2003 June 26

(entry last updated: 2003-06-26 21:04:07)

  • It’s not often that Slashdot beats me to Findlaw, but they did today. The Slashdot article Law Professor Examines SCO Case, discusses this Findlaw’s Writ piece: Penguin on Thin Ice?

    Why IBM Should Win in the Fight to Save Linux by Anupam Chander of UC Davis.

  • From the Eldred Act www site: text of the Public Domain Enhancement Act; press release on its introduction;

    Slashdot discussion: Public Domain Act Introduced Into Congress

    Donna’s got a comprehensive set of links on the submission.

  • This is going to get the MPAA and others in a snit: Pioneer adds TiVo to DVD recorders. Granted, not at a cheap prince, but still. Slashdot discussion: Pioneer To Release TiVo/DVD Burner Combo

  • Via BBSpot: The Missing Future

    But there’s one group we haven’t heard from yet: The small software developers. For 25 years, these people were the lifeblood of the personal computer revolution. Their old vision is still the sexiest: Build great, innovative software, sell it to the users at a reasonable price, make millions of dollars, benefit humanity, retire young. And if you mistreat your users, you’ll loose them, because you have a hundred competitors. The old Silicon Valley was built on this dream, and it worked for two decades.

    But this dream is nearly gone. It’s getting crushed between the awful power of Microsoft, and the onrushing juggernaut of open source. A 30-person company can’t compete with Microsoft. And a 30-person company will have a hard time competing with 300 open source contributors giving software away for free and making their living as in-house developers (though it can be done).

  • The Berkman Center’s collaboration with the Program for Security in International Society at the University of Cambridge is described in the NYTimes today: A World Map to Outwit Web Censors [pdf]

    Last month the researchers agreed to collaborate on “mapping” the Internet for such blockages, whether they are imposed by governments, Internet service providers, corporations or even public libraries. The project will involve the enlistment of thousands of volunteers around the world, organizers say.

    “The general idea is that when we talk about the World Wide Web, ‘world’ and ‘wide’ are no longer to be taken for granted,” said Jonathan Zittrain, a Harvard law professor and co-director of the Berkman Center. “Our worry is that barriers are coming up left and right, and they are more likely to come up if they can come up stealthily.”

    (Looking up Jonathan and Ben’s project, I see that the Berkman Center has a new WWW look.)

    Update: WIred profiles how the Chinese Work Around Net Blocking

  • Yesterday’s Wired News had a short blurb on this topic; today’s NYTimes takes it further: Netflix’s Patent May Reshape DVD-Rental Market [pdf]

    The patent gives Netflix intellectual property protection over the technology at the core of its business: the way that a customer sets up his or her rental list; and the way the company sends the DVD’s. The patent also grants the company exclusive control over many other small parts of the process of online DVD rental.

    The patent, which was filed in 2000, has 100 claims over all. The company has other applications pending with the United States Patent Office, including one on the intricately designed envelopes it uses to send the DVD’s.

    “On the surface, the patent looks quite sweeping and quite meaningful,” said Arvind Bhatia, an analyst for Southwest Securities, a Dallas-based financial services firm. Depending on whether the patent or its enforcement is challenged in court, Netflix could use it to try to stop its competitors from setting up online rental services. Or it could charge royalties to other companies that license the patent, giving Netflix a financial advantage.

  • Here’s the current NYTimes piece [pdf] on the RIAA lawsuit push – although it’s surprising to say so, Hiawatha Bray’s piece from the Globe (below) is better.

  • William Safire continues his campaign against media consilidation, detailing in today’s NYTimes column the action on the Hill to rollback the recent FCC ruling: Big Media’s Silence [pdf]

  • After yesterday’s RIAA announcement of heightened litigation, one might wonder where the Boston Globe’s sentiments lie, given these the stories appearing in today’s paper:

    CNet has a roundup on the RIAA initiative: Record labels, Hulk target pirates

    And Wired asks: Are You in RIAA’s Cross Hairs?