Ruling on Broadband Regulation at the Local Level

Court ruling points way to broadband regulation (Slashdot discussion: Court Ruling Points Way To Broadband Regulation)

A U.S. appeals court has rejected the Federal Communications Commission’s request to rehear a case, in a move that could prompt local governments to regulate the cable industry.

In essence, the court said that cable networks’ broadband services have an element of telecommunications services in them. The rejection could pave the way for municipalities to force cable companies to share their broadband Internet lines with third parties.

This opinion is going to merit some careful reading, because, while it may open up cable to local provider competition, the article says it does so by making cable (at least in part) into a telecommunications service — which means a whole bunch of new legislation/regulation suddenly obtains — CALEA for the internet?

MIT Network In Trouble

I’m not sure what’s up, but the MIT network is tragically slow — only one of the three nameservers can be pinged and the round trip time to on a ping is in the stratosphere.

Florida On RIAA Suits

Florida Court Sends RIAA Away

Record labels must file individual lawsuits against suspected file sharers rather than lumping them together in a single suit, a federal judge in Florida ruled Thursday.

The Recording Industry Association of America has sued nearly 2,000 file swappers in jurisdictions around the country. In this lawsuit, the music trade group bundled 25 suspected file swappers who share the same Internet service provider, Bright House Networks, into one legal action.

With this ruling, the RIAA must refile the lawsuits individually, marking another setback in its campaign to sue swappers. Judge David Baker of the U.S. District Court in Orlando is the second judge to rule that the RIAA cannot group individuals together. Last month, a Philadelphia judge made a similar ruling.

“Beyond the circumstances that the defendants used the Fast Track peer-to-peer network and that the defendants access the Internet through Bright House, no other facts connect the defendants,” Baker wrote.

"Text Copying" — Next?

Electronic Snoops Tackle Copiers

New markets are finally opening up for plagiarism-detection software, a mainstay of academia that has struggled to expand its reach beyond term papers.

[…] But experts say the biggest potential market might be the publishing industry, which one day may find itself coping with the same kind of piracy that bedevils movie makers and music producers.

Some law firms are already using one type of technology “to essentially troll the Internet for the next Stephen Ambrose,” said plagiarism-detection software developer John Barrie, referring to the late historian accused of peppering his bestsellers with snippets stolen from other people’s work.

[…] [Plagiarism-detection software developer John Barrie] predicts that text piracy will soon haunt authors and their publishers.

“With books beginning to become digitized … and with a generation of readers growing up using a computer to read their journal articles and books, the publishing industry is about to be visited upon by a problem the likes of which will make the music industry’s problem look like a baby’s game,” Barrie said.

[…] “I’d caution anyone against jumping to conclusions based on what the software spits out,” said Wendy Seltzer, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “There can be legitimate reasons for parallelism between two works, when neither has come in contact with the other.”

She adds that not every case of text borrowing is a copyright infringement. Book reviewers, for example, would find themselves out of business if it wasn’t for the principle of fair use, which allows writers and broadcasters to excerpt copyright material in order to comment on it. “False claims or misguided claims are as much of a problem as actual infringements,” Seltzer said.

As for plagiarism, “you can say (an action) is ethically and morally wrong, but there may be no law against it,” she said.

Well, in this climate, that’s just the rationale that’s needed to get cracking on writing one, isn’t it?

See also: Reuters Uses Search Against Copyright Abuse {via EFF MiniLinks]

MTV Reaches Royalty Agreement

Another skirmish is the battle over who’s promoting whom (And the smile on the face of the Tiger; alt): MTV in Deal on Royalties With Labels in Europe

MTV Networks Europe capitulated to the threat of a boycott by European independent record labels, and agreed on Thursday to a new three-year deal that dropped a proposed 55 percent cut in royalties for playing rock videos.

European trade groups that represent the labels said that they would look to the United States next, where they plan to help local independent producers organize to force MTV and other music broadcasters pay royalties for using their music.

Major record labels have global contracts that spell out the royalties they receive when MTV plays their videos anywhere in the world, but the independent labels generally have such contracts in their local area. MTV pays no royalties at all to independent labels in the United States.

Filesharing Claims More Victims?

Well, that’s what (a lazy reporter at?) the NYTimes says. EMI to Cut Artist Roster and Close 2 CD Plants

EMI, which also produces the Rolling Stones and Coldplay, is doing better than the industry as a whole, where sales slipped more than 7 percent in 2003, according to estimates from IFPI, an anti-piracy trade group, because consumers continue to download music illegally from the Web. On Tuesday, music industry representatives said they would take legal action against 247 people for illegal file sharing in Europe, the first time that legal action has been taken outside of the United States.

The bulk of the EMI job losses stem from the outsourcing of compact disc and DVD manufacturing. [ […]

Music producers industrywide have been increasingly outsourcing the making and distribution of their discs. In July of last year, AOL Time Warner sold its CD, DVD and video manufacturing units to Cinram. Sony and the Bertelsmann Group still produce their own compact discs, but analysts maintain that it is only a matter of time before all the major recording companies outsource manufacturing and distribution.

“That’s where the music business will end up, without a question,” said Mark Harrington, an analyst with Bear Stearns in London.

EMI will also be cutting about 350 “niche and underperforming” artists from its roster, the company said, and combining some music labels and some marketing departments. The company did not specify which artists would be released. EMI let go about 400 artists and eliminated 1,800 jobs in 2002, with positive results.

Reading the whole article, there’s certainly a question in my mind what the discussion of the filesharing suits has to do with the rest of the story. Although I may just be biased, consider that all you have to do is substitute “workers” for “artists” and this just becomes an all too common story about corporate downsizing to maintain the bottom line…….

Thank Goodness No Mod-chipping!

Wouldn’t want to break the law, now, would we? Making Music With Speak & Spell

Hacked musical instruments, and the distinctive sounds they produce, will be the focus of Bent 2004, a weeklong festival of circuit-bending music and art that opens Thursday at Spaceworks at The Tank in New York City.

“Circuit bending” is the art of modifying existing electronics, usually those found in children’s toys, to create new sounds and unique musical instruments. Festival events will include a concert series, a gallery exhibit of “bent” instruments, how-to workshops for beginners and experienced artists, and a family day for fledgling benders.

The idea for the festival was sparked by Spaceworks curators Mike Rosenthal and Daniel Greenfeld’s desire to host a hands-on musical event, one that visitors could participate in. Anyone can be a circuit bender, Rosenthal and Greenfeld insist. [emphasis added]

[…] “I want people to feel empowered and enthusiastic. I want them to go home and take apart all their toys,” said Rosenthal.

“Open those toys up. Spend some time with them. Cut up the circuits and hang them on the wall. Hook them up to speakers and listen to them. See what’s going on in there. Toys are cheap — there’s no reason to be afraid.”

So far, anyway…….