Posted on December 31, 2008 in DRM by Brian RoweComments Off

from /. :

“There are multiple reports springing up all over the internet of a mass suicide of Microsoft 30GB Zune players globally. Check Zune forums, Gizmodo, or other such sites; the reports are spreading rapidly, except apparently to the Microsoft official Zune site.”

At this point the cause of the failure is not clear, it is tough to find the issue and resolve it with a closed system. All users are at the mercy of Microsoft, if the platform was open source we could look at it and try to solve the problem. Why should computers with DRM be different from watches or cars that allow anyone to open them up and fix problems?

I think Copyfight puts it well with:

This should be a clarion warning that using proprietary hardware or software (DRM) to restrict peoples’ ability to manage their legally owned content is a bad plan. We are all at the mercy of whatever bugs and bad business plans lie behind these locks.

PS: From the Zune Release 2006 Don’t get ZUNED:

In honor of Freedom for IP’s partnership with Defective by Design to crash tomorrow’s Zune release party in Seattle, I’ve composed a little consumer warning to hand out to all the eager music fans who clearly haven’t been warned about getting zuned….


Remember the 8-track? Neither does anyone else under 30….

Posted on December 21, 2008 in RIAA by Brian RoweComments Off

Ray Beckerman of the Recording Industry v.. The People site has an interesting post up showing all the recent lawsuits filled by the RIAA:

According to a report on, the RIAA spokesman claims that the RIAA has not filed any new lawsuits “for months”; according to the Wall Street Journal report the RIAA stopped filing mass lawsuits “early this fall”; and the Associated Press was apparently told that the RIAA had stopped bringing new lawsuits in August.

Being very familiar with the RIAA’s penchant for “misspeaking”, even when under oath, I investigated the matter a bit, and learned that a large number of suits have been brought by the RIAA quite recently, one as recently as this Monday. Here are just a few. Those marked green were contributed by some of our great readers:

Atlantic Recording v. Williams 08cv01710 W.D. Pennsylvania 12/15/08
Sony BMG Music v. Linus 08cv14413 S.D. Florida 12/11/08

UMG Recordings v. Gulledge 08-cv-00973-MHT-TFM M.D. Alabama 12/10/08
Warner Bros. Records Kelley 08-cv-02295-CLS N.D. Alabama 12/10/08
Sony BMG Music v. Van Ornum 08-cv-04205-JLH E.D. Arkansas 12/10/08
Interscope Records v. Tabor 08-cv-03068-JLH W.D. Arkansas 12/10/08
BMG Music v. O’Brien 08-cv-02244-HRH D. Arizona 12/10/08
Priority Records v. Easterling 08-cv-08131-PA-JTL C.D. California 12/10/08
UMG Recordings v. Ibarzabal 08-cv-08136-R-SH C.D. California 12/10/08
Interscope Records v. Doe 4 08-cv-01880-JBA D. Connecticut 12/10/08
Arista Records v. Doe 2 08-cv-01874-CFD D. Connecticut 12/10/08
Arista Records v. Doe 3 08-cv-01876-SRU D. Connecticut 12/10/08
UMG Recordings v. Burmeister 08-cv-02295-MPM-DGB C.D. Illinois 12/10/08

If the RIAA wants credibility they need to have their legal department talk to their media department and stop filling suits yesterday and find an amiable way to solve the outstanding suits in progress.

Posted on December 20, 2008 in CC by Brian RoweComments Off

The video is now up for the” The Commons: Celebrating Accomplishments, Discerning Futures” from last weekend. The discussion is great. There is a lot in the video about the history of CC that i did not know. It is also a collection of some of the best public speakers around.

PS: Jonathan Zittrain did a great job as the moderator.

Posted on December 19, 2008 in copyright, RIAA by Brian RoweComments Off

This is great news from the WSJ :

After years of suing thousands of people for allegedly stealing music via the Internet, the recording industry is set to drop its legal assault as it searches for more effective ways to combat online music piracy.

The decision represents an abrupt shift of strategy for the industry, which has opened legal proceedings against about 35,000 people since 2003. Critics say the legal offensive ultimately did little to stem the tide of illegally downloaded music. And it created a public-relations disaster for the industry, whose lawsuits targeted, among others, several single mothers, a dead person and a 13-year-old girl.

Instead, the Recording Industry Association of America said it plans to try an approach that relies on the cooperation of Internet-service providers. The trade group said it has hashed out preliminary agreements with major ISPs under which it will send an email to the provider when it finds a provider’s customers making music available online for others to take.

Now they just need to put start putting resources into find new business models and we can work together.

Posted on December 17, 2008 in IP by Brian RoweComments Off

I am back now from Boston and submerged in finals, 4 done 2 left. The trip was great great I meet more people in one day working on the copyfight then in a whole year here in Seattle. I was very impressed with a number of Berkman Center fellows, I did not realize that the center was so interdisciplinary in focus. I will post more on this later. Back to my copyright exam that appears to be based on Infringement Nation by John Tehranian.
PS: HUGE thx to Tim Hwang for showing me around Boston and letting me couch surf and the great people at CC for introducing me to members of the Boston scene.

Posted on December 12, 2008 in IP by Brian RoweComments Off

Jonathan Rees – Science Commons – Photo by Oneras under CC BY SA

Jonathan Rees gave six layers of what comprises an interface:

  • permission
  • access
  • container syntax
  • vocabulary
  • semantics

The focus of the project is on data integration and reducing transactions costs by developing and testing the whole interface stack for scientific data, the data integration problem becomes vastly easier to understand, browse, search, consult, transform, analyze, visualize, model, annotate, and organize data.  Jonathan closed with a call to action is to “choose, promote, and nourish sharing solutions at every level in the stack.”

Read more about open data at Science Commons

Posted on December 12, 2008 in CC Tech Summit by Brian RoweComments Off

Oshani Seneviratne – MIT Student by Oneras under CC BY SA

Oshani’s presentation  focused on “Detecting Creative Commons Attribution License Violations with Flickr Images on the World Wide Web.” CC licenses do not come with any easy way to find violations of a license. Her project demonstrates a way to search for violations of flickr images by finding deep links and then checking to see if the use meets the conditions for attribution and then generating a report. This is a real first step to creating assurance that licenses are being followed or at least a way for authors to monitor their works spread online.

Future directions for this technology include:

  • adding other licenses
  • looking for non-commercial use violations
  • checking for the Share-Alike condition
  • moving from deep links to hashes or other fingerprinting of content
Posted on December 12, 2008 in harvard, IP, lessig by Brian RoweView Comments

Lawrence Lessig has been appointed to the faculty of Harvard Law School, and as the faculty director of Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics. The announcement was made jointly today (Dec. 12) by Harvard University Provost Steven E. Hyman and Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan.

“Harvard is fortunate to have such an outstanding scholar at the helm of one of its finest organizations,” said Hyman of the Center appointment. “Lawrence brings with him tremendous vision and administrative experience, which will serve the center well as he continues to build upon its remarkable success.”

As faculty director of the Center, Lessig will expand on the center’s work to encourage teaching and research about ethical issues in public and professional life. He will also launch a major five-year project examining what happens when public institutions depend on money from sources that may be affected by the work of those institutions — for example, medical research programs that receive funding from pharmaceutical companies whose drugs they review, or academics whose policy analyses are underwritten by special interest groups.

“I am very excited to be returning to Harvard to work on a project of enormous importance to our democracy,” said Lessig. “The chance to extend the work of the Center to focus on the problems of institutional independence is timely and essential. I am eager to work with friends and old colleagues from the Law School and across the University to make this project a success.”

Lessig will join the Law School faculty and take up his duties as director of the Center in the summer of 2009.

Photo by Robert Scoble Under CC-BY License

Posted on December 12, 2008 in CC Tech Summit by Brian RoweComments Off

David Torpie (Office of Economic and Statistical Research at the Queensland Treasury) – Photo by Oneras under CC BY SA

David’s talk focused on the “Government Information Licensing Framework: a multidisciplinary project improving access to Public Sector Information.” In  Australia government works are copyrighted by default and copyright applies to many more works then it is in the US.  Sweat of the brow works like a phone book or a data base with no creativity are copyrighted.  The GILF project gives greater access to Australian government data, to make government more transparent.  The Queensland Treasury uses “digital license management”, or DLM. DLM is a technology to embed license metadata into documents and other works, developed in Java. Benefits include ease of linking from data to license, and finding information based on its license. DLM should not be confused with DRM Digital Rights Management which locks works down with technological barriers.

For real time photos of th Tech Summit check out Oneras‘ photo stream on Flickr.