Archive for the 'IP Law' Category

DRM = No Sale

Nothing puts my wallet back into my pocket quite as fast as DRM. The details hardly matter. I won’t fire a single neuron to even attempt to understand your DRM system. Not one.


MSDN + Creative Commons

I was just digging around in the MSDN docs this morning when I noticed the following in the page footer:

Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial 2.5 License

Is this a new development? How could I have missed this?

Here’s the license itself and also a random C standard library function (scroll to the very bottom to see the CC notice).

Lessig v Barlow at 23c3

I highly encourage folks to watch Lawrence Lessig’s entire talk at 23c3 — it’s rad.

At least do yourself the favor of listening to the last 8 minutes of the video where John Perry Barlow enters the frey. Both Lessig and Barlow agree that “17 year old kids” will always circumvent the DRM du-jour, but they go toe-to-toe on the efficacy of civil disobedience.

To Barlow, it’s simply a matter of time. If we merely continue to violate the DMCA, creating a sort of underground railroad for culture, today’s stodgy “rights holders” will eventually go to that big studio in the sky, and change will be inevitable.

Lessig’s position is that we don’t have 20 years to waste. As long as we allow the powers that be to write the script, we’ll be playing the part of “criminal” (and, surprise, we lose). Instead, if we generate a parallel universe of free culture we can lawfully supplant the current “consumer oriented” system.

Riveting stuff.

Creative 0wnz Your Zen

According to tech2, Creative has released a firmware update for their Zen players that disables FM recording. I don’t even have one of these, and this makes me irate.

Why, do you ask, has Creative done this? Was it for your safety? Might the FM recording feature somehow interfere with your pacemaker?

With regards to your enquiry, you may like to know that the FM recording feature is removed due to licensing issue.


Here’s my take: You forked over your $200, they forked over the Zen, and now you own it. End of freaking transaction. I don’t care how many “Accept” buttons you clicked, or how much shrinkwrap you broke: a sale is a sale.

And there’s a name for taking something back after a sale: theft. Creative better pray for a class-action. They’d be getting off easy, because this seems downright criminal to me.

Sure you say, the upgrade is optional. And, yea, perhaps there is a way to downgrade. But, damnit, if there is one single bug fix in that firmware, they had better get Jonnie Cochran on retainer. Go go Gadget EFF.

There’s some further discussion on the official Creative forums. Here’s one choice quote, from a Creative apologist:

How is it sneaky if they posted it publicly with the firmware release? Do you also sign contracts without reading them?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that this fella has never closed on a house.

Really, people, of course we don’t read everything we sign. Contracts are written in a kind of pseudo-English which requires 7-years of college to properly parse. They use as small a font as they can. They make the contracts as long as possible. They are designed to screw you.

Since writing this, I’ve discovered The Small Print Project, which is a sort of catalog of ridiculous EULA terms.


Here’s a video of Lessig speaking at the Rochester Institute of Technology (my alma mater).

MPAA Accidentally Picks on Someone Own Size

The MPAA and RIAA have become infamous for their cowardly tactics — threatening children and grandmothers with statuatory maximum damages, but ultimately offering to settle for 2500 bucks. However, in a stunning display of incompetance Tuesday, the MPAA mistakenly sued someone who actually has the resources to go to trial.

I can’t wait to see them lose. I’m astonished that nobody has faught these allegations to date. In the age of dynamic IPs and wide-open wireless access points, I’m pretty sure a public defender could create reasonable doubt.

You can’t make this crap up… Turns out that Universal City Studios Productions LLLP, the entity suing Shawn Hogan, may not actually own the rights to the movie they accuse him of downloading. Hogan has filed a motion to dismiss. I hope his next act is some kind of counter-suit.

Linkage: Techdirt, RIAAvPeople

Update 2:
This is only incidentally related, but here’s a story about another lawsuit victim who successfully employed the “open wifi defense” I mentioned above.

Video of Cory Doctorow’s Microsoft DRM Talk

I just discovered the video of Cory Doctorow’s talk, DRM and MSFT: A Product No Customer Wants, over at Cory gave this lecture at Microsoft Research two years ago. Legend has it that the transcript has since become the most widely linked text file on the internet.

Folks on the Microsoft corporate network have had access to this since the day it was recorded, but the public was left out until now. Kudos to Microsoft for “declassifying” it.

The official link “requires” IE6 and Windows Media player. For the rest of us, here’s a direct link to the ASF stream.

Update #2:
I sent this to Cory and he’s posted it to BoingBoing.