Dale Dietrich
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Posts from — March 2006

DAY TWO: TiVo-EchoStar Trial (Thurs Mar 30)

Categories: CasesPatents

Former electrical engineering professor Jerry Gibson testified that on his analysis of the two boxes, the Echostar box used 11 technologies claimed in TiVo’s patent. He demonstrated how the Time Warp patent works by showing a Dallas Cowboys touchdown (talk about playing to his audience! smiley face) He testified about the TiVo media switch at the heart of the patent. Judge Folsom told the jury they could find infringement even if Echostar did not directly copy the TiVo technology. Lead inventor Barton described how he took a prototype to Echostar early on. He left the prototype with promises it would be returned the next day. It never was. Barton also testified about later sessions where the box was opened and TiVo explained to EchoStar engineers how the technology worked.

Source: Marshal News Messenger  |  Oxford Press

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DAY ONE: TiVo-EchoStar Trial (Wed Mar 29)

Categories: CasesPatents

Local Paper Describes Day 1 of the TiVo-Echostar trial. Testimony, procedural matters, boxes of documents and standing room only. In opening statements Echostar attorney Harold J. McElhinny said TiVo planned to ask for at least $100 million in damages. Echostar has filed a countersuit scheduled for trial next year.

Sources: Marshal News Messenger 1  |  Marshal News Messenger 2  |  Marshal News Messenger 3

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Russia-based AllofMP3 Launches DRM-free allTunes

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersDRM-Free ServicesNew Business ModelsPiracy

Russian-based AllofMP3.com has released a beta of its latest desktop music library and download tool allTunes. Although the name is an obvious play on iTunes, those familiar with AllofMP3 will know that they are infamous for extremely cheap, high quality and quasi-legal, DRM-free music downloads in MP3 format on the web.

Sources: Tech Crunch | ars technica | All About Symbian

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TiVo, EchoStar Head to Court

Categories: CasesPatents

- Text of “Multi-Media Time Warping Patent” in Dispute
- One Paragraph Summary of TiVo’s Complaint
TiVo and EchoStar Communications headed to a Texas courtroom Wednesday to argue over TiVo’s claim that EchoStar’s Dish Network infringed on TiVo’s patent on a “multimedia time-warping system,” the time-shifting technology inside the digital video recorder maker’s set-top boxes. It will be a jury trial. EchoStar’s countersuit is not scheduled for trial until next year.

Sources: Red Herring | San Francisco Chronicle | ars technica | Seattle Post Intelligencer | Business Week | Forbes | Fox | USA Today | Washington Post | Examiner | CNet | Reuters | L.A. Times | Yahoo! Finance
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Torrentspy Fights Back Against MPAA in Motion to Dismiss

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersCases

Text of Motion to Dismiss
The U.S. Supreme Court decision in MGM v. Grokster clearly found Grokster to be contributorily liable for inducing its users to directly infringe the copyright in content shared through the Grokster peer-to-peer file sharing network, on the basis that it took “affirmative steps” to induce such infringement. Absent affirmative steps to induce copyright infringement, Grokster arguably would not have been liable. Since that decision was handed down, the entertainment industry has attempted to expand what the decision actually said in arguing, without foundation, that file sharing and torrent tracking sites were, per se, illegal on the basis of the Grokster decision. The Supreme Court did not make that ruling. This is the argument Torrentspy is aptly making in its Motion to Dismiss at lines 18 to 20:

There are no facts showing a “clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement” on the parts of defendants. (Grokster, at 125 S.Ct. 2770.)

Sources: BBC | PC World Australia | Techdirt | The Register | The Inquirer | MacWorld | Playfuls | Afterdawn.com | EarthTimes.org | Torrentspy Press Release | LinuxWorld.com.au | ITNews.com.au | WebProNews | Slyck | PC Advisor

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Case Dismissed Over RIAA’s Failure to Provide Guardian Ad Litem Proposal

Categories: BigMedia v. P2P UsersDecisions

  Text of Priority v. Chan II Dismissal (March 27, 2006)
Other Court Filings

After requesting that the court dismiss an initial action it against Candy Chan, the RIAA filed suit against her teen-aged daughter Brittanny. The RIAA petitioned the court to appoint a guardian ad litem and insisted the defendant pay the guardian's fees. The court initially denied the request because it was troubled over how the guardian would be paid. The court suggested that the RIAA pay guardian fees into escrow with the ultimate determination of who was responsible for such fees to be made by the Court after trial. The court ordered the RIAA to submit a functional proposal for such an appointment and how the guardian could be paid pending the litigation's outcome. The RIAA failed to provide such a proposal.  Consequently, the court dismissed the suit against Brittany:

…Plaintiffs have failed to respond to the Court’s order to submit a functional proposal for the appointment of a guardian ad litem for Defendant. In fact, other than in the caption of Plaintiffs’ response, the Plaintiffs have not even acknowledged thatsuch an order was issued. The Court finds Plaintiffs’ failure to respond to the order inexplicable in ight of the efforts of the Court to work with the Plaintiffs in advancing this case and the fact thatPlaintiffs were ordered to provide a proposal. Accordingly, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs’failure to comply with an order of the Court justifies the dismissal of Plaintiffs’ action.

Sources: Recording Industry v. The People | P2PNet| MP3newswire.net | Wikipedia

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Denmark May Follow France to challenge Apple DRM

Categories: DRM AnalysisDRM as Market LockInternational Legal Reform

On the heels of France’s legislative push for DRM interoperability comes word that Denmark is thinking along the same lines. The legislation is not Apple-specific, however. Rather, France (and now Denmark) is pushing for general DRM interoperability that would eliminate customer lock-in.

ars technica | The Register | Mac World | Engadget | iLounge | PC Pro | Inquirer

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Germans Face Two Years in Prison for Downloading Latest Film

Categories: BigMedia v. P2P UsersLaws

GERMANS risk two years in prison if they illegally download films and music for private use under a new law agreed yesterday. Anybody who downloads films for commercial use could be jailed for up to five years.

Sources: Times Online  |  Nam News  |  Irish Independent  |  ars technica

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Illinois WiFi ‘Freeloader’ fined US$250

Categories: WiFi Access

An Illinois man plead guilty this week to remotely accessing another computer system without the owner’s approval and was handed one year of court supervision and a US$250 fine. David Kauchak was spotted using his laptop inside of his parked car in the middle of the night by a police officer this past January. The officer discovered that Kauchak was using an unprotected wireless access point belonging to a not-for-profit agency to access the Internet and cited him.

Sources: ars technica | Network World | Yahoo! News | The Register | Networking Pipeline | Rockford Register Star | TechSearch | RealTechNews

Dale’s Comment: This is crazy! These laws are intended to keep people from maliciously using/attacking someone’s computer, not to prevent casual, harmless Internet access. I have long argued that not only should this be encouraged, but WiFi/router manufactures should specifically design their products so that users can safely allocate a user-selectable portion of their WiFi bandwidth (ideally, via an external switch or software slider tool) for third party anonymous Internet connections. This should be done in a way that protects the router-owner from unauthorized access to their internal computer systems/networks. If this were to happen, significant, universal and free roaming Internet connectivity could follow. If someone is genuinely hacking or causing mischief, throw the book at him. If he’s just surfing the net or catching up on e-mail, let him alone!

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Apple Responds to Proposed French Legislation

Categories: DRM AnalysisDRM as Market LockInternational Legal Reform

After quietly watching developments in the French National Assembly, Apple has responded by saying the proposed law would be tantamount to state-sponsored piracy. Apple may abandon the French market.

Dale’s Comment: How ironic! But for the fact that CDs do NOT contain restrictive DRM, the Apple iPod and iTunes would not exist! Apple now argues for a system of content restriction that will prevent future innovations, like the iPod, from being developed. France’s proposed law is similar to Canadian and U.S. laws passed in the 80′s requiring telephone companies to make telephone services interoperable with telephones manufactured by third parties. Apple’s response, of course, is pandering to its music industry clientèle. In the first instance, nothing about this bill facilitates piracy. Indeed, it includes new provisions to fine consumers that engage in music piracy. In the second instance, so long as Apple continues to innovate and Apple’s iPod continues to be the best portable music player on the market, Apple would benefit if this bill became law. In that instance, just as music from unprotected CDs play on the iPod now, music purchased in France from Sony’, Napster’s, Real’s and Microsoft’s online music stores (for instance) would be playable on Apple’s market-leading iPod. Apple must, however, feign disgust to appease its recording industry partners — the same industry players that Apple had to drag kicking and screaming to the increasingly profitable online-digital music distribution market. Digital music distribution is fast eradicating the losses that the music industry has suffered over the last couple years from decreased CD sales. See this related ars technica story: RIAA Crying Wolf All the way to the Bank.

Sources: BBC | Forbes | ars technica | Macnn | Bloomberg | PC Pro | Silicon.com

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Circumventing Competition: The Perverse Consequences of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Categories: DMCA-like LawsDRM AnalysisFair Use/DealingLegal Reform

Text of Report
The CATO Institute has prepared a timely report where its author argues that while historically the courts have a proven track record of fashioning balanced remedies for the copyright challenges created by new technologies, the DMCA has cut the courts out of this role and instead banned any devices that “circumvent” digital rights management (DRM) technologies, which control access to copyrighted content and thereby limits or removes altogether consumers’ traditional fair use/fair dealing rights.

Sources: CATO Institute | The Inquirer | Corante

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EFF Calls for DMCA Reform

Categories: DMCA-like LawsDRM AnalysisLegal ReformLobbying

Text of DMCRA, HR 1201
The EFF is championing the proposed Digital Media Consumers’ Rights Act (DMCRA, HR 1201). As with the recently passed bill in France, HR 1201 would give citizens the right to circumvent copy-protection measures as long as what they’re doing is otherwise legal.

Sources: EFF | DailyTech.com | WebProNews.com | CD Freaks

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French National Assembly Passes Bill to open iTunes DRM – On to the Senate for Approval

Categories: DRM as Market LockInternational Legal Reform

Translated Text of Key Article 7 of Bill
(courtesy Freedom-to-Tinker.com)

France’s parliament voted 296-193 in favor of a copyright bill that would be Europe’s first legislation forcing companies such as Apple Computer Inc. and Microsoft Corp. to make music downloads playable on all portable digital players. The bill is set for debate and a vote in the Senate in May.

Sources: Mac Observer | MSNBC | Globe & Mail | Engadget | ars technica | Computer World | Reuters | Financial Times | CNet | Fox News | BBC | Times Online | Forbes | Red Herring | MP3.com | The Register | L.A. Times | Wired | Aljazeera | New York Times | Hollywood Reporter | Xinhua China | John C. Dvorak | DRM Watch

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Cathy Kirkman’s Presentation to DRM Conference

Categories: DRM Analysis

Text of Presentation
Text of Talk
Cathy Kirkman kindly posted her DRM presentation and speech materials from last week’s Practicing Law Institute’s 26th Annual Computer and Internet Law Institute in New York. They provide a very good summary and discussion of the state of the law and the current DRM, TPM, broadcast flag, EULA and other issues that are a focus of this website. Thanks to Cathy for making these publicly available.

Source: Cathy Kirkman

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MPAA/RIAA/BSA: No breaking DRM, even if it’s killing you (literally!)

Categories: DRM AnalysisDRM Restricting Use

“The BSA, MPAA and RIAA have officially objected to a proposal to let the public break DRM that “threatens critical infrastructure and endangers lives.” They argue that if it becomes legal to break DRM that could kill you that it might harm their business.”

Freedom to Tinker  |  The Register

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RIAA Motion to Compel Hard Drive Inspection Denied – Neutral Inspector Appointed

Categories: BigMedia v. P2P UsersCases

"…[W]here the RIAA made a motion to compel complete access to Tanya Andersen's computer to make a "mirror image" of her hard drive, federal judge Donald Ashmanskas declined to allow that, and instead granted Ms. Andersen's request to appoint a neutral expert who would be given a specific list of files and an identified protocol to review her computer."

Source: Recording Industry vs. The People | P2PNet

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French Finish Draft of Law to open iTunes

Categories: DRM AnalysisDRM as Market LockDRM Restricting UseInternational Legal Reform

The new law, now set for a vote on Tuesday, would allow consumers to circumvent software that protects copyrighted material–known as digital rights management (DRM)–if it is done to convert digital content from one format to another. Such circumvention is currently illegal in much of the world.

Sources: ZDNet | Wired | New York Times | Reuters | Business Week | CNet | USA Today | L.A. Times | Silicon.com

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Disney Experimenting with Macrovision RipGuard for DVDs

Categories: DRM Restricting Use

Disney film studios has been using Macrovision’s RipGuard technology for preventing DVD copying. Sony, 20th Century Fox, Universal, and Warner Bros.are waiting to see how effective it is. This is another example of the ongoing saga of Hollywood studios trying to figure out how to protect DVDs from piracy.

Sources: Forbes.com  |  DRM Watch

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TiVo Against the Giants

Categories: BigMedia v NewTechCasesDigital TVPatents

Law.com interviews TiVo’s general Counsel, Matt Zinn, on the forthcoming TiVo v. EchoStar Trial, defending other patent suits and generally how he rolls with TiVo’s legal punches.

Source: Law.com

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AllPeers, The P2P File Sharing FireFox “Killer App”

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersNew Tech

AllPeers is preparing a BitTorrent-based Firefox extension service that will let users share files privately through a Web browser using a “buddy list” of friends and acquaintances. By contrast most file-sharing networks today are all-or-nothing propositions — you either share files with the entire Internet, or with no one.

Sources: CNN Money.com  |  Techcrunch  |  Red Herring  |  P2PNet  |  Yahoo! News  |  Betadot.com

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French Law Could Open Up iTunes to Any Device

Categories: DRM AnalysisDRM as Market LockInternational Legal ReformiVOD/iTVNew Business ModelsPolicy Analysis

A law being proposed in France would force companies like Apple to open up content downloaded from, say, the iTunes Music Store to be used on non-Apple devices. If they don’t comply, customers would be allowed to break the DRM.

Sources: PC Magazine | engadget | Yahoo! News | Inquirer | Reuters | Boston Globe | ars technica | Globe & Mail | MobileMag | Playfuls | Silicon.com | Business Week | Red Herring | PC Pro

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The Pirate Bay: Here to Stay? (Wired Feature)

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersPiracy

One prominent site is missing from the movie industry’s recent round of lawsuits, and it happens to be the simplest and best-known source of traded movies — along with pirated video games, music, software, audio books, television broadcasts and nearly any other form of media imaginable. The site is called The Pirate Bay, and it’s operated by a crew of intrepid Swedes who revel in tormenting the content industries.

Source: Wired

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An Introduction to IPTV (ars technica Feature)

Categories: iVOD/iTVNew Tech

Over the last decade, the growth of satellite service, the rise of digital cable, and the birth of HDTV have all left their mark on the television landscape. Now, a new delivery method threatens to shake things up even more powerfully. Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) has arrived, and backed by the deep pockets of the telecommunications industry, it’s poised to offer more interactivity and bring a hefty dose of competition to the business of selling TV.

Source: ars technica

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Class Action Lawyer Sues Record Labels

Categories: AntitrustCases

San Diego lawyer William Lerach’s suit says that Sony BMG, Universal Music, Time Warner, Bertelsmann, and EMI fought together to keep the online music market from emerging, and then “conspired to fix and maintain” music prices once services like Apple’s highly successful iTunes became inevitable.

Sources: Red Herring | Mac World | Cathy Kirkman

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The Problem with PC Game Piracy Protection (Next Generation Feature)

Categories: DRM Restricting UseIntrusive TPMs - RootkitsPiracy

PC Gamer looks at anti-piracy solutions and how their potency has created problems for legitimate game buyers.

Source: Next Generation

Related Stories: Joystiq  |  ars technica

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