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Thursday, January 30, 2003

Electronic Crimes Task Force Plugs Stanford - Lukewarm Reaction
The relatively new, USAPA mandated Electronic Crimes Task Force is seeking to expand operations in most major U.S. cities. Last week, representatives from the San Francisco office of the U.S. Secret Service and local U.S. Postal Service representatives, along with cooporating business representatives (eBay & Cisco included) spoke with Stanford professors and students about getting universities involved in this process. Their strongest argument: it's better to be pro-active and prevent these crimes via collaboration than to allow federal agencies without the technology expertise develop mandates that don't make sense.

The reaction from the Stanford audience: lukewarm. Attending professors noted social engineering & legal issues as preventing proper crime enforcement rather than lack of collaboration. What was not said is that the primary reason for working with universities is to obtain access to their student databases in order to catch hackers. The first order of business from the talk was an audience query: "Is anyone here a protester? We heard protesters might show-up." No protesters came, but it was a lively debate.
:: posted by Sarah, 4:15 AM |

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Upcoming Weblog Panel Discussion
If you're going to be in Los Angeles on February 15, don't miss Live from the Blogosphere, a panel discussion to be put on by Rhizome.LA and moderated by Xeni Jardin.
"Live from the Blogosphere!" brings together six innovators in blogging: Mark Frauenfelder, Heather Havrilesky, Evan Williams, Susannah Breslin, Doc Searls, and Tony Pierce. The panel will discuss the birth of blogging, the emergent tension between blogs and traditional journalism, innovations in blogging such as video-blogging, audio-blogging, and mobile-blogging, the shifting roles of race and gender in the Blogosphere, the state of the blog economy, and the way blogs may be reshaping contemporary media.
:: posted by Donald Melanson, 11:28 PM |

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Kazaa countersues
Kazaa, under attack from major IP holders, filed a countersuit. Sharman Networks, the owners of the popular p2p app, argued that they:

ha[ve] never knowingly allowed or promoted copyright infringement as it cannot control or monitor user behavior.

(thanks to Tony Frederick)
:: posted by Bryan, 6:15 PM |

Zittrain warns about ubicomp and IP
John Zittrain warns that the migration of computing away from desk/laptops and into distributed, diverse, multiple units runs the risk of increasing digital rights management (DRM) enforcement:

As we move to an appliance model of computing, something like a TiVo [digital video recorder] can become the place to store one's digital data--rather than a PC, which from a consumer point of view gets sick with viruses all the time, is in an inconvenient location in the house and is constantly going obsolete. As we go to an appliance model, it's much, much easier to control users' behaviors. I think we may look back and see the PC as an anomaly--how strange to run anything ending in ".exe." You don't normally get to write your own software for your coffeemaker or for your refrigerator or your lamp or your television or your VCR. So as we go to an appliance model that gives people more stability and predictability and longevity, I think we're going to lose the anarchic quality currently associated with PCs and the Internet.

(via Copyfight)
:: posted by Bryan, 11:23 AM |

Sunday, January 26, 2003

The Movie Studios are Going to Love this...
The KiSS DP-450 is the first DVD player that also plays movies encoded in the DivX format (widely used on filesharing networks like Kazaa). Until now these movies could only be viewed on a computer with the approriate software. Tom's Hardware has a full review.
:: posted by Donald Melanson, 7:55 PM |

Congress Reconsiders Video Game Regulations
CNN Money reports that the U.S. Congress is set to reconsider video game regulations by reintroducing the "Protect Children from Video Game Sex and Violence Act", which failed to pass last year. The bill would make it a crime to rent or sell violent games to anyone under 18.

Representative Joe Baca (D. Calif.), who introduced the original bill, plans to widen the scope of the new bill to include not just retailers, but cyber cafes as well.
:: posted by Donald Melanson, 5:21 PM |

Saturday, January 25, 2003

Znaimer Considers Leaving CHUM
The Globe and Mail reports that Moses Znaimer is pondering his future at Canada's CHUM Ltd while he is on a sabbatical for several months. CHUM is a sizable media company in Canada, owning many radio and TV stations including MuchMusic, CityTV and Bravo, among others. Znaimer, although only a minority shareholder, is the most visible executive at the company, and has hosted a few television programs, as well as putting on the highly-regarded ideaCity conference. - via boing boing
:: posted by Donald Melanson, 1:45 PM |

Friday, January 24, 2003

Studios sue to keep films uncleaned
A group of American movie studios are suing to prevent companies from marketing a PG-ification service. Small businesses like CleanFlicks, Trilogy Studios, and Clear Play produce copies of Hollywood films, with objectionable details (nudity, language) edited out:

It just feels good knowing that you can watch great Hollywood movies without having to worry about the profanity, nudity and gory violence (Clear Play)
:: posted by Bryan, 11:50 AM |

Thursday, January 23, 2003

Canadian institutions and the global net
A Canadian judge and the national telecommunications regulatory agency are struggling with the global nature of networked media. According to Mark Glaser, the CRTC has ruled against allowing Canadian companies streaming US content; apparently the national border trumps cyberspatial file transmission. At the same time, a Vancouver judge argues that media broadcasts of trial-related information from outside his court's region could distort a jury's action. (Is one response to forbid juries net access?)

(from the OJR)
:: posted by Bryan, 10:00 AM |

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

RIAA wins one on Verizon
Internet service provider Verizon must cough up information on one user, accused of being a Kazaa-happy copyright pirate by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Verizon and allies defended the company from the legal challenge, arguing that the controversial Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) shielded it and its users' privacies. The recording industry, firing a subpoena, demanded that the ISP reveal the pirate's information, urging that the law didn't protect brazen theft. As judge Bates wrote:

"Under Verizon's reading of the act, a significant amount of potential copyright infringement would be shielded from the subpoena authority of the DMCA," Bates wrote. "That would, in effect, give Internet copyright infringers shelter from the long arm of the DMCA subpoena power, and allow infringement to flourish."

As a result, ISPs could become involuntary allies in IP-owners' quest for copypirates.

This decision comes during a wave of IP owner victories, from the Supreme Court's upholding of copyright term extensions to a ruling allowing Australian and South Pacific islands-based Kazaa to be sued in American courts.

(via Politech)
:: posted by Bryan, 9:03 PM |

reactions to Eldred
Siva Vaidhyanathan argues that the Eldred defeat can enable a popular movement for copyright reform to coalesce.

Lessig suggests a new law, requiring IP holders to pay a small fee to keep their works out of the public domain.

Doc Searls argues that the decision stems in part from a gap between two language systems in the copyright debate: one for access, another about ownership:

Watch the language. While the one side talks about licenses with verbs like copy, distribute, play, share and perform, the other side talks about rights with verbs like own, protect, safeguard, protect, secure, authorize, buy, sell, infringe, pirate, infringe, and steal.

This isn't just a battle of words. It's a battle of understandings. And understandings are framed by conceptual metaphors. We use them all the time without being the least bit aware of it. We talk about time in terms of money (save, waste, spend, gain, lose) and life in terms of travel (arrive, depart, speed up, slow down, get stuck), without realizing that we're speaking about one thing in terms of something quite different. As the cognitive linguists will tell you, this is not a bad thing. In fact, it's very much the way our minds work.

But if we want to change minds, we need to pay attention to exactly these kinds of details.

Some support the Court's decision, arguing that private property is a good that should be allowed to pass down to posterity, and that the public domain is both rich and expanding.
:: posted by Bryan, 3:01 PM |

Monday, January 20, 2003

Review: Sputnik3 Laptop Bag by Chrome Industries

It's a problem for every laptop owner. To find a bag that looks as cool as your computer. Until relatively recently, most notebook bags stuck to the same basic design, suited more to the business room than a coffee shop. In the last few years, messenger bag makers, and others, have come onto the scene with bags that are functional but don't look like a briefcase. One company that got my attention was Chrome Industries, makers of rugged and stylish messenger and DJ bags. They were kind enough to send me a Sputnik3 bag for review.

The bag can be worn either over the shoulder or as a backpack, thanks to some hidden backpack straps. Unlike a messenger bag, the Sputnik is only as wide as an average notebook computer (there's about 2" to spare with my 12" iBook in it). Which is great for most users, but you'll be out of luck if you have to carry anything larger with you. The interior compartment has a padded insert for your laptop, which can be removed to use the bag for more general purposes. There's also two zippered pockets on the outside with plenty of room for cables, Game Boys, PDAs or other toys, plus a cell-phone pocket on the end of the bag. The exterior is made of vinyl which, while I haven't tried to beat up too much, seems to hold up well in day-to-day use.

Perhaps unwisely, I stuck an Apple sticker on the outside. Sure, it looks great, but it also tells everyone what I have inside. But it should also tell you that I liked the Sputnik enough to use it as my everyday notebook bag. And I don't think I can give a much higher recommendation than that.

The Sputnik3 laptop bag retails for $80 at chromebags.com and is available in light or charcoal Silver.
:: posted by Donald Melanson, 2:42 PM |

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

US Supreme Court upholds copyright term extensions
The United States Supreme Court upheld the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA). By a 7-2 vote, the justices accepted the Department of Justice arguments, asserting the constitutionality of the Act, as per Congressional power to regulate intellectual property ownership. Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion (.pdf); dissents came from Stevens and Beyer.
The decision is a victory for intellectual property holders, who lobbied hard for the act.
The decision is a defeat for those agitating for copyright reform in the digital age, including Lawrence Lessig, who argued for the Act's revision or repeal, and Tim Eldred, a public domain Web publisher.

(via, in many ways, Lawrence Lessig)
:: posted by Bryan, 11:47 AM |

Monday, January 13, 2003

US court: OK to sue Kazaa in US
Americans may sue Kazaa in American courts, even though the company's base is in Australia. According to the district judge,

"Given that ... (Kazaa) software has been downloaded more than 143 million times, it would be mere cavil to deny that Sharman engages in a significant amount of contact with California residents," Wilson wrote. Also, he said, "many, if not most, music and video copyrights are owned by California-based companies."

This could well be a "dangerous precedent" for global technology litigation.
(via Dan Gillmor)
:: posted by Bryan, 1:37 PM |

Friday, January 10, 2003

New sf novel available under Creative Commons novels
In a good example of the Creative Commons alternative copyrights system, a new sf novel has been released under the xAttribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial 1.0 license. You can download Cory Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, as well as purchase it on-line. The author, co-jefe of manic blog BoingBoing, has previously Webbed one short story.

/. approves. There's also a Creative Commons interview with the author.
:: posted by Bryan, 11:21 AM |

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

new Google visualization tool
Google Touchgraph maps out links in space, through a java app. Nice visualization tool.

Networks are rendered as interactive graphs, which lend themselves to a variety of transformations. By engaging their visual image, a user is able to navigate through large networks, and to explore different ways of arranging the network's components on screen.

(via Search Engine Watch News)
:: posted by Bryan, 1:10 PM |

Friday, January 03, 2003

Vietnam sentences cyberdissident to 12 years
A Vietnamese court sentenced Nguyen Khac Toan to twelve years in prison, finding him guilty of colluding with external groups against the state. This decision follows several similar judgements against Vietnamese citizens who use the internet to publish criticism of their state, and might indicate a future trend.
:: posted by Bryan, 11:49 AM |

Thursday, January 02, 2003

top 10 IP and IP stories: News.com
The top 10 stories about copyright and technology from News.com make for a good overview of the year.

(via FOSblog)
:: posted by Bryan, 7:17 PM |

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