2003 July 21

(entry last updated: 2003-07-21 16:31:55)

  • SCO makes another move: SCO makes Unix copyright claim
    (Slashdot: SCO Awarded UNIX Copyright Regs, McBride Interview)

    The company, which is at the heart of a controversial lawsuit over Linux code, said that it plans to offer licenses that will support run-time, binary use of Linux to all companies that use Linux kernel 2.4 versions and later.

    The company said prices for the licenses for its Unix System V source code would be announced in the coming weeks. SCO is holding a press conference at 9 a.m. PT Monday to unveil more details of the program.

    “Since the year 2001 commercial Linux customers have been purchasing and receiving software that includes misappropriated Unix software owned by SCO,” Chris Sontag, senior vice president and general manager of the company’s SCOsource intellectual property division, said in a statement. “We intend to provide them with choices to help them run Linux in a legal and fully-paid for way.”

    If they’ve registered for copyright, then the source code must now be available to determine just what it is they are talking about, right?

    The Register’s writeup is (surprise!) a little more snide: SCO says its time for Linux users to pay up; here’s Wired News’: SCO: Buy License, Avoid Suit

    Update: On my way to pick up lunch, I found myself realizing that the stunning story here is the claim by SOC that "it had received a copyright on its Unix source code…." That’s a pretty amazing claim, when you think about it. What code? None of the Berkeley trees? How has the Novell claim been resolved? In whose mind? And, without a court test, what’s it worth?

    Given the arguments about what was actually sold to SCO (see this Findlaw article), their claim gets odder and odder, since two parties cannot "split" copyright – that’s what lawyers mean when they talk about "exclusive rights." The press conference should be particularly interesting. (This Cringely article is worth a reread in the interim.)

  • More on the freedom to tinker: Reverse Engineered 802.11b+ Drivers. As this comment (quoting the article upon which this Slashdot discussion is based) shows, the issues surrounding this problem are a little more subtle than most, bringing in the FCC among others.

  • The "single use DVD" gets a little more coverage – DVD’s Meant for Buying but Not for Keeping [pdf]

  • An odd project on Amazon’s part to compete with Google with its own set of copyright issues: Amazon Plan Would Allow Searching Texts of Many Books [pdf]
    Slashdot: Amazon Plan Would Allow Text Search Of Books

  • A look at the cable-DSL battle: Some Bet the Broadband Belongs to Regional Bells, Not Cable

  • Speaking of derivative works: Rearranging an Ad Jingle So That It Now Jangles [pdf]

    For the project, more than 30 audio artists captured speech and music samples from commercials, public service announcements, campaign ads and other promotional spots, then rearranged them into short sonic collages that often subvert the source material’s original message. On one track, snippets excised from ads for over-the-counter drugs were reassembled into a horrifying litany of side effects, concluding “one daily dose provides 24 hours of headache, diarrhea and abdominal pain.”

    The album was organized by Every Man, the online alias of Jay Kennedy, a 30-year-old computer systems administrator in Lakewood, Ohio, and a host of a weekly experimental show on a community radio station. Rather than overtly parodying advertisements he found most irksome, Mr. Kennedy said he decided to use them as the raw ingredients for creations that would be “far more palatable than something that’s shoving an ad message down your throat.”

    Mr. Kennedy used the Internet to issue a call for contributions in early 2000. Most tracks were completed soon after, but it took nearly three years to raise the $2,000 it cost to manufacture 2,000 CD’s, as well as to find a duplication factory that would press the discs without having the proper legal releases for the audio samples.

    Half the discs, he says, will be surreptitiously dropped, unpriced, into CD retailers’ bins; the rest will be given away. Mr. Kennedy says he expects most people to download the tracks from the Web site.

    Mr. Kennedy picked the title – “Free Speech for Sale” – partly to suggest how words used for selling were being liberated.

  • It looks like StreamCast has seen enough of a drop-off in the network that they’ve come up with another privacy strategy, albeit one that may expose them a little more: New Morpheus&tm; 3.2 File-Sharing Software Released with Innovative Privacy & Security Features (mirrored at mi2n

    Morpheus 3.2 users will be able to directly link to a worldwide network of public proxy servers. A proxy server acts as an intermediary between two Internet users so that one user does not know the identity of the other. Additionally, users of the new Morpheus 3.2 software can link directly to third party websites that publish “blacklists” of IP addresses, believed by its contributors, to be among those that are used to snoop into the privacy of users. If a user chooses to click on any of these blacklisted IPs, those IP ranges will be blocked from the users computer.

    Derek and commenters seem to think that proxy servers might work, although the Verizon appeal is going to have a strong effect on the likely answer to the question.

  • From Slashdot:

  • The Register: Deep links are legal in Germany. Official; Slashdot: Deep Linking Legal in Germany

  • Today’s Globe describes what is seen as a new accommodation between tech firms and Hollywood: Tech firms bow to Hollywood [pdf]

    It’s like a shotgun marriage gone oddly harmonious: Hollywood and the consumer electronics industry are now working closer together after a few years of antagonism in courtrooms and on Capitol Hill.

    It could be the tough economic times or a distaste for further legal showdowns, but many top gadget makers are now trying hard to please the purveyors of entertainment.

    More often than not, that is giving Hollywood’s copy-protection interests a virtual seat at the product design table.

    A Faustian bargain? The New York Times Article: ReplayTV’s New Owners Drop Features That Riled Hollywood [pdf]

    D&M’s decision to alter its product represents what some observers consider a major shift in power toward providers of entertainment content and away from the manufacturers of devices that deliver that content to homes and the consumers who ultimately see it. If advertising revenues and program licensing fees are to continue to support content, entertainment industry executives argue, their interests must be accommodated.

    Critics see this not as accommodation, but as capitulation.

    “Companies are under considerable pressure to bow to the wishes of the entertainment industry. This is unfair and anticompetitive,” said Jeff Joseph, vice president and spokesman for the Consumer Electronics Association, a manufacturers’ trade group. “If advertisers and broadcasters are seeing their traditional business model threatened, then it would behoove them to consider alternative business models.”

    […] Program creators have argued that those delivering their copyrighted work, like makers of recording devices, have no right to distort it or make it easy for others to do so. “Companies that manufacture hardware must have a conversation with program providers who want to be assured that their programming will be handled in a certain way,” said Robert M. Schwartz, a lawyer representing some plaintiffs, including AOL Time Warner, in the Sonicblue suit.

    Note that the "derivative works" argument is being used to defend commercials in television programs…..

    Doc Searls’ comments: You are what you have no choice about eating