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Aug 22, 2000

MP3 suit blames AOL for music piracy
Music & MP3
8/22/2000; 2:07:10 PM 'An online music service, under legal fire for helping consumers locate copyrighted music files for free download, launched its own volley late Monday by suing America Online and its would-be merger mate Time Warner for assisting in the development of the currently raging free-music-download phenomenon.'

What next?


Permalink
Aug 21, 2000

emmanuel golstein's Comments On the DeCSS Ruling
DVD & DeCSS
8/21/2000; 2:18:17 PM 'What too many people don't seem to realize is that the rules have changed overnight and it WILL affect them. Imagine not being allowed to lend a book to a friend. Imagine not being able to play music that you bought in another country. Imagine only being able to watch "approved" content on your DVD player. And just wait until HDTV comes around and makes it impossible to record anything unless you pay. These are all natural extensions of the existing restrictions and they are all now perfectly legal. You've lost the right of "fair use" with copyrighted material that you think you own. In actuality, you've just bought a license to do what they tell you. '

Vital reading.


Permalink
Aug 21, 2000

TheStandard.com: Napster to Court: The Judge Screwed Up
Music & MP38/21/2000; 9:18:18 AM 'If Napster thought Judge Marilyn Hall Patel disapproved of the file-sharing service when she ruled against it last month, wait till she gets a load of the company's new legal filing. 'Late Friday, Napster's lawyers filed a brief that spells out Judge Patel's "errors" in her preliminary injunction ruling, which was temporarily stayed by an appeals court just hours before the injunction would have effectively shut Napster down. While the software company is allowed to continue operations pending a hearing, the brief filed Friday in appeals court is part of Napster's attempt to remove any question of the legal validity of its service – namely noncommercial peer-to-peer file sharing.'The brief is online. Insert rant about not linking to the primary sources here, including the bit about it being the most convincing evidence that the gatekeepers do not want you to think for yourself.It's 92 pages long and I don't have time to read it now. However, what I have read is very interesting, do at least skim some of it.IMHO, by far the most importent argument is Napster's favor, which should be an immediate win for them, is that if you rule Napster as being in violation of copyright law, then nearly the entire Internet as we know it will need to be shut down. It is vital to understand this is not exaggeration... it's the simple truth.Any service that allows users to publicly post content must be shut down, as the users might post copyrighted content, there's no way to tell. You won't be able to obtain server software anymore, as it might be used to post illegal content, thus making anyone who ever touched the server software partially liable. Goodbye IRC, FTP, HTTP, even TCP.The key to this is that in Judge Patel's zeal to nail the vile, evil, horrid, theiving music pirates to the wall, she disregarded every balancing point the law makes. The law, as it stands, is reasonably balanced... there are standards for what Napster is being charged with, such as there not being any substantially non-infringing uses. This same balance was protecting a lot of people, mostly without those people recognizing it. Does Microsoft seriously worry about whether IIS (their web server) will be found as a contributory copyright infringer if somebody, somewhere uses it to server illegal copies of DeCSS? No, because the balance of the law has ensured they won't be found responsible for such activities of their users. Now that Judge Patel has ruled that balance is not relevant, the door is opened for numerous other lawsuits, that must be ruled in favor of the copyright holders in light of this precendent (if it is allowed to stand).Granted, Microsoft is big and can protect itself, and it's in no real danger. But I choose that merely to illustrate the point clearly. There are other people in great danger, who are very similar to Napster, yet should not be held responsible either. The most obvious example is IRC. This is the most popular way to exchange software, it's the next most popular way to exchange MP3s after Napster, but it's a chatting service. There's no way to stop the users short of shutting the whole server network down, anymore then Napster can magically divine whether or not Meta11ikA.mp3 points to a Metallica song, or is a perfectly legal song being shared by the author that happens to have that name. If Napster is illegal under the logic that Judge Patel uses, then so is IRC. By bandwidth consumed, it is quite likely that IRC's 'primary use' is 'piracy' of one sort or another. (By most other measures IRC's primary use is most likely chatting, as it was designed for, but you can always find a measure to do what you want it to do.)


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Aug 21, 2000

Consumers' Views Split on Internet Privacy
Privacy from Companies8/21/2000; 8:47:09 AM 'In the continuing battle between Internet companies that want to use customers' personal information to deliver tailored advertisements and services and privacy advocates who want stricter controls over how this information is used, consumers themselves appear to be of two minds. 'At least that is the finding of a survey whose results were released last night by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, a nonprofit group. While many consumers surveyed expressed concern about their privacy, many also said they were willing to share personal information with the Web sites they used.'The Pew Research Center for People and the Press is online, but I don't see this report yet. As the most recent report on the site dates from April, one can guess that that either they put stuff up on the web in a delayed fashion, or they have stopped updating the site.I want to know more. I think the percentages for the answers would very strongly depend on the wording of the questions.

  1. Do you feel it is acceptable to give an online merchant personal information?
  2. Do you feel it is acceptable to give an online merchant personal information, as long as they can't share it with others without your permission?
  3. Do you feel that the current policy of most internet merchants, which is that your personal data is theirs to do with as they please, and that they can and do sell it to anybody, is acceptable?
I'll bet they asked something like question 1. Without more data in the question (which would of course bias the answers, depending on how you gave it), it sounds fine. How are the retailers supposed to ship my package without my address? But the other two questions would have been much more informative... the first question has no meaning.Sure, in theory, I have no problem giving personal information to selected sites. But I do not like the current way of doing business, so I avoid it as much as possible.


Permalink
Aug 21, 2000

IEEE-USA UCITA Grassroots Network
UCITA
8/21/2000; 8:33:37 AM IEEE is the most importent professional organization of electrical engineers. In my opinion, the opinion of this organization should be respected; they are in an excellent position to understand how this will affect people.

They are maintaining a state-by-state listing of how UCITA is doing; check your state out. There's some stuff shown on this list I haven't seen in the news, such as Delaware and Oklahoma. I guess the news media doesn't want to cover this story 50+ times (can't say I blame them ).


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