Copycense Clippings (Nov. 27 to Dec. 3, 2007)
Kudos to Oregon attorney general Hardy Myers, whose nimble argumentation and refusal to snivel under corporate pressure may make him what former Mississippi attorney general Michael Moore was to Big Tobacco: a whip-smart, no nonsense SOB litigator who can win cases, make opponents weep under procedural wizardry; and cause a whole lot of pain. Also in this week’s Clippings: going mainstream with America’s most anti-tech organizations; a Ghanian take on Bowie Bonds; Facebook retreating (again) in the face of member complaints about privacy; and Lessig commencing his study into “corruption.”
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Article of the Week
Inside Higher Ed. When E-Mail Is Outsourced. Nov. 27, 2007. An extensive, well-developed feature article on the trend of colleges and universities outsourcing e-mail functions to Microsoft Live or Google, and finding ways to use those companies’ collaborative tools, or create their own. We wonder if this trend is the modern equivalent of using cartoons to sell cigarettes or sugary cereal to children. Categories: Education; Networks; Privacy & Security.
Jill Aho. University Accuses RIAA of ‘Spying’ On Students. Oregon Daily Emerald. Dec. 3, 2007. After the Oregon Department of Justice moved to quash an RIAA subpoena that sought the identities of University of Oregon students who allegedly committed copyright infringement, attorney general Hardy Myers’ office returns with another motion. This second motion alleges RIAA and MediaSentry are “spying” on Oregon residents. MediaSentry is a Maryland-based company that locates and identifies IP addresses that the RIAA targets in its litigation campaign against consumers. Part of OAG’s new claim is that MediaSentry is an investigator, and as such, not licensed to do business in the state of Oregon. Now that is awfully novel argument that takes a pair to present to a judge. Categories: Cases & Litigation; Education; File Sharing, P2P & Downloads; Music.
Mark Sullivan. The Most Anti-Tech Organizations in America. PC World. Dec. 2, 2007. The organizations on this list won’t surprise anyone. What is surprising is that the intellectual property environment in the U.S. has become so unbalanced that even a mainstream press outlet like PC World notices it, and devotes feature article coverage to it. Categories: Politics & Government.
Copyright Litigation Blog. Freelancers, Unregistered Copyrights and Electronic Database Litigation. Dec. 2, 2007. Ray Dowd analyzes the Second Circuit’s decision to bar class action settlement claims from plaintiffs who own copyright to unregistered works. This decision is a followup to the Supreme Court’s ruling in New York Times v. Tasini. Categories: Cases & Litigation; Registration.
GhanaMusic.com. Copyright Investment Bank Soon. Dec. 1, 2007. If successful, the African country will be the first country in the world to create an organization exclusively devoted to intellectual property securitization, which will give financing to producers, musicians, visual artists, and other creators while using the creators’ intellectual property as loan collateral. It is the Bowie bonds concept gone international. Categories: International; Licensing & Permissions; Music.
Andy Dornan. End Of The Line For Licensing. InformationWeek. Dec. 1, 2007. Traditional software licensing models are based upon a one license per processor model. Increasingly, though, computers are able to run the native machine and at least one virtual machine, which means that software could be in use over more than one processor. You had to know software manufacturers would have a plan in place to address software use over these virtual machines. Categories: Computers; Licensing & Permissions; Networks.
Grant Gross. Lawsuit Against Creative Commons Dropped. PCWorld. Dec. 1, 2007. A Texas family sued Creative Commons in September, alleging that when Virgin Mobile of Australia violated a teenager’s privacy rights when the company used a picture of the teenager in an advertising campaign. Virgin had gotten the picture from Flickr; the photo’s owner protected it under a CC license. Instead of damages from CC, the plaintiffs ask that the organization clarify that the licenses do not address privacy rights. The lawsuit will continue against Virgin Mobile of Australia. Categories: Cases & Litigation; Licenses & Permissions; Privacy & Security; Visual Art.
Electronic Frontier Foundation. Packet Forgery By ISPs: A Report on the Comcast Affair. November 2007. EFF claims that despite assertions to the contrary, the country’s second largest Internet service provider continues to delay or cripple BitTorrent data traffic, thereby re-igniting the Net neutrality controversy. Categories: File Sharing, P2P & Downloads; Privacy & Security; Networks.
Anick Jesdanun. Publishers Seeking Web Controls. WashingtonPost.com. Nov. 30, 2007. Newspapers see Automated Content Access Protocol as the worthy heir to robots.txt for protecting Web sites from search engine spider crawling. Categories: Broadcasting & Journalism; Web & Online.
Brooks Boliek. Hollywood Loses A Friend. The Hollywood Reporter. Nov. 30, 2007. Many history books will focus on Henry Hyde’s role as the lead prosecutor in President Clinton’s impeachment, and the Hyde Amendment, which barred the use of federal funds to pay for abortion. Less known, but as important to Copycense readers, is his role as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in the late nineties. As chairman, Hyde was an influential figure behind the eventual passage of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. Categories: DMCA; Politics & Government; Public Domain & Term.
Louise Story and Brad Stone. Facebook Retreats on Online Tracking. The New York Times. Nov. 30, 2007. In its zeal to become the next Google, Facebook seems hell bent on annoying its consumer base with its zeal to ignore privacy for the sake of revenue. (On the other hand, it demands privacy from opposing litigants.) Facebook has acquired neither the economic power nor the goodwill that Google has thus far, meaning it will have a much harder time than Google in making money from advertising and tracking initiatives. Categories: Privacy & Security; Networks.
Ed Christman. A Tipping Point For MP3s. Billboard. Billboard. Nov. 30, 2007. About a decade after media and content companies initiated a campaign that essentially illegalized MP3 files, they are being forced to adopt the format because their corporate partners are demanding it. Categories: DRM & Copy Restriction; Music.
Nate Anderson. DMCA-Style Laws Coming to Canada, Switzerland. Ars Technica. Nov. 29, 2007. While many news stories have covered Canada’s march toward more restrictive copyright, few outlets have noticed Switzerland’s slide toward an unbalanced form of copyright. All these initiatives have been made to comply with international treaties that spur trade and commerce at the sake of balanced protection. Categories: DMCA; International; Legislation & Regulation.
Oliver Rist. Leopard is the New Vista, and It’s Pissing Me Off. PCMag.com. Nov. 29, 2007. While several people have lauded Leopard, the newest edition of Apple’s Mac OS X operating system, Rist rants rather comprehensively and convincingly about Apple’s smugness and its failure to produce a piece of software that is demonstrably better than what it claims Microsoft offers. Categories: Computers.
Stephen Labaton. Cable Industry Wins Compromise on F.C.C. Plans. The New York Times. Nov. 28, 2007. As Lawrence Lessig embarks on his definition and study of “corruption,” episodes like these may provide a useful case study. Categories: Broadcasting & Journalism; Politics & Government.
Rhys Blakely. Google Aims to Become World’s Biggest Holder of Digital Data. Times Online. Nov. 28, 2007. The GDrive initiative reportedly involves allowing enough space to keep media files, which suggests another possible copyright problem, as well as a continuing security problem. The Journal‘s coverage offers a roundup of available virtual storage options, and notes the possible legal problems inherent in sharing material online. What none of the coverage addresses is speed: depending upon file size, using online storage can be painfully slow because of speed and bandwidth, making it impractical. Categories: Bundle of Rights; Privacy & Security; Web & Online.
Kim Hart. Verizon To Open Its Wireless Network. WashingtonPost.com. Nov. 28, 2007. Verizon’s business decision will allow customers to use any compatible device or software on its network, even though Verizon has the final say on which devices or software is “compatible.” We find it significant a supposedly “old world” telecom company recognizes the business benefits of opening its architecture, a lesson with which many supposedly “new world” technology and media companies continue to wrestle. A small step for mankind in the broader scheme of things, but — indeed — a step. Categories: Mobile Devices; Networks.
Paul J. Gough. Broadband Won’t Overtake TV, Execs Say. The Hollywood Reporter. Nov. 28, 2007. Media executives say traditional television will continue to surpass online video and broadcasting as a primary content and advertising medium. The story doesn’t say whether there is a geographical boundary for this prediction, but in a so-called flat world where broadband speed outside the U.S. is at least twice as fast as what we receive here, think twice before putting money on this forecast. Categories: Broadcasting & Journalism; Web & Online.
Douglas Martin. J. Robert Cade, the Inventor of Gatorade, Dies at 80. The New York Times. Nov. 28, 2007. Aside from pioneering the sports drink market, Gatorade also is the oft-used example that many universities provide to justify investments in technology transfer departments and commercialization of professor (and, occasionally, student) inventions. Categories: Education; Licensing & Permissions; Patents; Research.
Kapica’s Cyberia Blog (Globeandmail.com). A New Copyright Law Is Coming. Nov. 27, 2007. Canada is preparing to present its own version of a U.S.-centric Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which Michael Geist claims is “a complete sell-out to U.S. government and lobbyist demands.” Categories: DMCA; International; Legislation & Regulation.
USAToday.com (via Associated Press). Evel Knievel, Kanye West Settle Lawsuit. Nov. 27, 2007. The motorcycle daredevil and the rapper settle the former’s trademark infringement lawsuit over West’s 2006 music video for “Touch the Sky.” (West appeared as “Evel Kanyevel” in the video.) As is par for the course, neither party disclosed settlement terms, but the amount is moot now: Knievel, the person the Smithsonian named “America’s Legendary Daredevil,” died Nov. 30. Categories: Cases & Litigation; Film & Video; Music; Trademark.
Antone Gonsalves. IBM Seeks Patent For Ad-Supported DVDs. InformationWeek. Nov. 27, 2007. Forget for a moment that (more) advertisements on DVD would alienate most customers, since the entertainment industry routinely ignores — or tries to sue out of existence — most customer wishes. This is about finding a way to mitigate the TiVo effect. Categories: Film & Video; Patent.
STLToday.com. Court Denies New Hearing In Fantasy Baseball Suit. Nov. 26, 2007. The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has denied the Major League Baseball Players Association’s request to rehear a decision last month that ruled a fantasy baseball outfit does not have to pay a fee to use players’ names and statistics. The players’ union, along with Major League Baseball’s digital media unit, have yet to decide whether to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. Categories: Bundle of Rights; Cases & Litigation; Licensing & Permissions.
Michelle Tsai. Negotiating on the Night Shift. Slate. Nov. 26, 2007. A nice, brief, informative article that explains why many (if not most) labor negotiations occur during the wee hours. Categories: Labor; Performing Arts.
Nate Anderson. University of Michigan Librarian Defends Google Scanning Deal. Ars Technica. Nov. 26, 2007. Paul Courant, the University Librarian at Michigan, discusses the Google partnership. Later, Courant responds to Siva Vaidhyanathan’s surprisingly insipid question (accusation and ill-informed assumption, really) about an alleged copyright problem. Categories: Books; Digitization; Fair Use & Other Exceptions; Libraries & Information Centers.
Rewind: Stories We Missed
(Interesting stories we noticed after we sent previous editions to press.)
Kim Zetter. Cyberbullying Suicide Stokes the Internet Fury Machine. Wired. Nov. 21, 2007. A sad story about contemporary public shaming through the Internet. But does it amount to a crime? Hopefully politicians will resist the urge to legislate in this area, as unfortunate events that affect few rarely are a firm basis for sound public policy. Categories: First Amendment & Speech; Web & Online.
Recproaudio. Why Music-Piracy and DRM Ultimately Don’t Matter. Nov. 7, 2007. An interesting article that hypothesizes Google’s Web-based applications model soon will apply to entertainment data, thereby possibly eliminating infringement that is based upon storing files, or making them available on a network. Categories: Mobile Devices; Networks.
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