Thursday, December 12, 2002

Mike Godwin's come up with an interesting solution for the digital television transition. He's now working as lead counsel for Public Knowledge

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Ernie the Attorney on the recent Richard Posner speech criticising the expansion of copyright law. Doc Searls on IP v Net protocols at Comdex.
Findlaw article on the Pavlovich DeCSS case. Jurisdiction depending on intent and what constitues an active or passive website? Ernest Miller doesn't consider it too enlightening a commentary, though.
Is this real or a sad reflection of the risk aversity we're locking ourselves into as a society? Not a very bright thing to do but is saying on a bus "We're going to the taliban don't worry about it" sufficient to create this kind of fuss? Apparently so. I guess this is one bus driver who won't be making any more terrorist jokes.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Looks like the general decline in standards of maths is being used to someone's advantage. Specifically an Andras Pellionisz, who is seeking a patent on a scientific method, using mathematical techniques to study DNA. But then Amazon did get a patent on the one click business method and Roger Schlafly did get a patent on two prime numbers. So why should this be surprising?

Friday, November 22, 2002

Microsoft researchers have presented an interesting paper to the Association of Computing Machinery DRM conference, saying that DRM is pointless in the long term. The Register has an accessible report on it.

Judge Richard Posner has criticised the vast expansion of intellectual property laws, including the CTEA, in a widely publicised speech. Posner is a very highly respected Appeals court judge and prolific legal and economics scholar. His views are not surprising but the news organisations have picked up on them now. They seem to think it is odd that someone, who is known for their conservative stance, could have this kind view about intellectual property. Judge Alex Kozinsky and representative Orin Hatch are amongst other prominent conservatives questioning some developments in IP. Larry Lessig has been saying for some time that this is not about whether somebody has left wing or right wing views. I wonder if the message will ever get through?

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Apple guru Adam Engst has written in TidBITS about 'the evil that is the DMCA'. It constitutes a pretty comprehensive attack on the DMCA and trusted computing systems. An extract - "Much has been written about what's wrong with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). After all, it's been used to jail
programmers, threaten professors, and censor publications, and because of it, foreign scientists have avoided traveling to the
U.S. and prominent researchers have withheld their work"

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Why, when it comes to intellectual property, can we often not see the wood for the trees? A journalist has just received a cease and desist letter telling him not to use his own name. His name? Bill Wyman.

There an interesting problem brewing over EULAs (end user license agreements) according to Robert X. Cringely. It's come about due to a handful of participants subverting Sony's online role playing game, Everquest. They're cheating by using a linux box to give them an overview of the fantasy world that normal players can't see. Apparently that's not allowed by Sony's EULA but they're tolerating it because there are only a few linux geeks involved. There are some indications that the cheating tools now may get ported to windows, in which case the number of players cheating will likely increase. Does this mean Sony will start throwing people off the game as their EULA suggests. It's possible. Cringely reckons it's even possible that Sony may covertly participate in the undermining of their $100 million a year revenue generator, as a way to encourage players to move to their newall singing all dancing online gaming experience. Conspiracy or cock-up? I go for the explanation of increasing entropy.

Berkeley's IP weblog is reporting that "a broad agreement has been struck at the world trade talks in Sydney that ensures cheap generic copies of patent-protected drugs can reach poor countries. Mark Vaile, Australia's Minister for Trade who hosted the meeting, hailed it as an outstanding success." Oxfam, MSF and other ngos are criticising the agreement however on rich-poor nations divide grounds, the politics being stacked in favor of the rich.

Friday, November 15, 2002

A movie executive believes movie piracy deserves as much attention as the war on terrorism. Australian IT reports Star Wars producer, Rick McCallum, as claiming the film making business will be dead in three years if it doesn't deal with Internet piracy.

The latest edition of Bruce Schneier's Crypto-Gram is a short one because he's working on a new book. Nevertheless, informative as ever.

Ed Felten recently suspended daily entries in his 'Fritz's Hit List' where he lists examples of the kind of things which will need copyright protection built in if the CBDTPA ever becomes law in the US. Just some examples - cockpit voice recorders, talking dog collars, military bugles, digital church bells, speed cameras, musical car horns, buggies to explore the surface of Mars, digital sewing machines, aircraft intercoms, talking pill bottles, Wallace and Gromit talking alarm clock, christmas ornaments, audio greeting cards, toy cash registers and, I kid you not, a remote controlled fart machine.
UNESCO's Information Society Division director, Philippe Quéau, seems to have a similar perspective to Lawrence Lessig. In The World Split in Two. In Search of Ethics and a political Economy for the Information Society he worries about evolving telecoms monopolies and the commercialisation of knowledge. He's particularly concerned about crucial policy questions being "left to extremely narrow circles of specialists, who prepare legislation likely to impact on the entire world, concerning intellectual property rights for example, without any real democratic debate."
The American Library Association are running a conference on the USA PATRIOT Act in December. "SAFEGUARDING OUR PATRONS' PRIVACY: What Every Librarian Needs
to Know About the USA PATRIOT Act & Related Anti-Terrorism Measures." They're intending to cover the Homeland Security bill which has just got passed in the House too.

Siva Vaidhyanathan, author of Copyrights and Copywrongs is due to publish his new book soon. The Anarchist in the Library look at the politics of peer to peer networks.

Lawmeme at Yale report on a case of a Turkish hacker helping the FBI to catch two child abusers. The cases raise interesting legal questions. The judge in one, for example, concluded that the hacker was acting as an agent of law enforcement and was in breach of the 4th amendment, hence his evidence was excluded from the case. The report also points out that the CSEA part of Homeland Security Act doesn't account for hackers who do good.