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.