chris_brand's blog

Ask the Industry Minister about the copyright bill

CBC's Search Engine is trying to give Canadians a last chance to ask the minister questions before the Bill is tabled.

Submit your questions here.

Copyright Alliance questions to US presidential candidates

Rather than linking to the questions themselves, I'm going to point to a Techdirt article which links to the questions but also provides some possible answers.

Well worth a read, if only because it points out some of the misleading assumptions in the questions themselves (and other propaganda form the copyright maximalists).

This is what I've been looking for

One of the fundamental problems I see with the Copyright Act is how it covers everyday activities of ordinary Canadians. When copyright first came into existence, it regulated the activities of people who made their living from published, printing, and the like. But these days, we need to consult a lawyer to decide whether it's legal to use our VCR to record a show or to download a song to our iPod.

The death of music DRM

An article in The Register says that British retailer 7Digital claims that DRM-free music outsells DRM-encumbered music 4:1, presumably despite the fact that much mainstream music isn't available DRM-free.

There's a prediction that all music DRM will be gone by next summer.

Tim Lee on technology "stickiness" and patents

Tim Lee has a good post on TLF in which he looks at the "stickiness" of technologies and business models, i.e. how easy they are to duplicate elsewhere.

He concludes that patents on business models and on software are pointless because the thing they're trying to protect is already sticky enough and you don't need patents (which attempt to deliberately make things more sticky).

Ok, I can't do it justice, but it's worth a read anyway.

New paper on "IP" and property

We're not alone in finding problems with the results of thinking of copyright and the like as a form of property. Tom W. Bell recently posted about his draft paper titled Copyright as Intellectual Property Privilege, asking for comments.

An experiment in photograph copyright

My daughter goes to elementary school, and this is the time of year when we get photos.

Last year, there were some problems with results - some of the parents were unhappy with some of the things the photographer had done, so I went back and looked properly at the photos we'd bought then. One of the things I noticed was that there was a copyright notice on the back which claimed to prohibit copying. The notice didn't actually state who owned the copyright, but certainly implied that it wasn't the person who had the print. Here's the wording (the original is all capitals):

Online dangers to creators

Cory Doctorow's latest Guardian article is clearly inspired by the recent SFWA DMCA takedown of his work. In it, he takes a step back to look at the threats artists face :

Artists have lots of problems. We get plagiarised, ripped off by publishers, savaged by critics, counterfeited — and we even get our works copied by "pirates" who give our stuff away for free online.

Why DRM is a bad strategy

I thought this was obvious, but apparently it isn't, in which case it deserves to be posted here.

When a company makes a decision to use DRM on a product that they're selling, they are deciding to do two things :
* Pay for the DRM itself - maybe in-house development or buying a third-party product, either way it has to be paid for.
* Make the product less useful for some group of people - be it the inability to play imported disks, limits on number of copies, or whatever.

Why takedown mechanisms will always make some authors unhappy

I originally posted this as a comment on Russell's SFWA/DMCA posting, but it grew to the point where it deserves to be an entry in it's own right.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America DMCA takedown issue has been very interesting. I found very useful commentary on Cory Doctorow's blog and on Jerry Pournelle's website.

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