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Tech and Net – News and Opinion – Episode 001

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Google Music Launches

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

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Although pretty much everywhere, I caught the news of this via my EnGadget RSS feed.  Google Music has launched and offered over 8 million tracks the first day.  The selection of music will soon increase to over 13 million.

While the music program has been known and in beta, there was speculation as to which and how many labels would be on board, EnGadget reports that 3 major labels and 23 independents have signed on.

In conversation, we discussed how the MPAA likely cost Hollywood more than Torrents, MP3 vs Physical Media, why do people pirate and how these items relate.

Motorola Approve Google Purchase

Motorola Xoom + Atrix + Lapdock [49]

Image by bigdigo via Flickr

Following up on recent old news, more specifically the recent “Google bought Motorola” stories.  First off, to clarify what I have too often heard, Google did not buy Motorola in entirety,  specifically only Motorola Mobility.  In Lumpy’s opinion, likely for patents to defend the Droid phone.

They announced sticking to a “hands off” approach regarding operations.  The purchase, however likely, needed final approval from the “actual” owners of Motorola.

According to a post at Physorg.com, Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility was given final approval by the Motorola stock holders.  The deal was valued at 12.5 billion dollars.  Of note however, though no problem is expected, the regulators has still not officially approved this purchase.

RIAA Does Not Like The Used Digital Music Sale Business

Recording Industry Association of America

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This is one we may wish to file under “no surprise”… After all other than there outdated-make-no-sense-lobby-and-sue-to-make-it-our-way business model what part of the music business does the music industry actually love?  This is the same organization that tried to stop 8-tracks, cassettes and used record stores for they were all certainly going to destroy the music business.

Thanks to the ingenious strategy of “sue em all” and total alienation of their customers, the Racketeering Idiots Association of Absurdity has kept this dying business alive for decades.  Unfortunately, when they are done paying the organization’s officers, legal fees and lawyers, there is nothing left for the artists.

Slashdot points to a few good articles relevant to ReDigi, a company which is claiming to re-sell digital music.  The RIAA has sent ReDigi a letter, more or less telling them to stop. This one should be an interesting one to follow.  Will it reverse the decision of Vernor v. Autodesk, Inc. or will the industries stance of “first sale” win?

Unfortunately, with both the US legal system and the RIAA involved, one has no clue what a court may decide.  While I am not too sure, “re-selling” digital media is actually legal. The case referenced was more specifically involving software not music… software purchased and physically resold. As for music, sooner or later a line must be drawn in the litigious sand that fills the litter box of the current war over content, distribution and ownership.

 SOPA Not Well Liked By Many

 

NYC signing September 1,2009 Nintendo Store - NYC

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Mike Masnick of TechDirt posted that many have been expressing a dislike for SOPA.  The “Stop On-line Piracy Act” or H.R. 3261 is currently in committee hearings. One of the more popular news stories which came out of the public reaction to this potential law was “Free Justin Beiber”.  The bill would make on-line streaming copyright offenses a felony, with up to 5 years prison time.  Ironically, Beiber sent a cease and dessist order to Free Beiber which was started by Fight for the Future.

The TechDirt article lists the following as opposing this bill:

The EFF lists even more who oppose this bill, “including Facebook, Google, Twitter, eBay, Yahoo, AOL and Mozilla”.

EFF_logo_notype_black

Image by ElectronicFrontierFoundation via Flickr

The process of approving this bill has also come under scrutiny, TechDirt discusses that the committee is perceived as biased and, add to that, those opposed to the bill have not been permitted to attend the hearings.  The EFF has more on those who are not permitted to attend and states that many of those who are permitted to attend actually helped draft the bill.

An additional link was also brought up during the live discussion:

If you would like to participate in this show’s live discussion, contact us at 818-81-INDIE or news@indienation.fm.

RIAA, Google, Gaga, Apple, the Cloud and Horses – Lumpy’s Thoughts

Lady GaGa visit Sweden at Sommarkrysset, Gröna...

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I did just a tad bit of digging on this one because the abused phrase “never look a gift horse in the mouth” originally entered my head as I read it.  The phrase originated in and era when horses were commonly used in trade and, big surprise, gifts.  In that era, according to this little post, it would have been rude or stupid, when gifted such,  to look into the mouth of the animal to determine it’s age and value. I wonder how a punch, kick or a cattle prod would go over?

According to Mashable and in my opinion, The music industry did just that.  At first, it may seem like a stretch, however, I beg to argue that it is not.  While Apple may be announcing the securing of cloud deals with labels and launching as soon as June 6, what sense does it make for an industry, supposedly in trouble, to chop off 100 M? Mashable is reporting that Bloomberg Business stated that Google was willing to pay 100 million to the four major labels for cloud license. Apparently the labels were concerned about the fact that Google often points to video and music that violates copyright and the talks broke down.

I think it parallels the gift horse analogy pretty well and I am sure that the Racketeering Idiots Association of Absurdity would have not only punched the horse but would certainly take the next step and sue it, it’s owner, the local blacksmith and the company that sold the owner the grain.

Sticking with the pun, they are also putting the cart before the horse.  Even if Google did somehow completely stop linking to copyright infringing material, does the industry not realize that some other search engine would still link to said content? If the industry claims it losing billions per year to illegal downloading, why not take the 100 million and let the search giant create the legal cloud service?  Seriously, Google is big time and business smart.  Does the industry not understand that if Google had a legal service would it not follow to tweak it’s search results to point to it’s own money maker?  Perhaps the industry doesn’t get that because, at least in my lifetime, they have specialized in business models to drive away their few remaining customers.

RIAA and MPAA Back Legislation to Support Warrentless Searches of DVD Duplication Labs

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DVD-R bottom side

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A post over at Boing! Boing! points to a disturbing article.  Wired is reporting that a California Senate Bill has already passed two committees.  This bill would make it legal for warrentless searches of CD and DVD plants legal.  The MPAA and the RIAA, in true form, are backing this bill.  The RIAA claims that 90 % of counterfeiting is done is such plants and that the sunshine state has 70 such facilities.  This author must note that the RIAA does not have a, shall we say, an undisputed track record regarding mathematics.

Follow Up – RIAA Will Give “Some” of the Royalties to The Artists

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LimeWire

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It was previously reported that the recording industry (RIAA or Racketeering Idiots Association of Absurdity) was not going to give any of the money awarded in the recent LimeWire settlement to the artists.  The story at The Huffington Post referenced a post at Torrent Freak and reading it today it reminds me of the news re-writes in 1984.  Strangely the Huffinton Post now claims that the Torrent Freak article was incorrect.  The original Torrent Freak article reads:

RIAA spokesman Jonathan Lamy previously told TorrentFreak that the ‘damages’ accrued from piracy-related lawsuits will not go to any of the artists, but towards funding more anti-piracy campaigns. “Any funds recouped are re-invested into our ongoing education and anti-piracy programs,” he said.

Hmmm…. seems like a pretty clear to me.  Based on the track record of the RIAA have any artist actually received anything from these lawsuits?  Remember they announced the end of the “sue em all” campaign?  Now if they announced the end of it, why do they need to “re-invest” any of the settlement money?  It seems that what he previously said was taken out of context… Or is it just being re-written?

Law Would Make Streaming Copyright Violations a Felony

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Scales of Justice or The Long Arm of the Law?

Image by Gerry Dincher via Flickr

Rather disturbing news in from a post over at ARS Technica, well more of an update as we knew this one was coming,  it seems that going after P2P and file sharing is not enough for the federal government these days.  Under current law, “distribution” and “reproducing” copyrighted works are felonies.  It seems that what we all commonly call “streaming” falls under the category of “public performance” and is not currently a felony.

As the article indicates, this is a fulfillment of our “IP Czar’s” agenda.  It seems Victoria Espinel arrived on the job with a “wish list” regarding intellectual property.  Recently Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced S. 978 with, according to Thomas, a title of “A bill to amend the criminal penalty provision for criminal infringement of a copyright, and for other purposes”.  This bill intends to make “streaming” violations a felony and, if passed, violators may actually face up to 5 years in prison!

Regrettably, we can not be too specific about this legislation at this time for it seems that the actual text of the bill is not yet available.  I would suggest that you contact your Senators and Representatives to see if they can get any of us a copy.  Remember this is the administration that may go down as being known for being bought from you by the RIAA and MPAA.  Currently the status of S. 978 is that it has been read twice and forwarded to committee.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the public could read it?

Seems like a good closer for this one would be “The Creative Commons Anthem” by Rob Balder of The FuMP.  You can find him and many other funny musicians at thefump.com.  Rob can be found at his web site, The Fump, at Music Alley along with the rest of The FuMP, Amazon, CD Babyand iRob Balder You can find Robert Balder on FaceBook, and Twitter.  Links will be in the show notes and this one will be tagged S. 978.  Be sure and listen to the list of podsafe musicians at the end of the song… enjoy.

Related articles

NEWS Grooveshark pulled from Android market

POSTED ON April 23rd  - POSTED IN news, RIAA
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Grooveshark and Google cite copyright suit.

Image representing Creative Commons as depicte...

Image via CrunchBase

 

Wow just when you through enough was enough was enough for the RIAA and the music executives for large music labels. Well Google cited by concerns of copyright violations has now pulled the Grooveshark app from the Android market,  this also means users like me that had the application installed will have it removed from any device running Android OS (droid).  Grooveshark allows you to stream music from a library of roughly 6 million tracks, build playlists or a station to listen to and share with others out on the internet.  This applications isn’t the only one that does this!,  there is Pandora, Last.fm and a slew of other media applications for both your desktop (or laptop) as well as your phone.  Why was Grooveshark singled out?  Why the Android market when you can still do the same functions even more so using a computer.

Well you know that Indienation.fm doesn’t have much of a concerns here as all of our music is opensource, creative commons and Indie artists without a large entity  that want your money. Feel free to comment and thanks for supporting indienation!
Edit:  Recent news sites claim this app is back however I can’t find it on the Android market.

Are the RIAA and MPAA the Biggest Threat to Innovation?

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What is the Biggest Threat to Innovation?

A CD Video Disc (playing side) produced in 1987.

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I have said this before, copyright was intended to foster creativity, unfortunately copyright law has  turned into a lychanthropist, holding hostage and sucking the creative life out of intellectual property.  It seems a bit far reaching that programmers can actually be told they do not have rights to use what they thought about because they thought about it when they were employed elsewhere.  It has long been my opinion that the RIAA and MPAA have led the charge to take hostage intellectual property and stifle progress.  A short post at Slashdot had me heading over to Harvard Business Review.  It seems that I am not alone in this opinion.

President Obama’s IP Czar Wants To Make Streamed Copyright Violations a Felony

POSTED ON March 22nd  - POSTED IN Government, Law, New Media Order, news, Opinion
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 14:   (L-R) U.S. Int...

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When I first read the headline over at ARS Technica, I did a double take thinking I might have accidentally landed at the Onion News Network by mistake.  After several sharp pinches to assure it was not a dream, I read on:

The Obama administration wants to make sure that the illegal streaming of music and movies over the Internet is a felony, and it also wants to give the federal government wiretap authority in copyright cases.

Victoria Espinel, the Obama administration’s IP Enforcement Coordinator, today released her long-awaited wish list (PDF) of intellectual property law changes. Most focus on counterfeit drugs and economic espionage, but the list does contain three suggestions more likely to have some effect on home Internet users.

The three suggestions, according to ARS Technica, are:

  1. Currently, according to her, distribution and reproducing are a felony.  She thinks it should be extended to streaming
  2. Wire taps – currently, copyright infringement is not a valid reason to authorize a wire tap, she would like to have be a valid reason
  3. Radio station (broadcast) are currently exempt regarding performance right, she would like to kill the exemption

I would only endorse such a policy it it mandated saying “this administration bought from you by the RIAA and MPAA” at the end of every speech read by the administration.

My quick thoughts on each?

  1. No freaking way, make it a felony… like your college fund wasn’t enough!
  2. I think the long term goal is to make the list of valid reasons for a tap so huge that they will announce that, for the sake of simplicity, they have blanket authority
  3. Meh, who cares we are creative commons anyhow… however, broadcast radio is dying off on it’s own I see no need to legislatively assist it

We don’t need more laws.  What we need is already happening, the actual musicians are starting to be self employed and earn a living by fan support without the need of a label or radio station.  Long live the New Media Order.

President to Appoint RIAA Lawyer as Solicitor General

POSTED ON January 27th  - POSTED IN music, New Media Order, news, Opinion, RIAA

It has been a disturbing trend in recent times for the line between the United States government and US corporations to vanish.  Through lobbying, appointment and campaign contributions many argue and feel that we have not been a government of the people, by the people and for the people.  This author thinks the only part of that phrase they kept was “buy” for now corporation buy the officials to buy the people and force the people to buy whatever they spin.

In my opinion, it is not specific to any party or administration but simply an era of apathy and lies.  Why else do we have a phrase “business as usual in Washington”?

According to Wired:

President Barack Obama nominated former Recording Industry Association of America lawyer Donald Verrilli Jr. on Monday to serve as the nation’s solicitor general.

If confirmed by the Senate, Verilli, now the White House deputy counsel, would assume the powerful position left vacant by Elena Kagan, who was elevated to the Supreme Court. Obama said he was “confident” Verrilli, one of five former RIAA attorneys appointed to the administration, would “serve ably.”

I wonder how many former EFF attorneys are serving on the administration?

RIAA and Others Upset Over Potential Domain Names

POSTED ON January 25th  - POSTED IN New Media Order, news, Opinion, RIAA
A stereotypical caricature of a pirate.

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I always say that the RIAA should stop surprising me, one of these days I am actually going to learn to stop saying that.  I don’t think it is going to happen in this lifetime.  They surpass even the government at being ridiculous.

This time, it is a letter to ICANN.  The RIAA and others, believe that the draft application guidebook (DAG) regarding generic top-level domains (gTLD) needs a few changes.  So the RIAA wants to be involved with law enforcement, government and now domains?  They must have the best KoolAid in their board rooms.

I caught this at SlashDot and followed it back to ArsTechnica.  I read the complaint letter from a “coalition of 15 national and international trade association that represents songwriters, recording artists, music publishers, record labels, and performing rights societies around the world.”  In fact, so many of these rhetoric spewing organizations signed this letter, it is referenced as “Appendix A”.

This is not uncommon for an RIAA letter.  It think the goal is to have so many letters in the acronyms that you can rearrange them into the an alphanumeric keyboard.  Then they are going to sue typist for stealing all their trade marks.  I know it sounds crazy but, remember, no more surprises, that, and you heard it here first.

What are they so upset about?  In a nutshell, they are afraid that music themed domains could be used for piracy.

“…we fear that we will have no realistic ability to object if a pirate chooses to hijack a music themed gTLD to enable wide scale copyright infringement of our works.”

According to the RIAA, what doesn’t contribute to piracy in this day and age?  I am surprised they haven’t gone after headphone and earbud companies…

Sticking true to form, they want to be involved in keeping gTLD safe from the pirates

“We would like to work with ICANN and others to ensure that best practices are developed and used to ensure this type of malicious behaviour does not occur.”

Wow, Internet police and now domain cops as well.  Maybe they should all stop dealing with artists and get jobs in law enforcement?  No wait, that is a really bad idea… everybody would be guilty and, all too likely, they would shoot first and question later.

However, they sure seem to like to police everyone… unless it involves actually paying royalties to the artists… they missed that somehow.

And, like many RIAA letters, it ends with a threat:

“We strongly urge you to take these concerns seriously, and expeditiously implement appropriate changes to the DAG to address these critical concerns.  We prefer a practical solution to these issues, and hope to avoid the need to escalate the issue further.”

Wow.  I have a simple solution.  Take the money you guys spend on litigation and just start buying up all the domains you are so afraid of… Podsafe music anyone?

Court Fines Finnish File Sharers 1.08 Milllion

POSTED ON January 22nd  - POSTED IN New Media Order, news, Opinion
Intellectual Property symbol
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This story over at Torrent Freak is another example of just how wrong things have gotten regarding intellectual property and copyright.  Before I even begin, I wish to reiterate that I do not endorse piracy.  I choose to give my money to the artists who embrace the new media order and don’t wish to sue me.

In this particular case, it seems pretty clear that this group of file-sharers were actually sharing material in an illegal manner.  According to the Torrent Freak Article:

The hub, which in very basic terms operated a little like a BitTorrent tracker, directing traffic between other members of the network, was known as Sarah’s Secret Chamber. It had around 1,600 users and most of them were sharing large amounts of copyrighted material.

In normal circumstances, most members of this type of network will bring some of their own content to the party, pooling resources so that the hub has a library of material. Very often bringing large amount of content is a requirement for membership. Sarah’s Secret Chamber had a fairly large capacity – around 50 terabytes.

The suit filed claimed they “created 750,000 ‘illegal albums'” and demanded 2.7 million in damages.  For the sake of argument here, let us just assume they are guilty.  Also for the sake of argument, I strongly disagree with this verdict and sentence.

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