2003 July 16

(entry last updated: 2003-07-17 08:22:43)

A little catching up to do – and a thought on all the recent news on the perceived decline in P2P of late. Sure, it might have something to do with the RIAA threat, but it’s important to remember that the consensus #1 file sharers out there are presently on summer break in the northern hemisphere and are thus cut off from 24-7 broadband – seasonal variations should not be ignored; and it will be interesting to see if the RIAA actually elects to institute new lawsuits when schools are back in session.

  • Someone‘s having a little fun with Siva and Donna, among many others! (although, if you read her entire post, she knows it’s a joke.) But it gets better!

    It really does look like the Metallica WWW site news area. But that’s because it directly pulls the graphics from the site. Even the URL is a joke – http://www1.scoopthis.com/411/met_uf/stc_met_uf.htm. But I’ve saved a screen shot for when Metallica’s hosting company messes with this hack – click though the thumbnail to see the screen. The text is a hoot:


    We have elected to pursue legal action against Unfaith, a Canadian band using chords (E & F) traditionally associated with Metallica. We intend to agressively defend our rights in this matter to the fullest extent of the law. It’s nothing personal against the band in question, as we intend to do the same to anyone else using the same chords in that order.

    We’re not saying we own the E chord, or even the F – that would be ridiculous. We’re just saying that together, people have grown to associate them with our music, and their continued use in the same song causes confusion, deception and mistake in the minds of the public.

    We are fighting this fight for our fans, who don’t deserve to be subjected to this confusion… just as we appreciate their support through this.

    WHOIS doesn’t get you too far, but far enough:

     Vizhions Multimedia
     P.O. Box 5424
     Station B
     Montreal, QC H3B 4P1
     Domain name: SCOOPTHIS.COM
     Administrative Contact:
        Ashley, Erik  domains@erikashley.com
        5556 Wilbrod Paquin
        Montreal, QC H1T 372
     Technical Contact:
        Ashley, Erik  domains@erikashley.com
        5556 Wilbrod Paquin
        Montreal, QC H1T 372
     Registration Service Provider:
        ETM Network, admin@etmnet.com
        This company may be contacted for domain login/passwords,
        DNS/Nameserver changes, and general domain support questions.
     Registrar of Record: TUCOWS, INC.

    Reading this, and then going to http://erikashley.com, we find, first, that Erik is a graphic designer (wonder who Iventa hired to put Metallica’s site together?) and second, that Erik has a website for his band….

    and it’s Unfaith, the "defendant" in the claimed prosecution


    Cute, and a derivative use likely protected under the parody exception!!

    7-17 Update: Apparently this got posted at Fark.com with a pointer to a bogus MTV.com site and without the "Satire" label by a band member; here are the Fark community’s [mixed] comments – as well as the homepage for ScoopThis!; image/link/text archive)

    This Fark comment is terribly insightful:

    2003-07-16 03:18:59 PM NaTaX

    Sure it’s fake, but for a minute everyone who reads this thinks “damn, metallica has gone off the deep end” before the higher brain functions kick in. This is one of the best and most clever pieces of satire I’ve ever read. Striking so close to the truth makes it very believable.

    Note to Metallica: you might want to consider why people are first going to believe this is true. You have farked with your fan base and aleinated [sic] those of us who were fans of yours since you started. Mp3’s aren’t a problem for you, making bad music and suing fans is what is causing your sales to decline. People don’t want music from bands who’s [sic] members they hate.

  • And Acacia’s going to get away with it?!? Broad patents on streaming media upheld

    Acacia edged slowly into the Internet scene last year, when it began seeking patent licensing revenues from a long list of adult entertainment companies. Its claims initially raised few eyebrows beyond the panicked adult-media businesses, but it became clear that Acacia’s targets ultimately included the biggest Internet multimedia companies, cable giants, and Fortune 500 companies.

    The company’s claims are based on a series of patents it contends cover virtually all types of on-demand transmission of compressed audio or video, whether online, over ordinary cable-TV cables, or through other means.

    The first mainstream company to license Acacia’s technology was Virgin Radio, a popular Internet radio site and division of the Virgin media conglomerate. That company said it often received frivolous patent claims but that Acacia’s appeared to be valid.

  • Another Slashdot discussion centers on a student’s paper looking at statistical trends in copyright registrations – open the PDF or DOC link, rather than the URL given in the Slashdot article (unless you like popups and Gator): Statistical Analysis of Copyright Registrations. It’s a little weak, but there are some statistics to consider (or re-consider, since the data is also available) – Data file 1, Data file 2 – you need something called JMP-IN to read them, though)

  • A new Freenet release announced at Slashdot: Freenet 0.5.2 Released; with a nice description of the normative consequences of its design; the pluses and minuses

  • Looks like Aimee Deep’s got a new look (pic URL)

  • I mention in the lower part of this posting a whitepaper from RightsCom tooting their horm about their DRM language – according to this LATimes report, there may be some trouble on the horizon: Ruling Boosts InterTrust Claims [pdf]

    A federal judge has given a significant boost to InterTrust Technology Corp.’s patent infringement claims against Microsoft Corp., accepting InterTrust’s definitions of critical terminology and chastising Microsoft for failing to substantiate many of its arguments.

    The two companies compete in the market for anti-piracy technology – in particular, software to protect digital music, movies and other goods delivered electronically. But with Microsoft winning far more customers for its digital-rights management tools, Santa Clara, Calif.-based InterTrust has shifted its focus to licensing and enforcing its patents.

    Intertrust has a whole section of their WWW site devoted to their litigation with Microsoft.

  • This should be interesting: A congressional look at IP crimes

    A key legislator in the House of Representatives said Tuesday that he will release the first “Intellectual Property Crime Index” next week. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, the chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees copyright law, said the index would accomplish what he asserts the Department of Justice statistics currently don’t do well: track intellectual property crimes and analyze trends over time.

  • Lisa Rein continues to update her ILaw video archive, with extensive annotations.

    On a related note, Yochai Benkler has graciously sent me a link to get me better educated about the formal notions of pragmatism to correct the confusion I expressed in my ILaw summary. When I get that digested, I hope to be ready to take a shot a some revisions.

  • More on layers and internet policy (via Doc Searls): The Layers Principle: Internet Architecture and the Law

    In this paper, we shall argue, pace Lessig, that the end-to-end principle does not fully and accurately capture the fundamental relationship between Internet architecture and sound or optimal regulation of the Internet. Layers analysis reconceptualizes the end-to-end principle, yielding a richer and more accurate model of the fundamental architecture of the Internet. The layers principle restates the normative implications of that analysis as a set of principles suitable for use by Internet policymakers. We argue that the layers principle captures all of the content of the end-to-end principle, but that the layers principle does more, providing guidance for regulators where the end-to-end principle is silent or indeterminate. That is, the normative content of the layers principle is a superset of the normative content of the end-to-end principle.

    This is a lengthy document that bears careful reading, but it appears that the premise is that the layered architecture of the internet should be used to structure its regulation as well. Regulations that span the layers (the DMCA, as an example) should receive particular scrutiny, because preservation of the integrity of the layers supports innovation by maintaining transparency. I’m going to have to chew on that a bit (and, at 100+ pages in length, I should have plenty of opportunity!) (Update: And a gentle reminder from Donna that this paper has already seen some good commentary!)

  • Cory Doctorow points to this O’Reilly Net article, MS DRM is pure smoke, that suggests that the published APIs for Micorsoft tools provide more than enough facilities to remove the DRM from WMA files.

  • Interestingly, Siva has given a different spin on yesterday’s discussion of initiatives to stop filesharing of Christian music: WWJD: What Would Jesus Download?

  • For a refreshing dose of TechCentralStation that’ll get your blood moving this morning, try this:

    Share and Share Alike?. Some new rhetorical tricks to consider – introduction of a piece of economic jargon ("free rider") and the usual leaps of logic – for example:

    Copyright is designed to curb such free-riding. As the Supreme Court has explained, copyright, creates the “marketable right[s]” that “suppl[y] the economic incentive to create and generate ideas.” To effectively market these rights, copyright owners must be able to limit access to paying customers. Copyright enforcement actions, such as the actions the RIAA is taking against Internet distributors, thus protects “the engine of free expression.”

    Not to mention that we should all aspire to be consumers:

    The RIAA’s initiative should be welcomed by everyone since it is critical to protecting incentives to create the high-quality digital media products of the future. If copyright protection is to extend to the Internet, the widespread piracy on the Internet must be checked; through education where possible, but if necessary through traditional means such as legal action. Without effective enforcement, copyright law will be an empty shell on the Internet, and everyone — especially consumers — will lose.

  • Reed Hundt’s critiques of the FCC and US broadband rollout are echoed in this opinion from CNet: Wrong turn in the Net’s future

    [T]he Bells appear to have persuaded the Federal Communications Commission to rule that they no longer have to share their Internet networks with competitors. Such an action hands complete control of the telephone Internet market over to the Bells and defeats the purpose of the Telecommunications Act before giving it time to work.

    It also makes it nearly impossible for rival Internet providers to establish themselves in the local market, which leaves consumers with less choice and higher prices.

    The U.S. is the world leader of the technology industry, but has so far conceded its potential leadership in broadband access. Once these circumstances reverse themselves and governments make a stand, we will see great strides made in the Internet and telecommunications sectors. The U.S. Internet market holds too much promise for it to be squandered through a mixture of misguided policies and a lack of conviction.

  • Exportation of the DMCA to Chile is back in the news: DMCA gives blueprint for Chile deal

  • The prevalance of P2P in the enterprise is cited in this CNet article, with a strong presumption that its only use is illicit file sharing: Study: Corporate P2P use is common. As someone who’s just set up file sharing infrastructures for my research group, albeit with a centralized server for the moment, the presumption of implicit illicitness ascribed to P2P is getting uglier. For example, see this Wired article on Oyez, a source of recordings of Supreme Court hearings.

  • Intel’s push to roll out hotspots in conjunction with the Centrino release takes on a new relevance: Hot spots elude RIAA dragnet – plus, it suggests another motive for the recent spate of wi-fi naysayers [pdf]….

    Townsend and others’ similar experiences, no matter how limited today, point to a slowly widening hole in the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) recently announced drive to identify and ultimately sue what could be thousands of file swappers online.

    Wireless Net access through free, open or publicly available hot spots is proving to be a last bastion of privacy on an Internet where the veil of anonymity can now easily pierced. Wi-Fi access points give anyone who possesses the appropriate computer equipment within a radius of about 300 feet the ability to reach the Internet.

  • RightsCom is pushing their DRM tool in this white paper: The MPEG-21 Rights Expression Language – A White Paper – lots of cheerleading, but the list of related implementations is worth a look, as is the basic architecture concepts, if only as a basis for discussion of the missing elements

  • A press lresae from the NPD Group reveals earth-shattering information: More Can Be Done To Stem The Tide Of CD Sales Declines, Says NPD Consumer Survey

    According to the results of a recent survey of more than 6,000 music consumers conducted by The NPD Group, more than one-third of consumers claimed to have purchased fewer CDs this year versus last year. But it’s not all bad news for the recording industry: Consumers report that enhanced CD features, in conjunction with better marketing of those features, would make them more likely to buy music commercially.

  • Billboard reports that Avril Lavigne has released an EP exclusively to iTunes.

  • Slashdot’s review of Joseph Menn’s All the Rave: All The Rave; and a discussion on KaZaA Lite’s claim of identity protection: New Kazaa Lite Protects Identity

  • SA Today look at the Linux-Munich deal, and Microsoft’s tactics in the face of the open-source threat: Linux took on Microsoft, and won big in Munich [pdf]; Slashdot discussion: Details of Linux-in-Munich Deal Revealed

  • Market research via Slashot: Evaluating a System for Selling and Delivering MP3s?

  • From the BBC: