Declan on CALEA for VoIP

Fahrenheit FBI

So what happens next? Here are some questions that could be asked of Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller:


  • The popular site lists dozens of free VoIP applications and programming libraries without FBI back doors. Fortunately for you, is run by VA Software of Fremont, Calif., and is under U.S. jurisdiction. Should VA Software be permitted to continue distributing VoIP programs that don’t guarantee access to the FBI?

“Permission Culture,” Exported

And Microsoft’s interesting (albeit failing) strategy to combat it: Microsoft Says Japan Battle Hurting Image

The head of Microsoft Corp.’s Japan unit acknowledged Tuesday that the U.S. software giant’s battle with Japanese anti-monopoly authorities over a controversial licensing clause has hurt its corporate image here.

But Michael Rawding, Microsoft Japan’s president and chief executive, said the company will continue to oppose a Fair Trade Commission ruling last month ordering Microsoft to retroactively remove the clause from its licensing agreements.

The clause prevents companies from suing Microsoft over patent and copyright infringement if they suspect their own software technology has ended up in the Windows operating system. The Fair Trade Commission has said it suspects the clause helps Microsoft unlawfully infringe patents.

Update: Slashdot – Microsoft Admits Japanese Monopoly Battle Hurting Image

Chinese Open Source Alliance

Open-source software alliance formed in China

A number of Chinese software companies have joined forces with overseas vendors such as IBM Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Intel Corp, and Novell Inc. to form the China Open Source Software Promotion Alliance, China’s first open-source software organization, several Chinese media reported Wednesday.

China Economic Net said the alliance, which includes China’s leading Linux vendor Red Flag Software Co. Ltd., marked a new stage in the promotion of open-source software in China and across northeast Asia.

Media Consolidation: Silvio Speaks

Little Steven’s Big Crusade

To hear Steven Van Zandt tell it, he had no choice. He had simply wanted to do a two-hour radio show, no big deal, on which he could play some of the garage rock he loves and have some fun. But when he pitched the idea to syndicators, what they told him forced him to turn his hobby into a crusade.

“They said, ‘Stevie, baby, we love you,’ ” he said, his eyes wide in mock disbelief, “but we cannot get rock ‘n’ roll on the radio anymore.’ ”

Copyright Issues in Digital Media

From the Congressional Budget Office: Copyright Issues in Digital Media (Cited in this CNet report: Congressional economists tackle copyright issues — the CNet article suggests a somewhat balanced approach, but only a careful read will reveal the agenda of the writers who, in classic (and generally appropriate!) economist’s style, insist on the standard “on one hand,… on the other hand” style.

From Chapter 4:

The wait-and-see approach, as well as strategies that would enact additional legislation to bring some balance to the copyright scales or create licensing fees, can be evaluated against the standard of economic efficiency. It is also possible to identify which groups might gain or lose under those different options. Indeed, the equity consequences of different legislative approaches to the current copyright debate–that is, how a particular strategy might redistribute benefits between copyright holders and consumers–are often easier to infer than are the impacts on economic efficiency. The evaluation that follows is not an assessment of the benefits and costs of specific legislative proposals but rather an examination of three broad approaches that the Congress may wish to consider: forbearance, compulsory licensing of digital content, and revision of copyright law

[..] Several factors weigh against the success of forbearance as an approach to the current copyright debate. First, although differential pricing schemes and the DRM technologies used to implement them may, in theory, offer the prospect of greater efficiency in markets for copyrighted works, they may, in practice, prove unsatisfactory. The same DRM technology that could allow copyright owners to stop the piracy of their works could also be used to deny consumers the benefits of the lower reproduction and distribution costs afforded by that technology. If the forces of competition are weak, moreover, producers may not have an incentive to seek returns by exploring product variations that match consumers’ willingness to pay. Alternatively, consumers may find that the new restrictions on their uses of creative content are unacceptable and attempt to thwart them.

[…] Other uses of copyrighted material may arise as the applications that enable them emerge. Although copyright law may otherwise allow for those uses, DRM technologies may restrict them. Indeed, the DMCA prohibits outright circumvention of a technological measure that protects access to a copyrighted work, even if access was circumvented to make fair use of the copyrighted material. In such scenarios, proponents of consumer rights claim that, without legislative intervention, technology could effectively “trump” copyright law.

Update: Slashdot’s Congressional Budget Office Studies Copyrights; The Register’s take: DRM is doubleplus good for business, Congress advised

When Colleges Aren’t Enough

In re: earlier postings: Napster performs for the troops

Bob Hope is no longer around to entertain the troops, but Napster is.

The company announced a deal Wednesday to bring its music service to active, retired and reserve military personnel via the Army and Air Force Exchange Service’s, also known as the Exchange Online Store. Subscriptions and downloads will be available at a discount to all branches of the military, as part of the CentricMall online shopping site, which has about 40 merchants and service providers.

Also, Napster offers cut-price grooves to grunts

Film industry hails ‘piracy win’

One more Valenti leer from the pages of the BBC WWW site, crowing over the demise of 321 Studios: Film industry hails ‘piracy win’ [via p2pnet]

US movie industry has hailed its settlement with a company making copying software as an important step in its fight against DVD piracy.

Software firm 321 Studios agreed to pay a “substantial” settlement to the Motion Picture Association of America.

[…]The MPAA says the financial settlement will go towards raising awareness of illegal copying and copyright theft.

Made It! (I Think)

Well, it’s been a real marathon and, even though I purposely bought OS X Server to avoid it, I have ended up learning ‘way too much about the innards of the various servers needed to keep this weblog (as well as the rest of my work!!) operational.

There are some rough spots, I’m sure, and I’ll appreciate any instruction/complaints.

Oh, yeah — and now I can get back to posting!!! (and catching up, and archiving, and ……)

Disney’s "Modest Proposal"

Donna points out Disney’s Not-So-Hidden Agenda

It seems I wasn’t far off the mark when I suggested that in a future dis-topia, tech mandates would be the new copyright, and the FCC would institute a “broadcast flag” for every single device capable of making a digital copy.

See also BoingBoing’s Disney asks FCC to lock up all the record-buttons , EFF’s Nose. Camel. Tent. and Slashdot’s Disney Suggests Mandating DRM On All Media

First the US Schoolkids, Now the UK’s

Acting to modify norms: ‘Stealing songs is wrong’ lessons head for UK schools

A half-day seminar on copyright education took place two weeks ago, and there the Times Educational Supplement reports that “Estelle Morris, the arts minister [she gave the keynote], education and music industry professionals expressed concern that children were increasingly downloading illegally copied material from the Internet.” And according to The Guardian EMI is planning a conference for teachers, and “working on lesson plans to explain copyright properly.”

Slashdot: British Schoolkids Get Copyright Education; see also Education or Propaganda? What’s the Diff? on the US program (all of Furdlog’s Junior Achievement posts)