May 16, 2002

2002 May 16 Links [7:23 am]

(entry last updated: 2002-05-16 23:49:26)

Today’s highlights include a more serious article on the alliance between KaZaA and others to press for compulsory licensing of online music. In conjunction with some strange policy pronouncements by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on webcasting royalties, it looks like we have a couple of brutal fights brewing here!

(10 items listed below)

  1. Roger Parloff writes about the CBDTPA in an opinion piece at law.com. The closing paragraph is pretty clear:

    Though my guess is that creators can adequately protect their digital wares without legislation of this sort, if events should prove me wrong, the Hollings legislation should still be defeated. If controlling digital property requires government intervention on this scale, then there should be no such control. Digital technology will have rebuffed the legal system’s attempts to tame it, anti-protectionists will have won the war, and it will be time for protectionists like me to raise the white flag. We can’t imperil everyone’s freedom and prosperity in a quixotic quest. The game has to end somewhere.

  2. The New York Times’ Circuits section has an article by Michelle Slatalla that gives a practical look at the online sale of used books in conjunction with new versions at Amazon.com. The Publishers’ Guild complaint about this practice just makes them look stupid and greedy.
  3. Another Napster obit can be found in today’s Boston Globe; and there’s a late-breaking one in Salon, too.
  4. CNet News.com has posted an article on the idea floated by KaZaA, Verizon and others to get compulsory licensing on the table. Much more backgound than the earlier article I posted - for example: “Compulsory licensing is political dynamite from the point of view of the record companies and other copyright holders.” You bet - the article goes on to posit that this may be the consequence of an electronics industry backlash against the CBDTPA.
  5. Business Week Online has an opinion piece decrying the erosion of ‘fair use‘ and ‘first sale’ (see, for example, the Amazon.com conflict over used book sales) under recent court decisions, particularly in the ElcomSoft case and the ReplayTV case.
  6. The Chronicle of Higher Education notes that plans to pressure, via boycotts, academic journals to put content online have fizzled, and new strategies are being tested. This article has a number of useful links to give background on the issue.
  7. The Creative Commons WWW site goes live today/tonight. Founded by many luminaries in the field of digital copyright law, it seeks to develop instruments to promote and sustain the public domain.
  8. John Dvorak is usually just shrill, and this commentary is now too late for Napster, but his solution for music ‘piracy’ is a fun read. (Thanks, Alan!) The funny thing is that what he suggests (reducing CD prices) is so obvious, yet so alien, to the industry, they probably will go broke just to spite us - and then they’ll be forced to sell their catalogs to Rhino, who’ll make a killing!
  9. An extensive article at SFGate.com by Benny Evangelista summarizes the state of play in P2P sharing of movies, with a multidimensional look at the issue, motivations, etc. on each side of the issue. For fun, there also is a top 20 list of available films as of today.
  10. Another article from SFGate is on the subject of webcasting, and the statement by Sen. Leahy that the two groups better get together on the CARP licensing rates before Congress gets dragged into it. Frankly, everyone should be very afraid of that, given the following Leahy position: “Artists should be paid,” said Leahy, who said he listens to Internet- streamed radio. “But small companies should be allowed to survive.” Sounds to me like he’s saying that the viability of the small business’ revenue model should have nothing to do with royalty levels - and that’s bound to start a really nasty fight!

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