Dale Dietrich

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End of the Road

Categories: Notices

end of the road There comes a time when a blogger must acknowledge that enthusiasm for a topic has waned and its time to bring things to an end. The air left my sail’s for this iMedia Law Blog when the MP3 DRM battles ended successfully in 2008.

Michael Geist is doing more for consumer protection and copyright law reform in Canada than I could ever hope to achieve. Consumer-friendly copyright law reform seems next to impossible at this time. The best we can hope to achieve in the near term is the status quo. No copyright reform is better than regressive copyright reform. Thankfully, some good is coming out of the current political crisis in Canada – a legislative stalemate.

For the foreseeable future, my blogging efforts will be focused on The Daleisphere. Please join me there.

The rest of my spare time is being channeled into hobbyist iPhone application development and my wishhh.com service.

I will keep this blog up and running in its current state. I’ll respond to comments, edit posts as events merit and perhaps make a new post now and again.

Thanks for following me here. Cheers.

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Temporary Hiatus While Developing Wishhh.com

Categories: Notices

My iMedia law blog is on a temporary hiatus. I have been developing a new, family-friendly, wishlist service called wishhh.com. It is in the final stages of beta testing with friends and family. I expect to launch publicly in early to mid December – with Facebook integration to follow. The service will be free for anyone to use. Here’s the site description from the splash screen:

establish private wishhh groups for the exclusive use of your family, friends, classmates, teammates, colleagues, worship group, whatever… invite others to participate in your groupspost wishhhes and ‘don’t wants’ for group members to seelink wishhhes to details on other websites tag another member’s wishhhes as ‘granted’ or ‘reserved’ pending purchase – without that person’s knowledge (… shhh!!!… it’s a secret) so other members won’t grant the same wishhh protect your children by using wishhh.com’s oversight functionsreceive only the gifts you really want

I do intend to resume blogging later this year or in early 2008. Thank you for your patience. And, please do visit wishhh.com after launch.

…Dale

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RIAA Wants U.S. ISPs to Offer Discounted Settlements to Alleged P2P Users

Categories: BigMedia v. P2P Users

  Text of RIAA Letter to ISPs (February 2007)
Following the receipt of applicable subpoenas, U.S. ISPs currently provide the RIAA with personally identifying information about alleged P2P users with sufficient detail to bring legal proceedings against them.

The Recording Industry vs The People has obtained the letter linked-to above allegedly used by the RIAA in an attempt to obtain further voluntary assistance from ISPs. The RIAA is asking ISPs to retain  log files for at least 180 days and to send out letters to users offering $1,000 settlement discounts if alleged infringers settle before the RIAA has to initiate costly court proceedings. 

Dale's Comment: One wonders why U.S. ISPs would comply with such a request given that they fought (and won) at least one court case in the past where the RIAA sought to compel their assistance without subpoenas. Such voluntary assistance would certainly assist the RIAA. 

Source: Recording Industry vs The People |Ars Technica | TechDirt | Wired | P2PNet | Digital Citizen

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Arnezami Hacks HD-DVD/Blu-ray – Discovers the One “Processing Key” to Rule them All

Categories: DRM Arms RaceDRM CircumventionHD-DVD/Blu-ray

A hacker known as Arnezami has gone a giant step further than Muslix64 in hacking AACS. Arnezami has discovered and published the cryptographic key (known as the "processing key") that can be used to circumvent AACS copy restrictions on any Blu-ray or HD-DVD movie (the "one key to rule them all" :) ).  He did so by using an Xbox 360 HD-DVD drive and studying all changes (comparing hex-dumps) to a key part of memory during startup of the movie King Kong.

Previously, Muslix64 had discovered the "volume keys" for individual HD-DVD movies (and subsequently Blu-ray titles) which, when used with his BackupHDDVD software, allowed technically adept users to decrypt and copy individual HD titles protected by AACS. Since then, volume keys for more than 100 HD titles have circulated on the Internet.  The processing key discovered by Arnezami can, until revoked, be used to easily determine the volume key needed to decrypt and copy any HD title.  

CONTINUE READING →

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Steve Jobs Calls for the End of DRM for Online Music Sales

Categories: Big Media Makes ProgressDRM Restricting UseDRM-Free ServicesNew Business Models

Steve Jobs has posted an open letter entitled "Thoughts on Music" on the Apple website and, in doing so, joins Yahoo! Music in calling upon the major record labels to abandon DRM for online music sales. He rightly points out that while 90% of music sales are on CD's without DRM, the growth of online music sales is inhibited by the saddling of electronically distributes music with consumer unfriendly DRM. In his open letter Steve discusses the status quo, the problems associated with licensing its "FairPlay" DRM system and, ultimately, concludes that DRM-free music sales is the best way forward.

Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.

Why would the big four music companies agree to let Apple and others distribute their music without using DRM systems to protect it? The simplest answer is because DRMs haven’t worked, and may never work, to halt music piracy. Though the big four music companies require that all their music sold online be protected with DRMs, these same music companies continue to sell billions of CDs a year which contain completely unprotected music. That’s right! No DRM system was ever developed for the CD, so all the music distributed on CDs can be easily uploaded to the Internet, then (illegally) downloaded and played on any computer or player.

CONTINUE READING →

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The iPhone – Wow!

Categories: New Tech

This YouTube iPhone demo says it all! I want one!

I do have a few criticisms:

  • 8 Gigs is not enough RAM for the music and videos I’d want to carry around. 30 Gigs of storage would be my preferred minimum.
  • Cingular’s U.S. exclusivity.
  • No Canadian or other International carriers announced – though Rogers is a pretty good bet for Canada given its relationship with Yahoo! and nation-wide GSM coverage.
  • Walled-Garden – no third party apps will run on it – no SKYPE.
  • No WiFi VoIP announced.
  • EDGE only – no announced 3G support – though Steve said its planned and rumors are it already exists – until then, non-WiFi web access will be s … l … o …. w.
  • 5 hr battery life for phone or video or Internet seems a bit low for me (the 16 separate hours for audio is fine).

All that said, I still want one! Come on Rogers! Do a deal with Steve!

  • Click here for Wikipedia coverage.
  • Click here to view Jobs’ iPhone Keynote at MacWorld 2007.

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BackupHDDVD & Doom9 Forum Create End-to-End HD-DVD Crack?

Categories: DRM Arms RaceDRM CircumventionHD-DVD/Blu-ray

It appears that the latest entry into the DRM arms-race, BackupHDDVD, along with the Volume Unique Keys in memory found by Doom9 forum member Musilix64, is able to isolate private keys within AACS protected HD-DVD disks needed to crack them. The cracked HD-DVD movies have made their way to torrent sites and are now circulating the globe. Some minor playback glitches have been reported, however.

Dale's Comment: I want to be clear about something. I do not endorse piracy nor the use of BitTorrent to circulate pirated copies of HD-DVD content.

I do, however, believe the DMCA unfairly criminalizes the behavior of honest consumers wishing to exercise their "fair use" rights to make copies of and/or format shift copies of content purchased by the consumer for the consumer's own personal use.  The DMCA and the WIPO Copyright Treaty unfairly take away rights that U.S. consumers have under the fair use provisions of U.S. Copyright law. It is therefore understandable why consumers would choose to use software such as BackupHDDVD to exercise the rights the U.S. Copyright regime otherwise affords them. In my opinion it is copy-protection mechanisms such as AACS put in place by the content industry to penalize the activities of honest consumers that leads to massive piracy by the same consumers through BitTorrent and other P2P networks. As I've said here for years, treat honest consumers fairly and they'll purchase your products in record numbers. Treat them like criminals and they'll rebel.

Sources:  Engadget | ars technica | DigitalMusicWeblog

CONTINUE READING →

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FCC Chairman Declares No More Blanket CableCARD Waivers

Categories: Digital TV

  Comcast Ruling (January 10, 2007)
  Cablevision Ruling (January 10, 2007)
The major U.S. cable companies can no longer avoid deploying cable-card enabled set-top boxes. Most recently Comcast had sought a waiver for set-tops that wouldn't rely on the external CableCARD to house signal-security technology. It argued this waiver would save consumers millions of dollars. Of course, the purpose of the CableCARD mandate is to open free competition, increase set-top innovation and increase consumer choice in set-top products and services such as those offered by TiVo, Microsoft's Media Center software and others without giving a preference to any one supplier/technology. Such a waiver would have given Comcast and its suppliers such a preference.

The cable industry has had seven years, plus two extensions, to separate out the security and and channel surfing functions of cable set-tops. Under the most recent FCC rules, major cable companies must start using CableCARD set-tops, and cease deploying integrated settops, starting July 1, 2007.

Comcast has said it will appeal the decision. 

Sources: MultiChannel News | Broadcasting & Cable | Engadget | ars technica | xchange  Reuters | FCC Press Release | NCTA Response

Discussed here: TiVoCommunity Forum 

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Lycos Sues TiVo, Netflix and Blockbuster Over

Categories: CasesPatents

U.S. Patent 6,775,664*
U.S. Patent 6,308,175*
One-time rival of Yahoo! and Google, Lycos claims that TiVo, Netflix and Blockbuster infringe its two patents over the way they provide movie and television show recommendations to customers.

Dale's Comment:  *I am not certain of the patents listed above. These were cited by Davis Freeberg as the most likely patents involved.. I'll update if/when I get more information. I wonder why Amazon.com wasn't named here. The methods used by these companies to recommend content is pretty straight forward and, to me, obvious. 

Sources: DallasNews (Bloomberg) | Mercury News | SeekingAlpha | Davis Freeberg

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Warner Announces “Total Hi Def” A Hybrid HD-DVD/Blue-ray Disk

Categories: HD-DVD/Blu-rayNew Tech

Warner Home Video made a surprising announcement at CES. Starting in the 3rd quarter of  2007 it will exclusively release its HD titles on a hybrid, multi-layer, HD-DVD and  Blu-ray disk dubbed "Total Hi Def". HD-DVD formatted content will be on one side and Blu-ray formatted content will be on the other. Regardless of the HD player a consumer purchases, these disks would be playable.

In an effort to put the format wars behind (and increase sales), Warner has committed to licensing the Total Hi Def technology to any other TV/movie studio for free. Not surprisingly, fellow Time Warner properties, New Line Studios and HBO, have said they will also use the Total Hi Def format. Major retailers including Best Buy, Circuit City, and Amazon.com have announced they will support this format and make Total Hi Def DVDs available through these retail channels.  No word yet from Walmart.

Dale's Comment: This is an interesting development in the high-def wars (which I personally believe HD-DVD is winning). Consumers don't want to be left in a loosing Betamax-like camp. Universal exclusively supports the HD-DVD standard. Fox, Disney and Sony, of course, exclusively support Blu-ray. Other studios support both. If Warner is licensing this this technology for free, it is possible that these studios, with the exception of Sony, could eventually support this hybrid disk approach. That said, the per-unit manufacturing costs will be higher than producing disks with one format or the other because the process requires the purchase of dual manufacturing equipment to support both formats. 

CONTINUE READING →

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Steve Gibson’s Intertwined History of Copyright and Media-related Technologies

Categories: BigMedia v NewTechCopy RestrictionsCopyrightDMCA-like LawsDRM AnalysisDRM Restricting UseFair Use/Dealing

  Podcast Episode 73 Transcript
Episode 73 of Steve Gibson's Security Now podcast with Leo LaPorte has a terrific primer on the intertwined history of advancements in technology making it easier for consumers to copy content, fair use, the lobbying efforts by the content industry that resulted in U.S. copyright law amendments up to and including the 1996 WIPO Copyright Treaty, the DMCA implementing the treaty, and the detrimental effects these new laws have on consumer fair use rights.

  Click here to listen to Episode 73 of the Security Now podcast. (This will download an 8.0 MB MP3 file that your default media player should load and play). For a higher quality version of this podcast click here (32 MB).

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Wired Article: Signs Music Industry May be Abandoning DRM

Categories: Big Media Makes ProgressDRM-Free ServicesFYINew Business Models

This Wired article, discusses the following list of reasons why the major music labels may abandon DRM in favour or water-marked MP3 Distribution:

  1. The label's don't have a choice;
  2. Apple might be forced into interoperability;
  3. Thomson has endorsed selling watermarked MP3s;
  4. Amazon is rumored to start selling MP3s by April;
  5. Sony: "DRMs are going to become less important";
  6. People love AllofMP3.com; and
  7. MP3 has future options.

Dale's Comment: There have been countless articles on this topic over the last few weeks. This Wired article is as good as any other. It presents a nice summary of the reasons why the major labels may abandon  DRM in favor of MP3 music distribution. This article falls into the category of "I'll believe it when I see it", but I do see it as an inevitability. I just don't see it happening as quickly as the recent optimistic bloggers do. But I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

Source: Wired News

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French Court Rules Sony’s Portable Music Player & Download Service Breach Linked Sales Laws

Categories: AntitrustDecisionsDRM Restricting Use

A French court ruled that Sony's tying sales of music to a single type of portable music player, breached French law forbidding such "linked sales".  The Court also ruled that Sony mislead its customers by not making it clear on its portable music player packaging that it could only play music downloaded from Sony's own Connect music store

Importantly, the court did not go so far as to forbid the use of DRM, however.  

Sony was ordered to: (i) pay a fine of 10,000 euros ($13,000); (ii) henceforth state on its music-player packaging that the product only play songs downloaded from Sony's own Connect music store; and (iii) publish the information on its French website homepage.

Sources: The Australian | AgroVox | Euro2Day | Daily India | Washington Times | MSNBC

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Apple iTunes DRM-Antitrust Case to Continue (Tucker v. Apple)

Categories: AntitrustCasesDRM Restricting Use

From the Thomas Slattery case back in January of 2005 till now there have been several lawsuits brought against Apple alleging Apple's use of proprietary DRM schemes limiting music purchased from iTunes to playing back only on portable devices manufactured by Apple as anti-competitive.

A U.S. District court recently denied Apple's motion to dismiss the Tucker v. Apple case (filed in July 2006) similarly alleging, among other things, that:

Apple has engaged in tying and monopolizing behavior, placing unneeded and unjustifiable technological restrictions on its most popular products in an effort to restrict consumer choice and restrain what little remains of its competition in the digital music markets.

In denying Apple's request, U.S. District Court James concluded,  

"the existence of valid business reasons in antitrust cases is generally a question of fact not appropriate for resolution at the motion to dismiss stage.

Melanie Tucker is seeking class status, wants Apple to be enjoined from tieing music bought on iTunes to iPods as the only possible portable playback device for such music plus unspecified damages for all persons that purchased music from iTunes since April of 2004. 

Sources: Engadget | WebProNews | Ecommerce Times | GameShout | Home Media Magazine | Active Home | Computer World | Macworld | ITNews | P2PNet | ZDNet Blogs  Yahoo! News (AP)

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HD-DVD & Blu-ray Cracked?

Categories: DRM Arms RaceDRM CircumventionHD-DVD/Blu-ray

Reports are coming in fast and furious that the AACS DRM system used by both HD-DVD and Blu-ray players has been cracked by someone with the codename muslix64. I had reported earlier on a possible brute-force print-screen method of cracking HD-DVD.

This new method seems to rely on a compromised HD-DVD player whereby muslix64 was first able to access the unique decryption keys for particular HD-DVDs. Then using those keys and his java-based BackupHDDVD program, muslix64 was able to implement the AACS decryption protocol as outlined at aacsla.com (the official AACS website) and play it back using standard HD-DVD play-back software (in this case PowerDVD 6.5 HD-DVD). 

Muslix64 says the tool works on his XBOX 360 external HD DVD player, but that the software would not be limited to just one specific player.

CONTINUE READING →

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Variety: Xbox 360 Video Marketplace Succeeding

Categories: iVOD/iTVNew Business ModelsNew Tech

For  years I have called for video-download services to be provided directly to a TV-connected consumer electronics product such as the Xbox, TiVo or PS3. This Variety article discusses how the Xbox 360's new Internet-based video-on-demand service is having relative success (where others have failed) due to its available HD content and its direct connection to the TV.

The relative success of video downloads on Microsoft's Xbox Live and disappointment of Amazon.com's Unbox point to two factors that differentiate Xbox from Amazon and its many other competitors — consumers who download a movie want a simple way to watch it on their TV, and those with high-def TVs want high-def content.

A primary reason for its success lies also in the fact that DRM is not a relevant consideration for most users when the content is delivered directly to the display unit of choice. iVOD services to PCs have largely failed because most people do not want to watch TV and movies on their computers. And the DRM used by most of those services preclude users from copying the movie onto a DVD for playback where they want to watch them – in the living room. 

FYI: Joystiq has a pretty good preview of the system here including a YouTube demo. Note that the demo was done early-on. As I understand it the slow-downloads and other glitches experienced in the early days have been resolved.

Sources: Variety | Joystiq | XBox 360 Fanboy

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Winners and Losers of 2006

Categories: FYI

P2PNet: Winners and Losers of 2006

This list is culled from this P2PNet article – which I recommend. Links below are to my coverage of some of these winners/losers stories: 

Winners:

  1. YouTube
  2. Apple
  3. MySpace
  4. BitTorrent and Azureus
  5. Pirate Bay
  6. Brittany Chan
  7. Creative
  8. DJ Danger Mouse
  9. SanDisk
  10. eMusic
  11. TiVo

Losers:

  1. Streamcast
  2. Echostar Communications
  3. Sharman Networks (Kazaa)
  4. AllofMP3.com
  5. Captain Copyright
  6. OLGA- Online Guitar Tabulature Archive
  7. Blu-Ray and HD-DVD
  8. Amazon Unbox
  9. Sony BMG
  10. DRM – Digital Rights Management

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Sony Settles Rootkit Lawsuit with 40+ U.S. States for $5.75M (and Climbing)

Categories: Intrusive TPMs - RootkitsSettlements

This is an evolving story. Over the last couple weeks news reports have covered the growing number of U.S. states settling with Sony over the Rootkit debacle (see stories linked below). The number of states and the dollar value appears to be growing, but it seems clear that Sony is quickly putting this behind them.

Under the settlement, SONY BMG must provide refunds up to $175 to all consumers who experienced harm to their computers when they sought to remove the DRM software.  Refund claims may be submitted to SONY BMG through this claims page.

Some reports indicated that Sony is in final settlement discussions with the FTC on this matter as well. 

Sources: PCWorld | CSO (IDG) | DRM Watch | techworld | Computer World| ZDNet | CNet | InfoWorld | Massachusetts Attorney General Press Release | Sony's Settlement Page

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Ars Technica: Why Piracy is More Common than Legal Video Downloads

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersDRM-Free ServicesFYIiVOD/iTVNew Business ModelsPiracy

Ars Technica: Why Piracy is More Common than Legal Video Downloads

Warez.com: Piracy, the clear choice for 2006 

Dale's Comment: Each of these articles make the same essential point. Piracy of video content is pervasive because it provides consumers with a product they want – a vast selection of high quality content, meeting the tastes of both the masses and the long tail – with the ability to use/view the content on any device and with any software/service of their choosing. Something the TV and movie-industries fail to provide to the very consumers eager to purchase it from them – if only it was conveniently available at fair prices and under fair use terms.

This oft-quoted remark by Disney co-chair Ann Sweeney made at a conference in October, shows at least that the industry is finally starting to grapple with the issue: 

"We understand now that piracy is a business model. It exists to serve a need in the market for consumers who want TV content on demand. Pirates compete the same way we do – through quality, price and availability. We we don?t like the model but we realise it?s competitive enough to make it a major competitor going forward."

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RIAA Sues AllofMP3 – Seeks Domain Transfer and $1.65 Trillion in Damages!

Categories: Big Media v InternetCasesCopyrightDRM-Free ServicesPiracy

Following a similar suit by the BPI in July, AllofMP3.com's Moscow-based parent Mediaservices, Inc. has been sued by the RIAA for massive copyright infringement in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. According to the New York Post:

The RIAA is seeking $150,000 for each instance of copyright infringement. That equates to an astounding $1.65 trillion for the five-month period in question.

Wow! I suspect they'll have a little trouble collecting this damage award if successful! Surprised

Interestingly, along with the damages award, the suit seeks court ordered control of AllofMP3.com's domains. Given the global nature of the Internet, it will be interesting to see if a court would grant such a prayer for relief. Mountainview California-based  Verisign operates the domain name registry for the .com domain space.

AllofMP3.com has long claimed that they are in full compliance with Russian law and pay licensing fees on all music sales to Russia's equivalent of the RIAA, the Russian Organization for Multimedia and Digital Systems (ROMS). The RIAA's response is that ROMS has no authority to issue licenses to AllofMP3 and that AllofMP3.com would require licenses from record companies to legally sell downloadable music – which it does not have.

Dale's Comment: Aside from the astronomical damages request, what intrigues me is the global implications of an order to transfer the domain. There has been much controversy at the United Nations over who should control the Internet and the Internet domain space. The U.S. has fiercely guarded its ultimate ability to control it. If such an order was made by a U.S. court at the behest of the U.S. music industry, and if Verisign complies, this might spark protests from nations around the globe.

Note: I have not yet found the claim online. When I do, I'll post it here. Most of the stories online are all repeats of the original AP story so there are not many details available at this point.

Sources: ars technica | techdirt | Associated Press| Out-Law.com | ABC News | PC Pro | Pocket-Link | New York Post | BBC | Playfuls | Red Herring | MP3.com

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Manage your iPod in Windows Media Player with DOPISP

Categories: DRM Restricting UseDRM-Free ServicesNew Tech

The name seems daft, but this Windows Media Player ("WMP") 11 plug-in seems promising. I've long been a WMP fan. I only use iTunes because it was the only reasonable way to manage music on my iPod – until now. Microsoft chose, once again, not to provide iPod support in its latest version of WMP. To the rescue comes MGTEK with DOPISP. DOPISP is a plug-in for WMP that enables you to sync your MP3 music to your iPod directly from within Windows Media Player.

A free two month trial is available here. No word yet on final pricing. Of course it cannot manage any DRM'd AAC files purchased from iTunes.  If it could, my work here would be done! Well, at least until Apple and/or the RIAA sued them! :)

I haven't tried it yet, but one possible downside to this approach to managing your iPod is that it likely won't support podcasts. For some reason that only the God's know, Windows Media Player does not include podcast support. Since I discovered podcasts in October of 2005, I use my iPod primarily for podcast listening while on the road. Without podcast functionality, I'm not ready to head back to WMP!

Sources: DOPISP Website | Smart Cannucks | lifehacker | Uneasy Silence

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Davis Freeberg Interviews DivX CEO Jordan Greenhall

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersFYIiVOD/iTVNew Tech

Davis' interview of DivX, Inc.'s CEO Jordan Greenhall is interesting. There isn't much here that is new to me but it is topical given DivX's recent public offering. One bit that was new to me was his explanation of why the inclusion of DivX encoding technology within CE devices like PVRs didn't make much sense until recently. Unlike decoding, encoding media to DivX is computationally intensive. Until a couple months ago DivX encoding chips where far more expensive than the inexpensive larger hard drives needed for use with less efficient codecs. With the emergence of cheap encoding chips it now makes sense for manufacturers to start embedding them within CE devices in conjunction with the DivX codec. 

The interview covers the history of the company, the current status and trends (YouTube, convergence) and where this promising, yet controversial, company and its technology are headed.

Dale's Comment: I had to smile when I read Greenhall's answers. Having lived in Silicon Valley for a few years, and having left it, his "Silicon Valley-speak" reminds me of the good old bubble days.  Take this snipped for example:

So the fact that DivX technology is associated with that path is a really interesting physical manifestation, but the reality of the value proposition is that the market, the community itself is a value proposition, so what you’ll find is, if you map our progress on a go forward basis …

Silicon-valley-speak notwithstanding, its an interesting interview of an interesting man in control of an important technology. Good work Davis!

Sources: Davis Freeberg

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EMusic Sells 100 Millionth Song without DRM

Categories: DRM-Free ServicesFair Use/DealingMilestonesNew Business Models

Online music seller eMusic is second only to DRM-laden iTunes for legitimate online music sales. Most of its library of 2 million songs comes from independent labels. It's success proves that consumers are more than willing to pay fair prices for DRM-free music. While it took the eMusic two years to sell its first 50 million songs, it has taken less than a year to sell the next 50 million.

Dales Comment:  While I applaud eMusic, it too has a business model that I don't like. While individual songs can be purchased, their business model requires the user to pay a minimal subscription fee every month. Song purchases are deducted from the monthly fee. If you spend more than the fee, then you have to pay extra.  My perfect world of music sales is to buy DRM-free songs with no minimum monthly commitment. I would be able to buy as many or as few as I want. Frankly, I'd like eMusic service to mimic that of AllofMP3.com's. Charge a fair per song price, allow me to purchase whatever I want in whatever format I want. That is a service I'd use!

Sources: Washington Post | MacWorld | Sydney Morning Herald | TopTechNews| Tech Dirt | MP3.com | CNet Blogs | PC-Pro | Pocket-Lint

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Eben Moglen’s Plone Keynote – ‘Software and Community’

Categories: FYIOpen SourcePolicy Analysis

Below is a Youtube video of Eben Moglen's keynote speech at the 2006 Plone conference in Seattle (Oct 25-27).  Professor Mogeln is a professor of law and history of law at Columbia University, serves pro bono as General Counsel for the Free Software Foundation, and is the Chairman of Software Freedom Law Center.

Dale's Comment: Listening to this was my first introduction to Professor Moglen's ideas. I don't exactly know what to make of this speech. With the flair of an elequoent Baptist preacher he advocates on behalf of the free software movement. The speech has many interesting and compelling points.

But, my goodness, this substance of his speech seems to be, Open Source – all good, Closed Source – all bad, all the time. To my mind there is a place for both. Contrary to the underlying sentiment of this talk, I believe capitalism and software-for-profit is critical to global development and advancement. Open Source software is also, obviously, very beneficial to the world. Both have their place and importance.

Perhaps I haven't had enough exposure to Professor Mogeln yet. But while interesting, I found his talk, effectively dissing closed source software and its creators, eerily discomforting.

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Oregon District Judge – ‘Making Available’ – Sufficient Grounds For Copyright Infringement

Categories: BigMedia v. P2P UsersDecisions

  Decision – Motion to Dismiss Denied (October 25, 2006)
In a decision that may have far-reaching consequences an Oregon District Judge Ann Aiken has held, for the purposes of denying a motion to dismiss, that merely having a 'shared files folder' on one's computer, and thereby 'making files available for distribution', with nothing else, constitute the necessary elements of a copyright infringement action.

In response to this decision Recording Industry v. The People aptly says:

This is the first instance of which we are aware in which a judge has explicitly held that the RIAA's allegation of "making files available for distribution" is sufficient in and of itself to state a claim for relief under the Copyright Act. The decision contains no discussion of the Copyright Act, applicable case law, legal scholarship, or anything else that might give a clue as to how the judge came to agree with the RIAA. We will investigate further to see if the issue was briefed and, if so, how.

Dale's Comment: Wow! Whether or not making files available for distribution is sufficient to constitute copyright infringement (without proof that the file was actually copied by anyone) is the subject of wide-ranging debate. For this judge to make such a sweeping conclusion without supporting it in any way is surprising.  Fortunately for Barker the RIAA dismissed this case. Shrewdly for the RIAA, such dismissal may negate Barker's appeal on the merits while yielding a precedent they can point to in future cases. I suspect that whether this decision is appealable or not, the 'decision' will be hotly contested in future cases.

Sources: Recording Industry v. The People | Afterdawn | *ars technica 

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