News: October, 2004 More than 52000 members


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Oct 09, 2004

BusinessWeek: Are The Copyright Wars Chilling Innovation?

Nobody disputes that digital technology has created unforeseen dilemmas for copyright protection. But changing the laws to target versatile technology and scientific investigation rather than bad behavior is asking society to pay too high a price.

Fritz Attaway from the MPAA says:

“It’s easy to assert you feel chilled, but I don’t see any evidence to support that.”


Intimidation isn’t hard to spot in academia. Aviel Rubin, a Johns Hopkins University professor who last year uncovered flaws in electronic-voting software developed by Diebold Inc., says he spends precious time plotting legal strategies before publishing research connected in any way to copyrights. Matthew Blaze, a computer scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, avoids certain types of computer security-related research because the techniques are also used in copy protection. The pall has spread over classrooms as well.


This summer, the MPAA coerced companies including RealNetworks, Thomson, and Microsoft to cut innovative features out of their latest media software programs – features that would have allowed users to make legal copies of TV programs and transmit them over the Net to a limited number of personal devices in, say, a car or a vacation home.

Oct 09, 2004


The judge also found that Diebold had misrepresented its claims against the students, who were indeed protected by their fair use defense. “No reasonable copyright holder could have believed that the portions of the e-mail archive discussing possible technical problems with Diebold’s voting machines were protected by copyright,” the judge said. Diebold will pay damages to the students and reimburse their lawyers’ fees–the first case of its kind to slap the wrist of an over-reaching copyright holder.

Oct 09, 2004

Great news! The INDUCE act is dead, for now. Coverage from Wired and Newsday.

Oct 09, 2004


Hollywood studios and record companies on Friday asked the United States Supreme Court to overturn a controversial series of recent court decisions that have kept file-swapping software legal.

Oct 03, 2004

A book about song lyrics can’t quote any song lyrics:

I have written something – in this case, an entire book – which seeks to engage popular culture as part of theological education in a theological/scholarly argument, and the publisher has told me I can’t use actual quotes from pop culture songs to do so.

It’s immaterial whether the inclusion of the lyrics is really fair use (and it obviously is). The point is that the publisher’s fear of overstepping fair use creates a chilling effect.

More commentary, more articulate than mine:

This kind of IP-intoxication demonstrates the utter poverty of the present tottering ideology of copyright, an ideology that tries to restrict the prerogative to quote from publicly published works, an ideology that extends copyright beyond any intelligible “promotion of the progress of science and useful arts.”

Oct 01, 2004

A terrible decision on Blizzard vs. BNETD:

In sum, it’s a horror on every item, and rules solidly against programmer’s interests. […] You can click away your fair use rights […] Interoperability exemption is narrow […]

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