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Amazon Feared the Bad, Crushed the Good, and Made the Bad Worse

March 18, 2009 DMCA , DRM

Technology is never inherently bad, it may have bad uses. So we must encourage the good uses and steer from the bad. When hobbyists at mobileread.com wrote a guide for reading legally purchased third-party books on a Kindle, Amazon lawyers demanded the guide’s removal. Instead of encouraging the good uses, Amazon feared the bad and made it worse.

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PK Tells FTC: DRM Harms Consumers

February 17, 2009 DMCA , DRM

Public Knowledge recently filed comments with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) highlighting the adverse impact of the use of DRM technologies on consumers. Our comment focused on three areas: frustration of consumer expectations, constraining consumer's rights under copyright law, and the use of DRM for anti-competitive purposes.

In view of incidents such as the Sony Rootkit scandal and the Spore incident where DRM was installed on consumers' computer without their knowledge and used to subvert their control, we are suggesting that the FTC put in place a standardized labeling scheme.

We are also hopeful that the agency will recommend further changes to the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA so that its harmful effects on consumers will be mitigated. The FTC plans to hold hearings on the issue in Seattle on March 25, 2009. The event is free to the public and will be webcast.

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Owning History

January 23, 2009 DMCA , Public Domain

Much blog ink has been spilt over HBO's handling of the Inaugural Concert broadcast. Setting aside the omission of Rev. Robinson from the live broadcast, word is that HBO made YouTube remove people's personal recordings of the concert.

The details of this remain scant, but the ongoing implications of such actions are alarming.

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It’s A Whole New Telecom Team in Washington

January 14, 2009 DMCA , FCC , Network Neutrality

There is a lot of the buzz in Washington about the selection of Julius Genachowski to be the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Genachowski's expected appointment, while significant, is still one-third of the new telecom line-up that includes three new chairmen in the Senate and House. The result of these seismic changes will be the landscape will be shifting (in some places more than others) beneath the feet of the industries which have heavily influenced the mechanisms of power for so long.

Genachowski went to law school with Barack Obama, worked on the Harvard Law Review and shot hoops with the president-elect. He is the former chief counsel to then-FCC Chairman Reed Hundt, and so was integral to the Commission at the dawn of internet technology. He also went on to work with Barry Diller at IAC and then helped to fund new companies.

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“You Got Your Copyright in My Politics!” “You Got Your Politics in My Copyright!”

October 29, 2008 DMCA , Fair Use

The interactions between campaigning and copyright law continue to crop up, as this latest development shows.

Matthew Bradley, a photographer, recently received an email noting that an online political ad seemed to be using one of Bradley's Creative Commons-licensed photos without proper attribution.

Bradley has posted a picture of Rep.

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