May 18, 2002

E Development Platform Gets My Vote

For "turning the most heads" at the Etech conference last week.

Osbourne (Sharon not Ozzie) vs. Ted Nugent

In the "ask me if I care" department, Sharon Osbourne didn't bother mincing words in a NY Post catfight between Nugent and Osbourne started by the tabloid itself, obviously so they could report on it.

What is it they say: if you don't like the news, go out and make (up) some of your own?

May 16, 2002

Sonic Blue Won't Be Forced to Spy On Customers After All

"A judge on Wednesday granted digital video recorder company Sonicblue a stay in its request to reverse an order that would force it to monitor the viewing habits of its customers."

See the CNET story by Richard Shim:
Sonicblue granted stay in "spying" order .

Creative Commons at Etech 2002

My talk went great today at Etech. It's so incredible to talk to everyone and find out just how much of an incredible demand there is for easy-to-use non-commercial licenses!

The website is up now, so go check it out:

Ha! No pun intended

By that remark about Napster below!

May 14, 2002

Napster: RIP

I suppose we all knew it would happen eventually.

See the Wired News article by Brad King:
Last Rites For Napster.

Post-commons Shindig at Etech

People keep asking me who "Lulu Press" is, since they are throwing our Creative Commons a little announcement afterparty this Thursday at ETech 2002.

Turns out that LuLu Press is owned by Bob Young (of RedHat Fame) -- here's an article that explains more.

May 13, 2002

New Software Can Name That Tune (in three notes)

If you can manage to hum a few notes of a song you heard briefly into the telephone, this new student-based software will find your song for you.

Read about it in an article Joanna Corman for the LA Times:
College seniors fine-tune music search
Computer program designed in a for-credit course identifies songs by just a few notes.

This is how it works. You sing a few notes of a song into a microphone or the phone. The software converts the notes into a wave and then extracts the notes and their duration. A database has snippets of 500 melodies. The computer calculates the pitch and rhythm and then compares that data to songs already stored. The top 10 closest matches pop up. Only the "main theme" or melody of the song is stored because it is most recognizable, said Yelinek, the team leader and a computer science major. The program accounts for various versions of the song, including those in different keys. Songs can be hummed, whistled, sung or played.

"You might harmonize it differently. You might have a club mix, but still it's recognized," said Huang, a computer science and music major.

The students' project was part of a program that dates back to the early 1960s. It allows companies, government agencies and nonprofits to approach Harvey Mudd students with problems to solve. Companies give the students, mostly seniors, upward of $30,000 for their research. There have been about 1,000 clinics since the program's inception and it covers computer science, engineering, physics and math. The software, which Seet said should be available later this year, has several uses, including copyright protection. It can be used for karaoke, which Seet called a "huge market."

The Future of Digital Television Ends This Friday

Cory Doctorow has written an editorial for tha SJ Mercury News that provides the best explanation I've seen so far at what the hell is going on with this BPDG thing:
Hollywood wants a stranglehold on your digital technology.

The people who fought tooth and nail to keep VCRs off the market will have a veto over all new digital television devices, including digital television devices that interface with personal computers. The next generation of home entertainment systems will include only features that don't inspire Hollywood's dread of infringing uses, no matter what the consequences for you, the owner of the device. With today's VCR, you can record an episode of "The Simpsons'' and bring it over to a friend's house to watch. This "feature'' won't be included on the digital VCRs and DVD recorders of tomorrow until and unless Hollywood executives decide you deserve it -- until they decide that the technical means of allowing neighbor-to-neighbor sharing of video won't open the gate to the Internet piracy bogyman.

Creative Commons in the NY Times!

Amy Harmon has written a little ditty about the Creative Commons for the NY Times!

A New Direction for Intellectual Property

Perceiving an overly zealous culture of copyright protection, a group of law and technology scholars are setting up Creative Commons, a nonprofit company that will develop ways for artists, writers and others to easily designate their work as freely shareable.

Creative Commons, which is to be officially announced this week at a technology conference in Santa Clara, Calif., has nearly a million dollars in start-up money. The firm's founders argue that the expansion of legal protection for intellectual property, like a 1998 law extending the term of copyright by 20 years, could inhibit creativity and innovation. But the main focus of Creative Commons will be on clearly identifying the material that is meant to be shared. The idea is that making it easier to place material in the public domain will in itself encourage more people to do so.

The firm's first project is to design a set of licenses stating the terms under which a given work can be copied and used by others. Musicians who want to build an audience, for instance, might permit people to copy songs for noncommercial use. Graphic designers might allow unlimited copying of certain work as long as it is credited.

The goal is to make such licenses machine-readable, so that anyone could go to an Internet search engine and seek images or a genre of music, for example, that could be copied without legal entanglements.

"It's a way to mark the spaces people are allowed to walk on," said Lawrence Lessig, a leading intellectual property expert who will take a partial leave from Stanford Law School for the next three years to serve as the chairman of Creative Commons.

Inspired in part by the free-software movement, which has attracted thousands of computer programmers to contribute their work to the public domain, Creative Commons ultimately plans to create a "conservancy" for donations of valuable intellectual property whose owners might opt for a tax break rather than selling it into private hands.

The firm's board of directors includes James Boyle, an intellectual property professor at Duke Law School; Hal Abelson, a computer science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Eric Saltzman, executive director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School.

May 12, 2002

Prior Art on Recent Swinging Patent!

Looks like there's prior art on the infamous swinging patent that turned out to have been taken out by a seven year-old.