August 29, 2003

2003 August 29 [8:08 am]

(entry last updated: 2003-08-29 13:31:26)

  • Yet another "revolutionary" music CD delivery format: Sony Disc Manufacturing Successfully Manufacture Kool Keith’s Newest Release “Thee Undatakerz” Using Consumer Surround Sound Inc. Revolutionary CS2CD Format

    When asked about the accompanying CS2ADC technology on the CS2CD, Mr. [William] Grecia [Consumer Surround Sound CEO] continued to add “CS2ADC prevent full 1:1 faithful cloning of a CS2CD disc as a whole. Unlike other restrictive commercial ‘copy protections’, CS2ADC allow full CD audio playback in PC’s and DVD players. CS2ADC is the perfect balance between retaining consumers ‘fair use’ rights, and the music industry need for a retail product that consumers cannot (re)create with a CD/DVD burner. Mass piracy and duplication of this format is not an issue for my clients.” When asked about the significance of a major record label’s replication facility manufacturing the CS2CD, he concluded “Major record companies can use this format to boost and revive retail. My indie clients are replicating at the same places the big guys are. My next goal is to make a big impression at the upcoming CES show.”

    Wonder what the "gotcha" is? Going to have to do a little research.

  • I missed Marci Hamilton’s latest from FindLaw’s Writ: The Era of Entitlement:

    What Alabama Judge Roy Moore, File “Sharers,” and the Catholic Church Have in Common

    Now that I’ve read it, Marci does make a couple of reasonable points, mostly about the foolish moral relativism embedded in the arguments made by those who claim that record company greed justifies copyright infringement. But I also have to say that the whole thing reads like she’s drunk some variant of the "neo-con Kool-Aid," and she likes it — at least, this article reads more like a neo-con screed in tone, if not in content.

    One of the real difficulties that she faces in making her argument lies in the perjorative nature of the word "selfishness." On one hand, the economic engines of the free market are fueled by the actions of consumers to satisfy their own interests. On the other hand, unbridled selfishness (or, possibly more appropriately, short sighted selfishness) is a recipe for a total social breakdown.

    Prof. Hamilton argues that "responsibility" is the answer to the mixed blessing of selfishness. I can agree that responsibility is part of it, but I would argue that respect for others is a more important dimension. The fact that the record industry has treated their customers as suckers to be exploited to the full extent possible, rather than ensuring that they receive good value for their money, it at least as much at the root of the music as any of the limitations of the infringing public - just as the failure of Judge Moore to respect the religious views of others (and the legal needs of society) and the failure of the Catholic bishops to respect the rights of their parishioners are equally emblematic of critical failures.

    We can’t afford to have sociopaths in our midst, whatever their agendas.

  • Today seems to be a day of protest over software patent proposals in Europe. Slashdot: Sites Shut Down to Protest Software Patents. From the OnlineDemo information page:

    The FFII organized an online demonstration against software patents. On August 27th more than 2500 web replaced their title page with a protest page against software patents. Days later, many are still doing so, and new ones are still joining. The idea is that with software patents many sites running/serving possibly patent infringing software have to go offline sooner or later. Via this demo, this effect is demonstrated in advance.

  • MS reponse to Eolas: Microsoft preps IE changes in response to patent ruling

  • JoHo points to Jane Doe’s petition to intervene in the RIAA subpoena to Verizon

  • Mary Hodder discusses the state of trademarks in the wake of the Franken/Fox suit: I’m Trademarking "Trademark®" - she forgot to include "freedom of speech" (only one of several claims)

  • For some lighter fare, see this link [via TechLawAdvisor]: RIAA Claims Music On Car Radios Meant Only For Original Vehicle Owner!!!!

  • Derek’s back from Calornia and loaded for bear, with two lengthy posts (first, second) on the Video Pipeline case (copyright infringement by a video firm constructing trailers for promotion of film rentals) [earlier Furdlog entry]. His posting goes into the characterization of fair use in depth, ultimately concluding that "[t]his is why fair use is like flipping a coin."

    Or, more importantly, why there is a need to define fair use in a way that doesn’t require the [expensive] application of a judge - chilling effects, anyone?

  • Infringing Actions points to the global reach of cellphones, ringtone customization and copyright litigation: Music Rights Society Accuses MTN of Copyright Infringement

  • Bruce Sterling on the fact that revolutionaries, digital or otherwise, need to do more than just depose the offensive order: Freedom’s Dark Side

    So Europe’s open source revolutionaries have a great model for fighting the power. But they rarely consider the aftermath. As the former Soviet Union sadly demonstrates, if you depose the system and don’t replace it with anything, you unleash not only altruism but a host of dark traits no less human yet far more destructive. When that happens, you may well get things like well, like this remarkable souvenir I bought for about $1 in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    It’s a pirated audiotape of “turbofolk” music by Ceca (pronounced “Tsetsa”), the busty pop-star widow of notorious Balkan war criminal Zeljko “Arkan” Raznatovic. Ceca is in prison at the moment, mostly because her latest boyfriend allegedly helped assassinate the prime minister of Serbia to protect the illicit revenue of Belgrade’s Zemun gang. When outraged avengers raided Ceca’s crib, they found the place crammed with automatic weapons. That’s like discovering Avril Lavigne has her own cruise missiles.

    Thanks to this disaster for the people of the Balkans, I’ve got some nifty music to play in my walkman, and the information was practically free. Ceca won’t get my money. Nor will her publisher, her backup musicians, her kids by the dead warlord, or her fellow mobsters. The Bosnians would never give Ceca her cut, because (a) they’re amazingly crooked and (b) she’s a Serb and they hate her guts. So, in an orgy of contempt for cops, lawyers, and WIPO, they steal her music, repackage it with lousy graphics and worse sound quality, and sell it for peanuts to passing Americans.

    The denizens of Open Cultures want their connected collectivism to liberate the world from regulations, markets, and intellectual property. But what if victory only clears the way for corruption of their beloved culture? When I listen to Ceca, I have to wonder what dark passions and ancient evils have been held in check by the grim totalitarianism of the profit motive. We may yet find out.

  • Off-topic: An NYTimes op-ed piece use’s a classic Melville character to describe a certain languor that comes over me from time to time these days, as well as warning that resisting it is of vital importance: When Life Offers a Choice Between the White Wall and the Brick Wall [pdf]

    I’ve been thinking about Bartleby lately, probably because my job compels me to follow world events. The mess in Iraq presents two seemingly unacceptable possibilities: staying and having our soldiers killed daily, or leaving and ushering in chaos. The only thing worse than confronting the North Koreans about their nuclear weapons program, it seems, is not confronting them. On the domestic front, omnibus bills in Congress routinely tie the necessary to the intolerable. After the blackout Republican leaders refused to separate out a proposal to upgrade the power grid from a larger bill that gives the energy industry tax breaks, and the right to drill in Alaskan wildlife preserves. For Californians, sending a strong message that the recall is an outrage means pulling the lever beside Gray Davis’s name.

    I have friends who now talk cheerily of self-imposed “news blackouts,” taken on to spare themselves the latest reports of corporate malfeasance, layoffs and killings of bus riders by suicide bombers. In today’s world of bleak alternatives, however, Bartleby’s story is a sobering reminder that what life requires is remaining engaged — preferring, and acting on those preferences. Contemplating Bartleby’s sad end may give us some strength as we continue to stand up for troubling foreign policy options, settle for anemic legislative victories and vote for the lesser of two, or more, evils.

  • As the clock ticks toward Microsoft’s deadline for taking MSN’s instant messaging protocol private (and locking out the authors of IM clients), MS is making an offer it hopes won’t be refused: Microsoft seeks cash from IM client makers.

    Microsoft isn’t targeting rival IM network operators such as America Online Inc. or Yahoo Inc., but makers of clients that use the Microsoft MSN IM network and compete with Microsoft’s own MSN Messenger client.

    [...] “Running an (IM) network is expensive,” said Lisa Gurry, group product manager for MSN at Microsoft. “We can’t sustain multiple other people’s businesses, particularly if they charge for certain versions of their software. We’re introducing licensing processes for third parties like Trillian.”

    Microsoft is making changes to its network that will lock out “unlicensed or unauthorized third-party clients.” The first phase of those changes is scheduled to go into effect mid-September, followed by a complete lock-out on October 15, Microsoft has said.

    Writing an operating system is expensive, too, yet Microsoft seems to *want* people to build upon that; IM is really *that* much harder to run? Or is Microsoft just yearning for another opportunity to extract monopoly rents?

  • KaZaA is working to move up in the world. InfoWorld: Kazaa launches premium service; CNet News: Kazaa retuning promises faster downloads

    Kazaa Plus offers enhanced search, enabling people to start searches that run every 30 minutes for a 24-hour period that could yield up to 9,000 results. Customers will be able to download files from up to 40 sources at one time, up from only eight in the advertising-supported version. The update also includes enhanced virus protection.

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