De omnibus dubitandum

Archive for the ‘copyright’ Category

Kindle v2?

Seth Godin has written an interesting blog post about the Amazon Kindle. Especially his suggestions about making it a socially connected device are super.

4. The Kindle does a fine job of being a book reader, and a horrible job of actually improving the act of reading a book. This is a surprising design choice, I think, and a mistake. Here are three simple examples of how non-fiction books on the Kindle could be better, not just cheaper and thinner:

  • Let me see the best parts of the book as highlighted by thousands of other readers.
  • Let me see notes in the margin as voted up, Digg-style, by thousands of other readers.
  • Let me interact with hyperlinks and smart connections not just within the book but across books

I can think of ten others, and so can you. Instead of making this a dead end (like a book) they could have made it a connector (like the web).

If the next-gen Kindle could do that, and gets rid of its ridiculous DRM, I’d seriously consider getting one.

DMCA Extortion

Whaddayaknow,a recent study about DMCA takedown notices the RIAA and MPAA send to US universities proves those mafia organizations are threatening students with lawsuits regardless of guilt. Isn’t that called extortion?

It gets even better, though:

The researchers concluded that enforcement agencies are looking only at I.P. addresses of participants on these peer-to-peer networks, and not what files are actually downloaded or uploaded—a more resource-intensive process that would nevertheless yield more conclusive information.

In their report, the researchers also demonstrate a way to manipulate I.P. addresses so that another user appears responsible for the file-sharing.

An inanimate object could also get the blame. The researchers rigged the software agents to implicate three laserjet printers, which were then accused in takedown letters by the M.P.A.A. of downloading copies of “Iron Man? and the latest Indiana Jones film.

Of course IP addresses can be faked. Identifying people by the IP address of their computer makes about as much sense as identifying them by the ZIP code part of their home address. Yet these media extortionists have built an entire business model around it – sue & settle.

I take comfort in the fact that eventually they’ll lose. Until then, PeerGuardian is my friend.

  • Filed under: copyright, internet
  • The Pirate’s Dilemma

    This great presentation from Matt Mason explains why the music industry needs to embrace piracy and compete with it, instead of slapping lawsuits on every hapless citizen.

    Somewhat related to the previous post: The recording industry wants to extend the European copyright on music from its current 50 years to, well, probably forever if they can get away with it.

    Now personally I think 50 years of copyright is plenty enough. Us regular folks don’t keep getting paid for what we did 50 years ago – most of us only get paid once a month for the work we did that month. But somehow musicians, or more specifically the music industry, believes it deserves to keep getting paid indefinitely for their one-time efforts.

    As music can be enjoyed indefinitely, they do have some grounds to argue that 50 years is acceptable, even though I believe that’s already way too long for anything to remain copyrighted. 20 years sounds more reasonable to me, but hey, they agreed on 50 years a couple of decades ago.

    But to extend that 50 years even further? Madness, I tell you. Madness and greed at its finest and most abhorrent.

    So if you live in Europe and agree that 50 years of copyright on music is long enough already, sign this petition.

    (Via Boing Boing)

    Nine Inch Nails does Radiohead

    Nine Inch Nails thought that what Radiohead did a while back was a good idea, so they copied it and improved on it a little bit. NIN has released their new (instrumental) album Ghosts and you can download the first 9 tracks for free. For $5 you can download the full 2+ hrs album, and more options up to to $300 are available for serious fanboys.

    If you’re a NIN fan I’d advise you to wait a week before you go for the $5 paid download. Probably due to this release’s massive success many paid download links aren’t working properly. As you get a one-time download link when you buy the full downloadable version, if your download doesn’t work at first you don’t get to try again. All that remains is send an email to the provided support desk.

    Nonetheless a great move by NIN, especially as they also released the album under a Creative Commons license.

    Edit: their support desk was quick with a reply. They reset the download link and told me to try again. This time the download went smooth and without any hiccup. The $5 download turns out to contain some extras, such as a set of wallpapers and icons. Great value for money.

    IP address is not private data?

    Google doesn’t believe IP addresses should be considered ‘personal data’. They argue that an IP address cannot be used to identify an individual. IP addresses assigned to PC’s often change, and even with static IP addresses you cannot determine who is using the computer. Not to mention IP spoofing.

    I agree with Google wholeheartedly on this, however there’s one problem: the law doesn’t. As has been proven in many lawsuits filed by the RIAA and other members of the copyright mafia, IP addresses can be used successfully to extort users out of large amounts of settlement cash for unproven acts of ‘copyright violations’ (i.e. music downloads).

    So while Google may have the moral high ground here, in the end users will still be shafted.

    Professional fan fiction

    I never knew that professional authors also wrote fan fiction. Steven Brust, whose novel To Reign In Hell is one of my personal favorites, has written a full-length Firefly fanfic novel. Can’t wait to read it.

    I wonder if there are any copyright issues at stake here. Amateur fan fiction is one thing, but one might argue a professional author can use fan fiction to draw attention to his other works and thus generate revenue for himself.


    Adamus is the online identity of Barry Adams. A Dutchman living in Northern Ireland, Barry / Adamus is an internet fanatic, skeptic, technophile, gamer, and geek.

    On this personal blog he provides his unpolished view of the world and its insanities.

    Identity 2.0

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