2003 June 25

(entry last updated: 2003-06-26 11:59:40)

  • Jenny Levine’s also got something on the markets for DVDs: DVD Numbers Exploding, Making Studios Lots of Money – Will They Be Smart Enough to Learn from This?

  • Hoo-hah! RIAA Threatens Orgy of Lawsuits

    A recording-industry trade group said on Wednesday it plans to sue hundreds of individuals who illegally distribute copyrighted songs over the Internet, expanding its anti-piracy fight into millions of homes.

    The Recording Industry Association of America said it hopes to curb illegal song downloading by tracking down the heaviest users of popular “peer to peer” services like Kazaa and suing them for thousands of dollars in damages.


    “The RIAA, in their infinite wisdom, has decided to not only alienate their own customers but attempt to drive them into bankruptcy through litigation. So therefore they probably won’t be able to afford to buy any music even if they want to,” said Grokster President Wayne Rosso, who added he does not support copyright infringement.

    The AP Tech Wire piece from Yahoo! is more thorough, making it clear that the plan is to kill the P2P networks by using the threat of a lawsuit to turn off all the “sources” in the network, thus starving the “sinks” – i.e., killing the cooperative elements of P2P. Slashdot channels a Washington Post article: RIAA To Sue Hundreds Of File Swappers

    (A minor point for english composition writers everywhere – while it is admittedly a quote, the opening sentence of Rosso’s quote demonstrates not only why splitting infinitive in parallel construction is painful, but also why every “not only” must be accompanied by a “but also.”)

    Late night update: News.com – Labels aim big guns at small file swappers; the RIAA newsletter – Recording Industry To Begin Collecting Evidence And Preparing Lawsuits Against File “Sharers” Who Illegally Offer Music Online (and I’m listening to a news piece on the subject on the local Fox affiliate’s late night news at this moment)

  • Donna points us to an article by Jonathan Zittrain in Legal Affairs: The Copyright Cage – wherein Jonathan tries to refute the perception that cyberlaw professionals, by definition, hate copyright – a fine writeup:

    Yes, I hate the effects of copyright on a digital revolution that heralds so much more than the banal ripping off of CD tracks. I hate that creativity is metered and parceled to its last ounce of profit. I hate that our technology is hobbled beyond its paper and other analog counterparts so that it permits us to view but not print, listen but not share, read once but not lend, consume but not create. But I can hate this situation without believing that the idea of copyright is fundamentally flawed. The framers’ vision of intellectual property (then known as “monopolies”) called for built-in limits to a creator’s exclusive rights. A copyright term, for example, would expire even if a work still held commercial value.

    […] It’s time for us to wise up and to redraw copyright’s boundaries so that the law and reasonable public expectations fall into better alignment with one another. To be sure, this may require more, rather than less, subtlety. We should treat protections for computer software in a different way than music, for example, and lengthy copyright terms should be available only to those who bother to check in with the Copyright Office every few years. But we do ourselves a disservice by fixating on current income structures and not thinking about future possibilities premised on amazing technological advances, especially when the rights at issue concern the flows of ideas, something fundamental to free societies.

    […] I pay my taxes. I have no idea how to calculate them, but I do what Turbotax tells me to. I’ll pay a copyright tax, too, and willingly support artists whose work I appreciate, because it’s the right thing to do and because it guarantees that more work will be made available to me. I’m not alone. So: Let’s imagine a world in which Teddy Ruxpin can say whatever he wants, where kids can play with computers that are not digitally locked down, where bars and restaurants can stop measuring their TVs and their parking lots, and where amateur webcasters can create thousands of radio stations featuring songs we like, perhaps ones that sound familiar but that have new elements to them. We’ll still buy concert tickets, books, and CDs and their digital descendants. They’ll be competing with a lot more, though-created for fun, even if it happens to turn a profit.

  • The Times Editorial today: Internet Filters and Free Speech

  • The Eldred Act is expected to be introduced today

  • Jenny Levine‘s got a thorough set of links in her round-ups of the recent Supreme Court CIPA ruling: (a) Round-up of Links About SCOTUS Decision to Censor Library Internet Access, (b) More on the Supreme Court Forcing Libraries to Censor and (c) Supreme Court Forces Libraries To Censor

  • A singularly un-screed-like editorial from Richard Stallman on the SCO/IBM fight: SCO smear campaign can’t defeat GNU community

    Another SCO tool of obfuscation is the term “intellectual property.” This fashionable but foolish term carries an evident bias: that the right way to treat works, ideas, and names is as a kind of property. Less evident is the harm it does by inciting simplistic thinking: it lumps together diverse laws–copyright law, patent law, trademark law and others–which really have little in common. This leads people to suppose those laws are one single issue, the “intellectual property issue,” and think about “it”–which means, to think at such a broad abstract level that the specific social issues raised by these various laws are not even visible. Any “opinion about intellectual property” is thus bound to be foolish. (See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/words-to-avoid.html.)

    Slashdot discussion: RMS Cuts Through Some SCO FUD

  • For archival purposes, the Amish Tech Support weblog entry on Sen. Hatch’s website copyright infringement question: Orrin Hatch, software pirate?; 8:45 AM – Closing the hatch on Hatch

    Or, you could just get the t-shirt….

  • A little more on the NetFlix patent: Netflix Issued Patent On Subscription Rental Service, the NetFlix press release, which also includes a link to the patent: US#6,584,450

    Update: A Business2.0 article: How Netflix Is Fixing Hollywood

    Even later: Wired News asks the natural question that would have been in the Business 2.0 article had the writer known about recent events: Can Netflix Patent Stymie Rivals?