Saturday, June 30, 2007

GPL v3 released


As I mentioned earlier this week, the GPL version three is finally out. Richard Stallman read a statement yesterday announcing the much-awaited launch, which will undoubtedly be met with both trepidation and caution in software development circles.

The text will maintain some of the more controversial features present in the drafts. Particularly, one of the most controversial additions is the restriction on some forms of technological protection measures by avoiding what is called the tivoization of software. This means that modified software is released under the GPL and the source code is made available to the public, but there are hardware restrictions on what software can be run in a device, just as is the case with the TiVo players. This addition has been so controversial that Linus Torvalds has stated repeatedly that the Linux kernel will not be released under the GPL v3.

Similarly, the final text has kept language designed to punish the patent licensing agreement between Novell and Microsoft. The original text in the last draft was modified however to make it less punishing. The original draft read:

"You may not convey a covered work if you are a party to an arrangement with a third party that is in the business of distributing software, under which you make payment to the third party based on the extent of your activity of conveying the work, and under which the third party grants, to any of the parties who would receive the covered work from you, a patent license (a) in connection with copies of the covered work conveyed by you, and/or copies made from those, or (b) primarily for and in connection with specific products or compilations that contain the covered work, which license does not cover, prohibits the exercise of, or is conditioned on the non-exercise of any of the rights that are specifically granted to recipients of the covered work under this License [...]"
The final version however, has been watered-down a bit, so it now reads:
"If you convey a covered work, knowingly relying on a patent license, and the Corresponding Source of the work is not available for anyone to copy, free of charge and under the terms of this License, through a publicly available network server or other readily accessible means, then you must either (1) cause the Corresponding Source to be so available, or (2) arrange to deprive yourself of the benefit of the patent license for this particular work, or (3) arrange, in a manner consistent with the requirements of this License, to extend the patent license to downstream recipients."
This is a good move by the FSF, as the previous text was not only rather awkward, but extremely specific. Something that has been bothering me about v3 is that, while it claims to be the constitutional norm regulating the Free Software movement, the actual language tended to have very narrow application. GPL v3 uses some clunky legal language to tackle technologies and applications that annoy Stallman, but such language applies only to singular cases. There's a reason why constitutions are usually drafted in the broadest possible terms, they are supposed to apply to a wide variety of situations. Regulating for specifics will usually have nefarious results.

In the end, I hope that the amendments to the text were made because the draft was unworkable, and not as a result of threats made by Microsoft about Linux patent infringement.

Personally, the bad news about the release is that I will have to write a new article on GPL v3. So much to do, so little time!

Friday, June 29, 2007

GikII 2

In September 2006, panGloss and yours truly organised the first GikII workshop, a tremendously entertaining gathering of like-minded people willing to discuss the interface between geek culture and the law. The resulting workshop provided a look at the virtual personality of avatars; legal aspects of fandom, anime and even hentai; privacy in the novels of Harry Potter; technophobia as a drive for regulation; the ecological impact of computing; and more mentions to the three laws of robotics than you could ever expect in a legal workshop.

We are officially announcing GikII 2 for September 19 2007 at University College London. The cost of the workshop is £30 GBP ($326 Croatian Kuna). There should be an online registration form shortly. Because we're trying to be all Web 2.0, you can also join the group on Facebook, which already has 19 members.

And you know what they say, the geek shall inherit the earth. Did I get that right?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Second Life hype over?

Terra Nova reports on the potential business migration from Second Life, due in part to its "clunky technology". Some of the early comers in the virtual market, such as Well Fargo, have left and set up their virtual tent elsewhere.

I agree with TN about the fact that this is an expected backlash, but I also would like to add that it is a welcome one. It may be just me, but I have always been particularly underwhelmed by Second Life, it is to me nothing more than a glorified chatroom, and I tend to get tired of the time it gets in technology news reports and podcasts. The problem I see with it is that it has become one of those technologies that people who are not into technology are supposed to know, so in order to sound clued-in and updated, it is brought out as an example of the virtual economy. It also makes for nice and trendy subject for lazy journalists who want to convey trendy news from the wild virtual frontiers without making a lot of effort (for example, reports about virtual tours).

The backlash will perhaps see the end of the virtual.com bubble, but that does not mean that virtual worlds are not useful. Second Life maybe over-hyped, but there's much more out there that requires analysis.

In the end, what good is a virtual world if you cannot blow things up properly?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Eben Moglen in Edinburgh


Last night I attended Professor Eben Moglen's lecture at the School of Law at the University of Edinburgh, organised by the Scottish branch of the Society for Computer and Law. The first thing I noticed was that that the audience present in the lecture theatre was starkly divided between the suits and the t-shirts, a shallow observation perhaps, but one that conveys the profound difference of the way one looks at software. As I was explaining to someone before the talk who was unfamiliar with the topic, the t-shirts were there because they believe in free software, while some of the suits were there because they cannot afford to ignore free software and free licensing. The talk is about the GPL version 3.

The lecture started with a compelling look at the ethical imperatives in the sharing of knowledge, "we are one generation away from the free spread of knowledge" through digital means with little or no replication cost. Money is still needed to represent and create knowledge, but such things are becoming cheaper to reproduce. If it is possible to give to each human being anything of utility or beauty at no or little cost, shouldn't we? In the analog economy, cost, labour and the expense of creation generated an economy of property, economists explained why the prior system worked, and why it was wrong. However, nowadays, ignorance and deprivation are preventable, so why do they persist?

Richard Stallman began his movement with a clear moral statement. He had a moral insight regarding software, about rights to use, understand and know about the software. The result of such ideals is the Free Software Foundation. It allows software to get done, it also empowers communities to share their work. GPL v1 and v2 were drafted and released before 1991, but they are just the starting point of the philosophies expounded. The initial rules for sharing assumed that copyright only had to be considered, and therefore the GPL v2 only takes copyright law into account through the inception of copyleft and other legal hacks. But the change brought about by proprietary software has changed the environment, these systems became monopolies, and as every monopoly in history, it creates lousy products at high prices.

Such evolution has required the re-drafting of the GPL, the fundamental legal mechanisms require an update, which has been done by a global process of assembling a physical and virtual community for such purposes. Moglen keeps referring to this as a legislative process, which is an interesting choice of words, but it is precisely intended, as he has been known to have made statements that the GPL is the global norm of the free software movement. The legislative process has been achieved by allowing the community to work freely with itself. The consultation included hackers, industry, lawyers and users. A lot of the useless legislative behaviour was skipped, such as people trying to buy, coerce or scare Stallman. Professor Moglen admitted that the end result is a bit too long and a bit too complex, which is to be expected of such a long consultation.

A persuasive discourse follows on the creation of new law, with some clever snide remarks at Civil Law systems maintaining Roman Law institutions to this day ("norms that were created to sustain 1st century Mediterranean commerce"), and proposes the American Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) as an example of vigorous new norm-making, and that the new GPL is very much akin to the new UCC. But the GPL goes beyond that, it is law-making by the common man, by the community, by the people, in a way that is not done any more. There is a veiled attack on the lawyers in the room by the mention of paid spies (ouch!). There is some mention of the Web 2.0 revolution, that the people's empowerment may herald a new political era. The GPL improved copyright law, which was the law of the publisher. Free software is the law of the creator. The fate of the monopoly will be decided in the next few weeks and months, and the talk ends with rhetoric that resembles "we shall prevail" language.

To me, the other big news from the lecture is that the GPL v3 consensus draft will be released on Friday!

Questions: A question about the interaction between v2 an v3 brings about the quote of the night: "The moment we released the first GPL version 3 draft, version 2 became perfect". He acknowledges that some developers will decide to stay with version 2 (explicitly acknowledging Linus Torvalds very outspoken refusal to migrate), but that this will be a question for each project.

Yours truly then asked the following question: "One of the most controversial elements of the draft version has been the inclusion of technological protection measures in the draft. Seeing that DRMs may fall by their own weight and by their defective nature, wouldn't it have been wiser not to include them?" Moglen answers that having the debate itself was useful, he agrees that TPMs are on the way out, but he argues that this is in part due to the fact that they were included in the draft in the first place. I see his point that the discussion was useful, but I'm not at all sure that DRMs would not be under siege as they are if they had not been mentioned in the proposed text. Hubris anyone?

Media: There will be a video of the talk available from here. Watch this space.

Verdict: The talk was about moral imperatives, and I see why the argument is so persuasive to those who have heard it before. I may be misreading the crowd, but there was a respectful hush throughout. Moglen is a powerful speaker, make no mistake.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

... and the winner is ....


I thought that the best judge for the llama competition had to be Linda's daughter Bethany, who chose the llama in the first place. The winner is Lilian (funny, I didn't think it was female).

In an executive decision, I've decided to call it Lillian to differentiate it with the inimitable original.

Monday, June 25, 2007

New aggregated blog

As part of the synergy generated in the iCommons summit, several Latin American leads suggested the creation of a new aggregated blog bringing together voices talking about open content, CC and other related topics. Thanks to Katitza Rodríguez from CC-Peru we now have a new blog. If you would like to aggregate your content to the blog, please send me an email.

Friday, June 22, 2007

EMI's sales soar without DRM


There seems to be nothing better than the content and smug feeling you get by saying "we told you so". Well, we did, and it seems clear that the technical protection measure experiment may have finally crashed (henceforth DRM). Several sites report what every person even mildly clued-in to the music scene already knew, that EMI's music has experienced noticeable gains with iTunes Plus service.

Common sense prevails (I'm sceptical about the argument from common sense, but please indulge me this time). Most people who love music want, at one point in their lives, to be able to reward those artists that make them feel good. This reward can take all sorts of shapes, from buying a CD to buying the lead guitarist a drink when they are at the bar after a gig, and patting them in the back and saying "well done mate". DRM is not one of those natural and moral reward mechanisms. DRM sends a clear message to the fan, it says "we think you're a thief, we only want your money, go away". We want to do all sorts of things with the music, including sharing it with friends and family from time to time. DRM stops us from doing that.

I will continue to buy DRM-free music from iTunes, and if enough of us do, I think that other companies may follow.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Name the llama shortlist

Thanks to all who sent in entries. There are three short-listed entries:

  • Lilian
  • Dougal
  • Bruno
The winner shall be announced shortly, I'm trying to negotiate a judge.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The life of a Chinese gold farmer

(via Colin Miller) As part of my growing interest in virtual economies, here is an eye-opening look at the gold of Chinese gold farmers from Julian Dibbell, including some video footage of their virtual sweat shops (you can sort of smell that the term could be quite literal as well).

Dibbell nails the point that this is probably little different to the conditions found in other sweat shops in China, but that the product still shocks us because these people are hired to play games and produce virtual goods with real monetary value.

I know that this may be a shallow point to make (nobody has ever accused me of depth to the best of my knowledge), but I wonder if there's anyone out there willing to pay me for the many hours spent gaming in front of my computer?

Peer to Patent live

The amazing Peer to Patent system is now live. The system is the creation of New York Law School Professor Beth Noveck, and it is an extremely interesting system of involving the online community on the review of patent claims in pending patent applications.

I believe this is an interesting exercise for many reasons, and it will hopefully help in helping the USPTO in getting its act together and cleaning up its woeful patent quality record.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

iSummit in pictures

Here's my iSummit in pictures (check out the iCommons Flickr stream):



Not a bad place to hold a conference



Badges? We don't need no stinkin' badges!
(courtesy CreativeCommoners)


So, THAT is how he does it!
(courtesy Joi Ito)



Snowclones are the new black
(courtesy Mathias Klang)



Tessi disagrees with me about the quality of the talk



Two children down, about two billion to go



I haven't been this excited since I bought my Mazinger t-shirt!
(courtesy Joi Ito)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Free Radio

(photo courtesy of Becky Hogge)

One of the coolest activities I managed to do during the summit (besides annoying random people with rants about contract law) was to participate in the Free Radio broadcast. As you can see, it is a radio broadcasting outside one of the venues. I managed to play a Latin set (Fabulosos Cadillacs, Molotov, Juanes and Manu Chao) and as you can see from the picture, the crowds loved it... well they were gathered in the picture's blind side, yeah, they were, truly!

Creative Commons movement

A common theme running through the summit has been the question of the nature of the Creative Commons organisation. Is it a movement? And if so, what is its philosophy? Ideology? Is it political?

I think that these are important questions, and while I believe clearly that this is a movement, I tend to be rather more sceptical about its political and ideological implications. The fact that "we" are now back in the FSF's good books (at least a couple of the licences are), leads me to believe that there is a united front on free or open licences. I would claim that there is clearly a wider philosophical movement dedicated to the generation of digital conservation spaces protected through legal instruments enforceable in court. However, the movement is not a legal movement as such, it simply uses copyright licences as an implementation tool.

This is why the reason why the underlying philosophy is so important. Yochai Benkler agrees that there is a counter-movement exemplified by an opposition to IP maximalism, which is clearly opposed to software patents, increased copyright terms, criminalisation of infringement, new sui generis rights, and other important issues.

Those are worthy causes, but does joining a cause make one a movement? I keep thinking that we need some strong direction, a manifesto for the digital age.

Off to catch a plane now.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Poker

Venerable (I sort of hate that word, but I don't know how else to describe him) Harvard Professot Charlie Nesson gave an excellent talk on poker and democracy. I'm sure this will be one of those events which will be part of the many excellent talks we have been seeing in the last few days, particularly because Professor Nesson is here after an operation, so we had to go to his hotel and had a session in a 5 star hotel lounge talkinga bout the online poker ban and the law.

Professor Nesson has a theory that poker is a game that teaches about life, about thinking for oneself, independent thought and strategic thinking on specific situations. It is relevant for the law because it is not about lying, but the minor deception involved in bluffing is all about a recognised excercise of risk. The ban on poker is tantamount to an attack on democracy (he did not put it in those terms, but it was implied on the discourse).

Some interesting discussion followed, talking about the benefit of the metaphor, about the specific developments on the American online gambling ban, and about regulation of such practices.

The future of the Commons

Last night Larry Lessig and Jonathan Zittrain presented what I'm sure will become a legendary session on the future of content and the future of the Commons.

Jonathan Zittrain gave a thoroughly enjoyable presentation related to his work on the Web's famous network vulnerability, and what it means for the future of the internet and for the future delivery of content. Zittrain's final points related to the fact that there appears to be a devolution of content provision by technologies that are more analogous to the old BBS services. Similarly, there is a growth in the creation of gated sharing communities instead of the wide and vastly open sharing P2P networks. I was happy to see this expressed in such a manner, I have personally believed that the next generation of "sharing" has been coming back to what I call the "tree house" model, where membership is by invitation only.

Zittrain's presentation was amazing, but something kept nagging me about it, and when I got back to the hotel it dawned on me that it was not specific to the talk, but to the summit in general. There has been a certain American-centric slant on the summit. We have been hearing a lot of American speakers, talking about American practices, American technologies, American websites, and American devices. There is also a certain absence of recognition that other people in the world do things differently. For example, in Africa the devices spoken about are practically unheard of, while the mobile rules the waves. There is also a bit of over-exposition of Western and American cyber-culture and American law. We need to recognise that this is a global summit, and that people do things differently in other places (the exception has been Jimmy Wales, who presented a candid and honest look at global educational projects).

Lessig's talk was a tour de force. I have seen him speak several times, and I honestly thought that I had become used to his presentation style, I didn't think that he could amaze me the way he did last night. The talk was frank, forceful and honest, but most importantly, it was passionate. Lessig has announced that he will be taking a lower-key role, and that it is up to us, the members of the movement to take the brunt of the responsibility in promoting it. He received a standing ovation, and there was a certain buzz after it was over, I think that people were aware that we had witnessed something different.

Jamie Boyle is announcing CC Learn, and Yochai Benkler will give his keynote tonight. I can hardly wait.

On the social front, I went back to the hotel early. Too much international liquor on Thursday night!

Friday, June 15, 2007

F.U.D. from Chile

On the same day that friend and colleague Claudio Ruiz has given me an excellent t-shirt and stickers from the Creative Commons enforcement case in Chile (pictured), I have read some F.U.D. from that same country. It's amazing how some people see CC as a fundamental challenge against proprietary models and have to resort to all sort of methods to raise fear and uncertainty about its adoption.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Legal Day


We've had some excellent discussion on the first day of the conference, which has been an unofficial start before the summit fully begins tomorrow (in other words, licence geeks get together and throw around ideas).

The first session was an extremely useful description from Lucie Gibault and Paul Keller of the re-licensing issue experience in the Netherlands, which has already ported the 3.0 licences into a Dutch version (but has not been launched yet). We received a set of instructions, tips and recommendations to project and legal leads on how to incorporate the v3.0 changes. Mike Linksvayer also presented instructions and updates on the technical aspects of the licence.

The second session brought an amazing paper from Giorgios Cheliotis, who presented a statistical analysis of the actual licence usage, particularly the ported licences. I will link to the paper when I have access to it. Mike Linksvayer also gave a great run-through some of the statistics, made relevant by the fact that national jurisdictions are not particularly popular, which places things into perspective.

The third session started some of the fireworks. I presented on enforcement, one of my favourite topics, where I spoke about contract formation problems. I was pretty intimidated by the fact that I was speaking after Lessig, who is always his amazing self. To me, the most important piece of news of the entire day was that Creative Commons is now back in the list of "Free Licences" published by the FSF. Comments on this session were provided by Lawrence Liang and Ronaldo Lemos.

Mireille van Eechoud presented an excellent introduction to International Private Law issues, which prompted a lively discussion on whether CC is a contract or a licence. This generated a clear split between common law and civil law systems, with all of us from civil or mixed jurisdictions stating that of course the licences are contracts, with the common law systems disagreeing. Most of us walked away like Galileo, muttering "but it is a contract!"

Paul Keller and Melanie Dulong de Rosnay gave their now yearly report on collecting societies, followed by a very brave David Uwemedimo from CISAC, who presented a very balanced view on where collecting societies stand with regards to CC. I'm sympathetic to people who present to a hostile audience, so I think David did quite well, although I disagreed strongly with his view of creativity. One of my favourite memes is about how the Internet and user-generated content is the result of new sharing ethics online, where CC would be the licence of choice for those at the end of the Long Tail. To think of creators as only those who make a profit or make a living of their creators is entirely wrong in my opinion. We are all creators, even those of us who make their poor musings on their pyjamas every morning.

On the social front we had an excellent night where everyone brought liquor from their countries of origin, which means I'm not feeling at my best today (and from the comments received this morning, I don't look too good either).

Update: Carolina Botero made a very complete and competent report (in Spanish).

Live from Dubrovnik

And the summit begins with the legal day, there will be plenty of discussion on all licensing legal topics, so today is lawyer's day.

The great thing about annual conferences is that you get to see again your friends from last year, and in the words of one of the organisers, you get to see how much people have aged in the last couple of years (and undoubtedly, people get to notice how much I've aged).

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Croatia

I'm off to Croatia to the iSummit '07. If last year's Rio Summit is anything to go by, we can expect lively discussion, excellent presentations and the gathering of a truly multinational audience. I hope to blog the event, so expect regular updates, wi-fi permitting of course.

Torrentspy ordered to track visitors

The popular torrent site TorrentSpy has been ordered by a California court to track its visitors as part of a suit initiated by the MPAA (WARNNG: TorrentSpy contains pictures of bouncy females in various stages of clothing). According to TorrentSpy's site:

"We have spent the last year challenging their relentless campaign against the 1st Amendment and personal privacy laws Worldwide. We have succeeded in delaying the court order to turn on logs while we appeal it. TorrentSpy will not create logs of what you do on the site without your consent."
It is interesting that the suit against TorrentSpy is about secondary infringement, it is clear that the industry cannot make the case that Torrent tracking sites are the direct infringers. It may also come about making items available to the public via links to trackers, but this will be open to debate. I have placed a copy of the magistrate's order here (courtesy of Fred von Lohmann). This will be definitely one to keep an eye on.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Name that llama

Former student Linda Wilbraham has sent us a mascot llama (pictured). Colleagues at the office have suggested that it needs a name, so I have decided to initiate a competition to name that llama. You can either write a comment with your name and the suggested llama name, or send an email to technollama at gmail.com. The deadline is June 20th.

Three entries will be short-listed by a third party (I have yet to decide who will make the final decision). The winning entry will receive a £30 GBP Amazon Gift Certificate (or equivalent in your local currency); or a £40 GBP donation to the charity of your choice (I cater for both the selfish and the selfless).

Get creative and make your suggestions soon!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Class-action suit for virtual gold farming

(via Terra Nova) I missed this one during my travels, but I find it such a great story. A Florida law firm has initiated a class-action suit against Internet Gaming Entertainment (IGE), a gold farming company based in Hong Kong and Delaware. According to the plaintiff, one Mr Antonio Hernández, he "spent hundreds of hours" playing World of Warcraft, spent $100 USD on the game and game expansion, and spent $15 USD per month on subscription fees. According to Mr Fernandez, this constitutes a substantial investment on his part on the game and its mechanics.

His argument is that IGE and other gold farmers act against the terms and conditions specified in WoW's EULA and Terms of Use, which specify that the user may not sell items for real money outside of the virtual world. IGE uses gold farmers from developing countries, who are paid to collect the gold, which IGE will then sell for "real" currency. The current exchange rate for 11,000 gold in WoW is $ $1,425 USD. Yes, you read correctly, more than a thousand dollars. Similarly, a Level 60 Female Night Elf Hunter with weapons and mount is sold for $279.99 USD in a European server.

Similarly, the plaintiff claims that IGE has sold virtual gold for millions of dollars, and that the amount of gold on sale is such that it creates a tangible economic damage to "honest" players because it devalues the currency and their own their efforts, it reduces the amount of virtual goods available to them, and it also places their characters at a disadvantage in PvP, because they are not willing to purchase powerful items through the farming system.

Although I find these claims spurious, there may be something to be said for the economic effects of farming. If resource drops are limited, as claimed by the plaintiff, then farming would certainly have severe economic consequences in the virtual world. However, if item and loot drops are instanced per kill (as in City of Heroes), it would not matter how many people are farming resources, you would all have a chance to get a drop because the system works on percentages. In City of Heores you are more likely to receive rare items by killing bosses than minions, and some special missions are guaranteed to produce a rare recipe upon completion.

My question is, what sort of gamer would purchase virtual gold? Where's the fun in that?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Genesis of We7

The BBC reports on a new download service started by Peter Gabriel called We7 (wet in l337, geddit?) The service allows free downloads but includes a small advert clip to each songs of up to 10 seconds.

This seems like a good effort, but I'm not sure about its prospects. It is further evidence that the smarter parts of the music industry have realised that the business models have changed.

Monday, June 04, 2007

File-sharing promotes terrorism

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has published music piracy's "10 inconvenient truths". Jumping on about three or four bandwagons at the same time must be taxing for the good folks at the IFPI, but I digress.

The list is (with some fisking added):

"1. Pirate Bay, one of the flagships of the anti-copyright movement, makes thousands of euros from advertising on its site, while maintaining its anti-establishment “free music” rhetoric."
Not true, PirateBay does not promote free music, they promote self-serving piracy. The IFPI should understand that people are sophisticated enough to know that pirates are selfish, back-stabbing drunkards who say "argh" a lot. We've all seen Pirates of the Caribbean!

"2. Allofmp3.com, the well-known Russian website, has not been licensed by a single IFPI member, has been disowned by right holder groups worldwide and is facing criminal proceedings in Russia."
In other breaking news, water is wet and snow is cold...

" 3. Organised criminal gangs and even terrorist groups use the sale of counterfeit CDs to raise revenue and launder money."
From P2P, to dodgy Russian sites, to organised crime and terrorism in three steps. That must be some sort of record. Remember kids, when you download songs, you assist Osama Bin Laden.

" 4. Illegal file-sharers don’t care whether the copyright infringing work they distribute is from a major or independent label."
True most of the times, although in my experience music fans are sophisticated enough to support struggling bands they like.

" 5. Reduced revenues for record companies mean less money available to take a risk on “underground” artists and more inclination to invest in “bankers” like American Idol stars."
The music industry has never really been aware of irony, but it does strike me particularly lovely that here it complains about its own bias and emphasis on easy-money, while asking for sympathy.

" 6. ISPs often advertise music as a benefit of signing up to their service, but facilitate the illegal swapping on copyright infringing music on a grand scale."
This one sticks out in this list. It is not a dig directed against P2P and file-sharers, but it's part of an ongoing intermediary liability war. Pangloss should have something to say about that.

"7. The anti-copyright movement does not create jobs, exports, tax revenues and economic growth – it largely consists of people pontificating on a commercial world about which they know little."
If all your efforts to stop file-sharing fail (the pleas from artists, the angry lawsuits, the DRM), then revert to a level of right-wing rhetoric that would fit quite well in Fox News. Only The Industry creates jobs, all of you pinko-commie hippies do not generate anything for the economy. And you're stupid.

"8. Piracy is not caused by poverty. Professor Zhang of Nanjing University found the Chinese citizens who bought pirate products were mainly middle or higher income earners."
Look at the nice straw man being erected. See it knocked down. This is not a logical fallacy for nothing.

"9. Most people know it is wrong to file-share copyright infringing material but won't stop till the law makes them, according to a recent study by the Australian anti-piracy group MIPI."
So, we'll just sue you into oblivion until you comply! We have lawyers and we're not afraid to use them!

"10. P2P networks are not hotbeds for discovering new music. It is popular music that is illegally file-shared most frequently."
Could it be because new music is *gasp* often shared for free?

All in all, a poor showing for the IFPI, even below their stridently inadequate standards.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

AACS keys cracked. Again.


Nothing demonstrates the futility of DRMs arms like the HD-DVD fiasco. Ed Felten has posted about the latest crack on the latest patch of the failing security system used to protect high definition discs. After the now infamous key number was cracked last month and publicised last month, the solution has been to blacklist some keys and update players with the blacklist. But as soon as one key is blacklisted, another crack is sure to follow.

The problem for AACS and similar technological protection measure providers is that they are fighting a hopeless arms race against hackers, regardless of what anti-circumvention legislation says. The Internet community will go to great lengths to publicise anything that seems to be an act of "repression", including a person tattooing the AACS key on himself.

Yes, the Interwebs is a strange place full of whacky people willing to tattoo circumvention of effective techological measures on themselves. The war is lost, change!

By the way, DRM free music available on iTunes! I've purchased my first DRM-free iTunes album, although apparently the music is tagged with the purchaser's name and email.