2003 June 17

(entry last updated: 2003-06-17 13:34:45)

  • Speaking of copyright terms, here’s the final report submitted in March on C-36 (see Amendments to the Copyright Act), the Lucy Maude Montgomery Copyright Term Extension Act (she authored Anne of Green Gables and her unpublished diaries would enter the public domain next year; see also the article in the Gowlings IP Report) [via FOS News] – there’s something over at Volokh, too – Larry Lessig notes that at least some of this act has been curbed: people having an effect

  • Something to remind me of what I learned reading The Audible Past about sound recording and how the intention(s) behind it evolve in culture and art: The Beatles’ Producer, Still With Stories to Tell [pdf]

    “When I joined EMI,” he [Sir George Martin] said, “the criterion by which recordings were judged was their faithfulness to the original. If you made a recording that was so good that you couldn’t tell the difference between the recording and the actual performance, that was the acme. And I questioned that. I thought, O.K., we’re all taking photographs of an existing event. But we don’t have to make a photograph; we can paint. And that prompted me to experiment.”

  • The online discussion of this seemed like just a nasty joke, but it’s now reached the AP Wire: Mary Bono’s Raring to Run RIAA. At least the article points out the potential pitfalls associated with her choice to be part of a piracy & IP caucus while essentially running for the RIAA position – and just how many of the Sonny Bono copyrights did she inherit?

  • From firstMonday: The dead poets society: The copyright term and the public domain by Matthew Rimmer

    This paper extends the approach of analysing the cultural politics of copyright disputes elaborated in an earlier article [16]. It looks at the intersection of power, culture, and technology. As James Boyle observes, there is a need to focus upon the politics of intellectual property:

    “Like most property regimes, our intellectual property regime will be contentious, in distributional, ideological and efficiency terms. It will have effects on market power, economic concentration and social structure. Yet, right now, we have no politics of intellectual property – in the way that we have a politics of the environment or of tax reform. We lack a conceptual map of issues, a rough working model of costs and benefits and a functioning coalition-politics of groups unified by common interest perceived in apparently diverse situations.” [17]

    A lengthy paper that invites careful consideration, so I’m going to leave it at that – for the moment. I look forward, in particular, to hearing what Donna makes of this one.

    SO Far:

    • This is an extensive deconstruction of the majority and dissenting opinions in Eldred v. Ashcroft, focusing variously on historical, economic and other perspectives for interpretation.

    • It explicitly seeks to fully embrace the messiness of copyright in each of these contexts.

    • It raises a host of interesting and important questions that should be fodder for discussion.

    Here are Larry Lessig’s comments: firstmonday on eldred where he makes the reasonable response to Rimmer’s call for radical reform – how to build a constituency/political base for radical change when we can’t even get incremental change on the radar?

  • Benny Evangelista’s article today says it’s time for the record industry to change: Music industry changing its tune:

    Teenagers who download from Internet finally forcing record industry to adapt [pdf] – a look at “Generation D,” for “digital” and “download.” There’s a lot of interesting stuff in this article, but here’s a newly-recurrent meme:

    “Fundamentally, the business model is going to shift,” said [the Yankee Group’s senior analyst Michael] Goodman. “The fact that they have been able to hold prices on CDs at a high level masked the fact that the business has become grossly inefficient. The customers are saying, ‘You know what, that’s your problem, not my problem. I don’t want to pay for your inefficiencies anymore.’ ”

  • The performing rights societies’ comments on HR.1417, To amend title 17, United States Code, to replace copyright arbitration royalty panels with a Copyright Royalty Judge, and for other purposes (also known as "The Copyright Royalty And Distribution Reform Act Of 2003") is available at Mi2N.

    This is an interesting bill (sponsor Lamar Smith, co-sponsors Reps. Berman and Conyers), in that it appears to be working to remove the Copyright Arbitration Review Board and to replace it with an administrative judge. The performing rights societies are largely focusing upon making it more difficult to get the judge involved in disputes over royalty payments, but there are a lot of specifics into the details of process and the review of new digital devices (see section 1010, for example) that are worth consideration.

  • Today’s Tangled Web describes SingingFish.com, a search engine specifically designed to find media files and, upon a check of the WWW site, an effort to one-up BigChampagne in the business of tracking online media consumption. Here’s their inaugural report/press release: Singingfish Streaming Media Report

    I look forward to learning how this file search service is distinguishable from that of the recently sued college students. As a subsidiary of Thomson (see the SingingFish fact sheet from the press kit), I imagine that there’s a lot going on beneath the surface of this Billboard announcement. In particular, recall that Thomson owns the MP3 patents and has exercised them in interesting ways.

  • It just keeps getting better: SCO suit now seeks $3 billion from IBM; The Register’s writeup is a little more graphic: SCO pulls AIX licence, calls for permanent ban. The CNet piece points out that this remains a trade secrets case, not a copyright complaint. Moreover, it includes this quote from Linus Torvalds:

    Torvalds said in an e-mail interview that the Linux developer community’s process is transparent and called on SCO to reveal what its specific complaints are.

    “It’s not our side that isn’t identifying the code. We’ll work damn hard to identify everything they care to name,” Torvalds said. “In fact, the source control system is out there in the public, and it identifies the source and the reason for patches,” mentioning the BitKeeper repository he’s used for the past two years to keep track of code in the heart, or kernel, of Linux.