Sunday, May 18, 2003

Lessig Sounds Call to Arms Lawrence Lessig has issued a call for support in the fight to introduce a bill to soften the blow from the Sony Bono Copyright Term Extension Act into the U.S. Congress. Via the Trademark Blog.
Shoot First, Ask Questions Later CNet is reporting that the RIAA erroneously mailed out dozens of infringement notices last week, including one to Penn State University's astronomy and astrophysics department. The RIAA has attributed the letters to an over-zealous intern.
California Town: DMCA Compliance Criminal CNN is reporting that the City Council of Arcata, California, in a mostly symbolic move, has passed an ordinance making it a misdemeanor for any city department head to voluntarily comply with investigations or arrests under the Patriot Act. Violation of the ordinance carries with it a $57 fine.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Latest Challenge to DMCA Appears Unlikely to Succeed is reporting that the federal judge in the newest case to challenge the DMCA, 321 Studios v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios has indicated that she is leaning towards the studios. The case involves a challenge to the DMCA by 321 Studios, which distributes two programs, DVD X-Copy and DVD Copy Plus, that crack the encryption on DVDs to allow users to make copies. 321 Studios is arguing that its programs allow users to make backup copies, and that such uses of their program are fair use under copyright law. The AP has a report here, and Wired has a report here.
DVD In the News, Part II Again on, the California Supreme Court has refused to dismiss as moot the appeal in DVD Copy Control Association v. Bunner. The DVD Copy Control Association had sued Bunner for linking to the code for DeCSS, a program that circumvents the encryption found on DVDs, allowing the DVD to be copied and played on "unauthorized" devices like Linux boxes, claiming that Bunner's actions amounted to dissemination of stolen trade secrets.
DVD Wars, Part III Reuters is reporting that the Hollywood studios have filed an additional five lawsuits in New York against the makers of DVD copying software. Background information on the DVD battles can be found on the Berkman Center's Open DVD site.

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Spawn of DMCA: Law of Unintended Consequences? The AP has a report on the state-versions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or Super DMCAs, and what many fear is overly broad language that could criminalize something as innocuous as security software.

Saturday, May 03, 2003

Wonder What the Class Action Would Look Like... The New York Times is reporting that the recording industry is quietly financing the development of a number of technological "self-help" measures, which vary in degree of maliciousness, as well as legality. Yet another reason to oppose Congressional attempts to legalize copyright infringement self help.

Friday, May 02, 2003

What's Good for the Goose Despite blocking scores of Clinton judicial nominees, the Republicans are now so upset over the Democratic filibusters of Bush nominees Owens and Estrada that they're considering filing a lawsuit, seeking a judicial determination that failure to vote up or down on a judicial nominee is unconstitutional. (Never mind the holds that Sen. Helms exercised on judicial nominees for years.)
RIAA Settles with College Students The New York Times is reporting that the four college students sued by the RIAA for making search engines available over their school networks, thus allegedly contributing to peer-to-peer downloading of copyrighted songs, have settled with the RIAA, agreeing to pay between $12,000 to $17,000 each over the next three years. Additional reporting from the AP here, and from Wired here..

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Completely Off-Topic But funny nonetheless. Seems that a British man called the police because his wife refused to cook him dinner. Would ordering him pizza suffice?
Invasion of the Persona Snatchers First comes this report that Mr. T is suing Best Buy for diminishing the value of the "unique persona that [Mr. T] developed for [more than] 20 years and is of great economic value to him" by making him look like a fool for boxing "middle aged, balding, out-of-shape" Best Buy customer in a recent commercial. Now the lead singer of Deee-Lite is suing Sega for allegedly misappropriating her persona for a video game character.
RIAA Will Be Coming After You (and Your Little Dog, Too) Wired is reporting that the recent decisions in the Verizon and Grokster cases may precipitate a shift in the RIAA's legal strategy towards going after individual file sharers.
Net Users Are Cheap? Wired has an article in which Berkman Center's own Terry Fisher opines about Apple's new iTunes Music Store and it's ability to wean users off of P2P networks. According to Fisher, $.99 may be too high to win over large numbers of file traders.