Posts from — August 2006
Like Hymn did to iTunes' "FairPlay" in the past, FairUse4WM does to Microsoft's PlayForSure DRM. Engadget and others are reporting that FairUse4WM successfully strips out Windows Media Player's DRM 10 and 11, but not DRM 9. There is little doubt that Microsoft will quickly address this issues as Apple did before it (see "Apple Brings Discord to Hymn" on January 13, 2005).
Dale's Comment: With Hymn, the purchaser of music was able to strip out iTunes copy-protection technology so that the purchaser can exercise their fair use rights with their purchased content on any device. To the extent FairUse4WM does this for purchased content I believe the law should permit its use. However, use of FairUse4WM on songs accessed through music subscription services (such as Napster) hardly seems fair. The idea behind these services is that users are paying for short term rentals only – not purchases. As such, there is no credible fair use argument that can be made in the music rental case. The user is not purchasing the songs and therefore has no fair right to continue using the music after the subscription period is over. While I oppose DMCA-like Technological Protective Measures (TPM) restrictions on the consumer's use of content that is purchased by consumers, contrary to argument made in Engadget's open letter to Mirosoft, I wholly support it in the context of content rented by consumers via subscription services. In any event, I suspect like Apple before it, Microsoft will quickly send out a patch to nullify FairUse4WM.
- Law Review Article – Microsoft's War Waged with FairUse4WM (November 13, 2006)
- Microsoft Sues Viodentia – Viodentia Responds with a Software Update (September 26, 2006)
- Microsoft Issues Takedown Notices for Sites Hosting FairUse4WM (September 17, 2006)
- Microsoft & Viodentia Play Cat & Mouse with DRM-Circumvention Tool FairUse4WM (September 14, 2006)
- Hymn is Back with QTFairUse in an Ongoing Tit-for-Tat with Apple Over iTunes DRM (September 13, 2006)
- Microsoft's PlayForSure DRM Successfully Hacked (August 25, 2006)
- iTunes Locks out DRM-Free Purchases – Breaks PyMusique (March 21, 2005)
- Apple Brings Discord to Hymn (January 13, 2005)
- Apple Blocks Music Sales to Older iTunes – Forces Upgrade to Copy-Degraded Version (November 3, 2004)
- Hacker Takes Bite out of Apple's iTunes (August 12, 2004)
- Is Real's Hacking of iPod Legal? (July 30, 2004)
- RealNetworks Breaks Apple's Hold on iPod (July 26, 2004)
- iTunes DRM Cracked Wide Open for GNU/Linux (January 25, 2004)
In response to Netflix’s patent infringement lawsuit launched against Blockbuster last April, Blockbuster filed an anti-trust counter suit against Netflix. Netflix asked the court to dismiss the counter suit, split the suits in two and/or postpone discovery on the second until the first was resolved. U.S. District Judge William Alsup rejected all three motions.
- Blockbuster Anti-Trust Countersuit Against Netflix to Proceed (August 23, 2006)
- Netflix Sues Blockbuster to Shut Online Service (April 5, 2006)
Back on May 9 I reported that the Free Peers had settled with the RIAA for $30M, shut down its BearShare P2P service and sold the BearShare assets to iMesh owner Musiclab. As it turns out, like Kazza before it, iMesh is re-introducing a new version of Bearshare (version 6 – currently in beta). BearShare 6 includes a “ToGo” portable music subscription, compatible with Windows Plays for Sure portable music players, as well as social networking features. The service will not be compatible with iTunes, iPods or the forthcoming Zune service from Microsoft. Subscribers will have access to 15 million songs, including 2.5 million from major labels. It will start with a free 30-day beta trial and eventually start charging a monthly fee.
- iMesh Raises BearShare from the Dead and Takes it ‘Legit’ (August 23, 2006)
- Kazaa Settles for $100+ and Goes ‘Legit’ (July 27, 2006)
- Warner Bros. and BitTorrent Partner to Download Movies (May 9, 2006)
Related iMesh/Bearshare Posts:
- iMesh Raises BearShare from the Dead and Takes it ‘Legit’ (August 23, 2006)
- Bearshare Settles with RIAA for $30 M and Shuts Down (May 9, 2006)
- Music Industry Releases New Wave of Lawsuits (April 4, 2006)
The often controversial John C. Dvorak makes an interesting point in his August 21 PC Magazine editorial – “The Google Ploy – A Revolution“. Google, an ardent supporter of Net Neutrality, has recently completed wiring Mountain View (it’s home city) with free municiple WiFi. The first such successfully wired city in America. Google is also wiring San Francisco. In his article, Dvorak makes the point that Google could very-well profitably monetize this free service and use it as a profitable model for city-by-city WiFi rollouts nation-wide. While perhaps not Google’s original intention, as the cable companies and telephone companies have been talking about the need for tiered services (along with tiered pricing for the likes of Google and Microsoft), if Google were to pull this off, this could result in the ultimate end-run around local telco/cable-co duopolies and, in so doing, do away with the need for net-neutrality legislation altogether. He makes a very interesting argument.
To a melody quite reminiscent of "We are the World" (hum… any copyright violations there?), the irreverent Weird Al Yankovic has come out with a new single entitled: "Don't Download this Song" and promptly makes it available for download without any DRM/TPM restrictions. Some choice lyrics:
"Cause you'll start out stealing songs, but then you're robbing liquor stores and selling crack and running over school kids with your car"
"It doesn’t matter if you’re a grandma or a seven year-old girl, they’ll treat you like the evil, hard bitten criminal scum you are."
- Steve Jobs Calls for the End of DRM for Online Music Sales (February 7, 2007)
- Wired Article: Signs Music Industry May be Abandoning DRM (January 8, 2007)
- EMusic Sells 100 Millionth Song without DRM (December 15, 2006)
- EMI's Blue Note & Yahoo! Music Sell a Few More Songs DRM Free (December 6, 2006)
- ifpi Board Member Quoted as Saying Major Labels About to Abandon DRM (November 27, 2006)
- First a Song, Now a DRM-Free Album – Yahoo! (September 19, 2006)
- Weird Al Yankovic's New Single: Don't Download this Song (August 23, 2006)
- Yahoo! Offers DRM-Free Jessica Simpson Song (July 20, 2006)
- Yahoo! Exec Says Labels Should Sell Music Without DRM (February 24, 2006)
- Federal Circuit CA Blocks TiVo Injunction Against Echostar Pending Appeal (October 4, 2006)
- TiVo Wins Injunction Against Echostar – Appeals Court Grants a Temporary Stay (August 18, 2006)
- Music Industry Targets Guitar Tab Sites (August 14, 2006)
- Lyrics Dustup Ends in Apology (December 16, 2005)
Categories: BigMedia v P2P Providers
- LimeWire Countersues RIAA Alleging Conspiracy (September 25, 2006)
- Music Industry Sues Limewire (August 4, 2006)
Categories: Big Media Makes Progress
"Someone has to stand up to these clowns… their scare tactics make them sounds pretty foolish IMO. First of all, I would rather spend $US100,000 and not pay them $US2,500 than to just give them $US2,500 (it's about the principle)."
- Shawn Hogan's Motion to Dismiss RIAA Claim Denied (December 12, 2006)
- Shawn Hogan Files Motion to Dismiss MPAA Case Based on Faulty Copyright Registration (November 2, 2006)
- Millionaire Shawn Hogan to Fight Back Against the MPAA (August 4, 2006)
- France’s Diluted iTunes Plan Becomes Law (August 4, 2006)
- France Rolls Over on DRM Rights Law – Fails to Mandate Interoperability as Hoped (June 23, 2006)
- French Pro-Consumer DRM Law Reportedly Gutted by Senate Committee (May 1, 2006)
- Geist’s CBC Interview: France Tunes Apple Out: Apple Bites Back (April 7, 2006)
- Denmark May Follow France to Challenge Apple DRM (March 26, 2006)
- Apple Responds to Proposed French Legislation (March 22, 2006)
- French National Assembly Passes Bill to open iTunes (March 21, 2006)
- French Finish Draft of Law to open iTunes (March 16, 2006)
[January 1, 2007 Update: Paul Thurott mentioned on one of his late 06 or early 07 Windows Weekly podcasts that Vista has disabled the "print screen" function when HD-DVD and Blu-ray movies are played at full resolution within Vista – thus removing this hack possibility from Vista-based PCs. But, this is hardly a solution. All it takes is for one person using an XP-based PC to hack an HD title in this way and it will be circulating the globe within minutes through BitTorrent and other P2P technologies.]
- Arnezami Hacks HD-DVD/Blu-ray – Discovers the One "Processing Key" to Rule them All (February 14, 2006)
- BackupHDDVD & Doom9 Forum Create End-to-End HD-DVD Crack (January 13, 2007)
- HD-DVD & Blu-ray Cracked? (December 28, 2006)
- HD-DVD and Blu-Ray Reportedly Successfully Hacked via PrintScreen (August 2, 2006)
Related Article: Salon.com
Dale's Update [Aug 4, 2006): The original reports about this case mentioned that Ms. Marson had an open WiFi and that was the basis of the dismissal. The later reports, see for instance the ars technica report, are now saying that Ms. Marson a cheerleader teacher that had hundreds of girls come to her house, anyone of which could have used her computer to download music. Some reports (eg: the register) say both defenses were used. The net result, however, still seems to be the same. When you can show evidence that someone other than the IP address owner/user had access to Internet connectivity through that IP address, that may very well be an affirmative defense – as would be the case with a computer with open WiFi. While ars technica is quite right that no judgment has yet turned on this point, it seems to me evidence of an open WiFi would be at least as compelling a defense. And who knows, the RIAA may already have dropped open-WiFi defense cases without disclosing this to the public.
- RIAA Drops Open WiFi Case – Virgin v. Marson (August 1, 2006)
- RIAA Motion to Compel Hard Drive Inspection Denied – Neutral Inspector Appointed (March 17, 2006)
- Paramount Sues Man for Piracy – But Can't Find any Evidence (December 14, 2005)