Go Back   P2P-Zone > Peer to Peer
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Peer to Peer The 3rd millenium technology!

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 06-05-04, 06:34 PM   #1
JackSpratts's Avatar
Join Date: May 2001
Location: New England
Posts: 9,927
Default Peer-To-Peer News - The Week In Review - May 8th, '04

Quotes Of The Week

"Copyright is no natural right." – tina

"I want to become Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL all rolled into one." – Vuong Vu Thang, Vietnamese software/P2P creator

"In five to 10 years' time, we'll be looking at it and saying, 'What were we worried about? I don't see how the Internet won't make us tons and tons of money." – Peter Jenner, band manager.

"The whole idea behind I.R.C. is freedom of speech. There is really no structure on the Internet for policing I.R.C., and there are intentionally no rules." - William A. Bierman

"Can you explain what planet the record labels are on?" - Walt Mossberg

When One Man's Video Art Is Another's Copyright Crime
Roberta Smith

Jon Routson's exhibition of videos at the Team Gallery in Chelsea is a kind of last hurrah, a farewell performance. It is also a small eddy in the increasingly roiled waters where art meets the United States' rapidly expanding copyright laws.

A 34-year-old video artist living in Baltimore, Mr. Routson has a very particular method of art-making, which will soon be illegal in Maryland, as it already is in the District of Columbia and five other states, including New York and California. Like the appropriation artists of the early 1980's, who rephotographed existing photographs as a way of commenting on society, Mr. Routson makes movies of other people's movies.

Since 1999 he has been going to Baltimore-area movie theaters, often on a feature film's opening day, and recording what happens on and around the screen with a small, hand-held camcorder. He shows the grainy, oddly distorted results, which he calls recordings, as DVD installations in art galleries.

Shot without consulting the view-finder, these diaristic works are replete with the mysterious rustlings, irritating interruptions, darkness and partial views endemic in movie theaters. The shadowy images wobble, especially when Mr. Routson shifts in his seat. You hear breathing and throat-clearing.

On a recent Saturday at Team, for example, three highly unstable recordings of Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ," each made in a different Baltimore theater, were being projected simultaneously (but not in sync) on walls in the gallery's three small rooms. One, shot from the front row of a full house, was steeply angled, with fragmented subtitles.

Mr. Routson's work, which is not for sale, is the latest to find itself in the murky zone between copyright infringement and artistic license, between cultural property rights and cultural commentary. On Oct. 1 a new Maryland law will make the unauthorized use of an audiovisual recording device in a movie theater illegal. Last week two people were arrested in California for operating camcorders in movie theaters. One was apprehended by an attendant wearing night-vision goggles.

The Senate Judiciary Committee also recently approved a bill to make the unauthorized copying and distribution of movies a federal offense. The film industry has lobbied fiercely for this law, arguing that up to 80 percent of all illegal copies of films are made in theaters. (An AT&T Labs Research report, published last year, found that most illegal copies were either duplicates of stolen copies or were shot from tripods in projection booths.) Mr. Routson, who described himself in a telephone interview as increasingly nervous on his visits to theaters, said he had heard rumors that the management of one chain was offering $100 to any employee who apprehended someone with a camcorder.

It does not matter whether you think that Mr. Routson's work is good or bad art; it is quite good enough, in my view. It does matter that the no-camcorder laws may not do much to stem pirating while making it increasingly difficult for artists to do one of the things they do best: comment on the world around them.

Our surroundings are so thoroughly saturated with images and logos, both still and moving, that forbidding artists to use them in their work is like barring 19th-century landscape painters from depicting trees on their canvases. Pop culture is our landscape. It is at times wonderful. Most of us would not want to live without it. But it is also insidious and aggressive. The stuff is all around us, and society benefits from multiple means of staving it off. We are entitled to have artists, as well as political cartoonists, composers and writers, portray, parody and dissect it.

Mr. Routson's portrayals are actually rather tender. There is subversive intent in the individual titles of the recordings: "Bootleg (Dogville)" and "Bootleg (The Fog of War)," for example. But Mr. Routson also rightly described them as "less than copies." Rather than duplicates, his works are films of film showings. They reduce pristine, overpowering big-screen images to fuzzy, low-tech human-scale images that we can walk up to, almost like home movies. They recreate and in a sense celebrate the private-in-public space of the average moviegoer. You could even say that they encourage moviegoing over watching DVD's or videocassettes.

At once stolen and given away, Mr. Routson's works operate somewhere between the manipulated magazine advertising images of the 1980's artist Richard Prince and the keep-the-gift-in-motion aesthetic of 90's artists like Felix Gonzalez-Torres, whose sculptures included large piles of wrapped candy, free for the taking, and Rirkrit Tiravanija, whose first exhibitions consisted of cooking curry and serving it to gallery visitors.

Mr. Routson said that after the Team show closed on Saturday, he would be leaving his camcorder at home on movie nights. He said he had always viewed the recording series as finite, a phase in his development that would come to an end. He also admitted that financial considerations were an issue: he needs to earn a living from his art. Declining to be photographed for this article, he added that the tensions of recording movies was destroying the pleasure of watching them. "I'm not a super film buff," he said, "but I try to remain a fan."


File-Swapping Gets Supercharged On Student Network
John Borland

A new file-trading network has sprung up on Internet2, the university network that offers researchers and students a way to communicate at blazing speeds while avoiding the ordinary Internet's data traffic jams.

Dubbed i2hub, the network has drawn thousands of students from universities around the country to trade files and chat at speeds that far exceed what even ordinarily swift campus networks can provide. It has drawn rave reviews on student Web sites and from users but has already sparked concern among other Internet2 denizens.

The students involved say they're simply looking to use unused Internet2 bandwidth, which can be less expensive for their colleges than ordinary commercial Net connections. But some also see it as a way around limitations that many universities have begun to impose on widely used file-swapping applications such as Kazaa.

"Some universities put a restriction on commodity Internet line speeds but don't put any restriction on Internet2," said "Ttol," one of the students managing the project. He declined to give his real name. "The experience of transfers over Internet2 is much faster than on the commodity Internet."

Universities have been at the heart of the file-swapping, controversies since the launch of Napster in 1999. Armed with fast Net connections in dormitories, students have flocked to peer-to-peer services for free music, videos and software, and they have recently been a focus of record industry enforcement efforts.

The Recording Industry Association of America sued a quartet of students who were operating campus network search tools a year ago, settling with each of them for between $12,000 and $17,000. Individual students who have used ordinary software such as Kazaa have also been targeted in the RIAA's more recent wave of lawsuits.

Universities, most of which have strict policies against using their networks for copyright infringement, have begun installing software that blocks or limits the amount of bandwidth used by file-swapping applications. Some have begun investigating tools that actually look inside individual file trades, identify copyrighted music and block the transfers.

Bringing this process to Internet2 could conceivably raise the stakes for the content industries, particularly the movie studios. Using ordinary broadband connections, movies can take many hours to download, particularly if a network is congested.

Internet2 was developed by a consortium of universities and technology companies to provide vast improvements in connections speeds. Researchers use it to exchange large data files, experiments with high-definition video and other applications. But the same speed could make traditional file-swapping happen in the blink of an eye.

The i2hub network is based on a piece of open-source software called Direct Connect, which connects users and allows them to search each other's hard drives, using technology similar to the original Napster. Unlike most recent file-swapping networks, it routes search requests through a central server, which can be operated on an ordinary PC in a dorm room.

This version of Direct Connect links only students at universities with access to Internet2. While this keeps all traffic on the fast network, it's probably not the first time that Internet2 has seen file-swapping incursions. Some schools automatically route students' data traffic over Internet2, if the destination is another participating university. Thus, some students even using older tools such as Kazaa might already be using the fast academic network without knowing it.

Ttol said that about 2,000 people appeared to be online Thursday afternoon, having logged in at different times. Students at about 100 universities are involved, he said.

In the RIAA's crosshairs?

People involved with the project said there is concern that they will be targeted by the RIAA or by school officials, if people on the network do use it to swap large amounts of copyrighted material. But individual users are less worried than the organizers themselves.

"The concern is always there, when you allow 'carte blanche' for people--especially college-age people--to trade whatever they may have on their computer," said "Conrail," who told CNET News.com in an instant-message interview that he is a student at the Widener University School of Law. "As this is a centralized model, and its goal is not to promote copyright infringement, there shouldn't be concern for the users, because they won't be the target."

Officials at the central Internet2 project said they had no theoretical objection to the students' action, at least from the strictly technological side. The network was developed to spur innovation wherever it arises, much as users of the original academic networks developed e-mail and chat features, a representative for the project said.

However, copyright violations should not be tolerated, the representative added.

"The use policies for (the Internet2) backbone network are very clear--that use of the network for illegal means is not allowed," said Greg Wood, Internet2's director of communications.

Network administrators at some of the colleges appeared to be concerned as well.

"Internet2 is for research. It's not for downloading music," said Marc Ray, a senior computer support specialist at Florida State University. He's still evaluating the program, he said. "The fact is, (the network) cost a lot of money, and downloading games and music should be the last priority on any campus network. I think it's borderline taking advantage of the system."


Grandma Sued For Illegal Song Downloading
Stacy Neumann & Web Staff

A Fayetteville grandmother is facing off with the recording industry. The Recording Industry Association of America said she illegally downloaded and shared copyrighted songs.

About a month ago, Barbara Johnson tried to log onto AOL and found she was cut off. She called the company.

"They told me they did it because of the downloading and sharing the files with everyone else,” Johnson said.

Then she received a letter from AOL. It said the Recording Industry Association of America plans to subpoena her account.

Johnson said it was her grandson Deron who downloaded music using a popular file sharing program. When she found out it was illegal, she spoke to him about it.

"My grandma told me to stop so I stopped,” Deron said. “I stopped downloading but I didn't delete my programs."

An RIAA phone call last week informed Johnson that Deron had downloaded 520 songs.

"Those 520 songs will cost you $750 and I said, 'What?’” Johnson said.

That's $750 for each song but the association says it will settle for $3,500.

"I said, 'You know what? You won't get it because I don't have it,’” Johnson said.

Johnson said it's not fair to hold her financially responsible for what her grandson did. She doesn't let him use the computer without supervision now and she's hoping RIAA leaves her alone.

"There're a lot of kids out there downloading music, grownups too,” Johnson said. “Some grownups even download movies. So why do they come after me?"

The RIAA has sued more than 2,000 people for illegal Internet music sharing. More than 400 have opted to settle their lawsuits.


Hurtling Onto Your Hard Drive, Short Films on Demand
Michel Marriott

Sit back, relax and enjoy. That's how AtomFilms Hi-Def, a new free online film service seeking to be so easy to use that instructions will be superfluous, introduces itself. Blending the services of AtomFilms, a Web-based film-on-demand pioneer, and Maven Networks, a broadband media software company, AtomFilms Hi-Def automatically downloads film to Windows-based computers with high- speed Internet access.

Three films a week, 60 seconds to 30 minutes each, are saved onto the hard drives of computers running the AtomFilms-Maven software, which can be downloaded at www.hidef.atomfilms.com. The service says that all films can be viewed in full screen and, at the very least, DVD quality.

For computers using Windows XP and Windows Media High-Definition Video (a free download from www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia) the service begins to live up to its name: it delivers two high-definition films each month. Those films can be viewed at a progressive-scan resolution of 720 lines, almost twice the resolution of standard digital television. The films delete themselves two weeks after arriving. Next month the service is adding the second season of "Angry Kid,'' a popular British series of one-minute animated films about an oversize adolescent rendered in computer animation and live action, to its lineup.

Now, if only someone could figure out how to download popcorn.


A Digital Video Recorder Leader Lags
Ian Austen

Sales of digital video recorders, devices that record television programs on a hard drive, are finally gaining momentum, a study by IDC, a market research firm, has found. But TiVo, the company that popularized the concept, is increasingly being left behind by the success.

“It’s sort of shocking when you look at the numbers because TiVo is synonymous with the product category,” said Greg Ireland, a senior research analyst for consumer markets at IDC.

“Even though TiVo has an elegant interface, what we’re seeing in the marketplace is that functionality is what appeals to people.”

TiVo, by IDC’s measurement, had just 39 percent of the United States market for D.V.R.’s in 2003. The balance is largely made up by combined recorders and set-top boxes that are being offered by satellite and cable television companies, which, unlike TiVo, don’t require users to purchase hardware upfront. Instead, they generally charge users about $10 a month for a set-top box that includes a D.V.R. Mr. Ireland also said that pay television providers have generally been better than TiVo at explaining the advantages of D.V.R.’s.

“This is something that’s difficult to understand if you haven’t experienced it,” Mr. Ireland said of the concept.


Internet2: File Swapping Haven?
James Maguire

Students may not find Internet2 to be as hospitable to unauthorized swapping as it appears. According to Internet2's Greg Wood, the network infrastructure of many universities would allow them to apply restrictions at a campus level to Internet2 as well as the commercial Internet.

Confounding efforts to combat campus file swapping, university students have begun trading copyrighted files using Internet2 , the ultra-fast network developed by tech companies and universities.

College campuses are the front lines of the recording industry's anti-peer-to- peer (P2P) crusade, and many schools have placed technical restrictions on student downloading. However, "students often find a workaround," Chris Hoofnagle, deputy counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told NewsFactor. And Internet2, known as i2hub, may prove to be that work around.

Unlike the Internet itself, i2hub enables student file-swappers to transmit large files -- like song collections or movies -- almost as fast as you can say "Avril Lavigne." Earlier this month, a team of international researchers broke an i2hub record by transferring data over 7,000 miles at a speed of 6.25 GB per second –- approximately 10,000 times faster than an average broadband connection.

Using the i2hub for the unauthorized transmission of copyrighted material is forbidden, Greg Wood, Internet2's director of communications, told NewsFactor. "Internet2 universities have been at the forefront of working with the recording industry and motion picture industry to make prevent those things from happening."

The i2hub network would seem to be a perfect alternative for students seeking faster file swapping in the face of campus restrictions.

The high-speed network is the product of a consortium of about 200 universities, working in concert with technology companies and government, intended to develop and use advanced network technologies. Using i2hub, "Scientists and researchers are able to do things like TV- quality video conferencing...and access supercomputers for grid computing in ways the commercial Internet can't support," Wood said.

Because P2P has so many legitimate uses, the i2hub network is well-suited for this use. The network uses an application called Direct Connect that enables connected users to scour each other's hard drives.

Ironically, the company that develops the software, NeoModus, advertises it this way: "Tired of other file-sharing communities such as KaZaA, Gnutella, and WinMX? Looking for something new? Get ready to change the way you think about peer-to-peer file-sharing. Neo-Modus Direct Connect offers a complete set of tools to locate any type of media." The company also notes: "Users are able to share any type of file -- absolutely no restrictions."

Direct Connect, like the old Napster, is based on a central server model, a factor that made Napster easy to use. After legal action made this central server an easy target of record companies, today's leading unauthorized P2P services have moved to a distributed server system.


Those Who Rule Information In Cyberspace Rule The World

The Anarchist in the Library

How the Clash Between Freedom and Control Is Leaving Cyberspace and Entering the Real World by Siva Vaidhyanathan

Reviewed by Michael Taube

Ten years ago, the briefest mention of words such as "Internet" and "cyberspace" would almost always lead to glassy-eyed stares and bemused looks. Today, these words comprise an important part of not only our lexicon but also our daily lives. The Internet has become everything to everyone, from a research tool for academics to a plaything for underage music swappers.

But Siva Vaidhyanathan, an assistant professor in communication studies at New York University and self-anointed cultural historian, believes a clash of ideologies in cyberspace is beginning to take shape. His new book, "The Anarchist in the Library," attempts to prove that basic Web freedoms are being hijacked by two old philosophies, oligarchy and anarchy. He attempts to criticize the "moral panics" that justify oligarchy and tries to dissuade "the common perception that freedoms are getting out of hand, that the anarchists are taking over the libraries."

Any interpretation of "The Anarchist in the Library" will depend on a person's point of view about cyberspace. Take music downloading and uploading, for example. Vaidhyanathan does not hide the fact that he sees benefits in peer-to-peer systems, or so-called file sharing. He enthusiastically defends music pirates such as Gnutella and Kazaa, and once described the old Napster's success as a "rational revolt of passionate fans" in the leftist magazine the Nation. Vaidhyanathan even made an unsuccessful protest to NYU's technology office after it blocked access to Napster in 1999 on any computer linked to the university's network, believing that "this decision had not considered its effect on legitimate research as well as illegitimate copying."

But while defending peer-to-peer, and claiming that its "values and habits ... have existed for centuries," Vaidhyanathan is far less eager to defend record companies. He admits to being unconvinced that each downloaded song equals "a lost sale." He views copyright as a "state-granted limited monopoly for the purpose of generating and spreading culture and information." Besides, he justifies his position in this manner: The free music he downloads each year is usually garbled or of low quality and he downloads it only so that he can see whether it is worth buying.

Of the many people who have shared music, or copied it from one medium to another, very few perform this anarchistic type of downloading or uploading to see if a song is worth paying for in a store. Many people who swap music are angry with the record companies for charging what they perceive to be high prices for CDs and tapes. Instead of letting the market set the price, the pirates have brazenly opted to steal the music, either for their own collections or private sale. This isn't freedom; it is theft.

Meanwhile, Vaidhyanathan writes that "regulating the Internet is like trying to regulate Diogenes," the philosopher who initiated the concept of cynicism. In fact, the author believes that the Internet was created on noticeably cynical principles such as borderlessness and peer-to-peer openness. Therefore, the government's decision to keep the Internet safe from things such as pornography, hate groups or downloading movies is wrong because cyberspace should just be left wide open to share and disseminate information.

"The Anarchist in the Library" also explores the various strands of anarchy Vaidhyanathan has observed, ranging from culture and control (such as the battles over piracy and copyright in India and China) to political movements and campaigns (anti-globalization rallies in Seattle and Quebec City). He also vigorously defends public libraries, the "functional expressions of Enlightenment principles" for those without wealth or power, from being brought down by commercial interests that do not respect or understand the need for flows of information.

Vaidhyanathan believes that the nation-state is in flux. He sees information being controlled by certain entities (including corporations, politicians and judges), while other entities are attempting to liberate information (including students, political activists and computer programmers). He feels that the answer may be rooted in civic republicanism, a position of anarchy that endorses "a sense that any individual's freedom is undeniably dependent on peer's freedoms." To Vaidhyanathan, the republican wisdom of Aristotle and Cicero could help deter disobedience -- a major weakness of the modern anarchist -- and replace it with higher amounts of deliberation.

If there were validity in Vaidhyanathan's assessment, the phrase "life imitates art" could easily be juxtaposed with a World Wide Web-like phrase such as "reality imitates Net." But that's not the case with "The Anarchist in the Library." The author's position on cyberspace is one shared by civil libertarians who want to protect the freedoms that appeal to them rather than the ones that could benefit our society. To activists like Vaidhyanathan, the Internet is a digital revolution they need to protect for themselves at all costs, and not for the vast majority of us who live in the real world.


Secret Japanese GSDF Data Circulating On File-Sharing Network
Mainichi Shimbun

Over 200 articles of confidential information including internal Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) data and wage scales for post office workers have been leaked onto the Internet and can be viewed with the file-sharing software "Winny," it has been learned.

An investigation by the Mainichi found the information available on the file-sharing network on Thursday.

Defense Agency officials said the internal Ground Self-Defense Force data was leaked in November 2002. A GSDF official at the time reportedly used Winny at home and accidentally released data that was on his computer.

The data included 10 types of files including an "education and training implementation plan," a "1st company full personnel list," and a "moral education form" document.

Included in the documents were addresses and personality types of GSDF members, detailed training schedules, lists of personnel at GSDF posts and vehicle conditions. The documents were reportedly several hundred pages long when printed out.

Winny is a type of file-sharing software enabling users to exchange music, photographs, video images and other information stored on their computers. Usually users designate which information they want to share, but in the GSDF case, the confidential GSDF data was accidentally shared.

In some cases, data people obtain is "released" onto the network apparently to harass others or as a joke.

The GSDF member who released the data was handed a pay cut of about 6.7 percent for one month. It also handed out a note requesting stricter measures for personal computers, but did not report the incident.

In giving a reason for its silence, the GSDF said the leaked information could not be retrieved and people would have only copied it in interest if the incident had been announced.

In separate information affecting a post office in Aichi Prefecture, a wage list for post office workers and a list of articles that had been wrongly delivered could be viewed. This month the Tokai branch of Japan Post sent documents to 2,500 post offices under its jurisdiction warning them to take care when handling information on computers connected to the Internet.

Other information the could be viewed with Winny included a worker list from the Public Security Intelligence Agency including their addresses, a list of 50,000 beauty-treatment clinic customers including phone numbers, and police investigation documents.


Japanese Recording Industry Starts Anti-Piracy Campaign
Thomas Mennecke

Back in early 2003, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) began sending thousands of instant messages to P2P users. The effort was a preemptive assault on the P2P world before their lawsuit campaign in June 2003. The RIAA basically used the instant message feature on file- sharing applications, primarily Kazaa, to inform users of their immoral actions.

Using a nearly identical tactic, the RIAJ has started its own campaign against file- sharing. On May 2, 2004, the Japanese trade organization began sending out instant messages to file-traders. However, it should be noted that the RIAJ stresses that uploading, rather than downloading, is their primary target.

“Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) has started to send warnings using the IM function to individual P2P users uploading music files illegally on the Internet. This action was launched on 2nd March, 2004 to give full recognition to the illegality of uploading music files through file-sharing software and make them stop such illegal activities. Uploading MP3 files made from commercial music CDs without permission of right holders is an infringement of the Copyright Law.”

Much like the RIAA, the RIAJ will also embark on a lawsuit campaign against “certain malicious users.” Although they do not specify who will qualify as “malicious”, speculation suggests that their tactics will be similar to the RIAA. The RIAA has generally filed lawsuits against anyone who shares about 1,000 songs, keeps their shared directory exposed, and uses the FastTrack (Kazaa, Grokster) file-sharing network.

The campaign hopes to inform 1 million P2P users by the end of May. So far in the United States, the RIAA’s campaign has met with mixed results. Time will tell whether the Japanese music industry fairs any better.


P2P File Sharing Splits Musicians
p2pnet.net news

Musicians are sharply divided about how much impact file sharing has on the music business.

Those who earn most of their income from music are more inclined than 'starving musicians' to back the RIAA, but even very committed musicians don't believe Big Music's sue 'em all campaign is doing much good.

In fact, in terms of their careers, more artists say free music downloading online has helped rather than hurt.

Some 41% say the Net hasn't had a big effect "in allowing piracy of their music" and only 5% say free downloading has definitely - "exclusively" - hurt their careers.

That's the bottom line in a new Pew study of musicians and songwriters slated to be presented today at the Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit and which, appropriately, was done online.

"Half of the musicians and songwriters surveyed say they would be bothered if someone put a digital copy of their music on the Internet without permission (compared to 37% who say they would not be bothered and 12% who say they don’t know)," says the report, going on:

"Some 28% said they had experienced this situation firsthand. 83% have provided free samples of their work online and significant numbers say free downloading has helped them sell CDs and increase the crowds at concerts."

Between March 15 and April 15 of this year, 2,755 musicians and songwriters were asked about the way they use the Internet and their views on a host of public policy questions related to copyright and music file-sharing on the Internet.

The sample wasn't "representative or projectable to the entire population of musicians and songwriters," Pew hastens to emphasize.

"However," it says, "it brings many more voices into the debates about copyright laws, the impact of online music swapping, and the long-term prospects for the music industry."

Involved were The Future of Music Coalition, Just Plain Folks, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, CD Baby, the Nashville Songwriters Association, Garageband.com, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, and the American Federation of Musicians.

Some 35% of the sample agree file-sharing services aren't bad for artists because they help promote and distribute an artist’s work; 23% agree file-sharing services are bad for artists because they allow people to copy an artist’s work without permission or payment. And 35% agree with both statements.

Thirty-seven percent say free downloading hasn't really made a difference on their careers as musicians, 35% say it's actually helped and 8% say it's both helped and hurt their career.

Only 5% say free downloading has exclusively hurt their career and 15% of the respondents say they don’t know.

Asked if online music file-sharing has made it harder to protect their music from piracy, 16% say the Internet has had a big effect in allowing piracy of their music, 21% say it has had a small effect, and 41% say it has had no effect.

Who should be held responsible for illegal file sharing online?

"The verdict is very split," says Pew. "37% of the sample said both those who run file-sharing services and individuals who swap files through those services should be held responsible. But 21% said no one should be held responsible.

"Some 17% said those that run peer-to-peer services should exclusively bear the legal burden and 12% said individuals who swap files should exclusively bear the burden.

"Yet, regardless of their personal experiences, most musicians and songwriters think file-sharing on the Internet poses some threat to creative industries that make music and movies. One-third say file-sharing poses a 'major threat' to these industries while one-third say it poses a 'minor threat.' Another third say file-sharing poses 'no threat at all' and 7% say they don’t know.

"67% say artists should have complete control over material they copyright and they say copyright laws do a good job of protecting artists."

Two-thirds of these artists say copyright holders should have complete control over a piece of art once it's produced. Some 28% say the copyright holder should have 'some control' and 3% say the holder should have 'very little control.'

"Fully 61% of those in this sample believe that current copyright laws do a good job of protecting artists’ rights, but 59% also say that copyright laws do more to protect those who sell art than to protect the artists themselves," the report goes on.

"Most of the musicians and songwriters sampled do not believe current copyright laws 'unfairly limit public access to art.' Some 46% disagree with this statement and 21% strongly disagree. However, 15% do agree that current laws unfairly limit public access to art, 8% strongly agree and 10% say they don’t know.

"In terms of their careers, more artists say free music downloading online has helped them than hurt them. Fully 83% of those in the survey say they provide free samples or previews of their music online. And strong pluralities say free downloading has a payoff for them. For instance, 35% of them say free downloading has helped their careers and only 5% say it has hurt. Some 30% say free downloading has helped increase attendance at their concerts, 21% say it has helped them sell CDs or other merchandise; and 19% say it has helped them gain radio playing time for their music. Only fractions of them cite any negative impact of downloading on those aspects of their work.

Some 60% of people surveyed say they don't think the RIAA's (Recording Industry Association of America) suits against online music swappers will benefit musicians and songwriters. Those who earn the majority of their income from music are more inclined than 'starving musicians' to back the RIAA, but even those very committed musicians don't believe the RIAA campaign will help them. Some 42% of those who earn most of their income from their music do not think the RIAA legal efforts will help them, while 35% think those legal challenges will ultimately benefit them.

Basic demographic information about respondents:

74% Men
23% Women

24% are aged 18-29
47% are aged 30-49
16% are aged 50-64
1% are aged 65 or older

Music occupation
53% consider themselves to primarily be songwriters
44% consider themselves to primarily be musical performers

Percentage of annual income earned from being a songwriter or musical performer
8% earn 100% of their income from their music endeavors
8% earn 60%-99% of their income from music
12% earn 20%-59% of their income from music
41% earn 1%-19% of their income from music
25% earn no significant income from their music



The Hippie Professor And His PDF Book

Free culture, creative commons, whatdya think?
Fernando Cassia

OVER THE LAST month, rivers of ink have flowed, and loads of bytes have scuttled across the Net about a book that so-called Cyberpunks, DMCA haters and other interweb freedom advocates seem to love. That's Free Culture, the latest book by Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig, who - just for the record - previously wrote titles like Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace and The Future of Ideas.

Yet another book release wouldn't be much news, hadn't he quietly released this one as a free PDF download about a month ago, even sparking derivative versions in a matter of days. This was possible because the bits based version is released under the Creative Commons licence. This free PDF version of the book, can be downloaded from a server at Stanford University, or from the BitTorrent P2P (Peer-to-Peer) file sharing network, which seems to be all the rage lately.

The author, referred to as "a cultural environmentalist", who many years ago was a court-appointed "special master" in the antitrust suit against the Vole, who has criticised SCO's Darling McBride, and who happens to be the founder of the Center for Internet Law and Society at Stanford, thinks that current copyright laws are "poisoning the ecosystem that fosters innovation" and calls his book "a wake-up showing how short- sighted interests blind to the long-term damage they’re inflicting".

He writes: "For more than two hundred years, laws in America have sought a balance between rewarding creativity and allowing the borrowing from which new creativity springs. The original term of copyright set by the Constitution in 1787 was seventeen years. Now it is closer to two hundred. Thomas Jefferson considered protecting the public against overly long monopolies on creative works an essential government role. What did he know that we’ve forgotten?"

He continues: "A free culture is not a culture without property; it is not a culture in which artists don't get paid. A culture without property, or in which creators can't get paid, is anarchy, not freedom. Anarchy is not what I advance here." Of course, if you want to help professor Lessig and Penguin Press, the publishers of the tree based version of the book, you can also buy the book for around $16.97 or £12.66 on web merchants Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and the like.

A group of bloggers have even created an "audible" version of this book, by reading aloud different chapters and hosting mp3 files across the interweb. Anyhow, despite this being somewhat old news, I haven't finished reading it yet, so I can't say if it's worth the five stars rating it currently enjoys on the Amazonian retail behemoth.

The question, however, is another: would you publish your own book like Mr. Lessig, simultaneously on paper and also distributing it for free, under a licence like Creative Commons? Have you read this book fully? Do you agree with the hippie professor? To voice your opinion, click to let me know.


'Copying' Has Long History
Don Edrington

One of the omnipresent issues in computer discussions nowadays is the downloading of music files. We read of Apple's enormous success with its iPod players and its 99-cent iTunes, while services like Kazaa still offer P2P (peer to peer) tools for trading songs between site visitors. And rarely does a week pass without news of another copyright infringement suit regarding this kind of file- swapping.

I am constantly asked if it's legal to download songs found on various noncommercial sites, along with questions about how to convert songs from one audio format to another or how to "rip" selections from an LP or CD to be placed on a computer for subsequent file-sharing.

Well, I'm neither a lawyer nor a technician, and I've begun to wonder if it was legal for us to tape music off the radio back when cassette recorders first came into being. And were we committing a crime when we recorded a movie shown on TV with our VCRs? And was it really legal to buy a dual-drive recorder for the express purpose of duplicating cassettes?

My answer is simply, "I don't know." In any case, an overview of some of the terminology might be helpful for newer computer users.

The only "sounds" emanating from early PCs were a variety of "dings" and "beeps" which acted mostly as error alerts. Later on, brief musical sounds were added, along with voice messages such as "You've got mail." These sound bites are called WAV files, and your PC came with lots of them. Go to Start>Find/Search>Files & Folders and type *.WAV. The asterisk acts as a "wild card" which will find all your WAV files. Double-click them to hear what they sound like.

As computers evolved, the ability to record one's own WAV files was added, using Windows' "Sound Recorder." Go to Start>Find/Search>Files & Folders and type SOUND RECORDER. When the Recorder icon appears, drag it onto your Desktop. Double-clicking this icon brings up a miniature "recording panel" with buttons for Record, Play, Stop, etc.

With a microphone inserted in your computer's "Mic" jack, you can create a voice file by going to File>New. Next, click the round red "Record" button, and speak into the mike.

To quit recording, click the square black Stop button. To save your file, go to File>Save As and give it a name.

Over time, it was discovered that music files could be "ripped" from various media ---- and suddenly full- length songs were popping up on sites all over the Web, which can be easily downloaded, saved, and/or copied to a CD. My site has dozens of pop hits from the '40s and '50s.

Another thing done with WAVs is to convert them to MP3s, which can reduce file sizes using "compression" techniques, such as removing data beyond the range of human hearing.

For specifics on performing some of these feats of digital musical magic, type "WAV" or "MP3" or "audio file conversion" into any Web search engine.


Capitalism In Vietnam, The Next Generation Private Entrepreneurs Seek To Make Their Mark Wherever Opportunity Beckons
Ben Stocking

HANOI - From the moment Vuong Vu Thang sat down at a computer to play ''Prince of Persia,'' he was hooked. He started spending all his lunch money at the Internet cafe.

''Using the computer always made me so excited that eating didn't seem very important,'' Thang said. ''I didn't care about anything else.''

It showed. He failed computer class, skipped his night classes and placed dead last in a prestigious national math competition -- writing software for classmates instead of hitting
the books.

Now, at the ripe old age of 24, Thang is one of Vietnam's brightest software stars, part of an emerging group of computer whizzes who hope to put their country on the high-tech map. They are part of a new generation of private entrepreneurs trying to make their mark in any field where opportunity beckons.

His goals are unabashedly grand: ''I want to become Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL all rolled into one.''

Thang owns an online newspaper (www.tintucvietnam.com) and a Web forum (www.ttvnonline.net), both of which cater to a burgeoning youth market thirsty for new information about lifestyle and social issues. He and a group of like-minded techies recently merged their three companies into a new corporation called DTT, whose subsidiaries include the Hanoi-based Cisco Academy, where teachers certified by San Jose's Cisco Systems train Vietnamese students in computer networking.

Thang made headlines two years ago when the communist government, upset by a political posting on his site, shut down the forum just months after it had been honored as Vietnam's most popular. These days, he walks a fine line, trying to develop innovative content while appeasing a government that closely monitors the Internet.

Like millions of other teenagers around the globe, Thang loved computer games. But he also had a burning desire -- and an uncanny ability -- to understand the inner workings of the computers themselves.

He bought a translation of ``Inside Your PC,'' by Peter Norton of Norton Antivirus fame, and soon started executing DOS commands. In no time, he was writing file-sharing software good enough for his classmates to use.

Buckling down

But when his computer obsession caused his studies to unravel, Thang decided it was time to get serious.

He bought the Vietnamese translation of ``The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People'' by Stephen R. Covey. He delved into Eastern philosophy. He buckled down.

He won the national math competition -- twice.

``I learned that there is no limit to what I can accomplish, as long as I try my best,'' said Thang, who speaks excellent English even though he used to skip English class in favor of the Net cafe.

When he was 16, Thang's parents had to make a choice: Use their hard-earned savings to buy him a computer, or buy themselves a motorbike so they wouldn't have to battle the Hanoi traffic on bicycles.

``They bought me a computer,'' Thang said, ``and they say it's the best decision they ever made.''

Thang's 69-year-old father, a university professor, has never been online. His mother, an administrator at the Ho Chi Minh Museum, made her first foray this month.

When Thang enrolled at the Hanoi National University in 1997, he already knew more about computers than his teachers did. In his first year, he started consulting for computer companies on the side, including two New Jersey companies, Visionary Software and Paragon Solutions.

As a student, he was earning about $400 a month -- twice his family's income -- and gave it all to his parents.

In his last year of university, he and two friends started their own software company, VVT Innovative Solutions, which owns Thang's Web forum, Trai Tim Viet Nam Online -- ``The Heart of Vietnam.''

He and several friends left promotional fliers on every bicycle and motorbike at every high school and university in Hanoi. Soon, the site had about 30 core members.

That group has grown to about 1,000 people, who moderate forums on provocative topics like ``Living Together Before Marriage,'' an incendiary idea in this conservative society.

With his tousled hair and baby face, Thang still could pass for a high-school student, even in his grown-up gray business suit and tie. But his work has already caught the eye of a Silicon Valley magnate who fled Vietnam in a small boat 20 years ago: Trung Dung, chief executive of Fogbreak, a San Ramon software company.

``I'm looking for the kind of cream-of-the-crop software development talent that Thang represents,'' said Dung, whose first company, OnDisplay, sold for $1.8 billion five years ago.

The software Thang designed to produce his online paper claimed Vietnam's national software development prize, which he has won twice. Impressed by Thang's Web site, Dung has invited him to California to discuss possible collaborations.

Shut down

Dung liked the site better before the government chilled the political discussion.

The government shut down the site after someone left a sensitive posting about democracy. The official reason for the closing: Thang had not received government permission to operate the site.

He spent four months negotiating with bureaucrats. After he agreed to collaborate with Thanh Nien, a government-owned newspaper, they let him fire the site back up.

Now forum visitors are greeted by a notice informing them that it is a ``non-political'' site, and Thang has written a program to enforce the ``no politics'' decree.

Anytime someone leaves a posting including sensitive words such as ``democracy'' or ``communism,'' the software alerts the 200 members who voluntarily monitor the site. If the posting is deemed unacceptable, they delete it.

A pragmatist, Thang is willing to accept limits on free expression -- if that's what it takes to keep his site up and running. That's just the way things are in Vietnam, he said.

But the censors are indulgent when it comes to young love.

Many of the Web forum's 150,000 members have struck up online romances and the site will soon include a dating service.

Thang found his girlfriend through the music forum four years ago. A classical-music fan with the nickname ``Beethoven,'' he left an admiring post about ``The Moonlight Sonata'' that impressed a young Hanoi pianist.

Thang's other online venture, Tin Tuc Vietnam, covers social issues and has fewer stories chronicling the every move of high government officials -- the standard fare of Vietnam's government-owned print newspapers.

The Communist Party daily certainly can't match one of Tin Tuc's most popular features: a fashion page with pictures of scantily clad models.

Because it's privately owned, the paper is not allowed to produce its own news accounts. It uses a mix of reports from the government-owned media and reprints from foreign media. The staff writes its own fashion and music pieces.

Thang expects the paper to turn a small profit this year. His software company, meanwhile, has already lined up $1 million worth of contracts for 2004.

Thang views entrepreneurs, who create jobs and help build the economy, as patriots, a perspective increasingly shared by the government.

``That's the reason I wanted to go into business -- to change the image of businessmen in Vietnam,'' said Thang, who employs about 100 people. ``If I can expand my business into the international market, that is something that Vietnamese people can feel proud of.''


Chaos Computer Club: Boycott The Music Industry

After the legal action the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) took against filesharing users, the CCC calls for a the boycott of IFPI member companies. Blaming the users as a remedy for missing the information age is unacceptable. The industry should have adapted their business strategies to the digital world long ago anyway.

Freedom of Information Is No Crime

The CCC regards those lawsuits filed by the German section of the IFPI as highly questionable, to say the least. We won't accept the music industry trying to accomplish their goals by striking ordinary users with awe as the industry claims immense amounts for indemnification. Such claims are not even enforcable by law in Germany. The IFPI's intentions are rather to intimidate participants of filesharing services. This becomes clear with the recent campaign of the GVU (Society for the Prosecution of Copyright Infringements). Here, too, legal misinformation is spread concerning the culpability of copyright infringements, to shy away users from using p2p-services.

Copyright is no natural right, but rather a compensation for the author as he or she makes her or his work available for the general public. Predominantly, copyright is a part of the personal rights. It should also be noted that German law, unlike its American counterpart, doesn't know the concept of copyright being given away, e.g. an artist can never lose the rights for his songs to a record company. "Copyright" is therefore only partially a translation for the German "Urheberrecht". To secure the author's economical existence, certain rights to distribute his/her work are given to him or her, but they underlie certain limitations. For example, a work may still be copied freely for private use. This right, also called 'fair use', is a part of the freedom of information and a fundamental human right in the eyes of the CCC.

The music industry now is trying to undermine this fact with countless campaigns. It tries to drag down the concept of fair use to the same level with child pornography and Nazi-propaganda. The chairman of the board of the Society for Musical Performance and Mechanical Copyrights (GEMA) demanded on the German music fair Popkomm that p2p users should be pursuited using the same ways and means which have been in use by the police to pursuit child pornographers and neonazis. This is an immense infamy and degradation for filesharing users.

But the economically rather unimportant copyright industry wants to go still one step further. The new 'Guidelines of the European Union for sanctions and procedures to protect the rights of intellectual property' grant them the right to search private homes without first obtaining a search warrant from a judge. Misuse and even industrial espionage are guaranteed to happen.

So it is only natural to ask: "Will the population be criminalised as a whole, because the industry is not able to deliver the offer for the overwhelming demand? Will the individual's freedom be sacrificed for an industry's demand for market stability? How come you can make more money with cell phone ringtones than with music?"

Next to the political reasons for a boycott of the music industry, there are also a few very practical reasons:

§ with the profits from CD sales the industry finances the legal actions against our children. Why should we, as a society, finance the munition of the enemy?

§ with the profits from CD sales, the music industry finances research and production of DRM and other measures of anti-copy mechanisms. Why should we finance technologies that will keep us from exerting our right to freedom of information and fair use?

§ we have bought our right to privately copy CDs by paying GEMA dues on every raw CD and DVD and on the CD-burners as well. It is inacceptable that this right is now referred to as 'stealing'.

Why are p2p-networks so popular? There are a few reasons:

· the quality of publicly available music has gone down. Music now seems only to exist to guarantee a bigger turnover for the industry. Since most modern bands are only in the charts for a short time now, less people bother to buy expensive CDs of songs and bands which nobody will remember after a few years anyway.

· the prices for audio CDs are too high. At least the main target group of teenagers and young adults can't afford the highly priced CDs. Studies prove that popmusic's chief purchasers are adults of 40 years and up.

· CD anti-copy provisions detains people from playing their CDs in any player except the very newest. Even many CD-player for cars cannot play DRM-protected CDs. This drives many people to the filesharing services to download and burn their music to run in their players.

· the variety in music stores is limited. If you're looking for rare pieces, the filesharing services are your last resort. For people who don't live in big cities or don't have the time to visit countless music stores, the p2p-network offer the chances of finding the favorite song from 30 years ago without much running or waiting.

· filesharing services are the ideal distribution channel for the new generation - the only thing missing is an appropriate payment function. The music industry has missed out on the internet movement, while the listeners have found their own way to use current technology to share their music collection and make new friends. Most listeners would be very happy to pay their favorite artist for the music they make. But there are yet ways to be found to get the money to the artist in a more direct way.

The music industry should stop whining now! The CCC is therefore demands: hit them where they it will hurt them the most. Take away their turnover! So they won't be able to use their profits to take on legal actions and advertisement campaigns against their customers.

The CCC has made banner and images for free use to support this campaign. Filesharers may voice their anger using our images and linking to our protest in this way. Creative pixelpushers are called upon to create their own banners and images in protest of the IFPI's legal actions. Please send the link to your image (not the image itself and no attachments!) to mail@ccc.de . We ask people to link to us from as many websites as possible.

Lastly we would like to point you to the words of the German comedian Dirk Bach at the 2004 Echo Awards to the congregated 'Pop Idol'-style clone-bands: "How dare you wonder at your sales going down?"


Thailand: Copyright Crackdown To Focus On 11 Locations

Meet set with copyright owners, envoys

The Commerce Ministry has announced plans to implement stringent suppression measures against copyright infringements in 11 strategic areas where counterfeit goods are widely available.

The ministry said it may |also propose the collection of |taxes from copyright owners in cases where out-of-court compensation is paid by copyright violators.

Commerce Minister Watana Muangsook said the ministry would hold a meeting with foreign envoys and copyright owners to find measures to combat violations.

After a meeting with related officials to crackdown on fake products yesterday, Watana said the ministry wanted to halt the sale of pirated products at the target areas - Panthip Plaza, Patpong, Sukhumvit Road, Tawana, Seer Rangsit, Klong Thom, Sapan Lek, Chon Buri, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Songkhla.

Watana added that foreign envoys and copyright owners would be asked to publicise the government's progress in the suppression of violations.

He said the US and the EU regularly complain that the ministry fails to cooperate with them in cracking down on intellectual property rights violations, arguing that the Thai government continues to suppress and destroy illegal products.

"Those foreign copyright owners visit Thailand twice a year |to look for pirated products in target areas. When they find one or two illegal discs, they claim Thailand is ignoring the problem," he said.

"We can say that copyright infringements in Thailand have been reduced by 80 per cent," Watana said.When piracy cases are settled out of court, the police are unable to punish violators, he said. A recent police report listed 1,000 instances of copyright violations settled out of court for Bt50,000 per case.


South Korea: Online Music Service Dispute Nearing Settlement
Kim Tong-hyung

A lengthy conflict between the country's largest online music provider and the recording industry could be nearing a settlement, according to some industry insiders yesterday.

The Korean Association of Phonogram Producers, a recording industry lobby group, indicated that it may relax demands to immediately ban online music site Bugs Music (www.bugs.co.kr) from streaming free copies of copyrighted songs.

"KAPP and Bugs Music are working to find a business model that could satisfy the industry and online music consumers. We might reach an agreement within the first half of the year," said a KAPP official on condition of anonymity.

"KAPP will not demand Bugs Music to immediately adopt a full-scale payment system for their music files. We understand that many music sites that implemented paid services have been under financial difficulties due to the drop of subscribers," he added.

However, official declined to confirm whether KAPP will accept Bugs Music's request of the partial implementation of the payment system.

Bugs Music operates Korea's largest online music site with more than 14 million subscribers.

It has been balking at the record industry's demands of adopting a payment system on all of its music files, claiming it would deplete its user pool. The company has been pushing the adoption of a partial payment system for certain premium services while offering to provide the recording companies advertising and marketing to its huge audience.

The two sides have been feuding since last year, when KAPP and 13 recording companies, including SM Entertainment and YBM Seoul Records, filed a provisional disposition against Bugs Music for the illegal reproduction of copyrighted music. Bugs Music maintained that users of its streaming service were unable to download songs and sought protection under the Korean Copyright Act, which shields broadcasting companies' contents.

The Seoul District Court ruled in favor of the disposition in October last year, ordering Bugs Music to delete 10,000 music files, to which KAPP and the 13 recording companies have the copyright for access, and banning them from playing new releases.


Pakistan Mulls Regulation Of Cyber Cafes

ISLAMABAD, (AFP) - Cyber cafes are favourite hangouts for Pakistanis young and old to play games, chat, e-mail, surf the web... or send terror emails and watch hard porn.

But soon the Internet cafes' dual use as pseudo blue cinemas and terrorist mailing points could be a thing of the past. Concern at the cafes' seamier side has prompted the government to draft a law to regulate their activities. The use of cyber cafes by terrorists in Pakistan came to light when US reporter Pearl was kidnapped and killed in early 2002, while investigating Islamic militancy in Pakistan for The Wall Street Journal. Photos of Pearl with his hands bound in chains and a hand gun pointed at his head were e-mailed by his captors from a cyber cafe in the southern port city of Karachi. The state-run Pakistan Telecommunication Authority last year prepared a consultation paper on regulations for cybercafes. It requires all Internet cafes to register with PTA, bans under-15s unless they are accompanied by their parents, and bars under-18s from viewing porn websites and playing violent video games. It cites national security as a key concern, according to a copy of the draft, and cafes where Internet activity is deemed a security risk will lose their registration automatically. The manager of one of the scores of Internet cafes in Islamabad said it would be impossible to control what sites his clients browse and view. "The blocking of porn sites is impossible as there are millions of such web pages on the internet," he told AFP, preferring not to be named. "We, with small computer networks cannot block all porn sites, it will kill (slow down) our system." Just four years ago Internet access was available in only a few big cities in Pakistan, but since the adoption of a new information technology policy by the government in 2000, the web can be accessed from most towns. "The exact number of cyber cafes in Pakistan is not yet known as no survey has been conducted so far," Omer Khan of the private Pakistan Computer Society told AFP. Absorbed in a screen at one of the Islamabad cafes, retired banker Ahmad Ali said they gave him a cheap way to stay in touch with his son. "It is a good and affordable facility for checking my e-mail and chatting with my son who is studying in the United States," Ali told AFP. For a mere 15 cents an hour, the use of an Internet computer was not a bad deal. "I have come to e-mail a college assignment to my schoolmate, so I do not have to go to his home which is far away from my place," said high school student Furqan Ahmed. Most of the cafes provide screened-off cubicles around their computer terminals, giving users total privacy. "We provide privacy to customers because people come here and write personal e-mails to their friends and relatives and nobody wants to show others when he or she is writing a letter," the manager said. "In the cabin or behind the partition, who does what is not our business."


Yahoo! Calls For Uniform EU Music Licensing

Yahoo! is calling on the EU to set up a uniform intellectual property rights regime. The Web portal wants to set up a music download service in Europe. But it says its efforts are hampered by the different licensing rules across the region.

That's according to Martina King, managing director, country operations, Yahoo! Europe, who was attending an informal summit of EU ministers of communications in Dundalk, Ireland on Thursday (22 April). The meeting included a CEO Roundtable, where the heads of many of Europe's biggest ICT companies communicated their concerns about broadband rollout in the EU to the ministers.

"I have to say I was very impressed," King told ElectricNews.Net. "The ministers were very knowledgeable and seemed genuinely concerned about broadband. It was a surprise, because I came here not expecting much. I just wanted to make sure that my concerns were heard."

Chief among her worries is the lack of co-ordination in Europe on intellectual property rights policy. This non- uniformity makes it difficult to ink deals with music providers, she said. "As it is now, we have to negotiate [music download rights] in every country, and the terms are different in each. It is not like the US, which is a single market."

Her concerns were also echoed in a report released in Dundalk by more than a dozen high-tech firms, including Alcatel, OD2, Telecom Italia, AP, AOL Europe and Cisco. The report, prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers, was submitted to the ministers at the event. It called for stronger and more unified policies thoughout the 25-state bloc on issues such as spam, broadband rollout and uptake, and implementation of e-government services. It also said that EU governments need to put in place a common regulatory framework for digital services that "does not hinder the development of new business models and services in the broadband market."

Another priority in the report - one that is close to King's heart - was a call for the EU communications ministers to develop a balanced and unified approach to protecting intellectual property rights. The group of companies behind the report said tsupport the recent and highly controversial Directive on Intellectual Property Enforcement, "because it aims to harmonise minimum IPR enforcement rules throughout the enlarged EU."

But, the PwC-prepared report also noted that not everyone is on board. "Whereas service providers wish to be able to use digital content on reasonable terms, on a pan-European basis, content owners are opposed to government intervention in the process of commercial negotiation...There is therefore a real need to develop a consensus between content owners and service providers," said the report presented to the EU ministers.

In other comments, King said Yahoo! would be "very interested" in launching a co-branded broadband product in Ireland, similar to the BT Yahoo" broadband product on offer in the UK. She could not confirm if Yahoo! was in talks with any Irish telcos to launch such a product.


Microsoft To Unveil New Media Software Controls
ILN News Letter

The WSJ reports that Microsoft is set to unveil new media software that contains new digital rights management controls. The software would allow for music to be transferred to devices provided that the customer periodically renews their rights to listen to the songs. AOL, Disney, and Napster have all agreed to use the new technology.
http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB1...699769,00.html (subscription required)


Americans Head Back Online For Music
David McGuire

An estimated 6 million people have stopped downloading copyrighted music from the Internet over fears that they may sued by the recording industry, but the overall number of Americans who download music is rising with the popularity of iTunes, Napster and other legitimate online music services, according to a survey released today by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Approximately 23 million people are active downloaders of music, based on a phone survey of 1,371 adult Internet users conducted in February. That compares to 18 million estimated downloaders in November and December 2003.

Despite the recent uptick, the number of Internet users who download music remains well below the high-water mark of 35 million reached in the spring of 2003.

Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, said the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) decision to sue thousands of Americans who illegally traded and downloaded copyrighted music files had an immediate effect on file-sharing. An estimated 38 percent of Internet users now say they are downloading music less than they used to in response to the RIAA legal effort, according to the Pew survey.

"Once the first formal legal challenges took place, the [public's] mindset shifted. There's a wariness that we never saw last year at this time."

But Rainie said the limits of the association's legal campaign are evident in the recent increase in active music downloaders. "In general it's not a great long-term business strategy to sue your customer base. There is a natural limit to how far even the aggressive legal tactics of the RIAA can reach."

The music industry has sued 1,977 people since last September, reaching settlements with 432 suspected downloaders. The average settlement amount is about $3,000, but the association can claim up to $150,000 for each pirated song.

Greg Bildson, the chief operating officer of New York-based file-sharing service Lime Wire, confirmed that the number of people using the service fell after the RIAA filed its first lawsuits last September, but those numbers bobbed up again within a few weeks.

"In the early days when there was lots of press about those things you might see a blip for a week or so. Those blips have stopped as far as I can tell," Bildson said. Roughly 350,000 people download Lime Wire's file-sharing software every week, up from about 250,000 a week last year at this time, he said.

Lime Wire provides software products that allow people to connect to the Gnutella file-sharing network, one of the two most widely used networks for trading free copies of copyrighted music, movies and software.

RIAA Chairman Mitch Bainwol said the Pew survey's latest findings are "welcome news and another indication that the message of deterrence and the availability of exciting legal services is getting through."

The Pew survey also suggests that the recent increases in the number of persons downloading music from the Internet can be attributed to the success of legal Internet music services. According to Pew, while online music services like Apple Inc.'s iTunes remain less popular than file-sharing networks like Kazaa and Morpheus, 17 percent of people who download music are now using paid services.

RIAA officials contend that lawsuits are among their most effective weapons to fight illegal downloading, which they blame for leeching hundreds of millions of dollars in compact disc sales from their members' labels. Sales fell from a high of $13.2 billion in 2000 to $11.2 billion in 2003, a period that matches the growth of online music piracy services.

But other observers of the Internet file-sharing point to other data suggesting that the number of people scared off by the music industry lawsuits has been more than offset by the glut of new file swappers.

BigChampagne, which tracks file-sharing use by tapping into the most popular networks and recording the number of active users, has measured a steady growth in activity every year, even after the RIAA began its legal barrage, according to Eric Garland, chief executive of the Atlanta-based company.

The peak number of users logged onto the top file-sharing networks at any one time rose from 6.7 million last fall to more than 8.8 million in the first few months of this year, Garland said.

BigChampagne has tracked seasonal ebbs in file sharing usage, but has seen nothing like the drop-off reported in the January Pew study. Garland attributed the disparity between the two findings to the methodologies the groups use.

Pew might have a tougher time getting honest answers from Internet users about their downloading activity because it has been "stigmatized," Garland said.

Rainie and Garland agreed that the file-sharing ranks will continue to grow into the foreseeable future.

"We're chasing a growth technology that's starting to look a lot like instant messaging or e-mail in terms of being a communications technology that's on more and more desktops every day," Garland said.

The Pew survey findings hinted that a fair amount of illegal activity could accompany that growth. About 58 percent of the survey's respondents said that they do not care if the files they download are copyrighted. And about 15 percent of Internet users said they have downloaded video files onto their computers, compared to 13 percent in Pew's November-December survey.


Pixie Worship at a Hipster Gathering
Jon Pareles

Pity the bands that shared their Saturday-evening time slot with the reunited Pixies at the fifth annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival here. It seemed that the Pixies were the only band that everyone wanted to see among the 45 rock bands, hip-hop groups and D.J.'s on the festival's four stages on Saturday.

Radiohead, the million-selling band that was the festival's nominal headliner for the festival's first day, drew its own packed crowd when it followed the Pixies on the festival's main stage and played a magnificently baleful set. But even Thom Yorke, Radiohead's lead singer, was thrilled by the Pixies reunion. "When I was in school, the Pixies and R.E.M. changed my life," he said during Radiohead's encores. A long-running band that has been dormant lately, the Cure, was Sunday's headliner; the festival's 50,000 tickets were sold out for both days.

Coachella has earned its reputation as the hipster's rock festival. Its lineup brings together the pride of college radio: a few million-sellers along with dozens of acts that have, or deserve, dedicated cult followings. It embraces Latin alternative rock and underground hip-hop along with rock; it also had far more female performers than most rock festivals manage to book.

Saturday's program included a greatest-hits set from the pioneering and famously impassive German synthesizer band Kraftwerk (which has quietly updated oldies like "Autobahn" with newer beats and technology); gorgeous reveries from the Argentine songwriter Juana Molina and from Savath & Savalas; earnest, surging, self-help rock from the Texas band Sparta, including a song denouncing President Bush and "illegal war" in Iraq; tightly wound confessionals from Death Cab for Cutie; clever braggadocio from the Hieroglyphics hip-hop alliance; and punk-funk revivalism from the Rapture, Moving Units and Erase Errata.

But the day belonged to the Pixies. In an hourlong set that charged through nearly two dozen songs, they were anything but a nostalgia act. Once again they were taking on death and love, derangement and destiny. At Coachella, in songs that dated back more than a decade, the Pixies were simultaneously desolate and hilarious, savage and absurd, sardonic and wounded. Along the way they made most of the day's other music sound one-dimensional.

Backstage, the band's leader, Frank Black, who was born Charles Thompson and called himself Black Francis when he started the band, said the reunion was instigated when he joked about it and was taken seriously. Apparently he hadn't realized how many people had cherished the Pixies. Formed in 1986 and disbanded in 1992 after making five albums that were far more popular in Europe than in the United States, the Pixies taught alternative rock a trick that Nirvana would carry to a mass audience: follow a quiet verse with a loud chorus. But there was more to the Pixies than their dynamics. Frank Black latched on to familiar styles — surf-rock, folk-rock, garage-rock, punk, metal — and then knocked their structures thoroughly askew, abetted by the band.

The members of the Pixies are balder and portlier than they were a decade ago, and they had little stagecraft beyond a winged P on David Lovering's bass drum. It didn't matter a bit. Onstage, as on the Pixies' albums, Joey Santiago's lead guitar traded heroics for hysteria, with wriggling, sliding notes or cheeky dissonances, Kim Deal's bass tugged at the songs from below, and Mr. Lovering's drumming could be full and brawny or suddenly drop away, leaving skeletal bits of cymbal. Pixies' songs can't be done by rote. They need Frank Black to get all worked up: whooping, cackling, snarling and sometimes yearning with true affection. The gleeful noise never hid a troubled soul. The reunion will continue; the Pixies are booked for New York at the Lollapalooza Festival on Aug. 17 at Randalls Island.

The Pixies had their first life before alternative rock was thoroughly commodified and bands decided they had to stick to one attitude. Somehow many rock bands lost faith that their audiences could handle mixed messages. Recently hip-hop has been more likely to mingle manifestoes, humor and come-ons, though lately underground hip-hop has started to develop its own inevitable formulas.

A few bands on Saturday were willing to scramble things. The Desert Sessions, a dozen musicians convened by Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, knocked around blues and punk, jokes and love songs; Kinky, from Mexico, did border-hopping dance-music hybrids; and there was a fierce, grandly cantankerous set from . . . and You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. The Pixies reunion doesn't need to spawn imitators, but maybe it will remind rockers of the joys of inconsistency.


Secret Warrant Requests Increased in 2003
Eric Lichtblau

The government's use of secret warrants to monitor and eavesdrop on suspects in terrorism and intelligence investigations continued to climb sharply in 2003, with more than 1,700 warrants sought, the Justice Department reported Sunday.

Federal authorities made a total of 1,727 applications last year before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the secret panel that oversees the country's most delicate terrorism and espionage investigations, according to the new data.

The total represents an increase of about 500 warrant applications over 2002 and a doubling of the applications since 2001, the Justice Department said in its report, which was submitted to the federal courts and to Vice President Dick Cheney as required by law.

All but three of applications for electronic surveillance and physical searches of suspects were approved in whole or part by the court. The Justice Department said it did not appeal any of the rejections, but it noted that in two of those cases, warrants were ultimately approved against the targets after changes were made in the applications. Because of the nature of the cases heard by the foreign intelligence court, no details were provided about the investigations.

Civil liberties advocates maintain that the sharp rise in the government's use of the secret warrants, made easier by the antiterrorism law known as the USA Patriot Act, represents a worrisome trend because the authorities are held to a lower standard of proof in spying on suspects than they are in seeking traditional criminal warrants.

But Attorney General John Ashcroft said in a statement released Sunday that the new data demonstrated the Justice Department's commitment to tracking terrorism. "We are acting judiciously and moving aggressively by seeking increased surveillance orders" from the court, Mr. Ashcroft said.

In addition to the civil liberties concerns, the increased use of the secret warrants has produced logistical problems as well.

Government officials say investigators have complained of a backlog of weeks or sometimes months in warrant applications, and a staff report last month from the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks spoke of "bottlenecks in the process," which the Justice Department is seeking to correct through increased personnel and organizational changes.

Before the Sept. 11 attacks, there was widespread internal confusion regarding the process and standards for getting an intelligence warrant, leading to lapses in the case of Zacarias Moussaoui, now charged with conspiracy in the plot.

The F.B.I. told the commission that "there is now less hesitancy" in seeking the intelligence warrants, the report said. Nonetheless, it added, "requests for such approvals are overwhelming the ability of the system to process them and to conduct the surveillance."


Wal-Mart's Tracking Tags Are Getting First Field Test
Barnaby J. Feder

Wal-Mart Stores has begun the first major field test of its progress toward its goal of having its top 100 suppliers use radio tags to track their shipments by the end of the year.

The company said yesterday that it had begun to receive radio-tagged shipments of 21 products from eight manufacturers at a distribution center in Sanger, Tex. It said it was also using the technology, known as radio frequency identification, to track the goods as they are sent out to seven of its Supercenter stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth region.

The radio tagging is intended to reduce theft, better match supplies to demand for particular products and speed distribution. But the technology's supporters need to overcome concerns about its accuracy and cost.

In addition to such economic questions, Wal-Mart and the manufacturers are also confronting critics concerned about whether radio tagging will eventually allow retailers - or anyone with a radio scanner - to track what consumers do with products after they leave the store.

Products being tracked in the trial include personal care items from companies like Procter & Gamble and Gillette, Purina pet food from Nestlé and three electronic products from Hewlett-Packard. The radio tags will be attached to cases and pallets of the goods in most cases so that the individual products, which will be unpacked at the stores, will not have tags when they reach the shelves.

But two models of Hewlett's Photosmart printer and a scanner are arriving at Wal-Mart's distribution center with individual tags, which will remain on their packaging in the stores, Wal-Mart said.

Wal-Mart said that it would not have any readers installed in the retail areas of the stores to track the tags once the electronic goods leave the storeroom. In addition, the stores will provide pamphlets about the radio tagging that tell customers they are free to dispose of the tags once they have bought the products.

Wal-Mart said it hoped the technology would move into the front end of the store eventually. If customers accept the tags as a successor to bar code scanning, Wal-Mart said, it could lead to benefits like faster checkouts, returns and processing of warranties.

Unlike bar codes, radio tags do not have to be in the line of sight of a reader to be recognized. They can carry far more specific information about the product than the standard bar code, and large numbers of radio tags can be read virtually simultaneously.

Privacy advocates are concerned because the radio signals can be detected through cardboard, a typical purse or even, in some cases, walls. Wal-Mart said yesterday that the readers it was using at its distribution center and storerooms work at ranges up to 15 feet.
JackSpratts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-04, 06:35 PM   #2
JackSpratts's Avatar
Join Date: May 2001
Location: New England
Posts: 9,927


How to Take the Concert Home
Sabra Chartrand

DIGITAL technology has put the "instant" into many forms of instant gratification. Instant messaging, instant photography via cellphones and instant-answer Web sites are just a few areas where people no longer have to wait for real-time satisfaction.

And now, in a growing number of nightclubs and music arenas, audiences leaving a performance can buy a CD recording of the live concert that is still ringing in their ears.

David Griner, 43, a lawyer in Austin, Tex., first dreamed of an instant recording in the early 1980's as he left a Bruce Springsteen concert wishing he could listen to it all over again in his car on the way home.

"The technology wasn't available to produce these recordings," Mr. Griner said recently. "Once CD-burning technology started to appear on the scene, it clicked and I thought, 'now we have the technology to do this.' "

Mr. Griner and his brother, James, have received the first patent for "creating digital recordings of live performances." Their process uses microphones, recording and audio mixing hardware and software, CD burners and a method of executing the recording and burning process to make it unique.

"It's the organization of the existing CD-burning technology that makes all this work," Mr. Griner said of his patent. "We record the show and do some minimal manipulation of cutting into the tracks, and whether it's on a hard drive or master CD, there are a lot of slave towers, and we pop it in and start burning copies."

"So as each song finishes, we start burning that song onto a CD," he explained. "So at the end of the show, we only have the last song to burn on each CD."

But the Griners' system is not the only one for churning out instant CD's for jazz musicians, independent bands and classic rock acts. Several companies are licensed to record live performances and sell the CD's to audiences immediately afterward. Some also offer them for delivery within a couple of days, and several say they have patents pending. The two largest use huge trucks to move their recording and CD-burning operations from venue to venue.

The Griner brothers have sold their patent to one of those, called Instant Live, which is owned by the radio and concert promotion behemoth, Clear Channel Communications. Like its competitors, Instant Live says about 20 percent of audiences are buying instant CD's. The recording industry says these audiences already spend $400 million a year on concert merchandise like T-shirts, posters and other souvenirs - so everyone is hoping the Griner brothers have hit on the next big thing.

But the Griners just wanted a way to amplify their enjoyment of their favorite bands.

"The genesis of the idea is that I'm a big live music fan, and always have been, especially for some of the lesser-known bands," David Griner explained. "With bands at that level, a lot of what goes into a concert and what you go to see can't ever be captured again. A lot of it comes across in what they say and do. It doesn't come out on the studio CD or live recordings. I've always been bothered that it was lost forever. I wished I could bottle it and carry it home."

He and his younger brother James, 40, an electrical engineer who lives outside Seattle, also wanted their invention to combat bootlegging.

"Bootlegs are less appealing because someone else gets the money, and the artist is not getting anything," David Griner said. "Especially for the people I go see. Most are starving to death anyway. So I didn't want to take away their money."

The Griners' idea did not take off right away. Early CD-burning technology was too slow to make hundreds or thousands of copies within minutes of a concert's end.

"The main thing was proving we could get the CD's out right after the show was over," Mr. Griner remembered. "We didn't think the audience would sit and wait for half an hour, which is what it took to burn CD's then.

"In 1999 and 2000, there wasn't a peep about this," Mr. Griner continued, even though it was possible to burn CD's by then. "But once burn speed got up, people started moving into it. That's the only thing that makes this commercially feasible."

The Griners' first working model was compiled from off-the-shelf recording equipment.

As the first batch of CD's is being sold, follow-up batches are being created.

Mr. Griner believes that Instant Live will also be able to use his patent to eventually make instant DVD's of concerts.

"The patent addresses video, too, and the technology exists to do DVD's," he said. "DVD burn technology is a lot slower, but I still think it can be done."

But technology has not been the only hurdle to instant recordings.

"As the industry took off, we found probably more resistance from record labels than from technological limits. The record companies were afraid they'd lose CD sales." Mr. Griner said, who disagrees with their stance.

"People who buy these CD's are genuine fans and they own every CD already," he said. He said he thought those fans would buy a live concert recording because a band might play an older, more obscure song, cover someone else's song say something original to the audience during the show. It's less like a concert T-shirt, he added, and more like a coffee table book from a museum exhibition.

"I think these CD's are more valuable to people who were at the show," he added. "If you were there you want to re-experience it."

The Griner brothers are not involved with Instant Live, and a confidentiality clause prevented any discussion of the terms of the patent sale.

"I always hoped that when this got put together, I'd get to go on the road with the Boss," Mr. Griner said, referring to the sobriquet that pop music fans have given Bruce Springsteen. "But I guess I'll have to buy my ticket like anybody else."

Even Mr. Griner's respect for pop stars has limits, however.

"I don't know how popular this would be at a Britney Spears concert," he said. "She doesn't do a lot of covers or unique songs, so consequently the concerts all sound the same."

David and James Griner received patent No. 6,614,729.

Patents may be viewed on the Web

atwww.uspto.gov or may be ordered through the mail, by patent number, for $3 from the Patent and Trademark Office, Washington, D.C. 20231.


Hoping to Attract Callers to the Internet
Ken Belson and Matt Richtel

Some of America's biggest telecommunications companies are meeting here this week to discuss how best to provide phone services to consumers. It will not be telephone companies talking, though, but cable providers.

The effort by the cable companies to make deeper inroads into telephone services by using Internet technology will be the No. 1 topic at the industry's annual trade show here that continues through Wednesday. There will be much backslapping given the success cable providers have had rolling out high-speed Internet, and they will be eager to show how their new Internet-based phone services that use those broadband connections will be just as triumphant.

But selling high-speed connections and phone services are two different things, and cable companies are certain to face an uphill climb beating the telephone industry in this latest contest. Many consumers still see high-speed Internet connections as a largely generic service, which they can buy from many different vendors.

But choosing a phone service is a more emotional decision. Telephone companies have well-established brands and have been reliable providers of voice calls for decades. Cable companies are still viewed, not as phone providers, but in terms of the television programming they offer.

Moreover, phone calling over the Internet is relatively new, and providers of all types are still working out the technological flaws as well as customer and billing services. Those gaps in service may alienate customers, analysts said, if cable companies introduce Internet calling too quickly.

"Depending on the cable provider, the quality of the telephony is all over the map and bad news travels by word of mouth faster than good news," Lisa Pierce, vice president at Forrester Research, said. But that risk has not stopped the cable companies from introducing Internet phone services. With all the promotion surrounding the technology and its potential to lower phone bills substantially, the cable providers do not want to be beaten by AT&T, Qwest and other telephone companies that have started Internet calling options and start-ups like Vonage, which entered the nascent market two years ago.

Cable companies are also eager to recoup some of the roughly $75 billion they spent in the last few years to upgrade their networks so they could offer Internet calling and other digital services.

Though the cable network has been in place for a while, selling Internet calling broadly became more possible when the telephone switches needed to best deploy the technology became commercially available. In December, Time Warner Cable, the nation's second-largest cable company after Comcast, announced plans to make Internet phone service available by the end of this year in all 31 markets it serves.

Cablevision Systems also announced an ambitious program, and signed up 29,000 customers in the last two months of 2003. The company said it was increasing subscriptions by 2,500 a week.

Cox Communications began its first Internet phone service in Roanoke, Va., last year and it expects to introduce the service in other small and midsize markets in the coming months. (Cox will, however, continue to offer phone service through an older circuit-switched technology in larger markets where denser concentrations of customers make using that technology more feasible. )

Cox added 78,959 customers to its phone services in the first quarter of this year, 37 percent more than in the period a year ago, with most new customers receiving circuit- switched calls. In any event, Cox, the industry leader, has one million phone customers, a small number compared with the big local phone companies.

"A lot of customers don't know cable companies offer telephony," said David Pugliese, the vice president for product marketing and management at Cox Communications.

Still, cable industry executives say the real growth will start in 2005, when Internet phone services are available in more markets. Encouragingly, too, they say, customers who order telephone service with their cable and Internet connections are 50 percent less likely to switch providers.

"We get more from a telephony halo effect," Mr. Pugliese said, referring to the high retention rate of cable consumers who choose cable telephone service.

Cox and other cable companies are also eager to promote their reliability. Unlike other Internet phone service providers that use the public Internet to transmit calls over phone networks, cable companies use their own cable lines. This allows them to offer better quality control of calls traveling on their networks.

"We can prioritize the voice bits so they are not interfered with, so you get excellent quality," said Tom Rutledge, the chief operating officer at Cablevision Systems.

Cable companies also note that they offer consumers convenient installation through regular cable company workers. And like the telephone companies, they charge flat fees for unlimited local and long-distance calls connected via the Internet, along with added features like caller ID.

Still, offering innovative technology is no guarantee that customers will cut their ties to their traditional telephone companies, analysts say. To get customers to switch, the cable industry will have to spend a lot of money marketing Internet telephony even as they are introducing other services like video on demand and digital video recorders.

"If you're a cable operator, there are five or six things happening," said Adi Kishore, a cable industry analyst at the Yankee Group. "With a lot of things going on, it's a matter of where you want to focus."


Movement itself a Trojan Horse?

FTC Officials Blast Spyware Measures
Declan McCullagh

Two Federal Trade Commission officials ignited a political firestorm on Thursday by criticizing proposed laws targeting spyware and suggesting that the measures might harm legitimate software products, too.

During an appearance before a House of Representatives panel, FTC Commissioner Mozelle Thompson said the measures were the wrong approach to spyware and adware. "I do not believe legislation is the answer at this time," he said. "Instead, we should give industry the time to respond...Self-regulation combined with enforcement of existing laws might be the best way to go."

Members of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection reacted angrily to the advice, accusing Thompson and Howard Beales, director of the FTC's bureau of consumer protection, of being the only Americans who enjoyed having their computers infected by spyware and adware.

"You like this stuff? You're the only person in this country that wants spyware on their computer," Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, said to Beales. Referring to the rest of the panel, Barton added, "I would double down and bet that if asked whether they want to take it off, every one but you, sir, (would)."

While neither term has any well-accepted definition, adware tends to refer to pop-up advertising networks like those run by WhenU and Claria (formerly Gator). Spyware is more pernicious and can seize control of a computer or leak information. Politicians are feeling pressure to slap restrictions on both spyware and adware this year, and have drafted two new bills in the House. A third has been introduced in the Senate.

Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., told Thompson, "I'm a little concerned that you're not outraged that people have access to someone's privacy, Social Security numbers, and all this, and you're saying let it go by the wayside."

The FTC representatives countered by saying that while they were "outraged" by spyware, a careful approach was necessary. In addition, during an FTC workshop last week, a prosecutor noted that the Justice Department already had sufficient legal authority under existing computer crime laws to put the most noxious spyware makers in prison.

"We need to determine whether there is a definable class of software that can be called spyware," Beales said. Installing legitimate programs like Microsoft Windows or word processors could be made much more cumbersome if users had to give explicit consent to every one of hundreds of small applications that made up the application, Beales said. Thompson added that spyware is "difficult, if not impossible, to define."

Software industry lobbyists have warned that broad legislation against spyware and adware, such as a controversial Utah law, can have unintended consequences, prohibiting legitimate and desirable utilities and operating system features. One House bill defines spyware as "any software" that "transmits" personal information--a category that would include any e-mail client (because it transmits an address on the "from" line) and many Unix utilities.

But key politicians from both major parties are itching to do something soon, saying their own House computers have been infected by hundreds of adware and spyware strains.

"We are going to move Heaven and Earth to work on a bipartisan basis to modify the (Mary Bono) bill and move it at subcommittee and full committee and onto the floor and to the Senate...this year," said Barton, the chairman of the full Energy and Commerce committee. "I'm not guaranteeing that that'll happen, but the intent of the hearing is to start that process."


Not enough competition

Internet Music Copyright Rules Worry EU

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission has warned societies which collect royalties on behalf of musicians that they may be breaking competition rules by extending their national monopolies into the world of the Internet.

"The European Commission has warned 16 organisations that collect royalties on behalf of music authors that their so-called Santiago agreement is potentially in breach of EU competition rules," it said in a statement on Monday.

It said this was because the cross-licensing arrangements that the societies had between each other caused an effective lock up of national territories, which extended to the Internet the national monopolies the societies have held in the off-line world.

"The Commission believes that there should be competition between collecting societies to the benefit of companies that offer music on the Internet and to consumers that listen to it."


Authority Declares Sharing Of Piracy Data With US Partners Illegal
Joe Figueiredo

The Dutch data protection authority, CBP, has completed its investigation into BREIN, the Dutch entertainment industry’s anti-piracy association, and its practice of sharing information with its counterparts in the USA, and has concluded that this practice is contrary to Dutch data-protection and privacy laws.

According to a CBP spokesperson, "The US does not maintain a suitable level of [privacy] protection. The passing on of information is in principle forbidden, unless the recipient organisation meets a high protection level (the ‘safe harbour’ principles), or has received appropriate permission from the [Dutch] minister of justice."

The compiled data that has been passed on include such personal details as name, address, bank account number and IP address (which identifies the ‘absolute’ address of a website).

In another case, CBP has threatened to fine KPN unless the Dutch telecom giant submits an adequate plan on how it intends to deal with unlisted telephone numbers.

Following a year-long joint investigation with OPTA (the Dutch telecom regulator) into KPN’s practice of selling direct marketers name-and-address information on its unlisted subscribers - with neither their knowledge nor approval - CBP informed the telecom company in August, 2003, that its business practice was considered ‘most irregular’.

At the time, KPN was given four weeks to explain how and when it intended to put a halt to this practice, and its plan to inform existing and new subscribers of its policy on unlisted numbers.

However, according to CBP, KPN’s plan "falls short of the mark" and hence its warning to penalise the telecom company if a improved plan is not forthcoming within three weeks.


Thought crimes and torture


A Ninth Internet-User From Zarzis Sentenced To 25 Months In Prison

An 18-year-old Tunisian Internet-user Abderrazak Bourguiba, was sentenced to 25 months in prison by the youth criminal court in Tunis on 16 April. Eight other members of the "Zarzis Internet-users" group were sentenced to prison terms of up to 26 years on 6 April on terrorism charges for having downloaded files from the Internet that were judged subversive.

An 18-year-old Tunisian Internet-user Abderrazak Bourguiba, was sentenced to 25 months in prison by the youth criminal court in Tunis on 16 April.

Eight other members of the "Zarzis Internet-users" group were sentenced to prison terms of up to 26 years on 6 April on terrorism charges for having downloaded files from the Internet that were judged subversive.

Tunisian authorities have said that the group "was trying to make contact with the terrorist al-Qaeda movement for logistical support", planned to launch a rocket attack against the maritime guard at Zarzis port and was preparing an attack on a secondary school.

Said Ben Amor, one of the lawyers for the young men, told Agence France-Presse that the defence had walked out of the 16 April hearing to protest at "the absence of prosecution evidence" and refusal to allow a medical examination of their client. Abderrazak Bourguiba appeared before the court with a pierced eardrum and signs of facial paralysis following torture inflicted on him in prison.

Reporters Without Borders repeated its appeal for the release of the Zarzis Internet-users, pointing out that no serious evidence had been produced to support the charge against them. The international press freedom organisation said that simply looking at Internet sites could not in any case constitute grounds for a conviction.

Eight young Internet users convicted of terrorism on no evidence

Reporters Without Borders today voiced shock and outrage today at sentences of up to 26 years in prison imposed by a Tunis court on 6 April on eight Internet users from the southern city of Zarzis who were accused of promoting terrorist attacks on no other evidence than files downloaded from the Internet.

"The trial of these young people shows the Tunisian judicial system's outrageous contempt for the right of defence," the organisation said, calling for their release when their appeal is heard. "Just looking at Internet sites cannot be considered evidence of a terrorist plot - the Tunisian regime is trying to terrorize Internet users and silence dissent."

The organisation called on the international community, starting with the United States and the European Union, to reaffirm that the fight against terrorism does not under any circumstances justify violating individual freedoms or letting justice take second place to the arbitrary exercise of power.

A Tunis criminal court headed by judge Adel Jeridi sentenced seven people to 19 years and three months in prison. They were Hamza Mahrouk, 21, Farouk Chelandi, 21, Amor Rached, 21, Abdel-Ghaffar Guiza, 21, Aymen Mecharek, 22, Ridha Hadj Brahim, a 38-year-old teacher, and Ayoub Sfaxi, who normally lived abroad.

Tahar Guemir, 19, who also normally lived abroad, was sentenced to 26 years in prison as the alleged ring-leader. A ninth defendant, 19-year-old Abderrazak Bourguiba, is to be tried shortly by a minors court because he was only 17 at the time of the alleged crimes. Reporters Without Borders called for Bourguiba's immediate release.

The eight were convicted of "forming a band to terrorize people... aggression against individuals with the intent to terrorize... holding unauthorized meetings... theft and attempted theft... preparing explosive material [and] unauthorized possession of substances intended for making explosive devices."

Reporters Without Borders has been told that the prosecution produced no serious evidence against the defendants. The case file only contained a few files which they had downloaded from the Internet, such as information about the Kalashnikov rifle and documents explaining how to make a bomb. When the arrests were make, the police only confiscated a tube of a glue and a few CD-ROMs, which were the only evidence to support the allegation of making explosives.

One of the defence lawyers, Najib Hosni, said many irregularities marred the judicial proceedings. For example, as they were arrested in Zarzis, they should have been tried there, and not in Tunis. Five of the defendants filed a complaint alleging that they were tortured, but the court refused to allow any medical examination.

According to several different sources, the young defendants just used the Internet to download files about the situation in the Middle East. They also reportedly talked with one of their teachers, Ridha Hadj Brahim (who is one of those convicted), about the best way to support the Palestinian cause.


Senate To Mull Copyright, Piracy Measures
Declan McCullagh

The Senate Judiciary committee on Thursday approved four intellectual property bills, clearing the way for votes on the Senate floor. The measures would criminalize using camcorders in movie theaters; increase fees for patent applications; clarify existing law dealing with joint applications for patents; and permit the Justice Department to bring civil lawsuits against copyright pirates.

Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said at the hearing he would delay a vote on a fifth bill that changes penalties for copyright infringement and increases reporting of computer hacking and copyright prosecutions. "I will hold the Hatch-Feinstein Enforce Act for an additional week as I understand that we will be able to achieve more consensus among stakeholders," he said.


New Zeland P2P-blocking manuver

No Server Ruling Extended To More JetStream Plans
Paul Brislen

Users of Telecom's various "speed-limited" JetStream plans will have to make do with dynamic IP addresses as they are on residential plans and aren't allowed to host servers.

Several users have questioned why they are being asked to switch from a static-IP address to a dynamic one, however Telecom spokeswoman Katrina King says the policy is clearly spelt out.

"Telecom requires all JetStream customers with speed limited plans ... to have a single dynamic address. These plans are only available to residential customers and, as such, they would not require a static IP address to run business applications.”

King says this applies to all JetStream Starter, JetStream Home and JetStream Surf plans but not to the full-speed JetStream products which are also available for business users.

The ruling has been handed on to other ISPs as well. King says the JetStream Surf plans have highlighted a problem with Telecom's billing system and the way some ISPs are treated.

"The introduction of the JetStream Surf plans has highlighted an issue with the way Telecom accounts for the difference between static and dynamic IP addresses and the associated accounting records, on the Fast-IP Direct Service. This issue affects a small number of ISPs who share a context on the Fast-IP Direct Service."

Telecom is working on a solution to the problem.

Telecom announced it would enforce its "no server" rule for JetStream Starter customers in December 2001 after the peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing craze caused noticeable amounts of traffic to be uploaded from users' home PCs.


Comcast Tells Infringing Customers They've Been Bad
Tim Markle

Comcast recently sent out letters to DMCA-infringing customers, informing them of their illegal downloading transgressions. My friend, Supa, was one of the lucky ones who received this letter. The notice clearly states that Comcast has been asked by the copyright owner to tell the individual of their actions and demand that the downloaded file(s) be immediately removed. In addition, the individual must write a return letter, which consists of an explanation and/or an apology. This will then be passed on to the copyright owner, who will look it over and consider further action. It appears that if a valid explanation is given (ie. I don't know how to secure my access point and my neighbors run wild on my connection...) then both Comcast and the copyright owner will be happy. If the explanation is not satisfactory however, they may proceed with fines, termination of service, ect.

The whole tone of the letter seems odd to me. My feeling is that Comcast doesn't want to get involved, but is pressured to do so by outside forces. So besides focusing on QOS or improving customer support, they're forced to spend time policing their own pipe, looking for flagged data. Also, in case you were wondering, at the bottom of the letter, the exact file that is in question is cited, with time, filesize, and IP information. In my friend's case, it was an XviD of Walking Tall, which was made by MGM. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and if this will influence other ISPs to go after customers at Hollywood's request.


Patent piracy, or Goliath's comeuppance?

Small Firms Often Targeted In Obscure Infringement Cases
Bob Sullivan

David Eastburn and Sandy Trevor are packrats from the Internet's earliest days, but they never suspected how valuable their computer clutter might be.

During the 1980s, both were high- ranking executives at the fledgling Compuserve online service. By force of habit, they saved much of the hardware, software and content they ran across — including the competition's content. Theirs is among the best collections of pre-Internet memorabilia you'll find, a collection that some day might be worthy of the Smithsonian Institute.

But right now, their collection is much more valuable inside a courtroom.

Armed with this archive, Trevor and Eastburn run a tiny company called Nuvocom Inc., which often finds itself in the middle of contentious patent disputes involving Internet technologies.

In 1999, inventor Witold Ziarno sued the American Red Cross for accepting donations on its Web site, saying he had patented the electronic process by which the donations were made. Ziarno demanded a licensing fee from the non-profit agency for infringing on his patent, which he applied for in 1993 — before most people had even heard of the World Wide Web.

Red Cross attorneys hired Nuvocom to hunt for "prior art" — proof that the patent wasn't valid, because electronic donations were already in use before Ziarno filed for his patent. Researchers digging through the electronic archives found examples of UNICEF taking donations on Compuserve's service in the early 1990s. Trevor and Eastburn then reconstructed the UNICEF Compuserve site, complete with vintage hardware and a 1990 version of Compuserve's service. They operated the site in open court, and Ziarno lost his case, and later, his appeal. But the defeat didn't deter dozens of other small intellectual property firms from trying to turn old patents into Internet-age profits.

It starts with chaos
The chaos of the patent-granting process in the Internet and software realms has made Eureka moments just as common in the courtroom as in the invention laboratory. There's a long line of celebrated cases involving Web sites deploying commonly-used Internet technologies — in patent lingo, business methods — that are suddenly challenged by a patent holder who seemingly emerges from nowhere. Often, the plaintiff is a small intellectual property firm with big plans to cash in. And increasingly, small companies with no legal budget are being targeted because they are the least likely to mount a challenge.

"I find this whole thing kind of disturbing. ... This kind of enforcement strategy really reinforces stereotypes of lawyers in general," said Jon Hangartner, who argues both sides of patent cases. "It increases people's distrust and frustration with the legal system."


Patent Awarded to Invention to Prevent Illegal Music Downloads
Press Release

Newswise — A University of Tulsa computer science professor and a graduate student have been awarded a patent for a software-based method to prevent illegal downloading of music over the Internet.

U.S. Patent 6,732,180 was awarded May 4, 2004, to computer science professor John Hale and to Gavin W. Manes, a doctoral student in computer science.

The invention combats copyright infringement on peer-to-peer networks, or P2P, such as Gnutella, BitTorrent and Kazaa, by systematically injecting decoys into file-sharing networks -- essentially flooding the networks with alternative content that appears authentic.

Currently, songs protected by copyright are copied and uploaded on peer-to-peer networks, allowing anyone with Internet access to download those songs -- without paying the artist or record company for the benefit. The new technology would frustrate illegal downloads by overwhelming pirated music files with hundreds of decoys containing white noise, low quality recordings or advertisements urging users to legally buy the song.

The technology developed by Hale and Manes exploits the very characteristics that make such peer-to-peer environments breeding grounds for copyright infringement. Because anyone can connect to such a network and can do so anonymously, decoys are just as easily placed on the network and are that much harder to detect.

A report last year estimated that $700 million was lost in CD sales due to P2P piracy. Lawsuits filed by the Recording Industry Association of America have failed to stop such piracy, and Hale says the problem may worsen because the next generation of peer-to-peer systems offers superior connectivity, enhanced search facilities and even greater anonymity.

"The beauty of this approach is that it does not impede legitimate uses of P2P networks. It can surgically target pirated media," Hale says.

"Our invention is extremely resilient in terms of its ability to adapt to different networks, clients and protocols," explained Manes. "As long as a user can sign on to a network and trade files -- even anonymously -- our solution is effective."

The inventors and the university are commercializing the technology and exploring new options for licensing the patent.

Hale, who leads a group of researchers at The University of Tulsa in pursuing practical technologies for digital rights management, testified twice before Congress last year on the hazards of file-sharing networks, and sees the situation only growing worse.

"It really is just a massive problem, and one that calls for a combination of legislation, technology and awareness. But as far as technology goes, we believe we may have the most viable countermeasure that will stand the test of time."


U.S. Blunders With Keyword Blacklist
Declan McCullagh

The U.S. government concocted a brilliant plan a few years ago: Why not give Internet surfers in China and Iran the ability to bypass their nations' notoriously restrictive blocks on Web sites?

Soon afterward, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) invented a way to let people in China and Iran easily route around censorship by using a U.S.-based service to view banned sites such as BBC News, MIT and Amnesty International.

But an independent report released Monday reveals that the U.S. government also censors what Chinese and Iranian citizens can see online. Technology used by the IBB, which puts out the Voice of America broadcasts, prevents them from visiting Web addresses that include a peculiar list of verboten keywords. The list includes "ass" (which inadvertently bans usembassy.state.gov), "breast" (breastcancer.com), "hot" (hotmail.com and hotels.com), "pic" (epic.noaa.gov) and "teen" (teens.drugabuse.gov).

"The minute you try to temper assistance with evading censorship with judgments about how that power should be used by citizens, you start down a path from which there's no clear endpoint," said Jonathan Zittrain, a Harvard University law professor and co-author of the report prepared by the OpenNet Initiative. The report was financed in part by the MacArthur Foundation and George Soros' Open Society Institute.

That's the sad irony in the OpenNet Initiative's findings: A government agency charged with fighting Internet censorship is quietly censoring the Web itself.

The list unintentionally reveals its author's views of what's appropriate and inappropriate.
The IBB has justified a filtered Internet connection by arguing that it's inappropriate for U.S. funds to help residents of China and Iran--both of which receive dismal ratings from human rights group Freedom House--view pornography.

In the abstract, the argument is a reasonable one. If the IBB's service had blocked only hard- core pornographic Web sites, few people would object.

Instead, the list unintentionally reveals its author's views of what's appropriate and inappropriate. The official naughty-keyword list displays a conservative bias that labels any Web address with "gay" in them as verboten--a decision that affects thousands of Web sites that deal with gay and lesbian issues, as well as DioceseOfGaylord.org, a Roman Catholic site.

More to the point, the U.S. government could have set a positive example to the world regarding acceptance of gays and lesbians--especially in Iran, which punishes homosexuality with death.

In order to reach the IBB censorship-evading service, people in China or Iran connect to contractor Anonymizer's Web site. Then they can use Anonymizer.com as a kind of jumping-off point, also called a proxy server, to visit Web sites banned by their governments.

Ken Berman, who oversees the China and Iran Internet projects at IBB, said Anonymizer came up with the list of dirty words. "We did not," Berman said. "Basically, we said, 'Implement a porn filter.' We were looking for serious, hard-core nasty stuff to block...I couldn't come up with a list (of off-limits words) if my life depended on it."

In an e-mail to the OpenNet Initiative on Monday morning, Berman defended the concept of filtering as a way to preserve bandwidth. "Since the U.S. taxpayers are financing this program...there are legitimate limits that may be imposed," his message said. "These limits are hardly restrictive in finding any and all human rights, pro-democracy, dissident and other sites, as well as intellectual, religious, governmental and commercial sites. The porn filtering is a trade-off we feel is a proper balance and that, as noted in your Web release, frees up bandwidth for other uses and users."

OpenNet Initiative did its research by connecting to the Anonymizer service from computers in Iran and evaluating which Google Web searches were blocked that theoretically should not be.

The report concludes: "For example, usembassy.state.gov is unavailable due to the presence of the letters 'ass' within the server's host name, and sussex.police.uk is unavailable for the same reason. In addition, the words 'my' and 'tv,' which are also domain suffixes, are filtered by IBB Anonymizer. As a consequence, all Web hosts registered within the domain name systems of Malaysia and Tuvalu are unavailable."

"For example, usembassy.state.gov is unavailable due to the presence of the letters 'ass' within the server's host name."
--OpenNet Initiative's report
Harvard University's Berkman Center worked on the project, as did the University of Toronto's Nart Villeneuve and Michelle Levesque. They tested only connections from Iran, but Anonymizer said the same list of keywords was used for China.

The U.S. government "asked us to filter broadly based on keywords to generally restrict" Web sites, says Lance Cottrell, founder and president of San Diego-based Anonymizer. "What they didn't want to get into was something complex, fine-grained filtering which is going to try to remove all the porn. What they wanted was something that would generally remove most of the adult content while not blocking most of the information that these people need."

Cottrell said Anonymizer would manually unblock non-pornographic Web sites if requested by Chinese or Iranian Net surfers. "Literally, we have never been contacted with a complaint about overbroad blocking," he said.

Monday's report also takes a swipe at IBB and Anonymizer for not using the SSL encryption method to scramble the Web browsing behavior of Iranian citizens. "I would think that if the U.S. government is going to go through the trouble of funding and offering the service, they might offer the more secure one," Harvard's Zittrain said.

Anonymizer's Cottrell said he discontinued that feature because "it seemed to cause trouble for a lot of people. The utilization of the service went way down." Iran currently doesn't monitor the contents of Web pages downloaded. But if that changed, encryption would be turned back on, Cottrell said. (Because China does do that kind of monitoring, SSL is already enabled for Chinese users.)

This episode represents a temporary black eye for IBB, but it should also serve as a permanent lesson to the agency. When American taxpayers are paying the bill, any "anticensorship" scheme needs to be beyond reproach.


Voice Preferred Medium For Wiretapping
Declan McCullagh

Only 4 percent of wiretaps not related to terrorism were targeted at computers and electronic devices last year, according to a government report made public last week. The rest of the 1,442 non-terrorism wiretaps--which intercepted a total of 4.3 million communications or conversations in 2003--were primarily aimed at voice communications, according to statistics from the U.S. courts. "The most active federal wiretap occurred in the district of Minnesota, where a racketeering investigation involving the interception of computer messages on a digital subscriber line resulted in the interception of a total of 141,420 messages over 21 days," the report said.P>

A second government document released April 30 summarizes wiretaps, typically related to terrorism and espionage, performed under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in 2003. The two-page letter offers few details, saying only that all but four of 1,727 requests for FISA wiretaps were approved last year.


BearShare File-Sharing Service and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy Partner Online to Reach Teens Nationwide
Press Release

Free Peers Inc., publishers of the BearShare file-sharing client, is partnering with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy to focus the attention of teens on the importance of avoiding too-early pregnancy and parenthood. Millions of BearShare users will have the opportunity to download ten videos, created by film students conducted by the National Campaign and MediaLiquid, LLC. Designed to educate teens about teen pregnancy and how to reduce the chances of becoming pregnant, the partnership coincides with the May 5th National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.

In conjunction with this news, BearShare is launching a new ''Peer Service Announcement'' program for cause marketers and political organizations of all shapes, sizes, and opinions, offering them free ''peer time'' on the BearShare networks similar to traditional PSA programs in the television radio and print media. Like a PSA in radio and television, BearShare will enable these organizations to share their messages with the BearShare audience in audio, video or flash formats. Users will be able to download the messages only from within the BearShare client.

''We are excited and proud to share with our users messages from all cause organizations at no cost. We recognize how important it is for these organizations to reach their audience, but they do not always have the necessary funding. This new network provides an essential service as costs of television, radio, and print advertising continue to rise,'' cites Louis Tatta BearShare COO.

''We are excited about working with BearShare to reach our audience. The new peer-to-peer networks are an important and unique way to reach our teen audience where they spend much of their time online,'' says Kate Ghiloni, spokesperson for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.


Ever heard of Winamp!?

Music Magic Found in the Shuffle
Leander Kahney

Napster revolutionized music distribution, but massive libraries of digital music and capacious players like the iPod are upending listening habits through something very simple but profound: random shuffle.

When music lovers first discover the iPod, or software like Winamp or iTunes, they often rhapsodize about the joys of randomly shuffling tracks.

"I have seen the future, and it is called Shuffle," writes Alex Ross, the New Yorker's music critic, who seems to have recently acquired an iPod.

Stuffy old listening habits -- like listening to albums from beginning to end -- are being thrown out in favor of allowing machines to choose songs at random, which often leads to unexpected, and magical, juxtapositions of music.

"There is something thrilling about setting the player on Shuffle and letting it decide what to play next," Ross writes. "The little machine often goes crashing through barriers of style in ways that change how I listen."

Random shuffle is nothing new. It first became popular as a feature of CD players. But with CDs, shuffling tracks is typically limited to the tracks on a single CD.

Randomly selecting tracks really comes into its own with giant music collections: libraries that stretch to tens of thousand of songs. In a giant library, random shuffle is a good way -- sometimes the only way -- to hear music that would otherwise go unplayed.

During a discussion of managing ever-growing music collections, one contributor noted his library stretches to 120 GB. Another counted the number of songs in his library he'd never heard: 20,000.

Lecturer Michael Bull, anointed the "world's leading expert on the social impact of personal stereo devices" by The New York Times, said random shuffle can turn large music libraries into an "Aladdin's cave" of aural surprises.

Bull, a lecturer in media and culture at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, is currently interviewing iPod users for a new study.

He reports one of his interviewees as saying, "I tend to listen to the iPod on random a great deal of the time.... With a large music collection, it is very easy to forget some of the gems that are in there, and random tends to bring some of those out again."

Bull said, "Their music collection becomes a treasure trove full of hidden delights which the magic of the machine throws up at them. Some users feel that the machine intuitively understands them by giving them just the type of music they want to listen to when they want it."

As columnist Steve Bowbrick notes in The Guardian, "This is a radically different way of encountering music and one I don't need to tell you is not possible in any other format."

Bull concurred. Bull said random shuffle has become one of the key components of new listening habits ushered in by digital music.

"Most users say they use (random shuffle) sometimes," Bull said. "Some -- about 25 percent -- use it most of the time. It's an important component of listening."

Increasingly, bloggers are celebrating the joys of random shuffle by posting lists of Random 25 tracks thrown up by their digital jukeboxes, as a search of Google attests.

James Kellaris, a professor of marketing at the University of Cincinnati and author of a study about tunes that stick in your head, said the appeal of random shuffle is likely generational.

Kellaris said random shuffle likely appeals to the MTV generation -- kids with short attention spans who are likely "brain damaged."

"Personally, and I believe I speak for many old farts here, I appreciate listening to music, be it an opera or a pop album, in the sequence in which the artist decided to present it," he said.

"Temporal order is an important element of how a work unfolds dynamically over time, an important factor underlying the aesthetic effect. Random shuffle pretty much flushes that down the toilet."

Bull noted that most listeners use random shuffle in particular settings, or in certain moods. Sometimes, he said, people can’t decide what to listen to: a problem easily solved by random shuffle.

While people often create playlists for specific activities (walking, driving, commuting, workouts, etc.), they also enjoy giving control to the machine, which can surprise and delight with unexpected selections of tracks, Bull said. The player will sometimes throw up combinations the user would never have dreamed of.

One user interviewed by Bull, for example, said the iPod "colors" one's surroundings, and random shuffle can significantly change one's perceptions of a familiar place.

"As it's on shuffle I don't know what's coming up next, and it often surprises me how the same street can look lively and busy and colorful one moment and then when a different song starts, it can change to a mysterious and unnerving place," Bull reports the interviewee as saying. "I like the sensation though."

Bull said the random selection of tracks allows the user to create unique personal narratives, like a private movie soundtrack, or to use the shuffle feature to bring up surprising memories.

"There's elements of the Dice Man here, coupled with the power to listen to things in a unique way -- a sequence that will probably never be repeated -- that makes their music collection even more exiting and mysterious," he said.


The Internet's Wilder Side
Seth Schiesel

T was just another Wednesday on the sprawling Internet chat-room network known as I.R.C. In a room called Prime-Tyme-Movies, users offered free pirated downloads of "The Passion of the Christ'' and "Kill Bill Vol. 2.'' In the DDO-Matrix channel, illegal copies of Microsoft's Windows software and "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,'' an Xbox game, were ripe for downloading. In other chat rooms yesterday, whole albums of free MP3's were hawked with blaring capital letters. And in a far less obtrusive channel, a hacker may well have been checking his progress of hacking into the computers of unsuspecting Internet users.

Even as much of the Internet has come to resemble a pleasant, well-policed suburb, a little-known neighborhood known as Internet Relay Chat remains the Wild West. While copyright holders and law enforcement agencies take aim at their adversaries on Web sites and peer-to-peer file-sharing networks like Napster, I.R.C. remains the place where people with something to hide go to do business.

Probably no more than 500,000 people are using I.R.C. worldwide at any time, and many of them are engaged in legitimate activities, network administrators say. Yet that pirated copy of Microsoft Office or Norton Utilities that turns up on a home-burned CD-ROM may well have originated on I.R.C. And the Internet viruses and "denial of service'' attacks that periodically make news generally get their start there, too. This week, the network's chat rooms were abuzz with what seemed like informed chatter about the Sasser worm, which infected hundreds of thousands of computers over the weekend.

"I.R.C. is where you are going to find your 'elite' level pirates,'' said John R. Wolfe, director for enforcement at the Business Software Alliance, a trade group that fights software piracy. "If they were only associating with each other and inbreeding, maybe we could coexist alongside them. But it doesn't work that way. What they're doing on I.R.C. has a way of permeating into mainstream piracy.''

Two weeks ago, the F.B.I., in conjunction with law enforcement agencies in 10 foreign countries, announced an operation called Fastlink, aimed at shutting down the activities of almost 100 people suspected of helping operate illegal software vaults on the Internet. The pirated copies of music, films, games and other software were generally distributed using a separate Internet file-transfer system, said a Justice Department spokesman, but the actual pirates generally used I.R.C. to communicate and coordinate with one another.

"The groups targeted as part of Fastlink are alleged to have used I.R.C. to have committed their crimes, like almost all other warez groups,'' the spokesman, Michael Kulstad, said in a telephone interview. Warez, pronounced like wares, is techie slang for illegally copied software.

When I.R.C. started in the 1980's, it was best known as a way for serious computer professionals worldwide to communicate in real time. It is still possible - though sometimes a bit difficult - to find mature technical discussions among the tens of thousands of I.R.C. chat rooms, known as channels, operating at any one time. There are also respectable I.R.C. systems and channels - some operated by universities or Internet service providers - for gamers seeking opponents or those who want to talk about sports or hobbies.

Still, I.R.C. perhaps most closely resembles the cantina scene in "Star Wars'': a louche hangout of digital smugglers, pirates, curiosity seekers and the people who love them (or hunt them). There seem to be I.R.C. channels dedicated to every sexual fetish, and I.R.C. users speculate that terrorists also use the networks to communicate in relative obscurity. Yet I.R.C. has its advocates, who point to its legitimate uses.

"I.R.C. is where all of the kids come on and go nuts,'' William A. Bierman, a college student in Hawaii who helps develop I.R.C. server software and who is known online as billy-jon, said in a telephone interview. "All of the attention I.R.C. has gotten over the years has been because it's a haven for criminals, which is a very one-sided view.

"The whole idea behind I.R.C. is freedom of speech. There is really no structure on the Internet for policing I.R.C., and there are intentionally no rules. Obviously you're not allowed to hack the Pentagon, but there are no rules like 'You can't say this' or 'You can't do that.' "

It is almost impossible to determine exactly how many people use I.R.C. and what they use it for, because it takes only some basic technical know-how to run an I.R.C. server. Because it is generally a text-only medium, it does not require high-capacity Internet connections, making it relatively easy to run a private I.R.C. server from home.

Some Internet experts believe that child pornography rings sometimes use their own private, password-protected I.R.C. servers. Particularly wary users can try to hide their identity by logging in to I.R.C. servers only through intermediary computers. There are, however, scores of public I.R.C. networks, like DALnet, EFNet and Undernet. Each typically ties together dozens of individual chat servers that may handle thousands of individual users each.

"We're seeing progressively more and more people coming onto the network every year,'' said Rob Mosher, known online as nyt (for knight), who runs a server in the EFNet network. "As more and more people get broadband, they are moving away from AOL and they still want to have chat.''

For end users, using I.R.C. is relatively simple. First, the user downloads an I.R.C. client program (in the same way that Internet Explorer is a Web client program and Eudora is an e-mail client program). There are a number of I.R.C. clients available, but perhaps the most popular is a Windows shareware program known as mIRC (www.mirc.com).

When users run the I.R.C. program, they can choose among dozens of public networks. Within a given network, it does not really matter which individual server one uses. Alternately, if users know the Internet address of a private server, they can type in that address. Once logged in to a public server, the user can generate a list of thousands of available channels. On an unmoderated network, the most popular channels are often dedicated to trading music, films and software.

That is because in addition to supporting text-only chat rooms, I.R.C. allows a user to send a file directly to another user without clogging the main server.

That capability has a lot of legitimate uses for transferring big files that would be rejected by an e-mail system. Want to send your brother across the country a digital copy of your home movie without burning a disc and putting it in the mailbox? The file-transfer capability in I.R.C. may be the most convenient way.

Naturally, that file-transfer capability also has a lot of less legitimate uses. Advanced I.R.C. pirates automate the distribution of illegally copied material so that when a user sends a private message, the requested file is sent automatically. It is fairly common on I.R.C. for such a system to send out hundreds or even thousands of copies of the same file (like a music album or a pirated copy of Windows) over a few weeks.

An official from the Recording Industry Association of America said that some hackers even obtain albums that have been recorded but not yet released. "Quite often, once they get their hands on a prerelease, they will use I.R.C. as the first distribution before it goes out into the wider Internet,'' Brad A. Buckles, the association's executive vice president for antipiracy efforts, said in a telephone interview.

But perhaps the most disruptive use of I.R.C. is as a haven and communications medium for those who release viruses or try to disable Web sites and other Internet servers.

In some ways, the biggest problem is Microsoft Windows itself. Windows has holes that can allow a hacker to install almost anything on a computer that lacks a protective program or device called a firewall. Users' vulnerability can be compounded if they have not installed the latest patches from Microsoft.

Hackers scan through millions of possible Internet addresses looking for those unprotected computers and then use them to initiate coordinated "denial of service'' attacks, which flood the target machine (say, a Web site) with thousands or millions of spurious requests. In all of the noise, legitimate users find the target site unavailable.

How can a hacker direct his army of compromised drones to the target of the day? Through I.R.C.

"Each time it breaks into a new computer and turns it into a drone, the program copies itself and proceeds to keep scanning, and so very quickly you can have a very large number of drones,'' Mr. Bierman said, adding that a worm may well include a small custom-made I.R.C. client. "Then all of the drones connect to I.R.C. and go into one channel made especially for them. Then the runner can give commands to all of those drones.''

Chris Behrens, an I.R.C. software developer in Arizona known online as Comstud, said: "It's amazing how many machines at home are hacked or have been exploited in some way. We have seen 10,000 hacked machines connect to I.R.C. at one time, and they all go park themselves in a channel somewhere so someone can come along and tell them who to attack.''

Mr. Bierman and other I.R.C. developers and administrators said that they were contacted by federal law enforcement officials fairly often. Mr. Bierman said that he sometimes cooperated in helping the government track down specific people using I.R.C. to wage major attacks. He added, however, that he had refused government officials' requests to build a back door into his I.R.C. software that would allow agents to monitor I.R.C. more easily.

"Basically the F.B.I. is interested in the best way to monitor the traffic,'' Mr. Bierman said.

Mr. Kulstad of the Justice Department declined to comment on its specific contacts with the I.R.C. community.

Mr. Bierman and other I.R.C. administrators said that in addition to their free-speech concerns, they were also reluctant to confront hackers, because angry hackers often turn their drones against I.R.C. servers themselves.

Mr. Mosher echoed other I.R.C. administrators in saying that attempts to regulate the shady dealings online were doomed to failure.

"Look, if we find one channel and close it, they move to another,'' he said. "It's been like this for years. You can't really stop it.''


Gee, wonder who paid for this poll or “stop me before I download again.”

Survey Says! 63 Per Cent Of Canadians Think Downloading Violates Copyright
ChartAttack.com Staff

Are Canadians with Metallica on the downloading issue?

There was a time when Napster was everyone’s best friend, music was free and kids were sticking it the record companies with every download. It seemed fairly easy for downloaders to rationalize their burgeoning collection of music files — after all, the Britney’s and J-Lo’s were doing just fine already and those indie bands that no one had ever heard of were now getting an audience of listeners across the country.

Since the debut of peer-to-peer (P2P) downloading, there have been three sides to the debate. The noble few rejected downloading music files altogether, putting down their money to support the bands they like — anything less being technological robbery. Then there were those that simply gave up on the music industry, downloading entire albums — or that one hit single — and not thinking twice about it. Finally, there was the middle ground that would download songs to sample an artist with every intention to purchase the album if they liked what they heard.

In the wake of the American RIAA witch-hunt that targeted students and youngsters, the debut of new pay-per-download file sharing platforms like iTunes and Puretracks and the latest Federal Court decision on uploading music, the download debate rages on. However, now it seems that the noble few are growing. While Justice Konrad von Finckenstein’s ruled that making files available in online in shared directories was within the bounds of Canadian copyright law, Canadians have begun speaking out in support of copyright protection for musicians.

"No evidence was presented that the alleged infringers either distributed or authorized the reproduction of sound recordings," wrote von Finckenstein of the 29 people being investigated in the Federal Court ruling in his decision. "They merely placed personal copies into their shared directories which were accessible by other computer users via a P2P service."

A recent survey conducted by marketing research company POLLARA Inc. shows that the majority of Canadians disagree. Sixty-three per cent of Canadians disagreed directly with von Finckenstein’s ruling, saying that any Internet user making their music library available to others through peer-to-peer programs is a violation of the copyright of the artists.

The Canadian Copyright Act was amended in 1998 to allow for private copying of sound recordings for the use of the individual who made the recording. The amendment also imposed a levy on blank audio recording media to compensate the makers and recording artists. Even of those polled who were aware of the levy, 55 per cent did not believe that it granted individuals the right to upload music for others to download.

"The recent widespread publicity on the Federal Court ruling seems to have heightened the awareness of the Canadian public to copyright issues," Brian Robertson, President of the Canadian Recording Industry Association, said in a press release. "The results of this national survey are encouraging in terms of the high percentage of support for protecting music rights."

The great download debate continues, but with the Federal Court ruling opening some Canadians eyes to the copyright issues of music downloading, the sides are becoming more balanced. When Napster returns with its new Puretracks-type platform, some Canadians may be signing off of Kazaa for good.


Hollywood Star's Wartime Secret Becomes a Screenplay
Kenneth Chang

Hedy Lamarr, the movie star who
is less well known as an inventor.

Vittorio Luzzati/National Portrait
Gallery, London

In 1933, at age 19, she swam in the nude in the notorious Czech film "Ecstasy." Often called the most beautiful woman in the world, she married badly — to a domineering Austrian munitions manufacturer — and escaped by drugging the maid and climbing out a window. She made her way to Hollywood, where she starred in movies with Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart.

Then there is the less known chapter of her life. In World War II, she offered her services as an inventor of weapons, coming up with a brainstorm that helped lead to wireless Internet and cellphones.

The Hedy Lamarr story: does it sound like the plot of a movie?

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation thinks so. The foundation, which typically supports science and technology projects like a census of marine life and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to map millions of galaxies, is now making grants for screenplays with science or technology themes. This year, it awarded $48,000 to Gretchen Somerfeld, a Los Angeles writer, to refine her screenplay about Lamarr.

At the TriBeCa Film Festival on Sunday, actors read from Ms. Somerfeld's screenplay "Face Value." Sloan also makes grants at the Sundance and Hamptons film festivals.

"The bottom line in all of this is simply we think there are great opportunities here, great characters, great stories that have been largely unexplored," said Doron Weber, director of the Sloan program for public understanding of science and technology. "And when I speak of opportunities, I don't mean in an educational sense. We're speaking of what we believe are box office opportunities."

On Saturday at the festival, David Baxter, the other winner of a TriBeCa Sloan grant this year, will present background on his screenplay "The Broken Code." It tells of Rosalind Franklin, whose X-ray images of DNA provided the inspiration for James Watson and Francis Crick to deduce its double-helix structure.

Franklin, who died in 1958, never knew that Dr. Watson and Dr. Crick had seen her images, and Mr. Baxter's screenplay traces the efforts of a friend and writer, Anne Sayre, who documented her contributions two decades later.

The Sloan Foundation also aids popular science books and Broadway plays. The goal, Mr. Weber said, is "to create more realistic and compelling and entertaining stories about science and technology and challenge existing stereotypes of scientists and engineers in the popular imagination."

Mr. Weber concedes that Hollywood, with its track record of mad-scientist stereotypes and plots that hinge on fallacious science, is a harder nut to crack. Movies are more expensive, take longer to produce and have to appeal to larger audiences who mostly do not care about any underlying physics or biology.

Filmmakers are not antiscience, he said; often, they just do not know any scientists. His program has also offered grants at film schools and has scientists speak to film students.

"The idea is to get more work into the pipeline," he said.

"Broken Code" is one of four projects related to the discovery of the double helix now circulating in Hollywood, and Ismail Merchant of Merchant Ivory Productions has signed on as executive producer.

Ms. Somerfeld confesses that science was her worst subject in school. What attracted her to Lamarr's story was not the technology, but her struggle to be seen as more than a beautiful woman. ("Any girl can be glamorous," Lamarr once said. "All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.")

Ms. Somerfeld called Lamarr "a woman who was out of sync with her time."

"Had she been born in another era," the writer said, "she could have really gone for it and lived up to her potential."

In her marriage to Fritz Mandl, the munitions maker, Lamarr sat in on his business meetings and learned that one of the elusive goals was to control weapons remotely by radio signals, what today would be called smart bombs. But radio signals can be readily jammed.

Lamarr's insight was to realize that continuously and randomly changing the radio frequencies would defy jamming. In early 1940, she and the composer George Antheil devised a system for airplanes to direct torpedoes toward their targets. Inspired by player pianos, Antheil conceived of a pair of paper rolls, one in the airplane, one in the torpedo, to specify the sequence of changing frequencies. "It's the damnedest Rube Goldberg you ever saw," said David Hughes, a retired colonel and a communications expert who will be the scientific consultant to Ms. Somerfeld. "But the seminal idea was there."

Antheil and Lamarr patented their scheme, which they called "frequency hopping," and donated it to the government. The Navy, doubting that the paper-roll devices could be built, declined to try to pursue it but nonetheless classified the idea.

An article in The New York Times on Oct. 1, 1941, briefly noted Lamarr's invention, saying, "So vital is her discovery to national defense that government officials will not allow publication of its details."

In the late 50's, the frequency-hopping idea began to be used in military computer chips. Lamarr received no recognition, because the patent remained classified until 1985. Since then, the idea has been applied to cellphones, cordless phones and Wi-Fi Internet protocols that allow many people to share the same range of radio frequencies. (If the frequencies continuously change, the chances of one signal's interfering with another drop.)

Lamarr, who lived a reclusive life in her later years, won the Pioneer Award of the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 1997. The award recognizes major achievements in computer communications. She died in 2000.

With the vagaries of filmmaking, "Face Value" is still far from production, but it has a chance, Mr. Weber said.

"The film has buzz," he said. "It's now in the pile of things they're going to look at."


For the Viewer, No Escape Hatch in a Digital 3-D Film
Eric A. Taub

UNLESS you are burdened with a bad case of tunnel vision, life unfolds not just in front of you, but above and to the sides as well. That is one reason 3-D movies never quite look real: while that bullet might appear to be heading straight for you, it is easy to look away from the screen and be reassured that the end of your time on earth has not yet come.

Viewers of a new short "Star Trek'' film that opened in the Las Vegas Hilton last month might find that sort of critical distance a bit more difficult to summon. A digital effects company in Santa Monica, Calif., has created a 3-D movie that not only gives the illusion of a world in front of you, but all around.

The visual technique created by the company, Threshold Digital Research Labs, surrounds the viewer with images in the same way that Dolby Digital 5.1-channel audio gives listeners a sense that they are enveloped by voices and effects: it's surround sound for the eyes.

The technique is being used in a seven-and-a-half-minute film that is part of "Star Trek: Borg Invasion 4D,'' a 22-minute attraction at the hotel.

"It gets harder and harder to come up with something to encourage people to leave the house," said Larry Kasanoff, the chairman of Threshold. "We needed to create a film that would last for years and that people would fly in to see."

The film's conceit is that the humanlike Borgs are trying to capture the space station that the attraction's audience is ostensibly visiting. As the station's crew fights back, viewers find themselves in the middle of the action. The floor of the theater moves, seat cushions inflate and deflate to simulate acceleration and impact, and at one point a mist of water is sprayed in viewers' faces.

The film combines 10 actors with 130 computer-generated figures. To shoot the live action, Threshold used two high-definition video cameras mounted next to each other. To change the sense of depth, the cameras' distances were varied.

The filmmakers could tell immediately if they got the shot they wanted because they were watching the 3-D scenes unfold on a 26-foot diagonal video screen in a tent next to the shoot. "While you look foolish wearing polarizing 3-D glasses, it's a great way to direct a movie," said George Johnsen, the company's chief animation and technology officer.

To reduce eyestrain, the company shot each scene so that both the foreground and the background were in focus. The filmmakers could then create parallel planes of action, allowing viewers to scan the frame to discover unconnected activities going on throughout the ship.

Because everything is always in focus, the production company had to imbue each element with rich detail, whether it was part of a ship or one of the many computer- generated characters talking to colleagues on catwalks or riding elevators seemingly hundreds of yards away.

Threshold masked the discontinuity between the vertical and ceiling action by using part of the ship to hide the seam between the two screens.

To create the overhead action, Mr. Johnsen and his colleagues wrote an algorithm that would put the computer-generated animation in proper perspective. While the ceiling screen is at a 90-degree angle to the vertical wall, a spaceship passing overhead would need to appear to spread out as it passed above and then receded in the distance.

This visually rich environment required a lot of computer processing power to render. Motion picture companies faced with similar challenges often purchase hundreds of high-speed servers to create animated frames.

To avoid getting stuck with a big hardware investment that could be obsolete in a matter of months, Threshold contracted out their rendering needs, leasing time from I.B.M.'s Deep Computing Capacity on Demand center in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and sending files to it through high-speed T-1 lines.

"There was no point spending three to five million dollars on computers that could be obsolete in a few months," Mr. Johnsen said.


In Europe, Cellphone Profits Go Up as Clothes Come Off
Jennifer L. Schenker

EXECUTIVES of some of the world's largest telecommunications companies came to Amsterdam late last month and hobnobbed with sex shop owners, publishers of pornographic images and producers of hard-core videos.

The thrill they were seeking, of course, was economic.

Until recently, risqué mobile phone services have been limited. But now that third-generation, high-speed networks and cellphones that offer video are on the European market, carriers are looking to make money by a proven method: pornography.

Gartner, the industry research company, estimates that sexual content over cellphones will generate $1.5 billion in Western Europe next year, or about 5.1 percent of the total mobile data market.

The Vodafone Group, based in Britain and one of the world's largest mobile operators, has introduced what it calls "risqué" content through its Vodafone Live portal in 10 of the 16 markets where the portal is available, and other mainstream cellphone operators and content providers are gearing up. For Vodafone, content ranges from off- color jokes to photos of topless women, but more hard-core material is expected to follow.

"It is a big commercial opportunity, so it is fair to say that commercial operators will have to exploit this opportunity in some way," said Tina Southall, head of content standards for the company.

Sexual content represents "one of the few possibilities for mobile operators to make significant revenues, even if they don't want to admit it," said Berth Milton, chief executive of the Private Media Group, a Nasdaq-listed company based in Barcelona, Spain, that distributes pornography. "Operators have put billions of euros into 3G networks, so they need to generate revenues even more than the content providers."

Of course, there is the question of whether phones are a good medium for pornography.

Mr. Milton of Private Media Group said that videos would have be adjusted. "We will have to edit them and make them more interactive," he said.

So far, the public seems to like what it sees. Netcollex, a British company that offers both soft and hard pornography over cellphones, said that in 12 months it had signed up 67,000 customers, who pay $2.65 to see one of a selection of short video clips, plus transmission charges.

But while the financial rewards are clear, so are the complications. The question of how to get involved while remaining good corporate citizens was part of what brought executives from big carriers like Vodafone, Orange, MM02 and Virgin Mobile, among others, to a panel discussion that drew participants from overlapping trade shows on telecommunications and adult entertainment in Amsterdam last month.

Virgin Mobile, which has 5.5 million customers in Britain, the United States and Australia, has created a position called "head of adult services," said John Conlon, who holds the title. But he said that the company did not plan to introduce these services until safeguards were in place.

Vodafone will work with banks to see if a person's address matches the credit card used, on the assumption that those under 18 do not have credit cards. It is also working to introduce filters that would permit parents to block their children's phones from receiving sexual content, Ms. Southall said.

Richard Brown, group public affairs director for MM02, the British mobile phone company, said that while the Internet "proved almost impossible to control," the industry hopes that installing safeguards early will provide some protection.

Still, he said, "It is harder to supervise such a personal device than it is to control what little Johnny is doing on a computer."


Italian satellite service throttles down P2P

Allot Boosts Satellite Bandwidth
Press Release

Allot Communications, the traffic management company, today announced that Netsystem, Italy’s leading Internet via satellite provider, has selected Allot’s NetEnforcer platform to manage the protocol traffic of its 65,000 subscriber community. Allot’s award-winning NetEnforcer product line is a traffic management and service control device that provides sophisticated monitoring, traffic shaping and reporting capabilities up to Layer 7.

Netsystem, with its strategic partner, SES ASTRA, Europe's leading direct-to- home satellite service provider, serves subscribers not reached by a terrestrial connection with a broadband service fully comparable, in terms of price and performance, to the regular ADSL offering.

Combining two NetEnforcer devices from Allot Communications with Netsystem’s Bandwidth Control Manager has enabled Netsystem to optimise its platform, thereby successfully answering the business and technical challenges involved in pioneering a totally new technology – ADSL via satellite:

Offering guaranteed bandwidth per subscriber, as stated in the Service Level Agreement (SLA).
Guaranteeing user fairness, in a tiered service model.
Monitoring the impact of bandwidth-hungry Peer to Peer (P2P) protocols such as KaZaA and other multimedia file sharing applications.

“Providing Quality of Service comparable to terrestrial ADSL service enables us to meet our business goals and attract new subscribers to our fast Internet service. As a result of this capability, in May 2003 Telecom Italia chose Netsystem technology, including Allot’s NetEnforcer, to launch its ADSL via satellite service re-named with its ADSL brand ALICE-SAT”, said Stefano Frassa, NetSystem CTO. “NetEnforcer was selected because of its P2P monitoring capabilities and its seamless integration within our NBCM,” explains Frassà.

“Netsystem’s project shows again the importance of a service control solution to help network and internet service providers achieve their business goals” said Menashe Mukhtar, VP International Sales at Allot Communications. “This project was awarded to Allot because of the unique capabilities of our product and the innovative support of our engineers in establishing integration with Netsystem provisioning systems.”


Love On The Grid
Susan Kuchinskas

SocialGrid, a free service that launched Monday, is capitalizing on two of the industry's hottest trends: search engines and online social networking.

The idea is simple. Registered members turn their own personal or business Web pages into free personals ads.

Members that sign up with the Orange County, Calif.-based firm get a string of HTML to put on their personal or business Web pages. The SocialGrid Search System then translates information that members enter into their SocialGrid profiles. Then Google and other search engines index not only the page but also the profile.

"It's a Google for people," said SocialGrid founder Chau Vuong. While most social networking sites, such as Friendster and Tickle.com let members search for each other within the site itself, SocialGrid is an open social network that is not confined to any degree or any site, Vuong said.

There are two ways for members to find each other: via Google search or by using a peer-to-peer search application that works in conjunction with Google. Members don't have to learn the various tags, such as "ag33" for someone who's 33-years-old, or "r01" for Catholic. When they fill out the registration form and profile on the SocialGrid site, the form automatically generates the appropriate tags. The tags can be seen when the page's source code is viewed, but within the browser they look like small barcodes, which can be placed unobtrusively on the member's page.

Vuong said another important feature is that members can search ranges, for example, asking for men between 24- and 30-years-old. The P2P search tool expands Google's capabilities, letting members search for ranges of criteria and an increased number of criteria, for example, the elusive SF32, employed, likes tennis and walks on the beach.

Users perform a Google search by going to SocialGrid.com and using pull- down menus. The back-end technology transforms the menu items, and then queries Google's servers. The results are returned on Google's search site.

The P2P application, SocialGrid Search Engine, is a downloadable application that lets users search in a way similar to file- sharing applications; SocialGrid says it is spyware-free.

The service is based on tagging technology and doesn't require database access. Members can put their barcodes on their own sites, or build a simple personal page on SocialGrid.com.
JackSpratts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-04, 06:35 PM   #3
JackSpratts's Avatar
Join Date: May 2001
Location: New England
Posts: 9,927

Music Theft, and this Time, Not From P2P Networks
Posted by spatula

Musicians will be receiving some $50 million in owed royalties from the music industry, demonstrating that the industry is the proverbial pot...

When it comes to theft in the music industry, the file trading on peer-to-peer networks can't hold a candle to the industry itself. After a two-year investigation, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has announced a settlement with a number of record companies to pay $50 million in royalties owed to thousands of artists.

Spitzer found that record companies were not taking reasonable steps to maintain contact with artists and said, "The recording companies have an obligation to perform adequate due diligence and maintain information about the artists to whom they owe this money. What we found is that, quite simply, they were not doing it. Rather than perform the hard work and effort of tracking down the artists, they were letting these funds accumulate in their accounts."

These were not all obscure artists who left no forwarding address either. Back royalties were owed to famous names like Gloria Estefan, Dolly Parton, P. Diddy Combs, Vince Gill, Tom Jones and David Bowie.

The RIAA member companies have also agreed to try harder to track down missing artists by placing ads in major recording industry publications and by working with industry groups and unions.

No story about the recording industry could be complete without the RIAA spin of course. The group says that unpaid royalties account for a "tiny fraction" of the total royalties generated. Somehow I doubt they'd be sympathetic if I said that mp3s accounted for a "tiny fraction" of the total music played.

Companies named in the settlement include BMG Music, EMI Music Publishing, SONY Music Entertainment, Universal Music and Warner Music Group.


Record Industry Wants Still More
Michael Grebb

As iTunes, Rhapsody and other song-download sites take off with consumers, it's easy to think that the record industry finally "gets it" when it comes to selling music in the digital age.

Not so fast, says Rob Glaser, chairman and chief executive of Real Networks, owner of the Rhapsody service.

At the Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit in Washington, D.C., Glaser recounted his general frustration in getting the record labels to offer creative pricing beyond the 99-cents-per-download model. In fact, some labels -- emboldened by consumers' apparent willingness to pay a buck a song -- are talking about raising per-song fees rather than lowering them to increase volume.

"Can you explain what planet the record labels are on?" asked Walt Mossberg, tech columnist for The Wall Street Journal and moderator of a one-on-one interview with Glaser at the conference.

Glaser smirked. "I guess I'd call it Planet Spreadsheet," he said. "The problem is that they don't look at it holistically."

Glaser has tried to convince the labels to compromise -- perhaps by charging more than a buck for newly released songs (and more than $10 for newly released album downloads), but then slashing the price a few months later to drive demand after the new-release sheen dulls.

So far, response has been muted, Glaser said. On a host of packaging issues, he said he can often get a couple of major labels on board. But then they hear that a couple of other labels aren't playing ball, and they back off for fear of being the only ones to make a mistake. The result, according to Glaser, is the "lowest common denominator."

To be sure, Glaser and others at the conference noted that the record labels -- despite their insistence on suing peer-to-peer users -- are coming around when it comes to digital downloading.

Even Cary Sherman, president of the Recording Industry Association of America, said, "This is the year that digital downloading really took off. I think the prospects are looking better all the time."

But when pressed by Wired News after the panel and asked about Glaser's comments, Sherman said executives at different companies don't all agree on how to market and price downloads. And that can sometimes make it hard for all five majors to move in sync.

"They don't know what to do," he said. "They are afraid of doing the wrong thing."

The record industry already has an antitrust exemption that allows record companies to jointly negotiate royalty rates for digital distribution. Late last year, the music industry convinced Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to insert language into the EnFORCE Act (Enhancing Federal Obscenity Reporting and Copyright Enforcement Act of 2003) that would extend that exemption to "physical product configurations" such as CDs. That bill is still in committee.

One new product that record companies want is a two-sided disc that could contain music in the traditional CD format on one side. On the other, music would be recorded in new, high-quality formats such as DVD-Audio or SACD, which are slowly catching on among audiophiles.

Such discs would serve two purposes: Give music buyers a reason to buy physical products, and seed the market with the new formats even before DVD-Audio or SACD players have been widely adopted.

Sherman said some publishers want to collect separate royalties for each version of the song on the album (CD, DVD-Audio and SACD) instead of collecting one fee.

"They have said one mechanical royalty isn't enough," Sherman said. By jointly negotiating under an antitrust exemption, the labels could obviously increase their bargaining strength.

Of course, many wonder whether that's a good thing.

In August 2003, the Webcaster Alliance sued the RIAA (along with the Motion Picture Association of America) and the five major labels for anticompetitive behavior.

Meanwhile, a heavy contingent of musicians and artists at the conference seemed ambivalent about technology companies -- like Microsoft, Apple and Real Networks -- replacing the record labels, which have a rocky history with artists.

John Flansburgh, of the band They Might Be Giants, said large corporations will most likely still control the vast majority of music for years to come either way.

"It's meet the new boss, same as the old boss," he said.

Indeed, some of the most contentious debates at the conference were between advocates of peer-to-peer systems and songwriters, many of whom have seen their royalty checks plummet in the wake of downloading and CD burning.

"The best-selling CD in the country is blank," said Flansburgh.

"You're not just stealing from a big megacorporation," said Tina Weymouth, currently of Tom Tom Club and formerly the bassist for the Talking Heads, "you're stealing from the artist."

Artists should work with P2P networks rather than try to stamp them out, said Holmes Wilson, a co-founder of Downhill Battle, which advocates a flat fee imposed on broadband users to pay artist royalties from P2P use. "They have to bring peer-to-peer file sharing into the fold," he said.

Still, others were optimistic.

"In five to 10 years' time, we'll be looking at it and saying, 'What were we worried about?'" said Peter Jenner, who manages singer-songwriter Billy Bragg. "I don't see how the Internet won't make us tons and tons of money."


RIA-Japan IM’s P2P users against illegal uploading.
Press Release

Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) has started to send warnings using the IM function to individual P2P users uploading music files illegally on the internet. This action was launched on 2nd March, 2004 to give full recognition to the illegality of uploading music files through file-sharing software and make them stop such illegal activities. Uploading MP3 files made from commercial music CDs without permission of right holders is an infringement of the Copyright Law.

Abuse of music on the internet has been a serious issue internationally. RIAA, IFPI and its national groups in other countries have been taking active measures such as campaigns to disseminate people's awareness about copyright and lawsuits.

We are also carrying out the "Respect Our Music" campaign and other various educational activities on copyright. We have requested thorough management to the academic institutions and companies where illegal uploading acts were found. We also had sent letters to about 1,200 universities and junior colleges nationwide to call on the enhancement of their LAN management. Due to the effect of this, the number of illegal uploads on their networks has been decreasing.

However, there is no end of P2P users who upload music files illegally, so we started sending notices to individual users. Against certain malicious users, we are preparing to take legal actions. The number of IM sent will surpass 1 million by the end of May.


Shine, Clean and Repair in a Body Shop for CD's
J.D. Biersdorfer

If a long winter spent cooped up indoors has left you with a pile of scuffed and skipping DVD's and PlayStation discs, a little spring cleaning of the digital variety might be in order. To get those scratched and battered video games, movies and albums spinning smoothly again as quickly as possible, Memorex has motorized the cleaning process with its OptiFix Pro system.

The OptiFix Pro kit, which sells for $30 in electronics stores, comes with special chemical solutions for cleaning and repairing most disc formats. It can buff up computer- friendly CD and DVD discs, audio CD's, DVD movies and those GameCube, PlayStation, Dreamcast and Xbox discs that take a lot of handling from family gamers.

The repair solution (a tube of aluminum oxide used with special repair pads included in the kit) can be used to fill in light scratches on the reflective layer of a disc. The cleaning solution, silicone oil, comes with a set of pads for use inside the OptiFix Pro unit.

Once the proper pad has been sprayed with the cleaning or repairing solution, the damaged disc is placed inside the OptiFix Pro, which automatically polishes it for 45 seconds to two minutes. Although some discs with deep scratches are beyond repair, a session with the OptiFix may save you from having to buy another "Blue's Clues" DVD after the toddlers get hold of the first one.


Wrapped up in Rhapsody
Chris Lester

Sing, or grunt, along with me, folks. There is no shame in the privacy of your own mind.

Poor young grandson, there's nothing I can say

You'll have to learn, just like me

And that's the hardest way

Ooh la la

Ooh la la, la la, yeah

I wish that I knew what I know now

When I was younger

I wish that I knew what I know now

When I was stronger

That autumnal lament of romantic regret, written by Ron Wood and Ronnie Lane of the Faces, has rattled around my cerebrum for 20 years gone by now.

I never really had much use for the Faces, a beery, sloppy, second-tier rock unit that nonetheless influenced some real favorites of mine, such as the Replacements. But that song always stuck with me, even after I sold “Ooh La La” and about 160 other albums during the cash crunch of 1984.

A couple of weeks ago, however, the song tugged again at my memory, and I was able to do something about it.

I simply popped up Rhapsody on my home computer, tapped in the Faces, and, voila, the group's entire recorded catalog was at my disposal.

This, my friends, is almost unspeakably cool. It's completely legitimate. And, most surprisingly to me, it makes a compelling argument that subscription-based online music marketing makes the most business sense yet for the floundering music industry.

Since its launch in 2001, the Rhapsody digital music service has been offering listeners unlimited access to a jaw-dropping library of music via computer. For $9.95 a month, subscribers now can tap roughly 40,000 albums totaling more than 600,000 songs. And songwriters, musicians, publishers and the record industry all get a cut of the action, so you don't have to fret getting sued by the Recording Industry Association of America.

That's just the start of the fun. Subscribers can listen to individual cuts, listen to a playlist of a group's most popular songs or play entire albums. You can compile your own play lists, or program “radio stations” that stream only the groups you prescribe and similar groups, from roots music to reggae. And you get unlimited playback. The only time you're charged extra is when you decide to burn your own compact discs for a 79-cent fee per track.

I haven't burned a track yet. And with $36 in cable from RadioShack, my computer is hooked directly into the home stereo.

The prevalent image, dear reader, is that of a pig in musical slop.

In recent weeks, I've sampled the first two new songs in almost two decades from what's left of the Who, and came away heartened for my old heroes. I've engaged in such deeply guilty teenage pleasures as Thin Lizzy. New music from the Postal Service was pretty impressive, while Franz Ferdinand fell flat for me.

I spent much of my youth painstakingly assembling a music collection that totals somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,000 record albums, tapes and compact discs. Those were halcyon days spent working at record shops largely for barter, chiding customers for their poor taste, and flipping through albums for my own collection.

There's a lot of pride built into that music collection. But its assemblage really was laborious when you think about it. And now all that work is simply blown away by immediate digital access to roughly 20 times as much music as it took more than 20 years to assemble.

Indeed, Rhapsody turns the logic of hard-core music collectors such as your faithful correspondent on its head. The major attraction for collectors is “possession” of the item, whether it's music, stamps or antique furniture. That strong emotional motivation initially made me loathe the idea of digital music delivery, and the idea of a subscription-based service that doesn't allow you to possess the music without paying an additional fee specifically.

Those reservations, however, have melted away with regular exposure to the flexibility and depth of selection offered by Rhapsody. (You need broadband Web access to enjoy Rhapsody, but not a particularly new computer. So far I'm getting away with running the service on an increasingly aged, remanufactured 1998 Gateway computer with a Pentium II processor on my desktop.)

Moreover, there's growing evidence suggesting that there is room in the marketplace for such subscription-based services as Rhapsody.

The struggling music industry, which historically has crammed changing formats and exorbitantly priced products down consumers' throats, doesn't deserve much sympathy for its recent troubles. Although the industry suffered a sales slump in recent years, there's a reasonable argument that high prices, poor product and a slumping economy have been as much to blame as rogue file- sharing applications such as Kazaa.

Yet the industry's litigious campaign against illegitimate downloading appears to be having an effect in the marketplace.

Since last June, when the RIAA announced it would start suing peer-to-peer file sharers for copyright infringement, ComScore Media Metrix estimates that the number of unique Kazaa users per month has fallen from about 35 million to 20 million.

Meanwhile, the number of unique visitors to six major legitimate online music services stood at more than 11 million in March, according to a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Such pay-per-download-oriented services as Musicmatch.com, the newly legitimate Napster and iTunes were most popular in that group. But subscription-based Rhapsody and related sites operated by Listen.com attracted nearly 1.4 million unique users.

For now, at least, I'm solidly, and surprisingly, in Rhapsody's camp.

I wish that I knew what I know now

When I was younger

But I'm making up for lost time.



iTunes 'DRM Killer' May Relaunch
John Ribeiro

The PlayFair free software project is likely to come online again soon, despite efforts by Apple to close it down.

Apple last month applied its legal muscle to close the project, which builds software that lets users break the FairPlay digital rights management protection the company employs to secure iTunes Music Store songs when sold.

Sarovar a free software development community site based in Thiruvanthapuram, India, said it would stop hosting the PlayFair project after receiving a legal notice from Apple's attorneys alleging infringement of copyright. Apple sources were not available for comment.

After Sarovar decided to stop hosting PlayFair on its site, Anand Babu, a free software proponent, took over as the project's maintainer. "PlayFair project will soon come online," Babu said. " We are working on a better version, and we are hosting it outside the US" A number of groups have come forward to host and mirror PlayFair across the Internet, said Babu, who lives in Tamil Nadu, India.

PlayFair has fallen foul of Apple ever since it was first hosted by its author, who prefers to be anonymous, at SourceForge.net, an open-source software development Web site. In early April, Apple invoked the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and asked SourceForge.net to take down the project.

As the DMCA has an anticircumvision provision that could work against continuation of the project in the US, PlayFair was moved to Sarovar at the request of the author, according to Rajkumar Sukumaran, one of the maintainers of the Sarovar site.

Legal implications

Since India does not have a law similar to DMCA, Sarovar approved the project as it is legal in India, Rajkumar said. As PlayFair is a GPL (general public license), free software project, Sarovar could not find any reason for not approving PlayFair's request for hosting, he added.

Despite the decision to remove the project from the Sarovar site, free software proponents are defiant: "What is really happening is that a corporation is using legal means to shut down a free software project in India for the first time, and the small project is left defenceless – even though it believes that it is right," Rajkumar said.

The decision to stop hosting PlayFair on Sarovar was not taken because the site believes it has infringed Apple's copyrights, but because it did not want to drag the purely voluntary sponsors of the site into a legal battle with Apple, Rajkumar said.

PlayFair takes a protected AAC audio file from the iTunes Music Store, decodes it using a key obtained from an iPod or a Microsoft Windows system and then writes the new, decoded version to disk as a regular AAC audio file, according to Rajkumar. "It then optionally copies the metadata tags that describe the song, including the cover art, to the new file," he said.

PlayFair is not music theft, according to Sarovar. The PlayFair tool does not give the user any special facilities that Apple itself has not given to the user.

"PlayFair requires a valid key from Apple to convert the format of music downloaded from iTunes," Rajkumar said. "PlayFair cannot convert downloaded songs' formats without authorized keys bought from Apple. PlayFair is also not a music distribution program. All PlayFair does is convert songs from one restricted format to another, less restricted format." PlayFair is also not a method for making illegal copies of iTunes songs, according to Rajkumar, who added that PlayFair alone cannot be used to copy music to CD, distribute on a peer-to-peer sharing network, play music or edit songs.

Although Apple is likely to take legal action against any other site hosting PlayFair, Babu is undaunted. "I have faith that we will prevail in this matter," Babu said. "The public will recognize that the PlayFair code is both lawful and appropriate and support us all the way."


'Apple Can Keep iPod Crown' – iRiver

iRiver, the first major media-player manufacturer to offer players that are compatible with MP3, WMA, ASF, WAV and OGG music file formats, is the company most likely to be able to take on Apple in the media-player space, but are looking to dominate elsewhere, according to a report.

But iRiver president Jonathan Sasse has no plans to take the crown from Apple. He told TechNewsWorld: "Apple can keep the iPod crown. The portable entertainment crown is still up for grabs, and we have our sights set squarely upon it."

Sasse says: "At this point, there are very few companies that have a product line that rivals iRiver. Without question, Apple has done a great job marketing their solution and the industry as a whole has benefited from that, but our strategy is entirely different.

"We aim to produce the best devices possible, in multiple categories, supporting multiple formats and services so our customers can always choose what is best for them."

"Our customers are looking for flexibility to choose the options that best suit their needs. By favouring the secure Windows Media format, it opens up the opportunity for competition in services, ultimately providing our customers with multiple libraries, service options, and payment structures to choose from."

Looking to the future

"We believe there are many different consumer needs that need to be met with the right product; as such, our product line has something for everyone, whereas other companies may take the approach of one product for everyone," said Sasse.

iRiver, like Gateway and Microsoft has plans to move into the living room with a Media Centre-type device. "As the Media Centre systems make their way into the living room, and out of the office, there are still devices that will be needed to keep that content mobile. The iRiver Portable Media Centre product launching in the second half of this year will begin that process. Home products of this kind are still very much in their infancy, but portable integration with these solutions is still a very important value add," he said.

Sasse makes the following prediction for ten-years-time: "I see two types of highly evolved entertainment devices. There will be a strong play for very small audio devices, perhaps which fit nicely in your ear, without the need for wires or cables, and possibly doubling as your cell phone earpiece when you aren't on the treadmill. Portable video will make gains with the display, either with visual glasses for personal use, or advanced display technologies enabling several people to enjoy a single portable device.

"I do believe the business and entertainment will remain mostly separated on specialized devices for each respective function. With cell phones picking up the PDA, Internet and commerce functions, and portable entertainment devices evolving the video, audio, and gaming experience."


Jobs Main Man, Says Ex-Disney Exec

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is the man to fix Disney, a former director of the animation company has said.

Stanley Gold said that "if I had a short list of people who could fix this company then Steve Jobs would be on it".

He added: "Disney is suffering from morale problems, and is the last choice for artists and other creative talent looking to partner on projects."

Although Gold admitted that Jobs' position as CEO of Apple and Pixar may conflict with a position at Disney, he confirmed "Jobs is qualified to take the reins".

This is not the first time it has been suggested that Jobs should run Disney. Last year The New York Post speculated that he could be a future Disney CEO following his public falling out with Disney CEO Michael Eisner.


Jobs 'Proud Of Being A**Hole' – Ex-Apple Hack

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is "proud of being an a**hole," according to Robert X Cringely, author of Accidental Empires.

Interviewed by the Sydney Morning Herald today, Cringely is outspoken about Jobs, Apple, Microsoft, and the tech industry.

The report adds: "Cringely was one of Apple's first employees way back in 1977. But he has no illusions about his own programming prowess; in Accidental Empires, he describes himself as being able to program poorly in four languages".

On his stint at Apple in 1977, he says: "In my early days at Apple back in 1977 the entire technical department with the exception of the switching power supply was Steve Wozniak. There was no room for another OS guy and I would never compete with Woz for, well, anything. Okay, I'm better looking, but that's all, and even that's just on a good hair day".

The interview ends: "I like to pull out a $20 note and point out that there is something about that note that bothers Bill Gates – that it is in my pocket. Microsoft really does want all the money and I'm not sure they won't get it".


Who Hacked the Voting System? The Teacher
John Schwartz

The fix was in, and it was devilishly hard to detect. Software within electronic voting machines had been corrupted with malicious code squirreled away in images on the touch screen. When activated with a specific series of voting choices, the rogue program would tip the results of a precinct toward a certain candidate. Then the program would disappear without a trace.

Luckily, the setting was not an election but a classroom exercise; the conspirators were students of Aviel D. Rubin, a professor at Johns Hopkins University. It might seem unusual to teach computer security through hacking, but a lot of what Professor Rubin does is unusual. He has become the face of a growing revolt against high-technology voting systems. His critiques have earned him a measure of fame, the enmity of the companies and their supporters among election officials, and laurels: in April, the Electronic Frontier Foundation gave him its Pioneer Award, one of the highest honors among the geekerati.

The push has had an effect on a maker of electronic voting machines, Diebold Inc., as well. California has banned the use of more than 14,000 electronic voting machines made by Diebold in the November election because of security and reliability concerns. Also, the company has warned that sales of election systems this year are slowing.

In April, the company said its first-quarter earnings rose 13 percent compared with the same quarter a year earlier. It also reported $29.2 million in revenue on nearly $500 million in sales in the latest period. But it lowered expectations for election systems sales for this year to a range of $80 million to $95 million from $100 million in sales a year earlier.

Professor Rubin took center stage in the national voting scene last July, when he published the first in-depth security analysis of Diebold's touch-screen voting software. The software had been pulled off an unprotected Diebold Internet site by Bev Harris, a publicist-turned-muckraker who posted the software and other documents she found as part of her campaign against what she calls "black box voting."

Professor Rubin and his colleagues at Hopkins and Rice University in Houston subjected the 49,000 lines of code to a deep review over a two-week period. Their report painted a grim picture: "Our analysis shows that this voting system is far below even the most minimal security standards applicable in other contexts," they wrote. "We conclude that, as a society, we must carefully consider the risks inherent in electronic voting, as it places our very democracy at risk."

That shot across the bow was met with outrage from the industry and from election officials who had spent tens of millions of dollars on Diebold machines. Mr. Rubin was denounced as irresponsible and uninformed.

"I think when he's talking about computers, he's very good and knows what he's doing," said Britain J. Williams, a professor emeritus of computer science at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, and a consultant on voting systems. "When he's talking about elections, he doesn't know what he's talking about."

Typically, Professor Rubin decided to confront the issue of whether he had experience with elections by taking part in one. During the March presidential primary, he signed up to become an election judge and found himself sitting all day at a precinct in a church at Lutherville, Md., helping voters use the same Diebold touch-screen machines that he had criticized so roundly. He then went home and wrote a full account and posted it to the Internet.

Over the day, he wrote, "I started realizing that some of the attacks described in our initial paper were actually quite unrealistic, at least in a precinct with judges who worked as hard as ours did and who were as vigilant. At the same time, I found that I had underestimated some of the threats before."

Ultimately, he said, "I continue to believe that the Diebold voting machines represent a huge threat to our democracy."

When asked to comment on Professor Rubin's work, the company issued a statement that did not mention him by name. "Our collective goal should always be to provide voters with the assurance that their vote is important, voting systems are accurate and their individual vote counts," the company said.

While the debate has largely been constructive, Diebold said: "A key consideration in this dialogue, though, should be that the debate be positive and productive. We must not frighten voters or inadvertently provide any type of disincentive to voting, because at that point the dialogue itself begins to disenfranchise voters - the very thing this beneficial discussion is trying to prevent."

Professor Rubin is not the first person to take on the risks of high-tech voting.

Since Professor Rubin's paper came out last year, other reports have broadened and deepened his conclusions.

But Professor Rubin is in a class by himself, said David Jefferson, a computer scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, who calls him "the most important figure in the United States in articulating the security problems with electronic and Internet voting."

The only damage Professor Rubin has sustained along the way is largely self-inflicted. Last August, he resigned from an unpaid technical advisory position for a voting company, VoteHere Inc., and turned in stock options that he had received but never redeemed.

Professor Rubin, 36, a child of two college professors, seems too soft-spoken to be a firebrand. But his quiet exterior conceals a deeply competitive streak: he has played soccer as a blood sport for most of his life, breaking both wrists and ankles repeatedly over the years. He still plays twice a week, he says, but now it is "a more social game, without slide tackles."

Born in Kansas, he grew up in Birmingham, Ala., Haifa, Israel, and Nashville, and got his computer science training at the University of Michigan, where he earned bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. degrees by 1994. In late 2002, he became the technical director of the Information Security Institute here at Hopkins.

Because of his passionate advocacy for his views, many people expect Professor Rubin to be something of a "smart aleck" in person, said Gerald Masson, the head of the institute. Instead, he said, "He comes across as someone who sincerely believes that what he's doing is right, and he has the technological depth to support it."


High-Tech Voting System Is Banned in California
John Schwartz

California has banned the use of more than 14,000 electronic voting machines made by Diebold Inc. in the November election because of security and reliability concerns, Kevin Shelley, the California secretary of state, announced yesterday. He also declared 28,000 other touch-screen voting machines in the state conditionally "decertified" until steps are taken to upgrade their security.

Mr. Shelley said that he was recommending that the state's attorney general look into possible civil and criminal charges against Diebold because of what he called "fraudulent actions by Diebold."

In an interview, Mr. Shelley said that "their performance, their behavior, is despicable," and that "if that's the kind of deceitful behavior they're going to engage in, they can't do business in California."

The move is the first decertification of touch-screen voting machines, which have appeared by the tens of thousands across the nation as states scramble to upgrade their election technology.

Opponents of the high-tech systems argue that the systems are less secure than what they replace, making it possible for the electoral process to be hacked.


California Toughens e-Voting Standards

California set tough new standards for electronic voting on Friday, barring a third of existing machines from November's ballot and ordering new security measures before thousands of others can be used.

California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley also called for a criminal investigation into the state's largest e-voting machine supplier, Diebold, a firm he called "reprehensible."

Democrat Shelley said that he would decertify Ohio-based Diebold's AccuVote-TSx Voting System, which accounts for a third of all of California's electronic voting machines following glitches in the March ballot.

"I'm asking the attorney general to pursue criminal and civil actions against Diebold in this matter, based on finding of fraudulent action," he said.

"They broke the law," Shelley continued. "Their conduct was absolutely reprehensible."

Shelley said he nearly acted to bar all electronic voting machines, but then said he would give all but four counties the chance to use them if they can provide a paper receipt and fulfill other conditions.

Critics expressed disappointment, saying the move did not go far enough.


State Allows E-Vote for November
Kim Zetter

A panel of state election officials recommended on Wednesday to give all voters the option of voting on paper ballots instead of paperless electronic touch-screen voting machines in the November presidential election.

While officials didn't recommend that the state decertify all touch-screen equipment, as some voting activists had hoped, they called on the California secretary of state to forbid purchases of any new types of e-voting equipment before the November election. And they want touch-screen machines already in place to be used only under the condition that voting companies and counties comply with several security procedures.

After hearing from dozens of voting activists, vendor representatives and county election officials pleading the pros and cons of touch- screen voting, the Voting Systems and Procedures Panel made its recommendations, which will go to California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley, who has until Friday to change or approve them.

Shelley is expected to participate in a conference call with election officials on Thursday before making his decision.

The panel's recommendations called for all vendors to submit source code to the state before the November election so that the code can be placed in escrow. The state can then examine the code if questions about an election arise. One panel member said he would push to have the state get permission to examine the code for all voting systems.

The state also will prohibit vendors from making last-minute changes to their systems, unless the secretary of state deems the changes vital. Vendors would have to pay a penalty for every change made after an as-yet- undetermined deadline.

This requirement came about because of problems in the March election when Diebold Election Systems made last-minute, untested changes to a device used with its AccuVote-TS and TSx voting machines. As a result of glitches, hundreds of polling places failed to open on time, disenfranchising voters who couldn't cast ballots.

In addition to the vendor requirements, counties will not be able to purchase any new types of voting equipment before November, unless the machines can produce a voter-verified paper audit trail.


For Sony, a Brief Respite in Its Recent Struggles
Laura M. Holson

Here is a number to make any investor think twice about the entertainment business: For the first time in as long as Sir Howard Stringer can remember, the Sony Corporation of America's film division has produced five profitable movies in a row.

"We couldn't find a time that was ever true," Sir Howard, the chief executive, said in an interview last week.

What is more, Sony Music Entertainment, which as it awaits approval of its merger with BMG is sharply reducing costs, has finally turned a profit of $175 million in the corporate year that ended March 31, after losing hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years.

"Fiscal prudence is a polite way of saying fiscal responsibility," Sir Howard said of Sony's music and film operations, where top executives have been replaced in the last two years.

But while Sony's entertainment divisions seem to be recovering from years of bloated spending, the company still faces several challenges. And, it is too soon to know if the burgeoning turnaround is a harbinger of things to come or a brief respite in an otherwise tumultuous industry.

No one knows, for example, if Sony executives will ultimately embrace the former Time Warner executive, Michael Lynton, the new chairman and chief executive of Sony Pictures Entertainment, as he seeks even more cost savings and tries to bring stability to a studio once known among many in Hollywood as a study in dysfunction. Executives there have often worked at odds with each other, and Mr. Lynton is charged with improving communication between them. Sony too has as much riding on lower-priced fare like this year's "Little Black Book" from Revolution Studios as it does on the sequel to "Spider-Man."

In the music arena, it is unclear which company will emerge as the dominant force in the merger proposed last year between BMG and Sony. Some people in the business suggest it may more aptly be named BMG Sony rather than Sony BMG as it was when the merger was announced. These days, BMG, a division of the entertainment giant Bertelsmann, is outperforming Sony with successful acts like Usher and Outkast.

Sony, unlike other entertainment companies, said Richard Greenfield, a media analyst at Fulcrum Global Partners, is not driven by the vagaries of the advertising market because it does not own a network. Instead, he said, Sony, whose corporate parent is based in Japan, "needs to grow its content business."

Operating profit at Sony's movie division fell 40 percent for the fiscal year ended March 31, to $320.5 million, or 35.2 billion yen, from the previous year's 59 billion yen, but that is compared against a year in which the blockbuster "Spider-Man" was released. Indeed, there have been recent improvements in the division's profitability attributable to cost cutting put in place even before Mr. Lynton arrived.

"We've certainly gotten tougher on our deals and tougher on everybody," said Amy Pascal, a vice chairwoman at Sony Pictures Entertainment who oversees film production. "It works out better that way."

Sony had been criticized in Hollywood for paying actors and producers too much to get sequels made and spending gobs of money on marketing, including last summer's "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle." Now Ms. Pascal said the studio was limiting profit participation for actors, producers and others to about 25 percent of a movie's box- office revenue. Other studios pay participants as much as 35 percent to 40 percent.

At Revolution Studios, whose movies are distributed by Sony and was responsible for box-office bombs last year like "Hollywood Homicide" "The Missing" and the much- maligned "Gigli," executives there are also holding down costs. "We embarked on a slate last year of less expensive movies and the first two have performed nicely for us," said Rob Moore, an executive at Revolution. Those two movies, "Hellboy" and "13 Going on 30," have done well at the box office, compared to earlier misses that cost twice as much.

Mr. Moore said Revolution was rethinking pricey premieres: the Los Angeles after-party for "13 Going on 30" was held at a nearby restaurant. By contrast, the premiere for "Mona Lisa Smile" starring Julia Roberts was held at the Plaza Hotel in New York last year with 800 attendees dancing to a swing band.

Sony's recently improved performance, with hits like "Something's Gotta Give," "50 First Dates" and "Secret Window" among the string of profitable movies, comes after a year of management turmoil.

Last year John Calley, who preceded Mr. Lynton and was hired by Sir Howard to oversee the filmed entertainment operations far from Sony's headquarters in Manhattan, spent more time at his home in Canada and less at Sony. He was the public face of the studio but at times refused to explain financial performance, feigning ignorance. When asked by a reporter in an interview about the profitability of "Men in Black II," he changed the topic to whether women liked to shave their legs. Last August, the studio announced that he was leaving and, later, a troika took his place: Ms. Pascal, Jeff Blake, who oversees worldwide movie marketing, and Yair Landau, who runs Sony's digital and television operations.

But that arrangement sometimes got out of hand. In a meeting last year in Japan with Sony's top executives, Mr. Landau yelled at Sir Howard during a discussion about his division. According to Sir Howard, Mr. Landau misinterpreted the discussion in its translation from Japanese to English, believing that Sony executives were criticizing his performance. "The Japanese were shocked at the response," Sir Howard said.

Mr. Landau attributed the incident to work pressure. "It was a big restructuring year in Tokyo, and we were working through a lot of stuff," he said. "They were under pressures, and we were under a lot of pressure."

The outburst only fueled Sir Howard's desire to hire Mr. Lynton in December to oversee the Culver City, Calif., operations. Mr. Lynton, the former head of AOL Europe and chief executive of the book publisher Penguin Group, is still an unknown in Hollywood. One of his first tasks was to make each of the divisions accountable for a movie's success, as the film division would blame a movie's failure on poor marketing while the marketing department would complain the film division did not make better movies.

"All of the divisions working together hadn't been done before," he said.

Sony has a lot riding on the June release of the "Spider-Man" sequel. It cost $200 million to produce and will surely cost a minimum of $50 million to market. Sir Howard said he was not worried about the project given that the first "Spider-Man" pulled in $800 million worldwide.

Indeed, there are other issues to ponder. Many analysts are focused on whether a Sony-led consortium acquires MGM for about $5 billion. While the acquisition would give Sony access to some 4,000 movies in MGM's library, some analysts question the $5 billion price tag even though much of the money would be put up by Sony's partners. A person involved in those talks said Sony's corporate parent could balk if they have to pay much of anything at all.

"If MGM gets $5 billion, I think we have rethinking to do on the valuation of all these media companies," said Michael Gallant, a media analyst at CIBC who thinks MGM is worth $3.5 billion to $4 billion.

Sir Howard declined to discuss any talks.

Last year, Sony Music Entertainment rebounded, posting a $173 million gain, or 19 billion yen, in contrast to the 7.9 billion yen loss it experienced the previous year. Much of that was attributed to a restructuring in which almost 3,500 jobs have been cut, a move overseen by Andrew Lack, who succeeded Thomas D. Mottola when he was ousted two years ago.

According to one music manager, Mr. Lack has taken a hard line with artists, unwilling to renegotiate contracts - a common practice during Mr. Mottola's era. But, what has most people buzzing is what Sony Music will look like once it merges with BMG, a deal announced last year that has yet to be approved by regulators. Only the top four executives have been named in the proposed company, including Mr. Lack as chief executive and Rolf Schmidt-Holtz from BMG as chairman.

According to a BMG music executive, once a merger is completed it will be midlevel record executives who will be vying for prized spots. (Both Mr. Lack and BMG executives declined interviews.) When the deal was first announced, many people in the music business believed that Sony would dominate the culture. But BMG has overshadowed Sony with artists like Avril Lavigne, Pink and Usher, despite Sony's stable with Beyoncé and John Mayer.

In 2003, BMG's share of the domestic market for both catalog and current hits based on units sold was 15.46 percent, greater than Sony's 13.71. But, it was for current albums released that BMG excelled, tallying 18.39 percent. Sony's share, by contrast, was 12.53 percent. This year, so far, it is more of the same. BMG has 20.23 percent domestic market share for current albums while Sony has 12.4 percent.

But that is of little concern to Sir Howard, as any restructuring takes time. "You aren't going to reverse the past overnight," he said.


Sony Announces New Effort To Clear Out MiniDisc Warehouses

Apple's continued dominance of the digital music market is looking less and less likely, never more so than today. Sony launched its Sony Connect music service in the States this morning, the first real challenger to Apple's iTunes Music Store. Like ITMS, Sony Connect offers an impressive catalog of music, some 500,000 songs from a variety of major and independent labels. And like ITMS, those songs will play only on its proprietary line of portable music players. But unlike ITMS, Sony Connect arrives at market with vast potential audience: About 2.5 million U.S. consumers own Connect-compatible devices, and Sony expects to sell 4.5 million more by the end of the year. That's 4.5 million people who probably won't buy iPods, and by extension probably won't purchase music from ITMS either. And that could make the digital music market tougher, if only slightly, for Apple. "[Sony is] a force to be reckoned with," said Mike McGuire, a researcher at GartnerG2. "How they execute, just like everybody else, is the thing."


From Sony, the Hits and Misses
David Pogue

Stuart Goldenberg

WOO-WOO! Clang, clang! All aboard!

Yes, kids, the train is leaving the station. It's the Online $1-a-Song Music Express, and your company had better be on it. Apple, Napster, Musicmatch, MusicNow, BuyMusic, RealNetworks, Dell, Microsoft and even Wal-Mart have either seats or reservations. You wouldn't want to be left behind.

That, apparently, was the thinking behind Sony Connect, the new online music service that opened for business on Tuesday. It's an easy-to-use but, in its debut version, almost embarrassingly crude imitation of the music services that preceded it.

The twist: You know how the iPod is the only portable player compatible with Apple's popular iTunes music service? In the same way, songs from Sony Connect play back only on certain Sony music players (so-called Atrac-compatible Memory Stick-based players and MiniDisc players). Sony says 2.5 million such Sony players have been sold in the United States, and predicts even greater popularity for its new Hi-MD minidisc players: at the lowest music quality, they hold up to 45 hours of music per $7 disc. For the owners of all these Sony players, to be sure, a crude copycat service is better than no service at all.

But Sony Connect makes the rules of the online music game more confusing. Music fans already had to contend with two incompatible music copy-protection formats: Apple's AAC files (compatible only with iPods) and Microsoft's WMA format (used by Napster, Musicmatch, Wal-Mart and others). Sony's music service employs yet another format, called Atrac. Predictably, Atrac files don't play on any of the three million iPods or the four million WMA-compatible players in use. Unless you have a Sony player, Atrac may as well be 8-track.

(Officially, by the way, Sony wishes to distance itself from the notion that its songs-and-hardware formula was inspired by Apple's wildly successful iTunes-iPod model. Sony points out that whereas Apple doesn't share its AAC format with anyone, Atrac is available for licensing by other music-player makers. So far in the United States, though, there have been no takers.)

If you've used one of the existing song-downloading services, you'll be right at home with Sony Connect. A program called Sony SonicStage (for Windows 98 and later, free from www.connect.com) serves as a digital jukebox. It lets you organize your computer's collection of music files into playlists and burn them onto audio CD's in any order.

SonicStage is also the gateway to the music service, a searchable online database of songs whose electronic rights have been made available. Like its rivals', the Sony collection of 500,000 songs is heavily slanted toward commercial pop, with a few classical, comedy and soundtrack albums thrown in for seasoning. (The Beatles, Madonna, Led Zeppelin and other reluctant rights-givers are conspicuously absent.)

You can listen to a 30-second sample of a song, download a song for $1 or download an entire album for $10. At that point, you can burn your music onto CD's, transfer them to Sony portable players or copy them onto a couple of other Windows computers. They're copy-protected so generously that only dedicated eye-patched music pirates would object.

Apple is sometimes accused of worshiping at the altar of cool design at the expense of practicality, but Sony Connect takes that concept to a ridiculous extreme. The best thing you can say about SonicStage is that it's certainly not cluttered. The problem is that it's practically empty. The list of songs huddles in a small square area, floating in a vast ocean of light gray screen margin. Expect to do a lot of scrolling.

And a lot of cursing. The "live" area inside Sony's enormous waste of pixels is much too small for the software's seven columns of information (title, artist, album and so on). As a result, many song or album names are chopped off, abbreviated by ellipses. Search for "Britney Spears,'' and you find a song called "Me Against the " (Wind? Establishment? Grammarian?). A jazz album is called "Louis Armstrong and " (Friends? Company? His All-Zither Band?). Billy Joel offers "Scenes From an " (Anthill? Antiwar Demonstration? -noying Software Designers?).

Now, in most jukebox software - like Apple's, Napster's or Musicmatch's - you would simply adjust the column widths or hide the columns you don't need. But the columns in SonicStage are fixed in width, and you can't hide or rearrange them. And don't think you can outsmart Sony by buying a bigger monitor, either; as the screen gets larger, only SonicStage's gray margins expand, not the live area.

Otherwise, Sony Connect is almost exactly like its predecessors - but less. Most songs are $1, but Sony arbitrarily doubles the price of any song longer than seven minutes. (Billy Joel's "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant" on Musicmatch.com or iTunes costs $1. On Sony Connect: $2.) This tactic makes no logical sense - since when is a song's value determined by its length? - and therefore smacks of simple greed.

Similarly, most music services let you burn a certain playlist of songs onto 10 CD's. Sony Connect advertises the same feature - but the fine print reveals that you can burn only five standard audio CD's. The other five must be Atrac CD's, a kind of disc that holds many more songs but plays back only on 11 models of Sony CD players. (In other words, you can't play an Atrac CD in your car, which is a chief reason for burning a CD in the first place.)

Note, too, that SonicStage can't rip audio CD's (that is, copy their songs onto your hard drive) into the most popular music format, MP3, as Musicmatch and iTunes can. Sony says that thwarting song piracy was its aim, but why should you, the honest music lover, suffer as a result?

Software annoyances are everywhere. When you search, for example, no progress bar tells how much longer you have to wait, so you conclude that the software hasn't responded and pointlessly click again. The scroll wheel on your mouse doesn't work in the list area until you click there first, either.

But above all, Sony Connect lacks the lively community elements that make its rivals so much fun: discussion boards, album articles, Internet radio stations, Billboard charts, gift certificates, monthly allowances, audio books, free weekly song downloads, music videos, movie trailers, customer playlist sharing and so on. The only shopping guidance you get are a Staff Picks list, a Celebrity Mixtapes list and - for some albums - one-sentence reviewer quotes. The whole thing feels put together by accountants, not music lovers.

To be fair, although the newborn Sony Connect is as barren as a parking lot in Antarctica, it's not entirely idea-free. A few tendrils of fresh thinking are visible through the six-foot snowbanks of commercialism. You can, for example, specify which musical genre you want to use as your "home page." And if you want to play the songs you have purchased on a second or third computer, you don't have to copy them manually from the first machine; you can download them again directly from Sony Connect without cost, which is handy if you and that second PC happen to be 3,000 miles from home.

Sony also says it will soon allow payment for songs using unique currencies, like United Airlines frequent-flier miles. A deal with McDonald's is in the works, too, although the companies haven't announced what the unique currency will be. (Big Mac wrappers? Used ketchup packets?)

Clearly, many of Sony Connect's problems have to do with the inefficiency and inconsistency of its software; the rest have to do with the sparseness of its feature offerings. Both could therefore be fixed with a little more time, a little more effort and a little less greed. Fortunately, Sony acknowledges the problems and the featurelessness - particularly the software's inflexible, space-wasting design - and promises that an overhauled version will appear by summer's end. Individual service features like music videos will appear even sooner.

But in its first incarnation, you'd never guess that this service comes from a company that's both the world's most recognized consumer-electronics brand and the owner of one of the world's biggest record companies. For the time being, maybe they ought to call it Sony Disconnect.


Playing Old Records (No Needle Required)
Anne Eisenberg

THE traditional way to preserve old sound recordings is to play them, typically with a stylus, and then convert the sound into a file that can be stored digitally. But two physicists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California have developed a new way to preserve the contents of old discs and wax cylinders: they take pictures of the groove instead of dropping a needle into it.

The team shoots thousands of precise sequential images of the groove and then stitches the images together, measuring the shape of each undulation and calculating the route a stylus would take along the path.

"We grab the image and let the computer model what the stylus would have done if it had run through the surface," said Carl Haber, a senior scientist at the lab who led the research team in collaboration with Vitaliy Fadeyev, a postdoctoral researcher there.

The new method may be particularly important for recovering the contents of recordings that are too fragile or too damaged to be played in traditional ways. It can work on disks or cylinders that have been scratched, cracked or even shattered.

"The real excitement for me is that the method has the potential to rescue recordings," said Daniel P. Sbardella, a sound engineer at the Rodgers and Hammerstein archives of recorded sound of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. A recording could even be scanned in bits and pieces, Mr. Sbardella said, and then converted to audio files that can be edited to reconstruct the whole recording.

"The mission of a sound archive is to preserve as much sound as possible," he said, "so even if that means rescuing a few seconds that are one of a kind, it's really worthwhile."

The Library of Congress is financing research in the new method, now in the early stage of development. The library holds some of the earliest sound recordings, including many wax cylinders, said Mark S. Roosa, the director for preservation at the library. The cylinders were made of inexpensive materials and have not held up well, he said. Some of the cylinders and early Edison discs are cracked or in pieces.

"This method is going to have far-reaching impact on sound archives," he said.

Mr. Roosa predicts that the technology will one day make a dent in the enormous preservation tasks that libraries face. "We have thousands and thousands of cylinders and hundreds of thousands of discs, and we are just one library," he said.

The method involves no contact with the recording surface. After the camera does its work, image-processing algorithms take over, detecting scratches or spots of dust and deleting them. Then software simulates the stylus motion, and the results are converted to a digital sound format.

"The advantage of the method is that it is completely noncontact," extracting information from the groove by mapping the surface, Dr. Haber said. "You take these pictures and it's purely a software issue of how the recording is processed after that," he said.

Both Dr. Haber and Dr. Fadeyev came to music preservation accidentally: they are particle physicists, not music archivists. But at work they routinely use precision optical techniques to align arrays of particle-tracing detectors.

One day a few years ago, a radio program that caught their attention prompted them to consider a new application. "We heard a show on National Public Radio on the problems of preserving delicate recordings of the past," Dr. Haber said. He wondered whether the precision methods the group used for particle detectors might be of use. "Why not just measure the shape of the grooves on the surface?" Dr. Haber said, and then pose the question to a software program: what would a needle do?

The physicists began with old 78 r.p.m. discs, on which grooves run laterally, undulating in the plane of the record parallel to its surface. "So from the top down, you can see the groove profile," Dr. Haber said.

The team used a commercially available electronic camera and zoom microscope to acquire images of the grooves. But it was a slow process. It took 40 minutes to scan one second of audio, primarily because the optical tools were not optimized for the task. "It will run much faster when people use a machine built solely for scanning records," Dr. Haber said.

The reconstruction of a snippet of a 1950 recording of the folk song "Goodnight Irene" by the Weavers and Marion Anderson's 1947 rendering of "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen," both released on shellac discs, can be heard at www-cdf.lbl.gov/~av. For comparison, the same music can be heard there drawn from a commercial CD remastered from the original studio tape, as well as in a playback by stylus of the original shellac disc.

Recently the team reconstructed music stored on a 1909 wax cylinder. In cylinders the information is stored vertically, perpendicular to the surface. "You can't tell height when looking at it from above," Dr. Haber said, so the two-dimensional techniques used with discs would not work. Instead, the group used a scanning microscope able to measure the height for any given point on the surface of the groove.

The three-dimensional method is even slower than the two-dimensional one, and much work lies ahead to develop special machines configured to match the requirements of record scanning.

But Dr. Haber is confident that such machines will emerge, partly in response to demands for precision measurement in many fields. "We just wanted to prove in principle that optical methods could do this job," he said.


Repeat after me: “Copying is not theft.” OK, now say amen brother.

Even Christian Music Is Subject To Digital Piracy
Susan Hogan

DALLAS - Christian teens are stealing Jesus music.

They're doing it through Internet downloads and CD burnings at nearly the same rate as secular music is being pirated by non-Christians, according to a new study done for the Gospel Music Association.

The findings were a jolt to many in the evangelical music industry, who expected churchgoing teens to be mindful of the commandment, "Thou shalt not steal."

"I'm surprised and disappointed that the behavior isn't that ardently different between Christians and non-Christians," said John Styll, president of the Gospel Music Association, the leading trade group for evangelical music.

But not everybody thinks the pirating is a bad thing. After all, some church leaders say, isn't getting the Gospel out more important than getting paid? How can it be wrong if it saves souls?

"That's convoluted logic," said Barry Landis, president of Word Records, a major Christian label. "You would never steal Bibles to give them away. You shouldn't steal Christian music to give away either."

Last year, sales of Christian albums fell by 5.2 percent, to just over 47 million. The major labels cut their work force by 10 percent, Styll said. He blames the economy, downloads and CD burnings.

Even with the dip in sales, Christian music is big business. Last year, its artists sold 68 CDs for every 100 in country music. The $800 million in sales topped that of classical music and jazz combined - and at least as much money was generated in merchandise and concert tickets, Styll said.

Musicians say the piracy issue is particularly thorny for them to broach. Many fear being seen as greedy. The heavy metal band Metallica faced a backlash when it sued Napster, once the most popular file-sharing software system.

"We can't be like Christina Aguilera and get all attitudy," said Jaci Velasquez, a platinum-selling singer originally from Texas. "We're supposed to be like Christ and turn the other cheek."

Like their secular counterparts, Christian music executives say digital music theft is hurting sales. But they've kept a low profile in the war being waged by the Recording Industry Association of America against piracy - a battle that includes more than 1,000 suits against illegal downloaders. (The music industry said sales have improved in the first quarter of this year, in part because of its suits.)

Mainstream music sees piracy as purely a legal issue, Styll said. The Christian industry frames the issue differently, even though its major labels are owned by mainstream companies.

"We take it further and say it's a moral issue," he said. "But we're not going to sue people. It just doesn't seem right. And nobody really has the will to do it."

The industry is grappling with how to discourage piracy.

"It's going to take an enormous educational effort," said Landis of Word Records. "Maybe we've missed this generation. We all know they shouldn't take the music. We all know they do. How do you put toothpaste back in the tube?"

Warning labels about copyright laws - part of a "do unto others" strategy - have begun appearing on some Christian CDs. But research shows the task of changing minds, much less hearts, is Herculean.

Many Christian teens simply don't think they're stealing.

Scott Ferguson, a junior at Fort Worth (Texas) Christian Academy, said he has never burned a CD but has received them as birthday gifts. He considers burning CDs morally wrong, but he said many of his buddies don't.

"If a CD comes out and you like a couple of songs, they'll burn it for you," he said. "It's what friends kind of do for one another. It doesn't take long, and it's easy. That's how they look at it."

Others say they do it for religious reasons.

"A lot of students think it's, like, a cheap way to witness to the Gospel," said Scott Flagg, 22, who belongs to the Christian fraternity Beta Upsilon Chi at the University of North Texas. "They go out and buy a CD, then burn several copies to give away."

Youth minister Scott Burks said he regularly confronts youths at Pantego Bible Church in Fort Worth, Texas, about the issue. But they have a hard time understanding how they could be stealing when the music is readily available on the Internet.

"They'll literally say, 'Really? Come on.'" he said. "They're surprised. But when I'm able to help them understand the truth behind it, a student is typically remorseful."

Christian pollster George Barna recently completed a study on teens and piracy for the Gospel Music Association. The study hasn't been made public, but key findings were shared by Styll with the Dallas Morning News.

He said the most alarming results showed that only 10 percent of Christian teens considered music piracy to be morally wrong. Of those, 64 percent have engaged in downloading or CD burning anyway - virtually the same percentage as non-Christians.

"A lot of these people don't see it as any more wrong than speeding," he said. "I would say to you that speeding is wrong. But I would also admit that I have probably violated that law today."


FastTrackMovies – Back In Action

From an email

We are proud to announce the return of our site at http://sharethefiles.com/ !

You are receiving this e-mail because at one point in the last 2 years you have registered a username with us. I must begin by apologising for this e-mail if you already know of our return or you have recently become a new member at our new site ShareTheFiles.com.

It may have been a long time since you have heard from us. A lot has happened since we were shut down by the MPAA. The paragraphs below will give you an insight into what has happened, and inform you of our plans for the future...

FastTrackMovies was shut down back in August 2003 and we have been busy revamping it for the last half a year.

It all started when the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America), which represents the big movie companies such as Universal, sent an e-mail to our Hosting Company saying that we were offering copyrighted files and that the site should be shut down. This was, of course, completely false. We have never hosted files on our server and have always clamped down on any direct web links to files (and at any rate we would not be able to handle the bandwidth that this would generate if we did host the actual files). In turn, our Hosting provider shut down the site, opting to side with the MPAA rather than investigate themselves whether or not we were breaking any rules.

When we challenged what they alleged, the MPAA basically agreed that we didn't host files but instead said that what we were providing was unlawful by nature due to the USA's DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998), which contradicts our civil rights and the basics of democracy in the civil rights system. Using the powers vested to them with that act, the MPAA could keep us shut down until we proved that we were not guilty. Basically guilty until proven innocent; if the glove doesn't fit, we'll make it fit. They didn't need hard facts to do it; by just saying that we were guilty it was enough to keep us shut down. Of course we wanted to prove that we were not guilty of breaking any laws, but we didn't have $20,000 lying around to fight a multi-million dollar organisation. So we chose the only option we could -- we took the last backup we did of our website (thankfully 3 days before we were shut down) and moved the site outside the borders of the US.

As many of you already know, the previous owner of the site passed the site and old domain over to `·. ZiN `·.. In order to keep the site up legally, `·. ZiN `·. got a pretty substantial loan in order to buy Windows Server 2003 Enterprise and Microsoft SQL Server 2000. This means that (with monthly server costs and excluding the amount of money he paid for the actual server) he is paying about $800 a month just to keep the site up and running. Keep in mind he is not even getting close to half that in donations, so every little bit helps. At any rate our resident web designer H2O then got his hands on the code for the site and as they say, the rest is history. Without him this site, as you see it, would not have happened!

A big thank you also to EclipseGSX, TheFaimousOne and Stoepsel who helped with quite a bit of the coding, as well as Nikeus for running the backup forum for us all this time! I would also like to thank all other staff which put a lot of their time into this website. You know who you are...

So FastTrackMovies is now ShareTheFiles -- we've gone beyond the world of just FastTrack and now cater for the popular ed2k network and even offer magnet links (which should soon become a standard for Kazaa). Shortly down the road you can expect some major integrations with the BitTorrent network as well..

The new features that we have added that you could have access to are...

1) FastTrack Sources on a film - This allows you to see the average amount of sources you can expect for a film on any supernode around the world before even clicking on the Sig2Dat or Magnet link. Coming soon: ed2k.

2) Detailed Film Information - Not just the name, we're talking bitrates, resolutions, source of rip (i.e. DVD rip, TS, TC, etc.), Release Group, NFO and imdb links, voting from members and staff, and more. This is by far the most complete database available anywhere on the Web. 3) Increased Forum diversity - Again like the site the forum now caters for so much more - check it out - http://www.ShareTheFiles.org

Theres not much more to add to this EMail, the rest is available in the forums and on the site, the URLs again are:

http://ShareTheFiles.com - Main Site
http://www.ShareTheFiles.org - Forum

We look forward to having your support with our new ventures. Help bring P2P back to where it belongs!

Remember: Share Knowledge, Share Thoughts and ShareTheFiles!

BuzzB2K, EclipseGSX, H2O, Nikeus, TheFaimousOne & `·. ZiN `·. - ShareTheFiles.com Administration


Editors note: The link to this article was sent to me on Wednesday via Waste, yet another in a long line of reasons why everyone should jump on this program. Although Bayley’s piece was published over 20 years old it is as relevant today as it was when first written, I’d argue even more so today, and that makes it amazingly prescient for it’s time. If only it had gotten more attention before the DMCA was passed ten years later. Thanks to multi for passing it along. It ends this week’s edition. - Jack.

Who Owns The Nöosphere
Barrington Bayley

From what cause I will not bother to go into, I regularly receive batches of Irish newspapers. These often - nearly always, in fact - have an unintentionally comic aspect and should be required reading for those among us who imagine the Irish joke an English invention. Slightly bizarre, from the English point of view, is the religious content, which these days - even Ireland having now failed to hold back the tide of prurience - is sometimes forced to exist jowl by cheek (in that order) with full-colour photos of naked girls.

One such religious columnist is Friar D'Arcy, who recently devoted his page to a sermon on the practise of taping pop music from the radio instead of going out and buying the record.

The practise, the good friar warned his readers, breaks the eight commandment. It is definitely theft. It robs artists and record companies of their earnings and creates unemployment.

It would be evil to speculate on what friends or acquintanses Friar D'Arcy might have in the popular music industry. We all know that the private and also the pirated taping of music and now video has been of concern to copyright holders for some time, so much that music companies have tried to persuade the government to put a tax on blank tapes, the revenue to be turned over directly to them as compensation for their losses. They also play the ethical card. Why not? Patriotism may be the last refuge of the scoundrel; what is certain is that the ethical plea has been the first resort of every scoundrel great and small.

A broadly similar piece of villainy, one that does not even have copyright law to back it, has succeeded on the part of a guild of British writers, who have persuaded parliament to introduce what is called Public Lending Right. The argument goes like this: authors are being robbed because public libraries buy books and then lend them to lots of people to read. A book should only be read by the person who buys it (this isn't stated nearly as badly, of course). Therefore authors should be compensated... it is unfortunate for the music companies that so few MPs are pop singers. The fact is that this sort of thing is an old, old, old story. Adam Smith wrote about it in Wealth of Nations: "Rarely do people of the same occupation gather together, even if only for merriment, that it does not end in some plot to defraud the public." Mostly these schemes must either ignore, in their greed, or else try to circumvent, one of the most tested laws of exchange economics: that the more a thing costs the less of it will be bought. Since this law will not be broken, the conspiracies are apt to come a cropper.

In the present case, the circumvention takes the form of having the paymaster a goverment department, not the public libraries themselves. We shall now see how long that lasts.

The reason why I mention all this is that Friar D'Arcy's intimations of sin got me thinking about that peculiar convention of modern civilisation: legal ownership of intangibles. Until a couple of hundred years or so ago (I'm poor with dates) there was no such thing. Ownership meant ownership of something having mass and substance. An author owned a literary work of his, for instance, only while he had possession of the manuscript! Once the publisher had issued it, any other publisher was at liberty to copy it and issue his own edition, so that if a book proved popular rival editions were apt to hit the street with alacrity. Until, that is, certain parties found a way to protect their expectations of profit, again with the help of friends in the parliament.

When you think about it, and leaving 'ethics' aside for the moment, legal claim to intangibles is a pretty odd thing. It is rather as if I thought up a particularly good joke and told it to you. Later on I came across you telling the same joke to a third party. "Stop!" I thunder. "That is my joke you are telling! You will hear from my solicitor in the morning."

Or imagine that I once wrote and had published a story all copies of which have since perished. I can't even remember it myself properly. The only true record that exists is in the mind of a deluded science fiction reader who thought it a fabulous story and memorised it word for word.

In law, I own what is in his head. If he wants to set it down on paper, he may not publish copies of it without my permission.

What, then, is the ethics of copyright? That's what I've been trying to explain: there isn't any, it's only a convention. And I haven't much doubt that it is a doomed convention.

To go back to Friar D'Arcy's musical tapes, why is it that the law of copyright has held pretty well for literature for centuries, but is already crumbling for recorded music? It is simply because copying a book, by whatever method, is still an expensive procedure. But attempting to maintain sound copyright in a world of ubiquituous cassette recorders flies straight in the fact of the fundamental law of exchange economics.

This law may be expressed as follows: whatever I pay you to provide me with a good or service must have less value to me that the effort of providing it for myself.

If I have worked all day to earn £20, and we are sitting at table together, it is unlikely I would accede to your demand for my £20 if you are to pass me the salt, when it lies only a few inches beyond my reach. (I say 'unlikely' in deference to the calculus of probabilities. In my case the probability is not vanishingly small; it is classically zero.)

Makers of music tapes are said to be seeking a way of putting a signal on the tapes that makes them uncopyable. I have not heard that they have succeeded, and if they do a countering filter will not be long in coming. Producers of software for home computers, which at present is also on tape cassette, face the same problem. Some of the mushrooming software businesses use various tricks, such as disabling the Break key, arranging for the program to wipe itself out if Save is entered, etc., to prevent their programs being saved from RAM. There is a tape on sale in the USA which tells you how to get round these measures. Other firms don' t bother, and indeed it is quite futile if they buyer has some decent recording equipment; he can just copy the tape.

So in these spheres ownership of intangible 'creative work' is already unenforceable, whatever the law says, and will likely die the death. After all, why is it that you can patent an invention but not a philosophical idea or the discover of a physical law? Just as much mental labour might be involved, and just as much originality. The answer is simply, how would you enforce it?

On the premise that graphic reproduction will eventually go the way of sound reproduction, i.e. it will become easy and cheap and available to all, the same is due to happen to literary copyright.

It's a-coming, boys! You'd better get used to it!

Good heavens! Does this mean writers won't make anything out of what they write? Then there won' t be any writers ! After all, a neighbourhood friend insists on informing me that I only became a writer with the intention of writing a 'best-seller' and becoming a millionaire. (If a person like myself mixes with the common folk he discovers a curious fable. Painters are all penniless, struggling bohemians. But writers are all wealthy, suave men-about-town, living 'the hoi loife'. People get confused on having me pointed out. I am not a person to whom one automatically touches one's forelock. But I should be. Something is wrong.)

It's useless to argue. "You are absolutely right, sir!" I sententiously tell my friend, and quoting Dr Johnson, "No one but a fool ever wrote, except for money!" And donning my clown's nose, I blow soap bubbles at him.

Yes, there is always going to be a living for writers. The consequence of the above is that a book, whether incarnated in ink and paper, laser disk, silicon, gallium arsenide, memory bubbles, or War and Peace encoded in DNA, will cost more than the blank on which it is inscribed, but not so much more that it would be worth your while to borrow a copy and duplicate it. Whatever deal authors and publishers make with one another will have to take cognisance of that. I expect authors will still be able to demand royalties. Whether an author will be able to become stinking rich, as a few now can, I don't know. What does it matter? It isn't necessary to the continuance of civilisation: for writers and pop singers to be paid like film stars, or for the film stars to be paid like film stars.

(Of course, I am over-simplifying. There can be other considerations that make people willing to pay more for a bought copy - better quality, the desire for an original edition. etc. Then again, some people think the 'incarnation' substance will disappear from the market place altogether, and you'll pay a small sum to have a book piped into your files as data down the telephone. Well, maybe.)

For the products of literary effort to become public property the moment it is open to view might seam a little weird; but only if one is in a culture bind. New technology - the printing press - led to the devising of copyright, and newer technology is going to eradicate it. As it is I have heard that the communist world disallows copyright on principle; and the communists are right, because in the long term intangible wealth is wealth released into the nöosphere, available 'to each according to his need', put there 'from each according to his ability' - controlling it is like trying to control air (remember Ron Hubbard's The Great Air Monopoly?).

The only way to keep private possession of it is to keep it secret. And that, in the philosophical sphere, is just what used to happen long ago. Societies such as the Pythagorean Society, and probably others we've never even heard of, were repositories of knowledge and ideas that were kept under tight security for centuries. That we know as much of Pythagorean doctrine as we do is chiefly thanks to a certain Philolaus, who so the story goes published an account of it because he needed money (it is believed to have become the source book of Plato's The Timaeus).

All this secrecy must have held back civilisation considerably. Material of this kind needs to be aired and circulated if there is to be progress - the surviving fragments of Pythagoreanism, for instance, led directly to the achievements of Kepler and Newton.

So what has all this got to do with science fiction? Well, if I need an excuse for this article maybe it's because I think science fiction is more nöospheric than other fiction. Crude though it often is, it's the mythology of our age, like the mythologies of tribes, their mental dimension - such as the fables of the Kalahari bushmen. a stone-age people in the last stages of being ground into eradication between the iron-making black barbarians from the north and the machine-gun wielding white barbarians entering from the south, yet whose myths contain such insight that one is dumbfounded to know where they came from.

Widen the view yet further. Psychologists have expressed wonderment at the way a human being can learn a language in the first few years of its life. Every sentence that is strung together is an act of creation, they say. In learning the secrets of its construction, every two-year-old is acting like a genius.

Identifying the reason for this 'amazement' can tell us a great deal about the early beginning of the 'nöosphere', if I may continue to use that jokey word. Language reflects the power of thought, the power to place facts in relation to one another, to test for validity, to arrive at new relations by experiment. The last is what we call 'creative thought'.

We can all talk, but even the better among us employ the power of thought but rarely. G B Shaw was not joking when he quipped: "Most people think once or twice in a lifetime. I have made myself an international reputation by thinking once a week."

We have thoughts. But to have a thought is not thinking: it is to thinking what an animal's ability to make noises is to human speech. Thinking means stringing thoughts together correctly and carefully, in such a manner as to elucidate some aspect of the world. And yet, we know that the power to think is part of the brain's hardware, just like the power or speech, in me as much as in Einstein. So why is it so little used? Because (a) it takes a certain kind of effort, and (b) we can get along without it.

What I am talking about hasn't much to do with IQ. What 'intelligence tests' measure are aptitudes. Thinking is a function. A slow-witted, gormless-seeming nerd of low IQ can be better at thinking than a high IQ smart-ass who cottons on to everything in a trice and passes all his exams with a smug smile on his face. (Do I sound hostile? It's because I answer to the first description.)

But consider for a moment. An organ evolves only if it confers some benefit on its owner. Why do we have these marvellous brains, when we seem incapable of using them?

The answer should be fairly obvious. The nöosphere uses them. In the first place, we think in bits and pieces here and there and society puts the thoughts together eventually. Secondly, if only one individual in a thousand, or a million, or a thousand million, stretches his mental capacity to the utmost and communicates the results to the other, there is survival value to the group in having the other one-thousand-million-minus-one unused genius-type brains.

But wait. Go back to the beginning. How did this brain evolve in the first place? In creatures that made no use of it? Hardly.

Imagine back to the emergence of the hominids. The brain would not have stabilised in its present form except by use. But remember that the evolving species was small in numbers, leaving little room for the large-scale mental redundancy of modern man. It had only rudimentary language. And it had no material for the automatic association of thoughts that passes for thinking among us: no accumulated knowledge, no backlog of ideas.

Conclusion: our primitive ancestors must have been our mental superiors. Typically they were geniuses. True, their mental capacity was smaller than our, their facility with thought unpracticed, their IQs low, even lower than mine. But they used what they had, at full stretch. Their efforts bootstrapped our neocortex into existence.

The above scenario helps make some questions more explicable. Such as the existence of religion, which is so persistent it must be in our genes somewhere. It was part of our evolution...

Skip back over the millions of years, for another look at the question of ownership of intangibles. Pythagoras is most famous for having investigated the properties of sound vibrations. Two and a half thousand years were to pass before this investigation was taken up again: by the inventor Nikola Tesla.

Tesla was a sort of science fictional superman, a true inheritor of our primeval ancestors, a man who did force the power of his thought to the utmost. Though he experimented with sound, his chief interest lay in the vaster range of electrical vibrations. He was the inventor of the polyphase system of AC current which is the basis of power transmission today, and which made possible the AC motor, previously thought impossible.

Tesla licenced his invention to an industrialist called Morgan for one million dollars plus a royalty on the horsepower developed. Tesla's biographer relates that the time came when Morgan's accountants told him he had given Tesla too much; he would have to ask him to negotiate another deal.

Under protest, Morgan did so. "And if I agree," Tesla said. "will you continue to develop the polyphase system?"

''I shall continue trying to develop the system whatever happens,'' Morgan told him.

"Giving my polyphase system to mankind means more to me than any amount of money,'' Tesla said. And he tore up his contract before Morgan's eyes.

He was tearing up, at the very least, eight million dollars. Alas, he was later to become secretive with his prodigious inventiveness, recording nothing on paper but committing everything to his perfect memory, not even telling his workmen the exact nature of the projects they worked upon. It's said he intended eventually to make more millions from the patents. When he died in 1943 he possibly took with him details of a laser device able to project energy in any amount in a beam a tiny fraction of millimetre in diameter (he lectured on the problem of generating coherent light in the 1890s), and a practicable system of broadcast power transmission that could be tapped anywhere on the earth's surface. At any rate he died with more knowledge of electricity than any man before him or probably since. But he made the same mistake the Pythagoreans made. He kept it as his private property, and now no one has it.


Until next week,

- js.

Current Week In Review.

Recent WiRs -

May 1st, April 24th, April 17th, April 10th, April 3rd, March 27th

Jack Spratt's Week In Review is published every Friday. Please submit letters, articles, and press releases in plain text English to jackspratts (at) lycos (dot) com. Include contact info. Submission deadlines are Wednesdays @ 1700 UTC.
JackSpratts is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:11 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© www.p2p-zone.com - Napsterites - 2000 - 2021