Normally I'm not given to great sympathy for telco people, but in this case, pity poor Sarah Deutsch. The name may be familiar to you as she is the Verizon general counsel who dug in her heels against the Cartel's jihad and forced them to go back to "John Doe" cases instead of slurping confidential info out of telco records.
Ms. Deutsch was recently in Australia where she delivered a strong warning against a local implementation of a "notice and takedown" provision. This is the sort of thing (established in the US DMCA) where a copyright holder can find a violation and notify the ISP on which the material is hosted. Once notified the ISP needs to remove the material and notify the poster that it has been removed, in case that person wants to contest the removal.
Seems innocuous enough and has been used successfully by aggrieved copyright holders from the Church of Scientology to Harlan Ellison (boy now THERE's a Death Match pairing I'd love to see!). Unfortunately, it has also led to a torrent of, well, legal spam as automated copybots go around generating blizzards of takedown notices. Unfortunately, the bots are not very specific in their targeting, so Verizon spends an insane amount of time dealing with takedown requests most of which are for material that's not on their networks.
Deutsch called these people "bounty hunters" and referred to the US system "a joke." Given the statistics (30,000 notices in January alone, of which only two were Verizon material) I'd be inclined to agree with her.Posted by dr. wex on May 12, 2004 01:47 PM
A band from Germany calling itself Super Smart have released their new "album"1 only as ringtones. You know, those cutesy bleeping snippets that peoples' cellphones play while they scramble to answer the things?
Ringtones are much bigger in the EU than in the US. Over there, you can get any of a kajillion tunes downloaded to your mobile by any of a hundred white and grey-market companies. Most of these companies pay a reliable revenue stream to the Cartel but some get music made directly for themselves and one such has inked this deal to get Panda Babies' polyphonic bleeping without major-label involvement. Instead, the associated label is Go Fresh Mobile Music, which claims to have signed 20 artists and sold over a million ringtones in its first year.
Of course, it's mostly a publicity stunt, but there's real creation going on here, and it's generating real money that flows to artists. So more power to 'em, I say.
1. An increasingly ill-fitting term for a musical collection.Posted by dr. wex on May 10, 2004 04:52 AM
After a spate of stories about new DRM schemes (did anyone notice that the new improved iTunes DRM was broken in about 8 hours after release?) it's interesting to cover some things from the other side of the fence.
In Korea they don't just have ringtones, they've got whole MP3 phones. Without DRM schemes. So of course the industry is having a cow. They're now threatening to get a court to enjoin the sale of the phones. Do these people have a congenital defect that prevents them from seeing a new business opportunity when said opportunity is staring them in the face?
Let's do an imagine. Here's what they said:
"LG Telecom's MP3 cellular phone provides no protection against playing free copies of copyrighted songs, which is a threat not only to the music industry but to the mobile content industry as a whole. [...] We are considering every legal measure possible, including filing a provisional injunction against the sale of the MP3 handsets."
Now imagine that he had instead said:
"LG Telecom's MP3 cellular phone provides an opportunity to evaluate a potential new distribution marketplace. We are actively seeking deals with LG and other manufacturers to offer higher quality and premium products, such as concert discounts, special fan access to online material, and even live streaming transmissions."
Why yes, I did used to write science fiction as a hobby.
Also in the writing fiction category is 123 Copy DVD's latest release. The new software doesn't, per se, allow you to copy DVDs. At least, not out of the box it won't. For that you have to go to the company's Web site and download a patch. Which isn't, per se, hosted at the company's Web site. It's hosted at ANOTHER Web site.
Note that 123 Copy isn't the same company as 321 Studios, which recently got spanked for its DVD copying software. 123 Copy claims its software is in compliance since it doesn't ship with DVD copying capability. Yeah, right. This will take approximately 12 seconds to get slapped with an injunction.Posted by dr. wex on May 7, 2004 06:09 PM