this is bad  

So I’d been asked to write a book about whatever I wanted, and this editor didn’t even know whether I’d written anything before. It didn’t matter. It would sell its 300 copies regardless. Not to people with an interest in reading the book, but to librarians who would put it on a shelf and then, a few years later, probably bury it in a storeroom.Most academics get these requests. A colleague was recently courted by an editor who, after confessing they only published expensive hardbacks (at around £200), explained that this was an opportunity for my colleague to enhance his academic record. He was told he could give them pretty much anything, like an old report, or some old articles.“I can’t believe anyone would write a book that would be too expensive for anyone to buy,” the colleague told me over the phone. “Just to add a line to your cv.”Another colleague, on discovering his published book was getting widespread attention but was too expensive to buy, tried to get the publishers to rush out a cheaper paperback version. They ignored his request.These may sound like stories of concern to academics alone. But the problem is this: much of the time that goes into writing these books is made possible through taxpayers’ money. And who buys these books? Well, university libraries – and they, too, are paid for by taxpayers. Meanwhile, the books are not available for taxpayers to read – unless they have a university library card.In the US, taxpayers are said to be spending $139bn a year on research, and in the UK, £4.7bn. Too much of that money is disappearing into big pockets.So what are the alternatives? We could stop publishing these books altogether – which may be advisable in a time of hysterical mass publication . Or we publish only with decent publishers, who believe that books are meant to be read and not simply profited from. And if it’s only a matter of making research available, then of course there’s open source publishing, which most academics are aware of by now.So why don’t academics simply stay away from the greedy publishers? The only answer I can think of is vanity.

Source: Academics are being hoodwinked into writing books nobody can buy | Higher Education Network | The Guardian

Hello,We represent the Saint Joseph University of Beirut, Lebanon and we would like to kindly ask you to forbid access to both our IPs (we are sure you can find them otherwise contact us to provide them to you) to the website libgen.org.We have included you in our restricted list in the institution firewall, but students have found ways to bypass it. We hope you could make it radical from your side.Please note that many students have been severely punished for using this website. We are only asking for this, in order to spare the others.We pay yearly subscriptions to many Editors and hope to stay “legal”. We appreciate all your efforts and respect them. We hope to come to an understanding together.Thank you very much.Hoping to hear from you very soon.PS: Move this thread to where it should be if needed, we couldn’t find an appropriate thread for such a request.

Source: Students accessing LG and fair use doctrine

Adobe has just given us a graphic demonstration of how not to handle security and privacy issues.A hacker acquaintance of mine has tipped me to a huge security and privacy violation on the part of Adobe. That anonymous acquaintance was examining Adobe’s DRm for educational purposes when they noticed that Digital Editions 4, the newest version of Adobe’s Epub app, seemed to be sending an awful lot of data to Adobe’s servers.My source told me, and I can confirm, that Adobe is tracking users in the app and uploading the data to their servers. Adobe was contacted in advance of publication, but declined to respond. Edit: Adobe responded Tuesday night.And just to be clear, I have seen this happen, and I can also tell you that Benjamin Daniel Mussler, the security researcher who found the security hole on Amazon.com, has also tested this at my request and saw it with his own eyes.

via Adobe is Spying on Users, Collecting Data on Their eBook Libraries – The Digital Reader.

The report noted that some within MIT believe “there has been a change in the institutional climate over recent years, where decisions have become driven more by a concern for minimizing risk than by strong affirmation of MIT values.”

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act has been widely condemned as extreme in both its sweeping scope and its grave punishments. Sentencing guidelines suggest Swartz faced up to seven years in prison.

To his supporters, MIT bears some responsibility for that fact. MIT officials privately told the prosecutor that the university had no interest in jail time, but refused to oppose his prosecution publicly or privately, despite repeated entreaties from Swartz’s father, his lawyers, and a couple of faculty members, who argued MIT had the institutional heft to influence the US attorney’s office.

via Aaron Swartz and MIT: The inside story – Metro – The Boston Globe.

“As for my incarceration. Was it worth it? NO.”“Nothing is worth losing your freedom, would I do it again … hmmm I don’t know. I learned so much from it. Without it I wouldn’t have learned HTML and PHP. Both of which I use on the website I made for the Robotics teams I used to Mentor. They probably won’t want a felon to Mentor the kids.”

via IMAGiNE BitTorrent Group Sysop Speaks Out as He Heads to Prison | TorrentFreak.

Last night, robots shut down the live broadcast of one of science fictions most prestigious award ceremonies. No, youre not reading a science fiction story. In the middle of the annual Hugo Awards event at Worldcon, which thousands of people tuned into via video streaming service UStream, the feed cut off — just as Neil Gaiman was giving an acceptance speech for his Doctor Who script, “The Doctors Wife.” Where Gaimans face had been were the words, “Worldcon banned due to copyright infringement.” What the hell?Jumping onto Twitter, people who had been watching the livestream began asking what was going on. How could an award ceremony have anything to do with copyright infringement?Bestselling science fiction author Tobias Buckell tweeted: tobiasbuckell@tobiasbuckell Oh, FFS. Ustream just shut down live worldcon feed for copyright infringement.2 Sep 12 ReplyRetweetFavoriteAnd then it began to dawn on people what happened. Gaiman had just gotten an award for his Doctor Who script. Before he took the stage, the Hugo Awards showed clips from his winning episode, along with clips from some other Doctor Who episodes that had been nominated, as well as a Community episode.Wrote Macworld editorial director Jason Snell: Jason Snell@jsnell Ustream just shut down the #Hugos live stream because they showed clips of the TV nominees. Automated copyright patrols ruin more things.2 Sep 12 ReplyRetweetFavoriteThis was, of course, absurd. First of all, the clips had been provided by the studios to be shown during the award ceremony. The Hugo Awards had explicit permission to broadcast them. But even if they hadnt, it is absolutely fair use to broadcast clips of copyrighted material during an award ceremony. Unfortunately, the digital restriction management DRM robots on UStream had not been programmed with these basic contours of copyright law.

via How copyright enforcement robots killed the Hugo Awards.Last night, robots shut down the live broadcast of one of science fictions most prestigious award ceremonies. No, youre not reading a science fiction story. In the middle of the annual Hugo Awards event at Worldcon, which thousands of people tuned into via video streaming service UStream, the feed cut off — just as Neil Gaiman was giving an acceptance speech for his Doctor Who script, “The Doctors Wife.” Where Gaimans face had been were the words, “Worldcon banned due to copyright infringement.” What the hell?Jumping onto Twitter, people who had been watching the livestream began asking what was going on. How could an award ceremony have anything to do with copyright infringement?Bestselling science fiction author Tobias Buckell tweeted: tobiasbuckell@tobiasbuckell Oh, FFS. Ustream just shut down live worldcon feed for copyright infringement.2 Sep 12 ReplyRetweetFavoriteAnd then it began to dawn on people what happened. Gaiman had just gotten an award for his Doctor Who script. Before he took the stage, the Hugo Awards showed clips from his winning episode, along with clips from some other Doctor Who episodes that had been nominated, as well as a Community episode.Wrote Macworld editorial director Jason Snell: Jason Snell@jsnell Ustream just shut down the #Hugos live stream because they showed clips of the TV nominees. Automated copyright patrols ruin more things.2 Sep 12 ReplyRetweetFavoriteThis was, of course, absurd. First of all, the clips had been provided by the studios to be shown during the award ceremony. The Hugo Awards had explicit permission to broadcast them. But even if they hadnt, it is absolutely fair use to broadcast clips of copyrighted material during an award ceremony. Unfortunately, the digital restriction management DRM robots on UStream had not been programmed with these basic contours of copyright law.

via How copyright enforcement robots killed the Hugo Awards.

Allowing students access to unpaid, small excerpts of copyrighted works promotes the spread of knowledge because it reduces the cost of education, the judge said. On the other hand, decreased income for publishers could reduce their ability to produce academic textbooks and scholarly works, thereby diminishing the spread of knowledge.Evans said that “decidedly small” excerpts could be copied by Georgia State. In most circumstances, she determined, it is permissible for universities and colleges to copy 10 percent of a book or one chapter of a book with 10 or more chapters.Brandon Butler, director of public policy initiatives for the Association of Research Libraries, said the publishers lawsuit had had a chilling effect on university libraries. “There was a feeling of being under siege,” he said. “They took us to court saying we were shameless pirates.”

via Judge rules largely for Georgia State in copyright case  | ajc.com.Allowing students access to unpaid, small excerpts of copyrighted works promotes the spread of knowledge because it reduces the cost of education, the judge said. On the other hand, decreased income for publishers could reduce their ability to produce academic textbooks and scholarly works, thereby diminishing the spread of knowledge.Evans said that “decidedly small” excerpts could be copied by Georgia State. In most circumstances, she determined, it is permissible for universities and colleges to copy 10 percent of a book or one chapter of a book with 10 or more chapters.Brandon Butler, director of public policy initiatives for the Association of Research Libraries, said the publishers lawsuit had had a chilling effect on university libraries. “There was a feeling of being under siege,” he said. “They took us to court saying we were shameless pirates.”

via Judge rules largely for Georgia State in copyright case  | ajc.com.

“Just 30 minutes after Whitney Houston died, Sony Music raised the price of Houston’s greatest hits album, ‘Ultimate Collection,’ on iTunes and Amazon. Many technologists, including chairman of the NY Tech Meetup Andrew Rasiej, suggests that Sony should be boycotted for the move. In a tweet, Rasiej wrote, ‘Geez Sony raised price on Whitney Houston’s music 30 min after death was announced. #FAIL…We should boycott Sony.'”

via Sony Raises Price of Whitney Houston’s Music 30 Minutes After Death – Slashdot.“Just 30 minutes after Whitney Houston died, Sony Music raised the price of Houston’s greatest hits album, ‘Ultimate Collection,’ on iTunes and Amazon. Many technologists, including chairman of the NY Tech Meetup Andrew Rasiej, suggests that Sony should be boycotted for the move. In a tweet, Rasiej wrote, ‘Geez Sony raised price on Whitney Houston’s music 30 min after death was announced. #FAIL…We should boycott Sony.'”

via Sony Raises Price of Whitney Houston’s Music 30 Minutes After Death – Slashdot.

An international alliance of publishers, including Cambridge University Press, Elsevier and Pearson Education Ltd, has served successful cease-and-desist orders on a piracy operation with an estimated turnover of £7m.The two platforms, sharehoster service www.ifile.it and link library www.library.nu, had together created an “internet library” making more than 400,000 e-books available as free illegal downloads. The operators generated an estimated turnover of €8m £6.7m through advertising, donations and sales of premium-level accounts, according to a report by German law firm Lausen which helped co-ordinate the alliance.The other publishers involved also comprised Georg Thieme; HarperCollins; Hogrefe; Macmillan Publishers Ltd; Cengage Learning; John Wiley & Sons;the McGraw-Hill Companies; Pearson Education Inc; Oxford University Press; Springer; Taylor & Francis; C H Beck; and Walter De Gruyter. The alliance was also co-ordinated by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association Börsenverein and the International Publishers Association IPA,Jens Bammel, secretary general of the IPA, said: “Today, the international book industry has shown that it continues to stand up against organised copyright crime.”We will not tolerate freeloaders who make unjustified profits by depriving authors and publishers of their due reward. This is an important step towards a more transparent, honest and fair trade of digital content on the Internet,” he said.Alexander Skipis, Börsenverein c.e.o., added: “This case demonstrates, in particular in the context of current debates, that systematic copyright infringement has developed into a highly criminal and lucrative business.”

via International publisher alliance shuts down piracy site | The Bookseller.An international alliance of publishers, including Cambridge University Press, Elsevier and Pearson Education Ltd, has served successful cease-and-desist orders on a piracy operation with an estimated turnover of £7m.The two platforms, sharehoster service www.ifile.it and link library www.library.nu, had together created an “internet library” making more than 400,000 e-books available as free illegal downloads. The operators generated an estimated turnover of €8m £6.7m through advertising, donations and sales of premium-level accounts, according to a report by German law firm Lausen which helped co-ordinate the alliance.The other publishers involved also comprised Georg Thieme; HarperCollins; Hogrefe; Macmillan Publishers Ltd; Cengage Learning; John Wiley & Sons;the McGraw-Hill Companies; Pearson Education Inc; Oxford University Press; Springer; Taylor & Francis; C H Beck; and Walter De Gruyter. The alliance was also co-ordinated by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association Börsenverein and the International Publishers Association IPA,Jens Bammel, secretary general of the IPA, said: “Today, the international book industry has shown that it continues to stand up against organised copyright crime.”We will not tolerate freeloaders who make unjustified profits by depriving authors and publishers of their due reward. This is an important step towards a more transparent, honest and fair trade of digital content on the Internet,” he said.Alexander Skipis, Börsenverein c.e.o., added: “This case demonstrates, in particular in the context of current debates, that systematic copyright infringement has developed into a highly criminal and lucrative business.”

via International publisher alliance shuts down piracy site | The Bookseller.

Earlier today, Megaupload released a pop video featuring mainstream artists who endorse the cyberlocker service. News of the controversial Mega Song even trended on Twitter, but has now been removed from YouTube on copyright grounds by Universal Music. Kim Dotcom says that Megaupload owns everything in the video, and that the label has engaged in dirty tricks in an attempt to sabotage their successful viral campaign.

This morning we published an article on a new campaign by cyberlocker service Megaupload.

Site founder Kim Dotcom told TorrentFreak he had commissioned a song from producer Printz Board featuring huge recording artists including P Diddy, Will.i.am, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Chris Brown, The Game and Mary J Blige. These and others were shouting the praises of Megaupload.

By this afternoon #megaupload was trending on Twitter as news of the song spread. Little surprise interest was so high; Megaupload is described as a rogue site by the RIAA and here are some of their key labels’ artists promoting the service in the most powerful way possible – through a song.

And then, just a little while ago, the music stopped. Visitors to YouTube hoping to listen to the Mega Song were met with the following message.

Mega Song Blocked

TorrentFreak immediately contacted Kim to find out what was happening.

“Those UMG criminals. They are sending illegitimate takedown notices for content they don’t own,” he told us. “Dirty tricks in an effort to stop our massively successful viral campaign.”

So did Universal have any right at all to issue YouTube with a takedown notice? Uncleared samples, anything?

“Mega owns everything in this video. And we have signed agreements with every featured artist for this campaign,” Kim told TorrentFreak.

“UMG did something illegal and unfair by reporting Mega’s content to be infringing. They had no right to do that. We reserve our rights to take legal action. But we’d like to give them the opportunity to apologize.”

“UMG is such a rogue label,” Kim added, wholly appreciating the irony.

A few minutes after this exchange Kim contacted us with good news. After filing a YouTube copyright takedown dispute, the video was reinstated. But alas, just seconds later, it was taken down again.

“We filed a dispute, the video came back online and now it’s blocked again by UMG and the automated YouTube system has threatened to block our account for repeat infringement,” Kim explained.

TorrentFreak spoke with Corynne McSherry, Intellectual Property Director at EFF, who says this type of copyright abuse is nothing new.

“This appears to be yet another example of the kind of takedown abuse we’ve seen under existing law — and another reason why Congress should soundly reject the broad new powers contemplated in the Internet Blacklist Bills, aka SOPA/PIPA.

“If IP rightholders can’t be trusted to use the tools already at their disposal — and they can’t — we shouldn’t be giving them new ways to stifle online speech and creativity,” McSherry concludes.

Sherwin Siy, Deputy Legal Director at Public Knowledge, worries that this type of sweeping power would only be augmented with the arrival of the SOPA anti-piracy bill in the US.

“If UMG took down a video it has no rights to, then what we have here is exactly the sort of abuse that careless, overzealous, or malicious copyright holders can create by abusing a takedown law,” he told us.

“What makes this even worse is that UMG, among others, is pushing to expand its power to shut people down by fiat–SOPA lets rightsholders de-fund entire websites with the same sort of non-reviewed demand that removed this video,” he concludes.

Megaupload’s Kim Dotcom informs us that he has now submitted an international counter notification to YouTube, informing them that UMG has no rights to anything in the video and that the label abused the YouTube takedown system to sabotage the company’s business.

“It’s ridiculous how UMG is abusing their intervention powers in YouTube’s system to stop our legitimate campaign. They are willfully sabotaging this viral campaign. They own no rights to this content,” Kim insists.

“What UMG is doing is illegal. And those are the people who are calling Mega rogue? Insanity!”

Streisand Effect, here we come again.

Update: “The fact that this expression could be silenced by a major label — without any apparent infringement — should be seriously troubling to anyone who cares about artists’ speech rights,” says Casey Rae-Hunter, Deputy Director, Future of Music Coalition. “If this can happen to Snoop Dogg and others, it can happen to anyone.”

via Universal Censors Megaupload Song, Gets Branded a “Rogue Label” | TorrentFreak.

This is strange on so many levels. Police and customs claim that they have seized a big time criminal gang operating an illegal warez service making thousands of copyrighted materials available for a fee.

In the same time the images they have taken show a pretty run down flat, definitely not the big time lair of the evil criminals we get used to in james bond movies despite of the few million hufs (few thousand euros) on the table.

On the other hand they boast about catching CINEDUB, a release group, which has little to do with selling warez for change.

add to this the masked squad, the wwII rifle and the coke+credit card on the mirror (from where did they get THAT?) and we land in a very-very unreal universe.

and the reason for this? hollywood put hungary on a blacklist for early CAM releases. apparently this is the operation that sent hollywood on its knees. :)

Lebukott a CINEDUB – YouTube.

The deed is done. Copyright term extension for sound recordings from 50 to 70 years was adopted yesterday (12 September 2011) by qualified majority in the European Council. The remaining opposition came from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden. Austria and Estonia abstained.

The chorus of approval has been led by aging artists, masking the fact that for more than a decade the lobby for copyright extension has been resourced by the multinational record industry. Labels do not want to lose the revenues of the classic recordings of the 1960s which are reaching the end of their current 50 year term. Rather than innovating, right holders find it much easier to exclude competition. Europe is in danger of locking away her music heritage just as digital technology is enabling the opening of the archives.

via Copyright Term | Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management | Bournemouth University.

According to Spanish newspaper El País, the investigation is focused on José Luis Rodríguez Neri, the head of an SGAE subsidiary called the Digital Society of Spanish Authors (SDAE). Neri faces charges of “fraud, misappropriation of funds and disloyal administration.” On Monday, a High Court judge grilled him for more than four hours over the charges.

Investigators say Neri made payments for non-existent services to a contractor that then paid kickbacks to Neri and his associates. The contractor’s books show that it received 5 million euros from SDAE, but only reported 3.7 million euros of those funds to tax authorities.

Although Neri is the focus of the investigation, investigators suspect he did not act alone. A total of nine people associated with SGAE, including its chairman Teddy Bautista, were detained on Friday and Saturday. They were released on Sunday without bail, but their passports have been taken and they are barred from leaving Spain.

via Spanish anti-piracy execs busted for ripping off artists – Boing Boing.

Signing a deal that makes anyone a net profit participant in a Hollywood movie deal has always been a sucker’s bet. In an era where studios have all but eliminated first dollar gross and invited talent to share the risk and potential rewards, guess what? Net profit deals are still a sucker’s bet. I was slipped a net profit statement below for Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, the 2007 Warner Bros sequel. Though the film grossed $938.2 million worldwide, the accounting statement below conveys that the film is still over $167 million in the red. Text continues below…harry potter net profits

via STUDIO SHAME! Even Harry Potter Pic Loses Money Because Of Warner Bros’ Phony Baloney Net Profit Accounting – Deadline.com.

LibraryGoblin sez, “HarperCollins has decided to change their agreement with e-book distributor OverDrive. They forced OverDrive, which is a main e-book distributor for libraries, to agree to terms so that HarperCollins e-books will only be licensed for checkout 26 times. Librarians have blown up over this, calling for a boycott of HarperCollins, breaking the DRM on e-books–basically doing anything to let HarperCollins and other publishers know they consider this abuse.”

I've talked to a lot of librarians about why they buy DRM books for their collections, and they generally emphasize that buying ebooks with DRM works pretty well, generates few complaints, and gets the books their patrons want on the devices their patrons use. And it's absolutely true: on the whole, DRM ebooks, like DRM movies and DRM games work pretty well.

But they fail really badly. No matter how crappy a library's relationship with a print publisher might be, the publisher couldn't force them to destroy the books in their collections after 26 checkouts. DRM is like the Ford Pinto: it's a smooth ride, right up the point at which it explodes and ruins your day.

HarperCollins has some smart and good digital people (they're my UK/Australia/South Africa publisher, and I've met a ton of them). But batshit insane crap like this is proof that it doesn't matter how many good people there are at a company that has a tool at its disposal that is as dangerous and awful as DRM: the gun on the mantelpiece in act one will always go off by act three.

And that's why libraries should just stop buying DRM media for their collections. Period. It's unsafe at any speed.

I mean it. When HarperCollins backs down and says, “Oh, no, sorry, we didn't mean it, you can have unlimited ebook checkouts,” the libraries' answers should be “Not good enough. We want DRM-free or nothing.” Stop buying DRM ebooks. Do you think that if you buy twice, or three times, or ten times as many crippled books that you'll get more negotiating leverage with which to overcome abusive crap like this? Do you think that if more of your patrons come to rely on you for ebooks for their devices, that DRM vendors won't notice that your relevance is tied to their product and tighten the screws?

You have exactly one weapon in your arsenal to keep yourself from being caught in this leg-hold trap: your collections budget. Stop buying from publishers who stick time-bombs in their ebooks. Yes, you can go to the Copyright Office every three years and ask for a temporary exemption to the DMCA to let your jailbreak your collections, but that isn't Plan B, it's Plan Z. Plan A is to stop putting dangerous, anti-patron technology into your collections in the first place.

The publisher also issued a short statement: “HarperCollins is committed to the library channel. We believe this change balances the value libraries get from our titles with the need to protect our authors and ensure a presence in public libraries and the communities they serve for years to come.”

Josh Marwell, President, Sales for HarperCollins, told LJ that the 26 circulation limit was arrived at after considering a number of factors, including the average lifespan of a print book, and wear and tear on circulating copies.

As noted in the letter, the terms will not be specific to OverDrive, and will likewise apply to “all eBook vendors or distributors offering this publisher's titles for library lending.” The new terms will not be retroactive, and will apply only to new titles. More details on the new terms are set to be announced next week.

For the record, all of my HarperCollins ebooks are also available as DRM-free Creative Commons downloads. And as bad as HarperCollins' terms are, they're still better than Macmillan's, my US/Canadian publisher, who don't allow any library circulation of their ebook titles.

via HarperCollins to libraries: we will nuke your ebooks after 26 checkouts – Boing Boing.

My laptop was stolen.

It was a Lenovo x200s with an SSD drive, type LEN 7469-74G NS474HV.

The serial number is: SL3ADT0B

The lenovo sticker is missing from the outer side of the screen. it has hungarian keyboard. In case you find it, please drop me an email. :)Ellopták a laptopom.

Lenovo x200s volt SSD meghajtóval, valószínüleg kevés ilyen van az országban. A típusa LEN 7469-74G NS474HV. Magyar a billentyűzet.

A gép sorozatszáma: SL3ADT0B

A lenovo matrica hiányzik a házról. Ha nálad kötött ki, vagy találkozol a géppel, kérlek keress meg.

True To You

Morrissey would like it to be known that he has not been consulted by EMI/HMV/Parlophone with regards to two forthcoming boxed sets of Morrissey singles. Morrissey does not approve such releases and would ask people not to bother buying them. Morrissey receives no royalty payments from EMI for any back catalogue, and has not received a royalty from EMI since 1992. Morrissey also does not approve of, and was not consulted on, the Rhino box of Smiths CDs, or the Warner releases of Smiths LPs on 180 gramme vinyl. Morrissey last received a royalty payment from Warners ten years ago, and, once again, he would ask people not to bother buying the reissued LPs or CDs.

Forbes.com

A Dutch court ruled Thursday that three men connected with The Pirate Bay Web site must block traffic between it and the Netherlands within 10 days.

The written ruling by Judge Wil Tonkens concludes that the men have control over the site and ordered them “each separately and together, to stop and keep stopped the infringements on copyright and related rights of Stichting Brein in the Netherlands,” or face a charge of euro30,000 ($42,000) per day.

Stichting Brein is a Dutch-based organization funded by various copyright holder groups that brought the civil suit against The Pirate Bay.

It was not clear how the court expected the site’s operators to block traffic to the site, or whether it can enforce its order if they decline or are unable to comply.

“The Pirate Bay is not a legal person who can be summoned, but a cooperative,” the ruling noted.

The Pirate Bay provides an index to BitTorrent files, which can be used for trading media such as movies, music and computer games. The site has more than 20 million users globally.

via mangare

Pogue’s Posts Blog – NYTimes.com

This morning, hundreds of Amazon Kindle owners awoke to discover that books by a certain famous author had mysteriously disappeared from their e-book readers. These were books that they had bought and paid for—thought they owned.
1984A screen shot from Amazon.com The MobileReference edition of the novel, “Nineteen Eighty-four,” by George Orwell that was deleted from Kindle e-book readers by Amazon.com.

But no, apparently the publisher changed its mind about offering an electronic edition, and apparently Amazon, whose business lives and dies by publisher happiness, caved. It electronically deleted all books by this author from people’s Kindles and credited their accounts for the price.

This is ugly for all kinds of reasons. Amazon says that this sort of thing is “rare,” but that it can happen at all is unsettling; we’ve been taught to believe that e-books are, you know, just like books, only better. Already, we’ve learned that they’re not really like books, in that once we’re finished reading them, we can’t resell or even donate them. But now we learn that all sales may not even be final.

As one of my readers noted, it’s like Barnes & Noble sneaking into our homes in the middle of the night, taking some books that we’ve been reading off our nightstands, and leaving us a check on the coffee table.

You want to know the best part? The juicy, plump, dripping irony?

The author who was the victim of this Big Brotherish plot was none other than George Orwell. And the books were “1984” and “Animal Farm.”

Scary.

Umair Haque

“…Sales of his recordings through Sony’s music unit have generated more than $300 million in royalties for Mr. Jackson since the early 1980’s.”

Want to know why we have a zombieconomy? Because the beancounters killed the incentives to create real value.

Let’s use MJ’s tragic death as a mini case-study. $300 million over, for example, 25 years? That’s $12 million a year.

I’m deliberately leaving out ads, endorsements, concerts, etc., to focus on the the structural problems in one industry: music.

If the world’s biggest pop star only made $12 million a year from his recordings, why would anyone make serious music? Where did the rest of the money go? Why, straight into record labels’ pockets. Did they make better music with it? Nope — they made Britney and Lady GaGa. And that’s how they killed themselves: by underinvesting in quality, to rake in the take.

Wait a second — that sounds familiar. You can add back in the endorsements, etc. now — they only double the figure: to about $25 million.

If the world’s biggest pop star only made $25 million a year in total, something’s very, very wrong. Where’s the rest of the money? Why can’t a resource as scarce as the King of Pop capture more value?

After all, that’s not even mega-rich.

The world’s top hedge fund “managers” regularly pull in hundreds of millions. That’s an order of magnitude difference.

No wonder everyone wants to be a banker, investor, or [insert beancounter here]. There’s no money left in anything else.

That’s the big problem behind the zombieconomy. We don’t reward people for creating, growing, nurturing, or even remixing assets. We just reward them for allocating the same old assets.

That ‘s not an economy: it’s just a game of musical chairs.

Hence, no new finance, healthcare, educational, auto, or, yes, music, industry — for decades.

“…Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y’alls neighborhood.”

Indeed. Everytime you look at today’s economic landscape — you should see the Thriller video playing in your head. Because what we’ve built is a zombieconomy, where little net value is created.

And MJ’s death-by-financial-desperation should be a case study in that zombieconomy if ever there was one. Yes, he spent money on absurdly ludicrous stuff. But if top hedge fund managers can do it — why couldn’t the world’s most famous singer?

PS — The ultimate irony? I can’t even link to the Thriller video. It’s unavailable on YouTube in the UK…”due to copyright restrictions”. Lulz.

Pandora Internet Radio –

Dear Pandora Visitor,

We are deeply, deeply sorry to say that due to licensing constraints, we can no longer allow access to Pandora for listeners located outside of the U.S. We will continue to work diligently to realize the vision of a truly global Pandora, but for the time being we are required to restrict its use. We are very sad to have to do this, but there is no other alternative.

Electronic Frontier Foundation

ASCAP (the same folks who went after Girl Scouts for singing around a campfire)
appears to believe that every time your musical ringtone rings in
public, you’re violating copyright law by “publicly performing” it
without a license. At least that’s the import of a brief [2.5mb PDF] it filed in ASCAP’s court battle with mobile phone giant AT&T.

This will doubtless come as a shock to the millions of Americans who
have legitimately purchased musical ringtones, contributing millions to
the music industry’s bottom line. Are we each liable for statutory damages (say, $80,000) if we forget to silence our phones in a restaurant?

USTR – USTR Releases 2009 Special 301 Report

Hungary will remain on the Watch List in 2009. Hungary’s National Board Against Counterfeiting and Piracy, established in January 2008, has promoted collaboration on IPR issues between the Government and the private sector, and issued a two-year IPR strategy to combat counterfeiting and piracy. The United States urges Hungary to take concrete steps to implement its IPR strategy and to improve its IPR enforcement regime. Further improvements are needed to ensure that prosecutors follow through with cases against IP infringers, and that judges are encouraged to impose deterrent-level sentences for civil and criminal IP infringement.

U.S. copyright industries also report that Internet piracy in Hungary is a major problem, and note that the Hungarian Government should provide adequate resources to its law enforcement authorities to combat IPR crime, especially on the Internet. The United States will continue to work with the Hungarian Government to address these IPR concerns.

Index – Tech – Negyvenmilliós büntetés a fájlcserélők megsegítése miatt

A filmstúdiók a gatyáját is leperlik annak a francia postásnak, aki részletesen leírta a weboldalán, hogy miként kell letölteni a filmek kalózmásolatait.

Egy francia bíróság 130 ezer euró, azaz körülbelül 39 millió forint kártérítés megfizetésére kötelezte Sébastien Budin postást, akit azzal vádoltak, hogy illegális filmletöltéshez nyújtott segítséget portálján. A 26 éves filmrajongó az általa létrehozott stationdivx.com webodalra feltette kedvenc filmjeinek az adatait, és azokat a kulcsszavakat, amikkel más rajongók könnyen letölthették a kalózportálokról a filmeket.

A 20minutes.fr portál jelentése szerint a stationdivx.com több mint egy éven át segítette a letöltőket, és a 130 ezer eurót a 20th Century fox, a Warner, a Disney és a többi filmgyár követelte Sébastien Budintól.

A postás fellebbezett az ítélet ellen, és azzal védekezett, hogy ugyanazokat a kulcsszavakat a Google-on is meg lehet találni. Szerinte nem sértett törvényt, csak más filmrajongóknak akart segíteni, önzetlenül. A felsőbb fórum döntésére váró Sébastien Budin segítseteknekem (www.soutenezmoi.free.fr [1]) címen új portált nyitott

Fabchannel Blogpages

Although a lot of labels are facing serious problems these days, they seem to be incapable of starting meaningful partnerships with more than a few worldwide players. You would think that when the end nears they would come out of their shells and start creating new formats and platforms themselves and with others. But the opposite seems to be true. Their focus is getting even shorter and cash is the only king. That really did it for me. After 9 years of trying we still do not have the fuel to keep our service alive: rights to record the majority of concerts in our venues.

TorrentFreak

When BuckCherry found out that their latest single had leaked on BitTorrent, they didn’t try to cover this up, or take the file down. No, instead, they issued a press release (update: the press release has been removed, Google cache), where they stated: “Honestly, we hate it when this s*** happens, because we want our FANS to have any new songs first.”

This is strange to say the least. Not only because their label, Atlantic Records, is known to release (and spam) tracks for free on BitTorrent sites, but also because the press release was more about promoting the band than the actual leak. Without any hard evidence, we suggested that this leak may have been set up to get some free promotion and publicity, which BuckCherry seems to need.

Out of curiosity, we decided to follow this up, to see if this was indeed the case. With some help of a user in the community, we tracked down some of the initial seeders of the torrent. A BitTorrent site insider was kind enough to help us out, because BitTorrent is not supposed to be “abused” like this, and confirmed that the IP of one of the early seeders did indeed belong to the person who uploaded the torrent file.

It turns out that the uploader, a New York resident, had only uploaded one torrent, the BuckCherry track. When we entered the IP-address into the Wiki-scanner, we found out that the person in question had edited the BuckCherry wikipedia entry, and added the name of the band manager to another page.

This confirmed our suspicions, but it was not quite enough, since it could be an overly obsessed fan (if they have fans). So, we decided to send the band manager, Josh Klemme – who happens to live in New York – an email to ask for his opinion on our findings. Klemme, replied to our email within a few hours, and surprisingly enough his IP-address was the same as the uploader.

ReadWriteWeb

When the Yahoo! Music Store closes its doors this fall, the company announced today, past customers dependent on their music “phoning home” to get license approval before playing are out of luck. They’ll be able to continue playing purchased tracks on a single computer, until they make any changes to their operating system.

Arstechnica

The European Union has proposed a plan to retroactively extend the copyright terms on musical recordings for another 45 years. Apparently, it’s unfair for performers who recorded tracks in their twenties not to keep receiving money for them in their seventies; under the current 50-year copyright term, “this means that income stops when performers are retired.” Funny—we thought that most retirees faced the same problem.

Times Online

Anyone who persists in illicit downloading of music or films will be barred from broadband access under a controversial new law that makes France a pioneer in combating internet piracy.

“There is no reason that the internet should be a lawless zone,” President Sarkozy told his Cabinet yesterday as it endorsed the “three-strikes-and-you’re-out” scheme that from next January will hit illegal downloaders where it hurts.

Under a cross-industry agreement, internet service providers (ISPs) must cut off access for up to a year for third-time offenders.

The Mayor of Budapest has convened a conference on the new anti-graffiti measures of the city. I was invited to give a talk, in which I tried to argue that graffiti is a like fever. It is not the malady itself. It is a sign of deep running problems in society. Fighting against graffiti is like trying to treat cancer with antidepressants.  Fruitless.

The whole ppt is here. (76Mbyte)

Entertainment News, Technology News, Media – Variety

For the first time, Spain and Greece join usual suspects Russia, China, Canada and Mexico on a congressional list of countries with the highest levels of piracy.

The Intl. Antipiracy Caucus issued Thursday its annual list of countries “based on levels of piracy and the need for government intervention in lawmaking, enforcement and prosecution of intellectual property theft,” according to the Motion Picture Assn. of America, which supports the caucus.

The list is essentially Congress’ smaller-scale version of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s annual 301 Report. But unlike the 301 Report, the caucus list does not carry with it the authority directly to affect trade relations with any countries.

Still, the MPAA and the Recording Industry Assn. of America hailed the list, and Hollywood particularly emphasized the inclusion of Spain.

“The Spanish government’s persistent failure to address Spain’s epidemic Internet piracy problem, which is wreaking havoc on the legitimate market, has caused Spain to appear on the list,” the MPAA said.

The RIAA said: “Joining China and Russia in ‘the ignominious three’ is Canada, which, notwithstanding numerous public announcements, has failed to join the rest of its partners in the developed world in modernizing its copyright laws to address the challenges — and to seize the opportunities — of the digital age.”

Listening Post from Wired.com

A 25-year-old Brooklyn man has been found guilty of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement in what the Recording Industry Association of America describes as the first-ever federal trial for online criminal copyright infringement primarily featuring music.

Barry Gitarts was convicted Thursday by a federal jury in Virginia, according to the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. He now faces up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and three years of supervised release. In addition, he must “make full restitution” to record labels.

This is no mere file sharing case, so if you share the odd file now and again, you don’t need to worry about facing charges like this. Under the pseudonym “Dextro,” Gitarts was charged with administering a server in Texas for an underground file sharing group called Apocalypse Production Crew.

APC members traded music, games, movies and software amongst themselves but trial testimony portrayed APC as what the RIAA termed a “first provider” or “release group” of pirated content.

According to the RIAA, evidence presented in the case showed that he received payment from the leader of the group in return for this work.

Ars Technica

Hollywood has been granted another victory in its war against piracy, this time at the expense of two linking sites that the Motion Picture Association of America believes profited from enabling copyright infringement. Both ShowStash.net and Cinematube.net have been hit with multimillion dollar judgments recently for copyright infringement of various movies and TV shows.
Even though ShowStash and Cinematube didn’t host any of these files, both were found guilty of contributory copyright infringement, according to the judges’ opinions, because they searched for, identified, collected, and indexed links to illegal copies of movies and TV shows. Aside from monetary damages, both sites are now prohibited from engaging in further activity that would infringe upon the studios’ work.

The damages totaled $2.7 million for ShowStash and $1.3 million for Cinematube, neither of which were particularly well-known to the general Internet community. The MPAA doesn’t seem to care much that it gives free publicity to these tiny sites when it makes announcements of its litigation plans, however. The organization apparently hopes that others will merely feel threatened by the prospect of paying out millions of dollars and shut down voluntarily.

Harsányi László, a Nemzeti Kulturális Alap elnöke, a rettenetesen kommunikált, internetre kivetendő kulturális járulék ötletgazdája az MTV Este című műsorában a következőket mondta:

Havi 20-50 forint havi többlet költségért, amit az előfizető fizet továbbra is ingyen lehet letölteni zenét, filmet.

Bullshit, mondja erre az amerikai. Miért?

Az Igazségügyi és Rendészeti minisztériumban ezekben a napokban zajlik a szerzői jogi törvény módosítása (IRM/EUJFO/460-15 /2008), mely érinti a magáncélú másolatok kérdését is. Az eredeti előterjesztésben a következő javaslat szerepel:

“Az SzJSzT 17/06. számú szakértői véleménye és számos szakirodalmi forrás szerint a nemzetközi, közösségi és hazai szerzői jogi szabályozásból következik, hogy a jogellenes forrásból történő magáncélú másolás egyetlen esetben sem megengedett, sem szabad felhasználásként, sem pedig a jogdíjigényre való korlátozás alapján. Ennek az álláspontnak az egyértelművé tételét végzi el a 35. § (8) bekezdésének módosítása.[…]A 35. § új (8) bekezdése értelmében a 35. § (4) bekezdésében meghatározott célokra történő többszörözések is csak jogszerűen létrejött műpéldányról vagy a nyilvánossághoz jogszerűen közvetített műről történhetnek.”

E javaslat az egyeztetési folyamatban úgy finomodott, hogy csak akkor számít majd jogsértőnek az internetről letöltő felhasználó, ha tudta, vagy tudnia kellett volna, hogy a forrás, ahonnan a másolatot készítette, illegálisan lett közzétéve. Hogy mi az, amiről egy átlagos felhasználónak tudnia kellene azt majd a bíróság dönti el hónapok alatt.

Harsányi:igazság 0:1, a félidőben.

Merthogy mitől lehetnének legálisak az internetes letöltések, így a p2p hálózatok is? Ha jogosultak, az őket képviselő szervezeteken (a közös jogkezelőkön) keresztül, vagy egyénileg, díj ellenében engedélyeznék a felhasználást (letöltést és feltöltést). Azaz ha ugyanez az összeg a jogosultak javaslatára az ő zsebükbe folyna, cserébe ők engedélyezhetnék a felhasználást. Erről természetesen szó nincs, ahogy az NKA által elosztott kulturális járuléknak sincs semmi köze a jogosultaknak járó díjhoz.

Harsányi:igazság 0:2

A kérdés immár csak az, hogy a fenti kijelentés nyelvbotlás volt, vagy inkább annak a jele, hogy a magyar kulturális ellátórendszer egyik erős emberének fogalma sincs arról a területről, amit irányítani és adóztatni szeretne.

Engadget

So last week Deutsche Telekom, owners of the global T-Mobile brand, sent Engadget a late birthday present: a hand-delivered letter direct from their German legal department requesting the prompt discontinuation of the use of the color magenta on Engadget Mobile. Yep, seriously.

TorrentFreak

Following a huge increase in complaints from the music, movie and software industries, the four major Japanese ISP organizations have agreed that they will work with copyright holders to track down copyright infringing file-sharers and disconnect them from the internet.

Index –

A magyar filmek jogait kezelő Magyar Nemzeti Filmarchívum a sorozatos jogviták miatt úgy tűnik, még mindig nem tudja ellátni a feladatát. “Filmtörvény van, de nem működik. A régi filmek forgalmazói jogaival a gyártó stúdiók rendelkeznek – utal Schweier László, a Filmarchívum munkatársa a jelenlegi helyzetre, ami zűrzavarosabb, mint Petőfi sorsa a segesvári csata után. – Nekik pedig úgy látszik, nem fontos, hogy dvd-n is megjelenjenek.”

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Reuters.com

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – A Danish court has ordered Denmark-based Internet service provider Tele2 to shut down its customers’ access to the popular file-sharing site Pirate Bay, Danish IT magazine Computerworld reported on Monday.

Computerworld said on its Web site that a court had ordered Denmark’s Tele2 — one of the Nordic country’s largest Internet providers — to close access to the site at the request of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).

On its Danish Web site, the IFPI said Frederiksberg county court had ordered an Internet provider to shut down its customers’ access to The Pirate Bay.

“The provider had agreed to follow the order and it is expected that other Internet service providers will voluntarily follow the court order,” the organization said.

Tele2 Denmark was bought last year by Norway’s Telenor from Swedish telecoms operator Tele2 and has about a 4 percent market share of Denmark’s roughly 2 million Internet subscriptions.

Tele2 and Telenor were not immediately available to comment, however, Tele2’s regulatory director Nicholai Pfeiffer told Computerworld Tele2 would abide by the ruling.

Other large Danish Internet service providers said they would not immediately follow the order.

The restriction is another blow for the Internet-based music and film sharing site. Last week four men linked to Pirate Bay were charged by a Swedish prosecutor with conspiracy to break copyright law.

The Register

The record industry is pressing the UK’s ISPs for a deal that would see persistent illegal file sharers automatically booted off the net.

High-level talks between the ruling council of internet trade body ISPA and the Music Publishers Association are aiming to settle the historic tension between the two industries.

Comments from a government Minister yesterday hint that an unlikely bargain could be approaching. Lord Triesman said talks are “progressing more promisingly than people might have thought six months ago”.

People familiar with the negotiations say the ISPs would prefer a financial penalty to a full disconnection.

The providers are concerned that terminating access is a disproportionate response. The internet is rapidly becoming an essential part of national infrastructure for consumers, they argue, not merely a source of entertainment.

And from the ISPs’ perspective, the government is sending out mixed signals on the issue.

The Canadian Press

LONDON – British and Dutch police shut down what they say is one the world’s biggest online sources of pirated music Tuesday and arrested the website’s 24-year-old suspected operator.The invitation-only OiNK website specialized in distributing albums leaked before their official release by record companies, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said.

Many among OiNK’s estimated 180,000 members paid “donations” to upload or download albums, often weeks before their release, and within hours albums would be distributed through public forums and blogs across the Internet. Users were invited to the site if they could prove they had music to share, the IFPI said.

The IFPI said more than 60 major albums were leaked on OiNK so far this year, making it the primary source worldwide for illegal prerelease music.

Prerelease piracy is considered particularly damaging to music sales as it leads to early mixes and unfinished versions of artists’ recordings circulating on the Internet months before the release.

Police in Cleveland, in northeast England, said they were tracing the money generated through the website, expected to amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The arrest of a 24-year-old IT worker at a house in Middlesbrough, northeast England, followed a two-year investigation by Dutch and British police and raids co-ordinated by Interpol.

Cleveland police said the man, whose name was not released, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and infringement of copyright law.

OiNK’s servers, in Amsterdam, were shut down by Dutch police, the IFPI said.

“OiNK was central to the illegal distribution of prerelease music online,” said Jeremy Banks, the head of the IFPI’s Internet Anti-Piracy Unit.

“This was not a case of friends sharing music for pleasure. This was a worldwide network that got hold of music they did not own the rights to and posted it online.”

and an OINK user who thinks otherwise…

“Personally i’ve never downloaded a pre-release album on oink (don’t need oink for that, every public tracker has those kind of releases). I like OiNK because you could find that extremely-rare edition that you’d have died for and you could listen to it and decide if that was worth your money.
If you couldn’t find a release on oink, those record probably simply did’t exist.

oh…i’m so sad…”

Nigeria Village Square

Rioting broke out yesterday in the northern Greek port of Thessaloniki as Nigerians, mainly young demonstrators, confronted the Police in that country after the death of a Nigerian immigrant.Greek television showed footage of dozens of smashed windows and several damaged cars. Police said the victim, whose name has not been made public, had been selling CDs and DVDs illegally, and that he jumped from the first floor of a cafeteria to escape a police inspection. His injuries were fatal and he died on the spot.

CNET News.com

An AT&T executive on Wednesday sought to defuse fears that forthcoming tools aimed at identifying pirates on its network will harm the average Net surfer’s online experience.

The planned tactic is “not about heavy-handed tactics that go after the vast majority of our customers that want to consume content legally,” AT&T assistant vice president of regulatory policy Brent Olson said at an antipiracy summit here hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “It’s about making more content available to more people in more ways going forward.”

Read the coverage on the ongoing Capitol vs Thomas trial here.

It is full of gems, like:

“Gabriel [RIAA counsel] asked if it was wrong for consumers to make copies of music which they have purchased, even just one copy. Pariser [BMG’s chief anti-piracy lawyer] replied, “When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song.” Making “a copy” of a purchased song is just “a nice way of saying ‘steals just one copy’,” she said.

Helsingin Sanomat – International Edition – Culture

On Wednesday evening in a house occupied by young squatters in the Helsinki district of Vallila, films downloaded from the Internet were being shown for free in what is called the Pirate Cinema.
About 20 young people sat on threadbare chairs to watch the film Planet Terror by Robert Rodriguez. The projection system involves a laptop computer and a video projector. Popcorn and drinks are sold on the side.

hvg.hu – hírek szünet nélkül :

A francia rendőrség őrizetbe vett egy középiskolai diákot, mert a fiú lefordította az utolsó Harry Potter-kötet első három fejezetét angolról franciára, s feltette az internetre.

Az Aix-en-Provence-ban élő 16 esztendős diák a fordítással és a netes közzététellel nem kívánt anyagi haszonra szert tenni, ennek ellenére lehet, hogy vádat emelnek ellene szerzői jogok megsértése miatt.

A fiút hétfőn vették őrizetbe, de kedden már elengedték. A honlapot, amelyre feltette a szöveget, lezárták. A Harry Potter és a halálos szentek című befejező kötet hivatalos francia fordítása októberben lát napvilágot, a fordító az eredeti mű hivatalos megjelenése, azaz két hete dolgozik az átültetésen.

A Harry Potter-sorozat befejező része a világ leggyorsabban fogyó könyve: a megjelenést követő első 24 óra alatt 11 millió példányban kelt el. A teljes sorozat hét kötete több mint 325 millió példányban kelt el és mintegy 64 nyelven jelent meg világszerte.

hvg.hu – hírek szünet nélkül :

A francia rendőrség őrizetbe vett egy középiskolai diákot, mert a fiú lefordította az utolsó Harry Potter-kötet első három fejezetét angolról franciára, s feltette az internetre.

Az Aix-en-Provence-ban élő 16 esztendős diák a fordítással és a netes közzététellel nem kívánt anyagi haszonra szert tenni, ennek ellenére lehet, hogy vádat emelnek ellene szerzői jogok megsértése miatt.

A fiút hétfőn vették őrizetbe, de kedden már elengedték. A honlapot, amelyre feltette a szöveget, lezárták. A Harry Potter és a halálos szentek című befejező kötet hivatalos francia fordítása októberben lát napvilágot, a fordító az eredeti mű hivatalos megjelenése, azaz két hete dolgozik az átültetésen.

A Harry Potter-sorozat befejező része a világ leggyorsabban fogyó könyve: a megjelenést követő első 24 óra alatt 11 millió példányban kelt el. A teljes sorozat hét kötete több mint 325 millió példányban kelt el és mintegy 64 nyelven jelent meg világszerte.

Funny, I linked to the Techcruch story on the new HP book two days ago and through the trackback link thousands of visitors have arrived to Warsystems. Welcome. Now Techcruch has received a notice and takedown letter from the lawyers of the US HP publisher to stop distributing any copyrighted material (I guess that would be the photo of the title page they run along the article, and the link to the link from where the book can be acquired). This is either a dumb PR move as some suggest, or these guys simply don’t get it.  The revolt around the leaked HD-DVD key was a lesson never learned (and be assured, it will never be forgotten either). Dumb. As I write this, in Cambridge, MA, thousands of kids are running around yelling abracadabra and waving wands, and queuing in front of bookstores to be the first to get the official copies in the morning, and they do not have the slightest idea that they are nothing more than a sad-to-see victims and human billboards of a cold-as-the-sound-of-the-cash-register marketing blitz to publicize this franchise, which in my opinion will eventually be a never ending story, just like the James Bond franchise.

I wonder whether these lawyers will bother busy beeing after the book turns out to be the biggest grossing book release in history?

Techcruch

I, the undersigned, certify under penalty of perjury that the information in this notification is accurate and that I am authorized to act on behalf of J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books and owner of copyright rights therein, and Scholastic Inc., exclusive U.S. publisher of the Harry Potter books, including without limitation the cover and all other art incorporated therein (collectively, the “IP Owner”). I have a good faith belief that the materials identified below are not authorized by the IP Owner, its agent, or the law and therefore infringe the IP Owner’s rights according to state and federal law. Please act expeditiously to remove or disable access to the material or items claimed to be infringing.

p2pnet.net

Hollywood is using its frightening political clout to once again coerce Sweden’s elected and appointed authorities into a step ultimately aimed at closing down its nemesis, The Pirate Bay.

And this time it’s using child pornography as its weapon.

The Inquirer

RATHER THAN STOPPING P2P sites in their tracks, the Motion Picture Association of America has decided to set up a few of its own.

However, the sites have been built by the MPAA outfit Media Defender as honeypots in a bid to entrap P2P users.

Once a person has logged onto one of the sites, the MPAA records the sharers IP address and then sues them into a coma for a huge wodge of cash.

One site has been identified as MiiVi.com. It has a user registration, forum, and “family filter”, offers complete downloads of movies and “fast and easy video downloading all in one great site.”

The site offers software which it claims is to speed up downloading process. However it actually searches your computer for other copyrighted files and reports back to the MPAA laywers.

PC World

A court has ruled that the Belgian ISP Scarlet Extended SA is responsible for blocking illegal file-sharing on its network, setting a precedent that could affect other ISPs in Europe, according to a recording industry group.

Ars Technica

“Our law enforcement resources are seriously misaligned,” NBC/Universal general counsel Cotton said. “If you add up all the various kinds of property crimes in this country, everything from theft, to fraud, to burglary, bank-robbing, all of it, it costs the country $16 billion a year. But intellectual property crime runs to hundreds of billions [of dollars] a year.” Cotton’s comments come in Paul Stweeting’s report on Hollywood’s latest shenanigans on Capitol Hill.

Los Angeles Times:

AT&T Inc. has joined Hollywood studios and recording companies in trying to keep pirated films, music and other content off its network — the first major carrier of Internet traffic to do so.

The San Antonio-based company started working last week with studios and record companies to develop anti-piracy technology that would target the most frequent offenders, said James W. Cicconi, an AT&T senior vice president.

The nation’s largest telephone and Internet service provider also operates the biggest cross-country system for handling Internet traffic for its customers and those of other providers.

Australia hands over man to US courts – National – theage.com.au

BEFORE he was extradited to the United States, Hew Griffiths, from Berkeley Vale in NSW, had never even set foot in America. But he had pirated software produced by American companies.

Now, having been given up to the US by former justice minister Chris Ellison, Griffiths, 44, is in a Virginia cell, facing up to 10 years in an American prison after a guilty plea late last month.

Griffiths’ case — involving one of the first extraditions for intellectual property crime — has been a triumph for US authorities, demonstrating their ability to enforce US laws protecting US companies against Australians in Australia, with the co-operation of the Australian Government.

In some corners of the Australian legal community, however,
there is concern about Griffiths’ case. In a recent article for the
Australian Law Journal, NSW Chief Judge in Equity, Peter
Young, wrote: “International copyright violations are a great
problem. However, there is also the consideration that a country
must protect its nationals from being removed from their homeland
to a foreign country merely because the commercial interests of
that foreign country are claimed to have been affected by the
person’s behaviour in Australia and the foreign country can
exercise influence over Australia.”

Two Hungarian music lover/journalist/artist from the Hungarian language Quart music blog tried to purchase two songs they recently reviewed: an Arcade Fire album and an LCD Sound System album from various online services. The whole article is here in Hungarian, I try to sum up their experiences in English:

iTunes
The iTunes store doesn’t accept Hungarian bank-cards. This option is out.

eMusic
Huge catalog of indie records, but sadly nothing from the big 4, so no Universal distributed Arcade Fire and no Warner distributed LCD.

Rhapsody, Napster
They don’t accept Hungarian bank-cards either.

Zune Marketplace
Zune is not sold in Hungray.

Sony Connect
The songs are tied to Sony devices, which they do not own.

Yahoo! Music Jukebox
This service had serious performance problems, after 20 minutes of trying and several complete freezes they have given up trying.

Allofmp3.com
Perfect service, great prices, but (percieved as?) illegal, and they wanted to play by the rules.

Beatport.com
Great service, but neither of the desired bands are in the catalog. So they have bought something else, in mp3.

Audio Lunchbox
Like eMusic.

Dalok.hu
This Hungarian service is run by the collecting society of performing artists. For little more than 0.50 USD one can buy songs from Hungarian performers. Works great, the price is right, through the catalog needs some expansion.

Songo.hu
Half a million songs in this Hungarian music store, but no LCD or Arcade Fire. Expensive and wma-bound.

T-Online Zeneáruház
The first service where they could find at least a song from the new LCD album. But this is the last good thing that can be said about this service: expensive, wma-bound, extremely user-unfriendly.

Mp3music.hu
Small, but friendly store run by CLS records. No AF or LCD.

So at the end of the day, instead of buying two full albums, preferably in mp3 format, they ended up having only one song in wma. What do music companies think, what will Hungarian potential music buyers do when they realize that even though they are part of the European Union, even though they are willing to pay for music, all they experience is the utter failure of the market?

I would really appreciate if you could share your experiences with us here about how y

Levi’s Turns to Suing Its Rivals – New York Times

United States Patent and Trademark No. 1,139,254 is not much to look at: a pentagon surrounding a childlike drawing of a seagull in flight.

But the design for a Levi’s pocket, first used 133 years ago, has become the biggest legal battleground in American fashion.

Levi
Strauss claims that legions of competitors have stolen its signature
denim stitches — two intersecting arcs and a cloth label — for their
own pockets, slapping them on the seats of high-priced, hip-hugging
jeans that have soared in popularity.

So Levi’s is becoming a
leader in a new arena: lawsuits. The company, once the undisputed king
of denim and now a case study in missed opportunities, has emerged as
the most litigious in the apparel industry when it comes to trademark
infringement lawsuits, firing off nearly 100 against its competitors
since 2001. That’s far more than General Motors, Walt Disney or Nike, according to an analysis by research firm Thomson West.

The map has closed, there is nowhere left to go.

There is no utopia, not a radical, not even a moderate one. There are no more drugs left to experiment with, no more New Left ideas of egalitarianism,  there are no more untested marxist theories, no undiscovered Eastern religions.

Our parents have tried it all and they have failed miserably. All utopias, all ideas, all dissenting voices, all the radical otherness, all their best efforts have led us here.

Where our ideal of uttermost freedom manifests itself in the unrestricted right to share the latest hollywood movies. Where our most courageous secretly mix two songs together.

Now this is insane and clearly against the interest of the artists.

The insanely great songs Apple won’t let you hear. – By Paul Collins – Slate Magazine

JAPAN SALES ONLY

“Killer Tune” is just that: It sounds like the Killers, and it is killer. It’s one of the most popular iTunes downloads for the band Straightener—but you haven’t heard it.

You can’t hear it.

The iTunes Music Store has a secret hiding in plain sight: Log out of your home account in the page’s upper-right corner, switch the country setting at the bottom of the page to Japan, and you’re dropped down a rabbit hole into a wonderland of great Japanese bands that you’ve never even heard of. And they’re nowhere to be found on iTunes U.S. You can listen to 30-second song teasers on the Japanese site, but if you try purchasing “Killer Tune”—or any other tune—from iTunes Japan with your U.S. credit card, you’ll get turned away: Your gaijin money’s no good there.

And there are 20 more countries where iTunes users can lurk among
the samples, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, and
Australia. They won’t let you buy their songs, either. You can find an
EP of Scottish sensations the Fratellis at iTunes United States, for
instance, but their hit glam singalong “Chelsea Dagger” is in nearly
every country except the United States. (Their randy burlesque video for it, naturally, is all over YouTube.)

Even
so, window-shopping in the Japan store remains particularly
instructive. Why? Because variable pricing—a label demand that Apple
loudly and successfully fought off
in other countries—has quietly appeared there in the form of 150- and
200-yen songs. Whether “Killer Tune” gets the success it deserves or
not, someday we might all be turning Japanese.

First it was “Rip! Mix! and Burn!”

Now it is simply just “Burn!” It is the second time in a few weeks when an artist is caught “red-handed” using, remixing, appropriating another artist’s work. Last December Shepard Fairey aka Obey was blamed for borrowing an image from the public domain, now rapper Timbaland is caught “stealing” from another artist.
What’s disturbing is not the cases themselves. Anyone with an average visual literacy knows that Fairey works from whatever he finds and places his works back to the urban visual fabric. Also the name Timbaland that plays with the brand Timberland hints a tendency to borrow. These people do what they are supposed to do: low-level cultural recycling. (I don’t mean this as something negative or worthless. On the contrary: without maggots the whole food-chain would collapse. Inspiration works in mysterious ways.)

What’s disturbing is how the public discussions around these news assess such artistic practices. I do not know those people who participate on these fora. Based on the nicknames and the quality of the arguments it seems many of them are very young and inexperienced. Despite (or rather because?) of this, they seem to be confident using arguments that echo the rhetoric and arguments of RIAA lawyers rather than the arguments of remix culture advocates or artists from Duchamp to George Clinton.
I am afraid that the digital collage-culture, the read-write culture Lessig talks about is endangered not by the direct actions of the content industries, but by their indirect effect on how the next generation thinks about such issues. IP lawsuits get wide coverage in the mainstream media, and as the YouTube download statistics show in the online networks as well. I can only wonder if the cross-referential, inter-textual nature of culture -when it gets mentioned in art history classes or R&B magazines- is also as strong a signal. In courts aesthetic arguments or artistic tradition have less weight than legal arguments, and even if they do get considered, fair use victories, decisions on the scope of fair quotation (Thx Aniko!) get much less popular attention than piracy cases. What news, what kind of pressures shape the minds and norms of the ne(x)t generation? Is everyone of them, who now cry thief, innocent in downloading copyrighted material from the net, using downloaded pictures in their school papers, using cracked software? And if -as I suspect- they aren’t, what kind of standards are consolidating right before our eyes?

Skimming through the thousands of posts it seems that the most serious accusation or rap, the most uncool thing to do is to rip-off another artist. The rip-off can be financial, it can mean the lack of giving proper credits or it can mean not asking for permission. It is associated with a lack of creativity and originality on one hand and exploitation on the other. What is originality, what is creativity? What does “standing on the shoulder of giants” really mean? This debate is at least three centuries old and no end of it can be seen. I do not know if either giving credit, asking for permission or sharing revenues could or should be universal norms. But I am sure that these norms should not apply only to those who are financially successful.

Few arguments from this rich debate enter into the popular discourse, the judgment seem to come more from the gut than from anything else. But gut-reactions are reflexes not reflected upon, imprinted by repeated stimuli (think Pavlov). Bhattacharjee et al. may not have been able to show strong causal connection between legal threats and the level of file-sharing in their article (Bhattacharjee Sudip, Gopal Ram D, Lertwachara Kaveepan, Marsden James R. (2006): Impact Of Legal Threats On Online Music Sharing Activity: An Analysis Of Music Industry Legal Actions, The Journal of Law and Economics, vol. XLIX), but there may be an effect after all, even if a more subtle one and reaching not necessarily the desired aim. Instead of curbing file-sharing it changes how we think about the rules governing creative expression.

If mix, and remix, appropriation, quotation, hommage, collage and all the rest -call it the individualization of the commonplace- becomes uncool, guess what we are left with. Originality? Guess again. 

Independent Online Edition > Business News

The music industry opened up a new front in the war on online music piracy yesterday, threatening to sue internet service providers that allow customers to illegally share copyrighted tracks over their networks.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, or IFPI, said it would take action against internet companies that carry vast amounts of illegally shared files over their networks. It stressed that it would prefer not to pursue such a strategy and is keen to work in partnership with internet providers.

John Kennedy, the chairman of the IFPI, said he had been frustrated by internet companies that have not acted against customers involved in illegal activity. He warned that litigation against ISPs would be instigated “in weeks rather than months”. Barney Wragg, the head of EMI’s digital music division, said the industry had been left “with no other option” but to pursue ISPs in the courts.

Senators aim to restrict Net, satellite radio recording | CNET News.com

“New radio services are allowing users to do more than simply listen to music,” Feinstein said in a statement. “What was once a passive listening experience has turned into a forum where users can record, manipulate, collect and create personalized music libraries.”

So


Satellite and Internet radio services would be required to restrict
listeners’ ability to record and play back individual songs, under new
legislation introduced this week in the U.S. Senate.

this is what the Platform Equality and Remedies for Rights Holders in Music Act, or
Perform Act, propses, reintroduced Thursday by Sens. Dianne Feinstein
(D-Calif.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Joseph Biden (D-Del.) and Lamar
Alexander (R-Tenn.).

this is insane.

Movie Group Claims Win in Chinese Piracy – Breaking – Technology – smh.com.au

A Beijing court has ordered the popular Chinese Web portal
Sohu.com to pay $140,000 in damages for distributing Hollywood
movies online without permission, the movie industry’s trade group
said Friday.

China is regarded as the world’s leading source of illegally copied movies, software and other goods, despite repeated government promises to stamp out the underground industry. The MPA blames piracy in China for costing U.S. studios $244 million in lost box office revenues last year.

The group says Chinese regulators are encouraging a market for pirated movies by allowing only a few dozen foreign titles per year for theatrical release. It said five of the 10 movies cited in its lawsuit against Sohu were not released theatrically in China.

Battle of Britain: Piracy, pricing key DVD issues

LONDON — Price and piracy once again dominated the U.K. home entertainment scene this year, with both issues raising hackles throughout the industry as 2006 draws to a close.

For instance, the major supermarkets here are using DVDs as loss leaders — offering such hot new releases as “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” for less than £10 ($19.60).

Gennaro Castaldo, head of communications at leading U.K. specialist entertainment retailer HMV described the supermarkets’ actions as being “like a cuckoo in the nest that works against the best interests of the industry and other retailers. I can’t think of a thing the supermarkets do in a positive way to develop and sustain the industry.”

He adds that specialists such as HMV have “almost written off the blockbuster releases as revenue earners” because of supermarket pricing and have been forced to concentrate even more on deep catalogs.

[poor, poor retailers being forced to concentrate on deep catalogs. i can’t feel enough sorry for them. and even there they have to compete with bastards like amazon and other e-tailers. maybe they should be forced out of business as well, not just the supermarkets.]

“Giving it away below cost also damages the aspiration to collect DVDs because consumers perceive it as an almost throwaway product,” Castaldo said.

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Castaldo argues that, far from benefiting the consumer, the cumulative effect of this sort of price-cutting is putting specialist retailers at risk and “damaging the diversity of the retail landscape in towns.”

[this is bullshit. supermarkets take the blockbusters, and the rest needs to find its own niche, with its special supply. specialist retailers should be flourishing, shouldn’t they?]

While supermarket pricing on new releases has drawn gasps of pain from specialist home entertainment retailers and distributors alike, some industry leaders, like Universal Pictures International Entertainment president Eddie Cunningham, believe there isn’t much more room for prices to fall — on catalog titles at least.

“But to be honest, I’ve been saying that for 4-5 years,” he explains. “I take a little bit of consolation in the fact that most people must be looking at the £5 catalog price point and saying if they move to £4 they will need a third more volume just to stand still.”

Unofficial estimates suggest that if December retail sales match those of 2005, the U.K. business will see a sell-through volume of about 222 million units. The problem is that the overall value of those sales has fallen roughly 7% thanks to the proliferation of cheap chart releases.

Most distributors and specialist retailers seem at a loss as to what to do to counter the plummeting prices. Some point to the proliferation of giveaway DVDs attached to newspapers as a contributing factor,

[so the studios and other copyright owners selling stuff to magazines cheap enough so they can give it free to consumers. so what we have here? it is called competition my friends, competition. retailers have to compete. finally. thanks god.]

saying that it sends consumers the message that DVDs are virtually free.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, which will release “Casino Royale” next year on DVD, is rumored to be contemplating a particularly high dealer price for the hugely successful Bond movie in a bid to combat price-cutting.

But, for many in the industry, the major issue facing the business is still piracy. Seasoned observers note that the issue has become much worse with the virtual elimination of the independent rental dealer, who provided the eyes and ears at local level in the fight against intellectual property theft.

“We feel abandoned,” said John Worthington, owner of a rental store in Deal, Kent. “On the real frontline, the next person through your door could be someone telling us we are unemployed.”

[John, try to compete. not only with pirates but with other retailers as well. Others can do it, You can do it. see how independent bookstores are doing it:http://www.warsystems.hu/?p=174 ]

Creative Industries minister Shaun Woodward told the British Video Assn. recently that more enforcement officers was not the answer and that the movie business had to tackle the problem on a global scale. “If you only look at it in the context of the U.K., you won’t achieve the solution you want,” he told the association’s recent general meeting.

Responded BVA director general Lavinia Carey: “Enforcement is the key for us and if we could see a lead coming from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in trying to reinvigorate the creative industries’ Intellectual Property Rights focus group or forum as it was then I think that would be extremely welcome.”

The studios are moving to help themselves, however, with sources suggesting that Warner is leading a group of distributors who wish to significantly increase the financial commitment to fighting piracy. They argue that the losses justify the investment.

[Everyone is whining when the status quo is upset by competing distribution channels. Get used to it and be competitive.]

Independent Online Edition > Americas

A group of rock ‘n’ roll’s elder statesmen have launched a legal battle against the owners of a website that sells music memorabilia and rare recordings – claiming they never gave permission for the items to be sold.

“Sagan simply doesn’t have the legal rights to exploit and profit from the extraordinary success of these musicians,” said Jeff Reeves, one of their lawyers. “This memorabilia was created in the first place for the purposes of promoting concerts and as gifts for fans and concert crew. Graham himself did not have the right to sell, reproduce or otherwise exploit these materials as a promoter, and neither does Sagan, who was not authorised to purchase these materials and who has absolutely no connection to the artists or their music.”

I don’t see the problem creating a secondary market for memorabilia. What is going to be next? Trying to control the second hand bookstores and used CD stores?

Yahoo! Canada News

Several major record labels sued the operator of the Russian music website AllofMP3.com, claiming the company has been profiting by selling copies of music without their permission. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in federal court in New York against Moscow-based Mediaservices, which owns AllofMP3 and another music site, allTunes.com.

What kind of authority a US federal court has over a Russian company?

IGN: RIAA Petitions Judges to Lower Artist Royalties:

“Mechanical royalties currently are out of whack with historical and international rates,” RIAA executive VP and General Counsel Steven Marks said. “We hope the judges will restore the proper balance by reducing the rate and moving to a more flexible percentage rate structure so that record companies can continue to create the sound recordings that drive revenues for music publishers.”

Now this sounds very much like RIAA wants to keep the artists on leash. Not only they have lost their grip on the production and distribution segment, they are now in heavy competition with other sources of revenues, that endanger their ability to control artists. Strange tactics, that is for sure.
The story was /.-ted, there the comments were heavily in favor of the artists and against RIAA. This is a signal that those, who do not condemn p2p networks (i guess the slashdot crowd is more on the p2p side) are not automatically against the artists, they are against the music industry.

Russia agrees to shut down Allofmp3.com | CNET News.com:

Russia has agreed to shut down Allofmp3.com and other music sites based in that country that the U.S. government says are offering downloads illegally.

The nation has struck the agreement with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative as it seeks entry to the World Trade Organization. The U.S. has suggested that it would hold up Russia’s acceptance in the WTO unless leaders there took action against digital piracy.

“Russia will take enforcement actions against the operation of Russia-based websites,” according to a press release issued November 19 by the U.S. Trade Representative. “(Russia will) investigate and prosecute companies that illegally distribute copyright works on the Internet.”

On Wednesday, Allofmp3.com was still operating. Gretchen Hamel, a spokeswoman for Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, said that she didn’t know when the deal requires the Russian government to begin taking action.

Allofmp3.com has denied charges of piracy by pointing out that the company is compliant with Russian copyright law. It says it is careful to pay royalties to artists via the Russian Multimedia and Internet Society, which claims to represent copyright holders.

MPAA sues over DVD-to-iPod service:

After the iPod gained the ability to play videos, services sprung up that would rip your DVDs and reencode them for viewing on your iPod. Useful, but illegal in the US. The Motion Picture Association of America has decided to sue one of those DVD ripping and reeconding services. Earlier this month, Load ‘N Go Video was sued by Paramount Pictures in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. The suit accuses Load ‘N Go Video of copyright infringement and violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Based in Boston, Load N’ Go was founded in 2005 to help consumers get video content on to their portable media players. Load N’ Go also sells iPods and DVDs, and will rip DVDs for its customers and load them on to their iPods. The customer then gets the iPod with the movies loaded on it and a copy of the DVD that she legally purchased. The DMCA makes it illegal to circumvent copy protection, even for fair use purposes, so Load N’ Go’s prospects do not look good. The implications of this case are even more troubling. Not only could the MPAA sue any other companies performing similar services, but they clearly believe that they can sue you for ripping DVDs and moving the content to your iPod or other digital media player.

via MarketWatch:

On May 24, lawyers for Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures convinced a federal judge in San Francisco to issue a subpoena requiring YouTube to turn over details about a user who uploaded dialog from the movie studio’s “Twin Towers,” according to a copy of the document.

YouTube promptly handed over the data to Paramount, which on June 16 sued the creator of the 12-minute clip, New York City-based filmmaker Chris Moukarbel, for copyright infringement, in federal court in Washington.

That YouTube chose to turn over the data, rather than simply remove the offending video from its site — as it did Friday when it agreed to take down 30,000 videos at the request of a group of Japanese media companies — came as a surprise to copyright experts.

Slyck News – AllofMP3 Threatens Legal Action Against Visa and MasterCard:

“AllofMP3 will pursue every course of action, including legal options, to reverse Visa’s and MasterCard’s decision.”

What’s next? AllofMP3.com is not taking this situation lightly. It threatens the existence of their business model, as the reported DRM/adware option would surely spell the end of AllofMP3.com. Its likely AllofMP3.com will first attempt to settle its banishment from Visa and MasterCard through appeal. If they fail, then a legal battle is certain to erupt.

“AllofMP3 will pursue every course of action, including legal options, to reverse Visa’s and MasterCard’s decision.”

Time to cash in on the network externaly in Africa?

via p2pnet.net – the original daily p2p and digital media news site:

The Microsoft reality configuration team is getting plenty of mileage out of a shock-horror claim that 81% of computer software now in use in Africa is illegal or, put another way, it wasn’t bought from Microsoft. And this is costing governments and the high-tech industry [read Bill and the Boyz], “billions of dollars in revenue and choking growth,” say “experts” quoted by Agence France-Presse. What to do if Africa wants information technology to “help jumpstart development and reduce poverty”? Enhance and enforce intellectual property laws. And this time the BSA (Business Software Alliance), whose imaginative stats have been called into question, and of which Microsoft is a member, wasn’t pumping out the numbers. Instead, “Meeting at a recent workshop in the Kenyan capital, representatives of software companies, including United States giant Microsoft, government and media companies heard stunning piracy figures and the costs to local economies,” says AFP. The “stunning figures” of course came from Microsoft in the shape of Abed Hlatshwayo, the company’s anti-piracy manager for Eastern and Southern Africa who, says the story, claims the region is, “awash in illegal copies and downloads worth more than $12,4-billion”. Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Botswana and Kenya are named as the principal culprits and, “As a result of piracy in Africa, Microsoft lost $31 million between 2004 and 2006,” says the Angola Press, also quoting Hlatshwayo.

Boing Boing: Amazon Unbox to customers: Eat shit and die:

Amazon’s new video-on-demand store may sound like a good idea, but once you take a look at the “agreement” you enter into by giving them your money, that changes. The Amazon terms-of-service are among the worst I’ve ever seen, a document through which you surrender your rights to privacy, integrity of your personal data, and control over your computer, in exchange for a chance to pay near-retail cost to watch Police Academy n-1. As Ben Franklin might have said: They that can give up general purpose computers for the sake of a little eye candy deserve neither computers nor eye candy.

EFF: DeepLinks:

Macrovision’s “Analog Copy Protection” (ACP) technology is intended to degrade the quality of video copies made on analog VCRs. It does this by intentionally adding noise to the vertical blanking interval of analog video signals. This noise confuses the automatic gain control (AGC) circuit used by analog VCRs. In short, Macrovision’s ACP is an exploit against a weakness in analog VCRs. Thanks to Section 1201(k) of the DMCA, VCR makers are now forbidden by law from fixing the weakness, which means that analog VCRs have remained vulnerable to ACP. In other words, Macrovision’s ACP is an antiquated DRM technology that owes its effectiveness in the analog world to a government mandate.

New York Times reports:

In the last few months, trade groups representing music publishers have used the threat of copyright lawsuits to shut down guitar tablature sites, where users exchange tips on how to play songs like “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” “Highway to Hell” and thousands of others. The battle shares many similarities with the war between Napster and the music recording industry, but this time it involves free sites like Olga.net, GuitarTabs.com and MyGuitarTabs.com and even discussion boards on the Google Groups service like alt.guitar.tab and rec.music.makers.guitar.tablature, where amateur musicians trade “tabs” — music notation especially for guitar — for songs they have figured out or have copied from music books. On the other side are music publishers like Sony/ATV, which holds the rights to the songs of John Mayer, and EMI, which publishes Christina Aguilera’s music. “People can get it for free on the Internet, and it’s hurting the songwriters,” said Lauren Keiser, who is president of the Music Publishers’ Association and chief executive of Carl Fischer, a music publisher in New York.

It was also clearly explained that the only products we sold on the website were historical recordings that Universal Music Sweden had refused for years – despite countless requests from fans – to release. It was also explained that the money raised from these sales was used to promote ABBA and Universal Music’s products via the ABBAMAIL website, mailing list, forum, newsletters etc. The MIPI representative said they didn’t care about that at all.

We found out in the early days that ABBA’s record company didn’t mind ABBAMAIL’s activities because they knew that it didn’t conflict with their products and that ultimately it benefitted them. They realised that ABBA fans needed to be kept interested in ABBA so they would be more willing to buy the next incarnation of GOLD or MORE GOLD or FOREVER GOLD or LOVE SONGS or THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION etc. Their primary concern was that we didn’t make a “big deal” out of it – as long was we kept it low key and just sold to the hard-core fans, they were fine with it.

What has changed?

Well apparently the Managing Director of Universal Music in Sweden has made it his personal mission to close us down – he won’t stop until he achieves this.

via p2pnet.net

Who was Pavlik Morozov? A 13-year old soviet boy, who reported his father to the KGB. He served as a role model for generations of soviet youth as someone who, when he had to choose between the values of the soviet state and his family, he has choosen the former.

Well, history will repeat itself. New York Times reports: “Starting this summer the Hong Kong government plans to have 200,000 youths search Internet discussion sites for illegal copies of copyrighted songs and movies, and report them to the authorities.

The campaign has delighted the entertainment industry, but prompted misgivings among some civil liberties advocates. The so-called Youth Ambassadors campaign will start on Wednesday with 1,600 youths pledging their participation at a stadium in front of leading Hong Kong film and singing stars and several Hong Kong government ministers.”

And it is not the mainland, communist China, this is Hong Kong.

ZDNet UK News reports” The [British] Home Office wants to give the police and the courts sweeping new powers which could see suspected hackers and spammers receiving the cyber equivalent of an anti-social behaviour order (Asbo).

The proposed Serious Crime Prevention Order is intended to combat organised crime where the police do not have enough evidence to bring a criminal prosecution. It would enable civil courts to impose the orders on individuals, even if they had not been convicted of a crime.”

Sounds more and more like Orwell’s thought police. Great!

Sometimes I feel ashamed (dont forget to scroll down on the target page to see why) for spending my time with copyright issues while in the world outside the wars in the middle east, escalating conflicts over energy supplies, the global ecological catastrophy we are heading to is happening, and instead of doing something for those issues I am in a comfortable, air conditioned room thinking about the rights of artists and users. Seems like entertaintment compared to what is happening out there right now.
But I am more worried when it comes to the assessment of the results of the G8 summit: pump more oil , ignore the ecologic consequences, turn a blind eye to the middle east and the developing nations and strenghten the IP protection – this is how the result of the meeting of the world’s strongest people can be summed up.
Anyway. The world leaders have issued the document”Combating IPR Piracy and Counterfeiting‘ in which they say: “We consider it necessary to give priority to promoting and upholding laws, regulations and/or procedures to strengthen intellectual property enforcement, raising awareness in civil society and in the business community of the legal ways to protect and enforce intellectual property rights and of the threats of piracy and counterfeiting, and also to providing technical assistance in that area to developing countries. Close cooperation between law enforcement agencies, including customs authorities, is also of great importance.” This means more FBI raids in Hungarian university campuses, and i guess more publicly financed police squads patrolling the interests of the entertainment industry (A police unit dedicated to combating movie piracy and those responsible for the manufacture and distribution of pirated films has launched in London. – BBC) Thank You, just what we need.
One of the first victims of this can be the russian AllOfMP3.com, which is a legal service selling music and paying royalties under russian copyright laws. So that is the problem with allofmp3?  “The labels demand, and get, between 60 and 85 cents wholesale for each music file. This means iTunes, for example, wants £9.79 (almost $18.20) for an album where an AllofMP3.comn typically pays only about £0.75 (about $1.40) for a download. ” (P2Pnet)
We are talking about information products here. The marginal cost of any song in mp3 format is very-very close to zero. So what is the reason behind charging 1 dollar/song, and puuting this on the agenda of G8? I tell you: GREED.

Siliconvalley.com reports about a trial in Japan where Paramount wanted to stop a Japanese company to re-release classic movies originally released before 1953. Now the trick is that the 50-year patents of Paramount to these tiles (like Casablanca or Citizen Kane) expired in 2003, putting them into the public domain. “A 2004 law extended copyright protection for films by 20 years. Judge Makiko Takabe rejected Paramount’s claims that its products that had entered the public domain are retroactively subject to patent protection for 20 more years under the new law.”

Nice try.

Ars Technika writes: “An Oklahoma mother, Debbie Foster, was accused by the RIAA of copyright infringement back in November 2004, and her daughter Amanda was added to the complaint in July 2005. According to the RIAA, the Internet account paid for by Debbie Foster was used for file sharing, with an unspecified number of songs downloaded.

The music group offered to settle the case for US$5,000, but Foster decided to take her chances in court. She requested that the RIAA provide specifics such as the dates of the alleged downloading and the files involved. The RIAA failed to provide the requested information and Foster filed a motion for summary judgment. In turn, the RIAA decided to cut its losses and asked the court to withdraw its case. The court approved the RIAA’s request, but named Foster the winner and awarded her attorneys fees over the RIAA’s objections.”

I wonder how many of RIAA’s lawsuits lack any actual evindence?

According to the story of International Herald Tribune Virgin, the british consumer retailer giant has been caught red-handed in stealing and then reselling a Madonna song. “The store’s online portal was ordered by the Paris Tribunal of Commerce to pay €600,000, or $754,000, in damages for downloading the Madonna song “Hung Up” from a France Télécom Web site. The Web site had exclusive rights to distribute the song for one week.”

Virgin downloaded the song, cracked the DRM and started selling the song herself.

Not exactly like Robin Hood. Well, at least they define the standards for stealing for our sake.

P2Pnet adds, rightly:

“Pirates like Virgin steal and profit from their criminal activities.

Filesharers don’t steal a thing and make no profit whatsoever.

That’s a big difference.”