Archive for March, 2005

(IP) Problems in the permanent retention of electronic records

Pat Galloway’s course, INF 392K – Problems in Permanent Retention of Electronic Records currently has a very interesting project in which they are attempting to create a digital institutional repository, likely using DSpace.

I sat in on part of the course this morning because I was interested in the copyright issues associated with the project. The project is not only going to digitaize the School of Information web site, but also wishes to digitize faculty information, including publications.

Here are just a few of the questions that were raised:
1. Can a faculty member sign over typical fair use rights or the right to archive their work?
2. How does the existence of such a contract affect section 108 exemptions?
3. Does the section 108 exemption apply to institutional repositories such as this that are not necessarily associated with the official UT Libraries or other traditional archival institutions?
4. In issues of joint authorship, what kinds of permissions are necessary from the authors before including their works in such a repository, when the secondary author may not have a connection to the institution? (This became more of an ethical question than a legal question.)
5. Is placing a document online in this manner “publication” for purposes of evaluating exclusive publishing contracts?
6. What kinds of authorization restrictions need to be made available for this type of archiving, and does a “born digital” object have different requirements then a digitized object?

There were more, but those are a start.


Copyright Astonishment

I’m amazed by what I think are complete fabrications in many University and computer lab copyright policies and advice- including some I’ve found around UT (not including the brilliant Crash Course in Copyright, one of the best copyright resources available). I’ll share some later.


Grokster v. MGM

The oral arguments for Grokster v. MGM took place today.
For those of you who might not know, this case is quite important to the future of copyright here in the US. And it puts the Betamax doctrine pretty much on trial (which, basically, states that as long as a product is capable of noninfringing uses, it is a legal product). There are several blogs carrying stories about the arguments, including EFF’s Deep Links.

Scrivener’s Error also has commentary. I very much enjoy the blog, despite my complete disagreement with his copyright infringement=theft arguments (and many of his arguments in Ellison v. Robertson et al [AOL]) . The blog is very well written and I tend to view the great majority of the viewpoints favorably. One of the great services that he provides is the perspective of the author (rather than the more commonly seen publisher/distributer/RIAA/MPAA). He strongly favors author and moral rights, and provides an understandable voice for that view. While I disagree with the amount of protection a work should receive, I do agree that the current system is out of whack, and overall the blog is great reading. ^_-


Morning Musume watches the Ring

Saw this link on Boing Boing.
Morning Musume was really popular when Holly was teaching in Japan in 2003. When I visited her, I ran across Morning Musume trading cards at anime and manga stores (most notably at Gamers in Akihabara), saw their show on television, and heard them on the radio. They were everywhere. 😛 Anyway, they’re one of Japan’s marketing-created Idol groups.
Here they are watching the Ring.


TSA: Liar, liar

So, as it turns out, the TSA lied about their privacy protection practices. I can’t say that I’m shocked, but it is disturbing. I can only hope that there will be repercussions to these actions…


Japanese study finds P2P has no negative impact on sales…

Quite the contrary, actually…
English PDF of Japanese P2P study


Taubman Sucks

Wow. If you have a lot of time on your hands, this trademark and copyright case about mall company Taubman”, about a Website about a mall here in Texas, is an interesting read. I started reading it expecting it only to take a few minutes, and here I am about an hour and a half later…

In a nutshell: Guy made a website about a mall. Company sued for trademark infringment. Along the way, company’s lawyers were really lame. Guy wins (with help from Public Knowledge).
The end.

The story is also a very good example of what a pain in the ass some civil procedure is, and how a person absolutely has to have a lawyer when they’re sued like this- which IMHO, sucks.


RIAA chatter on Unisog list

There’s a lot of chatter about recent actions by the RIAA on the SANS Unisog (University Security Operations Group) list. (For some reason, not all the messages are appearing on the listserv, but there are more there.) Apparently, the RIAA is informing the universities that they will be subpeoned as to the identity of particular users. I’m not sure if those letters of intent indicate that the university in question should be treating their records retention in any way differently then they have been treating it. The letters allegedly cite 18 USC 2703(f) (see the link to the message above). My questions are: does that statute apply, and if so is the university then required to save those logs upon receiving that notice? That portion of the law seems to apply to governmental entities, so I would think that once the government requested it you would need to, but not when the RIAA requests it. But IANAL. I’ll have to find someone to ask.

On an unrelated related note ^_-, it’s interesting how security or IT people are often the people who receive DMCA notices. In my experience, not all of us are particularly copyright savvy, although that is changing to some extent. Thankfully, a lot of us have access to legal counsel. ^_^


MP3 of Siva Vaidhyanathan Interview


Interview with Siva Vaidhyanathan

Back from audio hell. ^_^

I had the chance to interview Siva Vaidhyanathan yesterday, which was a great experience. He comes across as a very cool guy and he really is an excellent speaker. I had already gotten that impression from students who’d seen him at TLA last year, but it was definitely confirmed. Unlike the other interviews I’ve done, he didn’t get a copy of the questions beforehand. I was really impressed with his articulate responses. Especially since I sound like such a dork. 😛

So on the technology side of things, I was planning to use the same equipment I used when I interviewed Wendy Seltzer. Prof. Vaidhyanathan requested that we make it available for podcasting, so I used a slightly nicer digital audio recorder (though another Olympus DSS), which again I fed into a ClearOne conference phone. Here’s where the fun starts. The conference phone, since last I used it, has developed a short in the power cable somewhere. It uses a sole source (and quite possibly proprietary) cable, so I had no luck finding a replacement part. I managed to get the phone to work, but I had to stick it down next to the Mac on the floor of my office. As a result I was crouching on the floor through most of the interview. ^_^; [Note to self- track down replacement cable and/or phone.]

I messed up pronouncing his name on the phone, of course, which is really just embarrassing since I’ve always been able to pronounce it before. 😛 But the interview went well, and it was very good to get his take on these subjects- Hatch on the IP committee, the state of fair use, etc. Then the real fun began.

The Olympus software allows the conversion from their dss file to a wav file. Great. I converted it into a wav, no problem. Then the editing and conversion came, and abandon all hope ye who enter here.

I first used WavePad, which had some great editing capabilities but for some reason blew the file size up to about 15 times it’s size. So that was a no go. After looking around a bit, I eventually ended up using Camtasia Studio’s Audio Editor. Then I was ready to convert the file to mp3. No problem, right? I’ve done it plenty of times before.
-The Protools box is elsewhere on campus, so I couldn’t use it.
-Audacity and Peak use LameLib to convert to MP3. Lamelib crashed with an MFsize error, I assume because the file size was too large for it to handle. I didn’t find very much information about the error online. This failed process took a long, long time, because I had been trying to edit the files with the noise reduction plug-ins. The first Mac I used crash without an error message. The second Mac I used finally popped up with one. The PC had the same problem. Arg. (Although I swear I’ve converted larger files and longer clips before.)
-Around this time yesterday evening I decided it was time to go home to my wife, and we played WoW for awhile. 😛
-Toast and Jam were having problems that I’m going to need to take a look at when I have more time (trying to make an MP3 CD failed, no specific error listed).
-iTunes wouldn’t even give me the option.
-Most of the other open source tools I found also relied on lame, so the same problems I had with Audacity came up.
-Finally, I looked at to see what was out there. I stumbled across Cheetah Burner, and it appears to have finally worked. They have my semi-eternal gratitude.

The MP3 will be posted next, as soon as I beg for my course account quota to be increased. ^_-


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