Week in Review for 5/3/2009

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  • EU extends music copyright twenty years
    Ars’ Nate Anderson covers not just the passage but the debate leading up to it. The primary mover on the extension wanted a near doubling of the term so this extension is being touted as a compromise. Hard to see it as anything but opening the door to continual extensions and perpetual copyright, especially with an explicit request to also look at extension of term for movies.
  • The woman who established fair use
    The fair use framework Ringer helped codify, as problematic as it often is today, is better than no limits on intellectual monopoly other than term limits. Extending those terms to lifetime plus fifty years seems like a steep price in retrospect though.
  • MS announces Twitter clone
    I have no doubt at all that Vine will be an incredibly crummily implemented also ran. No chance in hell it will adopt the open micro-blogging protocol, the only possible silver lining. Undoubtedly the bundling with Live will cram it down enough throats to make it linger on longer than if Microsoft had to launch it on its own merits.
  • Ubuntu 9.04 makes screen even easier to use
    Ryan Paul at Ars gives a good survey of what Ubuntu has compiled into the screen-profiles package in Jaunty. I count screen as a goto utility on Linux and this highlights Ubuntu’s strongest contribution, enhancing user facing code even if they don’t commit as much upstream to the kernel and other lower level programs as much as their critics would prefer.
  • Taiwan passes a three strikes law but details unclear
    Masnick at Techdirt does a pretty good job of digging out the ambiguities. Primarily that ISPs optionally can restrict access though the form of restriction is unspecified. More worrisome is the handling of identifying data with claims and counter claims. I think he nailed the potential for chilling counter claims if consumers than open themselves up to being identified.
  • UK minister rules out three strikes rule
    As the Register reports, the UK government is still committed to fighting piracy, this is just a follow up after industry has apparently been able to partly compromise on the issue.
  • Another open cloud initiative
    The Register has the details, including a surprising list of participants that includes both IBM and Microsoft. This particular effort seems more practical, focusing on the logistics of portable VMs.
  • Military experiments with methods from open source development
    I see this just as a continuation of the spread of peer production models. I am a bit concerned to see such a glib reference to Web 2.0 but if the program accomplishes even half of its goals, then there is promise more agencies will consider using more de-centralized and open tools.
  • Holographic storage breakthrough
    via Hacker News, this NYT piece does an excellent job of laying out the history of research into holographic storage. It also explains clearly that this in lab break through involves improving reflectivity of smaller scale materials to the point where they perform well with the kinds of lasers used in Blu-ray players.
  • European research council funds secure OS development
    The grant is for the MINIX project which is the very same OS that inspired the creation of Linux. The funded research will be into adding the ability for the OS to automatically fix its own bugs. Not much detail on how that would work, the linked ITworld piece just talks about aggressive sandboxing of code modules, really.
  • SCOTUS backs FCC procedure for profanity
    According to the NYT this had more to do with the complaints of Martin’s approach to rule making than issues of free speech. That latter have apparently been handed back to the lower court to be settled on matters other than questioning how Martin’s FCC made policy.
  • Another Swedish ISP stops retaining IP addresses in logs
    Ars’ Jacqui Cheung highlights the possible end to these efforts, the possible pending implementation of the EU data retention rules passed in 2006.
  • EFF calls for Congressional oversight of FBI data mining
    The EFF has published what it has been able to find through FOIA but is now pressing Congress as they haven’t been able to get further information despite renewed claims of open-ness by the Obama administration.
  • Ninth court rejects states secret opinion
    The EFF has a good explanation of the strengths of this ruling. Most importantly is it should allow at least one of their wiretapping cases to proceed.
  • Miro announces clever fund raiser
    I suppose this is a clever way to engender feels of patronage for the project. Really, it is not too dissimilar to the swag you get for more traditional donations. It does show they get that right now their most likely donors are fairly geeky, early adopters.
  • Warner Music issues DMCA takedown to Lessig
    As Masnick at Techdirt points out, the question this begs is who is so ignorant at Warner Music to not realize they just stepped into a legal and moral bear trap by doing this?
  • Update on Warner Music takedown claim against Lessig
    According to Lessig himself on his blog, a counter claim was filed and so far is being respected. He also has a full list of the music used in the specific presentation and a link to the section that apparently prompted the takedown notice.
  • Indie gamers appeal to pirates
    Ben Kuchara at Ars has the details. It doesn’t surprise me that this came from an indie game developer. The response has as much to do with the fact that it is not a big studio, no doubt, as that ACE Team has said they won’t act to stop the piracy and are working on a demo, the lack of which no doubt acted to motivate many to download the game in the first place. This is also a win-win in terms of good PR for the developer and a bit of attention to help drive interest and business.
  • Learning a new language affecting existing coding style
    via Hacker News, a good write up by Venners at Artima. This is very much one of the points I was trying to make in my last Hacking 101 feature on the podcast.
  • JWZ debunks misperceptions of GC performance
    via Hacker News, a good bit of debunking by JWS. There are no silver bullets but skepticism over them is no excuse for not consider what might really be workable in newer schemes, like GC versus manual memory management.
  • OpenBSD 4.5 released
    via Hacker News, consider picking up a CD to support the project, especially the maintenance of OpenSSH. Better yet, if you have a server where security is of higher than usual importance, consider using OpenBSD.
  • NetBSD 5.0 released
    This looks like a pretty big update. Nice to see another open source operating system still under active development.
  • Historical antecedents of social services
    I am increasingly convinced that much of the new developments over which there is so much excitement and hand wringing are not as new as we think. Nice bit of reporting by the NYT even if the Facebook tie in is a bit of a stretch.
  • Round up of alternative data stores
    via Hacker News, pretty much a straight up shoot out of the more well known options by LWN. Even has a nice summary table with a few possible deciding factors if you are looking into such storage solutions.
  • DoJ appointees from industry will only avoid RIAA cases for 1 year
    Techdirt’s Masnick nicely summarizes the Pro Publica findings. The duration is only one limit, one of the others being the specificity. The agreement is against former clients, not the entertainment industry generally. Not encouraging at all.
  • Lessig’s remix now ccFree
    No explanation of the delay in the CC license but at least it is now freely available.
  • Why neutrality is more important than connection speed
    Cory has a nice excerpt at Boing Boing from David Isenberg’s presentation at the Broadband Properties Summit. This is a compelling positive argument for preserving some form of neutrality on the net and nicely resonates with other materials I’ve been reading from Bentler and Boyle.

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