Above: Anonymous dialogue in Rome: “In 1501, the statue was found during road construction and set up in the piazza; soon after small poems or epigrams critical of religious and civil authorities began to be posted on it.”
Rhode Island is considering a law that would allow police to uncover the personal information of anonymous internet users suspected of posting harassing content (which could, conceivably, include political speech).
A Danish law could require internet service providers to verify the identities of and provide information about any internet cafe users that connect to the internet, effectively ending any expectation of anonymous internet use.
So the general picture is one of a world grappling with how to make people accountable for their online actions. A bit of a mixed bag, but these storys at least demonstrate that people are thinking about these problems.
First, the FBI seized a bunch of servers in Reston, VA, in an attempt to investigate and shut down LulzSec. Then, that seizure brought down a bunch of reputable companies that hosted their content on those same servers.
Back in LulzLand, the FBI raided a woman’s home to gather information about LulzSec and their hacking exploits. They probably found nothing of interest.
While that last bit is certainly legal and certainly the correct way to do things like this, the previous cases show that the responses that the FBI and DHS have chosen in cases of internet malfeasance are on shaky legal ground and, at the very least, look kind of bad.
“Under the first sale doctrine, once a copyright owner sells or gives you a copy of her work, she gives up control of that particular copy. You buy it, you own it. This principle is extraordinarily important for consumers, as it makes it legal for you to resell, lend, or give away the books, CDs, DVDs, and software that you purchase.”—EFF Asks Supreme Court to Protect “First Sale” Rights. That paragraph is a brief description of what the “first sale doctrine” protects. And this case is an example of how “licenses” (for software, for iTunes music files, etc.) hurt the sale and exchange of media by limiting these rights.
In the age of the internet, physical paper books are a technology we need more, not less. In the 1950s, the novelist Herman Hesse wrote: “The more the need for entertainment and mainstream education can be met by new inventions, the more the book will recover its dignity and authority. We have not yet quite reached the point where young competitors, such as radio, cinema, etc, have taken over the functions from the book it can’t afford to lose.”
We have now reached that point. And here’s the function that the book – the paper book that doesn’t beep or flash or link or let you watch a thousand videos all at once – does for you that nothing else will. It gives you the capacity for deep, linear concentration. As Ulin puts it: “Reading is an act of resistance in a landscape of distraction…. It requires us to pace ourselves. It returns us to a reckoning with time. In the midst of a book, we have no choice but to be patient, to take each thing in its moment, to let the narrative prevail. We regain the world by withdrawing from it just a little, by stepping back from the noise.”
A book has a different relationship to time than a TV show or a Facebook update. It says that something was worth taking from the endless torrent of data and laying down on an object that will still look the same a hundred years from now. The French writer Jean-Phillipe De Tonnac says “the true function of books is to safeguard the things that forgetfulness constantly threatens to destroy.” It’s precisely because it is not immediate – because it doesn’t know what happened five minutes ago in Kazakhstan, or in Charlie Sheen’s apartment – that the book matters.
That’s why we need books, and why I believe they will survive. Because most humans have a desire to engage in deep thought and deep concentration. Those muscles are necessary for deep feeling and deep engagement. Most humans don’t just want mental snacks forever; they also want meals.
I’m not against e-books in principle – I’m tempted by the Kindle – but the more they become interactive and linked, the more they multitask and offer a hundred different functions, the less they will be able to preserve the aspects of the book that we actually need. An e-book reader that does a lot will not, in the end, be a book. The object needs to remain dull so the words – offering you the most electric sensation of all: insight into another person’s
While I mostly agree with this, I just want to point out that some of it is just pretty and tempting language glossing over some flaws in the argument. The piece partially relies on the argument that “things that are slower / more boring are better” without doing some of the work necessary to prove this. It says that spending more time and forcing yourself to concentrate make the learning / experience better, but even if we accept that as true, he doesn’t really address the fact that digital means ALSO offer this kind of experience if you look in the right place (and also that books can also be escapist trash with lots of pictures and sex scenes or whatever).
There are good arguments here for what makes books good, but in the end, it comes down to this: good books are better than bad or fleeting digital content, and good digital content is better than bad or fleeting books, but any categorical statements beyond that are just not fair and too biased by preference to be taken seriously
Hudi said it basically exactly how I would: “I’m fascinated by this “Crowdsourcing justice” idea. People in large groups can easily lose their identity and become rioters because of the energy and the anonymity that a crowd provides. Will this recent ability to clearly identify every member after the fact make riots less likely in the future?”
“Murphy claimed that simply removing the credit line on the photo is an entirely separate DMCA violation, whether or not the use of the photo infringes itself, because it messed with the “copyright management information.”—
“Security reporter Joe Menn has a piece up today at the Financial Times exploring the origins of LulzSec, and who is coordinating operations of the group described as “part-criminal gang and part-performance artists.” (site registration required).”—Where @LulzSec came from, who’s running it, and why #antisec is a big deal - Boing Boing. “site registration required” = read the comments on the article to see how to get around this. It’s a story about how tech-savvy upstarts are thwarting the old models for protecting information; putting it behind a paywall isn’t going to stop ANYONE who is interested in this story.
“So that’s the landscape: Google’s hacking the existing telephone system, Microsoft’s betting on the upstart proprietary network, and Apple appears to be quietly trying to pull the rug out from everyone. But it’s clear that all three are committed to the idea of voice calling and texting as just another type of data stream to be managed and accessed across multiple devices, and I can’t imagine they won’t succeed in pulling the industry along with them.”—iMessage, Skype, Google Voice, and the death of the phone number. Absolutely correct. And also generalizable to things like television, cable, gaming, etc.
“Politico ran a piece last week examining progressive non-profits that received AT&T donations.
Some of them, including GLAAD, then wrote in support of the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, and in the case of GLAAD, wrote to the FCC opposing possible net neutrality rules. GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios resigned moments ago.”—GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios resigns amid AT&T scandal. YOOPS!
“Free is indeed very expensive. But, what the prolonged and knee-jerk debate about free vs. paid inside our news organizations shows is that we still have what led us here in the first place: An imagination deficit.”—
Why Free is Very Expensive - Forbes.com. The managing editor of the Washington Post writes one of the most well-thought-out responses to the whole newspaper paywall discussion. He’s right: locking the newspaper’s content behind a paywall cuts off an important part of your readership and some of the most important functionalities of internet news (primarily sharing).
“But perhaps similar to the way that Stephanie Lenz got a court to declare that copyright holders must consider fair use before sending takedown notices, this lawsuit may signal that there are times when copyright holders can go too far in using the DMCA takedown process in policing for infringements.”—
Songwriter Wins Round in Legal Battle with Summit Over ‘Twilight’ Song. The thrust of this one is that the people who made “Twilight” issued a takedown against a songwriter who made a video for his “Twilight”-esque song. The suit itself is about how that song infringed the “Twilight” trademark and may have done some unfair competition stuff. But that means that the original COPYRIGHT takedown request was a sham, since no copyright issues were implicated.
I guess I just wanted to share this to say that, if we want to introduce fair-use-like defenses into the trademark system (e.g. parody of a logo or using logos for commentary), then maybe we need to also consider introducing similar remedies and protections for trademark holders (DMCA takedowns, etc)? Just a thought, not a thing I am advocating for.
This is obvious: people who share music legally are much more likely to buy music legally. Also worth noting that similar studies have demonstrated something that seems equally obvious but way more dangerous to music sellers: studies also demonstrate that people who ILLEGALLY share music are ALSO much more likely to buy music.
The news that Apple is trying to stop people from giving away iPads in contests squares perfectly with their way of doing business. Apple makes their products cool by creating artificial scarcity: they ship small numbers of products, they charge a little too much, etc. If you could just win them in contests, they’re just like toasters, aren’t they? And toasters aren’t cool…
I wrote a post not too long ago about what WikiLeaks meant, what the organization’s goals are, and why I have some problems with how they are achieving them. All of that applies to LulzSec. Still very ambivalent!
And, in general, the entry of MANY works into the public domain will likely rejuvenate them.
An example: not long ago, a friend of mine who is associated with film production asked me if I knew of any public domain stories that they could develop into films so that they wouldn’t have to pay large licensing fees and clear a bunch of complex copyrights.
When cool things enter the public domain, the public can start doing cool things WITH those cool things.
“Do you think every hacker announces everything they’ve hacked? We certainly haven’t, and we’re damn sure others are playing the silent game. Do you feel safe with your Facebook accounts, your Google Mail accounts, your Skype accounts? What makes you think a hacker isn’t silently sitting inside all of these right now, sniping out individual people, or perhaps selling them off? You are a peon to these people. A toy. A string of characters with a value. This is what you should be fearful of, not us releasing things publicly, but the fact that someone hasn’t released something publicly.”—
Again, in the long run, they are doing this in a way that probably shouldn’t be admired, but they do make a really valuable point. It’s time to think a little harder about what exactly we are handing over to infrastructures that we don’t really understand and don’t know how much we should trust.
“What aspects of any reality show are subject to legal protection? In a genre where the traditional plot and character aspects of scripted works have been replaced by unique formats, the law might need to evolve to protect the creativity that informs this powerful segment of the TV world.”—
The quoted paragraph offers a really interesting question. At what point do these formulas cease being “creative” or “expression” and just become the facts of a certain type of show?
Here’s my take, though it might sound a little strange: maybe reality shows should seek PATENTS, not copyrights. If the idea of a reality show that combines elements together in an inventive way deserves to be protected against people stealing that combination and selling it as their own, then aren’t we actually talking about inventing new television models, not writing new creative output?
It makes sense to me: patents are all about the development of ideas into new useful products, and reality shows get their usefulness from what is inventive or new about them, just like, say, better mousetraps. Maybe patenting reality show premises is not what we SHOULD do, but it certainly is what we COULD do to very easily solve this problem…
The leading computer company plans to build a system that will sense when people are trying to video live events — and turn off their cameras.
A patent application filed by Apple revealed how the technology would work.
If an iPhone were held up and used to film during a concert infra-red sensors would detect it.
These sensors would then contact the iPhone and automatically disable its camera function.
People would still be able to send text messages and make calls.
The new technology is seen as an attempt to protect the interests of event organisers and broadcasters who have exclusive rights to concerts.
I was about to post this when I saw that you had.
Anyway, it would be easy to write this off with a “well, another reason not to have an iPhone.”
But copyright issues aside, I think having a technology that can turn off what is probably one of the more widely used forms of audio and video recording the pubic has available to it is scary.
I’m paranoid; I admit it. But once the technology exists it will not be limited to concert venues and sports arenas. It’s on the stage at every political rally and in the riot patrols’ vans at every protest.
Yeah, here’s hoping that someone with some real political influence starts pushing really hard for the “right to photograph” as a first amendment right. Because as it exists now, I don’t think any court has recognized that right. In fact, every once in a while, there will be a surge of stories about law enforcement confiscating cameras in public places…
I’m mostly reposting this to talk about a copyright aspect, though. The sharing of media and piracy of copyrighted material mostly happens using digital means, meaning from computer to computer or from television to hard drive or whatever. But this is an example of what Techdirt referred to as the “analog hole.” It’s a way that digital content can leak out of the digital world using analog means. Basically, technology and law are finally wrapping hands around digital sharing, so this is a way for that digital regulation to reach back through that “analog hole” to try to plug it. Totally fascinating.
Have a computer, Internet connection, and no Facebook profile? Now you’re the weirdo outcast. In a new study done by the Pew Research Center, collections of data from thousands of participants showed that people who use social networking services are now not only likely to have larger networks than those who don’t, but also have more close friends. The authors of the study don’t cite technology as the cause of our newfound friendliness, but those inclined toward social connections are now more likely to be online and networking than not.
I obviously love this story. Because people very often, without thinking, talk about how the youth of today don’t have any real connection anymore, but what they don’t realize is that their online interactions facilitate real connection, not replace it.
There are links to some info about the bill and the guys who introduced it. I’m interested to see how the possible upcoming Supreme Court case would impact the bill’s progress. I also don’t know how federal warrant laws work in the context of constitutional law.
For instance, if the Supreme Court says that collecting GPS data without a warrant is constitutional, it seems like the legislature can still pass a law that says that it is illegal. Because the question isn’t concerning the rights of the police, it’s concerning the rights of the accused.