CopyCense Clippings v. 0.94
Since there is a lot of important news and our regular Monday edition was briefer than normal, we’ve decided to publish a special midweek edition of Clippings. And with it, we include a vow never to talk about copyright infringement in terms of “piracy” ever again. (See our AoTW, below.)
Article of the Week
Strategy Page. Sea Transportation: Putting Piracy Into Perspective:Putting Piracy Into Perspective. October 21, 2006. The first line of this brief report reads as follows: “During 2005, there were some 275 incidents of criminality at sea, that were classed as piracy.” Henceforth and forever more, the term “piracy” never again should be used as a synonym for copyright infringement. Using “piracy” within the context of copyright infringement is inaccurate at a minimum, disingenuous at all times, and framed doublespeak at worst.
- BBC News. Q&A: Web Science. Nov. 2, 2006. Courtesy of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Web pioneer Tim Berners-Lee, the Web gets a formalized field of study. Members of Congress and the federal judiciary should be the first to enroll. According to The New York Times, Web science “is an academic effort, but corporate technology executives and computer scientists said the research could greatly influence Web-based businesses.” The field “is related to another emerging interdisciplinary field called services science. This is the study of how to use computing, collaborative networks and knowledge in disciplines ranging from economics to anthropology to lift productivity and develop new products in the services sector, which represents about three-fourths of the United States economy. Services science research is being supported by technology companies like I.B.M., Accenture and Hewlett-Packard, and by the National Science Foundation.”
- The Register (via OUT-LAW.com). MySpace Tries to Block Unauthorised Tunes. Nov. 1, 2006. Even the mainstream media has reported that MySpace’s core population thinks it is so over it. This and similar policies will hasten its demise and relevance. What a shame. It could have been a music distribution contendah. (By the way, Gracenote is the same company that makes the software that automates the loading of song metadata onto iTunes from compact discs.)
- Yuki Noguchi and Sara Kehaulani Goo. To the Media, YouTube Is a Threat and a Tool. WashingtonPost.com. Oct. 31, 2006. This article articulates Big Media’s position on YouTube, which is (to paraphrase a sports commentary phrase) “you cannot stop it, you can only hope to contain it.” But the real issue is buried somewhere in the middle of this article, and cogently articulated by the following sentence: “YouTube is the most recent example of how the ease of sharing digital information poses copyright threats to media companies.” We ask: When did sharing become a threatening act? We ask further: If sharing has become so pervasive as to become “threatening,” when will Congress and the judiciary recognize this and begin to balance copyright laws accordingly?
- Declan McCullagh. U.N. Proposes Changes to Net’s Operation. News.com. Oct. 30, 2006. The Internet Governance Forum is a big event internationally, but strangely gets comparatively little press coverage domestically. Maybe that’s because the U.S.’s control over the system (via ICANN) rankles feathers everywhere — except here. (Maybe the U.S. government’s refusal to send a policy official to speak also has something to do with it.) Fortunately, News.com’s tireless Declan McCullagh is reporting on the proceedings. This event succeeds last autumn’s events in Tunis (see McCullagh’s report and interview from last year’s Tunis meeting), and the Commerce Department’s pledge (.pdf) to loosen its control over ICANN (see ICANN announcement). The Forum is meeting near Athens, Greece. Summary of the event: “Some 1,200 academics, policy makers, technology experts, user representatives and other delegates are attending the Internet Governance Forum, which runs through Thursday in this resort near Athens. Discussion topics are expected to include ways to ease current U.S. control of the Internet and improve international cooperation to fight Internet crimes like banking fraud and child pornography.”
- Louise Story. Marketers Demanding Better Count of the Clicks. The New York Times. Oct. 30, 2006. If marketers are serious about getting reliable and valid metrics, this may mark the end of the Internet advertising pixie dust that has fueled the growth of several of the major search engines. This area, not copyright, is Google’s biggest challenge.
- Tim Wu. Does YouTube Really Have Legal Problems? Slate. Oct. 26, 2006. Tim Wu writes one of the most informed opinions about Google’s anticipated legal problems in its YouTube acquisition, including drawing a sharp distinction between fair use and “tolerated use.” The net-net? All of Big Content’s huffing and puffing may be akin to a smokescreen.
- Ars Technica. Defendant Doesn’t Want RIAA Let Off the Hook. Oct. 26, 2006. Big Music drops another file sharing case after “further investigation.” Why isn’t doing this investigation before it files the lawsuits? One of — if not the main — reason why RIAA’s lawsuit tactic is “successful” is because the typical defendant does not have the resources to fight the charges in federal court. And let’s face it: most people don’t have the resources to pay federal litigation costs. But, for goodness sake, can’t anyone at least bring up the issue of sanctions against Big Music? EFF has done an incredible amount of litigating in this arena; why can’t it take on a case?
- Joris Evers. Breaking Through Apple’s FairPlay. News.com. Oct. 25, 2006. We knew Jon Lech Johansen had cracked Apple’s FairPlay DRM again, but we didn’t know he had formed a consulting company that, in part, will license his technology. At the very least, you have to admit that this guy has a pair.
- Ars Technica. YouTube Names Names: Why Is Anyone Surprised? Oct. 24, 2006. This is a great article that dissolves the innovative, anti-establishment pixie dust that citizens and (to some extent) the press have sprinkled across YouTube’s home page, and includes an interesting look at the how the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions may apply to the video sharing Web site. (Also, see Tim Wu’s article, above.)
- Brian Bergstein. IBM Sues Amazon for Patent Infringement. WashingtonPost.com (via The Associated Press). Oct. 23, 2006. It seems IBM’s new approach to patent filings has nothing to do with its approach to litigating on it massive patent portfolio.
- SiliconValley.com (via The Associated Press). Net Neutrality Would Get Warm Reception in a Democratic Congress. Oct. 23, 2006. If you missed Bill Moyer’s special on net neutrality, the entire broadcast is now available online.
CopyCense™: Code & Content.™ A venture of Seso Group LLC.