Archive for the ‘first sale doctrine’ Category

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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(updated 10:17 pm- slashdot says that the WaPo story I quote below is, um, misleading.  Or maybe it’s  just wrong.  Hooray for traditional journalism.)
The RIAA is breaking out a new legal tactic:

In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

The industry’s lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are “unauthorized copies” of copyrighted recordings.

This particular claim is a perfect illustration of the evils inherent in government-granted monopolies. People in general have settled expectations about personal property that are inconsistent with the desired economic scenario for the copyright cartels. When you buy a CD or a book, you don’t sign a contract. You don’t need to get a license from the author to read the book. The purchase transaction is exactly like any other purchase of physical goods. From a customer’s perspective, buying a CD is exactly like buying a donut or a chainsaw. Customers expect that all the rights of ownerhship which attach to other tangible personal property also attach to items like CDs.

The copyright monopoly has metastasized so far that music companies are, in effect, arguing that even though you bought the CD, you can only listen to the music on it on devices they have approved. At the exact same time that companies all over the world are designing and producing technology to allow people to more easily create and share music, movices, and the written word, the companies that stand to benefit the most from emergence of new talent are doing everything they can to poison the well.

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From Ray Beckerman’s place:

 In a fascinating interview with Jon Newton of p2pnet, Prof. Deirdre Smith of the University of Maine Law School’s Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic, which is the first law school legal clinic in the U.S. to have taken on the RIAA, says that “our students are enthusiastic about being directly connected to a case with a national scope and significance”.

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Expert testimony is expensive. Putting a post up on a website is cheap. When your opponents have insufficient evidence and their experts are a bunch of charlatains, it can be very helpful to have an active community of highly intelligent people who share a personal interest in seeing you win your case.

If you were representing Ms. Lindor, or were a technical expert, what else would you want to see? Remember that this is for discovery, and what he wants to request is *documents*. Look over what has already been produced, and then ask yourself if there are any other likely documents that could be helpful. Be specific, and don’t assume he’ll “just know”. All the documents in the UMG v. Lindor case that are public are here. It’s a New York case, filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of NY.

This is the midgame that results from the animus that the record companies have engendered by indiscriminately suing their customer base. The market has changed. People will continue to share digital music with each other, for free, without any regard for whether or not such sharing is permitted by copyright law. Like Tim Wu pointed out in Slate (discussed previously here)- if you can’t or won’t enforce the laws, then the laws effectively just don’t exist.

The internet can be a great force for social change when it is used to help like-minded people work together. Groklaw is the forum that tracked the whole SCO v. IBM series of lawsuits about Linux. It’s also the forum that started me thinking about going to law school. I know you can’t win ’em all, but I do feel obligated to point out that the zeitgeist at Groklaw was predicting SCO’s bankruptcy as a result of their specious legal actions as early as July 2003- a full four years before the courts got around to dismissing all of the claims in their complaint.  And full disclosure- I made a couple hundred dollars on a naked short of SCO’s stock in the summer after the lawsuits were announced, as the price of SCOX fell from the mid-20s to under $5.

The breakthrough value that led to Groklaw’s popularity was that it gave tech people and lawyers a place to interface without having to filter everything they say through the idiot MBAs that infest American business culture.  (more…)

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