Singing the Bite Me Song

Intellectual Property

September 29, 2005

I'm not allowed to read this, but I think "Find the Brownie" is a great game

The New York Times has seen fit to take its own columnists out of circulation, a move of such peculiar logic that the columnists themselves must be dumbstruck at the 16 people each day who are actually paying just to read their words.

My bet is that they will become virtually invisible in the link-currency of the Internet within two weeks, and [PREDICTION ALERT] the Times will suspend the ridiculous policy due to its utter stupidity by Halloween. I pick Halloween not because I really think it will take that long for the company to realize the depths of its blunder, but because I think pride on business/shareholder/management side will force the editorial folks to suffer the humiliation long enough for some bean-counters to make doubly sure they won't be vindicated on a cold day in hell. As if anyone else has any doubt.

Meanwhile, I have no intention of paying retail. Nor will I ever give those bogus newspaper personal info-harvesting machines masquerading as "free registration" ANY honest personal information. I just LOVE messing with data, and those papers are selling that aggregate bogus info to spam marketers and making probably five whole cents on each registration. I hope that helps them sleep better.

So do I even want to give Paul Krugman credit for the "Find the Brownie" meme? To be more accurate, it appears he cribbed it from Monty Python's "Spot the Loony."

Still, as a viral idea, unbound from the absurdities of TimesSelect firewalls, the enterprise has legs. I can see some future web site, totally devoted to an expanding roll call of embedded "Brownies" unearthed in Bush administration political appointments.

No offense to the Girl Scouts of America, but a "Brownie" is named for Michael Brown, the criminally incompetent director of FEMA who clearly owes his appointment, along with those in several of the positions under him, to political patronage.

Krugman and many others believe that the ranks of the Bush administration are filled with many "Brownies." It remains to be seen if the actual "Brownie Count" approximates the notorious Chicago machine politics under the first Mayor Daley, or other exemplars from the era known for its "boss politics." Or perhaps the count will reach the levels of the righteous "fascists" as the movement was taking off in Europe, the people like Franco and Mussolini who had the gall to champion the corruption of crony capitalism. Now that would be something to be proud of, eh?

I must be feeling my oats today because Tom DeLay was indicted today. Ooh, I was doing the Snoopy dance, yes indeedy.

Krugman, this will probably be the last time I quote you, until after Halloween or so. Don't get too cold in that icebox, OK? Watch the DVD of "The Invisible Man" over and over again, if it makes you feel better.

Link: Star-Telegram | 09/28/2005 | Folks, we've got games for the whole family.

Posted on Wed, Sep. 28, 2005

Folks, we've got games for the whole family

By Paul Krugman
The New York UN-Timely Times

For the politically curious seeking entertainment, I'd like to propose two new trivia games: "Find the Brownie" and "Two Degrees of Jack Abramoff."

The objective in Find the Brownie is to find an obscure but important government job held by someone whose only apparent qualifications for that job are political loyalty and personal connections. It's inspired by President Bush's praise, four days after Katrina hit, for the hapless Michael Brown, the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." I guess it depends on the meaning of the word heck.

There are a lot of Brownies. As Time magazine puts it in its latest issue, "Bush has gone further than most presidents to put political stalwarts in some of the most important government jobs you've never heard of." Time offers a couple of fresh examples, such as the former editor of a Wall Street medical-industry newsletter who now holds a crucial position at the Food and Drug Administration.


OK, enough joking.

The point of my games -- which are actually research programs for enterprising journalists -- is that all the scandals now surfacing are linked. Something is rotten in the state of the U.S. government. And the lesson of Hurricane Katrina is that a culture of cronyism and corruption can have lethal consequences.

September 29, 2005 at 02:02 AM in Best Essays, Current Affairs, Democracy, Favorite Links, Games, Intellectual Property, Media & Journalism, News to Note, Politics, Singing the Bite Me Song | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 07, 2005

Video - Orwell Rolls In His Grave - Parts I & II

It's long, but go watch the whole thing! Requires RealPlayer.

Link: Video - Orwell Rolls In His Grave - Part I .

Link: Video - Orwell Rolls In His Grave Part II .

When Lies Become Truth

Video - Orwell Rolls In His Grave

A Must Watch Documentary
"Could a media system, controlled by a few global corporations with the ability to overwhelm all competing voices, be able to turn lies into truth?..."

Director Robert Kane Pappas’ "Orwell Rolls In His Grave" is the consummate critical examination of the Fourth Estate, once the bastion of American democracy. Asking whether America has entered an Orwellian world of doublespeak where outright lies can pass for the truth, Pappas explores what the media doesn’t like to talk about: itself.

August 7, 2005 at 11:15 AM in Cyberculture, Democracy, Favorite Links, Intellectual Property, Interactivity, Media & Journalism, Politics, Privacy & Free Speech, Rhetoric, Singing the Bite Me Song, War/Terrorism, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 03, 2005

Karl Rove's goose...

Reading the handwriting on the wall, I'd say it's cooked.

Lawrence O'Donnell does a little analysis of what the info means on the Huffington Post, a follow-up from his breaking the story Friday ahead of Newsweek et al.

The puzzle that continues to pursue me is why the focus is on Matt Cooper and Judith Miller, with so little said about Bob Novak. It seems that Novak had some kind of arrangement or deal with the Grand Jury that left him nowhere near threats of contempt of court.

As much as the Rove information makes me do a little dance (I'd heard on the grapevine the Plame information was being shopped all over at the time, but only a few (Novak and Cooper?) took the leak and ran. This is all conjecture, however, newsroom gossip), I'd prefer that it didn't come at the expense of Time Warner corporate decision-makers caving on an issue of journalism ethics that compromises journalists, sources, and perhaps other necessary whistleblowers whom journalists would also protect.

I know that reporters don't have the legal protection of lawyers or doctors or spiritual ministers, and I'm not suggesting they should. Rather, I like that it is an issue of ethics and honor. I do find it peculiar that a grand jury should be so willing to violate that ethical issue with a court order and threat of contempt, and it makes me question the motives, as it also did in the case of Susan McDougal, who held to her truth and honor in the face of Ken Starr's witchhunt and utter lack of ethics.

I have a feeling Matt Cooper and Judith Miller would have treated their contempt incarceration with the same honor and ethics as McDougal did, but that the mega-corporation masquerading as a journalism entity has so little of the same ethics and caved in the face of a financial loss in the form of a fine. Reporters would give up their FREEDOM, but heaven forbid a corporation loses a lousy buck.

Makes you wonder what Katherine Graham would have done in the same instance, doesn't it?

As the ACLU does defending free speech for groups most of us find truly abhorrent, I'd advocate protecting someone as odious as Rove as a source, on principle, regardless of how much I enjoy watching his goose cook.

Perhaps that's why the radical right is so effective in taking potshots at "liberals." No one would ever accuse the nutjob right of letting a silly thing like a principle stand in their way. They wave the religious flag, but their actual ACTIONS are far more consistent with a situation ethic or even pure relativism than the liberals they accuse of relativism.

By their works shall ye know them.


Link: The Huffington Post | The Blog.

On Friday, I broke the story that the e-mails that Time turned over to the prosecutor that day reveal that Karl Rove is the source Matt Cooper is protecting. That provoked Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin, to interrupt his holiday weekend to do a little defense work with Newsweek and the Los Angeles Times. On Saturday, Luskin decided to reveal that Rove did have at least one conversation with Cooper, but Luskin told the Times he would not “characterize the substance of the conversation.”

Luskin claimed that the prosecutor “asked us not to talk about what Karl has had to say.” This is highly unlikely. Prosecutors have absolutely no control over what witnesses say when they leave the grand jury room. Rove can tell us word-for-word what he said to the grand jury and would if he thought it would help him. And notice that Luskin just did reveal part of Rove’s grand jury testimony, the fact that he had a conversation with Cooper. Rove would not let me get one day of traction on this story if he could stop me. If what I have reported is not true, if Karl Rove is not Matt Cooper’s source, Rove could prove that instantly by telling us what he told the grand jury. Nothing prevents him from doing that, except a good lawyer who is trying to keep him out of jail.

Lawrence O\'Donnell bio:

Executive Producer "The West Wing," Panelist "The McLaughlin Group," Former Chief of Staff, U.S. Senate Committee on Finance

July 3, 2005 at 08:44 PM in Democracy, Favorite Links, Intellectual Property, Media & Journalism, News to Note, Politics, Privacy & Free Speech, Rhetoric, Singing the Bite Me Song | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 09, 2005

CNET's Charles Cooper rips on the DMCA

Link: Rethinking the DMCA | Perspectives | CNET

Ya gotta love this tag line:

"At its inception, many people called it a lousy law. CNET's Charles Cooper says that proved to be too charitable an appraisal."

He's letting it rip, and here are a few of the highlights... don't hold back man, tell 'em what you really think.

Rethinking the DMCA

April 8, 2005, 4:00 AM PT

By Charles Cooper

Time and again since its 1998 passage, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act has proved to be one of the worst-ever pieces of technology legislation.

By now, nearly every sentient being in Silicon Valley must wonder why Congress couldn't have done a better job thinking through the implications of its handicraft before voting the DMCA into law. The act has been responsible for needless litigation and even transmogrified into something of a gag on free expression. More about that in a moment.


So it was that Congress bowed to the copyright industry's demands and created a marvelously one-sided document. By making it illegal to circumvent technology used by the copyright industries to protect digital content, legislators took care of a key constituency. But they also created an invitation to trouble.

With no clear boundaries and very little legal precedent, the predictable result has been a messy conflict between the public and the moneyed interests. And that's where we are now with the specter of the DMCA, like Marley's Ghost, rising up to chill the spirit of free inquiry when it comes to encryption and computer security research.

Here's my favorite example he gives:

2003: In an extreme example of the application of the DMCA, an Illinois-based manufacturer of garage-door openers claimed that a rival's replacement product violated copyright law. A federal court later dismissed the lawsuit.

Cooper's main point is that the threat of lawsuits is having worse than a chilling effect on free speech, and the suits are being used to keep QA folks from fairly evaluating the software.

Now where I come from, that is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment, called "fair comment and criticism." Imagine if such an odious rule were applied to movie and theater critics who gave away endings, for instance!

It seems to me that the whole point of the DMCA is to create a catch-all black box that anything created or produced can be stuck in and held exempt from nearly any kind of scrutiny at all.

This has far-reaching ramifications that Cooper doesn't look at here. I'm talking about proprietary voting software in the US, and its potential for manipulation.

It is beyond my comprehension that ANY kind of legal precedent is allowing Diebold and other e-voting providers to operate outside the public interest and the public trust by monitoring democratic processes inside a black box!

Hypothetically, I'd speculate that if property law (you know, the deeds and such that are open records at most counties in the US) were being created from scratch right now, I think these same folks would find a way to keep property ownership records, hell, all government procedures and processes, in that same black box. Hell, they'd subcontract it out to a private company in the name of government "efficiency," and that company would claim it's paperwork and software was so proprietary that all property records would be closed to the public, unless some "government" or whatever interest wanted to pay for it.

We know what company would be running such a venture in that black box, if that were the case. ChoicePoint.

April 9, 2005 at 11:37 PM in Cyberculture, Democracy, Intellectual Property, Interactivity, Media & Journalism, Politics, Privacy & Free Speech, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 02, 2005

Those April Foolers at Google

I know I give Google a hard time on this site sometimes, but that's just because those to whom much is given, much is expected.

Today they had a pretty good one, tho. (hey Google folks, I sure hope you weren't fooling about increasing the memory for gmail... that was slick, that running number!)

Link: Google Gulp.

Think fruity. Think refreshing. Think a DNA scanner embedded in the lip of your bottle reading all 3 gigabytes of your base pair genetic data in a fraction of a second, fine-tuning your individual hormonal cocktail in real time using our patented Auto-Drink™ technology, and slamming a truckload of electrolytic neurotransmitter smart-drug stimulants past the blood-brain barrier to achieve maximum optimization of your soon-to-be-grateful cerebral cortex. Plus, it's low in carbs! And with flavors ranging from Beta Carroty to Glutamate Grape, you'll never run out of ways to quench your thirst for knowledge.


I'm also giggling at the fine print Privacy Policy too:

Google Gulp and Your Privacy

From time to time, in order to improve Google Gulp's usefulness for our users, Google Gulp will send packets of data related to your usage of this product from a wireless transmitter embedded in the base of your Google Gulp bottle to the GulpPlex™, a heavily guarded, massively parallel server farm whose location is known only to Eric Schmidt, who carries its GPS coordinates on a 64-bit-encrypted smart card locked in a stainless-steel briefcase handcuffed to his right wrist. No personally identifiable information of any kind related to your consumption of Google Gulp or any other current or future Google Foods product will ever be given, sold, bartered, auctioned off, tossed into a late-night poker pot, or otherwise transferred in any way to any untrustworthy third party, ever, we swear. See our Privacy Policy.


Best of all is the FAQ, which has these gems:

1. How does Google Gulp work?

Well, to comprehend the long version of this answer, you'd need a PhD (from Stanford, natch). The short version is, our brains process data by sending electrical impulses called neurotransmitters between billions of neurons via axons running between synapses, much the way buses travel between stations, or MP3 files travel between felonious suburban teenagers. The molecular compound that fuels Google Gulp speeds up this process by, among various startling feats of neurochemical legerdemain, limiting the activity of the enzyme monoamine oxidase. You think faster – and feel better.

What's more, through our patented real-time DNA-scanning process, Auto-Drink™, Google Gulp is actually able to "take a picture" of your genetic profile, reconfigure its molecular composition on the fly, and subtly alter your brain's intricate mosaic of axonial patterns in order to facilitate even faster cognitive processing.

2. Wait – you're saying Auto-Drink™ changes my brain chemistry?


Um, yeah – but for the better.

3. Isn't that kind of dangerous?

Well, none of the lab rats who've been pounding this stuff for the past eight months have keeled over yet, which we find fairly reassuring. At any rate, you should be aware that by popping the seal on the twist-off Gulp cap, you send a wireless signal to Google's servers indicating your irrevocable acceptance of the Google Gulp Terms and Conditions, which do include the possibility, however remote, of hideous genetic mutation resulting from your consumption of this product. We're pretty sure you won't die, though.

4. What if I don't want to use Auto-Drink™?

No problem – simply turn off Auto-Drink™ on your Google Gulp preferences page.

5. Well, shouldn't Auto-Drink™ be default-off?

You mean we should cripple a perfectly useful feature just because of a little bad PR?

6. Yes.



April 2, 2005 at 01:03 AM in Favorite Links, Food and Drink, Intellectual Property, Singing the Bite Me Song, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 16, 2003

Trying out some Google Goggles

Google - the only archive we'll ever need?. N5M Only if you're wearing Google-goggles [The Register]

Google - the only archive we'll ever need?

By Andrew Orlowski in Amsterdam Posted: 15/09/2003 at 18:45 GMT

Net Time list moderator Ted Byfield had an almost impossible task summing up a panel discussion on the politics of the archive here on Saturday. The panel, at the Next Five Minutes festival featured Danielle Riou, who curates the Milosevic on Trial video archive and artists Julia Meltzger and David Thome, who create haunting works of art based on reconstructed state documents at Speculative Archive for Historical Clarification. And I'd been invited to talk about Google, or more specifically - as Google itself isn't really the problem - the effects of Googlephilia. Google is remarkable for many reasons, not least among them being its ability to compel its most fervent admirers to lose their minds.

"The implications of Google have real implications for mass social procedure, on how we enquire," said Byfield. "It's so much bigger than terrifying - it's Interesting."

"We've noted how Google markets itself, as something light and fluffy," he added. "But it's worth us asking how it sees itself. For example Google is not interested in the specifity of the material - it's interested in patterns rather than the content itself."

Googlephilia & Google paranoia seem to go hand in hand. This article in The Register seems to address both while taking on the philiacs.

Firstly, it's worth remembering that Google only indexes a third of the web's nine billion pages. That it does so as comprehensively, if not more so, than anyone else, isn't at issue. Information costs money, and this has taken the sheen off the 'Internet' as it was once sold to us. The most valuable collections limit their access, for very good economic reasons: they can't afford not to.

The best collections are Web-accessible, after a fashion. For example, San Francisco Library's public collections are one of the Web's treasures - and accessible to any visitor who takes time to pick up a Library card - but beyond the crawlers. They represent the tip of the iceberg of the Internet that Google can't see - but that the rest of us can enjoy.

However this brain drain, this emptying of the commons simply isn't what we were promised ten years ago, when the Internet was first sold to the public as, amongst other things, an almost infinite source of information. Ten years on, the reality hasn't lived up to the promise, and as Net Time co-founder Geert Lovink pointed out in a panel on Saturday, and as we've noted too, Internet usage in the West is stalling. The public is not stupid, and is now reaching for the off switch.

While it isn't exactly fair to blame Google for this. Google has succeeded in becoming the branding for the Great Internet Project. But obviously, it can't be responsible for the content, which leaves us all somewhat underwhelming. But the corporation continues to highlight the metaphysical properties of its technology with some absurd claims, and at the very least, encourages commentators to describe its collection as something it isn't.

The key point of the article seems to hinge on the parts of the Web and the world's libraries that Google can't index due to firewalls, dumb print paper, or slow monks in scriptoria.

I've written before on this blog on Google's Moment of Truth, I've been thinking about the limitations of Google, and its potential, and I have to say that blaming Google for infromation restricted from it never entered my mind. Such a characterization seems to arise from a clash of cultures, cultures of openness vs cultures of scarcity and hoarding.

Rather than bash or praise Google, I'd say we ought to look at Google's opposite number, the yin to Google's yang: the massively high-end commercial database services such as Dialog or Lexis-Nexis. High priced and available only to the wealthiest corporate and university or government clients, these products exist in the scarcity-based universe, yet offer library-like value for searching, two seemingly opposite types of things: vast records hidden in a vault as opposed to wiki-style socially constructed records lying out in the open. Peculiar, no? The high-end databases were terrific resources, resources to be coveted, before the openness of the Internet, before Google. In the time since, their value has seriously declined, yet few speak of it. Is the stock down in these companies? How is the "pay to play" model evolving for the high rollers? Do subscribers receive value back for the exclusive and exhaustive access equal to or better than the cost of the subscription?

(Encyclopedia Britannica is practically giving away its CD-ROM product, and the OED is far more available electronically than they would ever allow with the print product, which seems to show the value-added in elite and exclusive reference texts is declining.)

My answer? I'd say high-end, exclusive and elite products suck the wad. Oh, I loved them in the early 90s, longed to range about and search and search. I had information-hunger, deep and massive information-hunger.

Maybe a preface is in order. I'm no reference librarian. Worse, I'm dsylexic. I didn't just suck at research before the Internet and creative keyword searching, I DIDN'T do it. I was a journalist and sought knowledge that came from the horse's mouth. In that paper-based world of Abstracts Indexes and thick books where one must scan vast columns of listings, my eyeballs scrambled like you wouldn't believe. Research took me much longer than it took other people, and I often abandoned quests in frustration. I was an excellent contextualizer, someone who got very good at figuring things out with just a few clues. But there weren't many contextual clues on an alphabetized list.

So thank you Marshall McLuhan. In that paper world, I am convinced I would not have a PhD to this day. But in this world of electronic research, I do have one. Don't know who I would be in a world lit by candlelight.

I've had some chances to search the high end database services and old mainframes (they are still kept up, of course, but I call them old because they are... well, mainframes) in the 2000s. Godawful. Slow, with less than complete datasets. Endless compartmentalization so you have to know where to search before you even start searching. Forget global searching. This is the old media model. Cubbyholes and gates, gatekeepers.

And soon I go running to Google for relief from the arcana. Does that make me a Googlephile? Or someone who prefers more effective researching? Am I blinded to the research I'm missing as Google seduces me, as unlinked or restricted texts exist basically under erasure, invisible, thus forgotten? I feel like an old school reference librarian is wagging a finger at me, saying "Now why didn't you look at Social Science Abstracts?" or "How could you have overlooked [some massively dense and small-print index]?"

I'd rather live in Borges's "Library of Babel," thankyouverymuch. So perhaps Google is holding the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and whosover Google blesses is blessed and whosoever Google damns is damned, at least for now. That sounds a hell of a lot better than whosoever Dialog and Lexis-Nexis or even Social Science Abstracts blesses or damns.

The mistake of the Google bashers is to assume Google's power is eternal and always lies as the ultimate gatekeeper, the Way, the Truth, and the Light, to overburden the religious metaphor.

Before Google (would that be BG, and After Google AG?), the Alta Vista fans (and I was one, and a Lycos and WebCrawler fan before that) could not have dreamed their favorite search tool could be decimated so easily. Google bashers and Googlephiles both seem to hate or love the tool under the assumption that its ascendancy is eternal and that there are no other ways to information-heaven. Such short-sightedness. It seems some folks aren't paying attention or have short memories.

Sure, power consolidates, and these movements of openness and hoarding seem at cross-purposes, struggling for ascendancy. I won't predict any technologically deterministic ends for this struggle. I do think the hoarders' camp undermines its own high-end products by keeping the monks in the scriptoria. (See also another essay in here: Response to Clay Shirky: 2 Systems for Creating Value) The manuscripts may be safe and valuable hoarded, but they can't multiply. Like latin, when information, more so than wampum or currency, doesn't multiply and spawn new iterations of itself, all the hoarding in the world can't keep it from irrelevancy.

Google will stay The Way so long as it keeps to the principle of openness. Lose that principle and chase something else (like Lexis-Nexis or AltaVista did) and Google will be as easily defeated as those products were.

And information that doesn't want to come out on the playground and play--the lack of its contribution could taint our knowledge, our dataset, keeping us believing in a flat Earth with the Sun revolving around that Earth, perhaps, rather than understanding how Area 51 spaceships can defy physics and change the laws the govern our universe, new and unknown laws of science that currently only live behind the walls of Bell Labs or Los Alamos or god knows where.

Blame Google for people who would hide and try to own knowledge? Isn't that sort of like blaming Sir Francis Bacon and the scientific method for hermetic traditions of secrecy that sheltered and restricted knowledge (such as alchemy) during the Inquisition?


September 16, 2003 at 02:17 AM in Best Essays, Cyberculture, Democracy, Favorite Links, Intellectual Property, Interactivity, Privacy & Free Speech, Singing the Bite Me Song | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 16, 2003

Bare and valanced, now picture that!

List of "Fair and Balanced" weblogs is huge. Today is "Fair and Balanced" Friday, and the list of participating blogs and websites is growing. Link to partial list of participants (which includes the freakin' 1108th AVCRAD, a Mississippi-based unit of the Aviation Maintenance Team for the US National Guard!). previous BoingBoing post, Discuss [Boing Boing Blog]

August 16, 2003 at 01:41 AM in Intellectual Property | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 14, 2003

Just passing this on: Public domain needs your copyright horror-stories!

Public domain needs your copyright horror-stories!. Have you had your creativity and expression crushed by intellectual property law? Did you have a business, a work of art, a blog entry or some other form of endeavor that was squashed by the threat or reality of a trademark, copyright or patent suit?

Public Knowledge, Creative Commons, and The Center for the Study of the Public Domain are putting together a public-education campaign to disseminate IP law horror-stories to help people understand what the expansion of copyright and related doctrines has cost us all. They want your stories for the collection.

We'd like to hear stories from artists, authors, musicians, filmmakers, computer programmers, entrepreneurs, librarians - or anyone with a personal story involving intellectual property law. Your stories are important because American copyright, trademark and patent law, grounded in Article I of the Constitution, are designed to promote individual creativity and innovation: we need to make sure they're functioning in this way.

Unfortunately, the recent expansion of intellectual property laws has had the opposite effect. New laws are discouraging creativity and innovation rather than encouraging it, and stifling other important values such as freedom of speech. Longer copyright terms, the end of copyright registration requirements, stronger trademark laws and the expansion of patent eligibility are some of the changes that have spurred this trend.


Discuss [Boing Boing Blog]

August 14, 2003 at 02:16 AM in Intellectual Property | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 31, 2003

Reuters: SBC Sues to Halt Music Industry Subpoenas

This is getting insane. A senator is also looking into the fact that RIAA is throwing out a dragnet and potentially pulling innocent people in with these 1,000 subpoenas.

On the other hand, RIAA could be single-handedly responsible for a repeal of DMCA AND the Patriot Act, through its extremist response. I hope people online keep fighting these idiots, and I also secretly hope these folks keep acting like the assholes they are, because they will very likely spawn a backlash against the RIAA at all levels.

RIAA appears to be drunk with power. Also delusional. Which is why the announcement yesterday of a Capitol Hill insider with no music business experience as the new head of RIAA, to replace Hilary Rosen, ought to suprise no one.


SBC Sues to Halt Music Industry Subpoenas

Thu July 31, 2003 06:41 PM ET
By Andy Sullivan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - SBC Communications Inc. SBC.N . said on Thursday it had filed suit to stop a flood of recording-industry court orders that seek to track down Internet users who might be illegally copying music.

SBC subsidiary Pacific Bell Internet Services sued the Recording Industry Association of America in federal court in San Francisco, saying the music industry trade group has been overzealous in its pursuit of suspected song-swappers.

The RIAA has issued more than 1,000 subpoenas to SBC and other Internet providers over the past few weeks, seeking to find the names of those who use "peer to peer" services like Kazaa and Morpheus to copy music, movies and other files from each others' hard drives for free.


Pac Bell has received 207 requests from the music industry to turn over the names of some of its customers, one request from a pornography company for the identities of 59 customers, and more than 16,000 warnings from an independent copyright investigator, the company said in its suit.

"The action we are taking is intended to protect the privacy rights of our customers," SBC spokesman Larry Meyer said.

"It's about the fact that anyone can without any effort obtain one of these DMCA subpoenas," said Meyer, referring to the 1998 Digital Music Copyright Act.

July 31, 2003 at 07:54 PM in Democracy, Favorite Links, Intellectual Property, Media & Journalism, News to Note, Singing the Bite Me Song | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 19, 2003

Is this not the most HILARIOUS Thing?!

Metallica Sue Canadian Band over E, F Chords

What's next? People trying to copyright "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?"

I think I may try to find some people to sue for the use of the words "A," "An" and "The." After all, I've used those words before, and anyone who just thinks they can use those words as determiners, functions of grammar, articles, is clearly copying me and owes me 50% of the profit from the use of such words. I intend to enforce this copyright to the full extent of the law...

The only thing more hilarious than this was when somebody tried to copyright the hypertextual link, as if Vannevar Bush did not write that article in the Atlantic Monthly in 1945.

This is the most prime example of why the whole notion of copyright and trademark and patent in the US, the idea of intellectual property as Information Age warehouse corporate asset, without any room in the construct for the public domain, is fucked up beyond belief.

I take that back. There is something as funny as this. Today the French "Ministry of Information" banned the word "e-mail" from the French language.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration is trying to erase its own COPYRIGHTED and RECORDED State of the Union Speech, as if it could pretend the fucking thing did not occur and was not in clear existence in the public domain, on the record.

As my good friend Plato pointed out in The Phaedrus, the damnedest thing about writing is that it takes away the need to rely on MEMORY.

I know the fact that Metallica is one of the most rigid when it comes to prosecuting file-sharing will also serve to endear the band to whatever few fans it may have left.


07.15.2003 1:55 PM EDT

"It's just a matter of a band having the right to protect the chords it uses. I couldn't start up my own soft drink company using the exact same formula as Coca-Cola." — Jill Pietrini, Metallica's lawyer

MONTREAL — Metallica are taking legal action against independant Canadian rock band Unfaith over what they feel is unsanctioned usage of two chords the band has been using since 1982 : E and F.

"People are going to get on our case again for this, but try to see it from our point of view just once," stated Metallica's Lars Ulrich. "We're not saying we own those two chords, individually - that would be ridiculous. We're just saying that in that specific order, people have grown to associate E, F with our music."

Metallica filed a trademark infringement suit against the indie group at the US district court for central California on Monday. According to the drummer, the continued use of the two chords causes "confusion, deception and mistake in the minds of the public".


"We sent a demand letter and haven't reached a resolution, so we had to sue," she said. "They continue to shamelessly feature the two chords on their website song samples and we just can't have that."

Ashley, in the meantime, is still shocked by the entire story, and hasn't yet decided how the band will respond.

"I thought it was a prank at first," he told us. "Now I'm not sure what to think."

Ulrich states that he's not trying to prevent Unfaith from using the two chords, only that he feels Metallica should be credited for them whenever used, and is calling for 50% of all revenue generated from any song using them.

"It's nothing personal against them," he added. "We intend to enforce our rights with any band intending to use Metallica-branded chords in the future."


—Joe D'Angelo

July 19, 2003 at 01:45 AM in Favorite Links, Intellectual Property, Media & Journalism, News to Note | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack