Archive for the ‘copyright’ Category

So Boingboing, among several others, tells me that the Pentagon wants to take their ball back:

In a briefing at the Defense Department, Pentagon Spokesman Geoff Morrell ordered Wikileaks to remove classified documents and return them to the U.S. government.

For reals?  I might be wrong here*, but I’m pretty sure that’s not how the internet works.  See, e.g., the Tom Cruise scientology video saga for just one example of what happens when powerful people with expensive lawyers decide to attack random people on the internet.  And if you think the Department of Defense is more web-savvy than the Church of Scientology, I suppose you’re entitled to that opinion… but short of nuking Iceland, what are they going to do?

I pose that question in all seriousness.

This isn’t about being “nice” or some kind of contest between DoD and Wikileaks about the meaning of “the right thing” in this context.  It’s almost universally accepted that the U.S. government is spending a ton of money  to murder innocent people in Afghanistan for no reason that can be articulated.   Wikileaks, majorities of the American public, and most of the rest of the world clearly wants it to stop.  To the extent that words like “good” or “right” have meaning here, any action that moves U.S. policy towards an end of the occupation is unquestionably “the right thing,” and so far Wikileaks has done more towards that end in just a few short weeks than the US military apparatus has been able to accomplish in nearly ten years.  DoD has significantly less credibility than Wikileaks does at this point- agents of the US government are in no position to be making demands.

The ultimatum the DoD has issued here, “Do the right thing and return our files…[implied OR ELSE!]” is essentially nonsense.  Even if Wikileaks wanted to comply (they don’t) or were going to try to comply (they won’t), what does it even mean to “return” a digital file?  I’m put in mind of those people who send emails via Outlook and then try to “recall” them… by sending a second email.  Exchange server might work like that, but *email* doesn’t.  And pretending that it does just makes the pretender look silly.  Or stupid.  Once something is on the web, you can’t take it back.

Over the last five years or so, we’ve witnessed the birth of that awareness in the collective consciousness of our more intelligent political leaders.  As applied to politicians, the long memory of the net is a positive- any tools that help the electorate to screen out people who are crazy or habitual liars are a good thing.  I guess this sample of DoD’s ideas about their power over the net is an indicator that the bureaucracies haven’t quite figured it out yet.

* I’m not wrong.

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I guess that depends whether you are (a) someone who enjoys music and art and culture, or (b) a parasite

Peer-to-peer file-sharing on the Internet has certainly weakened copyright, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing unless one equates “stronger copyright” with “better copyright.” According to the US Constitution, copyright is about promoting “the Progress of Science and useful Arts”; it’s not about enriching authors […]

[T]he most pertinent question to ask is […] Has file-sharing reduced creators’ incentives?

My knee-jerk answer is– of course not!  More people are creating and publishing creative works today than at any other point in history.  But I didn’t have any data to back that up, and knee-jerk reactions only work as a basis for policy when Republicans are in power, so anyone who hopes for meaningful change in the US copyright framework is going to need more ammunition.  Fortunately, someone has actually done a bit of research now, and you can read more about it here.

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The key is if it’s in warrantee. And from what I can tell, mine’s not. So it would seem I’m hosed.

via On-Going Kindle Post-Mortem | Talking Points Memo.
So I’m vaguely interested in the outcome, if only from an IP-licensing perspective.  I wonder how much money Josh has already spent on Kindle content… and I wonder how much of it he’s ripped to another format, or if he’s stuck with the choice between (a) shelling out for another crapware locked platform so he can access the content he’s already bought or (b) letting it go, and then having to pay again for the same content if he wants to access it in a different format.

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Engadget says some  hacker has Netflix for iPad running on iPhone.   I’m sure this will do wonders for AT&T’s 3G networks.

Ports like this have to be expected by Apple; there is probably no technical way to prevent it.  I have to wonder whether there are terms in Apple’s deal with AT&T that address what happens when people start using AT&T’s network to constantly stream video to their handsets.

Netflix now, Slingbox next…

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I’m thinking that negotiating a secret treaty that will strip rights from internet users to pacify movie studios is a pretty good way to make sure that it’s eventually rejected by the American people.

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This is one of those questions that has bothered me ever since the DeCSS thing went down way back in 2001. The crux of the problem is this: the movie industry wants to sell you a DVD like it’s a physical object, and then use technology to restrict your use as though you have taken a license to the content.

If they are selling you the physical object, they can’t complain when you decide to make a backup of the content- it’s classic fair use.

If they are selling you a license, they either need to (a) give you the option to negotiate the license, or put it on the outside of the product packaging, or (b) replace the physical media at cost (a few cents) when it becomes damaged, because your license has nothing to do with the physical media.

Right now, the industry is trying to claim that it gets to work the deal both ways, depending on which context is more favorable to them in any given situation. The facts of this case make it sound like it’s ripe to really treat the issue properly.

SAN FRANCISCO – Hollywood studios told a federal judge here Friday consumers have no right to make copies of their DVDs.

The U.S. courts, however, have never squarely answered whether that was true, a legal vacuum that might be answered in the Motion Picture Association of America’s lawsuit against RealNetworks.

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On Friday, a judge in California issued an order to remove the DNS listing for the Wikileaks server.  Wikileaks is a public internet site that functions on the wiki model, where any person can post content.  Wikileaks purported to specialize in hosting incriminating documents that could do damage to their owners if they became public knowledge.

It turns out, that old chestnut is still true:  the internet interprets censorship as damage, and routs around it.   So a note to future plaintiffs and judges: unless you can take physical possession of the server before it goes online, you might as well just not bother.  The attention generated by your takedown order will guarantee that millions of additional people will not only see copies of the information you are trying to suppress, but that they will make their own copies and republish them in other places.

This is today’s reality.  It would be nice if the American legal system would try to keep up.

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