2003 June 22

(entry last updated: 2003-06-22 18:02:22)

My home machine has given up the ghost, so it’s laptop posting this weekend – without the mouse addon that I count on for making this easy. And it’s, once again, raining on a Cambridge weekend…

  • Some new legislation to consider: HR-2517Piracy Deterrence and Education Act of 2003 – just to give the FBI something to do with their free time, police P2P networks. Slashdot discussion: Bill Would Let FBI Police File-Sharing. Note that the discussion includes this response on the question of copyright legitimacy that is worth a gander.

    Why, exactly do you think that copyrights are *wrong*? I don’t mean the specifics — “xx years is too many, xx would be better”, “xxx company abuses it” — but why is the actual concept the use of an idea being controlled by the person who thought up the idea (and if anybody has a better def of copyright, feel free to tell me) not good?

    As a member of the faction of /. that thinks that IP as a government-sponsored institution should be abolished, I feel obligated to respond.

    Copyright isn’t wrong, per se. It’s flawed. It is based on the idea that any idea that can be had will only ever be had by one person, and then grants control of that idea to the one person that dreams it up for a limited period of time. While I don’t think ideas should be controlled, let’s take a look at whether or not the base idea is correct. […]

  • Slashdot also has a rundown on the latest in the Jesse Jordan story: RIAA Not Done With Jesse Sordan (Larry Lessig has posted something as well: the scapegoats

  • The Washington Post has an article suggesting that, maybe, just maybe, DeCSS isn’t the end of Western civilization: DVD-Piracy Paranoia Proves Counterproductive [pdf].

    In other words, this unauthorized, unlicensed software makes DVDs more valuable and useful to me.

    The DVD industry, however, sees things a little differently.

    “If enough people do . . . not buy licensed players, then the economic framework of the licensing framework goes down the drain,” said Robert Sugarman, a partner with Weil, Gotshal and Manges who represents the DVD Copy Control Association. His argument: Without the control over DVD playback that this licensing provides, the industry will see its profits nibbled away as people steal DVDs.


    But two things don’t quite make sense in the DVD association’s position.

    […] The second is the focus on DeCSS. You don’t need DeCSS to steal a DVD; you can create a “disc image,” an exact, bit-for-bit copy, and use that to make new copies. Furthermore, nobody seems to use DeCSS anymore. Current unlicensed playback software relies on a software library called “libdvdcss,” which was written mostly from scratch after the release of DeCSS. And the DVD copy association’s lawyers have yet to go after this code.

    Slashdot discussion: Legitimate uses for DeCSS

  • The Salon article that suggested that iTunes would be the death of innovation in music because of the pick and choose option has generated a lot of letters; and Billboard suggests that there are plenty of artists who won’t let it happen anyway: Top Artists Balking At A La Carte Downloads (Slashdot discussion: Artists Protesting Single-Song Downloads