2003 July 01 – AM Links

(entry last updated: 2003-07-01 11:58:47)

  • This week’s Tangled Web from Billboard points out that REM is endorsing the sharing of MP3s of concert performances, etc, a la the Grateful Dead.

  • A trend or just a blip: MP3.com Removes “High-Bandwidth” Streams. The Slashdot article wonders whether this is a consequence of the appearance of iTunes, or whether something else is afoot.

  • Wired News covers the Intel v. Hamidi decision, the 4-3 California Supreme Court decision that limits the degree to which trespass can be used to keep individuals from using company e-mails: Ex-Intel Coder Wins E-Mail Case. Here’s the NYTimes article: Intel Loses Decision in E-mail Case [pdf] (note the keyword in the NYTimes URL – with which side of the case do you think the Times’ sentiments lie?)

    Lawmeme: Hamidi wins!

  • Ed Felten joins Derek’s first and later posting in commenting on the AIMster decision: AIMster Loses

    I noted three interesting things in the opinion. First, the court seemed unimpressed with Aimster’s legal representation. At several points the opinion notes arguments that Aimster could have made but didn’t, or important factual questions on which Aimster failed to present any evidence. For example, Aimster apparently never presented evidence that its system is ever used for noninfringing purposes.

    Second, the opinion states, in a surprisingly offhand manner, that it’s illegal to fast-forward through the commercials when you’re replaying a taped TV show. “Commercial-skipping … amounted to creating an unauthorized derivative work … namely a commercial-free copy that would reduce the copyright owner’s income from his original program…”

    Finally, the opinion makes much of the fact that Aimster traffic uses end-to-end encryption so that the traffic cannot be observed by anybody, including Aimster itself. Why did Aimster choose a design that prevented Aimster itself from seeing the traffic? The opinion assumes that Aimster did this because it wanted to remain ignorant of the infringing nature of the traffic. That may well be the real reason for Aimster’s use of encryption.

    Lawmeme also has comments: Aimster Loses!

  • Blubster gets some Wired News ink this morning: Giving Sharers Ears Without Faces, and offers up a little more detail on the how of its workings

    Blubster developer Pablo Soto of Madrid said his music-swapping service relaunched today as a secure, decentralized system providing users with anonymous accounts.

    The MP2P network (short for Manolito Peer-to-Peer) on which Blubster is based consists of more than 200,000 users sharing over 52 million files, according to Soto. The update is also said to include a new, streamlined file-distribution method that disassociates transfers from specific users.

    […] "The biggest privacy weakness of our previous version was the ability to query a list of shared songs for any user — now that can be disabled," Soto said. "It may be possible to gather IP addresses from the network, but not data about what content specific users are sharing."

    Blubster uses an Internet data transfer protocol known as UDP for content look-up and transfer negotiating. Unlike the TCP protocol that serves this function in other file-sharing networks, UDP is a so-called “connectionless” method that doesn’t reveal links between nodes or acknowledge transmission in an identifiable manner.