News: Latest

Oct 14, 2002
“Some of the justices expressed what bordered on disdain for the 1998 legislation, which passed after intensive lobbying by the major film studios. […] But there is a big difference between thinking a law is bad policy and finding it unconstitutional.”
Oct 14, 2002
“The Internet Radio community is in turmoil. The Webcasters trade body looks likely to split over the issue of performance royalties, with many grassroots webcasters resigning in disgust at the HR.5469 bill now before the Senate.”
Oct 14, 2002
“The United States Copyright Office is launching a rare round of public comment on rules that bar people from breaking through digital copy-protection technology on works such as music, movies, software or electronic books. Regulators aren’t looking to change the law, but they are looking for public suggestions on what kinds of activity should be legalized in spite of the rules.”
Oct 14, 2002
“Under the current copyright regime, short-term profit outweighs long-term value. As copyright protection lurches toward perpetuity, America’s cultural heritage — in whatever media — is increasingly becoming the property of corporate copyright holders. But it belongs to all of us. Technology has given fans the means to enhance and protect this common heritage. The law should give them the right.”
Oct 14, 2002
“Every advance in technology that has put a little more power into the hands of consumers engenders a negative reaction from an industry scared to death about not being able to control how, when, where, and what consumers watch or listen to.”
Oct 14, 2002
“The problem is simple: Copyright law has diverged wildly from what the average Internet user and DVD owner believes it is reasonable to do. This can result in a dangerous and unstable situation, where the police have the legal authority to toss so many otherwise law-abiding people in prison. It creates contempt for the law and the courts. It’s a throwback to Prohibition, when booze was illegal, but bootlegging was common.”
Oct 14, 2002
Ed Felten writes: “I was at a conference in Washington, DC on Friday and Saturday. Participants included some people who are reasonably plugged in to the Washington political process. I was stunned to hear one of these folks sum up the Washington conventional wisdom like this: ‘The political dialog today is that the general purpose computer is a threat, not only to copyright but to our entire future.'”
Oct 14, 2002
“The commission’s report comes amid a growing backlash in developing countries against the imposition of a strong global system of intellectual property rights. The lightning-rod issue has been the AIDS epidemic, and the resulting confrontation between developing nations and the pharmaceutical industry.”
Oct 14, 2002
Turner CEO is “not against PVRs”, but has dire warnings about their threat to our American way of life: “I believe advertising has driven this country. Without advertising, we will damage this country.”
Oct 13, 2002
“An added bonus for record companies and retailers, who are engaged in a battle against piracy, is that the relative complexity of DVD-Audios and SACDs makes them much harder to copy. At the same time, that might turn some consumers off the format.”
Oct 13, 2002
Good overview of the strategy Lessig was pursuing and how successful he thinks it was.
Oct 13, 2002
“Let the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and the MPA (Motion Picture Association) engage in a war of technology and wits with the youth of the world but, for God’s sake, let’s not commit the force of law and the resources of our government to another hopeless war against our own future.”
Oct 13, 2002
“In a letter to more than 2,300 colleges and universities, members of the creative content industries this week reached out to the U.S. higher education community to make them aware of, and ask for their help in stopping, the theft of copyrighted works that is plaguing college campuses.”
Oct 12, 2002
“Federal copyright regulators are opening the door for new exceptions to a controversial copyright law that has landed one publisher in court and a Russian programmer in jail.”
Oct 12, 2002
“Taiwan has turned down a U.S. demand on Friday to extend copyrights on works including earlier Walt Disney movies for another 20 years as negotiators on both sides held talks on intellectual property rights.”
Oct 11, 2002
“It’s easy to say that DRM passports are reliable and non-intrusive and that articles such as this one are alarmist. Accepting liability is something else.”
Oct 11, 2002
“The purpose of the 1998 Congressional extension was not protecting artists, but enriching media companies that hold property rights in their creations, virtually in perpetuity. The founders did not envision copyright being put to this use, and the Supreme Court should not allow it.”
Oct 10, 2002
“Hackers have latched on to mod chips as a conduit for running homemade software on the Xbox, leading to development of programs such as an Xbox version of the Linux operating system.”
Oct 10, 2002
“Herndon, Va.-based Cinea, the company Schumann co-founded after Divx folded in 1999, is close to unveiling a beta for its Cosmos digital cinema security system that will help movie distributors keep track of how their products are used while protecting them from piracy.”
Oct 10, 2002
The author of VisiCalc writes: “If you are an artist or author who cares more than about the near-term value of your work, you should be worried and be careful about releasing your work only in copy protected form. Like the days when “art” was only accessible to the rich, two classes will probably develop: Copy protected and not copy protected, the “high art” and “folk art” of tomorrow.”
Oct 10, 2002
“If current copyright laws had been on the books when jazz musicians were borrowing riffs from other artists in the 1930s and Looney Tunes illustrators were creating cartoons in the 1940s, entire art genres such as hip-hop, collage and Pop Art might never have existed.”
Oct 10, 2002
“The number of users taking advantage of illegal file-sharing on the net is on the rise, according to new figures from analyst firm Jupiter Media.”
Oct 10, 2002
“Several members of the U.S. Supreme Court signaled reluctance to overturn a law that extended millions of copyrights for 20 years, as the justices aimed a barrage of questions at a lawyer challenging the statute.”
Oct 09, 2002
“Microsoft has bowed to consumer pressure and pulled back from a controversial plan that would have encrypted TV shows recorded on forthcoming digital media PCs.”
Oct 09, 2002
“When a Disney or a Microsoft puts more resources into enforcing and extending copyright monopolies than it does into creating or innovating in the first place, it’s clear that something is out of balance. It’s time for somebody – if not the Supreme Court, then Congress itself – to reevaluate the whole arrangement.”
Oct 09, 2002
“The Media Center software has been changed so that now the copyright owner, not Microsoft, gets to decide whether a particular TV program will be ‘encrypted to the hard drive’–meaning, ‘unable to be viewed on a different PC or DVD player.’ This is done by making the Media Center software cognizant of a television standard called Copy Generation Management System for Analog (CGMS-A).”
Oct 09, 2002
“Angered by a law that extends copyright terms for 20 years, a crusader named Brewster Kahle wants to use the Internet to make books available to everyone.”
Oct 09, 2002
“Rock stars Bob Dylan, Billy Joel and James Taylor filed a lawsuit against Vivendi Universal’s MP3.com music Web site for allegedly distributing their songs without authorization, sources familiar with the suit said on Tuesday.”
Oct 09, 2002
“Whether the New Music Jukebox site accomplishes its goals and grows exponentially the way its planners hope will depend on whether officials at the center can continue to wrestle with the legal complications and forge compromises with publishers and recording companies. Their counterparts in other fields will likely be paying attention.”
Oct 09, 2002
“The most disturbing thing about the Solicitor General’s argument was that no questions were asked regarding the First Amendment issues. Conclusion: Eldred loses the First Amendment issues completely.”
Oct 09, 2002
“Hollywood’s key argument is that without the extended protection it would no longer have a commercial incentive to preserve its historic film archives, and face unacceptable risks when re-releasing classics such as Gone With The Wind and Citizen Kane in new media formats such as DVD.”
Oct 08, 2002
“A bill exempting small Webcasters from fees that had threatened to drive many small operations out of business passed the House of Representatives on Monday.”
Oct 08, 2002
CinemaNow “offers pay-for-view movies available in Windows Media 9 Series formats that can be downloaded and watched in Microsoft’s player, which includes secure digital video delivery.”
Oct 08, 2002
“With last week’s introduction of legislation protecting ‘consumers’ rights in the digital age,’ the stage is set for a heated debate next year about what home users would be allowed to do with copyrighted music and video, and how far the entertainment industry could go to protect its content.”
Oct 08, 2002
“President Bush is expected to sign a bill, passed last week, that would open the door for professors to use some copyrighted works in online courses without having to seek permission.”
Oct 08, 2002
“In its long and illustrious history, Disney has been a leading beneficiary of the public domain, that great ocean of metaphors, melodies, images and ideas where original works go for anyone to use once their copyright protections expire. But now Disney and other entertainment giants want to change the rules and keep their own creations away from public use for as long as possible.”
Oct 07, 2002
“Two heavyweights, Hollywood and Silicon Valley, take the fight over content to the Supremes.”
Oct 07, 2002
“In recent years, we have witnessed an erosion of the historic and crucial balance in copyright law among users, creators, and owners. This timely legislation will protect the interests of the public by restoring that balance.”
Oct 07, 2002
“In a landmark case, the Supreme Court will soon decide when Mickey and friends should become part of the public domain.”
Oct 07, 2002
“Verizon Communications faced tough questions from a federal judge on Friday as the telecommunications giant sought to resist being drafted as the recording industry’s copyright overseer.”
Oct 07, 2002
“Anyone interested in the future direction of technology should pay attention to a case the U.S. Supreme Court will hear when the new session begins this week.”
Oct 07, 2002
“Small Internet broadcasters and the music industry have agreed on a last-minute royalty-payment plan but a dispute between musicians and record labels threatens to scuttle the deal, sources said Sunday.”
Oct 07, 2002
“Under the rules of the game when the play was written, the original bargain with the public, the play would have entered the public domain in 1992. […] In 1998, the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act extended the term of the copyright until 2031.”
Oct 07, 2002
“Most revealing quote of the day went to Brad Hunt, CTO of the MPAA, who at one point summed up the challenge facing the entertainment and computing industries this way: ‘How do you make the PC a trusted entertainment appliance?'”
Oct 07, 2002
The head of the CEA “chided Hollywood for its ‘focus on litigation’ and for lobbying Congress to pass laws that prohibit Net-based innovations.”
Oct 07, 2002
“[…] Hollywood is trying to shut down the EFF’s political work in a pretty underhanded way. What if Thurgood Marshall had been kept off of Brown v. Board of Ed. because the NAACP was a ‘competitor’ of segregationists?”
Oct 07, 2002
“Two bills introduced this week in the House sought to redefine consumer rights in the digital era, a departure in a congressional session during which more attention has been paid to protecting copyrighted works from computer-aided piracy.”
Oct 07, 2002
“Rep. Lofgren is to be commended for approaching home technological issues from the consumer’s point of view. Too many involved in this discussion see issues only from the standpoint of the content owner. Such a narrow focus is in the long-term interest of neither the content community nor the American consumer.”
Oct 07, 2002
“321 Studios is heading to court to find out why you can legally make copies of video tapes and CDs, but not DVDs.”
Oct 06, 2002
“The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments this week over the constitutionality of a 1998 law that extended copyright protection by 20 years. Experts on both sides of the closely watched case say that its outcome could reshape the way cultural products are consumed and how their profits are divided.”
Oct 06, 2002
“Having vanquished the music swapping service Napster in court, the entertainment industry is facing a formidable obstacle in pursuing its major successor, KaZaA: geography.”
Oct 06, 2002
“In Malaysia the pirates now produce pirated VCDs on ships to avoid being caught. The production is done at high sea and the products are delivered at the coastline.”
Oct 05, 2002
“A US judge has said that the law governing the trading of music files over the internet is unclear.”
Oct 04, 2002
“Two US Congress representatives are this week raising the standard of rebellion against the entertainment business’ use of DRM and the DMCA to erode consumer rights, and hence to enhance their own revenues.”
Oct 04, 2002
“Could singing fish novelties be hooked by a proposed law requiring anti-copying technology in digital devices?”
Oct 04, 2002
Tim O’Reilly at the OS X conference: “over 100,000 books are published annually, but only a few thousand sell in any significant numbers. Most books, regardless of their quality, can’t be read simply because they are not available. For books at risk of falling into oblivion, O’Reilly said that piracy could be the best thing that happened to them.”
Oct 04, 2002
“In my view, the peer-to-peer authors have a natural advantage in this arms race, and they will be able to stay a step ahead of the copyright owners. […] I conclude that the Berman Bill as written is unlikely to do copyright holders much good in the end.”
Oct 04, 2002
“A proposal to defang a controversial copyright law became public on Thursday, after more than a year of anticipation and months of closed-door negotiations with potential supporters.”
Oct 04, 2002
“With talk of preemptive war all the rage on Capitol Hill, it seems that such posturing has extended into the world of digital copyright law. On Thursday Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) and Rep. John Doolittle (D-Calif.) introduced the Digital Media Consumers Rights Act to preserve specific fair-use rights to copy digital works as well as ‘circumvention’ rights to bypass copy protections.”
Oct 04, 2002
“The judge’s decision, which could come at any time, could dictate how copyright holders deal with Internet piracy in the future. A music industry win would give copyright holders leeway to get hundreds of names of Internet file-swappers without going to court first.”
Oct 04, 2002
“Verizon has already agreed to hand over the subscriber’s name if the music firms’ trade group, the Recording Industry Association of America, files a separate ‘John Doe’ suit against the subscriber. The RIAA refused. Top RIAA lawyer Cary Sherman said anti-piracy laws don’t require a separate suit, which would require more time and expense.”
Oct 04, 2002
“Headline-grabbing skirmishes such as the conflict between the recording industry and the inventors of the popular Napster music-trading system are important, but beyond them lies something larger: a clash of visions for the future. If one side prevails, we will have a tightly regulated global supermarket of electronic goodies such as computer games, recorded music, videos, software programs and printed text. If the other side wins, we will have a loosely regulated electronic commons in which such items will be much more freely shared, traded, improvised and generally played around with.”
Oct 04, 2002
“In a stage setting event for what promises to a bitter and bruising legislative battle next year, Congressmen Rick Boucher (D.-Va.) and John Doolittle (R.-Calif.) introduced a bill Thursday afternoon that would add fair use protections to U.S. copyright law […].”
Oct 04, 2002
“Napster founder Shawn Fanning is taking his story to the small screen. MTV said it’s struck a deal with the peer-to-peer wunderkind for the rights to Fanning’s life story.”
Oct 03, 2002
Interesting article about automatic enforcement of laws, including copyright laws. “The brief also identifies a file entitled ‘harry potter book report.rtf’ whose name and tiny size (1K) make obvious that it is not an illegal copy of the Harry Potter movie. Obvious to anyone who looks, anyway. But why should the record and movie companies bother to look? They’re unlikely to suffer any damages if ISPs take down the wrong files, and the consumers involved are unlikely to sue them.”
Oct 03, 2002
“A bill introduced Wednesday in the U.S. House of Representatives approaches digital rights management (DRM) from consumers’ standpoint by ensuring that people who buy digital media can make backup copies and play them on whatever device they like without fear of breaking copyright law, according to the bill’s sponsor.”
Oct 03, 2002
“Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., has finally introduced a long-promised bill that would outline how consumers can use electronic media, books and software in the digital age without running afoul of ever-stricter copyright laws.”
Oct 02, 2002
“But carrots alone won’t lure pirates away from the sweet nectar of illegal P2P downloads. No matter what, copyright owners cannot compete with free downloads – especially when the quality, availability, and usability of the free stuff is always improving. That’s why I have proposed the Peer to Peer Piracy Prevention Act.”
Oct 02, 2002
Apple is “not — at least so far — moving toward an anti-customer embrace with Hollywood’s movie studios and the other members of the powerful entertainment cartel.”
Oct 02, 2002
“The House of Representatives canceled a vote on Tuesday that would have postponed royalty payments for Internet radio broadcasts, after industry players said they could settle the issue on their own.”
Oct 02, 2002
“In a fight to win back fans from the ‘gray zone’ of online song-swapping services, the music industry is borrowing a trick from its nemeses: free music downloads.”
Oct 02, 2002
Record company executives and artists testify about the fairness of contracts. “[T]he wife of Lester Chambers, of The Chambers Brothers, claimed to have never received a royalty check, nor an advance, in upwards of 30 years. Ms. Chambers claimed that Columbia told her there were no overseas sales to report because The Chambers Brothers records were never licensed to an overseas distributor. She believed them until she started seeing her product on E-Bay and found 22 different foreign pressings of Chambers Brothers recordings […].”
Oct 02, 2002
“The battle being waged in Washington over copyright in the digital age ratchets up a notch this week as new legislation is introduced aimed at clarifying consumer rights.”
Oct 02, 2002
Great satire. “According to Rosen, the radio stations acquire copies of RIAA artists’ CDs and then broadcast them using a special transmitter, making it possible for anyone with a compatible radio-wave receiver to listen to the songs.”
Oct 01, 2002
DataPlay makes a DRM-friendly data format, but they’re struggling to find funds. “Employees were told Wednesday they would be on mandatory leave, using up vacation and sick days if they have them, and going unpaid if they don’t.”
Oct 01, 2002
“MediaForce, a company that tries to stop file sharing on behalf of movie companies, has been patrolling the Internet and flooding some colleges and universities with cease-and-desist requests — some of them apparently justified.”
Oct 01, 2002
“Microsoft said it is to pay $7m for Liquid Audio Inc’s US and international patents, believed to be around 20 or over in number. Liquid, which is currently being acquired by Alliance Entertainment, will get a royalty-free license to continue to use the patents.”
Oct 01, 2002
“Hollywood may be the entertainment capital of the world, but the real song and dance is being played out in Washington. That’s the real seat of power for the entertainment industry, which constantly tries to convince the nation’s representatives to push through a continuing array of draconian, anti-consumer proposals, seemingly aimed at turning supposedly valued customers into content-absorbing zombies under their media masters’ total control.”
Oct 01, 2002
“Music lovers who have complained that compact discs are too costly were officially vindicated yesterday, as five big music labels and three national retailers settled a lawsuit charging them with price fixing.”
Oct 01, 2002
“Sadly, the growing epidemic of illegal downloading and CD burning may make it a lot harder for a dream like mine to come true for other songwriters.”