i’ve been out of the loop for about an entire month while i moved, battled colds & flus & snowstorms, and made it thru the winter holidays … so i’ll be logging a month’s worth of interesting articles & commentaries. luckily it seems that courts, legislators & commentators have also been slower than usual the last few weeks:
1/13: EFF has now filed its grokster brief in the US Supreme Court.
1/12: iPac has launched its jailed for a song campaign to bring attention to the ongoing & increasing criminalization of copyright law. [link from jason schultz 1/12]
1/11: maine today covers the Maine Supreme Judicial Court case about a guy who created a hotmail account in someone else’s name. Anonymous free speech, says EFF, Public Citizen, the ACLU, and Defendant Doe. Fraud, says the plaintiff.
1/10: Apple has been sending C&Ds to apple blogs for breaking news about new apple lines. If apple isn’t careful, its highhanded tactics will lose it some hipster street cred.
C|Net: In recent years, there’s been a lot of people clamoring to reform and restrict intellectual-property rights. It started out with just a few people, but now there are a bunch of advocates saying, “We’ve got to look at patents, we’ve got to look at copyrights.” What’s driving this, and do you think intellectual-property laws need to be reformed?
BG: No, I’d say that of the world’s economies, there’s more that believe in intellectual property today than ever. There are fewer communists in the world today than there were. There are some new modern-day sort of communists who want to get rid of the incentive for musicians and moviemakers and software makers under various guises. They don’t think that those incentives should exist.
And this debate will always be there. I’d be the first to say that the patent system can always be tuned–including the U.S. patent system. There are some goals to cap some reform elements. But the idea that the United States has led in creating companies, creating jobs, because we’ve had the best intellectual-property system–there’s no doubt about that in my mind, and when people say they want to be the most competitive economy, they’ve got to have the incentive system. Intellectual property is the incentive system for the products of the future.
8th circuit online privacy victory: The RIAA has to actually provide some evidence of copyright infringement, and sue them individually, before it can gain access to individual’s ISP records. This follows the DC Circuit Verizon decision. [eff press release]
12/21: mark pesce on bittorrent & the shutdown of suprnova.org and torrentbits.com: published on Napsterization 12/21. pointer from derek slater
dec: Did I mention how depressed I am that Pennsylvania passed the stupid law banning municipalities from providing their own broadband services? At the behest of Verizon, which was alarmed when Philly started plans to provide its own broadband to the entire city. Grr. [news.com 12/1 and 1/4]
CompTIA got responses from Bush & Kerry on technology. It was probably too much to hope that the actual candidates could talk intelligently about open source and patent reform, as David Cobb (G) did a couple of weeks ago. But at least we got some reasonable opinions from their staffers. <g> Questions noted below include Internet content, copyright, privacy, and unlicensed spectrum.
The First Cir. has granted en banc review [pdf] of the US v. Councilman decision. [Oct. 5] Oral argument scheduled for Dec. 8 and amicus filing opportunities are welcome.
Compaq v. Ergonome, 5th Cir., 10/5. The 5th Circuit affirmed a $2.7 million award of attorney’s fees to the alleged infringer.
On July 11, 2001, after a seven-day trial, the jury concluded that any copying by Compaq was de minimis and constituted fair use according to 17 U.S.C. &sec; 107. The district court subsequently held that the doctrines of laches and equitable estoppel also barred Ergonome’s claim. Based on these findings, the district court awarded Compaq its attorneys’ fees of $2.7 million.
The 5th Circuit reviewed only the fair use finding, which it affirmed. In combination with Diebold‘s DMCA 512(f) slap at silly claims, the backlash against copyright misusers’ seems to be going full speed ahead.
plus arnold refuses to sign a bill requiring employers to notify employees that their email is being read. [isn’t it often suggested that our elected officials are the employees of the public?] wired coverage (2004-09-30]
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Sigh. Now i know why i was feeling kinda blue today: On Wed, 9/22, Schwarzenegger signed SB1506, the so-called ‘true-name’ bill, which requires anyone putting copyrighted content on a p2p system to include their name and contact information. [Sacramento: Governor signs Internet piracy bill: E-mail address required to share movies, music online by Mark Martin & Lynda Gledhill — sfgate 9/22]. Certainly it wasn’t a surprise — this bill has been steamrollering through since early this year. But it doesn’t make my day any better.
Highlights: this line from the article:
Last week [Gov. Schwarzenegger] signed an executive order prohibiting state employees from using software designed for file sharing.
Ummm … like TCP/IP? AppleShare? The web? Might make it hard to do business …
And in related news: Donna Wentworth pointed to another recent state-law copyright case [U.S. v. Jean Martignon, 03cr1287 (SDNY 2004)]: The court struck down an anti-bootleg law because it didn’t recognize copyright terms. (Attn, Gov. Schwarzenegger: Is that the drumbeat of p-r-e-e-m-p-t-i-o-n sounding in the distance … ?)