feeds | grep links > RIAA Says DMCA Not Working (Hard Enough for Them), Jury Invalidates EFF’s Top Patent, Proposed Apple Spyware Goes Too Far, and More

  • Apple seeking to patent spyware and traitorware
    I have to agree with the incredulous tone in EFF’s analysis of Apple’s patent application. This goes well beyond anti-theft measures, none of the included techniques are worth it for a phone no matter how expensive or the risk of a breach of personal info. Simple encryption would be a more suitable solution for the latter and insuring the device if it is that important the former. I am really far more concerned about the potential privacy implications than Apple using this as some sort of spite based DRM to increase the pain of jail breaking a device despite it now being authorized under the DMCA section 2101 rulemaking.
  • Jury invalidates one of EFF’s “Most Wanted” patents
  • Google Marketplace DRM cracked
    As the Register explains, the break was relatively simple predicated on the ease of de-compiling Java bytecode. To be more specific, as they clarify if you read the article, the DRM itself actually has not be broken but the application code that uses the simple affirmative or negative response from the platform can be re-engineered to essentially ignore the secure check. Each app would then have to be broken in turn but the break would hold for all copies of the cracked version.
  • The RIAA may have hurt its own arguments against innocent infringement
  • RIAA pushing to eliminate DMCA safe harbors
    Mike Masnick at Techdirt does an excellent job digging out what might otherwise be a confusing claim made in the course of this story, that the RIAA doesn’t think the DMCA is working. Clearly, what they think is a failure is the small and flawed free speech safety valve of safe harbors from liability for ISPs. Their reasoning tends to the absurd, that because the trade association cannot monitor enough traffic to reach whatever its current goals are in curbing infringement through DMCA takedown requests, they think the law should be re-written to directly deputize ISPs to do their enforcement work for them.

feeds | grep links > Linux Foundation’s Compliance Program, Leaked Google Privacy Document, KDE 4.5, and More

Day two of my trip and the main event, the Cassandra Summit, was excellent. Jet lag and tromping around San Francisco on foot this evening have wiped me out. The hotel WiFi has also decided not to cooperate, slowing down and acting generally very flakey.

Tomorrow I’ll be in training all day and then catching the red eye home. Not sure if or when I’ll be able to blog, so if you don’t even seen a list of links, you’ll know why and I’ll be back Thursday.

feeds | grep links > Internet Kill Switch, Fair Use before DRM in Brazil, and More

Following Up for the Week Ending 6/20/2010

Nintendo Drawing Scrutiny for Its DRM

I saw this story yesterday and initially wasn’t going to comment. However, the more I considered it, the more I think this is worth calling out. At play here are not technical decisions and limitations, but rather business policies.

As John Mix Meyer at Wired explains, new models of Nintendo’s console are drawing to light limits surrounding the downloadable content of which many users have partaken. The inability to transfer downloaded games is an issue that owners of failed consoles had already encountered. It arises from tying of the downloads to a specific machine rather to a user account that would be de-coupled from any particular machine.

I seem to remember having to set up an account to buy credits which are necessary to expend on most downloads. As the article points out, the other two consoles do not suffer from this problem, allowing re-downloads to different consoles from the same account. The article does go on to explain that some owners have gotten titles transferred but with varying degrees of difficulty.

Regardless of the overall rate of success, there does appear to be an override and the issues described sound like they arise from policy, procedure or both.

While Nintendo says it is “looking into” allowing users to transfer games, Electronic Entertainment Design and Research analyst Jesse Divnich told Wired.com the company is working out the kinks in its digital distribution system. He expects the problem to be solved once Nintendo’s next-gen home console comes out.

As the owner of both a Wii and a DSi, I’ll add that lately Nintendo has been pushing hard in its newsletters on downloadable content. It seems a bit late in the game to work out these issues but hopefully they will avoid a disaster of Sony proportions when more folks opt to buy one of the newer model consoles or when the game maker eventually debuts their next generation console. I would go further and say a more proactive and consumer friendly response here would be a huge opportunity to earn a lot of customer goodwill when other consoles are repeatedly in the news, inspiring owner ire.

feeds | grep links > Flash DRM Version 2.0 and Mozilla Chief Departs

Slow news day for me. Partly I think it is because Diaspora is just now making the rounds and I already wrote about it a few days ago. Much of the rest of the items I found made their way into my bucket for follow up stories.

  • Adobe adds selective output control to Flash DRM
    I have no idea how widely used the previous version Flash Access was to try to gauge how likely typical users are to see this new version in action. In essence, as Chris Foreman at Ars Technica explains, it picks up all the worst ideas from HDTV and cable, allowing content providers to disable output through untrusted devices and selectively disable classes of output devicesaltogether.
  • Mozilla CEO is leaving
    The Register has a link to John Lilly’s own words on his departure. It really doesn’t look like there is anything to worry about here (though I wouldn’t mind hearing the same, confidentially if necessary) from a Mozilla insider. Sounds like his first love is startups and Mozilla no longer fits the bill. Good luck to John in his future endeavors and to Mozilla in finding a new chief lizard wrangler.

Following Up for the Week Ending 5/2/2010

feeds | grep links > Massive Gopher Torrent, Streaming DRM’s Ills, More Fennec on Android, and Suit Over Linux on PS3

  • All of gopher space as a single download
    Cory at Boing Boing has this bit of digital archiving. I was a bit surprised at the size of the data, given that gopher, a predecessor of the web, is only text. Still, making it available as a torrent makes a great deal of sense to help ensure this snapshot is preserved.
  • What’s wrong with streaming DRM
    Nina Paley follows up on her decision not to pursue Netflix streaming of “Sita” because of the non-optional DRM. Mostly she takes apart the received wisdom that streaming content cannot be saved on a receiving system, anyway, so DRM doesn’t change the analysis. She explains how this is dangerous and leads to a sort of technical illiteracy that allows DRM to burrow deeper into the systems we use.
  • More details on Fennec pre-alpha for Android
    Ryan Paul at Ars Technica has some more detail on the new build of Fennec now available for Android. In addition to his first hand observations in terms of its speed and usability, he digs a bit into the under the cover details. The build is a thin Java wrapper that uses JNI to thunk to native code. The Gecko rendering engine is used for much of the chrome as well as the web pages themselves. That may mean that the Android specific code is fairly small, easing my initial concerns about cost of maintaining the port.
  • Class action suit file against Sony for removing Linux from PS3
    According to the Thinq article to which Slashdot links, the claim is deceptive and unfair trade practices. There may also be another lawsuit coming on this same issue. Sony is trying to use its EULA as a defense so the suit could test the validity of clickwrap licenses, at least in the California district where it is being pursued.

Nina Paley Turns Down Netflix Streaming of Sita

I’ve repeatedly written about and even interviewed Nina Paley, following the course of her experiment with distributing and commercializing her wonderful, feature length film, “Sita Sings the Blues”. I admire Nina the most for embracing the commercialization of her work and really exploring the space of possible business models that might help earn back her considerable investment. She strikes an incredible balance between supporting the open commons and deriving real monetary value from her work in a way I think is ethically sustainable.

I first became aware of her most recent challenge when she put a call out via Facebook yesterday. She asking for advice on whether she should authorize “Sita” for streaming via Netflix’s online service. At issue is whether the DRM used by the video rental company was a step too far.

She shared a post today offering more details of how this question came up and her thought process around the opportunity. Like Cory Doctorow’s investigations into the DRM used by Audible, she tried to find out if she could first get an exception to the DRM used by Netflix. Failing that, she asked if they would run a pre-roll message indicating the film is available for download, without DRM, and where to find it. That also was a no go.

Ultimately, John Gilmore convinced her that the greater reach of Netflix’s streaming was not worth sacrificing her principles on avoiding DRM as it foils the free spread of works. I love her concluding thought, seeing her bring the same courage and experimental spirit to this question that has guided the film’s spread so far.

What I want to know is, where can we “Sita” fans write to let Netflix know that we would gladly stream the film if only they would offer creators a DRM-free option?

iPad Jailbroken

I realize this is perhaps poor timing with my fit of pique about iPad updates and posts earlier today. However, I feel I’d be remiss for not sharing a story (from Slashdot among others) about the cracking of the device. It is part of a larger trend I have been following, a trend that even affects more open gadgets like Android based phones. I think it also resonates with the urgings to consider the open/closed push-pull that Danny O’Brien explained in his earlier post about the proprietary nature of the iPad.

The hacker in question, MuscleNerd, hasn’t released any code yet, just a video demonstrating his claimed accomplishment. Given that the iPhone, which has been cracked for some time, shares the same OS as the iPad, I tend to think the claim is credible. Even if it isn’t it is a strong indicator that Apple’s attempts to prevent exertion of owner override are ultimately doomed.