless. Granted, it also makes watching the damn thing impossible, but we don’t care if you can’t see the content, just as long as you buy brand new, legitimate copies from your local or online store.”

    funnily, this article appeared on CNet later in the day: Sony sets movies to self-destruct. Luckily, th actual concept is not quite so pyrotechnic in nature:

    A subsidiary of electronics maker Sony is to sell downloadable movie files that self-destruct after a given time.

  • The final article in the Digital Remix series is out: Free vs. fee: Underground still thrives

    Rather than fear their demise, free music services say the large music companies and e-tailers will have no choice but to work with file-swapping technology instead of against it. They say a rise in consumer awareness from paid services, a series of favorable court rulings and a shift in law-enforcement tactics all seem to signal the beginning of a new, third age of file swapping that will postdate the death of Napster and the troubles of its offspring.

    “Apple and others are competing with extremely large numbers of people who are using P2P (peer to peer) and other forms of technology to get free content,” said Kevin Bermeister, chief executive of Altnet, a company that distributes paid content through the Kazaa file-sharing service. “Unless this is addressed directly, which entails reaching those users, I don’t see how content companies are going to get to the masses on the Internet.”

    Including this very potent analogy:

    “You have to liken P2P to tap water,” said Wayne Rosso, president of the popular Grokster peer-to-peer service. “It is always going to be there. It’s free, and people are going to use it. But bottled water makers make a lot of money too.”

  • Today’s Boston Globe has a number of relevant and interesting bits:

    • Two pieces on media consolidation:

      • Media giants circle [pdf]

        Boston broadcast executives and analysts predict that the area’s media landscape will largely remain stable after Monday’s expected deregulation vote. But they say that the greatest chances of ownership changes could come from Boston Herald owner Patrick Purcell, who might sell to the paper’s former owner, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and from WHDH-TV (Channel 7), if owner Ed Ansin would look favorably on suitors that could range from NBC, a subsidiary of General Electric Co., to The New York Times Co.

      • Protests target media consolidation [pdf]

        Protests were planned at Clear Channel stations in 14 cities, including New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco.

        Protesters say Clear Channel stifles diverse points of view by programming local stations with national shows.

        A Clear Channel spokesman said the media coverage of the protests is evidence that diverse viewpoints are not ignored.

    • An odd snippet to track down on Michelle Shocked in this music gossip column: Viva la Vega [pdf]

      Michelle Shocked’s story could fill three episodes of VH1’s ”Behind the Music.” She went from punk rocker to homeless peacenik to political crooner to mainstream star, all in less than 10 years. Then she sued her record label using the 13th Amendment – the reform abolishing slavery. The one constant throughout these episodes has been Shocked’s ability to write everything from rock to swing to blues.

    • This article on John Cougar Mellencamp’s new album includes this provenance of the project grounded in the business of record-making: Mellencamp lands in ‘Trouble’ [pdf]

      The idea for it came, Mellencamp says, when he played Johnson’s ”Stones in My Passway” at a New York benefit last fall for the family of deceased Billboard editor Timothy White, who was a friend. A record-company exec said, ”Why don’t you make a record of songs like this for us?” he recalls. Mellencamp was stunned, because most of his contracts had stipulated that he had to write at least 10 songs per album himself, so the label wouldn’t have to pay royalties to other publishers.

  • The Microsoft-AOL settlement over browsers and antitrust has all sorts of implications. From the Boston Globe article Microsoft to pay $750m to settle AOL antitrust case [pdf]

    Another spur to a settlement could be the need for both companies to embrace digital media technologies. In a key portion of the agreement, AOL agreed to long-term licensing of Microsoft’s Windows Media software for video and audio services. The companies said they will also work together on ”digital rights management” systems that will allow consumers to download and use files, but will set limits on their ability to copy and share them with others who haven’t paid for them.

    AOL and Microsoft agreed not only to work on technologies to address the issue, but even to present a united front in lobbying elected officials for laws to protect the copyrights of digital media producers.

    From the NYTimes: AOL Time Warner and Microsoft End a Bitter Rivalry [pdf]

    The agreement, Mr. Gates said, carried a message that “Microsoft is focused on the future of digital rights management.”

    CNet has a number of articles here: Burying the hatchet