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July 2003: o-blog history

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o-blog  an i.p. blog o-blog: an i.p. blog

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©¦ Google’s copies. Those familiar with Google know that the search service caches, or keeps a copy of, pages it catalogs, so that content found in Google remains available to users, even if the content provider’s server goes down, or the content gets taken off line. Obviously, this is very useful for users. But, does it raise copyright issues?

music¦ Collage web sounds. Network Auralizaton for Gnutella, or N.A.G., is software you can download that enables you to auralize the web of available sound files in file-sharing space. It “turns the process of searching for and downloading MP3 files into a chaotic musical collage.” Sounds like fun, and it’s cross-platform (WinXP and MacOSX).


©¦ Copyright Armageddon. This article at argues that the polarized rhetoric of the copyright debate; you know, the entertainment cartels branding p2p users as “criminals,”, and the other side framing it as a fight against tyranny. In its conclusion, the article posits a way out of this rhetorical stalemate.

©¦ The real pirates. If, as this article states, 2 out of 5 CDs sold today worldwide are illegal, it seems that the recording industry has bigger fish to fry than going after their customers with lawsuits.

©¦ FYI. Metafilter has a thread running currently on plagiarism.


©¦ Science for all. Some see all scientific knowledge, especially if attained at the expenditure of public funds, as being a cultural birthright, and therefore inherently public domain.

www¦ Perhaps self-evident. If someone were to argue that The Internet is Shit, and give strong arguments in favor of that proposition, would you be able to argue otherwise?

www¦ Google bomb. Here’s some background on the recent “weapons of mass destruction” web meme that has been chasing our in-boxes recently.

©¦ Truth of his convictions. A book about reverse engineering was seen by its prospective publisher as being in violation of the DMCA, and so they decided against publishing it. So the author decided to publish it himself.


©¦ Newsfeed. A recent editorial by a Harvard law professor argues for a compulsory licensing system to save the music industry and make file sharing legal. • Folk-rock legend Bob Dylan is accused of plagiarism. • A group of small internet radio stations is threatening to sue the RIAA on the basis of anti-trust for its demands of webcasting royalties. • A columnist argues that the RIAA’s threat of suing their customers for file sharing will spur a concerted movement for anonymous computing, enhancing along the way the threat of terrorism.

art¦ Peripatetics as code. Psychogeographers, ready your walking shoes. A .walk (dot-walk) “developer’s page” coordinates activities aimed at using humans walking through city streets as a method of executing computer algorithms.

©¦ History riffing defended. A commentary at is an extended opinement on why the excessive copyright protections accorded the culture industry is bad for the public domain, and hence, creativity.



©¦ Enraging the RIAA. At, an opinion piece offers up a “cunning scheme” called “How to infuriate the RIAA and stay enragingly legal.”

©¦ Siding wrongly. “Elected officials are not on our side,” says Dan Gillmor, with regard to yours and my privacy rights.


©¦ Newsfeed. The Neilsen ratings have reported a drop in use of file sharing, and the RIAA is attributing it to their own heavy-handed efforts. • One of the main engineers behind the development of the mp3 audio format offers a measured opinion to the file-sharing phenomenon he helped create. • BBC News reports that the global market for illegal CDs is growing. • A “connectionless protocol” created by a Spanish hacker makes possible greater anonymity for p2p users.

art¦ Parody site. “I Want a Mainstream” takes the basic design of the Illegal Art site and twists it to its own ends.

art¦ Parody site.’s Farhad Manjoo turns in a substantial article on the Illegal Art show, now going on in San Francisco.


©¦ Newsfeed. The battle, evidently, is heating up. A new bill would invite greater involvement by the FBI in the onslaught against so-called “Online Piracy.” • Here’s the slashdot thread on the proposed bill to make file sharing an automatic felony. • The site (Santa Monica Mirror) has an editorial calling for a boycott of all product coming from members of the RIAA. • All the while, the file sharing world is organizing, namely by hiring a lobbyist.


©¦ Newsfeed. The RIAA has issued some 1,000 subpoenas to alleged file sharers in its continuing drive to criminalize their customers. • The head of Interpol, the international police agency, has declared a link between media piracy and terrorism.

©¦ Making the competition illegal. A nicely argued commentary on current problems in U.S. patent law in, describing the relatively new notion that you can patent, not just technical innovations, but also business practices.


©¦ True cost of copyright. Lengthy and fascinating article at goes into many reasons why “copyright law needs to change” in Jonathan Zittrain’s The Copyright Cage.

©¦ Newsfeed. Michael Jackson may be a bizarre distortion of a human being, but he’s right about one thing. Says he: “It is wrong to illegally download, but the answer cannot be jail.” • Even comes out against the RIAA’s extreme tactics in this recent opinion piece.


media¦ Naked power grab thwarted — or at least it seems possible. reports on the FCC’s recent decision to further deregulate big media, and Congress’s surprisingly forceful reaction against it.

www¦ Saving the endangered internet. Doc Searls, the editor of Linux Journal, posts a substantial analysis of the current internet, what it’s lost in recent years, and more importantly, what it stands to lose if its users stand back and let it happen. It’s a call to action.



©¦ Newsfeed. Recent Dan Gillmor commentary at looks at Hollywood’s touchy-feely ad campaign (which attempts to show that tight-fisted control of IP is a good thing). It is entitled “Studios demanding too much in their copyright campaign.” • Meanwhile, makers of file sharing software aren’t sitting still, according to this article, they are working on methods of masking the identity of their users. • Cringely has an interesting idea on a completely legal (but untested) way of creating a successful successor to Napster.


©¦ Newsfeed. offers its opinions as to why the recording cartels are experiences such woes of late: CDs don’t make sense. • Meanwhile, reports that independent record stores are finding ways to survive. Imagination helps.

©¦ Computer-oriented publisher Tim O’Reilly makes the case against DRM, calling it a “non-starter”.


©¦ “IP Wars”. writes about the recent RIAA offensive against its customers, and why people generally don’t consider downloading to be the same thing as theft. (Probably because, in fact, it isn’t — see below.)

©¦ “Copying is Theft — and other legal myths”. A savvy commentator over at explains and expounds on the subtleties missed in equating copying with theft. Recommended reading.

©¦ “Anger and Remorse”. The above-mentioned RIAA offensive, as reported by (reg.req).


©¦ Three part series. has posted a series in three parts on the “Download Wars”. They are: “Free loading”, “Singing a different tune”, and “Dividing the Spoils”.

©¦ Newbies take note. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a “Consumer Alert” regarding file sharing. It’s heavy on the FUD.


©¦ Subpoena Defense. The EFF has launched a site devoted to “Defending The Constitutional Rights of ISPs and Consumers”, allowing you to find out if your user name is targeted for an RIAA subpoena.

©¦ Newsfeed. The RIAA racks up more and more and more negative press in the wake of their issuing nearly 1,000 subpoenas to file sharers for violating copyright laws. • Here, reports on the methods used to track down those offering copyrighted files for download. • Of course, users of file sharing networks are not sitting still. Some of them, reports, have set up secret, closed networks for the activity. • In reaction, Pac Bell, for one, is suing the RIAA, calling into question the constitutionality of their recent subpoena-spewing efforts. • In further reaction, Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) has launched an inquiry, calling the RIAA’s subpoena-ing “excessive”.

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