Tech support for Microsoft's new MSN Music service is responding to the incompatibility between its downloads and the iPod by advising its customers to burn the downloads to CD, then rip the CD to a compatible format:
A judge in Maryland on Tuesday issued a ruling [PDF] denying a request that Maryland voters be offered the option to vote on paper in the November election and that election officials implement basic security measures sought by the state's own experts. It's a very bad decision, and the court had to ignore two esteemed security experts and embrace some pretty outrageous falsehoods to do it.
Calyx got the subpoena in connection with a Justice Department investigation into the posting of an RNC delegate list -- it was posted to Indymedia websites as well as elsewhere on the Web. The investigation itself seemed intended to chill First Amendment-protected expression, but because they had nothing to disclose, ISP Calyx and Indymedia were not chilled. Calyx was able to turn over all the information it had, the email addresses of four administrators, and avoid being called to testify before the grand jury. The Indymedia administrators, in turn, knew their machines could not provide any further information for the investigation.
As we reported last week, Microsoft's new music download store, MSN Music, advised its frustrated iPod-toting customers to simply burn their purchases to CD, then rip them to an open format like MP3. That way, they could play their MSN Music downloads on their iPod (or any other device) without having to worry about the incompatibilities created by Microsoft's platform-specific DRM restrictions.
Of course, that was too good to last. According to Salon, senior Microsoft honchos decided to have that bit of tech support advice pulled off the website.
The Senate Judiciary Committee, responding to the hail of brickbats that greeted Senator Hatch's "Induce Act," asked the Copyright Office to propose something that would be more popular with the technology community. Here's the heart of what it came up with:
Whoever manufactures, offers to the public, provides, or otherwise traffics in any product or service, such as a computer program, technology, device or component, that is a cause of individuals engaging in infringing public dissemination of copyrighted works shall be liable as an infringer where such activity:
(A) relies on infringing public dissemination for its commercial viability;
(B) derives a predominant portion of its revenues from infringing public dissemination; or
(C) principally relies on infringing public dissemination to attract individuals to the product or service.
Today, EFF joined a broad coalition of public interest and industry groups in sending a strong message to Congress regarding the highly controversial Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act (S. 2560): Slow down.
The Induce Act proposes a dramatic change to current copyright law. For the first time in history, it would hold technology makers and service providers liable for copyright violations by end users even if they never knew, contemplated, or intended to facilitate user infringement. It would also undermine the 20-year-old Betamax doctrine, a safe harbor for tech companies that paved the way for one of the largest explosions of technological innovation in history.
It looks like death was just the beginning for the never-introduced "Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003," otherwise known as "PATRIOT II." As the Associated Press, LA Times, and Washington Post reported last week, lawmakers are circulating draft legislation that breathes new life into some of the most threatening provisions in PATRIOT II.
Along with more than two dozen eager international election observers, I recently had the pleasure of observing a live demonstration of one of the controversial electronic voting machines that are in place to record and tabulate millions of American votes on election day.
Results, as they say, were mixed.
Approximately five minutes into the audience participation portion of the Election Systems & Software (ES&S) demonstration, the iVotronic machine inexplicably froze; no amount of touch-screen prodding could elicit a response. Not a problem, the ES&S presenter assured bemused observers. All that was required was a system reboot, a bit of technical wizardry that was accomplished with the assistance of a straightened paperclip.
Terrific late-breaking news. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today signed the voter-verifiable paper trail bill, ensuring that all Californians will have auditable elections by 2006.
Senators Ross Johnson (R-Orange) and Don Perata (D-Alameda) authored Senate Bill 1438, which requires all electronic voting machines to produce a voter-verifiable paper trail by January 2006, in time for the next statewide election. The new law also prohibits the Secretary of State from certifying paperless electronic voting systems after January 1, 2005, and prohibits counties from purchasing such voting systems after January 1, 2006. The law confirms the orders made by Secretary of State Kevin Shelley late last year.
Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee released yet another version (PDF) of S. 2560, otherwise known as the Induce Act. Today, after facing a withering hail of opposition (PDF) from everyone other than the RIAA, the committee staffers are apparently working on yet another draft, making it the fifth by my count.
Every draft released so far has suffered from the same fatal flaw: each would haunt legitimate American innovators while doing nothing to solve the peer-to-peer file sharing dilemma. P2P vendors will simply move offshore (many already have) and filesharers will turn to open source applications (like Bit Torrent) that already circulate freely in cyberspace.
In this season of Induce, let's not forget that the RIAA is using existing laws to make thousands of American families miserable. Of course, just as the Induce Act won't solve the P2P dilemma, the lawsuit campaign doesn't seem to be working, either. For a recap on the RIAA lawsuit campaign, as well as EFF's suggestion for what they should be doing instead, read the editorial published today in Law.com:
Four thousand two hundred and eighty lawsuits and counting.
That's how many lawsuits have been brought by the major record labels against music fans for using peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing software (like Kazaa or Morpheus) to swap music over the Internet. This month marks the one-year anniversary of the recording industry's unprecedented litigation campaign against its own customers. The campaign appears to have hit its stride, with the Recording Industry Association of America announcing roughly 500 new suits each month.
Throughout the ongoing battle over Senator Hatch's controversial Induce Act, the dividing lines have been clear: the RIAA on one side, and the technology and telecommunications industries on the other, with one puzzling exception -- the Business Software Alliance. The BSA did appear at Senator Hatch's initial hearing on the Act, but other than that has been surprisingly quiet in the debate over subsequent drafts of the bill and the effort to defend the Betamax doctrine.