Some videos that I’ve linked to in this blog are no longer available, for one or more reasons:
Someone has claimed a copyright and objects to its being published here,
A video hosting or file sharing service has changed its policies or is no longer on line,
I’ve goofed in any of dozens of ways.
I hate seeing these dead links. In some cases without the video, the article is pointless, so I’m taking these articles off-line. In other cases, the article still makes sense, so I’ll leave the article on-line, dead video links and all.
Law professor and author Tim Wu talks to leading science fiction writers about whether we're already living in the future.
Since age 14, I’ve had little interest in science fiction, but these interviews reveal fascinating ideas about SETI, communication across vast distances (how about using neutrinos rather than electromagnetic waves?), privacy, and intellectual property issues today.
Last month, Prince took exception to eight 6-second video clips, apparently owned by him, that appeared on Twitter’s Vine platform. He issued a DMCA copyright complaint to Twitter, who apparently complied by removing the material. Here’s a good news story.
The copyright system is a house of cards. Now that anyone can make perfect copies of media, performers may need to stop relying upon royalties and instead be paid once for each performance, just like most people.
The website of the United States Sentencing Commission www.ussc.gov has been knocked offline today. According to Google’s cache, the commission “establishes sentencing policies and practices for the Federal courts.” The site “contains reports to Congress, publications, … ”
The attack appears to be a response to the overzealous prosecution of Aaron Swartz by federal prosecutors Carmen Ortiz and Stephen Heymann. Mr. Swartz’s crime? He violated a website’s Terms Of Service. The website’s owner did not wish to press charges, yet Ms. Ortiz indicted Mr. Swartz for crimes which could have locked him behind bars for up to 50 years and cost him up to 4 million dollars in fines, plus legal fees.
For the past year he’s been under federal indictment for the theft of 4.8 million JSTOR (Journal Storage) documents from MIT. He intended to make them freely available for download by anyone. His actions raised questions about the ownership and publication of academic papers.
Previously, he and others did a similar thing with legal case law documents — public domain material — that resided behind a paywall in a library named PACER. They downloaded from PACER, then uploaded the documents to a free library that they dubbed RECAP.
The U.S. federal court system has been trying to extradite 24-year-old Richard O’Dwyer, a UK citizen who has never been to the U.S., so that they can put him on trial for copyright infringement. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (“ICE”) claims that his TVShack website violated US copyrights. In 2010 they seized his TVShack.net domain name and charged him with conspiracy to commit copyright infringement and criminal infringement of copyright. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of five years. The federal court has sought his extradition since 2011.
Last week Mr. O’Dwyer’s lawyers reached an agreement with the federal court which settles the matter without jeopardizing his freedom.
Mr. O’Dwyer hasn’t been convicted of any crime in either the U.S. or the U.K., nor is it clear that his website violated U.K. law, since it didn’t store content. It merely contained links to content. The site was not hosted in the U.S.; the domain was apparently registered with U.S.-based Verisign.
Wikipedia has an excellent article on Richard O’Dwyer. Its Legal objections section is worth reading:
Iain Connor from Pinsent Masons said,
It appears that U.S. copyright owners are seeking to rely on the Extradition Act and the U.S. case law to secure a prosecution for the authorisation of copyright infringement by the provision of links to infringing content.
U.S. companies are likely to try and secure a conviction in the U.S. where they know that they could succeed on the basis of an offence of authorising copyright infringement . . . the only [U.K.] case where this was looked at was the ‘TV Links ‘ case” where it had proved unsuccessful.
The “U.S. companies” alluded to above are principally the RIAA and MPAA. Their business models are threatened by easy duplication of digital media. Can their business models endure? Read Both sides of the IP war gird for battle.
Mr. O’Dwyer’s mother writes a blog about her son’s extradition battle. It appears that his lawyers have asked that she say nothing more until the extradition order is withdrawn.
he conflict over SOPA and PIPA is heating up. This is a symptom of the sea change that’s underway. I sympathize with both sides of the argument.
At one time, the reproduction of content (or “IP” – intellectual property) was very labor-intensive. Before Guttenberg’s invention of moveable type, to publish just one book required months of skilled labor. Apparently the aristocracy liked it that way.
As recently as the 1970s, to reproduce an audio recording was expensive and the result was imperfect. The Beatles took advantage of this fact when they decided to stop performing for live audiences c 1966. A couple generations of musicians have made fortunes by following that model. It’s not bad work, if you can find it: produce a single song once and collect royalties for the rest of your life.
The growth of cheap computing power and of the Internet has changed that. Now perfect digital copies of everything are fast, cheap, and easy to produce and distribute. This fact isn’t going to go away, regardless of the wishes of artists and their publishers.
I think that, in the long run, this will prove to be a good thing. But it is a sea change. After the invention of movable type and the production of affordable printed books, I’m sure that scribes and manuscript illustrators weren’t happy. Today, a similar obsolescence of irrelevant functions seems inevitable.
On the other hand, if cheap copies of movies will proliferate, who will invest in their production?
Maybe we’ll abandon recorded movies and music and revert to live theater productions.