CopyCense Clippings v. 0.4

CopyCense Clppings: Week of July 24, 2006

This week, we’re introducing two new components to CopyCense Clippings: an Article of the Week and a Quote of the Week. Our first AOTW goes to the Web site Defective by Design, which published an interview with New York attorney Ray Beckerman; while our first QOTW goes to Washington Post business columnist Steven Pearlstein for his withering critique of Big Music.

Article of the Week

Defective by Design. Transcript of Ray Beckerman Talking About the RIAA Law Suits. July 20, 2006. A great interview with one of the few attorneys who is willing to represent citizens against the RIAA. Beckerman discusses what the process is like, and gives a bit more credence to our contention that these Luddite judges know nothing about the technologies that support today’s digital environment, and therefore should not be allowed to decide on these cases until they do. (Audio also available.)

Quote of the Week

Steven Pearlstein. A Sound Marketplace For Recorded Music. July 19, 2006. Pearlstein scorches Big Music’s resistance to TiVo-like devices. And this is a killer lead (especially from a business columnist, most of whom are rabidly pro-industry): “Here in Washington, there is nothing more amusing than watching business interests work themselves up into a righteous frenzy over a threat to their monopoly profits from a new technology or some upstart with a different business model. Invariably, the monopolists (or their first cousins, the oligopolists) try to present themselves as champions of the consumer, or defenders of a level playing field, as if they hadn’t become ridiculously rich by sticking it to consumers and enjoying years in which the playing field was tilted to their advantage.”


  • Electronic Frontier Foundation. Frequently Awkward Questions for the Entertainment Industry. No date. A new FAQ for Big Content that pushes beyond their public relations frame. Some of the questions allow for a little more wiggle room than we would allow. But others (such as “The RIAA has sued over 20,000 music fans for file sharing, who have on average paid a $3,750 settlement. That’s over $75,000,000. Has any money collected from your lawsuits gone to pay actual artists? Where’s all that money going?”) are right on point.
  • Antony Bruno. Zune Gets In the Ring. Billboard. July 29, 2006. Courtesy of Ars Technica, it is confirmed that Microsoft wants to compete directly with Apple on the iPod’s turf.
  • Randy Dotinga. Mr. Comics Talks Comics. Wired News. July 21, 2006. Superman. Spider Man. X-Men. The Incredible Hulk. All of these characters have made it to the big screen over the past decade, pointing to the growth of the comic book character. Scott McCloud talks about the development of the comic book character, and trends to look for.
  • EFF Deep Links. Digital Copyright Showdown in P10 v. Google. July 21, 2006. EFF provides a summary of its position in Google’s appeal of a February district court decision against it earlier this year, including a brief (.pdf) it filed on behalf of it and the Library Copyright Alliance supporting Google in its appeal to the Ninth Circuit.
  • Peter Wayner. Technology Rewrites the Book. The New York Times. July 20, 2006. Print-on-demand continues its inexorable march toward legitimacy.
  • Kelefa Sanneh. Mixtapes Mix In the Marketing That Fuels the Hip-Hop Industry. The New York Times. July 20, 2006. It seems after years of lucrative anonymity, mixtapes have become a fascination for the mainstream press. But the mixtape phenomenon points to another issue: if there is such a demand for these items, and they cannot be sold legally because of copyright restrictions, might it be time to rethink the rights-exceptions balance?
  • Stan Gibson. Is India Losing Its Wage Edge? eWeek. July 20, 2006. At some point, even a flat world becomes more expensive.
  • Deborah Rothberg. Geeks Versus Suits: The Great Boardroom Schism. eWeek. July 20, 2006. This problem has been going on for so long. We wonder if other countries — like, the ones the U.S. is “competing” against — have the same problem.
  • Douglas Heingartner. Maybe We Should Leave That Up to the Computer. The New York Times. July 18, 2006. So it seems that that managers can be replaced by mathematical decision making models, says a Dutch sociologist. Junk science or more evidence that the world is flat?
  • Ars Technica. Hacking Digital Rights Management. July 18, 2006. “We’re going to revisit the history of the most famous DRM cracks.”
  • Juan Carlos Perez. AFP: Google News’ Indexing Boosts Case. InfoWorld. July 18, 2006. One of the things that has to happen in a flattened world is a quicker disposition of cases, particularly technology cases. Agence France Presse’s copyright infringement lawsuit against Google was filed in March 2005. Yet 15 months later, the case has not come to any sort of resolution. The issues in the case are too important to drag on undecided for years on end. This InfoWorld piece provides an update.
  • Listening Post. YouTube’s ‘New’ Terms Still Fleece Musicians. July 18, 2006. Before you upload, read.
  • Keith Bradsher. Dare Violate a Copyright in Hong Kong? A Boy Scout May Be Watching Online. The New York Times. July 18, 2006. Big Content has already started a campaign to recruit youngsters that perpetuate its narrow vision of copyright, complete with “training” and “education” at the primary school level. Be afraid; be very afraid.
  • The University of Chicago Law School Faculty Blog. The Next Video Machine? July 17, 2006. An interesting post on the copyright ramifications of video storing and sharing by Chicago law professor Randy Picker.
  • Freedom to Tinker. Taking Stevens Seriously. July 17, 2006. Princeton professor Edward Felten has a more measured reaction to Sen. Ted Stevens’ remarks about net neutrality.
  • BusinessWeek Online. The Dude Tube. July 17, 2006. Instead of video games, now we have television programming devoted to watching others play video games.
  • Greg Sandoval. Movielink To Allow Movies Transferred to DVDs. July 16, 2006. OK, let’s get this straight, Movielink (a joint venture of MGM, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Universal Studios and Warner Bros., which effectively is the film arm of Big Content) now wants us to believe that it will let us burn movies we download onto our computer — after which we can burn that movie onto DVD. But in burning the DVD, we will download copy protection onto the medium. After the Sony BMG rootkit scandal, Big Content has absolutely no credibility when it comes to implementing digital rights management. And, as far as we’re concerned, it lost any good faith that it would act fair or evenhanded concerning DRM.
  • Amanda Termen. Where Indie Music Meets Mainstream Media. July 14, 2006. Dance artist Moby showed how an independent artist could develop a career out of pitching music directly to marketers. Hopefully Pump Audio can fairly and substantively help other indies get their music before marketers as well, since it’s clear that licensing may be one of the few reliable forms of royalty revenue a musician is likely to see these days.
  • Reuters. No Quick Fix for Government Data Security. July 14, 2006. This sentence sums it all up: “slipshod handling of data and equipment, poor training and the slow moving government bureaucracy are seen as the main causes of vulnerability.”
  • Mike Ricciuti. Microsoft to Google: Hands Off Enterprise Search. July 13, 2006. One of the things we will miss about discontinuing our sister publication Search & Text Mining Report is no longer covering the battle royale between Microsoft and Google. It’s always amusing to see nerds get into intellectual catfights while beating their chests over who has the superior technology. Can you say “We must protect this house!!!”
  • Tom Jacobs. Learning From the French iTunes Legislation. July 12, 2006. Sun Labs’ engineering director opines on how the French government should have handled the iTunes interoperability issue.
  • Shannon P. Duffy. Copyright Fever: Battle Over ‘Disco Inferno’ Rages. The Legal Intelligencer. July 12, 2006. From a music catalog that was purchased recently for nearly $43 million, The Trampps’ classic is that catalog’s fourth-highest revenue generator, according to the story. Who said disco died in Comiskey Park?
  • Knowledge@Wharton. The Market Is Hot, but Business Models Are Fuzzy. July 12, 2006. U. Penn’s business school weighs in on the video hosting and sharing business.
  • Greg Sandoval. BitTorrent Inks Licensing Deal With Studios. July 10, 2006. Was this Big Content’s plan all along: threaten (or actually sue) every new technology company known to mankind — effectively halting their growth and innovation — then use the intervening time to do due diligence with an eye toward acquisition or partnership? Also, see Sandoval’s subsequent article on what this means for file sharing companies and Big Film.
  • Associated Press. Japan Court Rejects Paramount’s Request to Halt Sales of Cheap DVDs. July 11, 2006. Big Film already has contorted the public domain in America when it got Congress to pass the Copyright Term Extension Act (which the Supreme Court allowed with a punt of a decision in Eldred v. Ashcroft). It should be no surprise, then, that Big Film would look to circumvent public domain elsewhere as well.
  • Marguerite Reardon. Vonage Sued for Patent Infringement–Again. July 10, 2006. Football pool season is approaching. How about we add this to the line: 3-to-1 that Vonage doesn’t make it out of 2007 with its independence in tact? It’s clear that VoIP will make it, but Vonage is having capitalization problems because its IPO tanked. And it faces at least two lawsuits over patent infringement. Neither are good signs for longevity.
  • Center for Democracy & Technology. CDT Offers Interpretation of Grokster Decision. (.pdf) June 28, 2006. Clearly, we just missed this one. An interesting read published in the Stanford Technology Law Review.

CopyCense™: The law, business, and technology of digital content. A business venture of Seso Digital LLC.

Written by sesomedia

07/24/2006 at 10:00

Posted in Uncategorized

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