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July 18, 2005

Microsoft Eyes Entertainment Industry

"When Apple Computer Inc. transformed the digital music scene in April 2003 by selling songs over the Internet, the richest man in the world was not amused.

Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates had struggled for a decade to get his software into consumers' home entertainment systems. Now the digital media party was finally starting, and he wasn't invited.

"But the blow gave Gates new insight, motivation and some needed humility — and it intensified work on what might prove the turning point in his quest to extend Microsoft's supremacy from the office into the living room."

Joseph Menn. Microsoft Courts Hollywood Allies. LATimes.com. July 17, 2005.

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July 13, 2005

Firm Sues Internet Archive's Wayback Machine

"A Philadelphia health-care advocacy company is suing operators of the Wayback Machine in a case experts described as one of the first legal challenges to Internet archiving.

"Healthcare Advocates contends the Internet Archive, a San Francisco nonprofit that runs the Wayback Machine, botched Healthcare's request to block access to archived materials from its Web site during a trade secrets dispute in 2003."

Kevin Coughlin. Philadelphia Health Care Advocacy Firm Sues Search-engine Operators. NJ.com. July 12, 2005.

See also:
Tom Zeller Jr. Web Archive Sued Over Use in Another Suit. News.com. July 12, 2005.

The Patry Copyright Blog. The Way Back Machine and Robots.txt. July 12, 2005.

United States District Court. Healthcare Advocates, Inc. v. Harding, Early, Follmer & Frailey, et al. (.pdf) July 8, 2005.

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July 11, 2005

Sony BMG & iMesh Reach Licensing Deal

"Music giant Sony BMG has reached a licensing agreement with file-swapping service iMesh, one of the first such tie-ups since a U.S. Supreme Court decision clamping down on online copyright infringement.

"The deal, confirmed on Friday by an iMesh representative, followed a high court ruling that unauthorized networks such as Grokster could be held liable for the copyright infringement of their users. Analysts said that decision added momentum to the move toward networks sanctioned by media companies.

"Once one of the most popular of post-Napster song-swapping networks, iMesh, formed in 1999, was sued by the record labels in 2003 for copyright infringement and settled for $4.1 million."

Reuters. Sony BMG Reaches Licensing Deal with iMesh. News.com. July 9, 2005.

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July 08, 2005

TV Technology May Generate New Lawsuits

"Days after the Supreme Court weighed in on digital copyright infringement issues in the MGM v. Grokster case, select consumer electronics chains began stocking a product some predict could spark the entertainment industry's next showdown over intellectual property rights.

Andrew Wallenstein. TV Technology at Edge of Legal Frontier. Reuters. July 6, 2005.

Editor's note See also SNTReport.com's prior story on the MGM, Grokster decision.

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July 07, 2005

Intel, Morgan Freeman Form Internet Film Venture

"Intel and actor Morgan Freeman's movie production company, Revelations Entertainment, said Wednesday that they have formed a new venture aimed at distributing first-run movies over the Internet.

"The new company, called ClickStar, is taking on an unfamiliar and potentially controversial role in Hollywood circles that have viewed online distribution as a potentially destabilizing force on DVD sales.

"Most online movie ventures, such as Movielink and , are allowed to distribute films only after they have been in home video circulation for up to several months."

John Borland. Intel, Studio Form Movie Download Venture. News.com. July 6, 2005.

See also:
John Borland. Where's the iTunes for Movies?. News.com. July 6, 2005.

Katie Dean. Freeman Bringing Films to Net. Wired News. July 6, 2005.

Gavin Clarke. Intel and Morgan Freeman Put DRM to Work in New Movie Venture. The Register. July 6, 2005.

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June 30, 2005

Sharing: The Next WWW Chapter

"When Caterina Fake arrives at the end of a plane flight, she snaps a photo of the baggage carousel with her camera phone to assure her mother, who views the photo on a Web page minutes later, that she has traveled safely.

"And if every picture tells a story, that may be only the start. At Flickr, the popular Web photo-sharing service where Fake, a co-founder, posted the photo, it can be tagged with geographic coordinates for use in a photographic map, or become part of a communal database of images that can be searched for certain colors or characteristics.

"Flickr, acquired this year by Yahoo, is just one example of a rapidly growing array of Web services all seeking to exploit the Internet's power to bring people together."

John Markoff. Web Content by and for the Masses. News.com. June 29, 2005.

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June 29, 2005

New Haven for P2P Music Service

"While the technology has been vilified for making it easier to swap illegally copied music over the Internet, peer-to-peer software is increasingly being embraced by cellular phone manufacturers and service providers to help their nascent music businesses.

"Handset maker Nokia has reportedly developed peer-to-peer software that would allow sharing of text documents, photos and, eventually, music between its 6600 model phones.

"It's not just Nokia. Electronics maker Mitsubishi says it too has developed a prototype peer-to-peer phone. And three weeks ago, Canadian cell phone operator Rogers Wireless started using peer-to-peer software as a marketing tool for its music download service. Rogers lets users send the first 30 seconds of a song to a friend's cell phone. If the friend likes it, he or she can buy the rest of the song."

Ben Charny. Wireless: A Peer-to-Peer Music Asylum. News.com. June 28, 2005.

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June 28, 2005

Supreme Court Rules Against Grokster

"The U.S. Supreme Court ruled (.pdf) Monday that software companies can be held liable for copyright infringement when individuals use their technology to download songs and movies illegally.

"The unanimous decision handed the music and movie industries a crucial victory in their ongoing battle to curb Internet piracy -- a campaign centered on lobbying for new laws, filing thousands of lawsuits against Internet users, and winning a ruling from the nation's highest court.

"Their victory Monday on the third piece of that strategy dealt a big blow to technology companies, which claim that holding them accountable for the illegal downloading of songs, movies, video games and other proprietary products would stifle their ability to develop new products."

Krysten Crawford. Hollywood Wins Internet Piracy Battle. CNNMoney.com. June 27, 2005.

See also:
U.S. Supreme Court. On Writ of Certiorari: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., et al. v. Grokster, LTD., et al.. (.pdf) June 27, 2005.

News.com Special Coverage. File-Swap Fallout. News.com.

Libe Goad. Supreme Court Deals Blow to P2P Services. eWeek. June 27, 2005.

Technology & Marketing Law Blog. Grokster Supreme Court Ruling. June 27, 2005.

Electric Frontier Foundation. Supreme Court Sows Uncertainty. Deep Links. June 27, 2005.

Vauhini Vara. A Grokster Primer. WSJ.com. June 27, 2005.

The Wall Street Journal. Grokster Roundtable. June 27, 2005.

National Public Radio. File-Sharing Firms May Be Liable, Says High Court. All Things Considered. June 27, 2005.

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June 24, 2005

Senate Excludes 'Broadcast Flag' Ammendment

"A key U.S. Senate panel on Thursday decided not to intervene in a long-simmering dispute over the 'broadcast flag,' a form of copy prevention technology for digital TV broadcasts.

"At a meeting reserved for voting on spending bills, not one member of the Senate Appropriations Committee proposed an amendment authorizing federal regulators to mandate the broadcast flag.

"Consumer groups had predicted that such an amendment would be offered at the 11 a.m. PDT meeting and had asked their supporters to contact senators in opposition to the idea. Their worry: The broadcast flag could be injected into an appropriations bill for the Federal Communications Commission."

Declan McCullagh. Senate Punts on Broadcast Flag Option. News.com. June 23, 2005.

Electronic Frontier Foundation. Flag Day. Deep Links. June 22, 2005.

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June 20, 2005

Microsoft Develops Bit Torrent Alternative

"Researchers at Microsoft's labs in Cambridge, England, are developing a file-sharing technology that they say could make it easier to distribute big files such as films, television programs, and software applications to end users over the Internet.

Code-named Avalanche, the technology is similar to existing peer-to-peer (P-to-P) file swapping systems such as BitTorrent, in the sense that large files can be divided into many smaller pieces to ease their distribution. End users request the file parts from other users' hard drives and reassemble them to create the original file.

"Such systems can scale well to serve millions of users, and reduce the bandwidth and computing costs of sending content directly to users from central servers. Some have also irritated publishers who complain the services are used to share copyright works illegally."

James Niccolai. Microsoft Builds Its Own Peer-to-Peer App. PCWorld. June 16, 2005.

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June 18, 2005

Labels Introduce Copy-Protected Music in U.S.

"The record labels are in pursuit of a new class of music pirates -- not the millions who download bootlegged songs over the Internet but those who copy music CDs for their friends.

"The music industry considers the seemingly innocuous act of duplicating a music CD for someone else 'casual piracy,' a practice that surpasses Internet file-sharing as the single largest source of unauthorized music distribution. After fits and starts, the industry's largest players are taking measures to place curbs on copying."

Dawn C. Chmielewski. Music Industry Eyes 'Casual Piracy'. SiliconValley.com. June 15, 2005.

See also:
Mercury News Research. How the Protections Work. San Jose Mercury News. June 15, 2005.

Editor's note See also SNTReport.com's prior story on copy-protected CDs.

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DivX Finds Its Way Into DVD Players

"San Diego-based DivX, Inc. announced the newest iteration, DivX 6.0, of its video compression software Wednesday with features that up the ante for compression schemes.

"Video compression is one of the hottest genres in high technology. This is mostly because the amount of raw video in a digitized video stream is ridiculously large, thus putting a burden on storage and networks.

"If the future of video distribution is over the Internet, as many predict, these files have to be compressed -- by a lot."

John C. Dvorak. A Step Closer to Electronic Movie Distribution. MarketWatch. June 16, 2005.

See also:
Scott Fulton. DivX 6 Aims at CE Market with Enhanced Editing, Performance. Tom's Hardware Guide. June 15, 2005.

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June 16, 2005

Microsoft Files Suit Against Software Pirates

"Mircosoft again went on the attack against software pirates, filing four lawsuits against companies it said sold illegal copies of its software to consumers, officials announced Wednesday.

"The lawsuits name five companies -- East Outlet, Super Supplier, #9 Software, CEO Microsystems and Wiston Group -- that were allegedly selling illegal copies of Microsoft products or selling the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) labels that go with Microsoft products.

"All are charged with violating copyright and trademark laws; #9 Software was additionally charged with violating the Anti-Counterfeiting Amendments Act for selling COA labels without the attendant software."

Jim Wagner. Microsoft Software Piracy Crackdown Continues. InternetNews.com. June 15, 2005.

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June 15, 2005

EMI to Launch Copy Protected CDs

"Music fans who copy CDs for all their pals, take note: It may be time to shed some friends.

"Executives at EMI Group on Monday said they planned to begin rolling out CDs with technology designed to limit copying. The technology allows buyers to burn onto CDs only three full copies of a disc's songs, and the burned discs cannot be copied.

"Sony BMG is heading even faster down the same road. About half the discs it releases in the United States today have the three-copy limit, and it plans to have a similar restriction on all its U.S. releases by the end of the year, said Thomas Hesse, president of the company's global digital music business."

Jon Healey and Charles Duhigg. CDs to Restrict Copying of Songs. LATimes.com. June 14, 2005.

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N.Y. Public Library Starts Digital Library

"The New York Public Library announced Monday that it is making 700 books — from classics to current best sellers — available to members in digital audio form for downloading onto PCs, CD players and portable listening devices."

Associated Press. New York Library Offers Audio Downloads. MSNBC. June 13, 2005.

See also:
N.Y. Public Library. Kafka or Clancy for your Headphones: The NY Public Library Offers Digital Audio Books for MP3 players and Computers. (Press Release.) June 13, 2005.

Update: Reuters. N.Y. Library Audio Book Project Snubs iPod. News.com. June 14, 2005. (The files are based on Microsoft copyright protection software and will not work on Apple's iPod.)

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June 14, 2005

Google Plans Web-only Video Search Engine

"Google is expected to unveil a search engine for Web-only video this summer that will allow people to preview media clips from its Web site, CNET News.com has learned.

"Google's planned service will let visitors find free short-form videos such as the popular 'Star Wars' video spoofs, according to sources who asked to remain anonymous. The engine will complement the search giant's existing experimental site that allows people to search the closed-caption text of television shows from PBS and CNN, among others, and preview accompanying still images.

"The new capabilities will allow people to watch roughly 10 seconds of Web video clips for free before shuttling visitors to the video's host site, sources say."

Stefanie Olsen. Google Readying Web-only Video Search. News.com. June 13, 2005.

See also:
Richard Shim. Gore's TV Network Set to Launch with Google Tie-in. News.com. April 4, 2005.

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Napster Creator Launches Legit P2P Service

"Snocap, the content management system for music distributed via peer-to-peer networks, is set to open its digital registry Monday.

"Chief strategy officer Shawn Fanning described Snocap as a music registry that would serve as a clearinghouse for files that consumers are trading among themselves.

"Each song has its digital 'fingerprint' determined and entered into a database. Then when users share a song, Snocap checks the database for the associated copyright information and enforces whatever usage rules the owner has assigned. This will allow music retailers and P2P networks to offer a massive library of legal content without having to maintain relationships with each individual copyright holder, according to Fanning."

Chris Marlowe. Online Music Firm Snocap Goes Indie Route. Reuters. June 13, 2005.

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June 08, 2005

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Lexmark Case

"A petition to the Supreme Court for certiorari in its case against North Carolina-based Static control was rejected.

"Certiorari for the case would mean the Supreme Court would review the decisions and proceedings performed by a lower court. But the high court has denied certiorari in the case where Lexington-based printer maker Lexmark has been fighting Static Control Components (SCC)."

David Utter. Lexmark Won’t Get Its Day In Court. WebProNews. June 7, 2005.

See also:
Associated Press. Supreme Court Stays Out of Battle Over Toner. Houston Chronicle. June 7, 2005.

Electronic Frontier Foundation. Lexmark v. Static Control Case Archive.

Editor's note See also SNTReport.com's prior story on the suit brought by Lexmark.

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June 06, 2005

Web-Delivered TV Needs Work

"Years ago, our futuristic fantasies involved robot butlers, video wristwatches and flying cars. These days, we would be happy to have a cell phone with no dead spots, e-mail without spam and the ability to watch any TV show, anytime we want it.

"Actually, they are making progress on that last item. A company called Akimbo has a tantalizing idea. What if you had a TiVo-like set-top box, complete with a hard drive that could hold 200 hours of video--but instead of recording live broadcasts, you could tap into an enormous library of shows, stored on the Internet, and watch them whenever you liked?"

David Pogue. TV's Future Is Here, But It Needs Work. News.com. June 4, 2005.

Stefanie Olsen and Richard Shim. Search Giants Court TiVo. News.com. April 18, 2005.

Stefanie Olsen. Akimbo Debuts Video on Demand on Amazon. News.com. Oct. 25, 2004.

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June 02, 2005

Sony Tests DRM Technology to Limit CD Burning

"Sony BMG Music Entertainment announced that it has been testing a digital rights management (DRM) system called 'sterile burning' and has already released 10 CD titles -- about 1 million discs -- with the copy protection. It did not say which ones they were.

"'Sterile burning'" limits the number of copies a consumer can make from a purchased CD and prevents copies being made from copies.

"Although some worry that these measures will limit 'fair use' or the ability of consumers to use purchased material legally, analysts disagree."

Susan B. Shor. Sony Tests Copy-Protected CDs. TechNewsWorld. May 31, 2005.

See also:
Brian Garrity. Sony BMG Tests Technology to Limit CD Burning. Reuters. May 30, 2005.

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June 01, 2005

Intel Builds DRM Chips

"Microsoft and the entertainment industry's holy grail of controlling copyright through the motherboard has moved a step closer with Intel Corp. now embedding digital rights management within in its latest dual-core processor Pentium D and accompanying 945 chipset.

"Officially launched worldwide on the May 26, the new offerings come DRM-enabled and will, at least in theory, allow copyright holders to prevent unauthorized copying and distribution of copyrighted materials from the motherboard rather than through the operating system as is currently the case."

Digit. Intel Quietly Adds DRM to New Chips. May 27, 2005.

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May 24, 2005

Elementary Schoolers Receive Copyright Warning

"Think schools are just scaring kids about drugs, sex and poor study habits these days? Now you can put illegal file trading on the list.

"Sixth-graders in American Fork, Utah, will start their journey to middle school on Tuesday with a warning from the director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office about the ills of illegally downloading music, movies and games from the Web."

Alorie Gilbert. Never Too Young for a Copyright Lesson. News.com. May 23, 2005.

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New Arrivals to Digital Music Market

"Napster Inc. should dump its 'Do the Math' ad campaign before it gets embarrassing. By any calculation, its all-you-can-download Napster To Go service can't compete with the subscription plans just launched by RealNetworks Inc. and Yahoo Inc.

"These new offerings remedy the glaring flaw of Napster To Go -- the way it seems to serve the record labels' interests a little too well. Napster To Go's $14.95 monthly fee permits subscribers to collect all the music they want and listen to it on some Windows Media-compatible digital music players. But if they stop paying, the music stops playing -- and getting a permanent copy that can be burned to CD requires purchasing it anew at the full list price of 99 cents."

Rob Pegoraro. Music Subscription Services Reach for an Edge. WashingtonPost.com. May 22, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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May 21, 2005

Swedish Minister to Consider DRM Ban on CDs

"Sweden's justice minister, Thomas Bodström, has called for record companies to stop copy-protecting CDs.

"In a move which will stoke up the country's increasingly heated copyright protection debate, Bodström has said that if the industry continues to put blocking technology on new music CDs, the government will make it illegal."

No author. Justice Minister Threatens to Ban CD "Copy Protection". The Local. May 19, 2005.

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May 19, 2005

BBC to Test Internet TV Downloads

"Around 190 hours of TV shows and 310 hours of radio programmes are to be made available for legal downloading to selected individuals across the UK.

"It marks the second stage in the development of the BBC's interactive Media Player (iMP).

"The iMP will allow viewers to catch up with programmes up to seven days after they are broadcast, using the internet to download shows to home computers."

BBC News. BBC Moves Ahead With TV Downloads. May 16, 2005.

See also:
Jason Deans. BBC to Trial TV Content Online. Guardian Unlimited. May 16, 2005.

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May 18, 2005

Researchers Study RFID Tags for DRM Tool

"A group of researchers at UCLA is working on a new RFID application that would provide consumers a means of watching DVDs of movies as soon as they hit the theaters.

"It could also be used to address one of Hollywood's biggest concerns: piracy of digital content.

"The group is researching a method of using RFID as a tool for digital rights management (DRM), wherein technologies are employed to protect media files from unauthorized use. Digital rights management is also used to process payment to compensate copyright holders for the use of their intellectual property."

Mary Catherine O'Connor. Group Studies RFID to Stop Digital Piracy. RFID Journal. May 12, 2005.

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May 09, 2005

Federal Court Overturns Broadcast Flag

"In a stunning victory for hardware makers and television buffs, a federal appeals court has tossed out government rules that would have outlawed many digital TV receivers and tuner cards starting July 1.

"The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled Friday that the Federal Communications Commission did not have the authority to prohibit the manufacture of computer and video hardware that doesn't have copy protection technology known as the 'broadcast flag.' The regulations, which the FCC created in November 2003, had been intended to limit unauthorized Internet redistribution of over-the-air TV broadcasts."

Declan McCullagh. Court Yanks Down FCC's Broadcast Flag. News.com. May 6, 2005.

See also:
Electronic Frontier Foundation. Federal Appeals Court Scraps FCC's Broadcast Flag Mandate. Breaking News. May 6, 2005.

U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. American Library Association, et al., v. Federal Communications Commission and United States of America. (.pdf) May 6, 2005.

Electronic Frontier Foundation. Waving Flags of Victory. Deep Links. May 6, 2005.

Electronic Frontier Foundation. American Library Association v. Federal Communications Commission. No date.

Declan McCullagh. Are PCs Next in Hollywood Piracy Battle?. News.com. Nov. 5, 2003.

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May 07, 2005

Hackers Bypass PSP Copy Protection

"It was never going to take very long, of course, but hackers have at last worked out how to bypass the copy protection scheme used by Sony to lock down content on the PlayStation Portable's Universal Media Disc (UMD).

"Piracy doesn't appear to be an issue yet, since there's no way of copying games pulled from an official 1.8GB UMD onto a fresh disc, UMD being, for now, a read-only medium."

Tony Smith. PSP Disc Protection Cracked. The Register. May 6, 2005.

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May 06, 2005

DRM Costs Effect Mobile Music Services

"A tussle over antipiracy technology is looming over the young mobile phone content business, with big phone companies claiming that new music and video services could be derailed as a result.

"At issue is a set of technologies aimed at protecting music and other content from being indiscriminately copied after being sold through mobile phone networks, a critical component of the new content services if record labels and movie studios are to sign on."

John Borland. Anticopying Fight Mars Mobile Music. News.com. May 5, 2005.

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May 03, 2005

Ourmedia.org Makes Web Video Accessible

"So far, the world of online video is full of walls. In order to see video, you need a variety of media players, you might have to register or pay for a service, and of course you need bandwidth. But a raft of startups and search engines are here to help bring down those walls, allow anyone to upload their amateur video and other media, and make it more searchable than ever before.

"Of the grassroots video hubs, the veteran site would be Ourmedia.org.

Mark Glaser. Search Engines, Startup Media Sites Dream of Becoming Video Hubs. Online Journalism Review. April 26, 2005.

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April 27, 2005

Open Media Network Shares Video, Audio

"Mike Homer sees the future of public broadcasting, and it's on the Internet.

"Or rather, it is the Internet.

"Homer and erstwhile Netscape wunderkind Marc Andreessen are using file-sharing technology to distribute audio and video files for free online. Unlike Kazaa and other popular 'peer-to-peer' programs, however, Open Media Network allows only authorized sharing and weeds out bootlegged goods."

Jon Healey. Network Shares Audio and Video, Screens Out Bootlegs. LATimes.com. April 26, 2005.

See also:
Benny Evangelista. Startup to Offer Digital TV, Radio Shows Online for Free. San Francisco Chronicle. April 26, 2005.

John Borland. Netscape Pioneers Launch Free Content Network. News.com. April 25, 2005.

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April 26, 2005

DRM Restrictions Frustrate Music Lovers

"UK music lovers are getting frustrated with restrictions placed on digital music tracks once they buy them from online stores, says PC Pro magazine.

"The magazine reported that people are also being turned off net music stores because of pricing and disappointing sound quality compared to CDs."

BBC News. Online Music Lovers 'Frustrated'. April 25, 2005.

See also:
Alun Williams. PC Pro Online Music Exposé: UK Public Pays Too Much for Too Little. PC Pro. April 22, 2005.

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RealNetworks to Unveil Portable Music Service

"Digital media company RealNetworks Inc. plans to unveil on Tuesday a new portable music service for digital music players as part of its subscription service portfolio, a source familiar with the plans said on Monday.

"The Seattle-based company, which operates the Rhapsody subscription music service, will now let listeners rent music on a monthly basis that can be stored on a range of supported digital music players."

Kenneth Li. RealNetworks to Launch Music on the Go - Source. Reuters. April 25, 2005.

See also:
John Borland. RealNetworks Readies New Music Service. ZDNet. April 25, 2005.

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April 22, 2005

UCITA Lives On in Spyware

"While we tend to think of UCITA as being dead outside of a few jurisdictions, its evil spirit is still very much with us. It's haunting us in the form of the spyware problem, as I think spyware researcher Ben Edelman's latest piece on spyware installation methods amply illustrates.

"Edelman provides a step-by-step examination of all the deception that can lie behind one "I agree" click to an innocuous-looking license agreement. 3D Desktop's Flying Icons screensaver is initially presented to the user as shareware available for a 15-day free trial. Only by scrolling down in the little text window to the end of the EULA does the user find a hint that there's another component to the deal. If you install the software, you're also agreeing to the terms of something called Blazefind. The only way to find out what that means is to follow a link to Blazefind's EULA."

Ed Foster. Spyware and the Ghost of UCITA. InfoWorld. April 15, 2005.

See also:
Benedelman.org. 3D Desktop's Misleading Installation Methods. April 12, 2005.

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April 21, 2005

New Law Would Allow DVD Censorship

"Family-friendly technology company ClearPlay on Wednesday gave the official thumbs-up to the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act, which sped its way through the House of Representatives and is headed to the Senate.

"The Family Movie Act portion of the bill will allow users to alter movie content for private viewing, a service offered by several companies—ClearPlay the most well-known of the group. It could be a much-needed reprieve for the privately owned Utah company, which has been sued by eight Hollywood studios and the Director's Guild of America for copyright infringement."

Libe Goad. Bill Could Let Parents Scrub Sex, Violence and More from DVDs. PCMag.com. April 21, 2005.

See also:
H.R.357. Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005.

S.167. Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005.

Ted Bridis. Congress OKs Bill to Strip DVD Movie Smut. USA Today. April 20, 2005.

ClearPlay. The Family Movie Act - Update. February 4, 2005.

The Hon. Orrin Hatch. Hatch Endorses Family Entertainment Act. Jan. 25, 2005.

Editor's Note: Orrin Hatch, the senior senator from Utah and the ranking Republican on the Senate's Judiciary Committee (which passes intellectual property legislation), introduced The Family Entertainment Act in the Senate. (The Act will be codified into law as the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act.) Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas introduced the Act in the House.

ClearPlay is a Utah-based company that makes technology that censors sex, violence, and other "objectionable" material from DVDs. The company has been sued for copyright infringement by eight Hollywood studios and the Director's Guild of America, which claimed that ClearPlay's technology produced an illegal derivative work of their DVDs. This lawsuit likely would become moot when President Bush signs the bill into law, unless the entertainment industry amends the lawsuit (or files a new action) that seeks to invalidate the law.

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April 15, 2005

Online Music Store Roundup

ExtremeTech, "a thriving community of users and experts seeking to answer the unanswerable questions of technology" that bills itself as "a one-stop-shop for serious technological needs," has published an informative comparison of the leading digital music services, including Apple's iTunes, MusicMatch, and Rhapsody.

ExtremeTech. Which Online Music Service is Best? No date.

Attribution: SNTReport.com first discovered news of ExtremeTech's music store roundup through a posting in MP3 Player Blog, edited by Lindsey Smith.

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April 13, 2005

Slides from K. Matthew Dames' Lecture on Open Access

SNTReport.com executive editor K. Matthew Dames gave a lecture to information professionals at the AeA David Packard Conference Center in Washington, DC on the open access movement. The lecture, entitled "A Discussion on Open Access," was the last in a series sponsored by the Washington, DC chapter of SLA, among others, that addresses some of the most important legal and policy issues that information professionals face today.

Dames also gave the lectures for the first presentation in the series, "Licensing Digital Resources," on Wednesday, January 12, 2005, and the second presentation in the series, "Licensing Digital Resources," on Wednesday, February 9, 2005, also at the Packard Center.

Thank you to the series' sponsors: the DC Chapter of SLA, National Capitol Chapter (NCC) of AIIM, the Washington DC Chapter of SCIP, Northern Virginia Chapter of ARMA, Federal Law Librarians’ SIS, Adobe Systems Inc., and STG International.

An electronic copy of the lecture notes is posted below. All resource links are available at Seso Group LLC's del.icio.us page.

Lecture Notes
K. Matthew Dames. "A Discussion on Open Access". (.pdf) April 13, 2005.

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April 09, 2005

Congress Mulls Mandatory DRM

"US legislators are debating whether to force Apple's products to interoperate with Microsoft's.

"The Congress have been considering a plan that would outlaw music protected by proprietary digital rights management (DRM) technology, such as Apple's FairPlay, which stops iTunes downloads being played on Microsoft digital music players and vice versa.

"However, yesterday's Congressional subcommittee hearing on 'Digital Music Interoperability and Availability', which included debate on mandating interoperability for digital music, received a 'hands off' message from industry representatives."

Jo Best. Law to Make iTunes Compatible with Microsoft?. Silicon.com. April 7, 2005.

See also:
Silicon.com. Leader: Apple Work with Microsoft? Let the People Decide. April 7, 2005.

Erika Morphy. Congress Holds Hearings on Digital Music. CRM Daily. April 7, 2005.

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April 06, 2005

Movie Industry to Follow Apple's iTunes Lead

"Michael Arrieta, senior vice president of Sony Pictures, said at a US Digital Hollywood conference that it wanted to create an "iTunes" for films.

"Films will be put onto flash memory for mobiles over the next year, said Mr Arrieta, and it will develop its digital download services for films.

"Movie studios are keen to stop illegal file-sharing on peer-to-peer nets and cash in on digital the download market."

BBC News. Sony Wants an 'iTunes for Movies'. March 31, 2005.

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April 05, 2005

A Deep Look at DRM

"There are many things in the world that you feel to be true, but you're not exactly sure why. So if you're a thinking person, you're left with this nagging suspicion that you should be better able to come up with a better explanation than 'But it's just wrong!'

"For many people, myself included, digital rights management (DRM) technologies fall into this category.

"Even if we have no intention of breaking copyright law by downloading music or movies willy-nilly, and even though many of us earn our livings through the production and sale of copyrighted material, we're still offended that the entertainment and media conglomerates of the world - the Content Cartel, as one commentator has labeled them - are pushing so hard to ensure that every song, every movie, every television show, is wrapped up tight in some form of DRM that controls access to the content and use of it."

Adam C. Engst. Why DRM Offends the Sensibilities. TidBITS. March 5, 2005.

Attribution: SNTReport.com first discovered news of this look at DRM through a posting in LibraryLaw Blog, edited by Mary Minow.

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March 26, 2005

AFFECT Rolls Out Licensing Principles

"The Americans For Fair Electronic Commerce Transactions (AFFECT) coalition has announced its Stop Before You Click campaign promoting its 12 Principles for Fair Commerce in Software and Other Digital Products.

"My long-time readers know AFFECT as the organization that succeeded in stopping the spread of the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA). UCITA, an incredibly customer-unfriendly model state law pushed by Microsoft and friends, was hurriedly enacted in Virginia and Maryland before interest groups opposed to it could effectively get organized.

"While UCITA itself is still dead for the most part, unfortunately its spirit is still with us in the DMCA and other legislation. So AFFECT formed a task force to draft a set of principles for fair dealing in digital products."

Ed Foster. Why You Should Stop Before You Click. The Gripe Line Weblog. March 11, 2005.

See also:
AFFECT. Stop Before You Click. No date.

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DRM and 'Trusted Computing'

"If you have recently bought an IBM ThinkVantage computer, a Dell Optiplex, or one of a whole range of laptops from Toshiba, HP/Compaq or Samsung then you may have got more for your money than you realised.

"Inside your shiny new PC is an extra chip called the trusted platform module (TPM) that can be used for a range of hardware-based security features.

"Eventually the TPM will be built into the main processor itself, and if the trusted computing group has its way then you will find one in every piece of hardware you own, from mobile phones to TV set top boxes to children's toys."

Bill Thompson. What Price for 'Trusted PC Security'?. BBC News. March 18, 2005.

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March 24, 2005

PyMusique Opens iTunes Again

"A group of underground programmers has posted code online they say will reopen a back door in Apple Computer's iTunes store, allowing Linux computer users to purchase music free of copy protection.

"The release comes just a day after Apple blocked a previous version of the program, called PyMusique, in part by requiring all iTunes customers to use the latest version of Apple's software.

"In a blog posting, Norwegian programmer Jon Johansen, who was previously responsible for releasing software used to copy DVDs online, said he had been successful at reverse engineering the latest iTunes encryption."

John Borland. 'DVD Jon' Reopens iTunes Back Door. News.com. March 22, 2005.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:17 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

March 21, 2005

Programmers Hack iTunes Store

"A trio of independent programmers has released new software that allows people to tap into Apple Computer's iTunes music store and purchase songs free of any anticopying protections.

"Joined by Jon Johansen, the Norwegian programmer responsible for distributing DVD-cracking code in late 1999, the programmers say their PyMusique software is a "fair" interface for iTunes, primarily aimed at allowing people who use the Linux operating system to purchase music from Apple's store."

John Borland. Hackers Build Back Door into iTunes. News.com. March 18, 2005.

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March 03, 2005

O'Reilly Network Interviews Lessig

"What do you get when you mix P2P, inexpensive digital input devices, open source software, easy editing tools, and reasonably affordable bandwidth? Potentially, you get what Lawrence Lessig calls remix culture: a rich, diverse outpouring of creativity based on creativity. This is not a certain future, however. Peer-to-peer is on the verge of being effectively outlawed. Continuation of the current copyright regime would mean that vast quantities of creative content will be forever locked away from remix artists.

"Lessig is joining the battle for the remix future on several fronts: the court battle on the legality of P2P; another legal battle to free 'orphan works' from their copyright gulag; rolling out new Creative Commons 'sampling licenses' with the help of big-name artists like David Byrne; and supporting the 'free culture' work of Brazilian musician and culture minister Gilberto Gil toward a society based on freedom of culture.

"In an extensive phone interview, I talked with Professor Lessig about all of these issues. Lessig will expound on many of these same topics in his upcoming keynote at O'Reilly's Emerging Technology Conference, March 14-17 in San Diego."

Richard Koman. Remixing Culture: An Interview with Lawrence Lessig. O'Reilly Network. Feb. 24, 2005.

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February 28, 2005

Protecting Digital Property Without New Legislation

"The agenda for last week’s Digital Media Hollywood Summit reads like a self-help guide for the content industry. Sessions on the economics of media convergence and 'embracing the connected consumer' are indicative of an industry dealing with changes in technology and consumer behavior. Panels discussed technologies that package digital content in new ways.

"Using technology protections for copyright instead of legislation to protect copyright is a worthwhile public policy discussion. Indeed, going forward, technology, and not legislation, should be the primary means for defining the consumer experience.

"Why? Technology applications - if not the result of a government mandate - represent a market solution that can help reward artists and provide consumers with innovative content."

Braden Cox and Clyde Wayne Crews. Helping Hollywood Help Itself - Protecting Digital Property Without New Legislation. Competitive Enterprise Institute. Feb. 15, 2005.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:47 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

February 25, 2005

Russian Police Investigate MP3 Site

"A Russian digital-music site offering high-quality song downloads for just pennies apiece is the target of a criminal copyright investigation by the local police, recording industry groups said Tuesday.

"AllofMP3.com has been operating for several years, asking consumers to pay just 2 cents per megabyte of downloads--usually between 4 cents and 10 cents per song. Alongside the catalogue available at traditional stores like Apple Computer's iTunes, the site offered access to songs from the Beatles and other groups that haven't yet authorized digital distribution.

"The Russian site claimed it had licenses to do so from a local clearing house, but record labels have maintained that the licenses weren't valid. After long-standing complaints, the Moscow City Police Computer Crimes division completed an investigation earlier this month and recommended that prosecutors charge the site's operators with criminal copyright infringement."

John Borland. MP3s for Pennies? Russian Cops Say No. News.com. Feb. 22, 2005.

See also:
International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Recording industry Welcomes Police Investigation of Allofmp3.com. (Press Release.) Feb. 22, 2005.

John Leyden. Russian Police Probe Cheap Downloads Site. The Register. Feb. 22, 2005.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:28 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

February 24, 2005

iMesh P2P Network Moves Toward Release

"For more than six months, Israel's iMesh has been the strangest of beasts in the file-swapping world: a fully functioning peer-to-peer network operating with the blessing, albeit temporary, of the recording industry.

"That status is coming slowly to an end. The company is working to build a record-label-approved peer-to-peer service, using song-filtering company Audible Magic's technology to help turn unauthorized music trades into revenue for record labels.

"Originally expected by the end of last year, the song-sales service is taking longer than predicted. Company executives declined to comment on the details of the service, but said that progress on the new service has been satisfactory."

John Borland. iMesh Almost Ready to Become Paid File-Swap Network. News.com. Feb. 17, 2005.

See also:
John Borland. Record Labels Settle With Israeli P2P Company. News.com. July 20, 2004.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:53 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

February 23, 2005

Groups Challenge Broadcast Flag Rules

"Mike Godwin, the legal director for Public Knowledge, a digital-rights advocacy group in Washington, is a fan of Showtime's new drama series 'Huff.' So three weeks ago, when he missed the season finale, he decided to download it to his personal computer.

"To Mr. Godwin, the time-consuming download (and the file's poor quality) indicated that the rampant piracy of digitized broadcast programs - a threat Hollywood has long warned against - was hardly imminent. But to the Federal Communications Commission and the Motion Picture Association of America, cases like this one suggest a future of widespread illegal file-sharing that must be stopped before it begins."

"The debate will be presented in oral arguments tomorrow before the District of Columbia Circuit for the United States Court of Appeals in a lawsuit brought by Public Knowledge and others against the F.C.C., challenging a new regulation that is intended to prevent such bleeding of television content onto the Internet."

Tom Zeller Jr. Federal Effort to Head Off TV Piracy Is Challenged. News.com. Feb. 21, 2005.

See also:
Ed Felton. Broadcast Flag in Court. Freedom to Tinker. Feb. 21, 2005.

Electronic Frontier Foundation. Broadcast Flag "Just As Important As Grokster". Deep Links. Feb. 18, 2005.

Electronic Frontier Foundation. EFF's HDTV-PVR Cookbook. No date

Update: Declan McCullagh. Court Questions FCC's Broadcast Flag Rules. News.com. Feb. 22, 2005. (A federal appeals court questions whether the FCC has authority to undertake such sweeping regulation.)

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February 22, 2005

Cryptographers to Hollywood: Design DRM to Fail

"Movie industry representatives at RSA 2005 in San Francisco today called on the IT industry for help in thwarting illegal file sharing before the problem threatened its revenues. But they were told that they must recognise the limitations of digital rights management in their fight against digital piracy.

"Speaking on the RSA conference panel Hollywood's Last Chance - Getting it Right on Digital Piracy, Carter Laren, security architect at Cryptographic Research, noted that cryptography is 'good at some problems, such as transmitting data so it can't be eavesdropped or even authentication, but it can't solve the content protection problem. If people have legitimate access to content, then you can't stop them misusing it.

"'Anyone designing content protection should design for failure and if it fails update it,' he added."

John Leyden. Cryptographers to Hollywood: Prepare to Fail on DRM. The Register. Feb. 17, 2005.

See also:
Cryptography Research. Cryptography Research Security Experts to Speak at RSA Conference 2005. (Press Release.) Feb. 14, 2005.

Michael A. Einhorn and Bill Rosenblatt. Peer-to-Peer Networking and Digital Rights Management: How Market Tools Can Solve Copyright Problems. (.pdf) Cato Institute. Feb. 17, 2005.

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February 21, 2005

AOL Updates Winamp Copy-Prevention Features

"America Online is disabling a feature of its popular music software that had been used to evade copy-prevention features of digital music services, the company said Friday.

"The company's Winamp software was identified by bloggers this week as part of a process that transformed copy-protected music downloads into songs that could be burned by the thousand to CD. The tool had potentially affected any subscription service that used Microsoft's media format, including Napster, Virgin Music and even America Online's own music subscription plan.

"AOL programmers are taking a series of steps to prevent its software from being used in this way, a representative said."

John Borland. AOL Blocks Music-Copying Feature. News.com. Feb. 17, 2005.

See also:
John Borland. Napster Hack Leads to Free Downloads. News.com. Feb. 15, 2005.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:06 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

February 19, 2005

EFF Creates Endangered Gizmos List

"Endangered animals lists are familiar to those who care about nature, but now technology has its own list of gadget 'species' under threat of extinction.

"High on the endangered list is the file-sharing network, Morpheus, which is about to fight for survival in court.

"The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) list highlights what it says is the grip industry holds over gadgets."

No author. Gizmos Under Threat of Extinction. BBC News. Feb. 18, 2005.

See also:
Electronic Frontier Foundation. Endangered Gizmos List.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:35 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

February 18, 2005

Napster Denies Flawed Copy Protection

"Less than three weeks after Napster Inc. began touting its all-you-can-rent music subscription service, the company finds itself refuting Internet claims that its copy-protection measures are flawed.

"The company posted a message this week, saying the service's digital music tracks are no more susceptible to unauthorized copying than any other licensed music service.

"The statement comes after word surfaced on the Internet about how subscribers of Napster To Go, which lets users play an unlimited number of tracks on their computer or on certain portable devices for about $15 a month, could make permanent copies of the songs."

Associated Press. Napster Refutes Flawed Protection Claims. SeattlePI.com. Feb. 16, 2005.

See also:
Sue Zeidler. Users Bypass Copy Protection on Napster To Go. WashingtonPost.com. Feb. 16, 2005.

John Borland. Napster Hack Leads to Free Downloads. News.com. Feb. 15, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:58 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

February 17, 2005

Cell Phone Industry Eyes Entertainment Downloads

"With a covetous eye on the success of portable music players, mobile phone makers are going after would-be iPod buyers by building high-quality players into their handsets.

"Sony Ericsson announced Monday it would soon market music-player mobiles under its parent's Walkman brand, drawing on the music catalogue of a sister company, Sony BMG, the world's No. 2 record company.

"And Nokia Corp., the world's leading phone maker, announced an alliance with Microsoft Corp. to allow mobile subscribers to load music from a PC onto their phones - much the way that a digital music player works."

Laurence Frost. Mobile Phone Industry Eyes Music Downloads. WashingtonPost.com. Feb. 14, 2005.

See also:
Chris Marlowe. Ring-a-Ding Ding for Mobile Music. Reuters. Feb. 15, 2005.

Sony Ericsson. Sony Ericsson to Offer Exciting Mobile Music Solution in Collaboration with Sony Group Companies. (Press Release.) Feb. 14, 2005.

Nokia. Microsoft and Nokia Collaborate to Help Ensure Consumers Can Enjoy Digital Music Anywhere. (Press Release.) Feb. 14, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:48 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Macrovision Introduces DVD Copy Protection

"Macrovision on Tuesday released a new DVD copy-protection technology in hopes of substantially broadening its role in Hollywood's antipiracy effort.

"The content-protection company is pointing to the failure of the copy-proofing on today's DVDs, which was broken in 1999. Courts have ordered that DVD-copying tools be taken off the market, but variations of the software remain widely available online.

"Macrovision executives said that even if it's not perfect, the new RipGuard DVD technology can prevent much of the copying done with such tools and can help bolster studios' DVD sales."

John Borland. New Copy-Proof DVDs on the Way?. News.com. Feb. 15, 2005.

See also:
Macrovision. Macrovision Introduces RipGuard DVD to Dramatically Reduce Digital DVD Piracy. (Press Release.) Feb. 15, 2005.

John P. Mello Jr. Macrovision Aims To Stop DVD Rippers. TechNewsWorld. Feb. 15, 2005.

Mark Hachman. New Tech Prevents DVD Copying, Kills 'Rippers'. eWeek. Feb. 15, 2005.

Tom Spring. DVD Ripping Flourishes. PC World. Feb. 9, 2005.

John Borland. Napster Hack Leads to Free Downloads. News.com. Feb. 15, 2005.

John Borland. Judge: DVD-Copying Software is Illegal. News.com. Feb. 20, 2004.

Courtney Macavinta. Movie Trade Group Tries to Block DVD Cracking Tool. News.com. Nov. 18, 1999.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:42 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

February 15, 2005

The Next Music Format

"Classic-rock fan George Petersen doesn't need another copy of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" or Cream's "Disraeli Gears." He has spent the past four decades buying and re-buying his favorite music in a succession of new formats: vinyl, 8-track, cassette, compact disc, Super Audio CD, DVD-Audio.

Enough is enough. The basement is full.

"With tonight's 47th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles drawing attention to the ever-shifting world of the recording arts, Petersen and many other music-biz insiders agree that, in the next decade or so, the CD will very likely be surpassed as the album format of choice.

"'The new format is no format,' predicted Petersen, a 24-year industry veteran who also owns a record label, a recording studio and a music-publishing company. 'What the consumer would buy is a data file, and you could create whatever you need. If you want to make an MP3, you make an MP3. If you want a DVD-Audio surround disc, you make that.'"

Sean Daly. 10 Million iPods, Previewing the CD's End. WashingtonPost.com. Feb. 13, 2005.

See also:
Dinesh C. Sharma. Study: Fee-based Music Gains on Swapping. News.com. Feb. 10, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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Napster Plans Marketing Campaign Against iPod

"Napster has revealed that it's planning an aggressive marketing campaign against Apple's iPod as part of its plans for a full launch of the Napster To Go portable subscription service later this quarter.

"The service, which soft-launched in the US in November, is likely to roll out in the UK in March. It's one of the first services enabled by Microsoft's Janus technology, which for the first time allows music files bought via subscription services to be transferred from a PC to a portable device."

New Media Age. Napster To Go Campaign Will Challenge Apple iTunes' Lead. Forbes. Feb. 10, 2005.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:32 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Ignite Eases Digital Content Delivery

"A collaboration tool launched on Monday is designed to ease the distribution of large files for enterprises.

"Ignite Technologies Inc. of Dallas introduced its Ignite Communicator service, which aims to deliver any type of digital content such as video, graphical presentations and software to users regardless of their networking or computer capacity.

"Ignite Communicator, for example, could help an enterprise reach mobile users connecting over less reliable networks or to partners or customers with varying levels of access, Ignite officials said."

Matt Hicks. Service Aims to Ease Digital Content Delivery. eWeek. Feb. 7, 2005.

See also:
Jason Meserve. Ignite Helps Deliver Big Files. NetworkWorldFusion. Feb. 7, 2005.

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February 10, 2005

A New Game Plan for Sony

"At the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas last month, Sony Electronics executives feasted at a five-star restaurant, toasting their businesses' double-digit growth and hoping the profits would lift the fortunes of the ailing conglomerate.

"But the boom in electronics wasn't enough to offset weak results for Sony's other properties, when the company reported its quarterly earnings a few weeks later. For the company's top brass, the disparity underscored the need for Sony to go double time with a convergence strategy that it has been incubating for nearly a decade.

"The strategy: Make its movies and games accessible on its gadgets, to help it beat Panasonic, Samsung Electronics and Royal Philips Electronics in an increasingly competitive consumer electronics market."

Richard Shim. Sony Hits Play for New Game Plan. News.com. Feb. 7, 2005.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:39 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

February 07, 2005

MP3 Founder to Launch New Digital Music Service

"Michael Robertson, the outspoken entrepreneur who helped set off the early digital music wars with his MP3.com site, said Wednesday that he is getting back in the online music business.

"Robertson, now chief executive both of Linux software company Linspire and Net-calling service SIPphone, said he wanted to give consumers--particularly those who use Linux-based computers--a broader choice of stores. His service would set itself apart from others by providing music without any copy protection added, he said.

"True to form, Robertson is launching a few barbs along with the new service, which will be unveiled at his Desktop Linux Summit conference in San Diego next week."

John Borland. MP3.com Founder Returns to Music Biz. News.com. Feb. 2, 2004.

Update: Matt Hines. MP3tunes.com Shuns Digital Rights Management. News.com. Feb. 9, 2005. (Michael Robinson launched MP3tunes.com on Wednesday. The songs are for sale in MP3 format without any digital rights management technology, which means the music can be copied without restrictions on any portable player that supports this standard.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:56 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

February 04, 2005

Microsoft Licenses Macrovision's Anti-Rip Technology

"Microsoft and copy-protection company Macrovision have struck a deall that will add a new layer of anticopying defenses to video content being swapped between home devices.

"The two companies said that Microsoft had licensed Macrovision's technology, which aims to stop people from making copies using analog connections between devices, such as those that typically link a set-top box to a television.

"The deal could make it harder for consumers to make permanent copies of TV shows and movies without permission, if they use computers running the Windows operating system. It should also help convince movie studios and other content producers to release their products in new ways online, the companies said."

John Borland. Microsoft, Macrovision Align on Copy Protection. News.com. Jan. 31, 2005.

See also:

Todd Bishop. Microsoft Makes Deal with Macrovision. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Feb. 1, 2005.

Tony Smith. MS Licenses Analog Anti-Rip Technology. The Register. Feb. 1, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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February 03, 2005

DRM Applied to the Mobile Industry

"A word of warning to DRM-crazed companies, says the outspoken Cory Doctorow: somewhere out there is a competitor who will steal your customers with more open products.

"Cory Doctorow is a popular figure in Internet culture. He's an award-winning science-fiction author whose work explores the social implications of digital communication, and he recently moved to London to be the European Outreach Coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit organization created in 1990 to defend our 'right to think, speak, and share our ideas, thoughts, and needs using new technologies.' As you might expect, Doctorow's an outspoken critic of digital rights management, which he believes is an impediment to the rights the EFF was established to protect.

"More interestingly, he believes that DRM is bad for business, too. Doctorow shared his views on DRM as it applies to the mobile industry with TheFeature."

Mark Frauenfelder. Closed Systems = Closed Opportunities Closed Systems = Closed Opportunities. TheFeature. Jan. 25, 2005.

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January 27, 2005

Open Source DRM?

"The leading vendors in consumer electronics have banded together to create a Community Source Program for digital rights management and will license the whole kit and caboodle, the patents, copyrights, compliance logo and source code to anyone that wants it.

"Effectively CE DRM is going open source (to the extent that Community Source is the same as Open Source) in order to flood the market with DRM systems and route the threat offered by Microsoft in consumer electronics.

"The move comes from the leading lights in the October announced Coral Consortium, and the DRMs that can be created with the new development tools will all be compliant with and ready to interoperate through the Coral interoperability standard."

Faultline. CE Giants Open DRM to the Community. The Register. Jan. 24, 2005.

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January 20, 2005

Current State of Copyright Framework

As reported in SNTReport.com recently, BayTSP announced FirstSource, an automated system that identifies the first users to upload copyright or trademark-protected content to P2P file sharing networks.

SNTReport.com also reported the legal and monetary issues surrounding documentary filmmaker's inability to broadcast or sell copies of Eyes on the Prize.

"The two news items offer a nice pair of brackets in which to frame the current state of copyright affairs. On the one hand, the public is denied the opportunity to view one of the most compelling histories of modern American life produced in the last 30 years because copyright restrictions make it financially unfeasible to broadcast it. On the other hand, actual copyright violation continues unabated, giving rise to an entire market niche devoted to the task of stamping it out. Is there any way to look at this situation in which it is not a complete mess?"

"The tragedy that a socially enriching documentary series like 'Eyes on the Prize' might fall victim to a copyright snafu seems like the kind of thing that could be addressed by selective tweaking of copyright laws. Perhaps a waiver for materials deemed 'educational' or a weakening of restrictions on the protections granted to archival footage. When do the benefits to society from increased access to information outweigh the financial interests of those who own the copyrights? In an ideal world, this is the kind of question that a democratic society could debate and answer to its own satisfaction."

"But we do not live in an ideal world. We live in a world where lobbyists for entertainment corporations routinely get the laws rewritten to serve their own profit-seeking special interests, and where trend lines reveal that copyright protections are only increased, never weakened."

Andrew Leonard. Eyes on Your Copyrighted Prize. Salon. Jan. 5, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: Salon.com normally requires a paid subscription, but you can view articles if you register for a free day pass.)

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January 14, 2005

Clean Up the Copyright System

"Last month, Google announced a partnership with major research libraries to scan 20 million books for inclusion in Google's search database. For those works in the public domain, the full text will be available. For those works still possibly under copyright, only snippets will be seen.

"But the excitement around Google's extraordinary plan has obscured a dirty little secret: It is not at all clear that Google and these libraries have the legal right to do what is proposed.

"If lawsuits were filed, and if Google and its partner libraries were found to have violated the law, their legal exposure could reach into the billions."

Lawrence Lessig. Let a Thousand Googles Bloom. Los Angeles Times. Jan. 12, 2005.

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January 12, 2005

K. Matthew Dames Gives Presentation on Fair Use

K. Matthew Dames, executive editor of SNTReport.com, is presenting a talk in Washington, DC this afternoon entitled "Fair Use in the Digital Age." The talk will analyze Section 107 of the copyright law, including where fair use falls within the copyright landscape, how information professionals can properly analyze the law, and how the nature of fair use has changed as the dominant information format has evolved from analog to digital. Today's presentation is part of a brown bag lecture series on information law and policy issues that Dames will be moderating throughout the winter and early spring of 2005.

Series Description: Once a legal backwater that interested only specialists, information law issues are now considered central to the nation’s communications, legal and economic infrastructure. While information law is more important than ever, information professionals often lack the necessary knowledge and tools to navigate the thicket of laws, regulations, treaties and policies.

This brown bag luncheon series will address some of the most important legal and policy issues that information professionals face today. Sponsored by the DC Chapter of SLA, National Capitol Chapter (NCC) of AIIM, the Washington DC Chapter of SCIP, Northern Virginia Chapter of ARMA, Federal Law Librarians’ SIS, Adobe Systems Inc., and STG International, this series will identify information professionals’ responsibilities, providing a forum for discussing and resolving some of the profession’s most important issues, sharing resources for further research and problem-solving.

The sessions will be moderated by K. Matthew Dames, JD, MLS, an information policy expert who teaches information law at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies. A comprehensive set of handouts will be created for each topic and posted to the DC/SLA website and SNTReport.com.

Schedule: Join us on the second Wednesday of each month, January through April 2005, as we explore copyright, fair use, licensing digital resources, digital rights management, and open access.
Session 1, January 12, 2005: Copyright & Fair Use
The copyright doctrine of fair use has become critically important in the digital age, yet it remains one of copyright law’s most misunderstood and misapplied doctrines. During this first luncheon meeting, we will analyze what fair use means, including:
- Translating the law into plain English
- Establishing a system for determining whether fair use applies
- Discussing whether fair use remains viable given the changes in the law over the last decade.

Session 2, February 9, 2005: Licensing Digital Resources

Session 3, March 9, 2005: Digital Rights Management

Session 4, April 13, 2005: Open Access

Site & Registration Details:The brown-bags will begin promptly at 12 noon (12:00 pm – 2:00 pm) at the AeA David Packard Conference Center, 601 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, North Bldg - Suite 600 (Metro: Archives/Navy Memorial) in Washington, DC. Space is limited, so register early at the AIIM National Capitol Chapter website.

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Bio Med Central Responds to Open Access Myths

"In the evidence presented to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee Inquiry into Scientific Publications, many dubious arguments have been used by traditional publishers to attack the new Open Access publishing model.

"Below, BioMed Central responds to some of the most prevalent and most misleading anti-Open Access arguments."

Jonathan B Weitzman. (Mis)Leading Open Access Myths. Open Access Now. No date.

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ITunes User Sues Apple Over iPod

"Lawyers filed a 10-count lawsuit against Apple earlier this week, claiming the ties between the company's iTunes music download service and its iPod violate state and federal antitrust law.

"Slattery v. Apple, filed Monday in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California in San Jose, is a plea to allow the case to become a class action lawsuit on behalf of anyone who has used the iTunes service or bought an iPod from Apple since April 28, 2003, the day iTunes first opened shop.

"The suit claims Apple broke the law when it altered the industry standard Advanced Audio Codec (AAC) file format and used it to restrict the music's usage outside the iPod. Songs sold to the public on iTunes use the AAC with Fairplay Digital Rights Management (DRM), called AAC Protected."

Jim Wagner. Apple Hit by Lawsuit. InternetNews.com. Jan. 6, 2005.

See also:
Andrew Orlowski. Apple Music Store Smacked With Antitrust Suit. The Register. Jan. 7, 2005.

Peter Cohen. ITunes User Sues Apple Over FairPlay. PC World. Jan. 7, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group&153; Venture.

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January 11, 2005

PC World's Legislative Year in Review

"For good or ill, Congress kept to its usual snail's pace on a number of controversial issues ranging from digital copyright to spyware; other government agencies, however, made up for some of the slack.

"Congress tried. It really did. And it came so close on several issues--spyware and digital copyright most prominently. But though a number of bills were proposed, and some were even passed by the House or the Senate, very few actually became law. The Federal Communications Commission, the Supreme Court, and the Department of Justice, however, were all busy bees.

"Below, I run through six of the year's major topics, what's been decided, the considerable amount still left on the to-do list for 2005--and my guess as to how much of that list Congress will actually get to this year."

Anush Yegyazarian. Legislative Year in Review: All Talk, Little Action. PC World. Jan. 6, 2005.

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January 08, 2005

Gates Speaks on Search, Blogs, Games

"Microsoft's chairman is setting the company on a course to provide software and tools that will allow different forms of entertainment to blend. Messaging will become a crucial part of Xenon, the code name for the next Xbox. Microsoft will also work with television outlets like the Discovery Channel and MTV Networks to create tools for delivering content, as well as advertising, into the home.

"Its eyes ever set on the competition, Microsoft will continue to raise the stakes against Apple Computer in the music industry and against Google and Yahoo in search.

"Gates spoke with CNET News.com on the eve of his keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas about Microsoft's consumer plans, the convergence of entertainment technologies--and why he hasn't done a blog yet."

Michael Kanellos. Gates Taking a Seat in Your Den. News.com. Jan. 5, 2005.

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January 05, 2005

Information Today Analyzes Google's Digitization Project

"Librarians, academicians, journalists, information industry pundits, and real people continue to ring in with comments, concerns, quarrels, and commendations for Google’s new library program. 'This is the day the world changes,' said John Wilkin, a University of Michigan librarian working with Google. 'It will be disruptive because some people will worry that this is the beginning of the end of libraries. But this is something we have to do to revitalize the profession and make it more meaningful.'

"When asked whether Google is building the library to replace all other libraries, Google representatives—after saluting the role of librarians—said they had 'no such plans at the moment. There was too much work to do.'

"Here is a roundup of some of the questions asked and answers posited."

Barbara Quint. Google’s Library Project: Questions, Questions, Questions. InformationToday.com. Dec. 27, 2004.

See also:
Mary Minow. Google-Watchers - Want Privacy Guarantees Before Handing Over Library Books for Google Digitization. LibraryLaw Blog. Dec. 16, 2004.

Gary Price. Google Partners with Oxford, Harvard & Others to Digitize Libraries. Search Engine Watch. Dec. 14, 2004.


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January 03, 2005

The Management & Logistics of Digitization Projects

"Susan Wojcicki's grandmother, a librarian for more than 30 years, ran the Slavic department at the Library of Congress. Now Wojcicki is overseeing Google Inc.'s ambitious plan to digitize the collections of five top libraries: Stanford, Harvard, Oxford, the University of Michigan and the New York Public Library.

"The project eventually will allow any Internet user anywhere in the world to search inside millions of volumes, seeing the pages exactly as they appear in the originals, complete with illustrations, charts and photos.

"The logistics involved are staggering."

Carolyn Said. Digitizing Books: A Mountainous Task for Google. SeattlePI.com. Dec. 24, 2004.

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December 22, 2004

Google Won't Replace Libraries

"This week Google Inc. down in Mountain View, wading in dough from its stock offering, announced it would use some of the money to put millions of volumes from the country's great libraries online where anybody can use them.

"Don't burn that library card just yet, though.

"There's a catch. Well, several. First, as anyone trying to send Grandma's recipe for plum pudding to a sister in Des Moines knows, scanning takes time. Google claims to have a new whiz-bang way to do it -- there won't be some luckless employee feeling her brain cells die as she flattens a book on a cranky copier page by page. It won't say exactly what its method is.

"For a company bent on putting the universe at the disposal of anyone who can type words into a box, it seems less enthusiastic about information flowing out of its headquarters in Mountain View."

Adair Lara. 'Googleizing' Libraries Won't Replace Books. San Francisco Chronicle. Dec. 18, 2004.

See also:
No author. Here's What You Will - and Won't - Be Able to See When Searching for Library Books on Google. Detroit Free Press. Dec. 15, 2004.

George Kerevan. Despite Google, We Still Need Good Libraries. Scotsman.com. Dec. 16, 2004.

National Public Radio. Google's Plan Prompts a Question: What's on the Web?. Talk of the Nation. Dec. 15, 2004.

Matt Hicks. Google's Library Project Could Drive Content Contest. eWeek. Dec. 14, 2004.

Andrew Leonard. What Google Promises Us. Salon. Dec. 14, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: Salon.com normally requires a paid subscription, but you can view articles if you register for a free day pass.)

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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December 20, 2004

Google: No Bias from Newsbot

"Google News trumpets its ability to stay abreast of current events 'solely by computer algorithms without human intervention.' But the robot approach has come under fire. Rather than representing news, the bots often reflect a bias that exists on the Net.

"Search for, say, John Kerry, and you'll get fringe sites like s5000.com. We asked Krishna Bharat, chief scientist for Google News, if he should put a few pulses on the payroll for quality control."

Lucas Graves. Google's Newsbot Isn't Biased!. Wired. Dec. 2004.

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December 13, 2004

MSN Bloggers Try to Circumvent Censorship Tools

"MSN Spaces, Microsoft's new blogging service, has sparked a new game for some of its users: trying to circumvent its censorship controls.

"BoingBoing, a popular Web log, on Friday reported that MSN Spaces is rejecting certain blog titles or URLs because they contain words that Microsoft has deemed inappropriate.

"However, like so many censorship tools, Microsoft's is proving less than perfect. BoingBoing found that all of the most obvious profanities fell foul of Microsoft's electronic sentries."

Graeme Wearden. MSN Bloggers Try to Foul up Censorship Tool. News.com. Dec. 3, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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December 09, 2004

Reflections on the 108th Congress

At the Chicago Association of Law Libraries November meeting, Mary Alice Baish, American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Associate Washington Affairs Representative, spoke on "The 108th Congress Draws to an End: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly."

"I’d like to give you an overview of our core issues during the past two years—from the perspective of what was good, what was bad, and what was really ugly.

"I’m going to cover them under four broad categories: First, appropriations. Second, copyright and digital rights management. Third, the USA Patriot Act. And fourth, access to government information."

Mary Alice Baish. The 108th Congress: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. (.pdf) American Association of Law Libraries. Nov. 17, 2004.

Attribution: SNTReport.com first discovered news of Mary Alice Baish's presentation through a posting in LibraryLaw Blog, edited by Mary Minow.

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December 08, 2004

China's Tenuous Relationship With the Internet

"As the number of people online in China has quintupled over the last four years, the government has shown itself to be committed to two concrete, and sometimes competing, goals: strategically deploying the Internet to economic advantage, while clamping down - with surveillance, filters and prison sentences - on undesirable content and use.

"Both trends, experts say, are likely to continue.

"China is already the largest mobile communications subscriber market in the world, with more than 320 million subscribers. Internet users - who numbered fewer than 17 million in 2000 - are now estimated to be somewhere near 90 million, according to the China Internet Network Information Center, the government's clearinghouse for Internet statistics. China is second only to the United States in the number of people online, and the 90 percent of its total population around 1.3 billion who are not online still represents a vast, untapped market. "

Tom Zeller Jr. Beijing Loves the Web Until the Web Talks Back. The New York Times. Dec. 6, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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December 04, 2004

Topic Maps for Smarter Search

"Databases and search engines provide instantaneous access to endless information about anyone or anything, but the search results often include as many misses as hits. To generate more-relevant answers, organizations including the federal government are using topic maps to index their data.

"Topic maps are smart indices that improve search capabilities by categorizing terms based on their relationships with other things. For example, William Shakespeare is a topic that would be mapped to essays about him, his plays and his famous quotes.

"Organizing content with topic maps provides context for words that can have multiple meanings, according to Patrick Durusau, chairman of a topic maps technical committee at OASIS, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards."

John Gartner. Searching Smarter, Not Harder. Wired News. Nov. 30, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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November 20, 2004

TiVo Incorporates More Restrictive DRM

"Time shifting DVR pioneer TiVo will soon display pop-up ads when users attempt to skip commercials, the LA Times reports today. TiVo owners will still be able to fast forward, but will be forced to watch a billboard style ad on screen.

"Increasingly broadcasters are introducing restrictions on their programming. In recent weeks HBO announced that it will be locking down all its content to a specific device from next June, forbidding any copies to be made.

"TiVo's jumped the gun, introducing similar copy controls on pay-per-view and VoD programming. TiVo general counsel Matthew Zinn defended the company's decision to incorporate potentially more restrictive DRM from his provider Macrovision, and acknowledged it was 'a slippery slope.'"

Andrew Orlowski. TiVo Loses Its MoJo. The Register. Nov. 18, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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November 18, 2004

Gates and Jobs Battle Over Entertainment

"Steven P. Jobs, Apple's chairman, boasted that the iPod has become the 'Walkman of the 21st century.'

"It dominates its market in a way that no Apple product has done in a generation, raising the possibility that the company is becoming more than just a purveyor of computers with high design and low market share. If Apple continues to ride the wave of digital consumer electronics products, it may become the Sony of the 21st century.

"For that to happen, however, Mr. Jobs must do what he failed to do last time: prevail over his old nemesis, Bill Gates, who sees entertainment as Microsoft's next great frontier. Microsoft is working hard to make sure that the iPod is less like the Walkman and more like the Betamax, Sony's videocassette format that was defeated in the marketplace by VHS."

Saul Hansell. Gates vs. Jobs: The Rematch. News.com. Nov. 14, 2004.

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November 16, 2004

Adobe to Unveil New Acrobat and Reader

"Put away the red pen, because publishing software giant Adobe Systems plans to change the way businesses share comments on documents.

"The software maker is set to announce on Monday new versions of Acrobat and Reader, the company's main tools for creating and viewing files based on the PDF (Portable Document Format) standard.

"New features include expanded collaborative functions intended to improve the exchange of information between businesses and customers or partners."

David Becker. Adobe to Update PDF Tools. News.com. Nov. 14, 2004.

See also:
David Morgenstern. Adobe Beefs Up Acrobat Reader in Version 7.0. eWeek. Nov. 15, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:21 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

November 15, 2004

Coalition Voices Opposition to Copyright Bill

"A coalition of technology and advocacy groups on Friday asked the U.S. Senate to kill copyright legislation that might result in jail time for people who trade copyrighted files online.

"The coalition, led by civil rights group Public Knowledge, voiced their opposition to the Cooperative Research and Technology Enhancement (CREATE) Act, a bill passed by the House of Representatives in March.

"The bill, a combination of other copyright legislation introduced in the House, includes prison sentences of three to 10 years for the electronic distribution of copyrighted works worth more than $1,000 for willful violations, or in some cases, the distribution of more than 1,000 copies of a copyrighted work."

Grant Gross. Coalition Asks US Congress to Kill Copyright Bill. InfoWorld. Nov. 12, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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November 11, 2004

Political Mudslinging Hits Wikipedia

"It's a rocky road from news to history. If you don't think so, just take a look at the entry for George W. Bush on Wikipedia, the collaborative online encyclopedia founded in 2001 by Larry Sanger, a philosophy lecturer at Ohio State University, and Jimmy Wales, an Internet entrepreneur.

"Wikipedia, maintained by users all over the world who write and edit the entries pretty much as they wish, is visited by hundreds of thousands of people daily and has an estimated 400,000 entries. There are no user fees and no advertising: the site is supported by the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation, based in Florida, which maintains and develops free resources, including a dictionary and a collection of quotations.

"To keep it all under control, contributors to the Wikipedia are instructed to adopt a neutral point of view. Not everyone obeys, though. So certain trusted, regular contributors and editors become administrators who oversee what is going on. But each one has a different view of that job. And that is where the fun begins."

Sarah Boxer. Mudslinging Weasels Into Online History. The New York Times. Nov. 10, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:35 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

November 09, 2004

FoneShare: World’s First Mobile Content Sharing Application

"Cell phones are learning to share files, but the earliest efforts don't nearly resemble the peer-to-peer renegades like Napster and Kazaa that the designers have in mind.

"FoneShare, an application introduced two weeks ago by NewBay Software, does let people share their collections of ring tones, graphics, games, songs, movie trailers and other wireless extras with strangers. FoneShare will debut next year as a subscription service, running over privately owned and operated cellular networks, and the sharing will be done via Web sites controlled by a wireless operator, said NewBay Chief Executive Paddy Holahan.

"That's a far cry from Napster, which was free, let people choose from digital music libraries stored on untold millions of personal computers, and relied heavily upon the anonymity of the public Internet."

Ben Charny. P2P for Cell Phones: Reach out and Share Something. News.com. Nov. 3, 2004.

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November 05, 2004

Creative Commons Offers Creative Copyright

"This issue of Wired magazine includes a copy of The Wired CD, a collection of 16 songs produced under the Creative Commons License. The licenses come from Creative Commons, the innovative nonprofit founded by Wired columnist and Stanford Law School professor Lawrence Lessig.

"The songs on this CD use one of two Creative Commons licenses.The Noncommercial Sampling Plus license permits noncommercial file-sharing and noncommercial sampling. That means, first, that you can swap the songs on a peer-to-peer network (just don't sell them). And second, that you can sample from them, mash them up, use them to make something fresh - and then share that work, too (though again, you can't sell it). The Beastie Boys, Chuck D, and My Morning Jacket opted for the Noncommercial Sampling Plus license.

"The other 13 artists on the CD went a step further and released their songs under the more expansive Sampling Plus license. Like the noncommercial version, it allows file-sharing. But it also allows commercial use of samples - meaning you can insert a slice of these songs into your own composition and then try to sell the new track. The only restrictions: Use in advertisements is not permitted, and the new work must be 'highly transformative' of the original (translation: A flagrant rip-off like 'Ice Ice Baby' doesn't cut it)."

"More details on the licenses and their permissions are available at creativecommons.org/wired."

Thomas Goetz. Sample the Future. Wired. Nov. 2004.

See also:
Eric Steuer. The Remix Masters. Wired. Nov. 2004.

Hilary Rosen. How I Learned to Love Larry. Wired. Nov. 2004.

Julian Dibbell. We Pledge Allegiance to the Penguin. Wired. Nov. 2004.

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October 26, 2004

Click and Search

"As our hard drives fill up with thousands then tens and hundreds of thousands of digital snapshots, we're all going to face the same basic challenges as the Bettmann Archive. A digital camera is an enticement to take more snaps than you can keep track of. With the price of digital storage plummeting even as our time seems to become ever more valuable, it's cheaper to store the lot of them than to weed out the clunkers.

"But having thousands of photos on a hard disk or DVD-ROM is the equivalent of throwing Bettmann's images into the air and letting them flutter to the ground. Our only hope is that the army of engineers laboring in labs around the world can come up with a better way."

David Weinberger. Point. Shoot. Kiss It Good-Bye. Wired. October 2004.

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Online Attack at University Computer System

"An August intrusion into a social researcher's computer may mean that more than a million Californians need to call the credit bureaus.

"On Tuesday, the California Department of Social Services warned the providers and recipients of the state's In Home Support Services (IHSS) that their names, addresses, telephone numbers, Social Security numbers and dates of birth may be circulating the Internet. IHSS allows individuals to get paid for providing in-home care to senior citizens.

"The warning comes after an unknown attacker slipped in through a security hole in a social researcher's unsecured computer at the University of California, Berkeley, on Aug. 1, perhaps making off with 1.4 million database records containing personal information."

Robert Lemos. Online Attack Puts 1.4 Million Records at Risk. News.com. Oct. 20, 2004.

See also:
Reuters. Hacker Strikes University Computer System. News.com. Oct. 19, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:58 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

October 09, 2004

Microsoft CEO Claims iPod Music is Stolen

"It's official. All iPod users are music thieves - according to Microsoft CEO Steve 'Monkey Boy' Ballmer.

"The most common format of music on an iPod is 'stolen'," he told reporters in London today, according to a Silicon.com report.

"Ballmer conveniently ignores not only that there are many non-Apple music players out there, on which there are probably as many, if not more 'stolen' songs."

Tony Smith. Most Songs on iPods 'Stolen' - Microsoft CEO. The Register. Oct. 4, 2004.

See also:
John Lettice. iPod Owners Very Honest, Not Thieves At All, says MS. The Register. Oct. 8, 2004.

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October 06, 2004

Coral Seeks to Corral Copyright

"A consortium of technology companies hopes to create a common antipiracy language, ending the Babel of copy-proofing technologies that has rendered much digital content and hardware incompatible.

"The Coral Consortium, to be announced Monday, will initially draw on support from giants such as Hewlett-Packard, Matsushita Electric Industrial, Philips Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Sony and Twentieth Century Fox, along with digital rights management (DRM) company InterTrust Technologies."

John Borland. Tech Powers Seek Antipiracy Accord. News.com. Oct. 3, 2004.

See also:
Coral Consortium. Coral Call to Action. No date.

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No Profit in Google News Beta

"When Google launched its news site three years ago, it led to a certain amount of hand-wringing at Yahoo News, MSNBC and CNN. Unlike its competitors, which were forced to budget millions of dollars a year to license up-to-the-minute content and pay reporters and editors, Google had figured out a way to do it on the cheap.

"By relying on algorithms, Google News completely automated the news-gathering process using high-speed computers to sift through information and determine the most relevant articles. They then grab the headline and first paragraph to post on Google's news page, with the headlines acting as external links.

"As it turns out, however, Google has a problem that is nearly as complex as its algorithms. It can't make money from Google News.

"The reason: The minute Google News runs paid advertising of any sort it could face a torrent of cease-and-desist letters from the legal departments of newspapers, which would argue that 'fair use' doesn't cover lifting headlines and lead paragraphs verbatim from their articles."

Adam L. Penenberg. Google News: Beta Not Make Money. Wired News. Sept. 29, 2004.

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October 02, 2004

DRM: Eliminating Growth in Online Music

"Rival technologies that baffle consumers will run more companies out of business in the nascent music download market than will head-to-head competition, one of the lead creators of MP3 playback technology warned Wednesday.

"Consumers nowadays can store thousands of songs in a pocket-size device, play music and videos on their mobile phones, and buy albums at the click of a button.

"But to their chagrin, a bewildering number of competing playback compression technologies and antipiracy software options determine which songs play on which devices."

Reuters. MP3 Creator Warns Tech Impasse Dooming Downloads. News.com. Sept. 29, 2004.

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September 29, 2004

See and Hear All Evil

"For the longest time, the recording labels viewed digital music as something that could hurt them with hurricane force but made no efforts to adjust to this new reality, let alone exploit it. Finally, they were persuaded to license their works to online music sellers. Apple's iTunes Store, which sells songs for 99 cents a shot, became a template for a mini-industry that clearly represents the future of music. Microsoft opened its own long-awaited online outlet earlier this month. And just last week Yahoo dropped $160 million to buy Musicmatch and its store.

"This summer provided a clue to further harnessing the force of digital nature. For three weeks, Real Networks tried to lure new customers by slashing prices to 49 cents a song and $4.99 per album. Since Real paid the full royalty load to the labels (almost 70 cents a tune), the company lost money on every transaction. CEO Rob Glaser says that the company did get new customers, but here's the real news: Real sold six times as much music and took in three times as much money."

Steven Levy. Music Companies Are In Denial. Newsweek. Sept. 27, 2004.

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September 22, 2004

Compilation CD for Sharing

"Next month, songs by the Beastie Boys, David Byrne and 14 others will appear on a compilation CD whose contents are meant to be copied freely online, remixed or sampled by other artists for use in their own new recordings.

"'The Wired CD: Rip. Sample. Mash. Share.' was compiled by the editors of Wired magazine, of San Francisco, as an experimental implementation of a new kind of intellectual-property license called Creative Commons.

"In this case, all 16 participants are allowing their work to be shared on the Internet. Wired Editor in Chief Chris Anderson describes Creative Commons as a way of declaring that the recordings come with 'some rights reserved,' as opposed to the traditional 'all rights reserved.'"

Eathan Smith. This Compilation CD Is Meant To Be Copied and Shared. Wall Street Journal Online. Sept. 20, 2004.

See also:
Brian Braiker. Take My Music . . . Please. Newsweek. Oct. 5. 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:40 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

September 21, 2004

Mandatory HTML Tags Would Protect Kids Online

"On the day before its summer vacation, the US Supreme Court freed Internet porn. The First Amendment, the Court held, prevents the government from regulating online speech if it can't prove that 'less restrictive alternatives' - like software filters - would be less effective than regulation.

"Yet in light of other decisions affecting freedom on the Internet over the past six years, there's something astonishing about the finding nonetheless.

"For why does the First Amendment speak so forcefully to protect pornographers yet barely whisper when librarians or film restorers complain that copyright regulates their speech, too?

Lawrence Lessig. Porn Free. Wired. September, 2004.

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September 17, 2004

Vermont Librarian Speaks Up

"Jessmyn West is a 36-year-old librarian living in central Vermont. But she's not your stereotypical bespectacled research maven toiling behind a reference desk and offering expert advice on microfiche.

She's a 'radical librarian' who has embraced the hacker credo that 'information wants to be free.' As a result, West and many of her colleagues are on the front lines in battling the USA Patriot Act, which a harried Congress passed a month after 9/11 even though most representatives hadn't even read the 300-page bill. It gave the government sweeping powers to pursue the 'war on terror' but at a price: the loss of certain types of privacy we have long taken for granted.

"What got many librarians' dander up was Section 215 of the law, which stipulates that government prosecutors and FBI agents can seek permission from a secret court created under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to access personal records -- everything from medical histories to reading habits. They don't need a subpoena. In fact, they don't need to show that a crime has even been committed. And librarians, stymied by a gag order, are forbidden to tell anyone (except a lawyer)."

Adam L. Penenberg. Don't Mess With Librarians. WiredNews. Sept. 15, 2004.

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September 15, 2004

USA Ranked Third in Global E-Government Study

"A study of digital government (.pdf) finds that the 198 nations around the world are making steady progress at putting services and information online, but movement forward has been slowed because of budget, bureaucratic, and institutional factors. The United States and Canada rank third and fourth behind Taiwan and Singapore."

Fourth Annual Global E-Government Study. Inside Politics. September, 2004.

Attribution: SNTReport.com first discovered news the Global E-Government study through a posting in ResourceShelf, edited by Gary Price.

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September 11, 2004

Double-Checking Wiki Informaton is a Must

"Wikipedia has more than 340,000 articles, written by a sprawling online community. Researchers are testing its veracity, while plans proceed for fact-checking it formally. Can journalists trust Wikipedia, and can collaboration software such as wikis improve newsgathering?"

Mark Glaser. Collaborative Conundrum: Do Wikis Have a Place in the Newsroom?. Online Journalism Review. Sept. 9, 2004.

Editor's Note: Interesting enough, CNN cites Wikipedia throughout a recent article which updates the U.N. Security Council's official terrorist list.)

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September 08, 2004

For Students, iPods Replace Soda

Remember the big controversy a few years ago about high schools and school districts signing revenue deals with Coke, Pepsi and other soft drink companies? The current wave of tech sponsorship may be the natural extension of that trend.

"It's no secret that college campuses are hotbeds of technology innovation, so it shouldn't be surprising that universities are among the first to try out new gadgets and applications. Many of these have direct educational benefits--for example, high-speed wireless video offers students the chance to watch a lecture that they couldn't attend in person.

"But campuses are also beginning to resemble consumer technology marketing labs, with school-backed programs pushing gadgets and services that may have only a tenuous connection to the classroom."

Marguerite Reardon. Big Tech on Campus. News.com. Sept. 6, 2004.

See also:
CNet. Tech Specs of the Top 50 Universities.

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September 01, 2004

Strategic Plan for Electronic Health Records

"The Bush administration has released a strategic plan for every U.S. citizen's health information to be stored in an 'electronic health record' central database within ten years.

"Each person would have a 'personal health record,' an electronic file the individual would manage, that could exchange information with the EHR database.

"The PHR would contain information on a person's insurance plan, prescriptions, allergies, medical history, and conditions such as asthma or diabetes."

Mark S. Sullivan. Medical Records May Go Online. PC World. Aug. 23, 2004.

See also:
United States Department of Health & Human Services. HHS Fact Sheet--HIT Report At-A-Glance. July 21, 2004.
White House Press Secretary. Transforming Health Care for All Americans. May 27, 2004.

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August 30, 2004

Electronic Books Becoming More Popular

"After more than a decade of false starts and empty promises, publishers may finally be starting to understand what consumers want from electronic books.

"Although revenues remain tiny, industry surveys show encouraging signs of growth in e-book sales over the past year.

"Publishing executives and analysts say the industry is finally coming to grips with the most significant issues that have stalled e-book adoption to date."

David Becker. Have e-books Turned a Page?. News.com. Aug. 27, 2004.

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August 20, 2004

Now Apple is Really Ticked Off

"RealNetworks on Tuesday unveiled its 'Freedom of Choice' marketing push, featuring 49-cent singles, $4.99 albums and a message that it has the only music store compatible with both iPods and portable devices based on Windows Media. The result: a major challenge to Apple Computer, a boost for Windows Media, and a new imperative for music labels to back Apple rivals to break down compatibility barriers."

Forrester Research. Commentary: RealNetworks Lobs Another Grenade. News.com. Aug. 17, 2004.

See also:
John Borland. RealNetworks Slashes Song Prices. News.com. Aug. 17, 2004. (RealNetworks has kicked off a digital music marketing campaign by highlighting Harmony, a new iPod-compatible technology, and offering song downloads from its music store for 49 cents for a limited time.)

John Borland. Can Glaser and Jobs Find Harmony? News.com. Aug. 17, 2004.

Update: John Borland. Real Curtails Half-price Music Sale. Sept. 9, 2004. (RealNetworks closed down its three-week promotional campaign, selling more than three million singles.)

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August 18, 2004

European Antitrust Regulators Extend Review of Anti-Piracy Software

"European antitrust regulators said Monday they have extended their review of a deal between Microsoft Corp. and Time Warner Inc. to make anti-piracy software together.

"European Commission spokeswoman Amelia Torres declined to give a reason for the extension but such a step usually means regulators need extra time to review concessions offered by the companies to address competition concerns.

"Under the new timetable, the commission must decide by Aug. 25 whether to clear the deal or open a second-phase, in-depth probe, which takes four months."

Associated Press. E.U. Extends Review of Anti-Piracy Software Deal. WashingtonPost.com. Aug. 16, 2004.

See also:
Dawn Kawamoto. Microsoft, Time Warner DRM Buy on EU Review Shelf. News.com. Aug. 16, 2004.
Robert McLeod and Matthew Newman. Microsoft, Time Warner Offer EU Concessions to Approve Purchase. Seattle Times. Aug. 17, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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August 17, 2004

A New Business Model for Online Publishing

"After 13 years of experimenting, veteran Net publisher Adam Engst has finally stumbled on a good business model -- fast-turnaround e-books.

"Since 1990, Engst has been publishing TidBits, a weekly Mac-oriented newsletter that is the second-longest-running publication on the Internet.

"From the get-go, Engst has pioneered just about every revenue model on the Internet -- ads, subscriptions, sponsorships and the now-ubiquitous tip jar -- with mixed success.

"But now Engst thinks he's finally cracked it. Since last fall, Engst has published a series of rapidly produced e-books using a system he calls 'extreme publishing.'"

Leander Kahney. Net Publishing Made Profitable. Wired News. Aug. 13, 2004.

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August 10, 2004

Getting Behind the BSA's Piracy Story

"A nonprofit trade group formed by more than a dozen major software makers -- including Microsoft and Adobe -- the Business Software Alliance is charged with enforcing licensing and copyright protections. Personal contact with the software group usually comes in the form of a 'software audit,' in which the BSA, often acting on a tip from an angry current or former employee, combs through a company's PC stock, matching installed programs with licenses. Companies that come up short can be forced to pay big fines and buy tons of new licenses.

"But BSA executives say the group's role isn't to be the tough guy. Instead, they're around to protect the interests of software makers, through a combination of enforcement action, education and governmental lobbying."

David Becker. Software Piracy: Hype Versus Reality. News.com. Aug. 2, 2004.

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August 06, 2004

Software Company Forced Out of Existence Due to DMCA

"A maker of software that enabled users to copy DVDs and computer games folded Tuesday under the mounting weight of lawsuits by deep-pocketed movie studios and video game producers.

"321 Studios Inc. quietly announced 'it has ceased business operations including, but not limited to, the sale, support and promotion of our products.'

"The company said that despite its 'best efforts to remain in business,' unfavorable court rulings by three federal courts this year assured its demise."

Jim Suhr. DVD-Copying Software Company Folds. WashingtonPost.com. August 4, 2004.

See also Katie Dean. 321 Studios Shuts Its Doors. Wired News. August 3, 2004.

Update: Jim Hu. MPAA Wins Settlement in DVD Copy Case. News.com. Aug. 10, 2004. ("The Motion Picture Association of America has settled a copyright infringement suit against 321 Studios for an undisclosed financial amount.")

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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July 14, 2004

The Game of Numbers

"Just a day after the BSA came out with their misleading report on software 'piracy', the MPAA needed to follow suit by releasing their own misleading study on the impact of movie downloads.

"On the numerical side, this is really a survey, so they're not making up numbers... just conclusions. They found that 50% of people they surveyed claimed to have downloaded 'copyrighted content' last year.

"First off, that's a ridiculous question. If you visit just about any website you've downloaded 'copyrighted content.'"

Techdirt. MPAA's Turn To Mislead With Statistics. July 8, 2004.

See Also. Techdirt. BSA's Latest Made Up Software Piracy Numbers Parroted By The Press. July 7, 2004.

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July 13, 2004

Publishers' Cry Wolf About Amazon.com "Problem"

"Is Amazon.com becoming the Napster of the book business?

"The analogy may not be far off, say some observers of the used-book industry. Publishers, particularly textbook publishers, have long countered used-book sales by churning out new editions every couple of years. But the Web, particularly sites like Amazon and eBay, have given millions of consumers an easy way to find cheap books - often for under $1 - without paying royalty fees to publishers or authors."

Ladies and gentleman, this is a story without an issue. Neither a problem nor an emergency exists here; the publishing industry simply is not making as much money as it used to, and therefore it is asking the public to focus on a red-herring issue (the effect of online used book sales on profits) while trying to figure out how to protect the margins for its new, full-priced product.

Print publishers, like their record industry brethren, long have dominated creation and distribution channels. But over the last few decades, technology has advanced to the point where writers have more options for getting their work published, and consumers have more options for buying that work. Faced with this business reality, the industry has rolled out its public relations machine and created a false emergency -- which includes using statistics of dubious value, like the Ipsos BookTrends figures noted in the Times article -- to "prove" there is a "problem."

It is a shame that the Times and other news outlets continue to perpetuate these falsehoods. It is sloppy journalism at best.

The copyright law on this issue is crystal clear: the "first sale" doctrine, which is codified at Section 109(a) of United States Code Title 17, says that if you lawfully purchase a book, you own it and can resell it. Period, end of story. The Times article fails to mention this critical fact.

So when someone like Lorraine Shanley, a principal at Market Partners International, a publishing industry consultant, utters comments like "Used books are to consumer books as Napster was to the music industry," readers must realize that such comments are asinine. There is no legitimate comparison between the used book industry -- where items are bought and sold in a perfectly legal secondary market -- and illegal mass distribution of digital music files, where the songs or albums being re-distributed may or may not have been legally purchased.

The one thing that is different in today's used book market -- which is almost as old as the publishing industry itself -- is that Amazon.com and other online merchants have used technology to facilitate the distribution of these items to consumers. There is no copyright violation, there is no illegality; it is solely and exclusively a business problem to which the publishers have been slow to react.

When the record industry resorted to this sort of propaganda, disinterested scholars published credible studies (.pdf) that proved that file sharing had little effect on record sales, and in some cases actually helped record sales. Perhaps the book publishing industry needs to do what the record companies already have done: study the secondary market in order to help the sales of its primary market.

There will be a residual effect of this Times article, though: it will be cited to once the publishers lobby Congress to begin chipping away at Section 109(a). When this happens -- and trust me, it will happen -- consumers should boycott all publishers that are involved in the effort.

Bob Tedeschi. Online Battle of Low-Cost Books. The New York Times. July 12, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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July 06, 2004

Preserve Innovation, Overturn Patents

"A coalition of lawyers, researchers and software experts formed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation will try to overturn 10 Internet and software-related patents that the group says are so sweeping they threaten innovation.

"Two industry leaders have been named: Clear Channel, which has patented a way to distribute recordings of concerts within minutes after they end, and Nintendo, whose patents include some concerning platform software for hand-held games.

"The list of targets was drawn from 200 submissions solicited through the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It includes patents covering telephone calls over the Internet, streaming audio and video, and online testing."

Ian Austen. Claiming a Threat to Innovation, Group Seeks to Overturn 10 Patents. The New York Times. July 5, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:20 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

June 30, 2004

Tiger Searching With Spotlight

"Steven P. Jobs, chief executive of Apple Computer, demonstrated his answer to one of computing's most pressing problems: searching for files and information stored on desktop computers.

"Search is a problem for every personal computer company, it's easier to find a document in a million pages on the Web using Google than it is to find a document on your hard drive.

"A new feature called Spotlight will allow users to search quickly for words and concepts stored on a hard drive by using search technology borrowed from the company's iTunes (.pdf) online music service. Spotlight will be part of the next version of the Maccintosh operating system, Tiger, scheduled for release in the first half of next year."

Laurie Flynn. Apple Putting More Focus on Simplifying Searching. The New York Times. June 29, 2004.

See Also Ina Fried. For Apple's Tiger, The Keyword Is Search. News.com. June 28, 2004.

See Also Leander Kahney. Apple Lets Cat Out Of The Bag. Wired. June 29, 2004.

See Also Sean Gallagher. Apple Throws Spotlight on Search. eWeek. June 28, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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June 29, 2004

Police Use PDAs

"A police officer stops you on the street, then taps something into a device in the palm of his hand.

"The next minute, he knows who your relatives are, who lives in your house, who your neighbors are, the kind of car you drive or boat you own, whether you've been sued and various other tidbits about your life.

"A growing number of police departments now have instant access via handheld wireless devices to vast commercial databases that contain details on just about anyone officers encounter on the beat."

Martin Finucane. Cop On The Beat Now A Walking Database. Anchorage Daily News. June 24, 2004.

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June 25, 2004

Paperless Hospitals

“Medical care would be improved and millions of dollars would be saved if hospitals were fully wired, said Rep. Patrick Kennedy and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who jointly announced a program to bring American medicine into the Internet age.

“On Monday, the political partisans put their party differences aside to tout electronic prescriptions, online patient records and an integrated, paperless health-care system.

“Gingrich said 98,000 people die annually in hospitals due to medical errors. He suggested information technology could save billions of dollars now wasted on procedures, such as unnecessary tests and redundant record keeping.”

Brook Donald. Gingrich, Kennedy Pushing "Wired" Hospitals. eWeek. June 23, 2004.

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June 21, 2004

Aligning IT with Business Goals

"The relationship between management and IT has always been dysfunctional. When times are good, the bosses praise IT. When money gets tight, the front office sees IT as the villain, spending precious resources.

"Adding fuel to the fire was the article published last year in the Harvard Business Review called 'IT Doesn't Matter' by Nicholas Carr. The article asserts that IT has reached a point where it has become a commodity. The competitive advantage a business was once able to realize from IT has diminished significantly.

"This is the beginning of a new period in IT where the focus shifts from the technology to the business process itself.

"This shift is defined by one of the current technology buzz phrases: Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). It is the means to create a competitive advantage through cooperation and synthesis between management and IT. SOA means looking at IT from a strategic perspective, integrating IT functionality into the business goals, and allowing end users access to as much data as possible."

Michael Pelletier. An Introduction to SOA. Darwin. June, 2004.

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June 06, 2004

Licensing Liberties

Ed Foster, a former editor at InfoWorld, recently finished a three-week take on licensing agreements, and some of their egregious terms and restrictions. While Foster is from the software world, his examples of restrictive licensing are from all industries. Given the digital age in which we live, and the trend toward licensing goods rather than selling them (which would allow consumers federal rights under the copyright law's first sale doctrine), these columns are very important.

Ed Foster. A Good Deal. Ed Foster's Gripe Log. May 20, 2004.

Ed Foster. EULA Nasties. Ed Foster's Gripe Log. May 13, 2004.

Ed Foster. Fair Terms. Ed Foster's Gripe Log. May 6, 2004.

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June 04, 2004

RIAA Seeks to Restrict Legal Copies

"Record labels say CD sales have plummeted as a result of copies--and copies of copies. Now the labels are testing technology that would limit the number of times a CD, or its copy, could be burned.

"Tools under review by the major labels would limit the number of backups that could be made from ordinary compact discs and prevent copied, or 'burned,' versions from being used to create further copies, according to Macrovision and SunnComm International, rival companies that are developing competing versions of the digital rights management software."

"Such anticopying efforts have met with consumer resistance in the past, but if the labels have their way, it may be that not only CDs, but also iTunes-style digital downloads, will be restricted."

(Editor's Note: Jenny Levine, editor of The Shifted Librarian, points out that the industry seems willing to allow corporate partners to give away downloads, but will not allow the same opportunity for libraries.)

John Borland. Labels to Dampen CD Burning?. News.com. June 2, 2004.

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