Copycense Clippings (Oct. 9 to Oct. 15, 2007)
Another weekly edition of Copycense Clippings, with stories about Led Zeppelin, Radiohead; free radio in the U.S.; limited downloads in Europe; and the Nobel Prize that made the iPod possible.
Quote of the Week
“A sensible copyright system—perhaps similar to the one we had for most of the 20th century—would work just fine for the 21st century. It would ensure artists are fairly compensated while greatly reducing the deadweight losses Baker identifies in the status quo. The reasons these reforms haven’t happened (and indeed, the reason that copyright rules keep getting more and more draconian) is that the copyright industries are one of the most powerful special interest groups on Capitol Hill. This is the old story of concentrated benefits and dispersed costs. There’s no shortage of good reform proposals, there’s just no one with the clout to push any of those reform proposals through Congress.” — Timothy B. Lee, Cato Institute
Cato@Liberty. A Bad Copyright Reform Proposal. Oct. 11, 2007. Lee’s quote is a response to an article by Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic Policy Research and editor of the Beat the Press blog on economic reporting, in which Baker opined that artist subsidies (such as his proposed Artistic Freedom Voucher) are a useful alternative to copyright law run amuck. Unfortunately, Lee does not prescribe any solutions to this problem.
BBC News. Led Zeppelin Go Digital At Last. Oct. 15, 2007. All earphones (and cell phones) can be yours, too, once you’ve sold 100 million albums in the U.S. alone. When you sell that much, your publisher will throw you an extra $60 million not to leave once your deal ends. Categories: File Sharing, P2P & Downloads; Licensing & Permissions; Music.
News Blog (News.com). Pro-copyright Lobbyists Storm Capitol Hill. Oct. 11, 2007. You remember the Copyright Alliance, don’t you? It’s that Big Content lobbying outfit whose members include ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, MPAA, RIAA, Microsoft, Time Warner, Viacom and Walt Disney that K. Matthew Dames wrote about last month. You know, the one that wants to take it upon itself to offer “proper” copyright “education.” We wonder if wrinkled T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “Feed a musician. Download legally” would be included with the price of tuition. More significantly, this was a stunt at which John Conyers, chairman of the House’s Judiciary Committee, announced he would introduce legislation to create a copyright czar office. Funny, we sort of thought that was the position Chris Israel was occupying in the Commerce Department. Categories: Legislation & Regulation; Politics & Government.
SiliconRepublic.com. Why Apple Is All Sound, No Vision. Oct. 11, 2007. One of Ireland’s leading technology publications analyzes why Europeans are unable to buy movie and video downloads from their iTunes Music Stores. Categories: File Sharing, P2P & Downloads; Film & Video; Licensing & Permissions; Music.
David Carr. Not Just Some Movies: This Is a Glut of Cinema. The New York Times. Oct. 11, 2007. Carr discusses the factors that have led to a veritable deluge of celluloid that has become available in theaters this month: private equity financing, new money (such as that dancing maverick, Mark Cuban), longstanding international film festivals, and ever earlier positioning for Academy Award nominations. Categories: Film & Video.
The Patry Copyright Blog. Is That A Radio Under Your Kilt? Oct. 11, 2007. William Patry follows up on a story we mentioned in last week’s Clippings by summarizing us the statutory and case history of why Americans can listen to radio in their homes and cars for free. Categories: Broadcasting & Journalism; Music.
Thomas Wilburn. AP Sues US News Aggregator for Copyright Infringement and Trademark Abuse. ArsTechnica. Oct. 10, 2007. Wilburn explains why this lawsuit is different from the Agence France Press-Google litigation that settled earlier this year. Categories: Broadcasting & Journalism; Cases & Litigation; Trademark.
Tech Talk (CBS News). New Models In Music Marketing. Oct. 10, 2007. Larry Magid says Radiohead’s novel approach to album pricing will not survive because, ultimately, fans are cheap. Then he proposes alternatives. Categories: Music.
Declan Butler. Data Sharing Threatens Privacy. Nature. Oct. 10, 2007. After last year’s privacy debacle involving revealed participant identities from AOL’s study of online behavior, privacy issues have become paramount in the social sciences. The increase in similar types of studies, however, augurs future complexities; this makes trust all the more important. Categories: Research; Privacy & Security; Science & Medical.
Gioia Diliberto. Fashion’s Piracy Paradox. LATimes.com. Oct. 10, 2007. A novelist editorializes about copyright for fashion designs, and questions the wisdom and enforceability of such legislation. Categories: Fashion & Ornaments; Legislation & Regulation.
Tom Sanders. Microsoft Aims Patent Guns at Red Hat. VNUNet.com. Oct. 9, 2007. Novell already has partnered with Microsoft in exchange for [patent litigation] protection. Arguably, though, Novell had to: Microsoft had eaten alive its networking business, and its SUSE Linux port did not have the same influence and market penetration that Red Hat’s enjoys. (To review, earlier this year Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claimed open source software violated more than 200 Microsoft patents.) Interestingly, Google (whose search engines run a proprietary version of Linux) has been quiet amidst Microsoft’s bluster. With Microsoft’s assertions, it is positioning itself as anti-FLOSS. This could be yet another battleground between Redmond and Mountain View. Categories: Computers; Open Source.
News Blog (News.com). First Radiohead… Now Nine Inch Nails Bids Adieu to Music Label. Oct. 9, 2007. We could have predicted NIN’s tenure working for a label was limited when lead singer Trent Reznor launched a vitriolic screed against the recording industry a few weeks ago. Categories: Business & Commerce; Music.
Dennis Overbye. Physics of Hard Drives Wins Nobel. The New York Times. Oct. 9th, 2007. The work of Albert Fert and Peter Grünberg in the area of magnetoresistance led to advances in hard drive storage that have made possible devices like Apple’s iPod. In their honor, the American Physical Society has made available both scientists’ scholarly research papers (Fert, Grünberg) at no charge. Categories: Research; Science & Medical.
Matter/Antimatter (News.com). The Convergence God Is In the Details. Oct. 9, 2007. After readers complained about his review of Amazon.com’s download music store, product and interface designer Adam Richardson discusses why the little things matter when it comes to the multimedia online experience (especially when money changes hands). Categories: Libraries & Information Science; Web & Online.
Rewind: Stories We Missed
(Interesting stories we noticed after we sent previous editions to press.)
Brier Dudley. Amazon’s Unlocked Music Still Might Get You Sued. The Seattle Times. Oct. 8, 2007. A Seattle Times columnist rifles through the user agreement to Amazon.com’s music download store, and finds “that instead of using software for protection, the restrictions are in the user agreement, a contract you automatically agree to when you buy the songs.” Categories: Licensing & Permissions; Music.
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