Napster Ruling Requires Devs. Ensure No One Misuses System
Programmer's Rights2/28/2001; 10:54:00 AM 'The 9th Circuit's holding also dramatically narrowed Betamax's protection against vicarious liability by requiring technology providers to affirmatively police their systems for potential infringement, a practice which essentially forces technology creators to serve as law enforcement for the content industry, even in the absence of notification that specific infringement has occurred.'Another ruling that makes perfect sense... if you never look past the case at hand. This may make sense in the context of Napster, but is this really such a great idea in the long run? This is an incredibly restrictive standard... one content owner claims infringement and suddenly you're liable for everything that goes on in your system (bearing in mind that the music companies still have not demonstrated infringement, merely alleged it. I think there is infringement going on by legal standards, yes, but it's disturbing that nobody's willing to actually prove it's happenning.).Why on earth, under these standards, would you ever release anything that might even as a side effect allow people to share content? Geocities ought to shut down now and get it over with, before they get sued for everything they've ever hosted that was infringing. This ruling, as the EFF essay points out, was anything but balanced.
Stallman: The GNU GPL and the American Way
General IP Issues
2/27/2001; 11:27:56 PM
'Addendum: Microsoft says that the GPL is against "intellectual property rights." I have no opinion on "intellectual property rights," because the term is too broad to have a sensible opinion about. It is a catch-all, covering copyrights, patents, trademarks, and other disparate areas of law; areas so different, in the laws and in their effects, that any statement about all of them at once is surely simplistic. To think intelligently about copyrights, patents or trademarks, you must think about them separately. The first step is declining to lump them together as "intellectual property".'
All's quiet on the UCITA front... but that's about to change
2/25/2001; 3:52:59 PM
'THE UNIFORM COMPUTER Information Transactions Act (UCITA) is the proposed state law that carries all manner of horrors for IT organizations, technical professionals, consumers, librarians, and so on (see www.infoworld.com/ucita for background information). Since being passed by Virginia and Maryland last year, UCITA has fortunately made little headway. But with most state legislative sessions now in full swing, things are starting to heat up again.
'I'm glad to report that UCITA opponents have managed to put the breathing spell to good use because we are far better organized. A new coalition called Americans for Fair Electronic Commerce Transactions (AFFECT) has been formed through the consolidation of previous efforts. By combining the energies and resources of the many interests groups that have recognized the dangers of UCITA, the coalition is better coordinated and has more professional help and funding to take on the Herculean task of educating legislators and the public about UCITA.'
The DeCSS Haiku
DVD & DeCSS2/25/2001; 3:24:19 PM
Dr. David Touretzky, who made the Gallery of CSS Descramblers, has recieved a threatening legal letter ordering him to shut down his site. Dr. David Touretzky politely returned fire and asks them to be more specific. Interesting letter.
There is also a new descrambler, this one in psuedo-haiku:
So here's how you doit: first, take the first byte ofim -- that's byte zero;OR that byte with thenumber 0x100(hexadecimal --that's two hundred andfifty-six to you if youprefer decimal).Store the result int1. Take byte one of im.Store it in t2.
IBM CPRM Plan Replaced with Similar Copy-Prevention Plan
General IP Issues
2/24/2001; 5:35:44 PM
Several people submitted the news that IBM withdrew its CPRM plan yesterday - some of them with blurbs like "We Won! Yay!". But only a few people got the additional information that it was simply replaced with another extremely similar copy-prevention scheme, this one from Phoenix Technologies, well known for their widely used BIOS's. Even though the committee responsible for this has been deluged with email in opposition, the CPRM group (led by Paul Anderson and Jeffrey Lotspiech of IBM) continues to press forward, distributing propagandistic lies about how the system will protect [sic] your fair-use right to access and use digital content. Update: 02/24 7:20 PM EST by michael: The Register has even more information from Andre Hedrick.
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