Intellectual Property

Bad News for Deadheads

In a nutshell, the pioneers of music trading appear to have joined the dinosaurs of the recording industry. Read and weep (there were 2300 shows here yesterday).
I’ve downloaded only a few complete GD shows from the Archive, streamed quite a few more, bought many commercial releases over the years including the just shipping 1969 Box Set (why hasn’t it arrived yet) and never, ever traded one of the Dead’s commercial releases. And still won’t. But I also will not be adding any new commercial releases to my collection for a while, if ever again…hell, I don’t even get close to cycling through my collection once every 5 years.
The music is theirs to control however they want. However, if they want to change the culture I can damn well change my buying habits.
Update: David Gans has some thoughts to share.

Don’t Play Sony CDs in Your PC

Better yet, don’t even buy them until Sony stops a whole bunch of bad behavior:

the EULA does not disclose the software’s use of cloaking or the fact that it comes with no uninstall facility. An end user is not only installing software when they agree to the EULA, they are losing control of part of the computer, which has both reliability and security implications. There’s no way to ensure that you have up-to-date security patches for software you don’t know you have and there’s no way to remove, update or even identify hidden software that’s crashing your computer.
The EULA also makes no reference to any “phone home” behavior, and Sony executives are claiming that the software never contacts Sony and that no information is communicated that could track user behavior. However, a user asserted in a comment on the previous post that they monitored the Sony CD Player network interactions and that it establishes a connection with Sony’s site and sends the site an ID associated with the CD.
I decided to investigate so I downloaded a free network tracing tool, Ethereal, to a computer on which the player was installed and captured network traffic during the Player’s startup. A quick look through the trace log confirmed the users comment: the Player does send an ID to a Sony web site.
….. (go to above link to see screen shots)
I dug a little deeper and it appears the Player is automatically checking to see if there are updates for the album art and lyrics for the album it’s displaying. This behavior would be welcome under most circumstances,…

Let’s see: hidden software, no easy way to uninstall, lying about how the software works, and,well, there may be more that we don’t know about yet. I do think no purchase is the right action: Boycott Sony music CDs!
And, I disagree with mark’s assertion that checking for album art and lyric updates “would be welcome under most circumstances.” It should only be welcome if the system owner specifically asks for it to happen and given the extremely limited value of this information on a day to day basis such requests should be very rare.
Via MU at Running Scared.

CD Copy Protection

My first reaction when I read the subtitle of this San Jose Mercury News article (R)?


Well, I won’t be buying any of those CDs.
Then I read the article.
It looks like the schema being proposed will allow what I consider to be plenty of copies for typical fair use requirements. We do, in the Modulator family, make mix CDs and backup copies for the car and other places with high risk of theft. As long as I can make 3-4 copies I really don’t care whether I can make 7, 8 or more copies of a CD or for that matter whether I can put a song on an IPOD (yea, I know lots of you like IPODs).
Oh, and has anyone run across any betting lines on how long before the most onerous of the copy protection schemes will be breached? If one really wants to some of the approaches appear to be rather trivial to get around.

Brand Protection

I hadn’t previously noticed NameProtect’s robot crawling my site though it looks like they have been in business since 2001. They are probably crawling your site as well:

NameProtect is a Digital Asset Protection company that provides eMarket Intelligence to leading corporations. We proactively provide protection of brand assets, recovery of diverted revenues and detection of online identity theft and fraud in today’s global economy.
Their business model seems to make sense and I suspect that they are not the only player in this niche.