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Archive for July, 2007

Tell it.

Copy killers | Technology | Guardian Unlimited – Cory Doctorow

Every media business has, by now, entertained a sales call from a digital rights management company – purveyors of copy protection tools that supposedly stop people from copying your works and sharing them with the world.

Not one of them has ever stopped the widespread, unauthorised copying of media. Not one of them ever will. The companies that sell this stuff are, at best, bunkum peddlers and, at worst, out and out fraudsters. Their wares simply can’t work – not without changing the laws of physics, maths and information science.

DRMs are often designed by ambitious, well-funded consortia, with top-notch engineers from every corner of the industry. They spend millions. They take years. They are defeated in days, for pennies, by hobbyists. It’s inevitable, because every time you give someone a locked item, you have to give them the key to unlock it too.

Read the rest.


This could get interesting.

PC World – Microsoft Seeks Open-Source Certification

After months of antagonizing the open-source community, Microsoft Corp. now appears to be trying to engage it by seeking an official stamp of approval for the licenses that the company uses to share its own software and source code.

During a keynote speech at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention in Portland, Ore., on Thursday, Bill Hilf, Microsoft’s general manager of platform strategy, said that the software vendor is submitting its so-called shared source licenses to the Open Source Initiative for certification as true open-source licenses.

snip

Neither OSI President Michael Tiemann nor Mark Radcliffe, the organization’s general counsel, returned e-mails and calls seeking comment on Microsoft’s announcement.

snip

In his blog on CNET Networks Inc.’s Web site, open-source executive and OSI board member Matt Asay said that seeking the group’s approval shows that Microsoft “respects the community.”

“I welcome this move by Microsoft,” Asay wrote. “It continues to impress me as being one of the few big companies that truly understands open source, even if I don’t always like how it works with the open-source community.”

UPDATE:

It just got interesting.

July 29, 2007 (Computerworld) — The head of the open-source group that will decide whether to certify Microsoft Corp.’s “shared source” software licenses as open-source licenses said that more than half of Redmond’s licenses appear to automatically fail the group’s rules.

Michael Tiemann, president of the non-profit Open Source Initiative, said that provisions in three out of five of Microsoft’s shared-source licenses that restrict source code to running only on the Windows operating system would contravene a fundamental tenet of open-source licenses as laid out by the OSI. By those rules, code must be free for anyone to view, use, modify as they see fit.

“I am certain that if they say Windows-only machines, that would not fly because that would restrict the field of use,” said Tiemann in an interview late Friday.


Don’t even think about it.

If a new bill becomes law, it may soon be illegal to attempt (even if you fail) to share copyrighted material.

“Attempted infringment” appears in new House intellectual property bill

One of the bill’s controversial features is the fact that people can be charged with criminal copyright infringement even if such infringement has not actually taken place. “Any person who attempts to commit an offense under paragraph (1) shall be subject to the same penalties as those prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the attempt,” says the bill.

Read the gory details here. (pdf)


Relax. It’s only voting.

Via SFGate.

Most vote machines lose test to hackers

State-sanctioned teams of computer hackers were able to break through the security of virtually every model of California’s voting machines and change results or take control of some of the systems’ electronic functions, according to a University of California study released Friday.

The researchers “were able to bypass physical and software security in every machine they tested,” said Secretary of State Debra Bowen, who authorized the “top to bottom review” of every voting system certified by the state.


The ChileSoft Affair.

“Dang, it looks like Microsoft got the Chile account.”

– Overheard in a North Carolina bar, 5:15 pm, Friday afternoon.

Here’s a Blog round-up on the implications of the Microsoft-Chile convergence.


Linux Helpforum Comments


Smartmobs.com – It happens in Chile


Repercusiones del acuerdo Microsoft Chile


Atención a todos los amigos de Hi-Tech!

Microsoft Chile 1.0

Chile is on sale! Microsoft se apodera de nuestras almas


Microsoft y Chile, Se aman por siempre

Filial chilena de Microsoft defiende acuerdo firmado con el Gobierno


El acuerdo entre Microsoft y el gobierno de Chile

Microsoft Compra, Chile se Vende


Internautas protestan por acuerdo firmado entre Microsoft y el gobierno de Chile


El día en que Chile se vendió a Microsoft

Chile y Microsoft: que mas nos puede pasar!!!

El Acuerdo entre Microsoft y Chile que está generando una revolución


More on the Chile-Microsoft agreement.

Via Global Voices (Bumped up from previous post, an update in English.)

UPDATE: Chile: A Controversial Agreement with Microsoft

“There is a feeling among Chilean bloggers that the agreement signed between the Economy Minister, Alejandro Ferreiro and Craig Mundie, Chief Research and Strategy Officer de Microsoft Corporation on May 9th is not good for Chile. The title of this post written by Christian in elfrancotirador [ES] explains the situation in a simple way:

Guys: what would you say if I told you that starting today that the 15 million of Chileans will (all) be users of Microsoft, even if we wanted to or not? That’s what I thought.
And, what if I added, that from now on, to make any state or municipal transaction will require the use of Microsoft software? Don’t be content with this beacause in addition, the entire Chilean education system will be carried out through the Microsoft platform-and that’s not it, but every registered student of our country will turn into a “preferential client” of the company.


Tentacular Marketing 101

A big story is breaking in Chile about a “voluntary agreement” struck between the Chilean Government and Microsoft that goes way beyond the usual licensing deal.

A copy of the agreement leaked and sparked “outrage” in the open and free software community. Opponents there are calling it “The day Chile sold itself to Microsoft.” So far, the outcry has forced the government to explain its move, and as the news spreads, so is resistance to the plan.

A loosely-translated summary of the agreement:

a) Training,
– 1 Million USD for training ($67 USD per student for 15.000 students)
– Coordination through local non profit organizations,
b)Software,
– 15 Million “Free users” of MSFT LIVE (Mail, Messenger, Spaces and Mobile)
– App Hosting, 2 Gib of storage per user, with WAP access etc..
c) Local Government Support
– They will provide the frame work for web page development to local municipalities.
d)Innovation School,
– The creation of a School of innovation in a low income province.
– 1 Million USD, for the development,
e)Public Local Schools,
– MSFT will provide and maintain the software for local public schools.
f)Professor Training,
– 600k USD for the training of local professors.
g) Small Business
– 5 Million USD in SW for small business and productivity tools.
h) Low income areas
– MSFT will provide its encyclopedia, and the office Suite, with an estimated savings of 6 Mil,
i) Security Collaboration
– MSFT will donate its Child Explotation Traking Sistem o CETS
– MFST will contract lawyers to review the local laws regrading ciber criminals
j) Software Security Collaboration
– MSFT will work with the local universities, providing bug fixes and security notices
k) Innovation Initiatives,
– MSFT will collaborate with 4 innovation centers at a university level, to promote innovation, with an investment of 300k over 3 years.
l) Competitive Innovation
– MSFT will study the impact of technology in at least 3 important economic sectors of the country.

As yet, nothing much has appeared in the anglophile tech press, but lots is being written about the deal in Chile:

El Francotirador: El Dia Que Chile Se Vendio a Microsoft

El Movimiento de Liberación Digital

Chile no se vende. (Chileans are not for sale.)

Usuarios chilenos se oponen enérgicamente a acuerdo entre el Gobierno y Microsoft

As more information appears in English, it will be posted here.

UPDATE: Chile: A Controversial Agreement with Microsoft

“There is a feeling among Chilean bloggers that the agreement signed between the Economy Minister, Alejandro Ferreiro and Craig Mundie, Chief Research and Strategy Officer de Microsoft Corporation on May 9th is not good for Chile. The title of this post written by Christian in elfrancotirador [ES] explains the situation in a simple way:

Guys: what would you say if I told you that starting today that the 15 million of Chileans will (all) be users of Microsoft, even if we wanted to or not? That’s what I thought.
And, what if I added, that from now on, to make any state or municipal transaction will require the use of Microsoft software? Don’t be content with this beacause in addition, the entire Chilean education system will be carried out through the Microsoft platform-and that’s not it, but every registered student of our country will turn into a “preferential client” of the company.


Good times

You know, not all of this IP and copyright news bums me out.

From an official press release from Bush’s press secretary:

Question: Mr. President, music is one of our largest exports the country has. Currently, every country in the world — except China, Iran, North Korea, Rwanda and the United States — pay a statutory royalty to the performing artists for radio and television air play. Would your administration consider changing our laws to align it with the rest of the world?

The President:
Help. (Laughter.) Maybe you’ve never had a President say this — I have, like, no earthly idea what you’re talking about. (Laughter and applause.) Sounds like we’re keeping interesting company, you know? (Laughter.) Look, I’ll give you the old classic: contact my office, will you? (Laughter.) I really don’t — I’m totally out of my lane. I like listening to country music, if that helps. (Laughter.)

Country music! No kidding?

ILA

(I laugh aloud)

Hat tip to Wired:

Listening Post – Wired Blogs


Royalty row now rides on ripping.

More on how it pays to negotiate from a position of strength. Alluded to last week, but it comes up again, and more clearly in this NPR report on ongoing negotiations between internet broadcasters and Soundexchange, the non-profit collection agency set up by the recording industry to collect internet music royalties.

Soundexchange was willing to come down on the price, capping royatly rates at doable levels for small noncommercial webcasters, so long as they agreed to prevent streamripping.

Private home taping off the radio has been considered fair use in the past, so this is a loss for consumers. If webcasters agree, an established right people had before will be now be restricted.

The insertion of “streamripping” into what has been a royalty dispute might seem out of place, but because Soundexchange was negotiating from a position of strengh (The Copyright Royalty Board and several courts had ruled in their favor), the music industry got to dictate terms.

There is some pushback on this issue in the form of pending legislation moving its way through congress that would be more favorable to webcasters. But for now, it looks like the music industry has successfully inserted piracy rules into whatever royalty deal is finally struck.

About all you can say to that is, “Well played, Music Industry.” (Sarcastically and sadly, of course.)

NPR : Internet Radio Rates Face New Roadblock


Well deserved.

Groklaw founder Pamela Jones has been crowned Best FUD Fighter, winning a Google-O’Reilly Open Source Award at this year’s OSCON.

She is gracious in triumph. Classy.

So thank you so much for this honor, Google and O’Reilly committee members. It is very meaningful to me. This was the first year they had an open submissions process, so perhaps I should also thank whoever thought of me. It could even be one of you. Of course, Groklaw isn’t just me. If it were, it’d be very different, and so I want to thank all of you who have contributed — and continue to contribute through thick and thin, year after year — to this sustained community effort.

For anyone trying to figure out just what in the hell is going on, Groklaw is invaluable.

I know one thing, trying to maintain this blog would totally blow without her.

Congratulations!

Groklaw – Best FUD Fighter: And the winner is… me!


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