Odd Trio Frees the Patent Database, Lulu to Start Offering DRM, and More

  • A coalition of the unlikely frees the patent database
    Carl Malamud explains at O’Reilly Radar how so-called zero dollar deals by government agencies often lead to proprietary lock-in of public data. He then explains how three unlikely comrades–Intellectual Ventures, Google, and the Internet Archive–cooperated to prevent this wholesale capture from happening with the patent office’s database.
  • Surprisingly nuanced understanding of copyright demonstrated by WIPO
    KEI explains this refreshing contrast to the ACTA negotiations that took place at roughly the same time. In several presentations, this WIPO gathering showed that at least some players get how enforcement may be counter to economic development and in some cases piracy may even benefit the original goods.
  • Lulu starts offering DRM
    This is really, really unfortunate especially giving the open source background of Lulu’s founders. It appears to be part of a larger push towards embracing ebook formats beyond PDF but I think it is pretty much inexcusable.
  • Making deterrence more effective through targeted copyright enforcement
    Ed Felten discusses a more behaviorally or psychologically informed approach to using punishment as a deterrence that might have allowed the RIAA to better achieve its stated goals for its law suits with fewer actual cases potentially brought to court.
  • Public interest groups protest rumored merger between Comcast, NBC
    Cecilia Kang has the rumor at the Post along with responses from public interest groups already set to protest. Media consolidation to this concentrated degree is certainly a concern. I am more concerned about the cable operator having a larger stack higher up in the network stack will make it even more aggressive in its attempts to discriminate in favor of its own content and offerings.
  • Inspiration from biology might help Moore’s Law
    According to the MIT Technology Review, the technique is stochastic resonance, a sort of contingent probability applied to build what sounds like a constructive signal in the presence of noise. Increasing noise is one of the less discussed challenges with ever shrinking computing components.
  • New data breach bills
    One prod to get the market to act in better faith towards consumers private data has been the idea of requiring notification when that data is breached. Jacqui Cheung at Ars describes two bills attempting to enact this measure once more, despite past failures when industry has resisted with its lobbying might citing cost and other concerns. Hopefully these bills make it farther, I am not entirely optimistic based on those past failures.
  • Rupert Murdoch is insane in his denial of fair use, removing sites from Google
    Mike Masnick shares the story at Techdirt. I cannot fathom how someone working in media today can be this far removed from reality. The only consolation, really, is that this specific move should damage Murdoch’s properties pretty much exclusively. Google and the rest of the infosphere won’t suffer as the vacuum gets filled by motivated and more clueful competitors.

2 Replies to “Odd Trio Frees the Patent Database, Lulu to Start Offering DRM, and More”

    1. I am sorry, but citing the author’s choice is a thin rationale. His reasoning around physical books is tortured at best. Physical books also enabled the first sale rights that DRM denies to purchasers of electronic editions, plain and simple. He is effectively saying that the author’s choice is more valid than the consumer’s choice which is a dangerous position to pursue to its logical conclusion. I hate to burst the rest of his bubble about this cute physicality-as-crude-DRM anecdote–I can easily share the anecdotes about book pirates who at marginal cost can slice the spine of a book, drop it into a sheet feeder on a scanner and within hours have a digital copy that is just as cheap to spread as an original digital copy.

      If Bob wants to help authors succeed, why doesn’t he work harder at bringing cost down instead of raising prices? What about other positive opportunities, to expand distribution even further or help lower the other barriers to success many authors who would use a POD service might encounter? DRM has yet to prove conclusively that it has any effect one way or the other on the success of a creator’s work. Even if we look at this from a pure business perspective as Bob seems to be asking, DRM just looks like a distraction.

      Bob’s attempt to decouple this from RedHat doesn’t help, in fact, it has lessened my opinion of him. I don’t doubt now that this is his thought process with regards to open source. We certainly have seen any number of companies espouse a similar view. More the fool me for thinking he supported openness for any reason other than business gain. At least I know where he is coming from now and can adjust my expectations accordingly.

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