Drew Clark calls attention to a little-reported aspect of the Verizon/Disney deal: "[A] careful reading of the press release put out by Disney and Verizon shows how Verizon is agreeing to do copyright tracking that it refused to countenance on behalf of the RIAA."
Update: Says Fred von Lohmann (via email): "The press release says that Verizon retains the option to either terminate OR wait for a subpoena. So I think, fairly read, Verizon has NOT retreated from its earlier practices. But the mistake is understandable; I thought the same thing until someone pointed out the 'or.'"
An AP story in which Steve Jobs calls some Cartel execs "greedy" is getting a bit of play. Don't let it fool you - Apple is still on the road to extremely cozy relations with the Cartel. This is a minor tiff that changes nothing of substance. Jobs just doesn't like being pushed around. Both he and the Cartel can do math and those numbers look very good right now both for Apple and the big four music companies.
The San Diego band Switchfoot, explaining why it has decided to help fans circumvent industry-mandated DRM: "It is heartbreaking to see our blood, sweat and tears over the past two years blurred by the confusion and frustration surrounding this new technology...We refuse to allow corporate policy to taint the family we've developed together." Update: Out-law.com notes that Switchfoot is a Christian band, and "is not encouraging people to steal" but aims to "improve the accessibility of CDs that have been purchased legitimately by fans who then encounter limitations on how they listen to the music."
The UK copyfighters who are creating an EFF-style digital rights group now have a blog, helmed by none other than Corante's own Suw. Check out the BBC article on the group, with photos of a filmmaker, a podcaster, a blogger, and an activist (yep -- it's Cory), plus the question, "Are you a digital citizen?"
A terrific interview with Patricia Santangelo, the mom who is standing up to the RIAA in court after being accused of copyright intringement through filesharing. Also worth the read: a post by Joe Gratz on strategy in the case: P2P Defendant: RIAA’s Own Downloads Can't Prove Infringement.
In light of a
possible likely Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., Jeffrey Rosen's excellent NYT Magazine piece on the kind of constitutional battles we'll see in the future is an even more valuable read. Of special interest to copyfighters: Section VI -- Property, Free Expression and the Right to Tinker.
A member of the Pho list, commenting on the news that Singapore's Creative Technology has secured a patent that it claims covers the way music tracks are selected on a device (like, say, the iPod) where the user navigates through a hierarchy of three or more successive screens on the display of the player: "It is my honest belief that the idea of filing things into categories can be tracked as far back as ancient Sumeria."
At around 2:00 a.m. last night, "DVD Jon" Johansen finished reverse-engineering Microsoft's encoding used in the NSC format, and promises that the increasingly popular VLC cross-platform media player and streaming server will soon support Multicast Windows Media Streaming sessions.
Brad Hill @ The Digital Music Weblog, responding to the John Borland piece on the DRM Microsoft is building into Windows Vista: "[Borland writes,] 'In short, the company is bending over backward -- and investing considerable technological resources -- to make sure Hollywood studios are happy with the next version of Windows.' Bending over forward seems more like it, but I can understand Microsoft's position."
Derek Slater @ Deep Links, commenting on the news that the international arm of the MPAA is using general search warrants to tackle piracy in Delhi, India: "These kinds of warrants are ripe for abuse. That's why they're prohibited in this country under the Fourth Amendment, which was prompted by British abuses of power during colonial times. The MPA has the right to go after those suspected of infringment all around the globe, but it should be ashamed of using tactics that ignore basic civil liberties."
Joe Gratz has an amusing post showing what it's like to look at the world through copyfight-colored glasses.
Via Siva Vaidhyanathan, a new website to help you keep up with copyright scholarship. Check out the latest law review articles by some very familiar folks -- including Sivacracy's Ann Bartow and Copyfight's own Jason Schultz and Ernie Miller.
Jon Stewart, responding to a reporter's suggestion that the producers of "The Daily Show" would take steps to stop people from downloading the program from P2P networks: "We're not going to shut it down -- we don't even know what it is. I'm having enough trouble just getting porn. ...The Internet is just a world passing around notes in a classroom." (Via Derivative Work.)
Neil Gaiman has finally gotten permission from his publishers to post an MP3 excerpt from his new audio book. Do authors need to get similar permissions when they want to post excerpts from their own written works?
Here is where you can weigh in on the (de)merits of the Broadcast Flag, which not only threatens to return but has actually garnered new support [PDF] by the Center for Democracy and Technology. Public Knowledge responds here.
Given the ongoing conversation on libraries I couldn't resist blinking this piece from Ananova: Library Lends Out People. The idea is that you can "borrow" a person for an hour to chat about their lives.
William Patry, recalling the legislative process that brought us the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992: "[Our] subjective intention and that of the Committee, expressed in the Committee report, was to exempt all noncommercial private copying. ...[Because] I thought I was just fussing about drafting styles ..., I let it go. That was a big mistake. I missed that the phrasing was the way it was because it masked, in plain view, the real point, the severe limitation of the exemption to copying from a digital audio recording device. Shame on me."
David Warsh's latest piece over at Economic Principals explains why his column isn't a blog (I think he should get over himself, but whatever) and has some interesting remarks on the profession of journalism from a long-time insider. He's also about to try going with a subscription-supported model, at which I wish him luck.
Reminder: Many of the sharpest minds on the Internet will gather tomorrow at the Picker MobBlog to talk about Fred von Lohmann's new paper, "Measuring the DMCA Against the Darknet" [PDF]. Check it out.
If you're interested in tracking how the major media report stories (or fail to report, see this entry, for example) you might want to add Media Matters for America to your blogroll. In my limited experience they seem to be pretty left-liberal oriented and coverage is pretty scattered. But there are enough gems to be worthwhile, I think.
With nearly six years at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society under my belt, I can offer a ringing endorsement of it as a place to work and learn. John Palfrey in particular is a fair, kind, and inspired-yet-practical leader; he knows how to guide creative people without stifling their creativity. The faculty members are each one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime characters with complementary skills for keeping the Berkman Center on the cutting edge of intellectual and technological exploration. The center is hiring right now; if you read this weblog, you probably want to work there, but (perhaps) don't know it yet. Check it out.
Siva Vaidhyanathan recommends a First Monday piece by John Willinsky that looks at the "unacknowledged convergence of open source, open access, and open science" -- developments that share "a commitment to economic principles based on (1) the efficacy of free software and research; (2) the reputation–building afforded by public access and patronage; and, (3) the emergence of a free–or–subscribe access model." Looks fascinating.
Berkman Fellow Urs Gasser channels Fred von Lohmann in this Wired piece last week on an inducement-like clause in the proposed EU Directive [PDF] that would criminalize indirect copyright infringement: "Just within Europe you would have to care about many different standards and about what they exactly mean, and what 'inducing' and 'inciting' exactly mean...You may have intended for the software to share files within a company, but later (copyright) movies are exchanged...Would you want to put money in such a firm?"
Update (August 8): For more in this vein, check out Irish pioneer pilloried for file-swap software, in which a tough-talking Conor Flynn, the technical director of an Irish information security company, criticizes Ian Clarke's Freenet because it can be used for "malevolent and malicious purposes." Adds Flynn, "The ability to remain anonymous while surfing the web is dangerous."
Update #2 (3:13 p.m.): Techdirt has a post picking up on the anonymity angle: "The worries are that such systems will be used by terrorists -- but then ignores the idea that in taking away anonymity it opens up the very real possibility that the lack of privacy will be abused, allowing the government to take away free speech from those they disagree with."