Recently in Intellectual Property Category

Philipp and I had a conversation about altruism as a follow-on to a bunch of posts he done on the iCommons.org site. I end up rambling on and don’t give him much of a chance to talk, but it was fun. Check out other posts on the site and let me know what you think about my theory of altriusm. ;-)

philipp (South Africa) on iCommons.org
The role of altruism in the digital commons

Listen to Joi Ito and Philipp Schmidt discuss altruism, the economic man, the difference between happiness and pleasure, carriers of compassion, and that being a happy sharer yourself, is the best way to get others to share as well.

The conversation starts off with an overview of Marcel Mauss’ The Gift, and the Dalai Lama’s The Art of Happiness, which address the issue of sharing from very different directions. The Gift provides a historical framework for sharing that is non-financial, and sets out a clear process of sharing that runs counter to our economies’ urge to commoditise. The Dalai Lama develops a theory of happiness that is grounded on compassion, and the ability of human people to learn happiness. Why is it that we learn Maths and Sciences in school, but don’t seem interested in learning and teaching how to be happy?

Joi then sets out a profoundly optimistic model for collaborative citizenry that will help us identify, and ultimately address, global challenges like climate change. He makes a convincing argument that happiness comes from things like community and a well functioning family, where more is not necessarily better, and that the best way to bring others into this movement is to let them participate in our functional communities of sharing, and to be happy.

Note: The book mentioned by Joi is Scott Page’s The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies.

Gerfried Stocker
Gerfried Stocker

Other than being 7 degrees celcius and raining most of the time, Ars Electronica this year was a lot of fun. It was packed full of work for me this week with five talks and ten media interviews, but with Sandra, Elizabeth and Fumi's help, everything went smoothly and I survived. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to see all of the installations or talk to as many artists as I would have liked, but I had more than enough interesting conversations to make it great.

I went to Ars Electronica this year together with the MOGA unit which is a collaboration between Professor Inakage's lab, Joi's lab (mostly Fumi) and Hiroyuki Nakano's Peacedelic team. MOGA set up the "Jump" installation in Linz. Yuichiro Katsumoto, also from Professor Inakage's lab presented Amagatana. It was fun seeing the students I had been working with in the Ars Electronica context.

I think that most of the talks will end up online somewhere, but I'm not sure where. ;-) I did see one video interview on Artivi.com.

The theme of this year's Ars Electronica was privacy.

The first session I participated in was with the Austrian Association and Judges and members from the Ars Electronica community. I talked broadly about the generation gap and the how the behavior and use of the technology was very different among the new users of the Internet and how difficult it was, yet how important it was, for the older generation to try to understand the way the new generation used the new medium. I was really impressed in the conversations with some of the judges and how forward looking they were. I also talked about the importance of Global Voices in the future of global democracy. I suppose that federal judges can think more long term about democracy and things like the cost of privacy than their politician brothers. Having smart judges is a great thing as the recent ruling by the 10th Circuit Court in the US shows.

Summer Watson
Summer Watson

The second session I participated in was a discussion about future trends with some of corporate executives. It was a good group with a number of interesting presentation. The presentation that was the most interesting to me was Summer Watson, a British soprano opera singer, who announced that she is going to ski the last degree (from 89 to 90) of the North Pole and sing an Aria at the North pole as a call to action on environmental issues.

I had coffee with her afterwards and we talked a lot about Creative Commons and online identities and was inspired to start the Summer Watson Wikipedia article.

I also did a session about WoW which I think you can imagine without me going into too much detail.

Volker Grassmuck
Volker Grassmuck

I did a session with Leonard Dobusch to talk about importance of Free Networks and Free Knowledge. Again, I'm sure readers of this blog can imagine what my position was. Leonard, who is also the son of the Mayor of Linz, had some interesting perspectives on the role of municipal governments in supporting public access. He had co-edited a book recently where they discussed many of these issues. He cited an article by Volker Grassmuck where Volker argued that having a public space for hosting content on the web was important.

Finally, I was on a panel as part of a awards ceremony and a kick-off meeting for Fair Music. The idea behind Fair Music was sort of a music parallel for the Fair Trade mark. Whereas the Fair Trade mark tries to identify products where the production meets basic Fair Trade parameters and requirements, Fair Music marks were awarded to companies and projects where the artists and consumers were treated fairly. Fair in this context means a number of things including the artist receiving a fair share of the remuneration or the project promoting diversity against the bias of "Northern" dominance in the music business.

I mostly talked about the need for new business models and the role of Creative Commons in this context.

I uploaded my photos a Flickr set.

Viacom sends a DMCA takedown notice to YouTube alleging that Jim Moore and his friends having ribs on Sunday night is a copyright violation. Doh.

I hope they aren't allowed to get away with this sort of thing with impunity. This "collateral damage" is as bad as the "piracy" they are trying to suppress.

Larry's talk is on Google Video. Definitely worth watching. Standing ovation. There are some new ideas that I'd love people's feedback on.

People interested in copyright and P2P will have already seen the news but the developer of the P2P file-sharing software called Winny was arrested in Japan. A Japanese court recently found him guilty because his software "assists" people in committing crimes. This reminds me a bit of the FLMASK case where the developer of reversible "mosaic" was found guilty of operating a pornography business for linking to his pornography customers. (I testified as a expert witness back when I was chairman of Infoseek Japan.)

This time it is about copyright.

This trend of charging the developers of software for crimes of their users is very dangerous. While I'm not sure how important Japanese legal precedent is at a global level, if not checked, this trend will undermine the basic architecture of how we build software and the Internet.

CPSR Japan
Immediate Release

Comment on Copyright violation assistance case Shinji R. Yamane, CPSR/Japan president December 17, 2006 version 1.1

[History] Mr. Isamu Kaneko was the first file-sharing software developer arrested in Japan. He developed and posted Winny, quasi-anonymous P2P file-sharing software(*) still runnung on more than 400,000 nodes today. He was claimed to 'assisted' two users who illegally uploaded copyrighted materials using Winny. As soon as Mr. Kaneko arrested, FreeKaneko.com starts supporting activity (http://www.freekaneko.com/en/index.html). CPSR Japan chapter (CPSR/Japan) has been supported FreeKaneko.com and its successor, Lesgue for Software Engineers (LSE).

[Problem] The judgement passed down on him was guilty. As the ruling statement will be published some days later after the judgement in Japanese criminal court and no recordings allowed, nobody has the ruling statement yet. So some commentators in news/blog talks uncertain information.

According to the ruling, Mr. Kaneko has no willing to support copyright violation and Winny is "significant" technology that can be applied to various uses and characterized "value-neutral." However, it became guilty by expanding the concept of "assist" in criminal law and Mr. Kaneko fined 1.5 million yen.

[Future concerns] As the court recognized that Mr. Kaneko is NOT malicious developer, Winny ruling shocks Japanese industry including hobbist programmers. The border of guilty and innocent software developer is not clear.

CPSR/Japan will also support and co-operate Mr. Kaneko and LSE. CPSR/Japan will held a chapter's conference in Tokyo to discuss the effect of Winny ruling on January 13 Saturday 2007.

Thanks;


* Research paper on Winny network contents is available in English: Tatsuo Tanaka Does file sharing reduce music CD sales?: A case of Japan Hitotsubashi University IIR WP#05-08 (2004/12/13) http://www.iir.hit-u.ac.jp/file/WP05-08tanaka.pdf


-- Comment by Isamu Kaneko December 13, 2006 (Originally in Japanese, available at http://danblog.cocolog-nifty.com/index/2006/12/post_2bee.html )

Today, I have been found guilty as an accessory to copyright violation. Winny's usefullness is somthing that will extend into the future. Therefore, I believe that it's true value will be recognized in the future. I am dissapointed with the present ruling.

I have repeatedly warned, "do not exchange illegal files" when releasing Winny. And I have repeatedly warned against illegal file exchanges in my commnets to 2-channel and other forums. I am not sure what more would be needed to further make my case.

My biggest concern about this ruling is the chilling effect that many software developers may shy away from developing useful technologies, fearing prosecution based on this vague possiblity of becoming an accessory. This saddens me the most. Times are changing, and we need to cope with that.

I am going to appeal this ruling, in order to raise awareness on the role of technology in these times.

Sincerely;

Another thief has been put to justice by the Law. Phew. (Sarcasm in case you didn't get that...)

Lucky he didn't sing Happy Birthday too, or he'd be in even bigger trouble.

Mainichi Daily News
Elderly harmonica player arrested for performing copyrighted songs at bar

A 73-year-old bar manager who illegally performed copyrighted tunes by the Beatles and other artists on the harmonica was arrested Thursday on suspicion of violating the Copyright Law, police said.

Arrested was Masami Toyoda, of Tokyo's Nerima-ku. He has reportedly admitted to the allegations against him.

Investigators accuse Toyoda of illegally performing 33 songs such as the Beatles' songs "Here, There and Everywhere" and "Yesterday," whose copyrights are managed by the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers. He allegedly performed the songs on the harmonica with a female pianist at the bar he operated between August and September this year.

Via CB

Last year, I blogged about how one of my favorite DJs from my DJ stint in Chicago back in the 80s, Jeff Pazen, filled up a Nano with music and made a few great playlists for me. They were playlists by club, year and tone. I nearly stopped carrying my iPod around and just carried the Nano picking the playlist that best suited my mood. It was like playing that favorite DJ tape over and over again.

The problem was, the iTunes Music Store music was registered under Jeff's name. In other words the Nano was "loaned" to me, so I didn't really own the music. I could listen to it directly from the Nano, but on on my computer or elsewhere. When I played the Nano through the computer, it would get stuff on the licensed music. I started buying the songs from the music store, one by one by hand. Then I noticed that there was an operation that said it would convert the ownership to me and copy over the songs with my copies. I, stupidly, thought it would be a fast way for me to purchase the songs on the playlists that I didn't own. Instead of doing that, it "reset" the Nano to an empty state. I was devastated.

As Tower Records Japan says, "no music, no life." So content I had been with the Jeff Nano, I hadn't been playing with last.fm that much lately so I decided to fire it up. Congrats guy on a great redesign. I fell back in love with last.fm which saved my day. I had left the comfy familiarity of the Nano and enjoyed wandering along a sometimes annoying but fun and eclectic musical journey.

Browsing the playlists of various people I know or saw, I realized how different my taste was from many people I know and like. One in thing that struck me was how even after almost 20 years, Jeff's taste in music, even the new stuff, hit the spot for me and was perfect. Somehow, during my immersion in the music scene, my musical taste was set on some trajectory that included cycles. Somehow I am still in sync with Jeff. I'm not sure what this means exactly, but I found it interesting.

As I sat listening to radios of various people, I realized that continuing this process for a long time would make your "taste" appear similar to theirs and you would eventually show up in their neighborhood on last.fm as someone with similar taste. This would be a kind of weird stalking method if you were obsessed with someone enough to listen to their music collection all day every day. ;-P

Conversely, I won't say who, but looking at their music, I realized how difficult it would be to hang out with them too long even though I consider them my friend. I don't think I could ever take a road trip with someone who didn't share any favorite artists with me.

Disclaimer/Disclosure: I'm an investor in last.fm.

Boundbylaw
Fellow Creative Commons board member and friend James Boyle helped work on and just released this very cool comic book that depicts in a cool and easy to understand way, the copyright struggle going on right now. You can buy the book or download it since it is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 license.
Duke Law School's Center for the Study of the Public Domain has just released "BOUND BY LAW?" - a comic book on copyright and creativity -- specifically, documentary film. It is being published today --March 15 under a Creative Commons License. The comic, by Keith Aoki, James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins explores the benefits of copyright in a digital age, but also the threats to cultural history posed by a “permissions culture,” and the erosion of “fair use” and the public domain. You can read or download the whole thing for free at http://www.law.duke.edu/cspd/comics/ and hard copies are on sale at Amazon.

Google Full-1
Lawrence Lessig has posted a torrent to an mp4 file of his presentation about whether Google Book Search is Fair Use. It's a typically great presentation, but his description on how he put the presentation together is also very cool.

I just finished my keynote for the 22C3 conference. I'd been mulling over what to talk about from about 2AM or so this morning. After reading the program and the amazing breadth of the 150 or so talks and imagining the 3000 leet hackers that I would be talking to, I decided to put together a brand new talk hitting a lot of the points that often skip because they are controversial or difficult for me to discuss. I was a bit nervous kicking off what I think is one of the most important conference I go to. I am happy to report that it was the best crowd ever. ;-)

Although there is a bit of preaching to the choir, (I got cheers for just saying "open network"), judging from the hallway conversations I had afterwards, it was a smart and motivated crowd and I'm honored and happy that I was able have people's attention to allow me to talk about some of what I believe are the most important things going on right now.

The Syncroedit guys set up an instance for my talk where you can see my notes and things others have said. (Use Firefox please.) http://22c3.ito.com/ Please feel free to add stuff. It's still a test install and fragile so please don't try to break it. It's not a challenge. ;-)

Anyway. Thanks much to everyone at 22C3 for the invite and look forward to spending the rest of the week hanging out with everyone.

A video of the presentation should soon be up at http://22c3.fem.tu-ilmenau.de

By

I was down at the sumptuous French National Assembly (A building that looks like a Greek temple from the outside and a livingroom overdosed with red velvet on the inside) yesterday because a group of latenight legislators this week amended a bill to include a global tax for people wishing to share files over the Internet.

Once a user (an "internaut" in French) has paid the fee, that internaut is free to share music or movies on the basis that they are for personal use only.

Result: Hey presto! Kazaa would suddenly be legal in France. What is considered piracy in other parts of the world would be available here in France.

Also: Artists would recieve payouts from the tax money raised (Systems for copyright taxation are not unusual in Europe. Germany, for example, imposes a 12 euro copyright levy on the sale of each personal computer purchased.)

Needless to say, the music and movie industry people were not terribly pleased.

Those AGAINST include the French Rambo!


"This law throws us back to before the French Revolution," said Alain Dorval, an actor who dubbed Sylvester Stallone for the Rambo series of films. "France invented property rights for artists in 1791 and now this Parliament wants to vote them away."

"Since the pay TV channel Canal Plus finances a huge portion of the cinema production, an attack on pay TV undermines the structure for the creation of cinema," Seydoux said. "To be in cinema you must be optimistic and I am optimistic these amendments will fail."
Not only are the amendments bad, but their implication is dangerous, said Michel Gomez, an official with the Association of Directors and Producers. "The message sent by this law is that creative works can be bought for free," he said. "This may be very seductive to Internet users, but it will bring down the structure of entire creative industries."

The arguments FOR:


Patrick Bloche, a pipe-smoking Socialist deputy representing Paris, who was a co-author of the amendments: "We are trying to bring the law up to date with reality." "It is wrong to describe the eight million French people who have downloaded music from the Internet as delinquents."

"We are only leading in a direction that is inevitable for the law everywhere," said Christian Paul, a Socialist deputy who was also a co-author of the amendments. "You will see other European nations adopting such laws in the future because they just make sense."
"Artists currently get no money from peer-to-peer sharing, and with this fee at least they would get some," said Aziz Ridouan, a 17-year old high school student who has fought for Internet rights as president of the Association of Audiosurfers. "If the government and industry attack downloaders aggressively, we will just go underground with encryption and all chance of revenue will be lost."
Ridouan added that the amendments would finally legalize behavior that has become commonplace among young Internet users. "We need protection. It is not nice to feel like you are acting illegally," he said. "They cannot use the law to stop people sharing music just because the music industry missed out on the digital revolution."

If this blog-ization of the article is not clear, check out the full IHT version here.

Which arguments have the most merit and can creative industries survive in the face of peer-to-peer?

I remember someone telling me a story about the delivery of the first copy of MS DOS to Japan. (I don't know if this story is true, but it's a good story.) The shipment contained a copy of DOS on paper tape and a blank roll of tape. They taxed just the blank one because the one with DOS on it was "used".

So... Does this make Amazon.com a "used comment salesman" and Six Apart a seller of "new comment space"?

I'm of course mostly joking, but I think this represents two completely different views on the "media" business. You can sell the blank media or "used media". Either the comments are the product or the ability to create comments is the product. This is what separates the professional world from the amateur world... But good amateur can exceed crappy professional in quality. Production and distribution are becoming lower cost, and two opposed views of the world are colliding harder. Clearly, clever people have managed to arbitrage/manage both of these models, but they surely produce very different types of laws, processes and world-views.

Posted by Thomas Crampton

Had to crank out a story on tight deadline about digital music rights in Europe: 2 states in EU ease sales of songs over Internet

Selling music online in Europe could currently require an online music operater to get up to 25 licenses (one from each country) in order to operate, a situation Brussels seems strongly bent on changing: Collecting agencies in other European Union member states could face fines of up to 10 percent of their total revenue if they fail to open up in a similar manner, the official said.

Interesting to see the EU is tackling hurdles to running a digital business. Are they doing enough?

UPDATE: wiki page to follow up discussion.

Hrosen
Hilary Rosen [WP], the former president and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is guest blogging over at Lawrence Lessig's blog.

She follows Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, on the slate of excellent guest bloggers during Larry's summer vacation.

I am glad that Europe has once again rejected software patents by voting 648 against and 14 for the ruling of the patent - software directive.

I hear that arguments have been made that software patents are helpful for innovation and that venture businesses may in some way benefit from software patents. I can of course imagine cases where software patents might be helpful for startup companies, but from my personal experience, they are generally more of a burden on innovation at the venture level than a benefit.

Generally speaking, filing for patents is an expensive and time consuming task. Most startup CEOs don't understand and can't afford a patent strategy. I have done a number of calculations on the cost of filing and maintaining software patents, and one estimate we did for a company that I am working on was that it would cost about $750,000 to file and maintain a single patent in the major markets over the lifetime of the patent. Most companies I invest in raise only $1M or less their first round. In addition, to properly protect a technology and continuing developments around a technology, a portfolio of patents must be filed or you can be "surrounded" by application patents and derivatives filed by competitors. In away, filing a patent is practically like putting up an ad balloon for people to see where you are focusing.

Some startup companies I have looked at and worked with have in fact, invested in a portfolio of patents, but from my experience, most of these companies end up spending so much time on their patents that often the products never make it to market. The patents just become fodder for some large company when they are purchased in the bankruptcy fire-sale.

For companies who are working in a patent riddled space, I definitely do a mental calculation of the added risk of litigation and subtract that value from the valuation of the company or decide to not invest at all. I've heard to software patents referred to as land-mines in this context. The problem is, big companies gobble up patent portfolios from bankrupt startups and then have teams of lawyers who use these to go after competition. There is a measurable chilling effect. (Note also that some of the technology oriented anti-file-sharing bills that have been proposed will have a similar effect.)

The only practical use of software patents that I have seen are defensive. Many Internet companies that I have worked with have one or a few broad software patents that they wield to threaten potential assailants. Typically, these company spend very little or no time trying to extract license fees from competitors, but just use the patent like some sort of legal scarecrow. Patents are supposed to be an incentive to innovate and this defensive use really is just a cost and does not serve to cause innovation.

I personally believe that software patents are primarily the tool of large companies with portfolios of patents which they cross-license with each other. Generally, it serve to keep competition out of the market and allows those with patents to push those without patents around or cut them out of markets entirely. A number of open source licenses are now dealing with software patent issues by creating incentives for participants not to litigate against each other. A focus on open standards is also another important way to try to keep innovation unencumbered by patents.

I am not against patents generally and I have worked in materials science and manufacturing technology companies where patents serve as a strong incentive for innovation and royalties provide a fair return for the investments. I just believe that the notion that software patents somehow help venture businesses is a red herring and that software patents are primarily a tool for software monopolies to stay keep the little guys out.

I am basing my opinion on personal experience. Your mileage may vary. I would be interested in the opinion of any VCs who feel strongly that software patents generally increase innovation and investment in venture businesses.

As Wendy says... Grokster...

EFF: MGM v. Grokster

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Mpaacam-1
Photo of camera
by Jeff Koga
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is paying the Los Angeles police department to install cameras to crack down on DVD bootleggers. So far four cameras have been installed and six more are on the way. Although the LAPD refuses to say where the cameras are installed, but there is information on Xeni's post on Boing Boing. The post also contains funny details of their adventure.

I hadn't realized that there was DVD piracy activity in LA. I wonder how much "lost revenue" they will recoup from these cameras. I wonder what else the LAPD going to use these cameras for. Having said that, I think we probably have more cameras per square inch in Tokyo than in LA. Welcome to our world.

Xeni has filed a story with Wired News about this as well.

UPDATE:

Xeni
Hi, Joi -- Sean Bonner created some topographical maps of the site, and posted those along with more photos and his first-person account over at blogging.la. Check it out:
http://blogging.la/archives/2005/06/sekret_location.phtml

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While preparing for my talk in Melbourne, I was IM'ing with my sister who I steal a lot of my material from these days. We were talking about Naruto, which I blogged about earlier in the context of the Naruto Matrix Reloaded AMV. On the site, the author says, "To clarify, it's as much of a Naruto advertisement as it is a Matrix parody" (emphasis added) We were talking about the amazing fan community around Naruto.

If you go to the site that lists the BitTorrent files of Naruto, you will see that fans have subtitled the episodes into a variety of languages like Hebrew, Portuguese, French... When new episodes of Naruto come out, the fans get together on IRC and other fora and collaborate and create subtitled versions and put them online. If you search for Naruto on Amazon.com, you find a page where the fans are voting for the DVD release and the notice says that they will notify the publisher of the voting. (It would be interesting to find out if the publisher or the fans initiated this.) It also appears that when a local DVD is released, the fans take down their subtitled episodes for that region. By allowing the fans to create demand, the publishers are using these file sharing networks and illegal derivative works as an extremely efficient form of marketing. Thanks to the network of Internet anime fans, Naruto is still niche, but popular globally.

This kind of publisher approved "piracy" is not a new thing. Dojinshi, are comics created by fans of Japanese comics. They are illegal derivative works. They make their own stories using famous comics as the base. They have huge conventions and it's an amazing community. The publishers of most of these comics encouraged this dojinshi culture because they realized that this increases the demand for the originals. These derivative works and sharing creates "fans" not "lost customers".

Some will argue that this is niche stuff, but I talked to a marketing guy at TV Tokyo and he said that they are now focused on niche. In the past they tried to appeal to a wide audience including young children and they tried to get a small amounts of money from a lot of people. (Like Pokemon stuffed animals.) Now, with box sets and special edition DVDs, they are finding that niche oriented adults and otaku will spend thousands of dollars on one show. They are able to collect more money from fewer people. I think this is one of the key marketing lessons that we're getting to. Before you tried to get a tiny bit of money from everyone who listened to a song or watched a show. Maybe if we focus on getting more money from fewer people, we can design business models around relationships and physical things rather than the content itself. Digital content might be better viewed as a marketing tool or metadata of the actual property or asset that is being promoted.

My sister's been getting most of this information about fandom from her research assistant Rachel Cody.

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Chilling Effects has posted the Cease and Desist letter that I received from sms.ac. I know a number of other bloggers have received this letter. Take a look at their analysis if you've received this letter. Chiling effects has done a great job explaining it. Since I received the letter, some email has been exchanged with the lawyer and I extended on olive branch on a forum to a sms.ac employee, but I'm still not sure exactly where their threats stand at this point.

Narutrix
click image for page with video
Mimi @ Chanpon
The Narutrix Re-Ninja'd

The Matrix continues to be great fodder for transnational cultural ping-pong. While the Matrix creators acknowledge their debts to Japanese anime culture with Animatrix, Japanese fans re-domesticate the Matrix again with Matrix re-enactments. Now, UK anime fandom has brought us The Narutrix Re-Ninja'd, a brilliantly edited parody of the second Matrix trailer, staged in the world of Naruto. Check out manylemons.co.uk for some more fun anime music videos.

Thanks Rachel!

Amazing example of remix culture. It is rumored that fan remixes or derivative works are more tolerated by Japanese publishers than in the US. Hopefully this fan community won't be shut down like many fan sites for US works.

Does anyone know more about this community? I hear that fan base is incredible.

Background from the site.

Many Lemons Productions
It's a Matrix Trailer parody, with Naruto footage. Original and unique? No. (That said, I've only seen one other..) However, I wanted to do one *right*.. To varying degrees of 'right' anyway.

How it came about is pretty easy to explain.. I'm a fan of good movie trailers, and while most of the Matrix's trailers were pretty crap, the final Matrix Reloaded trailer I thought was pretty awesome for what it tried to do. That combined with it has the line "So now he's found a way to copy himself?" just rang bells the size of several small countries to Naruto. Thus, the idea was formed. Hurrah!

I kinda wanted it to be both to Naruto fans and people who may not like Naruto at all, simply because it was going to be aired to a room full of both.. So it had to be generic, non-spoilery, funny, and generally "yeah I'm using Naruto footage but it's good anyway" :p

Timing is my speciality so it is pretty heavily focussed on that; lipsyncing, punches connecting, things going boom, the usual. It foillows the original trailer reasonably closely for the most part, but diverges at the end because the voice parts had stopped and it was just a chance to show off some of the better sequences from Naruto; I've kinda specifically avoided the cheesier or less well animated scenes where I could.

To clarify, it's as much of a Naruto advertisement as it is a Matrix parody; you'll see what I mean at the end :P Even for such a popular series I like to at least show a few teaser scenes to make more people go see it..

This video won over the popularity vote and the Judges' decision at AmeCon 2004, and I was awarded a Rei-in-the-bathtub soap dish, yay ;)

Note: Yes, I've given Lee the opening "Hiya Fellas" line, but otherwise Sasuke = Neo, it is on purpose.. For reasons I fail to understand now I look back, but meh, it's more amusing this way.

Stanford graduate student Gary Lerhaupt has created Prodigem Marketplace. It's basically a Bittorrent non-DRM'ed media marketplace.

Prodigem Marketplace
The Prodigem Marketplace allows Prodigem users to sell their independent media (videos, music, etc) while not concerning themselves with traditional bandwidth costs associated with repeated large data transfers. Content providers (YOU!) simply upload their work, set a price, and Prodigem does the rest. Once customers pay for access to the bit torrent peer-to-peer session for your content, Prodigem grants them access so they can begin their download (no DRM). Prodigem collects this revenue, removes 10% + transaction costs (PayPal) and then sends you a monthly check. Ever considered making a living as a Long Tailor? Check out this example for-pay torrent to see what it looks like.

[...]

Mechanics Of Becoming An "Ecommonist"

The process of becoming a media retailer couldn't be any easier. To accomodate this new method of transfer, we have added a Copyright Plus Prodigem license to the available licensing options. This simple license allows you to retain copyright over your work while making a specific grant of rights to Prodigem and its users. In effect you are saying that it is fine to share your work so long as it's only through the torrent you created, and since access to the torrent is only granted when payment is received, you get exactly what you are looking for.

You are also free to instead license your work under the Creative Commons. Though with a CC license you are technically granting everyone redistribution rights regardless of venue. This is fine by us if it's okay with you, but does mean that people are free to share without payment. Realizing this conundrum, we are busy mulling over something akin to a "Delayed" Creative Commons license, where Prodigem users will be able to stipulate their work as covered under Copyright Plus Prodigem license, and then on some fixed date of their choosing (eg. 1 year, 5 years) it automatically switches over to a CC license of their choosing. It's like peanut butter and chocolate.

via Howard @ Smartmobs

I'm very interested in the economics of the end of the long tail. My theory is that people will pay, even if they are not forced. I think price, the experience and the lack of DRM should have an impact. There is some data from the unencumbered shareware software world, but it will be interesting to see how this fares for media content. I would also be interested to see how artists using Creative Commons fare against artists using the more restricted Copyright Plus Prodigem license. If this is successful, this will be yet another good example of non-infringing use of P2P to highlight the idiocy Hollywood's position on the Grokster case. (Note that NASA has also started using Bittorrent.)

Xeni @ Boing Boing Blog
Shirky: stupid (c) laws block me from publishing own work online

Clay Shirky tells Boing Boing:

Welcome to the Copyfight. So, at Etech this year, I gave a talk entitled Ontology is Overrated. I want to put a transcript up online, and Mary Hodder, who recorded the talk, graciously agreed to give me a copy of the video.

When she came by NYC last week, she dropped off a DVD, which I then wanted to convert to AVI (the format used by my transcription service.) I installed ffmpeg and tried to convert the material, at which point I got an error message which read "To comply with copyright laws, DVD device input is not allowed." Except, of course, there are no copyright laws at issue here, since I'M THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER.

Got that? I am in possession of a video, of me, shot by a friend, copied to a piece of physical media given to me as a gift. In the video, I am speaking words written by me, and for which I am the clear holder of the copyright. I am working with said video on a machine I own. Every modern legal judgment concerning copyright, from the Berne Convention to the Betamax case, is on my side. AND I CAN'T MAKE A COPY DIRECTLY FROM THE DEVICE. This is because copyright laws do not exist to defend the moral rights of copyright holders -- they exist to help enforce artificial scarcity.

Copyright holders in my position, who want to use Creative Commons licensing to share material, are treated as pathological cases, because we're not behaving in the extortionate manner that current regulations are designed to protect.

I've gotten the copy another way, and the transcript will go up, but this is the state of the world, circa 2005: I can be prevented from copying my own words from my own devices, precisely because I want to share them freely, a use the law is perfectly prepared to regard as irrelevant.

Yes. Welcome to the copyfight. The scary thing is that more and more people are beginning to think it is NORMAL not to be able to do what Clay is upset about not being able to do.

New York Times
Growing Number of Lawsuits Could Hurt Google's Ad Revenue

PARIS, March 27 -

[...]

This month, Mr. Dariot triumphed in his year-and-a-half-old lawsuit against Google's French subsidiary, which has been ordered to pay him $97,000 in fines and legal costs.

Dariot and his travel companies, Luteciel and Viaticum, successfully challenged Google's practice of selling Internet advertising from rivals designed to appear with Web searches for his trademarked Web site name, Bourse des Vols, which means flight exchange.

[...]

Mr. Dariot's company is one of the first to win against Google; similar cases in the United States and Germany that challenged the search engine's use of keywords have failed.

But more companies are piling on. France is home to as many as 15 cases, according to lawyers involved.

[...]

In a recent California case, Norm Zada, the chief executive and founder of Perfect 10, a publisher of nude photographs and adult material based in Beverly Hills, said he started sending legal notices to Google about the unauthorized use of his images in 2001.

"After 16 notices, they said they couldn't do anything," Mr. Zada said.

Since then, he said, his attorney has issued a blizzard of 44 notices in the past two years that covered 9,000 unauthorized images. In January, he sued Google in United States District Court in Los Angeles.

Google is in an amazing position to be the target of tons of lawsuits that will set precedent for many important things for us on the Internet. I personally like that Google is pushing the envelope on fair use and other issues. For instance, I think Google Images "thumbnails" are no larger than 150x150 pixels. Because of this, I use 150x150 as my own "safe zone" for "fair use thumbnails". If someone sues me, at least I can point at Google. The other thing that Google, Yahoo and others are involved in is transborder lawsuits, which are a very interesting issue from an Internet governance point of view.

Maybe Google should get into the legal advisory business too. ;-)

In yesterday's discussion and in Charles Leadbeater's discussion the day before, there was a lot of talk about the rights of amateurs, the "pro-am revolution" and other arguments about how amateur content and creativity was important. I described how in the blogging world, it's mostly the people who create content who "pay" in contrast to the professional content world where it is the creator who gets paid. I talked about how Creative Commons was really helpful for amateurs who were more passionate about having their works widely accessible than making money. This is not to say that Creative Commons isn't useful for other things of course.

There was a bit of slippage in the discussion in the afternoon when several people pointed out that maybe I was suggesting that amateurs shouldn't/couldn't become professionals. The point, if I understood it correctly, assumed that most amateurs wanted to be professionals and that somehow amateurs were proto-professionals or professional wannabes. At least some of them.

I think this is a mischaracterization and maybe a reason to dump the word "amateur". I think that in the case of many amateurs such as many bloggers, Wikipedians and most open source developers, the amateurs are happy being amateurs and don't feel that they are in any way inferior to their professional counterparts. Many of the heads of open source projects have a day job, but probably believe that they are superior to comparable professionals at Microsoft or other software companies. I doubt that many Wikipedians wish that they could get paid for what they do. There are very few people who prefer professional sex to amateur sex. (I think I got this example from Steve Weber's book.)

My sister pointed this out to me last week by IM as well. I think the answer lies in the mode of production. Money creates a power relationship between the payer and the payee. I think cases where the production is happening in some sort of enterprise or a "firm" where having a manager and having access to resources allows production to be more efficiently, financial relationships and "professionalism" seem to "feel OK." On the other hand, when working in what Yochai Benkler calls "commons-based peer-production," the "professionalism" is replaced by amateur passion as a primary driver.

I pointed out several times yesterday that I don't want to impinge on the rights of professionals, but I believe that monopolistic professional organizations such as rights collection agencies, the Hollywood lobbies and Microsoft are hurting the ability for amateur artists from participating by creating technology and legislation that focuses exclusively on protection instead of the sharing of creativity. I think it is the role of government to call into question the practices of these monopolies which are the unfortunately byproduct of an unchecked free market economy and prevent the passing of legislature that increases the power of these monopolies such as software patents and extension of copyright terms. Instead, they should be focusing on activities that make it more difficult for such monopolies to form such as focusing on open standards and open source and whenever possible, preventing proprietary standards from being funded by public funds.

From: John Parres Date: Mon, 07 Mar 2005 00:15:18 -0800
To: dave
Subject: NASA using BitTorrent

I just noticed the cool WIRED story "Around the World in 80 Clicks" http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.03/start.html?pg=7 about NASA's World Wind open source app that displays 10 terabytes of Earth imagery on demand so I thought I would give it a spin (heh).

The story says "...When project manager Patrick Hogan unleashed World Wind, one of NASA's servers collapsed under a deluge of downloa requests - 100,000 a day - and the service went offline. This spring, it's back, with a bigger server..." and a BitTorrent link!http://worldwind.arc.nasa.gov/download.html

It's nice to see USA government scientists making use of P2P to save
taxpayers' money.

JP

Excellent. I have been pushing local governments in Japan to use BitTorrent and other P2P technologies for community video projects. Many government and commercial video projects are crushed under the bandwidth and server costs of serving video. P2P allows the cost to be shared by the community of people who want to download the files. From a taxpayer perspective, this makes a lot of sense and adds yet another example of non-infringing use of P2P technologies.

via IP

I'm posting this in full because it's important.

Cory @ Boing Boing Blog
Does "the Long Tail" mean we need longer copyrights?

Chris Anderson's brilliant Wired article, The Long Tail, talks about how indie, obscure and midlist/backlist material is more valuable, in aggregate, than all the glitzy, mainstream top-forty stuff is.

However, when Lawrence Lessig argues for shorter copyright terms, he bases his stuff, in part, on the fact that old stuff is all out of print and can't be brought back into print because of the cost of clearing the copyright to the work.

Are Lessig and the Long Tail irreconcilable? Anderson says no:

Many of those extracting new value from old content are not the original creators or rights-holders. Some of them are repurposing older material, and others are aggregators who have found ways to find new markets for material that's fallen beneath the commercial radar. Either way, they typically aren't the original record label, film studio, publishing house, TV production company or any of the other names that might be on the copyright declaration. They are someone else, probably someone entirely unexpected. This is, after all, the dawn of Remix Culture.

What's changed is the presumption that the primary rights-holder is the best at extracting the commercial potential of creative material. Instead, anyone can do it: the advertising company that remixes an old movie to sell a car; the Linux t-shirt done Warhol-style, or just plain old DJ magic. What you need to encourage this multiplicity of commercialization potential is tiered alternatives to one-size-fits-all copyright, from allowing derivative works (good marketing!) to shorter terms for the sake of the remix-culture social good. I can't think of a better example of that than Lessig's own Creative Commons, which has already become the license of choice for the right side of the Tail, where the commercial imperative is less all-consuming.

Link

(via Copyfight)

Another way to look at this is to look at the marketing cost of promoting some piece of content. It is nearly impossible for someone to sustain a marketing campaign for most content for the lifetime of the copyright. In the past, it is likely that old content would get lost in the archives or disappear all together. With digital technology and remix culture, new creators can discover old music and bring it back. This is what Disney has done with many of their stories. When Disney takes an ancient myth or story and spends money to animate it, it's building on the past, but involved a great deal of creativity. In the same way, many of the people who dig into the tail and discover lost songs and books and are tuning them or putting them in context often add a great deal of creativity in the process. The notion that there is an "origin" of an idea or work and that the creativity stops there is silly. Most creative work is a process of people passing ideas and inspirations from the past into the future and adding their own creativity along the way.

Also, I'm not against businesses making money. I just believe that the cost of marketing is going to increase and the cost of delivery is going to decrease as the Net gets stronger and mass media gets weaker. In a world where discovery is more important than delivery, it's the people who find, remix and direct attention to old stuff that should be rewarded, not the people who deliver it or sit on it waiting for someone to show up.

Xeni at Boing Boing linked to a flash movie on a North Korean site promoting vacations to North Korea. The North Korean Friendship Association was not pleased. Read the funny updates.

Cory Doctorow @ Boing Boing Blog
Help rat on people who sing Happy Birthday!

Mako sez, "Unhappy Birthday is a website/project commenting on the fact that the song "Happy Birthday To You" is under an actively enforced copyright held by Time Warner. The site offers tools and information to report unauthorized public performances of that work. If educating people and upholding the principle of copyright means risking a DoS of ASCAP's licensing enforcement infrastructure, that's a risk I'm willing to take."

Link

(Thanks, Mako!)

I didn't realize I was engaging in copyright infringement when I sang Happy Birthday in public without paying. Better stop doing that and rat out anyone else who sings it without paying.

Cory @ Boing Boing
Euro software patents: dead again! w00t!:

Aymeric sez, "I was at the Brussels demo [against software patents] today and the result, it appears, was slightly positive." That's an understatement: the software patent issue is dead again in the European Parliament and has to be rebooted from start if the other side wants to get it through!

The European Parliament has thrown out a bill that would have allowed software to be patented.

Politicians unanimously rejected the bill and now it must go through another round of consultation if it is to have a chance of becoming law.

During consultation the software patents bill could be substantially re-drafted or even scrapped.

Link

(Thanks, Aymeric!)

This is great news. I wish Japan would listen to Europe on this issue.

Follow the link to Boing Boing for more information and updates.

Dan Gillmor on Grassroots Journalism
Copyright Progress, Maybe

The U.S. Copyright Office wants comments on

"the issues raised by 'orphan works,' i.e., copyrighted works whose owners are difficult or even impossible to locate. Concerns have been raised that the uncertainty surrounding ownership of such works might needlessly discourage subsequent creators and users from incorporating such works in new creative efforts or making such works available to the public."
This is wonderful news, and a sign of that people like Larry Lessig are making progress in educating the powers-that-be on the issues.

Public Knowledge has a good summary.

This is good news. Of course my opinion is that orphan works should go to the public domain. I guess the details of how one determines whether something is an orphan or not will be important, but I'm sure we can think of something. Lessig's idea of a minimal charge to keep your copyright alive comes to mind.

Copyfight
What Can't I Do Today? (Donna Wentworth)

A Slashdotter, on Endangered Gizmos and the threat to harmless "me2me" uses:


At this point, I've accepted that there are things I do that may someday be considered a crime. ...:
  • Record TV shows from my DirecTV reciever that I pay a monthly subscription fee for into my computer using a Hauppauge PVR250 card for archival purposes (to show friends and family when they come over)
  • Rip all CDs that I buy to the infinitely more convenient Ogg Vorbis format so that I can listen to my music anywhere
  • Stream any audio or video from my house to wherever I happen to be using a VPN connection and broadbad. This means I can listen to my music collection, watch my DVDs or even DirecTV as long as I have an internet connection
  • Build custom digital media devices that don't have the limitations that commercial products do

...It's a wonder it's not illegal to use a hammer, nails, screwdriver, drywall, plaster and screws to build or modify your house any way you want.
Basically, the notion of "owning a song" when you buy it in some format is going to be over if Hollywood has any say. In the old days, if you had an album, you could tape it and listen to it in your car or anywhere you wanted to. You basically "owned the song." Now you own the song on your Mac/iPod. Or own the song on Microsoft... or own the DVD in Region 1... If you've purchased thousands of tracks on Apple Music Store and decide you're going to stop using iTunes and iPod, you're shit out of luck. Or if you have a thousand DVDs and you move from the US to Japan. Yes, there are workarounds, but they will try to make more and more laws to prohibit people from building workarounds.

So my question is... Does this INCREASE or DECREASE the likelihood that I'm going to want to build a massive music or movie collection?

Ross Mayfield's Weblog
IBM Opens the Patent Market

Steve Lohr reports that IBM is open sourcing 500 patents.

John Kelly, the senior vice president for technology and intellectual property, called the patent contribution "the beginning of a new era in
how I.B.M. will manage intellectual property."

Perhaps for more than just IBM -- competitors may have to follow, um, suit.  While 500 patents is a drop in the bucket for the largest portfolio (40k), this is a significant move and part of a broader strategy to commoditize their inputs, pool risk, leverage a lead in services and change the game.

"This is exciting," said Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Stanford Law School and founder of the school's Center for Internet and Society. "It is I.B.M. making good on its commitment to encourage a different kind of software development and recognizing the burden that patents can impose."
Amazing things happen when self interest is in group interest.
Although I'd like to see what those patents actually are, but I do think this is interesting and good thing to see. They're not the first to take this strategy. I recall Intel doing something similar, pooling patents around development using their chips so that developers could more easily create software without bumping into each other. I think I remember that those were not Intel's patents, but the patents of the developers. ;-) But the strategy is similar. Companies fight for intellectual property protection for self-interest arguing that without it, people will not innovate. On the other hand, many platform providers know that patents often encumber innovation. With software patents in particular, I believe that they stifle innovation more than they create incentives, especially for small companies. It's nice to see patent giants like IBM taking steps like this.

UPDATE: More from former IBM Exec, John Patrick on this.

I'm off to Hawaii to the Sony Open Forum. It's a very small gathering of Sony executives, academics and business people who meet during the Sony Open in Hawaii, a PGA tournament. This is the third year I've been invited to go. I really suck a golf. I think I'm the only participant who isn't going to participate in the pro-am tournament. The first year, I promised I would learn to golf by the next year. Last year I made the same promise. I'm returning again, not a single step closer to being good enough to participate.

I've been asked to make some remarks to kick off the session on "Re-examining Threats and Opportunities of the Broadband Age". Here is a summary of what I think I'm going to talk about.

The proliferation of broadband into the home has dramatically changed the way people communicate and consume content. Hollywood and many copyright owners have focused on the illegal file sharing risk of broadband. They have focused on digital rights management technology and laws prohibiting file sharing and the creation of technology which enables file sharing. My view is that the success of the iPod and iTunes has been due to a focus on user experience and marketing INTO this new behavior. Content consumption has become an integral part of communications and community yet most content distribution systems are still isolated. Amateurs are also playing an increasing role in the creation, distribution and promotion of content. This new mode of creation, promotion and distribution of content is increasing diversity and there is evidence that it is increasing the overall market, albeit probably content in the "tail". Sony and others should shift their attention to the "tail" of the market, focusing on enabling new user behavior and increasing overall usability. The key is better services at lower prices, not copyright protection. In other words - great and cheap can compete with lousy and free.

I will also talk about Creative Commons and the idea that Sony should enable all of their devices with open systems to allow the creation, tagging and sharing of free content and that in the long run, the "sharing economy" may exceed the size of the commercial content industry.

Last year I talked about something similar, which you can imagine sparked a lively debate. I'm sure it will be interesting again this year.

Xeni @ Boing Boing Blog
Stop sketching, little girl -- those paintings are copyrighted!

Museum security guard told a child to stop sketching paintings in a museum -- because they're copyrighted.

It is standard operating procedure for students of art to learn by example by sketching masterpieces in an art museum. A budding artist in Durham found that the time honored tradition was challenged while seeking inspiration at the Matisse, Picasso and the School of Paris: Masterpieces from the Baltimore Museum of Art exhibit in Raleigh.

Over the weekend at the North Carolina Museum of Art there were works by Matisse, Picasso, Monet, Degas and some Illanas. Julia Illana is a second grader who was visiting the popular exhibit there with her parents and was sketching the paintings in her notebook. "I love to draw in my notebook," Illana said.

Her sketch of Picasso's Woman with Bangs, which came out pretty good, and Matisse's Large Reclining Nude got the promising artist into trouble with museum security. A museum guard told Julia's parents that sketching was prohibited because the great masterpieces are copyright protected, a concept that young Julia did not understand until her mother explained the term.

Link (Thanks, Cowicide)
If you follow the link, you will find that the museum realized its mistake and apologizes to the girl because, of course, there is no copyright infringement here. What is scary about this story is, just like the notion that ideas (vs the expression of ideas) can and should should be "owned", wrong ideas about copyright propagate very quickly like some bad urban legend and cause this sort of "ignorance creep."

Copyleftcommie

Xeni @ Boing Boing
Bill Gates: Free Culture advocates = Commies

In an interview on news.com, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates described free culture advocates as a "modern-day sort of communists." Well now.

Q: "In recent years, there's been a lot of people clamoring to reform and restrict intellectual-property rights. It started out with just a few people, but now there are a bunch of advocates saying, 'We've got to look at patents, we've got to look at copyrights.' What's driving this, and do you think intellectual-property laws need to be reformed?

A: "No, I'd say that of the world's economies, there's more that believe in intellectual property today than ever. There are fewer communists in the world today than there were. There are some new modern-day sort of communists who want to get rid of the incentive for musicians and moviemakers and software makers under various guises. They don't think that those incentives should exist.

Lessig Blog
what a total (intellectual) disappointment this man is

If I had the time, and the money, I'd do the deep analysis that it would take to explain to myself why it is I constantly hope to be surprised by Mr. Gates. Yet I never am.

It's one thing to read this sort of thing from a studio exec, or head of a record label -- surrounded as they are by the sort that surround them. But the people I've met at Microsoft are miles beyond this sort of silliness. Does Mr. Gates not even talk to them?

More Gates "Creative Commies" propaganda on Boing Boing.

I'd be interested to know why Larry expected to be positively surprised by Mr. Gates.

UPDATE: Good response to Bill Gates from Glenn Otis Brown of Creative Commons.

New York Times
Google Is Adding Major Libraries to Its Database

By JOHN MARKOFF and EDWARD WYATT

Google, the operator of the world's most popular Internet search service, plans to announce an agreement today with some of the nation's leading research libraries and Oxford University to begin converting their holdings into digital files that would be freely searchable over the Web.

It may be only a step on a long road toward the long-predicted global virtual library. But the collaboration of Google and research institutions that also include Harvard, the University of Michigan, Stanford and the New York Public Library is a major stride in an ambitious Internet effort by various parties. The goal is to expand the Web beyond its current valuable, if eclectic, body of material and create a digital card catalog and searchable library for the world's books, scholarly papers and special collections.

Muninn
Harvard Pilot Project with Google

I just got a university-wide email regarding a pilot project that Harvard is starting with Google. It looks like Google will also be joining with other universities in this project, which will begin the work of digitizing, and in the case of public domain works providing public access to, the contents of the Harvard library system.

Sounds good. Now if only we can figure out a way to get more of the books, particularly those which are out of print, into the public domain.

Donna Wentworth @ Copyfight
ACS Sues Google Over "Scholar" Trademark

Because when we think about scholarship and online research, we think about the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Or maybe not.

Story here.

Not.

As Jon Stewart would say... Please stop. Can't we just get along. Ugh.

EFF Deeplinks
Artists Agree -- P2P Lawsuits Are Not the Answer

Cynthia Webb of the Washington Post synthesizes the discussion about the new Pew study [PDF] reporting that while many artists believe file sharing should be illegal, they don't necessarily believe that 1.) it's actually hurting them, 2.) the RIAA lawsuits are doing anything to help the situation

Interesting report and another blow to the RIAA's argument that they are doing it for the artists.

Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) just won a case against the karaoke bars and is now going after clubs.

asahi.com
CHANGING ITS TUNE: It's closing time

"I thought it was a new kind of fraud," said Naoki Kasugai, who runs Daytrip, a nightclub that offers live music in Nagoya. He received a letter from JASRAC in summer 2003 along with an invoice for a monthly charge of 28,350 yen in copyright fees, covering the entire time his bar has been open since 1997. It totaled a whopping 2.32 million yen.

Kasugai was shocked and puzzled. He had never heard from JASRAC before. He figured someone was trying to con him.

But after receiving a second invoice from JASRAC, he called to find out what was going on.

A JASRAC official came by in person to explain: "The bands you hire have likely played covers of songs by other composers. We want you to pay the copyright fees on those songs."

"How many cover songs does this account for?" asked Kasugai.

"We don't know how many copyrighted songs were played here," the official replied. "So we are not charging for each of them. Instead, we are charging on a monthly basis."

[...]

But JASRAC is ready to rock and roll, even resorting to court battles.

"Lawsuits in themselves are an effective way to spread our message," a JASRAC official says.

Lawsuits as a communication form seems like a common practice in this industry these days...

Jason Schultz
Copyright Takedown Experiment Reveals Horrible ISP Policies

Doom9 sez:

Dutch civil rights organization Bits of Freedom has run an interesting experiment: They put up a text by a famous Dutch author, written in 1871 to accounts with 10 different ISPs. Then they made up an imaginary society that is supposed to be the copyright holder of the author in question, and sent copyright infringement takedown notices to those 10 ISP via email (using a Hotmail account). 7 out of 10 ISPs took down the material, sometimes within hours and without even informing the account holder. One ISP doubted the legitimacy of the claim and asked for some proof that the alleged plaintiff was in fact the copyright holder. Yet another ISP actually realized that copyright had long since run out on the work. That's real scary, don't you think? Made up society, Hotmail addresses and a website is gone.

BOF's paper is available here (PDF)

The reaction of the ISPs is natural. Be more afraid of people who are more likely to sue you. It takes some guts to be firm about stuff like this, but I think experiments like this and praise to those companies and institutions who are diligent are important to encourage companies to care about these issues. I remember that back in the early days (I don't know about these days) ISPs used to get too friendly with the police and often ended up giving them more information than appropriate about their customers. ISPs have a huge responsibility to uphold the law as well as protect their customers. Hat tip to the ISP that asked for proof from alleged plaintiff.

Electronic Frontier Foundation
No "Fishing License" for the RIAA

This just in: the Supreme Court has denied cert in RIAA v. Verizon, the case in which the recording industry initially won the right to unmask an anonymous KaZaA user with a special non-judicial, PATRIOT Act-like subpoena under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The DC Circuit reversed (PDF) that ruling, but the RIAA appealed. Now the Supreme Court has declined to hear the case.

[...]

Said EFF's Wendy Seltzer, who worked on the case, "The Supreme Court's refusal to take the case leaves the DC Circuit's well reasoned opinion as law: The DMCA doesn't give the RIAA a blank fishing license to issue subpoenas and invade Internet users' privacy."

I love it when the good guys win. Congratulations EFF!

I'm sitting in the Italian Parliament (I think.) The panel I was on was dealing with the impact of digital/Internet on content creation and distribution. It started yesterday and continued today. I think it lasted about seven hours or so in total. I found myself in violent disagreement at the beginning because they kept talking about piracy. The interesting thing about this panel (probably more common in other cultures, but new for me) was that we had to come to a written consensus by the end of the session and present it in the Parliament building. It would then be distributed to politicians across Europe as a recommendation.

I found myself negotiating like some UN diplomat.

In the end, here is where we ended up on a few of my "hot buttons".

Organized, for-profit, commercial piracy was different from P2P file sharing by individuals. We could not agree on the impact of P2P file sharing, but we agreed that punishing file sharing was not the only/best way to deal with the issue. I pushed for a stronger stance, my position being that as Chris Anderson says in The Long Tail, it's a matter of price and convenience. People will pay if the experience is better. That was not included in the statement, but "education" was used instead. Blah. I just made a statement that I disagree with this and that there is not enough evidence that P2P filesharing of music is really bad for the music industry.

It appeared that people had a VERY bad image of Creative Commons. For some reason they thought that CC was trying to force people to share and was anti-copyright. I explained the CC was built upon copyright and was trying to help artists choose their copyright.

This part turned out quite well in the statement. They said that CC was a tool, not to steal from artists, but to give them the choice to share and lower the parasitic costs (legal) of choosing a license. They concluded that CC was NOT a threat as they had originally envisioned, but a complimentary and a good thing. The tone was very pro-artist and less tolerant of distributors, the idea of giving more control to artists seemed to be quite attractive.

I'm about to have a chance to object to some of the issues I see in the statement and give an address about my thoughts. I'm going to talk about the value of the Long Tail and Creative Commons.

"In a complete reversal of their policy and on the heels of Avex's partial cessation of copy protected CDs (translation), Sony Music Entertainment in Japan has announced that it will abolish its Label Gate CCCD format (translation) beginning in November 2004 and move back to normal CD-audio format discs for all future releases. Reasons cited are music users' increased consciousness about copyrights and maintenance of legality (conformity to the CD-audio format specification). In related news, Sony also released a slightly updated HD walkman (translation) due to pressure from the iPod, but because of hardware limitations the device still does not support MP3 playback."
Yay! Sony does something smart in the DRM space for a change.

Lessig blogs about a very important case:

A district court in the Southern District of New York has struck down the anti-bootlegging provision of the copyright act.

Japan Today
Creator of file-sharing software pleads not guilty to piracy

KYOTO — The creator of a program for anonymous file-sharing over the Internet pleaded not guilty on Wednesday at the Kyoto District Court to the charge that he developed the software knowing it would facilitate Internet piracy.

Isamu Kaneko, 34, who developed the Winny peer-to-peer file-sharing program, is the first person in Japan to stand trial for creating software that can be used for the unauthorized reproduction of movies and video games over the Internet.

In the US, they are trying to pass a law making it illegal to induce people to break copyright law. In Japan, they act like such a law already exists. I hope the Japanese take a look at the recent US 9th Circuit Court ruling in favor of Grokster. It is a really bad idea to be going after the creators of technology. P2P is a VERY important technology for the future of file sharing and its application goes way beyond merely pirating commercial content. P2P architecture will enable communities to create file sharing networks without having to invest in and build centralized file servers which can be extremely expensive. It also prevents the creator of large audio and video files from having to pay for all of the bandwidth to share their work.

As PCs become more powerful and hard disks cheaper, sharing of video produced by amateurs will be a very important use for broadband Internet. P2P makes the most sense for sharing these files and banning P2P will stunt the growth of this market. It will also stunt the development of the use of large multimedia files in citizen journalism.

See the FreeKaneko site for how you can help the Isamu Kaneko.

Ernest Miller @ Copyfight
Patenting Punctuation (Ernest Miller)

Well, it seems that someone has patented some new forms of punctuation: WIPO Patent Publication No. WO9219458:

Using two new punctuation marks, the question comma and the exclamation comma: and respectively, inquisitiveness and exclamation may be expressed within a written sentence structure, so that thoughts may be more easily and clearly conveyed to readers. The new punctuation marks are for use within a written sentence between words as a comma, but with more feeling or inquisitiveness.Seems that this is sort of an addition to the faddish punctuation known as the Interrobang.
via I/P Updates

This reminds me a bit of when Despair, Inc. trademarked the frowny emoticon ":-("

Xeni @ Boing Boing
EFF wins Grokster
Big news: The EFF prevails in the long-fought Grokster case. Court decision is available here (PDF). Link to 9th Circuit Court of appeals ruling in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer v. Grokster, issued August 19, 2004.
This is great news. Congrats to the whole EFF team who worked on this!

More on Corante: Powerful Language from the MGM v. Grokster Decision
- Posted by Jason Schultz

An interesting survey based project to try to answer the question of whether the cost of what the MPAA and RIAA does exceeds their forgone revenues to piracy.

doom3kittlytorch

Cory @ Boing Boing
Hello Kitty flashlight for Doom 3

Doom 3 has only just come out and already the modders are revving up their engines. My favorite so far: a Hello Kitty flashlight mod that makes your gun's built-in light cast a kawaii beam on the objects it alights upon. Link

(via Oblomovka)

Doom modder culture has become truly sophisticated. ;-) How very Boing Boing.

It has already been widely reported that music publisher Ludlow Music has threatened copyright litigation against JibJab for their animation "This Land" which uses Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land." Corante, Boing Boing and NPR report that the kids like JibJab. Wendy Seltzer makes an interesting point that when Congress passed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, they said it was "for the children." Wendy says, "It's worth remembering, again, that artists and copyright holders aren't always the same people."

Lawrence Lessig
no potential for a substantial noninfringing use?

Here's a BitTorrent file that will get you, p2p, the video of the Hearings on the INDUCE Act, prepared by Tom Barger. Watch, and blog the substantial noninfringing use.

BitTorrent is one of the most efficient p2p systems and is great for distributing movies and other large files. The Induce act is trying to make illegal basic technologies such as p2p which "could induce" people to break copyright law.

With more powerful cameras and PCs, video and Flash have become important mediums for free speech. They are increasingly being used for political action. The integration of blogs and p2p technology for sharing these videos like the BitTorrent link above from Lessig are a good example. I believe this is substantial non-infringing use.

BitTorrent is very smart and allows you to download from multiple sources. Thus, the more people downloading/sharing, the faster the download becomes and the less stress it puts on any one person. Anyone who's posted a movie file to a blog knows what this is like. I'm downloading it now with 3 peers. Come on everyone, join in the BitTorrent p2p fun and help me make the download faster! (while it's still legal)

Poor poor FOX.

Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO, Fox News Network
Any news organization that doesn’t support our position on copyright is crazy. Next week, we could take a month’s worth of video from CNN International and do a documentary “Why does CNN hate America?” You wouldn’t even have to do the hatchet job Outfoxed was. You damn well could run it without editing. CNN International, Al-Jazeera and BBC are the same in how they report-mostly that America is wrong and bad. Everybody should stand up and say these people don’t have the right to take our product anymore. They don’t have a right to take a year’s worth of Dan Rather or Ted Koppel and edit it any way they want. It puts journalism at risk.
If someone thinks CNN or Al-Jazeera is doing a bad job, they should say it. Using clips of news programming to criticize a network is totally game I think. Although news has become entertainment, I don't think it should be controlled in the same way that creative content should be. I think that fair use should be applied liberally. The press and the news media should encourage critical debate. I think that a network that has a monopoly on millions of eyeballs should be fair game for documentaries like Outfoxed.

Via Lessig

Suw Charman @ The Guardian
Listen to the flip side

New research suggesting that file sharing has no impact upon sales of CDs has, not surprisingly, angered the music industry. [our very own] Suw Charman reports

Suw has a good article in the Guardian about the paper (PDF) by Associate Professor Felix Oberholzer-Gee of Harvard Business School in Boston and Professor Koleman Strumpf of the University of North Carolina where they assert that "Downloads have an effect on sales which is statistically indistinguishable from zero, despite rather precise estimates." It's an important first paper in the battle against the rampant idea that file sharing is destroying the music business and Suw does a good job introducing it and additional ideas to public in a more popular medium. Yay!

Sunday Herald
The activist, author and director told the Sunday Herald that, as long as pirated copies of his film were not being sold, he had no problem with it being downloaded. "I don't agree with the copyright laws and I don't have a problem with people downloading the movie and sharing it with people as long as they're not trying to make a profit off my labour. I would oppose that," he said. "I do well enough already and I made this film because I want the world, to change. The more people who see it the better, so I'm happy this is happening."
Interesting quote, but as Xeni points out, after the box office hit in the US, he can sort of afford to say that. If he felt this way, it would have been cool if he had put a Creative Commons license on it. Still, I think this is better than nothing. Xeni also points out the film's distributor is clearly against "sharing" of the film on the Internet.

via Xeni @ Boing Boing and Creative Commons Weblog

In an update on the new Induce Act that I blogged about earlier, Orlowski makes an interesting observation about why the IT lobby lost Hatch who is leading this bill and who used to be "on our side."

Orlowski - The Register
Dirty rotten inducers - the law the IT world deserves?

...Well, perhaps it's a combination of all these factors. Perhaps too, the brief flood of speculative capital into the technology industry in the 1980s and 1990s convinced IT people they didn't have an exalted place in society. For a time, they did, and even now many seem to think so. And underneath, there's the hunch that the market will sort everything out, or the belief that every problem can be solved with technology. Whatever the reasons, the fightback against the RIAA and the MPAA has been as effective as the proverbial one-legged man in a backsid- kicking competition. The entertainment industry should be thankful it has opponents so inept.

[...]

Opportunity knocked

We mention this only because the good Senator Hatch personifies the missed opportunity. He once shared the view of many involved in the technology sector today that the RIAA could not be trusted to clean up its act, and that alternative compensation systems that ended "piracy" could prove to be very popular. That was in 2000.

At around the same time, the EFF was campaigning for Napster to be legalized, without offering any suggestions as to how the artists might be paid - thus surrendering its moral authority on the issue. Meanwhile, the RIAA was courting and flattering Senator Hatch.

At a special gala awards dinner early in 2001 hosted by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Hatch was awarded a "Hero Award" and the diners heard Nashville star Natalie Grant perform one of his songs, "I Am Not Alone", Joe Menn reported in his book about Napster, All The Rave [Reg review]

If turning a Senator is this easy, why couldn't the techies do it?

I find Orlowski too negative sometimes and his critical view on blogs and Emergent Democracy have always bothered me, but I think he makes some good points about the weakness of the "Internet lobby" in this piece. Many of us are aware of this to varying degrees, but I think we need to keep reminding ourselves that much of the time, we're talking to ourselves. More importantly, we need to figure out how to become more effective. I think the EFF is doing great stuff, but how can we make it even better?

Dan Gillmor
Congress Goes After Peer to Peer

UPDATED

I hadn't been taking some proposed new copyright legislation very seriously, mainly because it's logically absurd on its face. But the "Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004" (PDF) seems to be moving so quickly that we have to pay attention now.

It's basically a bill that can make the creation of technology that could possibly be used for "piracy" illegal. More on Dan's blog. Please take a look. It's quite absurd and dangerous. If it's moving quickly, I think we need to mobilize against it as soon as possible. Japan always gets hand-me-downs of ugly US bills so please stop it!

UPDATE - a scenario of what would be illegal:

Here's EFF's hypothetical complaint against Apple (for making the iPod) C|Net (for reviewing the iPod), and Toshiba (for supplying hard drives for iPods).

Lessig
this is the constitution on DRM

So jump over here to Amazon.com where you can purchase an electronic version of the Constitution, fitted very nicely to a Microsoft Reader (not Mac compatible), and protected quite completely with DRM. The description says you're not permitted to print it. The reader reviews report you're permitted to print it twice a year. And don't try to hack the code to print it more than twice -- until Boucher's H.R. 107 passes at least. (Though the ranking is higher than for my book. Maybe free fails after all?) (Thanks Paul!)

Now who in their right mind would buy a copy of the US constitution in a form that they couldn't freely print? Or maybe they're going to try to get the government to stop distributing for free. ;-p

A paper by Felix Oberholzer of Harvard Business School and Koleman Strumpf of UNC Chapel Hill shows strong evidence that file-sharing has "statistically indistinguishable from zero" effect on CD sales and the RIAA decides to sue 482 more people for sharing copyright music on peer-to-peer networks. This brings the number of people sued by the RIAA for file-sharing to 3,429. I guess that if you can't convince everyone, you can always try to scare people into submission.

But it looks like the RIAA will have event MORE reasons to sue people. They're trying to "criminalize the act of inducing another to commit a copyright violation."

Cory's excellent drm rant which he presented at Microsoft Research has now been wikified to allow people to comment and add to it. Excellent.

Dan Gillmor
DirecTV Reins in the Legal Attack Dogs

In one of the uglier "intellectual property" abuses, DirecTV has been suing people for possession of tools it claims can be used to get TV shows without paying for them. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society have challenged the satellite TV company on this conduct, and on Monday DirecTV agreed to modify its approach, according to this press release, which says in part:

The company will no longer pursue people solely for purchasing smart card readers, writers, general-purpose programmers, and general-purpose emulators. It will maintain this policy into the forseeable future and file lawsuits only against people it suspects of actually pirating its satellite signal. DirecTV will, however, continue to investigate purchasers of devices that are often primarily designed for satellite signal interception, nicknamed “bootloaders” and “unloopers.”

DirecTV also agreed to change its pre-lawsuit demand letters to explain in detail how innocent recipients can get DirecTV to drop their cases. The company also promised that it will investigate every substantive claim of innocence it receives. If purchasers provide sufficient evidence demonstrating that they did not use their devices for signal theft, DirecTV will dismiss their cases. EFF and CIS will monitor reports of this process to confirm that innocent device purchasers are having their cases dismissed.

Perhaps DirecTV saw some writing on the wall. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court has ruled that the company can't sue solely because someone possesses such equipment.
These are the kinds of stories that make me sometimes wish I lived in America. Good job EFF and Stanford Law School.

Help EFF stamp out stupid patents! Know of any stupid patents being used to hurt the little guys? Send them to the EFF. What a great project.

Electronic Frontier Foundation
Enter the Patent Busting Contest!

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Patent Busting Project is here to protect you from dangerously bad patents. And you can help us pick which patents we're going to bust first!

We're currently seeking nominations for ten patents that deserve to be revoked because they are invalid. Sadly, we don't have the resources to challenge every stupid patent out there. In order to qualify for our ten most-wanted list, a patent must be software or Internet-related and there must be a good reason to suspect that the patent claims are invalid. We're especially interested in patents that target tools of free expression, such as streaming media, blogging tools, and voice over IP (VoIP) technology. Most importantly, the patent-holder must be aggressively enforcing its patent and suing (or threatening to sue) alleged infringers. We're particularly interested in cases where the patent-holder is trying to force small businesses, individuals, nonprofits, and consumers to pay licensing fees. Deadline to enter is June 23.

On June 30, the Patent Busting Project's team of tough lawyers and brainy geeks will announce the contest winners – or losers, depending on how you look at it. And that's when the real fight for great justice begins. We'll be needing your help to research prior art for each patent and offer your technical expertise or historical knowledge. Using a legal process called "reexamination," the Patent Busting Project will ultimately go to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and attempt to take those bad patents off the books.

via Boing Boing

About freekaneko.com
this web site 'freekaneko.com' was created by official Isamu Kaneko supporters. We are consisted by software engineers who deeply concern our freedom to create and research software.

We are conducting a publicity, and fund raising. We need a lot of attention from the people of the world. You can help us by telling the issue to your family, friends, and co-workers. Also, translation volunteers (and English proof readers) are needed to let the people know this issue.

Freekaneko.com marked a million hit only a day after an opening. Also, we raised 10 million yen ($100,000) in 2weeks

Isamu Kaneko is the guy who got arrested for developing P2P software. More details about that in my earlier post.

via yonderboy

Congressional Hearing Called on Fair Use; 321 Studios President Asked to Testify

Now Is the Time for Consumers to Effect Change Through www.protectfairuse.org

WASHINGTON, April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- A Congressional Hearing for H.R. 107, the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act (DMCRA), has been set for Wednesday, May 12, at 10:00 AM Eastern. The DMCRA has been acknowledged and endorsed by major industry players like Intel Corp., Philips Consumer Electronics, Sun Microsystems, Bell South, Verizon, SBC, Qwest, Gateway, and the Consumer Electronics Association, among others, as a necessary balancing mechanism to restore consumers' fair use rights in the digital era. The hearing will take place before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection in Room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

The DMCRA, introduced by Reps. Rick Boucher (D-VA) and John Doolittle (R- CA) and co-sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX), would re-affirm consumer fair use rights and balance the otherwise one-sided protection afforded copyright owners under current interpretations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

321 Studios Founder and President Robert Moore has been asked to testify at this historic fair use Congressional hearing. 321 Studios is the developer of the award-winning DVDXCOPY series of DVD backup software -- a product now banned in the United States after a group of Hollywood studios sued the company, and two federal judges decided that DVDXCOPY was in violation of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

I've been a big fan of Rick Boucher ever since I first met him in Tokyo and he helped me understand how the US Congress worked on Internet issues. He's been one of the few US politicians I've met who understands the Internet and the variety of important issues including the problems with the DMCA. This bill that he and John Doolittle have introduced is a REALLY important push against the DMCA and all the might of Hollywood will be resist the new bill. If the DMCRA is successful, it will be an important blow against the insanity of the DMCA which will reverberate all the way to Japan and the EU. Americans. Contact your representatives and rally around this important issue. Please.

Via Juche

UPDATE: DMCRA EFF action center

ffii
EU Council Plans to Scrap Parliamentary Vote without Discussion

2004/05/07

For immediate Release

The EU Council of Ministers is demonstrating that the concept of democracy is alien to the EU. This Wednesday, the Irish Presidency managed to secure a qualified majority for a counter-proposal to the software patents directive, with only a few countries - including Belgium and Germany - showing resistance. The new text proposes to discard all the amendments from the European which would limite patentability. Instead the lax language of the original Commission proposal is to be reinstated in its entirety, with direct patentability of computer programs, data structures and process descriptions added as icing on the cake. The proposal is now scheduled to be confirmed without discussion at a meeting of ministers on 17-18 May, unless one of the Member States changes its vote. In a remarkable sign of unity in times of imminent elections, members of the European Parliament from all groups across the political spectrum are condemning this blatant disrespect for democracy in Europe.

I think software patents are a bad American idea. Japan has followed the US and now Europe is planning to pass one of the worst versions software patent law discarding many of the amendments to limit its power without discussion. Although I'm for many types of patents, I think that software patents are generally bad and in particular hurt small companies and innovation.

via xcasex on IRC (or should I say, I.R.C.)

Salvador Dalí
Ideas are made to be copied. I have enough ideas to sell them on. I prefer that they are stolen so that i don't have to actually use them myself.
I wish Dalí has said, "works" or "art" instead of "ideas", but this still rocks.

via danah

There's a short interview in MIT's The Tech newpaper with Jack Valenti about DMCA. I'm glad that Jack is still willing to have discussions like this. This is what I meant when I said that I think Jack should be respected. Even if you don't agree with him, he's still willing to try to discuss his position with you.

via Creative Commons weblog

Here are some thoughts on where I think things are going in the mobile and content space.

I wrote this essay before reading Free Culture so I'm saying a lot of stuff that Larry says better...

Several crucial shifts in technology are emerging that will drastically affect the relationship between users and technology in the near future. Wireless Internet is becoming ubiquitous and economically viable. Internet capable devices are becoming smaller and more powerful.

Alongside technological shifts, new social trends are emerging. Users are shifting their attention from packaged content to social information about location, presence and community. Tools for identity, trust, relationship management and navigating social networks are becoming more popular. Mobile communication tools are shifting away from a 1-1 model, allowing for increased many-to-many interactions; such a shift is even being used to permit new forms of democracy and citizen participation in global dialog.

While new technological and social trends are occurring, it is not without resistance, often by the developers and distributors of technology and content. In order to empower the consumer as a community member and producer, communication carriers, hardware manufacturers and content providers must understand and build models that focus less on the content and more on the relationships.

Smaller faster

Computing started out as large mainframe computers, software developers and companies “time sharing” for slices of computing time on the large machines. The mini-computer was cheaper and smaller, allowing companies and labs to own their own computers. The mini computer allowed a much greater number of people to have access to computers and even use them in real time. The mini computer lead to a burst in software and networking technologies. In the early 80’s, the personal computer increased the number of computers by an order of magnitude and again, led to an explosion in new software and technology while lowering the cost even more. Console gaming companies proved once again that unit costs could be decreased significantly by dramatically increasing the number of units sold. Today, we have over a billion cell phones in the market. There are tens of millions camera phones. The incredible number of these devices has continued to lower the unit cost of computing as well as devices imbedded in these devices such as small cameras. High end phones have the computing power of the personal computers of the 80’s and the game consoles of the 90’s.

History repeats with WiFi

There are parallels in the history of communications and computing. In the 1980’s the technology of packet switched networks became widely deployed. Two standards competed. X.25 was a packet switched network technology being promoted by CCITT (a large, formal international standards body) and the telephone companies. It involved a system run by telephone companies including metered tariffs and multiple bilateral agreements between carriers to hook up.

Concurrently, universities and research labs were promoting TCP/IP and the Internet opportunity for loosely organized standards meetings being operated with flat rate tariffs and little or no agreements between the carriers. People just connected to the closest node and everyone agreed to freely carry traffic for others.

There were several “free Internet” services such as “The Little Garden” in San Francisco. Commercial service providers, particularly the telephone company operators such as SprintNet tried to shut down such free services by threatening not to carry this free traffic.

Eventually, large ISPs began providing high quality Internet connectivity and finally the telephone companies realized that the Internet was the dominant standard and shutdown or acquired the ISPs.

A similar trend is happening in wireless data services. GPRS is currently the dominant technology among mobile telephone carriers. GPRS allows users to transmit packets of data across the carrier network to the Internet. One can roam to other networks as long as the mobile operators have agreements with each other. Just like in the days of X.25, the system requires many bilateral agreements between the carriers; their goal is to track and bill for each packet of information.

Competing with this standard is WiFi. WiFi is just a simple wireless extension to the current Internet and many hotspots provide people with free access to the Internet in cafes and other public areas. WiFi service providers have emerged, while telephone operators –such as a T-Mobile and Vodaphone- are capitalizing on paid WiFi services. Just as with the Internet, network operators are threatening to shut down free WiFi providers, citing a violation of terms of service.

Just as with X.25, the GPRS data network and the future data networks planned by the telephone carriers (e.g. 3G) are crippled with unwieldy standards bodies, bilateral agreements, and inherently complicated and expensive plant operations.

It is clear that the simplicity of WiFi and the Internet is more efficient than the networks planned by the telephone companies. That said, the availability of low cost phones is controlled by mobile telephone carriers, their distribution networks and their subsidies.

Content vs Context

Many of the mobile telephone carriers are hoping that users will purchase branded content manufactured in Hollywood and packaged and distributed by the telephone companies using sophisticated technology to thwart copying.

Broadband in the home will always be cheaper than mobile broadband. Therefore it will be cheaper for people to download content at home and use storage devices to carry it with them rather than downloading or viewing content over a mobile phone network. Most entertainment content is not so time sensitive that it requires real time network access.

The mobile carriers are making the same mistake that many of the network service providers made in the 80s. Consider Delphi, a joint venture between IBM and Sears Roebuck. Delphi assumed that branded content was going to be the main use of their system and designed the architecture of the network to provide users with such content. Conversely, the users ended up using primary email and communications and the system failed to provide such services effectively due to the mis-design.

Similarly, it is clear that mobile computing is about communication. Not only are mobile phones being used for 1-1 communications, as expected through voice conversations; people are learning new forms of communication because of SMS, email and presence technologies. Often, the value of these communication processes is the transmission of “state” or “context” information; the content of the messages are less important.

Copyright and the Creative Commons

In addition to the constant flow of traffic keeping groups of people in touch with each other, significant changes are emerging in multimedia creation and sharing. The low cost of cameras and the nearly television studio quality capability of personal computers has caused an explosion in the number and quality of content being created by amateurs. Not only is this content easier to develop, people are using the power of weblogs and phones to distribute their creations to others.

The network providers and many of the hardware providers are trying to build systems that make it difficult for users to share and manipulate multimedia content. Such regulation drastically stifles the users’ ability to produce, share and communicate. This is particularly surprising given that such activities are considered the primary “killer application” for networks.

It may seem unintuitive to argue that packaged commercial content can co-exist alongside consumer content while concurrently stimulating content creation and sharing. In order to understand how this can work, it is crucial to understand how the current system of copyright is broken and can be fixed.

First of all, copyright in the multimedia digital age is inherently broken. Historically, copyright works because it is difficult to copy or edit works and because only few people produce new works over a very long period of time. Today, technology allows us to find, sample, edit and share very quickly. The problem is that the current notion of copyright is not capable of addressing the complexity and the speed of what technology enables artists to create. Large copyright holders, notably Hollywood studios, have aggressively extended and strengthened their copyright protections to try to keep the ability to produce and distribute creative works in the realm of large corporations.

Hollywood asserts, “all rights reserved” on works that they own. Sampling music, having a TV show running in the background in a movie scene or quoting lyrics to a song in a book about the history of music all require payment to and a negotiation with the copyright holder. Even though the Internet makes available a wide palette of wonderful works based on content from all over the world, the current copyright practices forbid most of such creation.

However, most artists are happy to have their music sampled if they receive attribution. Most writers are happy to be quoted or have their books copied for non-commercial use. Most creators of content realize that all content builds on the past and the ability for people to build on what one has created is a natural and extremely important part of the creative process.

Creative Commons tries to give artists that choice. By providing a more flexible copyright than the standards “all rights reserved” copyright of commercial content providers, Creative Commons allows artists to set a variety of rights to their works. This includes the ability to reuse for commercial use, copy, sample, require attribution, etc. Such an approach allows artists to decide how their work can be used, while providing people with the materials necessary for increased creation and sharing.

Creative Commons also provides for a way to make the copyright of pieces of content machine-readable. This means that a search engine or other tool to manipulate content is able to read the copyright. As such, an artist can search for songs, images and text to use while having the information to provide the necessary attribution.

Creative Commons can co-exist with the stringent copyright regimes of the Hollywood studios while allowing professional and amateur artists to take more control of how much they want their works to be shared and integrated into the commons. Until copyright law itself is fundamentally changed, the Creative Commons will provide an essential tool to provide an alternative to the completely inflexible copyright of commercial content.

Content is not like some lump of gold to be horded and owned which diminishes in value each time it is shared. Content is a foundation upon which community and relationships are formed. Content is the foundation for culture. We must evolve beyond the current copyright regime that was developed in a world where the creation and transmission of content was unwieldy and expense, reserved to those privileged artists who were funded by commercial enterprises. This will provide the emerging wireless networks and mobile devices with the freedom necessary for them to become the community building tools of sharing that is their destiny.

I just gave a keynote this morning and I initially felt right, but a bit bad. Milia is one of the oldest and leading interactive content conferences and MipTV is a place where content providers meet with people who want to buy content from them. The halls are full of telephone companies, TV networks, Hollywood content providers and DRM technology companies. So here I am asked to give a keynote. What am I going to say? I talked about the shift in value away from packaged content and towards context oriented things like location, presence and transactions. I talked about how DRM would make the user experience suck so bad that they would lose their customers, and I talked about how I didn't think the mobile content download business would work. Easy for Mr. "nothing to lose" Ito to say. ;-p I did throw out a olive branch by talking about Creative Commons and how we can have "some rights reserved" and try to protect their content selling business models. On the other hand, all of the smart people quickly figured out that the technical execution of protecting content while allowing sharing in certain cases requires them to trust their customers much more than they do now.

I also mentioned that the carriers and the content guys really didn't know their customers. In fact, most people don't know their customers. Most success has come from watching how the customer behaves and creating products for that behavior rather than trying to create products that change the customer's behavior, which most arrogant companies think they can do.

I did provide some helpful advice by talking about mobile device UI issues, talking about CPA and stuff.

So, I was prepared for a lot of hateful glares and wrath, but everyone was surprisingly thoughtful and the discussion after the session was really interesting. So just as publishing survived the copy machine and Hollywood movies survived the video tape, I'm sure the smart content guys will survive mobile devices and sharing whether they like it or not. Talking to all of the smart people (even the ones who's business models were screwed and didn't have any way out that I could see...) made me feel like there was a bit more hope in the content industry than I had originally envisioned.

Also, watching people from the big companies interact... I think there is a big company and "I love Hollywood stars/star-struck" aspect to why carriers and other folks want to work with the big studios. Having worked in Hollywood selling content to Japanese trading companies and having worked at NHK buying TV shows from Hollywood I know that Hollywood studios are skilled at making you feel good about working with them. There are many people who have lost a lot of money in Hollywood. Unlike Las Vegas, sometimes they often even don't let you win a single hand before they take all your money. Again, mileage may vary and there are A LOT of great people in Hollywood, but beware. People and companies in Hollywood are not famous because they're nice and give you their money.

Dan Gillmor
Valenti, Right and Wrong, Is a Man to Respect

How I wish Jack Valenti had been on our side in the copyright war.

Valenti will soon retire from his decades-long post as president of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the industry's enormously effective lobbying arm. I'm going to miss him.

I recently met Jack at a conference last year but I first met Jack when I was working in Hollywood and was a translator at a meeting between him and the chairman of NHK, the Japanese public broadcasting company. I also worked with Jack's son, John, on Indian Runner. Jack always struck me as smart and charming and I have the same impression of him that Dan does. Jack gave Creative Commons a video message endorsement when Creative Commons launched. I agree with Dan that although I disagree violently with many of the things Jack stands for, I will miss him and wish all of our opponents were so gracious.

Cory blogged about this, but beware if you are buying music on iTunes and are prone to buying new Macintosh computers. You can only authorize three machines to play your iTunes purchased music. I recently bought a new machine and gave my old one to a friend. I have a desktop and my original PowerBook is being used by my aunt. So I had to track down my friend and have him log in as me and "deauthorize" the machine before I could authorize this machine. Which basically means, you have three lives. Lose/wreck/give away/sell three Macs and your iTunes library is no longer available, although there appears to be a "contact customer service" method of dealing with deauthorizing computers you don't have access to. Anyway, like Cory, I feel like I'm being punished for buying lots of Macs and lots of iTunes music. I can see their point, but this is yet another example of how DRM will always suck from a user experience point of view.

Lawrence Lessig
“Free Culture” is

Thanks to the lessons explained by others (Cory), and the courage of a great publisher (Penguin), Free Culture launches today with a free online version of the book, licensed under a Creative Commons license. You can get the book here, though at the moment, only the bittorrent version is apparently up. Later today, there will be a direct download available from the Free Culture site, and from the Amazon site.

Sorry, a bit late in blogging this...

Wired News just ran an article by Xeni exposing a draft letter circulated by Bill Lockyer, California attorney general slamming P2P. The metadata on the Word document shows that it has been edited/reviewed by the Motion Picture Association of America. Another example of Hollywood using the US government to push its agenda to blame and limit technology which it views as a threat.

It is me, or is this pretty "smoking gun"?

Two blanks against the trend! The band has decided to make a statement for its fans and for music consumers in general and is releasing the album including a bonus DVD with 2 blank CD-Rs which have the same label as the CD itself. Alexx Wesselsky (singer and head of the group): "We are of the opinion that the music buyers are criminalized enough and have been made responsible for the wretched state in the music industry. We are giving them the chance to make 2 legal copies for private use with 'official blanks'. It can't always be that the end users have to take the blame for something that international corporations have arranged with their artist-burning methods."

via rojisan

And even more racism...

Kevin Marks
RIAA's fake cops harrass based on racial stereotypes

'A large percentage [of the vendors] are of a Hispanic nature,' Langley said. 'Today hes Jose Rodriguez, tomorrow hes Raul something or other, and tomorrow after that hes something else. These people change their identity all the time. A pictures worth a thousand words.'
Langley is Western regional coordinator for the RIAA Anti-Piracy Unit.
I feel sorry for Sir Howard Stringer. I'm glad I don't have to hang out with people like the RIAA. (tech dirt on how Sir Howard might save Sony Music)

I wonder just how much racism in the name of "profiling" will be tolerated. Since the RIAA links piracy to terrorism, I suppose they'll expect us to tolerate a lot.

The New York Times Upfront asked me to contribute a short piece to a point/counterpoint they were having on download. (I would defend downloading, of course.) I thought I managed to write a pretty good piece, especially for its size and audience, in a couple days. But then I found out my piece was cut because the Times had decided not to tell kids to break the law. So, from the graveyard, here it is.

Stealing is wrong. But downloading isn’t stealing. If I shoplift an album from my local record store, no one else can buy it. But when I download a song, no one loses it and another person gets it. There’s no ethical problem.

Music companies blame a fifteen percent drop in sales since 2000 on downloading. But over the same period, there was a recession, a price hike, a 25% cut in new releases, and a lack of popular new artists. Factoring all that in, maybe downloading increases sales. And 90% of the catalog of the major labels isn’t for sale anymore. The Internet is the only way to hear this music.

Even if downloading did hurt sales, that doesn’t make it unethical. Libraries and video stores (neither of which pay per rental) hurt sales too. Is it unethical to use them?

Downloading may be illegal. But 60 million people used Napster and only 50 million voted for Bush or Gore. We live in a democracy. If the people want to share files then the law should be changed to let them.

And there’s a fair way to change it. A Harvard professor found that a $60/yr. charge for broadband users would make up for all lost revenues. The government would give it to the affected artists and, in return, make downloading legal, sparking easier-to-use systems and more shared music. The artists get more money and you get more music. What’s unethical about that?

Footnotes and lots of comments on Aaron's site.

As we start working on the details involved in the launch the sampling license over at Creative Commons, we find, as always, that God is in the details. The idea behind the sampling license is that many artists don't mind if their music is sampled by other artists as long as there is attribution. The Creative Commons is currently proposing two sampling licenses. The normal sampling license which allows other artists to transform the work even for commercial use, while prohibiting distribution of verbatim copies of the entire work. The Sampling-Plus license offers the same rights but allows verbatim sharing of the entire work for non-commercial purposes.

This license would help those genres of music that rely heavily on sampling which have been getting a beating recently by record company lawyers.

It starts to get a bit sticky when one begins to explore some of the extremes of what are called "moral rights". In the article 6bis of the Berne Convention, the "moral rights" of authors includes the "right of integrety: mutilation or distortion that would prejudice the author's honor or reputation is not permitted." These rights are not protected under US Copyright Law but many countries elsewhere protect this. The question is, when does a remix "prejudice the author's honor or reputation" and do the Creative Commons licenses allow people to use the works in ways that "prejudice the author's honor or reputation".

This is where The Kuleshov Effect comes in. danah boyd blogged about it today. The Kuleshov Effect is when an image is perceived very differently depending on what other content is juxtaposed with the image. The question that danah raises is, how much control should / can an artist have of the context in which their material is used? How much of this should be made explicit in the Creative Commons licenses and should there be a waiver of these "moral rights" in countries outside the US where such rights are actually protected.

Don't mind the bots with $ sign heads behind Mickey and Minnie please
Halley, David Weinberger and Dan Bricklin blog about Microsoft using Visicalc to show the backward compatibility of Longhorn. The irony is Dan's comment that the only reason that he, an author of Visicalc, has a working copy is because someone had made an illegal bootleg copy of it.

In May, I blogged about Brewster testifying about why the DMCA is preventing him from breaking copy protection on old software which he wants to archive. I think this is an important issue. Old films are decaying in the cans, books are decaying. Current copyright law combined with the DMCA prevent archivists from preserving most of the content created in any form. Mickey lives on in Disneyland at the expense of the wilting commons.

Cory and the EFF have been leading the charge to stop the broadcast flag proposal. Lessig chimes in. The broadcast flag is a bad thing which is anti-end-to-end. Fight for the Stupid Network!

If this entry is cryptic to you, you need to learn more about the broadcast flag and why it is bad. Click on the links.

Seth Godin
Liars, cheats and fools

The record industry sued a "little old lady" named Sarah Ward. She's not that old, but she's little and she's not a pirate. She's never even downloaded the software you need to download the music. The RIAA has dropped the suit, but Amy Weiss, their spokesman, says, "We have chosen to give her the benefit of the doubt and are continuing to look into the facts... This is the only case of its kind."

Now, regardless of how you feel about litigation as a business strategy, refusing to apologize is just a bad idea. This is clearly NOT the only case of its kind. Instead of stonewalling, why doesn't the RIAA say, "This is terrific! She's an honest citizen and we're proud of her. We made a mistake and we apologize. We're sending Ms. Ward a hundred CDs to apologize for bothering her. If there are any other cases like this one, we'll drop them immediately."

Totally agreed. Now all of you who supported the RIAA suing the 12 year old girl, do you think it's cool for them to be suing people who haven't done anything?

Being sued isn't like, "oh sorry... wrong number.."

Had an interesting breakfast discussion with David Weinberger and a few others about copyright. I seem to be having more and more heated debates about copyright these days and the more I become familiar with the arguments of old-school copyright guys, the more frustrated I become. As Lessig often says, we're not saying that there shouldn't be copyright or that artists should not be paid. The issue is that the current copyright framework and more importantly, the corporations who are currently entrusted with the task of managing these copyrights are dysfunctional. We need to fundamentally restructure the business of creating and being paid for creating artistic works and it's likely that this business doesn't involve record companies.

The Internet has the potential to greatly enhance and enrich our culture, but old-school copyright people are trying to make their controls even stronger than the real world. The important point is to talk about the commons and the public, not about protecting the "rights" of the custodians of the "files". At one level, we're all conduits passing inspiration and knowledge from the past to the future by re-mixing, rendering and editing things that inspire us in ways that will inspire others. Talking about copyright is talking about the files. We should be talking about how to increase the commons and enrich culture. THAT's not about the files, it's about the the commons.

Inspired by David's blog entry.

Karl-Friedrich Lenz explains the new Japanese copyright law reform on Lenz blog.
Lawrence lessig
the extremists in power

According to the Post, Lois Boland, director of international relations for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, said "that open-source software runs counter to the mission of WIPO, which is to promote intellectual-property rights." As she is quoted as saying, "To hold a meeting which has as its purpose to disclaim or waive such rights seems to us to be contrary to the goals of WIPO."

If Lois Boland said this, then she should be asked to resign. The level of ignorance built into that statement is astonishing, and the idea that a government official of her level would be so ignorant is an embarrassment. First, and most obviously, open-source software is based in intellectual-property rights. It can't exist (and free software can't have its effect) without it.

People think that creative commons and free software are "anti-copyright". It's amazingly stupid. You can't have free software or "some rights reserved" without copyright. I wonder if people are truly stupid or whether there is some FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) machine running a "stupidity about copyright" process in the background...

Yesterday, I gave a presentation about Creative Commons at a study group on copyright of which I am a member. The other members include the founding chairman, Hori-san of one of the largest talent management companies in Japan, Hori Productions, Professor Nakayama, the Tokyo University professor who invited Larry Lessig to Japan and one of the most influential copyright and constitutional law professors in Japan, Professor Iwamura, the former head of research and policy for the Bank of Japan and other professors and lawyers involved in copyright. I really like this study group because everyone is quite open-minded and frank and speaks from first-hand experience in court and law-writing.

Everyone "enjoyed" my presentation and I think everyone thought it was a "cool" idea. Here is some feedback that I got. (If you don't know about creative commons, go look at the web site.)

  • Japan does not have a notion of fair use. Instead of fair use, it is generally prohibited and specifically allowed by specific laws allowing quoting and so on. Generally speaking coypright is getting tougher in Japan.
    • Professor Nakayama gave the example of a tiny logo that showed up in the background of a commercial poster. He argued for something similar to fair use. The judge found the defendant not-guilty only because the image was so small, but didn't concede anything like fair use.
    • Recently a musician lost in the supreme court for a song that sounded very similar to another musician's song. This was the first case where popular music that "sounded like" someone else's was found to be a copyright violation.
  • There was some negative comments about the American use of "fair-use" because courts tended to dodge some clarity in defining copyright by saying, "it probably is something that violates copyright but is OK because of "fair-use".
  • Professor Iwamura asked whether "intent" was important. It seems that most of the cases, at least in Japan, were between people who were emotionally upset by violations rather than for financial reasons. If the emotional element (which is an important part of the derivative works issue) is key, isn't intent important. Professor Iwamura asked, half-jokingly, whether we would make a "unintended copying allowed" in the CC license. I do believe that intent will become more important as amateur photography and movie making becomes more common. Even today, there is a huge chilling effect on movie making because images in the background can cause copyright infringement. In the past there were cases where the Japanese courts ruled that images in backgrounds were OK, but no more. Anything in the background is still a copyright infringement. This will be a huge chilling effect on sharing home movies and home photos. The Japanese law does not allow intent to play any role in defining whether images in the background are an infringement.
  • Hori-san pointed out that many artists would love to have their works distributed freely until they become famous, but would like to take this right back after they can charge for it or after such rights become valuable. We discussed the possibility of moving stuff from the PD (Public Domain) back to ownership. We talked a bit about the founders rights in the US. I think we decided it would be difficult, but something worth considering in the context of versioning and other technical innovations.
  • We talked about MediAgora and other payment/pricing mechanisms. Professor Iwamura talked about the ability and the robustness of markets and the difficulty of markets where pricing was not stable, where the value of goods could suddenly disappear and pointed out some issues with the MediAgora model from on economists point of view, which frankly, I didn't understand. ;-)
  • Mr. Hori did think there were many artists who would be willing to use the Creative Commons license as part of promotion and that in fact, they do a similar kind of licensing for up-and-coming bands, but with a limited term. I explained that unlimited terms are important for derivative works.
  • I asked about the likelihood Japan would be supportive of Creative Commons. Although everyone liked the idea, they said that there are very few copyright related lawsuits in Japan and frankly, there probably wasn't as strong a need in Japan and we might have difficultly convincing people of the need initially.
  • They explained that there was no copyright related lobby in Japan and such lobbying tended to be counter-productive. Most issues were decided either by people like themselves or through new bills proposed by politicians, which was quite rare.
  • I described the "Reclaim the Public Domain" campaign and they all thought it was a "clever idea" but no one volunteered to champion such a bill in Japan.
  • Professor Nakayama felt that the "warranty" issue wasn't really an issue because people will sue who they want to sue and the warranty that you have the rights do not significantly increase the likelihood that you would be sued.

Don't you hate when the people who should most "get it" TOTALLY DON'T GET IT!

Neeru@Creative Commons
We would love to help you offer Creative Commons license to your users — it’s free, and a great way to make clear the rights and restrictions artists would like to offer their fans.
Legal Department@mp3.com
Nothing replaces the legal protections provided by registering a copyright with the US Copyright Office--most certainly not your “free license.”

This email is formal notice for you to cease and desist from further contacting our artists through our web site to solicit for your product/services, which are not sanctioned by us.

Legal Department
Music & Media
Vivendi Universal Net USA, Inc.

Some folks on #joiito turned me onto "streamripping". This is software that stores songs played on Internet radio stations as mp3's with meta data and everything. RadioLover is streamripping software for the Mac that lets you record multiple radio stations in parallel. You can drag and drop the songs into iTunes and sync to the iPod. The quality seems fine. I can listen to my favorite radio stations from all over the world when I'm walking in the park with my iPod. Is this illegal? It is SOOO useful it MUST be illegal. ;-p

UPDATE: For the record, I've just bought several albums on Apple's Music Store and Amazon that I didn't know about until I started messing around with RadioLover.

GaiaX, a company that sells community Net services to ISP's and portals filed for a trademark for "Blog" on March 6 of this year. They issued a press release on June 28 saying that they would reserve the right use the word blog in products and services, but would allow people to use it freely in writing. I think some people have doubts as to whether they will be granted the trademark, but stranger things have happened in Japan. In the past, I think someone trademarked "groupware". I think GaiaX also has a trademarks in some categories on "Avatar."

Anyway, I'm glad SixApart and MovableType don't include the word "blog" in the tradename. ;-P

Larry's been proposing an idea called The Eric Eldred Act to require a $1 payment to extend copyright. This would cause most works which are out of print and currently unavailable to the public to fall into the public domain while at the same time protecting the copyright of people who are using copywritten work commercially. I think it's a great idea. Larry reports that Congresswoman Lofgren (D-CA) and Congressman Doolittle (R-CA) have agreed to introduce the bill. That's great news.

Thanks to Victor for the heads up on this...

Philip Greenspun blogs about the idea that stocks are going up in the US because more and more public domain is moving into the hands of large corporations. He gives the example of Disney being the beneficiary of the the copyright extension and the restriction on flying thru the airspace over Disneyland.

Thanks to rvr and bluehaze on #joiito.

A bill just quietly passed in Japan. It extends copyright from 50 years to 70 years. Also, under-reported, is the fact that "circumvention of copy protecton or deterrence mechanisms" is now illegal and the defendant is responsible for proving innocence. I wish this legal spill-over from the US into Japan would stop. Especially for these REALLY STUPID laws. At least I have another project to work on in Japan. ;-P

Thanks for the heads-up Gohsuke.

The Creative Commons International Commons Japan page is up. Glocom porting the Creative Commons license to Japan.

Thanks for the link Andreas!

Larry's been pushing this idea for awhile now, but it's coming to a head. It's VERY important. You folks better get this passed in the US so we can push it in Japan. Please please please. It's a great idea and is so simple to argue for that we MUST all support it.

reclaiming the public domain

Lawrence Lessig
We have launched a petition to build support for the Public Domain Enhancement Act. That act would require American copyright holders to pay $1 fifty years after a work was published. If they pay the $1, the copyright continues. If they don’t, the work passes into the public domain. Historical estimates would suggest 98% of works would pass into the pubilc domain after 50 years. The Act would do a great deal to reclaim a public domain.

This proposal has received a great deal of support. It is now facing some important lobbyists’ opposition. We need a public way to begin to demonstrate who the lobbyists don’t speak for. This is the first step.

If you are an ally in at least this cause, please sign the petition. Please blog it, please email it, please spam it, please buy billboards about it — please do whatever you can. And most importantly, please help us explain its importance. There is a chance to do something significant here. But it will take a clearer, simpler voice than mine.

Karl-Friedrich Lenz proposes the idea of setting up a server to provide access to out-of-copyright works in Japan where copyright expires 50 years after the death of the author. This is an interesting idea. The question is, would this pressure the US to change their copyright law or pressure the US to pressure Japan to "harmonize" with the US?

Karl-Friedrich Lenz and others are dumping the Creative Commons license because they don't like the fact that the original licensor guarantees to the licensees. If I understand this correctly, it means that if I snap a photo of something, someone copies it from my site and posts it and get sued, it comes back to bite me.

Me sense is that this is the way it should be. Tell me if I'm missing something.

Here's my view.

Copyright is not some clearly defined law. It is law and technology that is the codification of what society thinks is "fair use", "free speech" and many other things at the time. Hollywood and a lot of other people are pushing to limit things like free speech and fair use. Someone has to fight for it. There have to be suits, people have to get mad and we have to fight.

If you try to pass the risk to service providers and corporations, they'll just say, "we don't want to be the next Napster," and will most likely prohibit sharing and posting rather than take the risk. What the CC license does is allow the service provider to say, hey, all of the stuff here is tagged with copyright info and guaranteed by each of the people. Sue, them, not us.

For the individual who gets sued, yes, it's tought and we have to fight to help these folks (that's what the EFF is for), but having the individual who originally posts the stuff be responsible does a few things. It distributes the risk. It's much more likely for Hollywood to sue a big company with money than an individual. It will get people thinking about and fighting for their right to fair use and free speech.

I'm sure there will be a chilling effect and this chilling effect might be non-trivial, but my sense is that the chilling effect on service providers who have to "police content" will be so quick that we'll have restrictions on our free speech via technology faster than you can say, "Mickey Mouse."

So what does this mean to Joe CC user? When you are about to post a picture or a quote that is questionable from a free speech or fair use perspective, be prepared to defend yourself. But, as the Chicago Manual of Style says:

The Chicago Manual of Style
The right of fair use is a valuable one to scholarship, and it should not be allowed to decay through the failure of scholars to employ it boldly. Furthermore, excessive caution can be dangerous if the copyright owner proves uncooperative. Far from establishing good faith and protecting the author from suit or unreasonable demands, a permission request may have just the opposite effect. The act of seeking permission establishes that the author feels permission is needed, and the tacit admission may be damaging to the author's cause.

I just downloaded iTunes 4, set up my .mac account for the music shop and started browsing around the music shop. Ooo, I don't have that Orb CD, "click", I wonder if they have.... "click"... "downloading..." "hey..." "click".

Now maybe I'm not a good sample, but iTunes 4 is to music downloads what iPod was to mp3 players. Of course you have to download iPod patch to play the AAC protected music format and you are not downloading sharable mp3's.

My little foray into the DRM'ed music space is really an experiment on myself to see if a proprietary system can make the experience compelling enough to make people say, "screw it, I'm going to use DRM." So far, the experience for me is that actually quickly finding clean copies of music I'm looking for and having it seamlessly arrive in my iPod is worth the $.99/song they are charging and the fact that it's protected. THAT'S SCARY. It's the sucking sound of Hollywood you're hearing here... hmm...

Anyway, I'm going to play around with it a bit more before I decide for sure whether this is a killer service, but I just thought I'd post this urgent news so you could try it for yourself. ;-p

Update: Not nearly as many songs that I want as I initially imagined. They're like trying to get my to buy the Village People and stuff... Search seems broken -- it gives me errors. Keeps trying to tell me I can't use the service because I'm in Japan -- I keep trying to trick it into thinking I'm in the US. a good roundup on Marc Canter's site.

Update 2: BAAAAD news. So I bought a bunch of albums and songs and was happily downloading them thinking about how much money I had just spent. Then. "There was a problem with Music Store. Please try again later." I still have the songs I've downloaded and they are there, but all of the stuff that was in the queue to be downloaded. Gone. "click" "You already have a copy of this dumbass, do you want to buy it again?"... fill out bug report asking whether I can reinstate the downloads or check whether I've been billed. "thank you for your bug report. We can will not respond to this request directly, but we appreciate your dumbass suggestions..." shit... Anyway, I will make sure I check my credit card bill next month. Until then, I will buy...download...buy... and not queue up downloads.

Update 3: When I restarted iTunes it started download all of the music I bought. phew...

The Christian Science Monitor recently published an article focusing on independent labels and musicians. While recording industry album sales were down 11% overall in 2002, some independent outfits saw sales increases of 50 to 100 percent, all while eschewing mainstream radio play.

posted by Matt Haughey

Tim O'Reilly fowards a rant about how the RIAA unfairly blames P2P as the reason for their drop in sales and how their statistics show otherwise.

IP
From: Tim O'Reilly

Date: Sun, 13 Apr 2003 18:13:44 -0700

To: David Farber

Subject: FW: The Music Piracy Myth

Dave, I thought your readers might enjoy the following rant from George Ziemann, who's been doing analysis of the RIAA members' own statistics to argue that the decline in sales is related to their reduced title output and higher prices, not to file sharing.

For the articles to which he refers, see
http://www.azoz.com/music/features/0008.html and http://yahoo.businessweek.com/technology/content/feb2003/tc20030213_9095_tc078.htm

From: George Ziemann
Date: Sat, 12 Apr 2003 22:47:19 -0700
Subject: The Music Piracy Myth

Currently, if you do a google search on RIAA statistics, I'm number one and two; you are three and four, and your article refers to me, so I know you know who I am.

The article to which you referred was published in December. Since that time, a lot has happened, as I'm sure you are aware, not the least of which being the RIAA's recent lawsuits against college students.

First of all, I am a musician. The only reason I even started researching what the RIAA has to say is because of the problems I had selling my own work at eBay, which were entirely due to RIAA accusations of copyright infringement (it was my own CD).

After looking at the 2002 RIAA data, I also realized that over the last 5 years, the recording industry has shipped out more than 2 billion physical units of product, adding up to a retail value of more than $20 billion. You'd think that they would embrace a free marketing and promotion opportunity like mp3s. Let's face it, an mp3 is an inferior copy. I consider mp3s to be an ad for my actual recording.

My current consternation comes in the form of a letter from my congressional representative, who states that "In 2001, record sales were down 10 percent because of unauthorized music downloads..."

Yes, sales were down. Other than that obvious fact, there is no empirical data to suggest that downloading is the cause of the problem. I've asked the RIAA. In fact, I would go so far as to say I have relentlessly taunted them in hopes of a reasonable explanation. They offer none.

So think about this. As the original research I conducted indicates (and has been verified by SoundScan via BusinessWeek.com), the record labels began to reduce the number of releases BEFORE the Napster hearings. When they went in front of Congress to complain about downloading, Hilary Rosen could confidently state that sales were going to suffer.

Because it was engineered.

Here's another interesting point. I can go to www.discmakers.com and order CDs for $1.89 each. Not "replicated" but created from a glass master. As I understand it, the current wholesale price for a CD is about $12.

So how can EMI's Cost of Goods Sold (2001 -- at Hoovers Online) be 71% of their income? BMG's 2001 annual report blames industry shortcomings "long obscured by market success" and Vivendi told its stockholders that an "anticipated lighter release schedule" had something to do with it. BMG is the only one that even mentions file sharing -- as a justification in investing in Napster.

Why does "sales are down 10%" overrule any other explanation for declining sales? A bigger question is -- Why won't anyone in the media even discuss this?

Recently I spoke to the FCC at a public hearing in Tempe (Phoenix area). Next month, I'm going to speak at the DMCA hearings at UCLA Law School.

Additionally, I'm hearing from college kids all over (Duke, Auburn, UCSD, Univ. of North Carolina, Yale Law School, Univ. of Wyoming). They're reading my site and they're using it as background for dissertations and reports. They ask questions. They do not accept vague answers.

Why does the government accept the "sales are down" without any consideration of other, equally plausible explanations? And why does the press?

When the majority of the public is guilty by default, then something is terribly wrong. I'm not sure why I'm even writing to you, except that you seem to be about the fifth person in the country that has applied some logic to this issue.

I've written to every member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Commerce Committee and Small Business Committee. I've written to Jay Berman, Hilary Rosen and the Recording Artists Coalition. With the lone exception of Janis Ian, absolutely everyone has totally ignored me.

What can we do?

I'm late blogging this, but Dave Winer's speech about why programmers need to work with laywers, why Napster failed and why weblogs will allow us to do an "end-run" around the "fat smelly execs" of the media companies. Very funny and inspirational.

I think business method and software patents are a very bad idea. I've been arguing against them for a long time. Larry has an idea to solicit specific examples and opinions from people. He will verify the information and make a web page. This should help the policy makers and lawyers understand what technologists are always complaining about.

I’ve been a skeptic about software and business method patents for a long time (while a supporter of, e.g., drug patents)
[...]
So here’s an idea. I’d like to construct a page of views of technologists who have experience with the system. The aim will not be to evaluate the system as a whole, but instead to collect credible testimony about the burdens the system imposes. Policy makers should be evaluating whether the benefits outweigh the burdens. My aim is not to do that weighing. My aim is simply to collect stories and evidence about the burdens.

If you have experience and a view, then email me and describe both. I will collect them and verify the source, and then make the results available here. The aim is not to conduct a poll; this will not be a representative sample of anything. But it would help immensely to have a place where people could go to read what technologists say to me all the time.

I have a fair use question that maybe someone can answer for me. NHK taped and broadcasted the Blueprint for Japan 2020 panel in Davos. I am one of the speakers. I taped the broadcast and would like to put it on my web page. There are maybe three types of content mixed together. My talking, other people talking, translation into Japanese and some visuals. I guess, strictly speaking, they own the copyright, but what would constitute fair use? In text, I can see quoting it, but how do you quote video?

Also, NHK is a public broadcast company which we have to pay for like a tax. I wonder whether I can try to push them to make stuff like this public domain...

Another totally separate note, they didn't pay me for the panel. I had to pay to go to Davos. I didn't sign any waiver or anything either. What rights do THEY have to broadcast it? Maybe I signed something without noticing it... hmm...

IDG News Service
Does File Trading Fund Terrorism?

Industry execs claim peer-to-peer networks pose more than just legal problems.

Grant Gross, IDG News Service Thursday, March 13, 2003

WASHINGTON -- A congressional hearing on the links between terrorism, organized crime, and the illegal trading of copyrighted material produced more complaints about college students using peer-to-peer networks and other governments sanctioning copyright violations than it did evidence of nefarious connections.
[...]
Criminal Charges
Representative John Carter, (R-Texas), suggested that college students would stop downloading if some were prosecuted and received sentences of 33 months or longer, like the defendants in the DOJ's Operation Buccaneer. "I think it'd be a good idea to go out and actually bust a couple of these college kids," Carter said. "If you want to see college kids duck and run, you let them read the papers and somebody's got a 33-month sentence in the federal penitentiary for downloading copyrighted materials."

So totally ridiculous it verges on insane. So, is this the first step in the trying to get Larry Lessig arrested as a terrorist?

Found on Dave Farber's IP list. Couldn't find a link to the actual article, so linked to the article in the IP archives. If someone sends me the link to the IDG page, I will put it up... Thanks Milad!
Update: "file sharing" in title changed to "file trading". Thanks Emile. Fixed the tag.

Larry has lifted his self-imposed gag order. He had filed a petition to have the case reheard, but it has been turned down so he will now need the support of the public to take this debate to the next level. Lets give him our support!

Irony alert:

Lawrence Lessig
when yesterday the Court refused a request to rehear the case (totally expected), I learned the news while drinking coffee from a Mickey mug.

Yesterday, I had dinner with Robert Kaye. He is the founder of Musicbrainz. Musicbrainz is a metadata project that is creating a database of album artist, title and track information similar to how CDDB used to do it when they were not a corporation. Many people were upset by CDDB's move use the commons created by the community for commercial purposes. Robert was so angry with this betrayal of the community that he started Musicbrainz. Musicbrainz will be set up as a non profit and Robert swears that he will never "sell-out". In fact, we talked about using some sort of emergent democracy that would allow the users to force a way to take shift control in the event that something like this might happen. We talked about the value of such escrow agents of perhaps the DNS and domain name with some sort of tool to allow the users to discuss and trigger a shift in control. This could be a way to force projects like this to stick to their original principles and help build trust at the same time.

Robert seemed like an extremely dedicated, smart and visionary guy and I think his focus and commitment to deliver this service is extremely admirable.

His service is unique in many ways. He is using a sound fingerprint key method to identify the songs. (He got beat up a bit on slashdot because he was using patented technology for this, but I think this is fine. He can always switch later if someone decided to make an open source version.) Basically, his client software scans all of your mp3's looks them up on his database and fixes all of your bad tags. If you have data that isn't in his database, you can submit it. It is a much more automatic and viral approach to what CDDB does.

So far it is only available on Windows, but he's working on an OS X version now...

Ever since the Wired article came out, his server has been swamped so you may not be able to access it... But keep trying and donate some money so he can buy a new server. Thanks for the intro Lisa!

"Free use label" for webcontent Last week, Niko pointed me to an interesting article at Asahi.com: "New rules and copyright labels to let users copy Web content". A quote: "There are three labels. One will say, "This mark indicates material can be copied." The mark lets users copy or print material from Internet Web sites and distribute it without specific permission from the copyright holder, as long as the labeled content is not altered. Two other labels will permit unrestricted use of copyrighted material by people with disabilities and for school."
In Japan, a project called the "Intellectual Property Outline" started in July 2002 and includes some provisions that seek to accomplish many of the same goals as the Creative Commons. While it is clear they were not influenced by us directly, it's interesting to watch the convergence of alternate forms of copyright come from governments world-wide.
So I hope we can make sure it "converges" in a world where divergence is quite common.

Thanks for the pointer Andreas!

So Larry may have been on the ropes for a few days, but he's back. He has a great proposal.

Here is something you can do right now. In this NYT op-ed, I describe a proposal that would move more work into the public domain than a total victory in the Supreme Court would have. The basic idea is this: 50 years after a work has been “published,” a copyright owner would be required to pay a copyright tax. That tax should be extremely low--this proposal says $50, but it could be $1. If the copyright holder does not pay the tax for 3 years, then the work is forfeit to the public domain. If the copyright holder does pay the tax, then its contacting agent would be made a matter of public record. Very quickly we would have a cheap, searchable record, of what work is controlled and what work is free.

If Justice Breyer is right that only 2% of the work from the initial period affected by the Sonny Bono Act continues to have any commercial value at all, then this proposal would mean that all but 2% will move into the public domain within three years. And as the proposal applies to all work that is more than 50 years old, it would apply to a much larger range of work than would have been affected had we prevailed in the Supreme Court. This could give us (almost) everything we wante--98% of the public domain that our framers intended. Not bad for government work.

There is an FAQ about the proposal. Also found the infoAnarchy International movement to save the Public Domain on Boing Boing.

Poor Larry. But I think Larry's right. MAYBE this will get people to realize that the default path is that we are stripped of our rights. I hope people get pissed off and get up off their damn butts and do something about it. Larry's not giving up.

Justices Uphold Copyrights in a Victory for Walt Disney
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 10:21 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld longstanding copyrights designed to protect the profits of songs, books and cartoon characters, a huge victory for Disney and other companies.

The 7-2 ruling, while not unexpected, was a blow to Internet publishers and others who wanted to make old books available online and use the likenesses of a Mickey Mouse cartoon and other old creations without paying high royalties
[...]
The Constitution ``gives Congress wide leeway to prescribe `limited times' for copyright protection and allows Congress to secure the same level and duration of protection for all copyright holders, present and future,'' Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said from the bench.
[...]
Congress passed the copyright law after heavy lobbying from companies with lucrative copyrights.

YES! Cory also puts his money where his mouth is. Good for him!

Cory Doctorow’s brilliant novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, is out today. Buy it early and often. Cory’s book is also the very first to be offered initially both for sale and under a CreativeCommons license. That means you can also download it for free. As Cory describes it,

“The entire text of my novel is available as a free download in a variety of standards-defined formats. No crappy DRM, no teasers, just the whole damned book.”

But as he (and I) expect, once you start the book, you’ll see you want it in its bound form. So again, you might as well buy it too.

Last night Larry Lessig asked me if I had read his blog entry about the new Japanese copyright law that will put the burden of proof on the defendant. I had, but I didn't blog it because it's sort of the same-old same-old. To me, what was interesting was how suprising it was to Larry. ;-) Of course it is a bad law and a stupid thing and I will now point out this stupidity and unfairness when I have the opportunity. But on reflection, I realize that I had recently gone through this with the National ID so I'm burned out.

So... It's unfair. What do you do? Call your congressman? Nope. That doesn't work in Japan. Protest? No one cares. Write the paper? Nope. They're biased. Go to the bureaucrats? Sue the government? Get the signatures of all of the heads of all of the factions of the LDP and push on the cabinet? I tried that, it doesn't work. Vote? The problem is... Even if EVERYONE thinks something is stupid, you can't stop what has been set in motion. Having said that, there are the occasional journalists and writers who seem to be able to make a difference after a multi-year campaign, fighting in public, but it's quite an effort. The other problem is, there is no shortage of stupid laws. I feel like Bilbo taking on Saurons' army by himself. Arrgh. Sorry if I sound frustrated.

Lawrence Lessig
IP extremism moves east

The Nikkei is reporting today that the government will propose a law to "enhance copyright holder protection." You can't read the story without buying a trial subscription (aka, that's bad enough). But worse is the substance of what the Nikkei reports. The story reports what has been reported often before: That the legislation will increase copyright terms for movies and games from 50 to 70 years (again invoking the bogus harmonization argument). But the most amazing proposed change is this:Plaintiffs in lawsuits defending their copyrights often have difficulty submitting evidence that offenders have infringed upon their rights. So the government aims to shift the burden of proof to the defendants, requiring them to prove that they have produced and marketed their products without violating the plaintiffs' rights.

That's a quote from the story, and as the story has a bunch of factual mistakes in it, I can't be sure it is accurate. But if true, it means that in Japan, you're guilty until proven innocent.

I'll be reviewing the draft law as soon as I can, and reporting more. But the bottom line is the same: IP extremism continues unabated. There's so much to praise in this amazing country. It is sad to see them following the extremists.


Panelists: Cory Doctorow, EFF; Sean Ryan, Listen.com; Morgan Guenther, Tivo; Media Venture Advisors

Cory is talking about the broadcast flag issue that he has been quite active in resisting. He blogged about it on Boing Boing, but it is basically a flag that can be set in broadcast video to prevent redistribution of it on the Net. The idea is to get commodity hardware and software companies to implement this. The broadcast flag is part I in a three part plan. Part II is to force all analog to digital converters to have technology to sense for watermarks and disable the conversion of anything that had a copywritten watermarks. Part III is to redesign the Internet so that every packet is examined for infringement and discard them.

Sean thinks that the media industry has been bashed so much recently that things are much better than the past. He thinks that there is a viable model that allows people to rip and discover music...

Morgan says that Tivo will be profitable next year... Customers are "happy as clams..." Morgan is talking to the advertising industry about how to use the "real estate" in the living room where families in the US spend 7 hours a day. Wrestling with lots of issues such as copying content between Tivo's. The idea of attacking this without support of the industry didn't make sense to Tivo.

P504iS01289.jpgSo yesterday's discussion with Hiroo Yamagata and Lawrence Lessig went well. It was a lot of fun and I think a constructive discussion. Hiroo was in good form. But he usually is... in person. ;-) He had written something negative about Mr. Ikeda in the afterward of translation of "The Future of Ideas" and had gotten in a dispute with Mr. Ikeda. He had just finished the battle and I guess they have both gotten over it now. Maybe Hiroo was just tired from that. I do generally agree with Hiroo's position, although maybe not the way he said it. I think Mr. Ikeda and others had inferred that Larry was against privacy policies. In a mailing list Mr. Ikeda had said that my efforts to stop the National ID were futile and that we didn't have any privacy anyway. The struggle for privacy is a struggle of data structures and can be achieved without destroying the end-to-end nature of the Net. It think it is simplistic to equate privacy with control of the Net. I just finished reading Hiroo's English translation of his afterward. It's quite good. He should post it on the Net.

Hiroo Yamagata
Freedom is supposed to be a good thing. People say Communism died and Freedom prospered, so freedom should be good. But when you ask these people to explain the actual benefits of freedom, hardly anyone can give you a meaningful answer. This isn't (necessarily) because they are stupid. It's because freedom itself doesn't do anything. Freedom is just an environment that allows you to do something.

We talked about the issues from the book and the Japan context. When is going to happen to physical layer, code layer and content layer in Japan?

Are the wires, the spectrum and fiber going to be opened up in Japan? It sure looks like we're headed that way. The government seems quite incapable of stopping the ADSL players from eating NTT's lunch and there is serious discussion of opening up the spectrum.

The code layer is a mess. I talked about the National ID and the fact that lack of understanding about the architecture of the Net is causing Japan to launch itself into a direction without much discussion about the policy of code. We talked about how many people talk about end-to-end, but don't really understand it's high level political ramifications. On the other hand, it's better to have people believing in it and writing code with that philosophy to fight off the circuit-heads who try to make the Network smart and make connections look like circuits. I think education and discussion about the political ramifications of architecture and code are essential, but having a lot of people educated with the right philosophy vis a vis network architecture, security, privacy, and free software (even if they don't understand all off the political issues) is better than nothing.

Content... We don't have MS or Hollywood and most patents and copyright extensions hurt Japan economically. It is very frustrating that Japan tries to "harmonize" with the US and doesn't realize that if they are going to give up something that is a net loss for Japan, they should negotiate for something in return. This is at the government level. At a more basic level, I think Japan should try to run an end-run around these guys with some new idea about how to deal with content. I guess the fact that Sony has a content business in the US and that big Japanese technology companies have "figured out" the patent thing puts these guys in a neutral to hostile position on this issue and doesn't help move this forward...

I gave a copy of Dogs and Demons to Hiroo who knows the construction industry well. It will be interesting to see what he thinks of it.

I think the Japanese are very non-active right now and has Hiroo points out in his afterward, Japan didn't have "the Framers" like Thomas Jefferson who "got it" to inspire the legal professionals to pound the table like Larry. I think it's going to take a lot of luck to get it right in Japan... but for better or for worse, the "other side" is not very smart either so we just MIGHT get lucky. Does this sound depressing?

Found this on Marc's Voice today...
Mitch Ratcliffe

Listen to your market, stupid

internetnews.com writes: RIAA Was Right ... The Sky Is Falling. It appears the music industry's fears were justified; new figures show that e-commerce music sales are down 25 percent as file sharing and CD-burning become commonplace.

Oh, come on. The RIAA wasn't right, instead the RIAA has alienated music audiences so much with the difficult and limited access to online music that sales dropped. It's not due to file sharing and CD-burning, it's because buying online is an even worse deal than buying CDs at the store, where sales are not falling.

Absolutely. I hate these, "fears were justified" figures. So typical. As the record industry starts to force tech saavy customers and artists out of their industry, I wonder where they will go? I know that Kenji Eno for instance became a game developer instead of a musician because of the constraints in the music industry. He wrote, directed and played all of the music in his games. Hopefully we'll find another home for all of the creative energy that was the record industry. Hopefully it will still be "musical"...

This is yet another example of where things are headed. Although this is a "mistake" on eBay's part, the natural direction of the copyright laws and technologies is to make it difficult or impossible for individuals or independants to share their content using the tools provided to us by corporations against public domain. This "chilling effect", I believe, will just drive artists and consumers further and further away from these channels. Hopefully, blogs and other non-mass media will help other forms of entertainment to become popular which have more liberal attitudes towards copyright. I hope that stuff like The Sims continue to support and nurther fan sites and the idea of public domain "skins". They are so much more clued in to the needs of the market...

Wired News
Band Can't Sell Own Music on EBay
By Brad King
02:00 AM Oct. 24, 2002 PDT

George Ziemann didn't have delusions of grandeur when it came to selling his band's CD.

He just wanted to promote the album -- and hopefully sell a few copies -- on a higher-traffic site than his own. So he turned to eBay, the Net's largest marketplace.

But the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a law meant to limit people from distributing content illegally over the Internet, foiled him.

The reason? He used recordable CDs (CD-Rs) to distribute his albums.

The discs allow people to record data files -- music and movies, for instance -- and they are often used to record and sell pirated wares.

As a precaution against enabling thieves to sell stolen merchandise on the site, eBay launched its Verified Rights Owner program, which allows copyright holders to send eBay take-down notices for auctions that violate copyright laws.

The problem in Ziemann's case, he said, is that he's selling his own music.

NYR106102414.jpg
(AP Photo)
A dark shadow passes over the land as the forces of evil group and unite in the war of the copyright
The Associated Press
Microsoft, Disney Unveil Release of Upgraded MSN Internet Service Stocked With Disney Content

mouse.gif

lessig_forehead_thumb.jpg
Think... think...
I was supposed to see Lawrence Lessig a few weeks ago, but he cancelled the meeting because he was busy preparing his argument for the U.S. Supreme Court. I forgive you Lawrence. ;-) This is a very important case for the future of copyright. As the digital world and all of our blogging and links show that copyright is less important when everything is live, the copyright manufacturers are trying to push the law in the other direction. All hands on deck to prevent a serious step backwards in the way we think about information.

1790.gifI am doing my part in Japan organizing study groups and lecturing, but the US laws always tend to be "globalized" so I think the real battlefield is the US at this point.

eldred.cc

This site collects material related to the constitutional challenge of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, which extended by 20 years both existing copyrights and future copyrights.

Eric Eldred is the lead plaintiff on the case (for other plaintiffs, click here), and on May 20, 2002, opening briefs were filed in the Supreme Court. Arguments will be heard October 9th, 2002, and a decision is expected next spring. Watch here for the latest news, and click on "how you can help" to join our (e) campaign.

Saw this on Scripting News.

Larry Lessig admits it: he’s nervous.

The EFF is one of the few organizations fighting on the issues of copyright and privacy in the US courts. They need our support more than ever. I just sent my contribution. If you care about the Net shouldn't you?

Dan Gillmor
Music Industry's Death Wish

Dan Bricklin has looked closely at the numbers in the music industry, and suggests that the record companies are killing themselves by stamping out music downloads. He makes a compelling case in this essay.

His bottom line: "Given the slight dip in CD sales despite so many reasons for there to be a much larger drop, it seems that the effect of downloading, burning, and sharing is one of the few bright lights helping the music industry with their most loyal customers. Perhaps the real reason for some of the drop in sales was the shutdown of Napster and other crackdowns by the music industry."

I don't expect the music companies to pay attention to inconvenient facts. That would be out of character.


Interesting perspective. I am feeling very sick of the music industry. They can keep Britney Spears and their lawyers. I actually have really cut back on buying CD's generally. When I see a CD, I see don't an artist selling music, I see an enslaved artist boxed up in a the shrinkwrap of a industry trying to protect itself by choking the customers and the artists that it is meant to be serving.

No, now I get my musical kicks from open air concerts, ring tones in on my cell phone and cool flash sites like Joe Sparks and his Radiskull and Devil Doll.

Do I need the record industry to enjoy music? Hell no.

One interesting thing to note is that the karaoke industry used midi files to play back music on synthesizers inside of karaoke machines. This lead to a huge industry of midi files. They decided to do a flat fee payment system to simply the billing for the little bars that played the music. Then, when ring tones became popular for cell phones, they used the same flat fee model to license the music. THAT is why ring tones are a huge money making business in Japan. Simple billing, cheap billing and no record companies.

(Apologies to my record company exec friends and to my friends who sell CD's... but you guys suck these days.)

This is EXACTLY the point I'm trying to make. Kenji Eno, my Japanese guest blogger and successful game creator wanted to become a musician, but became a game creator instead because there was more freedom in the game industry at the time. People who used to spend their money on CD's moved to spending money on the i-mode data packet bills. Creators and consumers / participants can switch formats. If the music industry continues to suck as a platform, I'm sure people will be happy to move on for awhile until it basically collapses. Music will never go away, but music can be encapsulated in games, karaoke, ring tones, live performances and many other things that are our of reach of the stupid record companies. Record companies are like pharaohs and their pyramids. You can't have slaves anymore on the Net so stop trying to build and protect pyramids!

Hit Charade
The music industry's self-inflicted wounds.
By Mark Jenkins
Posted Tuesday, August 20, 2002, at 8:19 AM PT

2001 may not be the year the music died, but the pop biz did develop a nagging headache, and it's not going away. The recorded-music industry's first slump in more than two decades continues this year; the number of discs sold is slipping and so is the appeal of last year's stars. Britney Spears' latest album has moved 4 million copies - a big number, but less than half what its predecessor did.


Hit Charade - The music industry's self-inflicted wounds. By Mark Jenkins

This is scary in many ways. On the one hand, the Chinese are trying to "cleanse Yahoo". On the other hand, the RIAA is trying to cleanse the US of Chinese copyright pirates. The RIAA is attacking the Internet backbone. Andy Oram and I talked before about the idea that the Internet may break up into a bunch of networks, each with different rules and much less end-to-end connectivity. It feels like it is starting to happen.

Maybe the great push for connectivity is going change to the great push for division. I guess alternative networks may emerge in the way that alternet emerged to carry the Usenet "alt." traffic, but I suppose this is much harder to do in a transnational context. I have a feeling that the Net may turn into a bunch of separate networks. On the other hand, most of the traffic in China is local within each province, I heard, so maybe it doesn't matter to most people. This push for dividing the Internet may be one of the main hurdles for our push for personal publishing, like blogs who don't have the political power to push through transborder doors when the filters come crashing down. Maybe only Time-Warner will be able to "get into" China in the future... And even then, they get banned every once in awhile.

For Immediate Release: Monday, August 19, 2002
Recording Industry Attacks Internet to Stop Chinese Pirates
Lawsuit Would Extend Great Internet Firewall of China to US

Electronic Frontier Foundation Media Release

New York, NY - The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) asked a court Friday to order four Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who maintain the Internet "backbone" to prevent access to a Chinese website that provides unauthorized copies of copyrighted music.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) opposes the RIAA action because it seeks to establish a precedent that anyone alleging piracy could shut down access to parts of the Internet, resulting in inappropriate shutdowns, undue administrative burden for ISPs, and imperiling the basic principle of unfettered exchange of information on the Internet. "This latest lawsuit, along with the recently proposed Berman bill, demonstrates that the major record labels have declared war on the infrastructure of the Internet in their campaign to stop the digital music revolution," said EFF Senior Intellectual Property Attorney Fred von Lohmann. "The Business Software Alliance and software industries, who have for years battled overseas pirates, have never resorted to lawsuits against Internet backbone providers that is both pointless and dangerous to innocent bystanders."

"We shouldn't be copying the Great Firewall of China here in the United States," noted von Lohmann. "Offering U.S. consumers a compelling, fairly-priced alternative to the black market will stop illicit traffic to Chinese websites far more effectively than dragging ISPs into 'whack-a-mole' Internet blocking efforts."

EFF expresses its concern that attempts to shut down parts of the Internet will spread to "proxy services," like Anonymizer.com, which are crucial to privacy and free expression online.

EFF Media Release: Recording Industry Attacks Internet to Stop Chinese Pirates

Dan Gillmor blogs about the twisted logic and language that the entertainment industry is using to tilt the copyright debate in their favor. Dan Gillmor is a San Jose Mercury journalists and one of the first professional journalists with a blog. (Also, he'll be in Tokyo later this month...)

If you can set the rules, you can win the contest. That's the major reason the entertainment cartel is winning the debate over copyright in the Digital Age.

Average people are not part of the conversation, not in any way that matters. To the cartel and its chattel in the halls of political power, we are nothing but ``consumers'' -- our sole function is to eat what the movie, music and publishing industries put in front of us, and then send money.

It's long past time for the rest of us to challenge the cartel's assumptions, actions and overall clout. Over the next few weeks and months I'll offer some suggestions.

The first thing we can do is stop letting the entertainment companies set the terms of the discussion. They torture language and logic. Let's restore some balance.

Mercury News | 08/11/2002 | Dan Gillmor: We must engage in copyright debate

Another article about the war on copyright offenders in the US. Found on David Farber's IP list. It really does show how much money really matters I guess.

The question for me is, where will all of the artists go. Will young people continue to want to become motion picture directors or musicians when it becomes more and more obvious that it is a very regulated business controlled by lawyers, the FBI and politicians? Their recent actions show that they are not protecting "artists" but the ability for large corporations to "monetize" artists.

Is the finally a chance for the rest of the world to leap frog the US while they are bogged down in a chaotic mess of copyright garbage? Will the US use it's global influence to prevent the rest of the world from creating an alternative universe of more advanced copyright thinking?

Hollywood's Private War For Social Control
Richard Forno
10 August 2002
Article #2002-10
(c) 2002 Richard Forno. Permission granted to reproduce/republish in entirety with appropriate credit.
Reader Feedback

A July 25 letter sent to Attorney General  John Ashcroft by 19 American legislators asked him to devote more Justice Department resources in the fight against peer-to-peer networks and users swapping digital media without permission.

Forget the fact that the FBI is neck-deep in an internal crisis of confidence and competence, having a hard time recruiting and keeping qualified agents, and shifting from a diverse federal law enforcement entity to one in-line with the emerging threats to American society from terrorism.

No, it seems that one of the highest priorities for the Justice Department - behind that simple task of securing America's Homeland - should be copyright enforcement....at least in the eyes of the Recording Industry Association of America.  Of course, this is made all the easier when "peer-to-peer" - a valuable technological architecture - is interpreted and subsequently marketed by the RIAA as synonymous with "pirating" and evil economic - potentially terrorist - activities against the $40 billion entertainment industry. And, of course, Congress, mental wizards they are, will believe whatever they're asked to believe, provided the campaign contributions are the right type and amount.

We have the "War on Drugs" and the "War on AIDS" and the "War on Terror" -- does this mean we'll see the "War on File Sharing" as the next great American undertaking with the same effect as these other "Wars" over the years?

When news of this bipartisan letter broke on Friday, RIAA CEO Hilary Rosen, was, as always, quick to praise its contents, saying that mass copying off the Internet is illegal and deserves to be a high priority for the Department of Justice.  One wonders if she wears special shoes to be able to jump so quickly to applaud anything that might in some - any - way lead to profit assurance for her constituent record companies.

It was only last month that Rosen was quick to applaud the controversial P2P-hack bill introduced by one of their owned Congressman, Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA).  Among other things, the proposed bill (Register article here) would create loopholes for cyber-criminals to potentially escape from and also turn any authorized copyright holder into a potentially legal hacker. While Rosen was more than happy to quickly jump in and praise the proposal, Berman's bill was so controversial that even Rosen's evil counterpart, Jack Valenti of the Motion Picture Association, took pause when the bill was introduced, noting that there are aspects of the bill we believe need changing as it moves through the legislative process   -- implying that the powers proposed in the Berman Bill - legalizing electronic attacks and providing attacker immunity for liability in copyright enforcement activities -- were intended to be only for the large entertainment empires, not for any copyright holder no matter how small.

Both the RIAA and MPAA act like drug addicts.....desperately begging and trying to get something - anything - to help their body's craving for their addictive substances, but it's the RIAA that takes first prize in the desperate-moves category.  Declining sales of albums - and their profits - have been equated to Napster, peer-to-peer file sharing, Webcasting, MP3 file formats, and the fact all PCs now come with a CD burner as standard issue.....anything but the fact that studios have produced less and less quality music that folks want to buy, or that studios are more than happy to negotiate ludicrous contracts with artists that only deliver mediocre album sales (*cough* Mariah Carey) or one-hit wonders. They've happily saturated the pop market with teen bands that look, dance, and sound so alike it's impossible to tell them apart. They also forget that CD prices have gone up steadily over the past decade - and that when the economy takes a downturn, paying $20 for a song or two is not worth it to most people. Further, their efforts so far in providing music over the Internet - to 'compensate' for the loss of Napster - makes current Afghanistan politics look like a utopian form of government.

Granted, organized piracy (as opposed to individual copying and/or sharing) has caused Hollywood some economic damage, but I don't see Hilary, Jack, Lars, or studio executives standing on lines outside soup kitchens. And the fact that someone copies or uses a CD under federal fair-use laws doesn't present a significant economic impact to the entertainment industry, either. If anything, casual and legal sharing of music helps broaden an artist's publicity and generate "buzz" -  much how Microsoft software became so dominant in the marketplace -- not through quality, but because everyone was using it and it became the de facto standard, such that it is.

Rosen says that piracy "ultimately hurts consumers by undermining the creators' incentive to bring new works to the market.   In her eyes - and in the eyes of her purchased lawmakers - the only 'creators' that should be allowed to easily bring new works to market are those under contract to RIAA's member companies. To RIAA, you're either part of their cartel or you don't matter.

Thus, we see proposals like Berman's bill, and the RIAA suggesting that all blank compact disks (and possibly hard drives) be taxed to compensate for piracy losses, even if such media are used for the backup of software and user data, not entertainment content. Most sinister is the recent proposal by Senator Fritz "Hollywood" Hollings that would mandate copyright enforcement 'features' be part of any device that can store electronic data, from computers and DVD players to microwaves, garage door openers, and rectal thermometers. The Hollings proposal would essentially force the interests of the $40 billion entertainment industry on the $500 billion-plus technology and hardware industries in a variety of industrial sectors. Talk about the mouse trying to own the elephant herd.

As users and customers (note I did not say "consumers" - "customers" implies a mutually-beneficial two-way relationship), we have every right to bemoan the obvious profiteering actions of these entertainment cartels to squeeze every last dime from our wallets. Sure, we will pay for quality music that's affordable, but we want a happy medium where we have the flexibility to use the entertainment content legally purchased and/or obtained in a manner consistent with the law and our expectations. Yet the entertainment cartels are only too happy to lobby for laws and technological controls that presume every customer a potential criminal until it can be proven with certainty.  That's to be expected from Industrial Age business leaders - known otherwise as "The Greed Generation."

However, that's not the problem with the whole copyright enforcement debate. Sure, profits are involved, but there's much more at-stake than what's being discussed in Congress or the online communities.

Freedom of choice in how one is able to bring his content to market means a greater chance of it reaching an audience. Up until Napster, the entertainment industry alone decided what artist gets supported, promoted, and published, and in what quantities. The Information Age threatens to reverse this centralized control mechanism and profit stream, enabling anyone to publish and promote their content around the world, cutting the middleman - RIAA and major studios - out of the financial equation and management process. Nobody in an established role likes to lose control, be voted out of office, or see their authority and influence erode....yet this is exactly what the Information Age is doing to the centralized entertainment industry. This helps explain some of the goofy proposals mentioned earlier -- like a Vegas gambler, the RIAA (and MPAA by extension) is hedging its bets, trying to not only maintain control of the content and media industry, but if it can't, get as much as it can through other methods, laws, and charges.

If you control the means to disseminate content, you can subsequently control the public. If you can't afford - or are not willing - to play by the 'established' means of control, you are typically left to fend for yourself in local venues and audiences.

Thanks to the Information Age, this is not the case anymore. This harsh reality terrifies the entertainment industry that will stop at nothing - no matter how ill-conceived - to keep its reign despite a failing business model and changing economic and customer environment. The copyright debate isn't only about profit, it's also about who controls information, and ultimately, people and society.
 

Further Reading:

Book: Digital Copyright: Protecting Intellectual Property on the Internet (Jessica Litman)

Copyright, Security, and the Hollywood Hacking Bill

Operation ENDURING VALENTI

TCS: Tech - Tipping Their Hand

Tipping Their Hand
By Glenn Harlan Reynolds
08/07/2002

For years now, I've been saying that the record industry's long-term legislative strategy had less to do with preventing copying than with sewing up the market to ensure that Big Entertainment companies won't have to worry about competition from independent artists. It looks like I've just been proven right.

The proof comes in the form of a bill sponsored by Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) that would make it a crime to fool "digital rights management" systems, even if doing so were for a legal purpose. Here's how the bill would work:

Biden's new bill would make it a federal felony to try and trick certain types of devices into playing your music or running your computer program. Breaking this law--even if it's to share music by your own garage band--could land you in prison for up to five years. And that's not counting the civil penalties of up to $25,000 per offense. "Say I've got an MP3 collection and I buy a new nifty player from Microsoft that only plays watermarked content, and I forge the watermark to allow my legal MP3 collection to play," says Jessica Litman, who teaches intellectual property law at Wayne State University. "
...
What they're trying to do is to create a system that's not so much proof against copying - a mostly impossible task anyway - as a system that's very unfriendly to content that comes from anyone other than Big Media suppliers. It's not about copying. It's about competition.

theage.com.au - The Age

spotted on boing boing

American movie, recording and software executives could be prohibited from entering Australia or extradited to face criminal charges if a copyright protection bill before the US Congress passes into law.

Californian Democrat congressman Howard Berman has proposed legislation to deal with the rising tide of copyrighted works illicitly traded over peer-to-peer (P2P) networks such as KaZaA.

Berman's bill immunises copyright holders from civil litigation or criminal prosecution if they invade US PCs connected to the international P2P networks to take down their own copyrighted materials.

But the global nature of P2P networks ensnares file sharers outside the US, with the unintended consequence of making it more difficult for copyright holders to pursue pirates in Australia.

Under section 9a of the Victorian Summary Offences Act (1966), "a person must not gain access to, or enter, a computer system or part of a computer system without lawful authority to do so". The penalty if convicted is up to six months' jail.

Computer, Internet and intellectual property lawyer Steve White says the Berman bill is "stupid and counterproductive", and he believes it will lead to an online arms race as PC owners and the networks seek to thwart the efforts of copyright holders.

From Slashdot:

Posted by CmdrTaco on Thursday July 18, @01:06PM
from the where-have-I-heard-this-before. dept.
Michael Long writes "Forgent Networks (www.forgentnetworks.com) has announced that it owns the software patent on JPEG compression technology, and has stated that it is "in contact" with computer, software, camera, and other digital imaging product manufacturers regarding licensing terms. This ambush of the digitial imaging industry will probably stand as the worst public relations nightmare a company can inflict upon itself."


Thanks for sending this Sen. This is pretty intense. I wonder if this is the product of some vulture capitals, was planned from the beginning, some lawyers having fun, or something someone found when sifting through the assets of some acquisition. In any event, this should shake up the industry. Glad I don't manufacture digital cameras.

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