Tuesday, December 21, 2004

India plans US model cyber law

India is going to adopt some new copyright law (or para-copyright) similar to the DMCA.

IndiaDaily - India plans US model cyber law

NYLJ on Grokster

A nice piece on the upcoming Grokster appeal before the Supreme Court from the New York Law Journal.

law.com - Son of Napster: The Inevitable Sequel

Garfield in China

Garfield's owner won acopyright infringment case in China based on the Berne Convention, the award was a whopping $25,000.

Garfield wins copyright violation case - Sify.com:

Monday, December 20, 2004

Article - From the Campus to the Commons

Here's a nice article on the Free Culture movement. Among other subjects, it asks: "Is the fight for the Digital Commons like the environmentalism of the next generation?" That I don't know about, but it would be very interesting if it gets moving to that extent. I just can't imagine so many people caring about copyright law, but you can't always know what'll grab people's imaginations and motivate them.

Go read it - AlterNet: WireTap: From the Campus to the Commons

He made a funny...sorta

Non Sequitur on IP.

Non Sequitur 12/20/04

Friday, December 17, 2004

Don't mess with a Jewish Orthodox Anarchist

This is the best reply to a cease and desist I've seen. The sender is the company that makes tshirts that say "Jesus is my homeboy." The receiver is a guy hawking similar looking t-shirts on Cafepress that say "Jesus was a kike." The sender is claiming copyright and trademark infringement. Here's the end of the receiver's response to the second cease and desist letter:

Thus, I will not comply with your demands, because I believe they are without merit, and would like to note, in addition, that you will have a rather hard time serving me with papers as I am currently residing in Israel and do not intend to return to the United States for some time, if ever. On top of that, I have been unemployed for nearly a year, with no savings to speak of, so good luck seeking damages. You should also take under consideration that the t-shirts are manufactured by a print-on-demand service and therefore there is a) no inventory, b) I earn roughly $3 per shirt (whereas Cafepress takes the vast majority of earnings for their part in manufacturing and distribution), and c) I haven't sold more than a dozen of them. If you're really intent on taking me to court for $36, be my guest. It's probable that you will lose the case, but if by some miracle of God you don't, you ain't gonna get nothin' outta me anyway except to further impoverish the impoverished which, I must say, would be an incredibly un-Christian action on your client's part.

In such a scenario I can only wonder really, what would Jesus do?

I think he'd let it go.

Thanks for your prompt reply,

Daniel Sieradski

Read the entire exchange here: Orthodox Anarchist (via Boing Boing).

Lycos kills the make LOVE not SPAM idea

Too bad, this was such a great idea - make a screensaver people can download that will perform a denial of service attack on spam servers while their computer is idle. Obviously the spammers didn't think it was a great idea, they attacked the Lycos makelovenotspam.com site and are now distributing a virus by the name - prompting Lycos to just give up. It was a great idea with very poor execution by Lycos.

Here's my prior post on the topic.

Check out the make LOVE not SPAM site now - it's a notice of discontinuence and a warning about the virus.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

IL Gov. Seeks Ban on Violent Video Games

Don't these people have better things to worry about? And by the way Gov...have you noticed that similar bills in several other states have been struck down as unconstitutional? This isn't going to help your polling man, do your job!

Yahoo! News - Gov. Seeks Ban on Violent Video Games

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

dot mobi and dot jobs

Two new TLDs have been approved - ".mobi" for mobile devices and ".jobs" for job sites.

Slashdot | ICANN Approves Two More Top-Level Domains

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Iran's only rapper

Way off topic but very interesting/goofy.

Iran has only one official rap musician, dubbed the Dapper Rapper for his smart suits and elegant lifestyle - a far cry from the radical music of the ghetto streets of the US where rap was born. Shahkar Binesh-Pajouh uses rap music mixed with Persian classical poetry in order to criticise poverty, unemployment, and the chi-chi women of Tehran wearing too much make-up under their chiffon headscarves.

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iran's self-styled rapping aristocrat

Judge Suspended For Wearing Blackface To Party

Damn, talk about bad "judgment." What is wrong with these judges? This guy is a member of the Louisiana Supreme Court for chrissakes.

The Louisiana Supreme Court [Judge Timothy Ellender] has given a judge a six-month suspension for wearing blackface makeup, handcuffs and a jail jumpsuit to a Halloween party.
Ellender, who is white, said the costumes worn by him and his wife were meant as a joke. She dressed as a policewoman. And the party's host, Ellender's brother-in-law, was dressed as Buckwheat.

The justices agreed Ellender did not mean to insult blacks. Still, they ordered him to take a sociology course to get "a greater understanding of racial sensitivity."
NBC 4 - News - Judge Suspended For Wearing Blackface To Party

Judge Ellender said in his defense, "I have lots of black friends" (that's a joke). Obviously the most interaction with people of color this guy gets is when he reads habeas petitions for people the lower Louisiana state courts have sentanced to prison terms. What a jackass. This is at least as bad as this judge throwing a party for a criminal defendent she was putting in prison. These are the people we are trusting to uphold the Constitution and protect our rights?

law.com on Grokster

Law.com on the Grokster case.

law.com - Supreme Court Takes On Emerging Issues in Copyright

Lawsuit filed to force protection of sotware with patent instead of copyright

I don't know if this is a really interesting idea or if it's just nutty. One thing is for sure, regular copyright terms for software is ridiculous - like most copyrighted material it is utterly worthless after 100 years or more. I don't know if patent is the answer to this though. Certainly it is alarming that some companies, like Lexmark, think they can apply copyright law to their hardware technology via the code in their firmware and then sue anyone who tried to make compatible components (such as cheaper printer cartridges). Is this a huge problem? I don't know. I don't think this guys got a prayer with this lawsuit, but we'll keep our eyes on it. Keep in mind that the 9th Circuit in San Fran is overturned by the Supreme Court more than any other because sometimes they do some funny stuff, they're a little more ahead of the curve on some stuff.

Intellectual-property consultant Greg Aharonian hopes to convince the court that software makers can protect their products adequately through patents, which provide more comprehensive protection, but are difficult to obtain and expire in a shorter period of time.
CNN.com - Lawsuit filed to prohibit copyright protection of software.

Google Adding Major Libraries to Its Database

Democratized information:

Google, the operator of the world's most popular Internet search service, plans to announce an agreement today with some of the nation's leading research libraries and Oxford University to begin converting their holdings into digital files that would be freely searchable over the Web.

It may be only a step on a long road toward the long-predicted global virtual library. But the collaboration of Google and research institutions that also include Harvard, the University of Michigan, Stanford and the New York Public Library is a major stride in an ambitious Internet effort by various parties. The goal is to expand the Web beyond its current valuable, if eclectic, body of material and create a digital card catalog and searchable library for the world's books, scholarly papers and special collections.
"Within two decades, most of the world's knowledge will be digitized and available, one hopes for free reading on the Internet, just as there is free reading in libraries today," said Michael A. Keller, Stanford University's head librarian.

The Google effort and others like it that are already under way, including projects by the Library of Congress to put selections of its best holdings online, are part of a trend to potentially democratize access to information that has long been available to only small, select groups of students and scholars.
The New York Time: Google Is Adding Major Libraries to Its Database

Monday, December 13, 2004

Judge Klein is now a celeb, but where's his sense of humor?

Judge Jerald R. Klein was pissed when a reporter called to tell him he was up for bidding on eBay. I sure wouldn't want to be this litigant after all this attention

"The ad, entitled "Judge for Sale," was posted last Wednesday by Janet Schoenberg, a disgruntled litigant in a landlord-tenant dispute in New York City Civil Court who said Klein was mishandling the case and that she had exhausted other ways of drawing attention to her case."
Newsday.com - Ad on eBay angers housing court judge

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Google Suggest

They just keep coming out with cool new stuff - check out Google Suggest.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

The RIAA responds to the copyleft

This is an interesting read. The article is over the top in its assumptions about what the copyleft seeks to achieve by fighting harsher copyright legislation (getting content for free) and in its underlying assumptions about what the copyleft thinks about the copyright law and its effects on society. Anyway, It's always good to get both sides of the debate, otherwise you're uninformed.

The RIAA on Copyright, Fair Use and the Public Interest.

Blink - Circuit Court map

It's hard to remember what states the different circuits cover, so here's a nice map of them all - Court Links.

[Blinks are just quickie links to interesting stuff, just so ya know.]

Supreme Court grants cert. in MGM v. Grokster

Big news, the Supreme Court is going to rule on MGM v. Grokster. This is a ruling that could have a serious impact on copyright law in general. Certainly the Sony Betamax "substantial noninfringing uses" doctrine that has allowed for the creation and sale of technologies that copy content without the manufacturers of the technology being liable for third-party copyright infringement is on the table.

My bet - the Supreme Court uses a J. Ponser Aimster style analysis to limit the Betamax doctrine to apply only to technologies that are actually used for more than just infringement on a massive level and not just tech that is "capable" of noninfringing uses. Such a ruling would put the Grokster/Kazaa p2p guys out of business. Of course it will hardly matter with new programs out there like BitTorrent, the RIAA may win some cases, but in the end they need a business plan, pure and simple.

EFF: Press Room - Supreme Court to Hear MGM v. Grokster

Here's more via Google News.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Apple has no sense of humor for iPod mashups apparently

Here's an interesting "blink" link (just a quickie link without much content besides).

Wired News: EBay Negative on Negativland IPod.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The Induce Act Blog - just keeps getting better

My other online project, the group edited Induce Act Blog, has recently been added to Google News and comes in at the top of the list if you search "Induce Act." Check it out.

You may know that the Induce Act itself has been stuck in committee for some time, but we at the Induce Act Blog are now covering all proposed copyright legislation in Congress. Come visit us sometime!

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Indiana Jones IV coming

Indiana Jones sequal in the works, sweet.

Slashdotters are complaining that Ford is too old, this commentor replies...


News breakdown - spammers retaliate against Lycos, phishing traps galore, & Kazaa in trouble

SearchSecurity.com has a nice rundown of some recent news all wrapped up in one article, which is here. Here are the headlines and some blurbs:

Here's a great idea that the spammers couldn't stand (the site is being fixed up currently) -

Retaliation for Lycos' spam assault

Lycos launched its "Make Love, Not Spam" campaign Tuesday by offering users a screensaver that launches distributed denial-of-service attacks on spammers' Web sites. The company said the screensaver uses the idle processing power of a computer to slow down the response times from those sites. Within hours of the makelovenotspam.com site being launched, Silicon.com reported that the original front page was replaced with a simple message: "Yes, attacking spammers is wrong. You know this, you shouldn't be doing it..."

Microsoft is going after spammers as well -
Microsoft sues alleged CAN-SPAM violators

No doubt you've seen phishing attempts in your junkmail box, but they're all over the web as well -
Phishing traps litter Google, other search engines
They look like legitimate e-commerce Web sites, but they're really phishing traps...Phishers typically lure victims to malicious Web sites by sending official-looking e-mails that appear to be from reputable companies asking users to verify their user names and passwords. Many are now setting up legitimate looking e-commerce sites that hide links to malware as pictures of goods on sale, CyberGuard told CNET News.com. Paul Henry, a senior vice president at CyberGuard, said instead of linking to pictures of the advertised product, the links point to a self-extracting .zip file that installs a Trojan horse on the victim's computer. The program could then steal personal and financial information.
Things aren't look up for Kazaa in their Australian trial -

New developments in Kazaa trial
Tom Mizzone, vice president of data services at New York-based MediaSentry, told the Sydney court his company is able to identify Australian users of Kazaa software by tracking the IP address. He said the IP addresses allocated for Internet service providers in Australia can be traced through the "scanners" his company uses to track down sound recordings and user information within the Kazaa system. He added that MediaSentry is also able to detect the copyright-infringing music files made available for download in the Kazaa system's shared folders. Mizzone told the court his company is doing what any ordinary user of the Kazaa system is able to do.
Mizzone's statement is critical to the music industry's claim that Sharman Networks can use the Kazaa software to identify people who are downloading copyright-infringing materials and communicate with them at the same time, CNET News.com reported. Sharman Networks and other respondents in the trial have maintained they can't control what Kazaa users do with the software...

They don't have the First Amendment...South Korea bans Ghost Recon 2

Obviously they don't have the First Amendment in South Korea. On the other hand our capital isn't in quite the same precarious position as Seoul.

That nation's capital, Seoul, has an estimated 11,000 artillery pieces aimed at it by its northern neighbor, whose Stalinist dictator, Kim Jong Il, has said he could turn the city into a "sea of fire" any time he wanted.

Article here: South Korea bans Ghost Recon 2 - Xbox News at GameSpot

GR2 is a stealth/shooter game, in this episode the "ghost" commandos are running missions into North Korea. It isn't unusual for regulatory bodies in European countries, for instance, to ask game publishers to make small changes in violent games before releasing them there.

Here's a quote from this Wired article from July, '04: Still, the notion that games should be restricted is accepted elsewhere. New Zealand, Brazil, Germany and several other nations have outlawed some games. In Britain, the makers of the Resident Evil series were made to change the color of blood from red to green, while the creators of Carmageddon had to make the people you run over in your car look more like zombies than average pedestrians.

Gotta love that First Amendment people, you think free speech works the same all over the developed world? It doesn't, not even close. Britain is censoring games...that's sad. You may think the content in some of the games out there is despicable, but at least you have the choice not to play those games.

UPDATE: here's a new game that will surely get that "despicable" label from some people - Dealer: Chronic, Pills & Coke.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Innovation or copying?

I randomly stumbled across a thought provoking post about innovation vs. copying in the creation of new creative works. This debate is all about how you view "the author," do you have a romantic vision of a person truly coming up with totally original material or do you see the author as a person building and remixing works of the past while making some new creative additions? Here's how the post closes:

In every case, the end result is an affirmation of the value of an open society that doesn't put unnecessary limits on inventive recombination -- in art, in technology, or in business -- while still allowing for enough authorship rights that creators and inventors and artists can make a living. This is of course not the kind of society we are living in, but it seems that increasing numbers of people are trying to get us there.
Go read the rest here:
Idea Flow: Copying and Innovation: Cheating, or Brilliance?

Open-Source Virtual Worlds or Second Life?

I got a great response to this recent post about virtual worlds and MMOGs the other day, so here's another on the topic.

This article on Wired today reads like copy straight out of Peter Ludlow's presentation at the State of Play 2 conference. Massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) are essentially a first step toward the creation of an open-source metaverse, or virtual world (VW). At the moment, no popular MMOGs are really proper open-source worlds. The Wired article is a discussion of why Ludlow advocates the creation of true wiki-style open-source MMOGs. Ludlow thinks that the Terms Of Service in most MMOGs are too harsh - they abridge speech and give the corporate owner too much control over the players (and in the case of Second Life [wikipedia entry], the objects or content players build in the virtual world).

There are already several such open-source VW projects going on, including - The Open Source Metaverse Project (OSMP), the Croquet Project, and MUPPETS (Multi-User Programming Pedagogy for Enhancing Traditional Study). The creator of MUPPETS says about their virtual world:

"It's like a virtual street and a virtual desert," said Phelps. "You're basically given a plot of land ... and you can do with it what you will, and you can build objects that will interact with anyone else's objects in the world." Students taking part in the project have built player vs. player games and three-dimensional structures that could be used as settings for gaming. "...It's more about research and giving someone space to create good content than about binding people to a specific game or a specific story like in EverQuest."
In the longrun, as Ludlow says, the ultimate realization of a metaverse type virtual reality through these projects would require the stitching of all the virtual worlds together along with thousands of people building objects and content in them.

Frankly, these open-source projects sound quite a bit like the MMOG Second Life, which I discussed briefly here. Second Life is a virtual world where players can get on cheaply and can build their own objects into the world using scripts. You can download the SL program for free and then you pay only $10 to access the world. One of the coolest ideas the Linden Lab folks, who make SL, have had, was to try and encourage the creation of content in the world by granting players intellectual property rights in those products and in their characters. It's very cool. Ludlow's problem with it is that it is still run by a company, so players can't ever have 100% control over the world. Oh well, Second Life is the closest thing to a metaverse I've seen yet.

All of the State of Play 2 conference can be viewed here, for Ludlow's talk on the open-source metaverse topic check out the second half of this video. There he asked why gamers would build objects and content in a virtual world such as Second Life, where the Terms of Service are such that the players and their works could be thrown out at any time and for any reason, when they could be building in open-source virtual worlds where there is no governing body that can exercise control over speech or content. Ludlow is now a bit of an MMOG activist because was kicked out of The Sims MMOG for rabble rousing in the real world with a blog he kept called The Alphaville Herald, he is now more involved with Second Life (here is his Second Life Herald) and the open-source virtual worlds mentioned above.

Here's the Wired article: Wired News: Gamers Eye Open Virtual Worlds. (Wired also has this article today about the new MMOG "World of Warcraft," if you're interested.)

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