Oct 23, 2000

Another crack in the SDMI wall
Music & MP3
10/23/2000; 11:22:44 AM

'A coalition of cryptography and watermarking researchers from Princeton University, Xerox PARC and Rice University claims to have successfully defeated a music protection system proposed by the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI).'

This has a lot of credibility if you ask me. Be sure to check out their site, particularly their Frequently asked questions.

Oct 23, 2000

Blurring the Lines of Digital Art
Free Speech
10/23/2000; 11:20:43 AM

'In 1994, the Whitney was the first major institution to collect a work of Net art, Douglas Davis' "The World's First Collaborative Sentence." Earlier this year, the museum included Net art in its prestigious biennial exhibition, considered a barometer of what's hot in contemporary art.

'And now, digital art is so hot that it deserves its own show. Two shows, in fact.

'The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is also presenting a major exhibition of digital art: 010101: Art in Technological Times early next year. The Web component launches on Jan. 1; the gallery component opens on March 3.'

The power of computing enables new forms of speech. This will be an important consideration in the reformulation of copyright law.

Oct 23, 2000

Keep the Customer Dissatisfied
10/23/2000; 11:16:35 AM

'Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, doesn't want us to buy wine on the Net. His argument is that minors are using online ordering to get their hands on booze. Maybe so. Or maybe the wholesale distributors of alcoholic beverages would rather not deal with online competition, and have found some friends in high legislative places....

'Personally, I think it's absurd that I won't be able to order my favorite boutique pinot noir or microbrew from out of state just because the government can't figure out how to stop a 16-year-old using a parent's credit card from doing the same thing. But my inconvenience is trivial compared with the larger lesson here: Clearly, it's time to abandon any lingering notion you might have that the Internet is somehow a free-market paradise, in which buyers and sellers connect with one another beyond the reach of existing (and sometimes arbitrary) social and political restraints.'

Or at least, not without effort from the Internet retailers.

I ought to make a new catagory for this site to track "Internet Regulability", which technically isn't a word, but is in opposition to "regulation"... not the laws covering the Internet, but the increasing evidence that laws can cover the Internet with some level of success... by the lawmaker's standards.

Oct 22, 2000

Uncovering the Dark Side of the world wide web
10/22/2000; 12:42:09 PM

'In an achievement that is almost the equivalent of the Human Genome project for the internet, a new Scottish software company has not only succeeded in plotting a map of the world wide web but has also uncovered its Dark Side....

'A team member replied: "Well, you'll first need to map all that's good and bad - an awesome challenge - and keep adding to it on a daily basis. Only then will you be able to trace, log and map what's bad in it."

'The next morning Whitelaw declared: "OK, let's do it. No matter what it costs."'

This implies more then most may realize:

The power of a system that can truly relate various things on the net accurately is difficult to understate, if it's real!

Still, the skeptic in me wonders... with so many of the porn and other nasty sites behind passwords, can they really scan the "seamy underside" or just the publically accessible "seamy underside", a smaller subset? Could they nullify FreeNet's distribution protection? I wish I knew more about this company's procedures. They make a lot of grandiose claims, something tells me that they'd have a hard time backing them up.

Oct 22, 2000

No free speech @Home for critic who posts service documents
Free Speech
10/22/2000; 11:58:34 AM

'Participants in an @Home-run newsgroup that focused on @Home service topics were the ones up in arms. One of their participants, an AT&T@Home customer named Wesley, had his account shut down by @Home within hours of posting some @Home and/or cable company documents to the newsgroup. The documents included technical support procedures and refund policies, leaving many @Home customers feeling Wesley was guilty only of giving them ammunition to deal with the service outages they've experienced.'

Posting internal, private documents = free speech? Debatable, I think, but this does cut dangerously close to textbook corporate censorship, where the corporation you are trying to discuss as per your free speech rights owns the only sensible forum you can discuss them in.

There is a lesson we can learn from this article, though.  @Home is claiming (probably correctly) that the posted document belong to them, and they are just asserting their intellectual property rights in having them removed. Thus, if this situation ever arise, instead of posting the documents wholesale, post a small snippet that proves you have them, comment on the snippet (fair use), then summarize the rest of the document. Copyright only protects the expression, not the facts contained in the expression. If Wesley had done that, the IP argument would have been nullified.

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