Passport Licensing Changes
Judge threatens 'disgraceful' Napster with closure - again
Music & MP34/11/2001; 12:30:29 PM Or, The Judge Who Wanted The Moon.'At issue is Napster's attempt to follow Judge Patel's 5 March order that the sharing of songs nominated by the Recording Industry Association of America should be blocked. The RIAA claimed that Napster hadn't complied with the order, and brought the company before the court to demand Napster explain itself. 'Napster's argument has been that it has tried to block the 135,000 songs named by RIAA on behalf of its members, and indeed had blocked 275,000 songs hidden behind 1.6 million filenames. It also said that some RIAA members had not provided enough information on filenames for it to carry out the court's order to the letter. 'A fair point, considering Judge Patel's ruling said the music industry had to do what it could to help Napster - and that included supplying filenames as well as song titles. 'Whatever the specifics of Judge Patel's advice to the recording companies, she clearly feels they have done all they need to and that the burden should fall upon Napster.'
Europe To Adopt Strict Internet Copyright Law
4/11/2001; 12:12:04 PM Details at the EU's site. I haven't gone over it with a fine-toothed comb (it would take a couple of days anyhow), but my intuitive take on it seems to be that they trumped the DMCA, tipping the so-called "balance" even further in favor of the content producers. It seems the idea that intellectual property exists for the purposes of improving society, not lining corporate pockets, is now an anachronistic idea to be paid lip service only.
Why do we need privacy?
Surveillance and Privacy from Government4/11/2001; 11:38:36 AM This typical article on why we really don't need privacy is fairly uninteresting as is. The comments at the bottom are much more interesting. I think this one is particularly good.I'm noticing several commonalities in all anti-privacy articles:
- Inevitable conflating of government versus corporate privacy. Am I the only one to make the distinction? They're two totally different things. This article is mostly about government privacy, but does make reference to Microsoft's Windows licensing mechanisms. This allows the anti-privacy proponent to do what I think of as Dancing with the argument. By conflating two things A and B, when I argue against B, you can pull out arguments in favor of A, and when I argue against A, you can pull out arguments in favor of B, and if the listener is similarly confused, you can get away with never having to actually directly refute any arguments, because you can just "dance" to whichever part of the argument is currently in your favor.Government privacy and corporate privacy are two different things. I have a very hardline stance on corporate privacy. I consider it trivially obvious that the government will have to have more power. (Of course, that only implies that the government must have total power to those who have a black or white, "all power" or "no power", view of the world. There's still much room for debate about how much power the government should have.)
- People just want privacy so they can hide crimes. I think the comment I linked to above, Privacy means freedom from harassment, is on a right track, but I think it goes beyond that issue to a fundamental principle that the American government system is predicated on: Balance of power. By dismissing the right to privacy in this manner, we are transferring unprecedented amounts of power to the authorities to do whatever they please to us in the name of law enforcement. If you can't come up with your own examples of how this power could be abused, if you think the protections against unreasonable search and seizure don't have a good reason to exist (it's the same reason for privacy), I won't convince you anyhow. Note this argument is useful only for government debates and should not be used at all for corporate privacy.
- It is vitally important to catch crimes, by implication trumping any right to privacy. I would however point out that the truly vitally important thing is to not unjustly imprison innocent people; that's another American ideal, and it's getting more important, not less.May I also point out there's another power issue here, because this argument tends to assume that what the government defines as "crime" is a fair definition. It also blithely assumes that the definition will always be good. The power of a government to see is the power of the government to criminalize, so by removing privacy, we are giving our government the power to do whatever it wants. (Remember, it's not "unAmerican" to question our government, it's "unAmerican" to trust it!)
Jurors badly miscalculate MP3.com damages
Humor/Amusing4/10/2001; 9:27:14 AM 'Jurors inadvertently let MP3.com off the hook last week when they wrote down the wrong damages figure in a court case over copyright infringement. 'On Friday the eight female jurors in a New York court, including one maths teacher, ordered the online music giant to pay around $300,000 to record label TVT (Tee Vee Toons). MP3.com was ecstatic, issuing a press release today crowing over victory. TVT had been asking for $8.5 million - and in the last year MP3.com has paid out around $130 million over copyright struggles with record companies. 'But over the weekend red-faced jurors began informing US District Judge Jed Rakoff that they had messed.... '"This matter is far from obvious in how it should be adjudicated," the judge said today.'
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