CopyCense Clippings v. 0.91
This week, we continue to tinker with the CopyCense Clippings format, which seems to be in interminable beta. One of the things we’ve been doing with Clippings since we introduced it in the summer is adding more original content and analysis. We settled on the Clippings format this summer because the sheer volume of news on code and content has become staggering. It used to be that only specialists covered this area; now mainstream publications are covering this area — and in many cases, summoning their considerable resources to break stories.
We rather like CopyCense Clippings format for two reasons. First, it allows us time to exercise greater editorial prudence in what we post. Second, and more important, by moving to a weekly publication schedule, we can put more energy into putting the news into a broader business, legal, and technological context. We believe our efforts in this area are worth moving our publication schedule from five times per week to weekly.
As we’ve developed Clippings, however, we’ve noticed something interesting: the length of our standard entries has grown. The original idea behind CopyCense Clippings was to distill the news from the prior week, provide citations, and write small summary entries. Bullet point display is perfect for this original idea.
Over the last few weeks, however, we’ve had much more to say about several of the entries. Unfortunately, bullet point format is decidedly inappropriate for this sort of writing. Therefore, effective this week, we are testing a new “CommuniK. Clippings” section. Beginning this week, we are experimenting with this new C&C section as a way of presenting editorial comment about news stories that are longer than what should be in the Clippings section, but not long enough to be included in our CommuniK. series, which is reserved for feature stories.
So, to summarize, CopyCense is experimenting with three lines of content:
- CopyCense Clippings: A brief listing of stories from the prior week;
- CommuniK. Clippings: A listing of stories from the prior week that includes commentary from K. Matthew Dames and other CopyCense contributors; and
- CommuniK.: Feature length articles from K. Matthew Dames that include in-depth commentary and analysis of issues that lie at the intersection of business, law, and technology.
Now, the final challenge we have is how to preserve our categorization scheme in light of this revamped format. Input from indexers, catalogers, classification specialists and other interested parties is highly welcome. Please let us know what you think about the new format and presentation.
And for the news? This week, we have a handful of entries about copyright implications of the GooTube merger; comments from Big Content executives, one of which seems to get it, another who seems lost; Vista and DRM complications, and of course, our Article of the Week (AoTW) and Quote of the Week (QoTW).
Article of the Week
Michael Geist. Parallel Federal Political World of Environment and Copyright. The Hill Times. Oct. 9, 2006. Geist posits copyright as the next big mainstream political issue in Canada. If only this were the case in the U.S.
Quote of the Week
“We understand now that piracy is a business model. It exists to serve a need in the market for consumers who want TV content on demand. Pirates compete the same way we do — through quality, price and availability. We don’t like the model but we realize it’s competitive enough to make it a major competitor going forward.” — Anne Sweeney, Co-Chair Disney Media Networks and President, Disney-ABC Television Group.
PaidContent.org. Mipcom: Piracy Is A Business Model, Says Disney Co-Chair Anne Sweeney. Oct. 10, 2006. When the “most powerful woman in entertainment” (Hollywood Reporter) makes such a keen observation, it is worth noting. We’ve known all along that the way to fight “piracy” — whatever that is — is to offer better product with more features. In other words, provide the consumer options that make him want to pay than to get it free. Now, the question is whether or not the Disney directors got this from Jobs, or whether it was something the board members discussed before he became a director.
Ian Youngs. Technology “Can Beat Film Piracy.” BBC News. Oct. 13, 2006. There are some business executives that finally seem to understand the challenges their content businesses face (see QoTW, above). The U.K.’s film minister, however, is not among them. Technology is not the key to making money in the new digital content environment.
(Notice we did not say “technology is not the key to beating ‘piracy.'” See K. Matthew Dames’s September 2006 Information Today article “Framing the Copyright Debate” to understand why terms like “piracy” are industry doublespeak that rarely go unchallenged in CopyCense.)
The key to making money in the new digital content environment is by “handling your business,” as the kids say. And these days, a digital content company handles its business by recognizing traditional revenue streams are no longer reliable due to changed commercial conditions; identifying and exploiting new opportunities that are driven by social and technological change; and providing new value to customers that makes rampant reproduction irrelevant. After this analysis is done, then content companies may find out that their role is significantly reduced, and that many large companies and executives no longer have jobs. If this is the case, so be it. Nature calls this phenomenon evolution; businessmen call it the free market.
The Electric New Paper. Copyright Battles Likely Over YouTube. Oct. 12, 2006. What is interesting about this story is that it is published out of Singapore, yet still contains rather standard Western analysis of Google’s YouTube acquisition. There is, however, an interesting quote from an American lawyer concerning YouTube’s application of the ISP safe harbor provisions under the DMCA: “The problem is that the more [YouTube goes] into editorial control, the less they can rely on the DMCA to protect them.” We’d be interested in seeing a full analysis on this issue. (In a separate article out of Canada, Duke University law professor James Boyle says YouTube’s reliance on the safe harbor provision is an open legal question that the U.S. federal court system has yet to address.)
As a related aside, with each passing year it seems clear to us that the federal court system (and perhaps also the U.S. Copyright Office) is ill-equipped to address and resolve major copyright issues with alacrity. Said another way, the American copyright system continues to grind along at a 20th century pace while dealing with 21st century issues. It is interesting, then, that we’ve heard an outcry about overhauling the patent system (from the federal agencies that handle patent matters to judicial review of patent cases), but we’ve heard virtually nothing about overhauling this country’s copyright system in the same way. We feel such reform should be debated and considered, at a minimum.
Brenda Goodman. King Papers, Back in Atlanta, Will Be Placed on Display. The New York Times. Oct. 10, 2006. Wouldn’t this collection have been a boon for the students at Clark Atlanta University’s library school? The school could have made a name for itself in archives & preservation (possibly even digitization) working with this collection alone. Sadly, the School of Library & Information Science graduated its last class in June 2005, closing the last (and only) ALA-accredited LIS school in the state of Georgia.
Christopher S. Rugaber. Supreme Court Denies Zoloft Patent Case. chron.com (via Associated Press). Oct. 10, 2006. A generic drug maker does not get to argue whether patent holding, brand-name drug makers sometimes block generic drug makers from issuing new products by refusing to sue them for alleged patent infringement during the FDA approval process. The significance? “This refusal to sue can leave the status of patents unresolved and create uncertainty for a generic drug company, since the brand-name company could later sue for patent infringement once the generic firm begins manufacturing and selling the drug. This threat, in turn, can prevent generic companies from proceeding in the first place.” On its face, this is the sort of issue the allegedly business savvy Roberts court should have heard.
- Kevin Tampone. Bull & Bear Pub Settles Karaoke Copyright Lawsuit. The Central New York Business Journal. No date. A downtown Syracuse pub agrees to securing an ASCAP license after it is sued for playing popular music during its karaoke night.
- Paul F. Roberts. Vista’s DRM Features Could Bedevil AV. InfoWorld. Oct. 13, 2006. A security researcher poses concerns that Microsoft’s planned DRM in the new Vista operating system could interfere with common desktop anti-virus program functionality. Remember, the Sony-BMG DRM rootkit scandal was brought to light by a well-intentioned security researcher.
- Alex Veiga. Anti-Piracy System Could Hurt YouTube. Forbes.com. (via Associated Press). Oct. 12, 2006. “Analysts said that stepped-up monitoring by entertainment companies raises the likelihood that YouTube fans won’t find what they’re used to getting — and will go searching for the next online video rebel.” Query this: how many analysts know copyright (or business, for that matter) well enough to reliably and credibly make this assessment? Perhaps weatherman is the only other occupation for which one can be paid so much to be so wrong so often.
- Laura Parker. Jury Awards $11.3M Over Defamatory Internet Posts. USA Today. Oct. 11, 2006. One thing we’re all for is increasing professional standards in blogging. If bloggers want the legal protections afforded to journalists, they have to begin to act at least a little more responsibly when it comes to publishing information.
- Dugie Standeford. EU Online Content Stakeholders Debate DRM’s Value For Copyright Protection. Intellectual Property Watch. Oct. 11, 2006. It is nice to see the European Union having this discussion. This is something the U.S. Copyright Office should address domestically.
- Kirk Makin. High Court Upholds Key Copyright Decision. globeandmail.com. Oct. 10, 2006. Canada’s highest court echoes the Tasini decision.
- Paul Meller. E.U. Patent Chief Hits Back at Criticism. ITworld.com (via IDG News Service). Oct. 10, 2006. Apparently, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office is not the only patent office coming under fire. According to the story, a patent applicant must still apply for protection in all the European Union countries because the patent regime has not been consolidated to allow applications to cover all E.U. member countries.
- Ed Bott’s Microsoft Report. Vista Mythbusters #7: How Much DRM Is Too Much? Oct. 10, 2006. A behind-the-scenes, technical look at the Vista DRM measures Microsoft announced last week.
- James Morrissey. USTR Outlines Plans To Attack Piracy. Textile World. Oct. 10, 2006. Still more evidence of how the U.S. Trade Representative has become this country’s chief intellectual property legislator. Why haven’t we heard from Congress about this gross constitutional breach?
- SiliconValley.com. YouTube Cuts Deals With CBS, Universal Music Group, Sony BMG. Oct. 9, 2006. When $1.6 massive is on the table, one wouldn’t want a little thing like copyright infringement to get in the way of finalizing a transaction.
- Eric Auchard. Web Video Search Site Blinkx Signs Microsoft Pact. WashingtonPost.com. Oct. 9, 2006. This deal is not as sexy as the YouTube/Google pairing, but this story’s lead paragraph — “YouTube is a load of laughs. Finding something specific you want to watch is another matter” — is right on point.
- Robert Gellman. Government Should Use DRM Sparingly. GCN. Oct. 9, 2006. A privacy consultant discusses the possibility of DRM use by Uncle Sam within the context of DRM use by New Zealand’s government. Apparently, government sponsorship of DRM is gaining steam, since Canada is investigating whether to mandate DRM in order for music companies to sell online music.
- Randy Cohen. The Download On Copyright Wrongs at the Local Library. chron.com. Oct. 7, 2006. Siva Vaidhyanathan puts on his Carrie Russell cape and answers a library copyright question for the online version of the Houston Chronicle.
- Michael Robertson. Getting Zuned. Oct. 5, 2006. The founder of MP3.com discusses the other side of DRM: being at the mercy of content companies despite the price you paid to “own” content.
- Doc Searls Weblog. Newspapers 2.0. Oct. 5, 2006. Doc Searls breaks down the newspaper industry, as he broke down the radio industry a couple days before.
- The Patry Copyright Blog. The 109th Congress. Oct. 5, 2006. William Patry addresses the lack of enacted copyright legislation in the soon-to-be concluded Congress.
- Jonathan Zittrain. A Domain by Any Other Name. Comment Is Free … Oct. 4, 2006. An Oxford professor of internet governance and regulation goes inside ICANN, one of the least well-known and most influential organizations of the information economy.
- Yardena Arar. Sony: An E-Book Worth Reading. PC World. Oct. 1, 2006. Almost four large for the Sony Reader. At that price it had better make Sunday brunch. Also, see David Pogue’s more recent review in The New York Times.
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