Copyright in Blogspace

Perez Hilton takes their best shotspdf

It’s hard to know whom to sympathize with in this fight.

On one side: the paparazzi who stalk celebrities in their moments of greatest vulnerability — at doctors’ offices, with their newborns, when they are falling-down drunk.

On the other: a blogger who helps himself to those photos, scrawls puerile comments on them, and posts them on his immensely popular and profitable website.

The owners of one L.A. photo agency are so frustrated with what they consider to be blatant theft by self-styled “gossip gangsta” Perez Hilton that they’ve decided to make a federal case of it.

On Nov. 30, X17 Inc., known for the aggressive pursuit of celebrity prey, filed a $7.6-million federal copyright infringement lawsuit against Hilton, alleging that he has used 51 photos without permission, payment or credit.

[…] This conflict is more than a juicy legal fight between two controversial enterprises. It’s also the manifestation of a cultural shift in how those obsessed with pop culture get their fixes. These days, no one has to wait for People’s weekly appearance on the newsstand or even “Access Hollywood’s” nightly roundups to find out about Nicole Richie’s latest arrest or shockingly low weight.

A Dream Denied? Or Deferred?

When reality strikes (and a topic from an earlier ESD general exam question): U.S. Is Dropping Effort to Track if Visitors Leave

In a major blow to the Bush administration’s efforts to secure borders, domestic security officials have for now given up on plans to develop a facial or fingerprint recognition system to determine whether a vast majority of foreign visitors leave the country, officials say.

[…] A senior policy analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies, Jessica Vaughn, said the government had long been too deferential to big businesses and travel groups that raised concerns that exit technology might disrupt travel and trade.

“I worry that the issue of cost is an excuse for not doing anything,” said Ms. Vaughn, whose group advocates curbing immigration. Domestic security officials said they still hoped to find a way to create an exit system at land borders. “We would to do more testing,” a spokesman for the department, Jarrod Agen, said. “We are evaluating the initial tests to determine how to move forward.”

Gartner Prognosticates

And predicts unhappy things — or is it just wishful thinking: Gartner predicts Vista to be last major Windows

Gartner said it believes that by 2010, 60 percent of worldwide mobile phone users will be “trackable” via an emerging “follow-me Internet” technology as growing demands for national safety and civil protection relax some privacy limitations.

Marketing incentives will also push users to forgo privacy concerns, it said.

Some Cultural Forensics at Tower Records

Lessons from Tower’s leftoverspdf

As its going-out-of business sale enters its last throes, 40% off on all CDs has given way to 70% off. Prices may go even lower before the flagship store closes its doors for good, perhaps as soon as this weekend.

[…] Why is Michael Bublé’s shelf stripped bare and Barry Manilow’s chock-full? Did Bublé write the songs that make the whole world sing? Imagine getting a hip replacement and being replaced by some hip replacement. Oh well. In the volatile world of pop music, you have to be strong. You have to be invincible. So why is Helen Reddy still up for grabs?

Barbra Streisand — available!

Paris Hilton — sold out! (In more ways than one.)

“Cool!” — But How Does It Work?

And why I should care: Nike+iPod raises RFID privacy concerns

“Basically, the kit contains a transmitter that you stick in your sneakers and a receiver you attach to your iPod. This allows you to track things like time, distance, pace and calories burned. Pretty clever,” Schneier wrote on a blog post titled “Tracking People by their Sneakers,” published Tuesday. “However, it turns out that the transmitter in your sneaker can be read up to 60 feet away.”

[…] “To me, the real significance of this work is how easy it was,” Schneier said. “Unless we enact some sort of broad law requiring companies to add security into these sorts of systems, companies will continue to produce devices that erode our privacy through new technologies. Not on purpose, not because they’re evil–just because it’s easier to ignore the externality than to worry about it.”

Related, from yesterday’s Globe: Locating pals at MIT, privatelypdf – the iFind site

Trying To Prise Open The Oyster

I don’t recall that Bayh-Dole was a university initiative, but I haven’t really focused on its legislative history, either: I.B.M. and Universities Plan Collaboration

The initiative, which I.B.M. is expected to announce today, is a break with the usual pattern of corporate-sponsored research at universities that typically involves lengthy negotiations over intellectual property rights.

The projects are also evidence that American companies and universities are searching for ways to work together more easily and less hampered by legal wrangling about who holds the patents to research. Those negotiations, according to specialists, can take a year or more — slowing the pace of innovation and prompting companies to team with researchers in foreign countries.

[…] “Universities have made life increasingly difficult to do research with them because of all the contractual issues around intellectual property,” said Stuart Feldman, vice president for computer science at I.B.M.’s research laboratories. “We would like the universities to open up again.”

Targeted, Viral Marketing

Continuing to push the envelope cited in Turow’s Niche Envy: Online, P.& G. Gets a Little Crazy

Marketers are eager to experiment with those new methods because it is increasingly difficult to get the attention of busy, jaded consumers with conventional television commercials and print advertisements. Also, nontraditional campaigns can use technology that enables them to be aimed more precisely at the audiences that would most appreciate them — and avoid those who might not get the joke.

EU © Fee Overhaul Scrapped

EU abandons plans to overhaul copyright levies

In a surprise move, the European Commission said Wednesday it is shelving plans to overhaul Europe’s rules on copyright fees, after intense lobbying from France and from groups representing artists and authors.

[…] The Commission wanted to harmonize the rules and scrap levies on most hardware. Its aim was to reduce the fees, which in some cases increase the price of goods dramatically.

[…] The Commission has been planning to harmonize copyright levies across the E.U. since 2000. Since then the case for scrapping most levies has grown stronger. Digital rights management software, which allows copyright owners to track the copying of their works, has become commonplace.

The Commission’s climb down sparked an angry reaction from the companies and industry groups pushing for a change to the system.

Leahy Speech at Georgetown

Ensuring Liberty And Security Through Checks And Balances: A Fresh Start For the Senate Judiciary Committee In The New 110th Congress

Americans’ privacy is a price the Bush Administration is willing to pay for the cavalier way it is spawning new databanks. But privacy rights belong to the people, not to the government. They need to stop treating the privacy of ordinary Americans as an expendable commodity.

When it comes to protecting Americans’ privacy, what we have today are analog rules in a digital world. We are way overdue in catching up to the erosion of privacy, and the Judiciary Committee now will help to bring this picture into focus. This will be one of our highest priorities.

[…] New and improved technologies make data banks and data mining more powerful and more useful than they have ever been before. They can be important tools in our national security arsenal, and we should use them in an effective way. But data banks are ripe for abuse and prone to mistakes without proper safeguards. A mistake can cost Americans their jobs and wreak havoc in their lives and reputations that can take years to repair. Mistakes on government watch lists have become legendary in recent years and would be comical if not a tragic reflection of dangerous government incompetence. Not only do we need checks and balances to keep government data bases from being misused against the American people, that is what the Constitution and our laws require.