A Copyright Counterintuition, A Thorny Privacy Ruling, and More

  • A counter-intuitive case about copyright
    Mike Masnick at Techdirt comments on story about which he had previously been reluctant to talk because the role and interpretation of copyright seems counter to what many might feel is intuitively right. I tend to agree with Masnick’s interpretation, which is based on an excellent explanation at the Consumerist, namely that the artist being copied really doesn’t have a basis for claiming copyright protection nor should he need it.
  • BitTorrent continues to add network management friendly features
    Back in August, the uTP version of the protocol added some statically configured options to cap bandwidth to help alleviate the concerns of ISPs. According to TorrentFreak, they are continuing in this vein with their latest beta which adds the ability to detect network congestion and automatically adjust. Some are skeptical but rather than being critical, why not help improve the implementation, supporting the intent, pitching in to fix cases where the beta doesn’t appear to behave as advertised.
  • UK government tries to draft model copyright contracts
    According to The Register this project sounds a lot like the Creative Commons except that they are template contracts rather than conditions on copyright. The issue of how this effects general limits and exceptions on copyright is an important one to track. Locking up exceptions wholly in contractual enforcement would actually worsen the norm of having to acquire permission by default rather than freeing up cultural re-use and free speech.
  • Simple mechanical computer plays and learns tic-tac-toe
    Cory posted this fascinating story on BoingBoing about a mechanical computer built using match boxes, beans and beads. From the description, it sounds like it also acts as a sort of simple neural network, adjusting the weighting of certain contingencies over time. Very clever to consider that anything can be used to represent these states, not just the usual electronics we take for granted.
  • First beta of next Firefox release
    RWW details what is in the beta and hence what we can expect in the final release of 3.6. Sounds largely like an incremental improvement though the speed boost will be appreciated across the board.
  • A reading platform targeting the BookServer project
    Via DaringFireball. This looks equally ambitious to the Internet Archive’s server project. This seems to do one better than Google’s editions, but not only being very clear about the supported formats, most notably ePub, but also explaining that it will support offline reading. The trick will be using HTML5’s offline storage feature for browsers that support it. Can’t wait for any kind of public release to play with this reader and see how it stacks up.
  • A thorny email privacy ruling
    To be clear, a warrant is still required here, the issue is that this federal judge has ruled that notice need not be given when such a warrant is executed to search your email stored with a third party. I recommend you read the analysis as this is nowhere near as cut and dried as we might like. In particular, there is a legal doctrine that results in a similar practice for traditional, offline searches.

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