July 28, 2003

2003 July 28 Am [6:54 am]

(entry last updated: 2003-07-28 12:00:44)

For what it’s worth, and noting that Larry’s moved his blog, everyone should know that http://furd.com/furdlog will also get you here. I haven’t published it, but I’ve had the domain name for some time.

  • A few more bits from the NYTimes today:

  • Checking out the BBC site today led me to this July 10 article, Electronics firms accused over piracy, which is notable for the unearthly arrogance exhibited by the IFPI representative and the BMG chairman quoted in the article. Basically, we get an assertion that the record industry was happy to adopt CD technology because it was to their advantage, but it wasn’t up to them to understand what the implications of the technology might be (particularly the open format specification vs. copy protection). This is sheer nonsense - there were plenty of people who pointed out that this could be a problem; the industry simply elected not to invest in the development of a technology that would have met their needs more effectively - and they wanted to exploit the economics of the network effect in the adoption of the technology. It’s a stunning look at a very self-centered perspective on the problems.

    “We are not technocrats, we are humble creators of music.

    “It is a complete myth to say it is the record labels responsibility to create technology.”

    The record industry has been criticised for not embracing developments such as file-sharing or dealing with the CD piracy threat.

    But Mr [Tim] Bowen [of BMG] said: “We are not Apple and we are not Microsoft.”"

  • Siva’s third article in his series: P2P: the new information war? The topic this time is the issues of control and anarchy in the information economy when examining the progress and methods of scientific exploration.

  • Apparently, Mr. Gates likes the SCO strategy so much that he’s working an angle himself: Gates: Microsoft IP Finds Its Way Into Free Software (a worthwhile comment). The GrokLaw posting I cited yesterday is a worthwhile companion read: The Tide Turns; as well as this update: MS: Linux Will Be Hounded Over IP For 4 to 5 Years

  • Slashdot picks up the German court’s block (on constitutional grounds) of the Bertelsmann suit that claims that their financing of Napster in its end-stages constituted vicarious infringement: German Constitutional Court Blocks Napster Suit (the meta debate in this set of comments alone is worth a look!)

  • From The Register: Napster 2.0 by Christmas; SiliconValley.com: Napster re-launch due by Christmas

  • The RIAA subpoena spree: Subpoenas Sent to File-Sharers Prompt Anger and Remorse [pdf]

    The popularity of file-sharing software, which allows users to copy music, movies and other files from one another’s computers, has long benefited from a sense of impunity among users. By tearing away the Internet’s veil of anonymity, the record industry hopes to scare people away from using the software and crack a cultural consensus that tends to regard file-sharing as a guilt-free activity.

    [...] “The practice of filing thousands of lawsuits is a game of chicken, and not a sustainable model for the industry or the courts,” Mr. [Jonathan] Zittrain said. “The overall puzzle for the industry is how to truly convince the public that this is in the public interest.”

    He said there was no obvious historical analogue to the scattershot subpoenaing of individuals in copyright law enforcement, which has traditionally been aimed at businesses or people who are profiting from illegally copied material. He likened it instead to raids during Prohibition, or red-light cameras that catch drivers disobeying traffic laws when they think they are unobserved. Both have given rise to social outcry, Mr. Zittrain said, even though they were used simply to enforce the law.

    The Register has this tale of one kind of consumer response: RIAA blocks attacks with TST-Secure-OS

    Update: And Tech Law Advisor summarizes the Jonathan’s intent in his quote (and possibly Amy’s direction as well) with this posting: Should consumers be treated the same as competitors?

    Zittrain is drawing two distinctions here. The first is between use of the

    copyright and use of the work. A competitor uses the copyright, whereas a

    consumer uses the work. The second is that historically, copyright is a tool

    used against businesses i.e. competitors, i.e. the person selling pirated

    copies on the street, and not against consumers.

  • A topic from last week’s Politech gets NYTimes treatment today: Out of the U.S. and Out of Luck to Download Music Legally [pdf]

    But she said that consumers who do not have a credit card with a United States billing address cannot download iTunes, because Apple has rights to sell over 200,000 songs in its database only in this country.

  • Michael Powell defends his position in today’s NYTimes op-ed page: New Rules, Old Rhetoric. His argument seems to center on the fact that no one liked the status quo, so therefore change must be good. And HBO got lots of Emmys, so media concentratio will make it possible for local broadcasters to compete, since we all know that it’s the little local broadcasters who are anxious to buy up more stations.

  • A FoxTrot look at the music industry [local]

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