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.