Friday, November 11, 2005

Spyware EULA dispute

From CNet News, Spyware spat makes small print a big issue

A maker of surveillance software is using a product download agreement to attempt to bar detection by anti-spyware tools, raising questions about the legal scope of such agreements.

RetroCoder is threatening legal action against Sunbelt Software, representatives of both companies said Wednesday. The British company wants Sunbelt, maker of CounterSpy, to stop flagging its SpyMon software as spyware. RetroCoder charges that Sunbelt has violated the terms of the copyright agreement contained in its software, which specifically excludes anti-spyware research.

That reminds me. Isn't it time UCITA reappeared on the computer news scene?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Blogger lift the spam tag from B2fxxx

Well Blogger has lifted the spam tag from this blog and I don't have to go through word verification to post this. Here's the email they sent:


Your blog has been reviewed, verified, and whitelisted so that it will no longer appear as potential spam. If you sign out of Blogger and sign back in again, you should be able to post as normal. Thanks for your patience, and we apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

Blogger Support

I'm still considering whether to move to a new name and url. The whack-a-mole game of chasing software filters attracted to the triple x like moths to a flame is tedious, time consuming and unproductive.

Thanks to the real person at blogger who sorted this out and to Spyblog for the supportive comments.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Blogger has tagged me as a spam blogger

Well, I've found out why I'm having to go through word verification to post.

After 3 years of using Blogger, their new automated spam detecting system has tagged B2fxxx as a spam blog. I've related before how crude software filters at conference centres have prevented me accessing my own digital scribblings here but it's a real disappointment to have effectively the same treatment dished out by my host.

For the Blogger folks reviewing this blog (now that I've found out how to get through after having emails ignored by your automated response system), the xxx was originally going to be a three digit code related to an Open University course I had written. Since the university administrative processes confirming the code associated with the course had not cleared when I originally started the blog, I put it up with xxx in the title and the url.

I'm going to give some serious thought to whether I can continue this blog either with Blogger or under the same name. The irritation of being tagged as a false positive by crude software filters is something I can certainly do without.

DRM crippled CD tale

Recommended reading: DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts

Blogger is bugging me

If anyone out there knows of a work around to stop blogger requiring word verification for every single post I put up, I'd really appreciate your advice. Blogger have been ignoring my emails requesting that they sort it out.

Grokster shuts up shop

It looks as though Grokster has shut up shop, at least as far as further facilitating free file sharing is concerned. Presumably they have come to some arrangement with the entertainment industry to end the ongoing litigation over damages following their loss in the Supreme Court. The site reads:

"The United States Supreme Court unanimously confirmed
that using this service to trade copyrighted material is illegal.
Copying copyrighted motion picture and music files
using unauthorized peer-to-peer services is illegal and is
prosecuted by copyright owners.

There are legal services for downloading music and movies.
This service is not one of them.

Grokster hopes to have a safe and legal service available soon.

If you are interested in that service, go to, or send an email to:

to be included in the beta for the next generation."

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Struggle for Music Copyright

For the dedicated pursuers of copyright, Michael W. Carroll, of the Villanova University School of Law, has an interesting paper on the history of copyright as applied to music.

What the Environmental Justice Movement Might Teach Us

David Bollier has been thinking about what the environmental justice movement might teach us.

Sony drm may go on anti virus hit lists

This is really funny, if you don't like drm. Kaspersky and Sophos have been scathing about Sony's drm and the security holes it creates and may put it on their anti virus hitlists.

The Princess Bride

I read William Goldman's, The Princess Bride, whilst on holiday with my family last week. The italicized interruptions, where he details his troubles with his fictional family (cold psychiatrist wife and fat son, whereas in reality he has two daughters and no sons), the S.Morgensten estate (he claims to be merely abridging Morgenstern's original), 'Florinese' scholars (who supposedly criticise his abridgement) and Hollywood, are as entertaining as the main narrative itself. They demonstrate not only a wonderfully inventive story telling technique but also that the frustrations of the intellectual property landscape existed well in advance of our current digital age.

His tales of woe regarding the abridgement have a seriously authentic feel but there are loads of clues like the name of the Morgenstern estate's lawyer, Kermit Shog. In the 25th anniversary edition of the book he includes a story about his now athletic son convincing him to write a sequel, Buttercup's Baby. After years of lawsuits with estate, a timely peace offer arrives, coincidently just as he decides to do it. The peace offer has a sting in the tail, though, as they are only offering to drop all the lawsuits in exhange for his public blessing for a sequel written by Stephen King. The estate is keen to cash in on royalties and King sells more books. Total fiction, as Stephen King himself relates on his own website.

The book or at least the interludes should be required reading for students of intellectual property, amateur or professional.

CCC & Blackboard

Michael Madison on the Copyright Clearance Center/Blackboard deal.

LSE estimate of ID card costs goes up

The latest findings of the London School of Economics investigations of the UK government's ID card scheme are expected to say that the cost will rise to about £500 per card, according to the Sunday Times. I lok forward to seeing the report. The LSE's earlier research has been by far the most comprehensive and balanced assessment of the proposals to be found anywhere.

House of Lords on ID cards

Ian also has some fantastic quotes from the House of Lords debate on ID cards. One of my favorites was from Lord Waddington:

"In one case in 1951, Lord Goddard castigated the police for using powers passed to safeguard national security to require motorists to produce identity cards as a matter of routine whenever they were stopped on the road for whatever reason. In another case, two girls minded to spend the night in a hotel with men friends registered in false names and were prosecuted—mark you, prosecuted under a measure passed for reasons of national security. I do not think that anyone in the House today would be brave enough to say that under this scheme, such abuse would not take place... I do not argue that no national identification scheme could ever be justified, but when the Government present to Parliament a Bill that gives the Secretary of State power to make no less than 61 statutory instruments; when they ask for enormously wide powers to collect and store on a national identity register information about every person in the land and then allow that information to be accessed by a wide range of public bodies; when they seek power to require the citizen to have a card and to pay the cost of getting it, and keeping it up to date, it is surely up to the Government to show not just that some benefit may come of it all, but that the scheme is absolutely necessary to meet the threat that the country faces and that the cost in terms of individual liberty and money is absolutely justified. So far, the Government have done nothing of the sort."

EU Data Protection Commissioners criticise data retention plans

From Ian Brown via his brand new blog:
EU Data Protection Commissioners criticise data retention plans