What are startups about?
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
Over the past few days, I’ve been writing about the Microsoft/AOL deal and why I think that it is a dangerous one to all of us. My core fear about the deal is that it will increase lock-up in the Internet space due to a new concept called Digital Rights Management. When using such a system, content is encrypted based on a number of criteria. My fear is not that the content will be encrypted (after all, it should be OK for vendors to protect their intellectual property if they want to) but the fact that there is no DRM standard that can be shared across the industry as a whole. As a result, we could end up in what I fear will be a lock-up situation. In a recent Security Focus column, Scott Granneman highlights some of the issues surrounding that lock-up situation. Implementing a complete solution means giving more control to one particular software company. In Scott’s example, it is Microsoft. In the case of the Apple music store, that control is in the hands of Apple. Two different solutions, two different ways to handle things. As a result, there will be more fragmentation again, as content that…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“For sale, Internet historical documents and legal trouble.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