2002 May 17 Entries

(entry last updated: 2002-05-17 22:34:18)

Nothing like starting the day with a typical ZDNet screed from David Coursey. With luck, the day will get better.
Update: Well it did for Shawn Fanning, anyway. Unfortunately, 2600 is not getting a break. And Declan McCullagh is not a happy camper.

Off for a bike ride – maybe I’ll get some time to work on this more later……

(5 items below)

  • A truly shallow contrarian view of the pending ultimate demise of Napster is online at ZDNet Anchordesk. Given that many of us believe that Coursey’s editorials are usually consequences of his ability to channel the evil side of Bill Gates, it’s clear that his skills are broader than that – here he channels the worst of Hilary Rosen and Jack Valenti in what has to be the most limited summary of the issue online yet.

  • Yesterday the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the CARP webcasting royalties proposal. The website gives the testimony of the head of the RIAA, a representative of DiMA, Arbitron and several webcasters. Worth slogging through to see the current status of the debate. And there’s more information, though little discussion, on Slashdot.
  • Declan McCullagh reports that 2600’s appeal was declined without review by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. All that’s left is the Supreme Court – otherwise, linking to DeCSS will get you in really hot water.
  • Bertelsmann buys Napster – how many lives is that now? Slashdot chimes in
  • Declan McCullagh writes in Wired.com how, notwithstanding the controversies that seem to consume him, the DMCA is still largely seen as a great bill within the Beltway. And he’s pretty nasty about it.

2002 May 16 Links

(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!

2002 May 15 Links

(entry last updated: 2002-05-15 22:09:48)

Most of what I found today consists of followups to earlier postings. The advantages (or disadvantages) of being in the office late at night, I guess. Update: The clear big news of the day is the breakdown of the BMG/Napster discussions, and the eulogies for the apparently soon-defunct Napster.

(9 items listed below)

  • An early article and a more detailed followup on Napster from the New York Times – and there’s a Slashdot discussion that’s started up. And GrepLaw has some other links on the subject.
  • The Register has a discussion with an Apple exec that includes a discussion of the implications of the controversial Microsoft licensing scheme for Apple’s OS X plans.
  • ZDNet News reports that Sony is going to use Scour’s services to distribute music online – a company that many, including Sony sued into near-bankruptcy in the past. Is a pattern emerging, or am I just the suspicious sort?
  • GrepLaw has more information on the Runner’s World deep-linking controversy (in yesterday’s links).
  • Brad King gives the history and consequences of Napster in his online obituary at Wired.com – The Slashdot community weighs in, too.
  • EPIC joins the SonicBlue case on privacy grounds.
  • Slashdot has an interview of Siva Viadhaynathan (author of Copyrights and Copywrongs).
  • Fortune has an article on the current contretemps between Hollywood and Silicon Valley that inspired the CBDTPA. It misses the point almost completely, but it does show the depth of feeling on both sides. But, maybe that’s all you can expect of Fortune.
  • Late News: The order requiring SonicBlue to spy on their ReplayTV customers stemming from the current legal action was stayed this afternoon. There’s a discussion at Slashdot.

2002 May 14 Links

(entry last updated: 2002-05-14 23:10:00)

Eventually, I suppose that I’m going to have to explain what’s going on here — but I don’t have the time today! Soon, I hope.

Anyway, back to the salt mines. A couple of new links, including a great comic that follows up on the Celine Dion CD and Mac lockups.

Late night updates (following the TPP Student Banquet), including some links on the proposal by Verizon and KaZaA to get compulsory licensing for digital music!

(10 items listed below)

  • I added a great comic from Help Desk to my comics/comedy collection today. Touches on one of the recurring themes of the discussion of the way that the new Celine Dion CD screws up Macs – "what can you expect with that kind of music!" This comic is drawn by a long-term OS/2 user, Chris Wright, who remains (like many of us) endlessly bitter about the way in which Microsoft made life impossible for IBM’s excellent operating system.
  • The Register has more details about a story posted yesterday from Slashdot about the low tech methods (e.g., marker pens and tape) that are being used to circumvent CD copy protection. An endless cycle of spy-versus-spy resumes.
  • CNet News reports that AOL-Time Warner is going to sell a personal video recorder to compete with ReplayTV and Tivo, but they’re leaving one thing out – the ability to skip commercials easily. Slashdot has a discussion, with several other interesting links.
  • ZDNet’s Gwendolyn Mariano also has a piece on the effects of copy protected CDs on Mac, but her spin seems to suggest that it’s somehow Apple’s fault that their computers are having this difficulty. A peculiar take, given that, by definition, these CD’s do not meet Phillips’ so called "Red Book" standard.
  • Update: However, Andy Patrizio’s article in Wired quotes the Apple user agreement, which seems to indicate that the use of a non-standard CD is a violation of the terms of use of the product – and there’s been no comment from Apple to clarify this so far.
  • Wired.com points out what the “content” community is going to have to figure out – beating digital copying/”piracy” is going to depend upon delivering something that cannot be delivered in digital form (See, for example, this opinion piece from kuro5hin). In this case, Brad King points out that watching a DVD or a bootleg cannot match the “big screen” experience, and the more that is done to refine that distinction, the less important the issue of copying will be. He contrasts it with the RIAA copy protection approach, and draws some conclusions.
  • A May 9 article in the New York Times tries to suggest that HMV’s poor IPO showing is a result of piracy. Maybe, but it may also be a question of poor management in the face of a new technology for distribution.
  • Now the Rodale Press Runner’s World has decided to get into the “deep-linking‘ mess. Wired reports on another suit in the style of the recent spat started by the Dallas Morning News.
  • Late addition: KaZaA and Verizon are resurrecting an idea that has been floated before – compulsory licensing on the Internet for songwriters. A USA Today article says that they are looking to pay the artists directly. This idea was raised during House hearings a year ago, and got little to no traction – probably because Napster wanted it for their own service. (Compare with theRIAA request for rulemaking on streamed downloads and limited use copies – a weaker form). Slashdot discusses the Verizon and KaZaA proposal here.
  • Late addition: Wired marks the passing of Napster, with the resignation of the CEO and a set of nasty options for the employees left. The King is dead; long live the King!

More 2002 May 13 links

(entry last updated: 2002-05-13 23:18:45)

Unbelievable! All I had to do was check into things while waiting for a late night telephone call, and all sorts of links appeared! On the other hand, I’m still getting the hang of using this weblog, so I lost my first pass at the list. But, I think I have put everything back.

(7 items listed below)

  • An update to a Wired.com article about putting images into digital music. Slashdot discusses the article as an application of steganography in digital music.
  • More irony from the realm of the DMCA. Sony has served Blizzard with a DMCA cease and desist upon the discovery that there was a major in-house P2P system sharing MP3s. Now maybe they know what the bnetd guys are going through. Slashdot has a discussion, too.
  • The New York Times has an article on the fact that, in spite of the concerns raised at the time, the Yahoo privacy policy change has not had much fallout. Slashdot agrees.
  • Those pesky CD copy protection technologies are getting more press. The Celine Dion CD has demonstrably caused problems, as well as those of her sisters Shakira and J-Lo. The Slashdot discussion has links to other topics, including how to beat some the systems, and it is itself a followup to earlier discussions.
  • An article in MacUser UK talks about the problem, as well as the Apple posting on the tech support boards.
  • The Register has an article examining the likelihood that pending EU legislation will match (or exceed) the DMCA anti-circumvention provisions for digital media.
  • Finally, Time Magazine has an article about Fairtunes.com and how they take the record companies out of music distribution.

2002 May 13 Entries

(entry last updated: 2002-05-13 19:16:12)

1 article added today. Aside from days that I don’t get a chance to do any updating, this is a new low! I think that’s just because I added so many yesterday. Or, it’s because today’s the first day of my trying to manage both the links site and this new weblog element.

(1 item listed below)

  • Sonicblue Balks at Court Order; Reuters; Wired.com. The ReplayTV lawsuit is currently embroiled in how to deal with a court order that requires essentially everything that Replay can know about a viewer must be reported to the court.