Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill
policy-making, technical standards development, and technological
innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we
know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property
conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of
copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying
and the law, and more.
Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this weblog are those of the authors and not of their respective institutions.
The deal is primarily focused on books that are still under copyright, but no longer in print. Books that are in print are still to be sold as before; books that are out of copyright are still free for anyone to use.
This also bears on orphaned works since the existence of the Registry and its potential as a cash source should cause people to step forward and reclaim abandoned copyrights. Definitive copyright ownership is a boon to many people; for example, those who want a simple way to find such rights holders and negotiate other forms of reuse.
All parties in the settlement seem to be at pains to emphasize the benefits to individuals - readers - who will be able to build their own libraries of books that otherwise they'd have to spend hours scrounging for on places like Abe Books. In addition, the large-scale digitization of such works might give a boost to print-on-demand enterprises.
I'm not terribly inclined to sign up for another service and was wondering if anyone had any experience with these guys?
They apparently have software that scans the music on your disk and adds songs it finds there to your online collection so you can stream them from the lala site into any browser. They claim to have licenses for about 6 million tracks, which is a pretty small sample when you consider the universe of all songs, but hey they're new.
You can also pay to add more songs. It appears to cost 10 cents for unlimited streams and if you buy the MP3 that 10 cents is credited toward the price of the download, which they claim is 89 cents and all DRM-free. They also have links to get you to purchase conventional CDs that they're reselling from labels and artists - prices on those are variable, as you'd expect.
There are the usual sorts of social features, where you can see and play samples from other peoples' song lists. They are also promoting the Twitter-like notion of "following" another person and discovering new music by watching what the followed person adds to his or her collection. There's also a points system for getting new people to sign up, getting them to follow you, and so on. Right now the points seem to be a pure popularity metric (they call it "influence") and don't seem to translate into anything beyond ego-boo.
U.S. Attorney Thomas O'Brien has asked for an injunction that would seize the Mongols' trademarked name. If the order is approved, any Mongol would no longer be able to wear a jacket displaying the gang's name or emblem.
"It would allow law enforcement to seize the leather jackets right off their back," O'Brien said.
I suppose, in the sense that a trademarked logo is a tangible asset with some value, it could be seized in a law enforcement action. But, really, do you want to be the guy assigned to take a biker gang member's jacket off his back?
Godin is arguing against the idea that you should take what you love and turn it into a business. This love-into-business notion is circulating in a couple of forms now, all of which proposing to tell you how to spend your time "monetizing" your blog or hobby or avocation, whatever it happens to be. If you Google the phrase "fire yourself" you get over 1.2 million hits.
I'm torn - on the one hand I think Godin has a point. Most people aren't going to make a penny off of whatever it is they love. There just aren't that many people wandering around with cash in their hands looking for unemployed bloggers to "monetize." On the other hand, I think it's critical that we do come up with new business models and have people testing them out because it's so screamingly clear that current models are BA-ROKEN.
(Interestingly, Godin's blog entry from today is about the evolution of marketing, a key component of monetizing one's art. And apparently he's got a new book coming out on the topic.)
The authors are somewhat known as authors and creators themselves, and the series will culminate in a business-model paper. Both the paper and the blog entries are released for noncommercial use under a CC license.
Given the early filing date it's not going to be trivial to find prior art if people want to challenge this patent. The amount of non-patent prior art cited is small, but there are an impressive number of related patents cited. (Including, to my great surprise, my own patent.) Scanning those it appears that Apple has at least touched on all the related work I can recall from back then.
The judge's decision noted that the proposed Lexicon
copies distinctive original language from the Harry Potter works in excess of its otherwise legitimate purpose of creating a reference guide.
Some reports note that there may be an appeal of the decision, or the publisher may use the decision as a guideline for which material was objectionable and could be excised to result in a Lexicon that could be published and stand up under fair use scrutiny.
If Apple gets a ruling it doesn't like that applies across the entire EU that could force some kind of change, with likely echos on this side of the pond. I don't really expect that, but also lost in Monday's news was the story about Wal Mart shutting down its own music download service.
The problem is that they didn't just take down the service for buying new music - they're shutting down the DRM servers. So if you bought music locked into Wal Mart's electronic box you are out of luck. You may be able to burn your tunes to a CD and then re-rip them, but probably only if you do it before October 9.
Cory makes the point emphatically when he points out that the current scenario is, roughly: buy DRM-encumbered music legally and get screwed; acquire illegal but unencumbered copies and life is good.
My guess is that if download services continue having these problems, Apple will have a lot to worry about before the next royalty rate review rolls 'round.