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Microsoft Zune and NBC Universal Copyright Filtering Collaboration

May 8, 2008 Fair Use , Filtering , Network Neutrality , Orphan Works , Piracy

If you haven’t read about it, the New York Times reported yesterday that: Microsoft May Build a Copyright Cop Into Every Zune. Essentially, the large content provider would withhold their content from a distributor unless the distributor put in effective measures to prevent against piracy. We’re not talking about DRM here, we’re talking about filtering software, whether it resides on the playback device like a Zune or iPod, or in the software on a syncing computer that stores the consumers’ library of music and movies like the Zune or iTunes software. This software would troll your library checking for content that was somehow infringing or unauthorized. It may even be spyware that could report back to someone about the contents of your media library.

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Content Industry Now Seeking Higher Ed Filtering Mandates in the States: REVISED

April 15, 2008 Fair Use , Filtering

NOTE: My original blog post on this topic stated that the Tennessee state legislature was on the verge of passing SB 3974, a copyright industry-supported higher ed filtering bill. As discussed below, SB 3974 has been replaced with a different (and weaker) version. I regret the error.

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Comparative internet law

April 9, 2008 Filtering , Network Neutrality

Alan Davidson visited Yale Law School today, speaking to my Internet Law class and to a large lunchtime group. Key takeaway for me: the center of gravity of internet policy is not so much in Washington any more. Discussions of Issues like ISP filtering and data retention are taking place in Europe with enormous energy. There things we might take for granted here — like avoiding online content regulation, or the undesirability of using ISPs as private police — are actively considered.

At the same time, Alan points out, architectural constraints that we also used to take for granted, like "it's too difficult to look at the packets that are crossing our networks," or "we can't know with any reliability where people are coming from who visit our sites" are melting away.

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Encryption Wars II?

March 25, 2008 DRM , Fair Use , Filtering , Piracy

On March 19, I was invited to a symposium at Penn Law entitled "Copyright and the Internet: Solutions for a Digital World." The panel before mine was dedicated to reconciling copyright and the first amendment in the areas of filtering, takedown notices, and fair use.

The panel discussion was fascinating, and covered more ground than I can do justice to here. What I want to focus on was a particular point addressed by Jannifer Pariser, Senior Vice President of Sony BMG's Litigation and Anti-Piracy department.

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Thursday links

March 14, 2008 Broadband , FCC , Filtering

The House Commerce committee investigation of the FCC continues. According to the Washington Post, a detailed letter signed by Rep. Dingell has gone out to the FCC asking for a host of documents that (among other things) relate to “management practices that may adversely affect the Commission’s ability both to discharge effectively its statutory duties and to guard against waste, fraud, and abuse.” This is serious – business as usual at the Commission must be under severe pressure, and the idea of real structural reform of the Commission (and perhaps a new telecommunications act) can now be talked about with some confidence. This won’t happen now, but it could be happening a year from now.

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