How much money does Netflix spend on securing content?
As a member of both the New York Library and Creative Commons, I received a lot of advance notice about this week’s discussion entitled “The Battle Over Books: Authors and Publishers Take on the Google Print Library Project”. And, thanks to Larry Lessig, I got a chance to be in the audience during this match-up which forced me to reshape my thinking about Google, about Web 2.0, and about copyright regimes. Framing the debate The discussion centered largely around the Google Print Library Project and Google’s decision to scan books without first asking for authorization from the copyright holders. They do content, however, that they will remove books from their index if the copyright holder asks them to do so. In the last few months, the Author’s Guild and the American Association of Publishers have sued Google, alleging violations of copyright law. Meanwhile, a separate effort set up by some of Google’s competitors (notably Yahoo! and Microsoft) and called the Open Content Alliance has taken an opt-in approach to scanning copyright holdings, including only content that is no longer under copyright protection or content that has been expressly authorized by the copyright holder. This effort has not been sued by…Read More
Paul Graham published a great essay on the parallels between hackers and painters. I find it funny that this would come up on the net this week as I was pondering some of the same things in the past few weeks, since I visited the amazing Da Vinci show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this year. I’d like to add a few points to Paul’s discussion on this, however. Unlike other great forms of art, great programming is more appreciated for its risk taking at the time at which it happens. For example, if you visit the Musee D’Orsay, which covers the full range of 19th century art, you come to realize that the paintings that received the most prizes in art competitions were not the ones that took the most risks. They were generally more bland and the more daring pieces were often the cause of much controversy and shunned by the “people who mattered”. In the same fashion, some of the greatest books in history have had very rough beginning, often being recognized as masterpieces only years after their author’s death. In the programming world, however, a great piece of code is highly praised for its ingenuity…Read More
A new worm called Hybris has been spreading across computers in Europe, the United States and South America. While it currently carries a non-destructive payload, some Anti Virus developers are worried that its plug-in architecture could turn it into a much more dangerous virus, opening backdoors in computer systems and escalating the war between virus makers and anti-virus developers. First discovered in South America by Kapersky Labs, a Russian anti-virus developer, the worm has spread through email to Europe and the United States at an increasing pace. “Hybris is one of the more common virus we’re seeing right now,” said Brian Kinj, a member of the technical staff at the CERT coordination center. Because it carries a non-destructive payload, the anti-virus community has been split over the threat level the virus represents. In the United States, the Joint Task Force Computer Network Defense, a division of the US department of defense, has upgraded the virus to a high-risk status. Meanwhile, European virus tracker Peter Kruse, of virus112.com, has announced on Usenet that his company was upgrading the virus threat to a medium risk status, due to the recent spread of the virus in Europe. Companies like Symantec and Sophos, however,…Read More
The leading contender for the communications protocol that facilitates the world’s business transactions is designed to transmit data over HTTP, in the clear. Although some of the creators of Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) have expressed concern, the consortium responsible for redrafting SOAP into the new Extensible Markup Language (XML) Protocol is nearing agreement that security is, simply put, not their problem. In the meantime — and possibly as a result– Microsoft and Verisign have just announced a new security procedure for person-to-person SOAP transactions, but a workable mechanism for securing Internet transactions between software and software may be years away. Some of SOAP’s architects contend that building security into their protocol would only sacrifice its simplicity, and that the HTTP sessions that SOAP transactions rely on can already be secured at the session level, with protocols such as SSL. Moreover, securing sessions from outside interception, security experts believe, cannot protect transactions from two other perceived threats: interception from the inside and bad programming. With a protocol extension to SOAP for message attachments in the works, a third possible threat emerges — one that too many have become familiar with: malicious scripts. Chris Dix, a SOAP programmer with FMStrategies, sides…Read More
“For sale, Internet historical documents and legal trouble. Call Deja.com for details.” This is not exactly the way Deja.com presented themselves but ultimately, this may be what transpires from their recent attempt to put the Usenet archives on sale. Usenet History For those of you who have never heard of Usenet, here’s a quick definition from the Usenet FAQ: Usenet is a world-wide distributed discussion system. It consists of a set of “newsgroups” with names that are classified hierarchically by subject. “Articles” or “messages” are “posted” to these newsgroups by people on computers with the appropriate software — these articles are then broadcast to other interconnected computer systems via a wide variety of networks.Some newsgroups are “moderated”; in these newsgroups, the articles are first sent to a moderator for approval before appearing in the newsgroup. Usenet is available on a wide variety of computer systems and networks, but the bulk of modern Usenet traffic is transported over either the Internet or UUCP. To put it simply, prior to the web, Usenet was what defined the Internet as a community. It covers subjects ranging from politics to computing, arts to news, and everything in between. Usenet, to the old timers was…Read More