News: December, 2002 More than 52000 members

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Dec 31, 2002
"The Supreme Court has temporarily intervened in a fight over DVD copying, and the justices could eventually use the case to decide how easy it will be for people to post software on the Internet that helps others copy movies."
Dec 29, 2002
Good summary of the leading cases of the past year.
Dec 23, 2002
"In the Commerce Committee, which holds sway over a clutch of high-tech issues, Arizona Republican John McCain's return to the chairmanship could shift the balance in key debates over broadband and electronic copyright protection."
Dec 23, 2002
"A deadline for adopting a new EU law on copyright protection has passed with just two member countries signing up, dealing a blow to media and software companies beset by unauthorized duplication of their works across the Internet."
Dec 23, 2002
"In this lies a lesson: Journalists traditionally haven't worried about copyright law all that much. If anything, we've instinctively supported it. Copyright law helps us get paid for what we do for a living. But nowadays intellectual property rights have gone too far, and arguably interfere with the newsgathering process."
Dec 22, 2002
"There's a reason you can't fast-forward through the FBI copyright warning or other material DVD makers put at the start of movies. They won't let you. DVD titles often contain software instructions that DVD players, which can't be made without a license from an industry cartel, are required to obey."
Dec 22, 2002
"Last week's release of version 1.0 of the Creative Commons license [...] is a way for all kinds of publishers (music, book, etc.) to create works that are both ''open and free'' and ''closed and copyrighted.''"
Dec 21, 2002
"Filing suit against Kazaa, therefore, has forced the entertainment industry to negotiate the legal rules of no fewer than five countries on three continents."
Dec 21, 2002
"The movie industry trade group seeks to prohibit the sale of 321 Studios' software titles DVD X Copy and DVD Copy Plus. It also wants any profits from sales as recovery of damages."
Dec 21, 2002
An attorney for the studios compares DVD copying software to a "digital crowbar." Ed Felten replies: "The crowbar analogy pretty much speaks for itself. Ms. Benson would doubtless be shocked to learn that an outfit calling itself "Ace Hardware" is selling crowbars openly, right here in sleepy Princeton, New Jersey."
Dec 20, 2002
"The deal would establish nationwide technical standards for cable systems, ensuring that high-definition television sets would be able to plug into nearly any cable system in the country and receive digital signals without requiring costly extra equipment. It also would forbid cable companies from electronically blocking off any output ports on the televisions -- ensuring that consumers would be able to hook up everything from home-theater speakers to home data networks that allow viewing elsewhere in the house."
Dec 20, 2002
"The recording industry also hinted that it may start suing individual file traders, and it stepped up pressure on colleges and universities to go after song-swapping students. Like much else the music industry does, those moves caused it more than a little embarrassment, and the industry now seems hated by everyone -- consumers as well as artists."
Dec 18, 2002
"Copyright law has become a rocky, treacherous field of free-expression battles. It is at the core of today's controversies in the arts, culture, and scholarship. New laws passed by Congress to aid the companies that make up the "copyright industry" have intensified the debates."
Dec 18, 2002
If you bought a CD between 1995 and 2000, you may be able to get money back from the record industry.
Dec 18, 2002
Recipient of the 2002 ACLU Bill of Rights award: "Peer to peer file sharing is really just interactive radio – consumers get to listen to exactly what they want – when they want it. This demand is not addressed by the record industry. In fact, it can’t be offered legally at any price. And as I think I’ve illustrated, technology and reality will insure that supply finds its way to meet that demand."
Dec 18, 2002
"A jury on Tuesday acquitted a Russian software company of criminal copyright charges related to selling a program that can crack antipiracy protections on electronic books."
Dec 18, 2002
"The Recording Industry Association of America said Monday it is demanding a halt to illegal music sales at gas stations, convenience stores, groceries and some small music stores that the group has identified as offering illegal copies of music recordings."
Dec 18, 2002
"So the record industry cut their inventory (and artist investment) by 25 percent and sales only dropped 4.1 percent, even though the economy is at rock bottom. There were almost 12,000 fewer new releases for the consumer to choose from in 2001 than 1999. The record companies are making more money per release than ever."
Dec 14, 2002
"Hollywood studios have fired back at video rental stores and technology companies that allow consumers to watch films that have been altered to remove nudity, violence and foul language."
Dec 14, 2002
"But this year it has finally dawned on the industry as a whole that the ship is sinking, and it's not about to stop. [...] Downloading and CD burning has won. High ticket and CD prices have lost. By trying to maximize profits, the industry killed them."
Dec 12, 2002
"Because of a simple technical feature of the Internet, copyright law regulates much more of the life of an e-book in cyberspace than of the life of a book in real space. As every action (on a digital network) produces a copy, and every copy (under the current regime of copyright) is presumptively within the reach of copyright law, every use of a copyrighted work in cyberspace amounts to a copyright event."
Dec 12, 2002
"This week's decision by Australia's high court to approve a libel lawsuit against an American Web site has once again raised fears that the Internet's widely touted freedom to publish may be at risk."
Dec 12, 2002
Siva Vaidhyanathan counts the number of times "copyright" and "fair use" are used together in the same article over the past two decades.
Dec 12, 2002
"The reality is that even though big movie studios and music labels could benefit enormously from digital technology, they're also terrified of technological change that could alter the status quo."
Dec 12, 2002
"The Motion Picture Assn. of America on Tuesday announced a crackdown on online movie bootleggers, with lawsuits filed against nine ventures that allegedly sold pirated titles through online auctioneer EBay Inc."
Dec 12, 2002
"Given the scope of the problem, we are taking measured steps to combat online piracy. These efforts are a necessary means to an important end, which is an expanding and dynamic legitimate online marketplace -- a reality achieved after a year of progress and multiple new licensing agreements from the major record companies."
Dec 12, 2002
Found on LawMeme: "Like the armored knights of the Middle Ages, [Big Media's] position has been a function not of their own inherent virtues, but of a particular economic and technological confluence that is now passing away. And I believe that much of what's being marketed as "digital rights management" to prevent "stealing" of big-media works is in fact intended to serve as "digital restrictions management" to protect big-media operations from competition by making life harder on potential competitors."
Dec 12, 2002
Advocates delivery of HDTV content over the internet.
Dec 12, 2002
"Piracy is a kind of progressive taxation, which may shave a few percentage points off the sales of well-known artists (and I say "may" because even that point is not proven), in exchange for massive benefits to the far greater number for whom exposure may lead to increased revenues."
Dec 10, 2002
"The long-awaited live testimony of Dmitry Sklyarov finally got under way in the ElcomSoft trial Monday afternoon, when the Russian programmer took the stand for the defense."
Dec 10, 2002
"Dmitry Sklyarov, the Russian programmer whose arrest for violating a controversial copyright law sparked international protests, finally got to tell his story to a jury Monday."
Dec 10, 2002
"Friday was the FCC deadline for comments on the measure, and in the usual Washington cat-and-mouse game of politics, major lobbying organizations waited until the last minute to make their filings. And, as usual, there was nothing surprising about their comments: the entertainment industry supports the proposed rule, and consumer groups and electronics manufacturers oppose it."
Dec 10, 2002
"A major information technology trade group asks regulators to revise a proposal aimed at preventing digital TV signals from being copied over the Net. [...] Rather than force equipment makers to include technology for scrambling signals on the receiving end, as the FCC's plan currently suggests, broadcasters should be required to scramble signals before they're sent, the group argued."
Dec 10, 2002
"This is a cynical but realistic view of the U.S. regulatory and lawmaking process that will make you sad -- and will show you why "Geek Activism" projects must be ongoing efforts if they are going to succeed."
Dec 10, 2002
"It didn't take Newmark long to conclude that much of what he does with his TV is fair -- his actions are, he thinks, 'fair use' exceptions to copyright laws and therefore legal. He insists that he's being equitable, not seeking to hurt artists just so he can have things his way."
Dec 09, 2002
"The Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced two grants totaling $850,000 through its special funding initiative on intellectual property and the long-term protection of the public domain."
Dec 09, 2002
"Seldom does a new product land in court before it lands on store shelves. But that's the case with DVD X Copy, a new software program that gives consumers a relatively easy way to burn a backup copy of a prerecorded, copy- protected DVD movie."
Dec 09, 2002
"As the deadline approaches for public comment on the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act, experts are offering advice on how to persuade the feds to allow exemptions that change access controls on digital media."
Dec 09, 2002
"Jon Lech Johansen was only 15 when he wrote and distributed on the Internet for free a program that unlocked copy-protected DVDs, giving Hollywood nightmares and making him a folk hero among hackers. Three years later, he's going on trial in an important test case for Norway's strict laws against computer piracy and hacking."
Dec 09, 2002
"Zdory isn't a high school or college student, the demographic of the majority of music downloaders. She's a 49-year-old bookkeeper for a Los Angeles law firm and the mother of a 14-year-old boy. And she's a prime example of the real woes that face the music world. The passion for free song-swapping is spreading from the core audience of teenagers to adults like Zdory."
Dec 09, 2002
"Liquid Audio's board of directors has voted unanimously to dissolve the company and distribute its cash reserves to shareholders. [...] Although the company was lauded by the recording industry for its copy protection technology, it could not compete with free file-swapping software such as Kazaa, Morpheus and the now-defunct Napster. Liquid also was unable to offer enough songs for people to purchase due to the recording industry's slower pace of releasing digitally encoded versions of their copyrighted songs."
Dec 09, 2002
"The beauty of the Barbie Travel Train was then explained to him: it could be easily smuggled into a rock concert under a pile of several blankets or a large tent. Then the train could be used to record several seconds of a bootlegged song."
Dec 09, 2002
"Hollywood says that it's illegal to burn a backup copy of your Austin Powers Goldmember DVD, and it builds in copy protection to stop you. But a small firm denies any kinship to Dr. Evil just because it markets software that lets anyone with a burnable DVD drive make an exact copy of a commercial DVD."
Dec 09, 2002
"The anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA distinguishes between "access" control (17 USC 1201(a)) and control over other rights of the copyright holder (17 USC 1201(b)) (essentially, copy control). Unfortunately, the courts have failed to make this distinction, conflating access with use."
Dec 09, 2002
"The execs say that DVRs, which are now in fewer than 2 million U.S. homes, could eliminate the 30-second commercial, disrupt traditional TV schedules and further reduce the nation's attention span. If you believe the rhetoric, television hasn't seen a disrupting influence like this since David Caruso left 'NYPD Blue.'"
Dec 09, 2002
"Although the group would not be charged with developing legislation, it is difficult to imagine that any recommended measure to control digitization could be widely implemented voluntarily."
Dec 09, 2002
"In a move that could have broad implications for all cable operators, Comcast will push video-on-demand--not personal video recorders--throughout its system next year. CEO Brian Roberts last week said the move is necessary in order to keep content in the control of cable operators rather than consumers--and to secure a constant revenue stream."
Dec 09, 2002
"The latest findings from Ipsos shows that a fourth of all Americans over the age of 12 have downloaded a music or MP3 file from the Net. That comes to about 60 million people. [...] Maybe the more telling statistic comes from Ipsos-Reid's finding that half of the US population over age 12 have listened to store bought CDs from the CD-ROM drive in their PC."
Dec 06, 2002
"Computer maker Gateway on Friday announced a deal with online music provider Pressplay to load its PCs with 2,000 songs from music stars such as Eminem, Bruce Springsteen, the Dixie Chicks and Frank Sinatra."
Dec 05, 2002
"In response to FatWallet's letter demanding that Wal-Mart withdraw its subpoena for identifying information about a poster or face sanctions, the retailer backed down. Wal-Mart had sought the identity of the individual who posted Wal-Mart Day After Thanksgiving sales information on the FatWallet site."
Dec 05, 2002
"So far, the federal judge conducting the trial has dismissed ElcomSoft's constitutional arguments as irrelevant to the criminal case. But these are likely to become the key issues if the case, or another DMCA test case like it, goes all the way to the Supreme Court."
Dec 05, 2002
"An Adobe Systems employee on Wednesday during testimony in a federal copyright trial acknowledged his company hadn't tracked down any unauthorized eBooks created by ElcomSoft software."
Dec 04, 2002
Doc Searls "covers the second Great Debate and the conflict between technologists and the entertainment industry--which now may include Intel and Microsoft."
Dec 04, 2002
"This is the predicament that DRM faces. The content needs to be unwrapped at the endpoint, and the system doesn't control the endpoint. The content is vulnerable, regardless of how strong your codes are."
Dec 04, 2002
"But if this goes through, then the single most important standard in e-commerce, digital rights management and program licensing will be controlled by Microsoft, who will own the key intellectual property and will license it. How much that will cost and what happens if Microsoft takes a dislike to a company isn't clear, but if Microsoft chooses to exercise those rights to maximize its profits it'll make the Windows monopoly seem like a pleasant dream of childhood innocence."
Dec 04, 2002
"A government attorney kicked off the ElcomSoft trial Tuesday by characterizing the company's software as a tool for thieves."
Dec 04, 2002
"A Chicago federal judge has ordered file-swapping service Madster, formerly known as Aimster, to unplug its computers from the Internet in a last-ditch effort to prevent music piracy on its network."
Dec 04, 2002
Blythe Holden gives an eyewitness report.
Dec 04, 2002
One argument for copyright extension is that it gives rights holders an incentive to preserve work. But according to Jason Schultz and Lawrence Lessig: "For the films between 1927-46, exclusive rights fails to make available 93.2% of the content produced. Does anyone really doubt the public domain wouldn't do better?"
Dec 03, 2002
"Finland's Supreme Court has ruled taxi drivers must pay royalty fees if they play music in their car while a customer is in the backseat."
Dec 03, 2002
"Few U.S. consumers are aware of the transition to digital television signals that will offer higher-quality pictures, and more steps are needed to accelerate the move, said a report to Congress on Monday."
Dec 03, 2002
"The Federal Communications Commission is weighing a plan to forcibly implant copy-protection technology in digital television receivers. Comments on the proposal are due Friday. This is a worrisome plan that, if adopted by the FCC, could lead to increased government regulation of technology and reduced fair use rights. The idea is that digital TV transmissions will include a "broadcast flag" designating shows that may not be copied freely."
Dec 03, 2002
"After a flurry of dismissal motions and delays, the U.S. government's high-profile lawsuit against Russian software company ElcomSoft is finally set to go to trial Tuesday."
Dec 03, 2002
"A sea change in the views on patented technologies is affecting a broad range of high-tech standards organizations, forcing caps, thresholds and outright bans on royalties."
Dec 03, 2002
"ContentGuard Inc., a Bethesda, Md., company that provides anti-piracy technology, is expected to announce today a deal with Sony Corp. to license its digital rights management products. [...] Sony previously had licensed digital rights management technologies from InterTrust Technologies Corp. of Santa Clara, Calif."
Dec 03, 2002
"Attorneys for the record industry and the movie studios sparred with lawyers for file-swapping services Morpheus and Grokster in federal court Monday, as each side sought a quick resolution to a pending copyright suit against the popular Internet companies."
Dec 03, 2002
A panel of judges overturns a ruling that allowed building regulations to be coyprighted.
Dec 03, 2002
"[...] FatWallet has demanded that Wal-Mart withdraw their pending subpoena, under Section 512(h) of the DMCA, for identifying information on the individual who posted Wal-Mart sales information. If Wal-Mart does not withdraw FatWallet will seek to quash it in federal court."
Dec 02, 2002
"In the 12 months since MusicNet and the other subscription music services were launched to counter the file-swapping frenzy that Napster ignited, none has managed to attract more than 100,000 paying subscribers, label sources and analysts say."
Dec 02, 2002
"A federal court on Monday will hear arguments that could derail Hollywood and record labels' lawsuit against popular file-swapping companies--or result in an order to shut them down."
Dec 02, 2002
"Lawyers for the music and movie industries gathered on Sunday ahead of a hearing in a copyright infringement case against popular file-sharing services, Kazaa, Grokster and Morpheus MusicCity, now named Streamcast, industry trade group officials said."
Dec 01, 2002
"While a standard remains elusive, technology and recording companies are heading down a more offensive and militaristic path: developing technology that nips bootlegging in the bud by attempting to clamp down on the most ubiquitous form of music distribution, the compact disc. If the CDs are copy-protected, the music is no longer free. And neither are you."
Dec 01, 2002
"The first big courtroom test of a U.S. law that makes it criminal to offer software for cracking digital copyright protections should finally begin next week, after visa delays for two of the case's main players."
Dec 01, 2002
"Digital junkies are gearing up to march on Washington—virtually speaking, of course. The geeks' call to arms is Congress' attempt to legislate digital rights management into the homes of everyday Americans."
Dec 01, 2002
"Copyright's tensions with the First Amendment, long suppressed in the case law, have become increasingly apparent. This Article first shows the insufficiency of all the standard claims purportedly explaining why copyright law —- the country's most systematic, sweeping set of speech regulations —- is not unconstitutional under the First Amendment."
Dec 01, 2002
"Despite what the major record labels would have you believe, for many musicians the most troubling thing about online song-swapping services is not that fans are taking their music without paying. The fact is, few musicians on major labels see royalties as it is. What is more upsetting about online file-sharing services is that fans often get ahold of demo tapes and unfinished versions of songs."
Dec 01, 2002
"As colleges across the country seek to stem the torrent of unauthorized digital media files flowing across their campus computer networks, students are devising increasingly sophisticated countermeasures to protect their free supply of copyrighted entertainment."
Dec 01, 2002
"Longtime Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), best known for campaign finance reform, will soon take center stage on technology legislation. It's a change that has everyone from consumer rights groups to media conglomerates scrambling to find new political allies."
Dec 01, 2002
"In the most severe crackdown yet on online piracy at a college campus, the United States Naval Academy has seized 100 computers from students who are suspected of having downloaded unauthorized copies of music files over the Internet."
Dec 01, 2002
"The recording and movie industry is stepping up its battle against digital copyright piracy, encouraging higher education leaders to monitor their students and impose restrictions on violators."
Dec 01, 2002
"California's highest court said Monday that a group licensing DVD encryption software to the motion picture industry cannot use the state's courts to sue a Texas man for posting on the Internet codes to break such software."
Dec 01, 2002
"Limiting the entertainment industry's ability to combat piracy, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday that California companies cannot bring lawsuits here against many out-of-state defendants operating on the Internet."
Dec 01, 2002
"Your rewriting of The Capital's story was a complete fabrication. I demand a retraction and I demand the story be taken down immediately."
Dec 01, 2002
"Already, conference organizers argued, free speech doctrine is taking a backseat to the murky thicket of copyright law, at least when it comes to fights over artistic expression."
Dec 01, 2002
"Alice Starmore is an author of books on knitting and prolific designer of patterns. [... Her] lawyers have been sending out cease-and-desist letters to websites that display pictures of items made using her patterns. They've also been asking eBay to remove auctions containing the words "Alice Starmore" on copyright infringement grounds."
Dec 01, 2002
Study showing that copyright extension keeps 180,000 books out of the public domain in exchange for protecting profits on just 4,000.
Dec 01, 2002
"Let the Byzantine rules of copyright be curiosities [...] rather than an imposition of impenetrable and arbitrary do's and don'ts that increasingly shackle and alienate an otherwise sympathetic public. As the publishers gird for a battle in which they are at risk of overreaching, the public must pay attention - and make it clear, without begrudging rightful profits to artists and publishers, that it's a bad idea to tighten control over ideas and their expressions. Freedom of trade must not trump freedom of mind."
Dec 01, 2002
"Back to music and text publishing. Expect both industries to offer peer-to-peer systems that won't work very well, and will cost us something instead of nothing. In the long run, though, these systems will probably die, too, at which point, the music and the print folks will have to find another way to make their livings. This will not be because of piracy, but because of the origination of material within the peer-to-peer culture, itself."

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