Links of the week 27/01/12

After terrific year, music biz demands that world adopt SOPA plus
Despite growth in online revenues the IFPI pushes for yet more legislation to be adopted by governments worldwide.

The President’s Post-SOPA Challenge: All Right, You Come Up with a Solution!
Having upset Hollywood with the White House’s opposition to SOPA the President seeks some appeasement by asking for solutions from the tech industry that won’t break the internet.

New Righthaven offers hosting service “with a spine”
Swiss ISP that purchased domain from failed copyright troll uses it to launch a web-hosting service.

Google Reincarnates Dead Paper Mill as Data Center of Future
Google uses the frigid nature of the Baltic Sea to cool one of its new data centres.

Disappointing Ruling in Compelled Laptop Decryption Case
Colorado judge rules that a defendant cannot receive protection under the fifth amendment to prevent being compelled to reveal her decryption key.

Why History Needs Software Piracy
Without software piracy we would have lost our digital heritage.

EMI Boss Opposes SOPA, Says Piracy is a Service Issue
EMI’s VP of Urban Promotions Craig Davis believes that the key to solving piracy isn’t legislation, but innovation.

I do believe that a person should be compensated for their work. I feel that piracy is a big issue, and things like Spotify will assist in combating this problem,

Digital economy bill passed – file-sharing will carry on regardless

The Digital economy bill has been passed and now just awaits the Royal Assent.

I think that the bill will spectacularly fail to prevent file-sharing instead it will be a boon for the companies that offer virtual private networking services and teenagers will start file-sharing offline by exchanging DVD-ROMs full of MP3s.

I’m torn with regard to the Liberal Democrats as my local MP is Don Foster who not only voted against the bill, but was present at the barely attended second reading of the bill and argued against it in the debate. I’m displeased with the party as a whole though as they didn’t oppose the bill and it was Lib Dem peers Lords Razzall and Clement Jones who sought to amend the Digital Economy Bill to allow site blocking for copyright infringement, although in the end that clause was dropped.

"Offline" filesharing recognised as a threat

Call for study of threat from “offline” filesharing

Policymakers urgently need better information on people’s attitudes to copyright law, according to a report out today warning that friends swapping hard drives and memory sticks could pose as great a piracy threat to media companies as online filesharers.

Storage capacity is going steadily up and up, cost per GB is steadily coming down and bits are never going to be hard to copy.

No matter what steps corporations and governments take to combat file-sharing it will be impossible to stamp it out completely.

Happy Public Domain Day

January 1st is Public Domain Day, the day when the copyright terms for many works expires, which in many cases is 70 years after the death of the creators unless you live in Australia where it is merely 50 years. [via]

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 would have entered the public domain today in the US if they hadn’t repeatedly extended copyright terms.

For Bradbury’s book, this means that the reading public, the braille printer, the budding playwright, the school library face either higher prices, or legal restrictions on reuse or both. And they get no benefit from it. Clearly, the incentive of 28 + 28 years was enough to encourage him to write the book and the publisher to publish it. The evidence is that.. it happened. Retrospectively extending copyright is deadweight social loss — harm without benefit.

Movie industry adopts a softer approach in the fight against piracy

You wouldn’t steal a car. You wouldn’t steal a DVD. Piracy is theft.

The anti-piracy ads that were so wonderfully spoofed by the sitcom The IT Crowd will now be replaced by a softer message thanking viewers for supporting the industry in a series of ads spoofing classic films such as Jaws, Life of Brian and Lord of the Rings.

The ads, part of an anti-piracy campaign called “You Make the Movies”, mark a shift by film and TV content owners from a “stick” to a “carrot” strategy in marketing their message about copyright infringement.

In the New York Times, Author’s Guild president Roy Blount Jr. castigates the Kindle’s text-to-speech feature, claiming that it infringes copyright as it effectively is creating an audiobook without the right to do so. [via]

I think Blount’s argument contains a kernel of truth but he’s chosen the wrong target, the problem is not the technology but the agreements that authors might have with publishers.

It may be a long way off but eventually TTS is going to be good enough that a significant number of people will choose to buy ebooks to be read aloud on their device instead of buying an audiobook narrated by a human being.

This should be of no concern to authors as long as they get the same amount of compensation whichever form their work is sold in. I’m not privy to the rights agreements that authors might have with their publishers but if their is a difference then authors should take the advice of Neil Gaiman’s agent.

We’ve sold audiobook rights and print book rights as separate things. We must stop this.

I think that the only people who should be concerned by the future in which ‘audiobooks’ are all computer generated on the fly (if indeed that ever does come to pass) are the actors who work as narrators and the recording studios where audiobooks are recorded.

Andy Burnham: Extending copyright is the moral thing to do

UK ignores logic, backs 20-year music copyright extension

Ignoring the findings of the Government funded Gowers Report which concluded that copyright extension would yield little benefit Culture Minister Andy Burnham wishes to press ahead with extending copyright for musical recordings by 20 years arguing that there is a moral case.

Only having 50 years to exploit their copyright will leave artists destitute in their twilight years apparently even though evidence suggests that the hypothetical musician that is still popular enough to still be selling records over five decades after they’ve been released but not popular enough that they’ve not made a ton of money over those 50 years doesn’t exist.

Indiana Jones silenced by Paramount

Adrian McCarthy a reader of the website BoingBoing has alerted them to the fact that Paramount are silencing portions of the soundtrack to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull as an effort to deter and detect piracy.

This is an audio form of Coded Anti-Piracy which typically is a distinguishing patterns of dots printed in several frames of a film print.

However the effect shouldn’t complete silence instead the system should switch from digital to analog sound and shouldn’t be noticeable by the majority of the audience.

Film-Tech forums projectionists talk about this. Digital drop out to analog and if the sound output levels of the two hasn’t been matched there will be an audible difference and in particularly shoddy set ups with no switch to analog there will be a complete silence until the digital system reacquires the track.