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May 2003: o-blog history

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media¦ Perils of deregulation. Lessig’s blog has a telling report from an Australian, whose native country’s media ecosystem has already suffered the effects of deregulation. A cautionary tale.

©¦ Newsfeed. reports on BitTorrent, software that makes it easy to share TV programs over the net — threatening to “napsterize” the TV industry. • The RIAA, as “an undemocratic, unelected, overpowerful regime” is seeking to exercise troubling powers, free of any external oversight. • Microsoft tips its hand over future plans for incorporating DRM into its industry-dominant operating system.


war¦ Definitely something they said. “ ‘I tell you the looks on those childrens faces. I don’t know if they’ll say anything about anything ever again. Is that what we want? I don't think we want that,’ says (teacher) Lopez.” These comments were made after the Secret Service was called to interrogate two high school students for saying some things about Bush as part of a classroom presentation.

war¦ Cyber-entrepreneur and bloggist Dan Bricklin on How will the artists get paid? Most of it is back-story; scroll down to “Today’s World” for the pith.

©¦ This blog is having an ongoing discussion about whether filesharing is, after all, the same thing as theft, and along the way, looks at some of the justifications for copyright.


media¦ The $64,000 question. The old gray lady finally asks the question, is so-called “new media” ready for the dustbin of history? [reg.req].

©¦ In “Marx’s Nightmare,” an economist at rips into a recent analysis of the Grokster/Morpheus ruling, and attempts to hew a middle ground in the debate between the “digital communists” and the IP absolutists.


©¦ Grokster and Morpheus. Lawrence Lessig speaks out on ther recent victory for p2p users in a new editorial. He praises the judge in the case for recognizing the substantial non-infringing uses of the technology, and the public good therefrom derived.

media¦ Perils of deregulation, realized. The FCC is likely to act in the interests of Big Media, in the apparent belief that they should be able to own as much as 45% of public attention, and that current limits are somehow outmoded by the current plethora of what they consider to be choices that the public currently experiences. Here’s more on the subject.


war¦ Irony. Paul Krugman at observes that many Americans turned to the BBC for war coverage for its greater objectivity. He notes that, ironically, the government-funded BBC struggles to maintain impartiality, while the publicly-funded American news organizations were acting like a government mouthpiece (reg.req).


war¦ “BushCo Reams Nation Good.” A bitter sum-up of the recent (ongoing) war in Iraq.

©¦ Rule bending is necessary. David Weinberger argues at that “copy protection is a crime against humanity,” shoring up this claim with observations such that DRM is “undercutting the basis of our shared intellectual and creative lives” by not allowing the normally understood give-and-take that exists in human relationships.


©¦ Newsfeed. The California Supreme Court is considering a case that examines to what degree each of us owns and can control our public image: Edgar Winter vs. DC Comics. • Apple’s much-hyped iTunes Music Store has content-streaming capabilities built in, and this has proved irresistible to hackers. • Amid changing times and the desperate forces at work within them, here’s a look at “The mood among campus file-swappers.”


©¦ PBS’s Online News Hour is focusing on the “Copyright Conundrum” as a special Media Watch report. They are also soliciting questions from the public in their online forum. The questions will be answered by copyright experts, such as Lawrence Lessig, and others.


©¦ Newsfeed. Movie Studios Sue Makers of DVD Copying Software: Paramount and 20th Century Fox vs. five companies that sell software to copy DVDs; and more on this: 1, 2. • Rock, Older Buyers Rule in Depressed Music Market: generation gap in music acquisition habits reported. • and Citizens Urge FCC to Retain Current Media Ownership Rules.

war¦ Bush a Primped Phony. Or at least that seems to be the subtext of a recent article. It delves deep into the image making expertise brought to bear in Bush’s presidential appearances. What seems to be news here is not that the photo-op is a constructed event, but rather the scale and skill with which Bush’s handlers execute it. If nothing else, an affirmation that Debord was onto something (reg.req).


©¦ Newsfeed. For the record, here’s the Report on the Copyright Office’s Section 1201 Rulemaking Hearings of May 14, 2003. • At, a report on a House committee’s investigation into p2p tells of their concerns for user privacy, producing little evidence of danger, apparently.

audio¦ Lossless compression. FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is an open source initiative, currently at version 1.1.0 and available for multiple operating systems, allows lossless data compression for high-quality, compact archiving, streaming, and listening. Their site features explanation of the project’s goals and extensive comparison charts.


media¦ Concerns voiced. Lawrence Lessig, oft noted in these pages, has expressed concern that the internet is dying. (Lessig responds that what he really said was, “‘The Internet’ that is to be the savior is a dying breed.”) This opinion piece at goes into the reasons why, citing the runaway train of media consolidation, among other bureaucratic excesses, as a cause.

media¦ Concerns echoed. The USC Center for Communication Law and Policy Presents Media Ownership: A Public Forum On FCC Rules, documenting media consolidation and some of the reasons why it’s gotten as far as it has.


©¦ Newsfeed. Library groups, fearing that someday they may be called to violate their users’ privacy, have sided with the ISP Verizon, in their attempt to conceal from the RIAA the names of its file sharing users. • The US House of Representatives is putting together “a new congressional caucus devoted to combating piracy and promoting stronger intellectual property laws.” • Blind users oppose the DMCA because it doesn’t allow them use convert eBooks into spoken words through software. They argue that copyright owners don’t have total control over how someone experiences their work.



©¦ Newsfeed. In Spain, copyright laws are a little different, and so a new company is taking advantage, and offering unlimited music downloads. • Find out if that record you want to buy is by a member of the RIAA or not. And, learn why a group wants to organize an RIAA boycott. • Here is legal commentary called “Enforcing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Internationally: Why Congress Shouldn't Lock in the Current DMCA By Approving the Current Version of the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement.”


media¦ Author William Gibson has posted on his blog his address to the Director’s Guild, which eloquently reveals the essentially new conditions that digital media makes possible for people to enjoy culture in increasingly personal ways.

©¦ Here’s a page with many many links to other pages concerning the public domain.


©¦ Newsfeed. In the midst of related discussion, the discutors at suggest that “[copyright] can’t be fixed,” so their advice is just to “ignore it.” • William Safire at, on the upcoming June 2 FCC media consolidation ruling, characterizing it is a big power grab (reg.req).

©¦ Local news. The Czech Republic is home to numerous “CD Owner’s Clubs,” which sell memberships for about US$9. The benefit of membership is that you then own a share of the CD collection, of which you are then legally entitled to make personal backups of any of the works in the collections. There is currently a move to shut it down.


Blogging gap due to travel.


©¦ Lessig interviewed. Part 2 of an interview with Stanford Law School copyright specialist Lawrence Lessig explores digital rights as they pertain to the continuing struggle between Hollywood and Silicon Valley.

©¦ Meanwhile, Dave Winer, a developer of blogging tools, asks the question Who will pay for software?

©¦ Feature removed. Apple Computer’s much-hyped new offering, the iTunes Music Service, arrived about a month ago with minimal restrictions on what purchasers could do with the music they bought. Yesterday, they restricted a music sharing feature that several third parties had found ways to exploit, using iTunes as a way of sharing sound files with strangers. This columnist at wonders if Apple is now in the RIAA’s back pocket.


©¦ Putting a trace on copies. interviews a man who proposes a method for adding traceable digital provenance to all things copied, allowing one to identify the particular device that made the copy.

war¦ 20 days in spring 2003.

media¦ Need a new web site, but have run out of inspiration? Strange Banana will generate one on the fly for you. If you don’t like the first one it gives you, just keep hitting reload until one strikes your fancy.


©¦ Pundit’s view. Greplaw has posted a rip-roaring interview with Aimee Deep and her views on copyright, Aimster, and whether Big Media will be able to control the internet through the intellectual property they hoard.

©¦ The Register reports that “A U.S. court has extended the power of the DMCA even further with a ruling this week that backs up copyright holders’ ability to shut down a Web site on ‘good faith.’”

media¦ Mogul on Media. Ted Turner has come out against media consolidation, in light of the impending FCC ruling removing some caps on media outlet ownership.

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