About this Author
Ernest Miller Ernest Miller pursues research and writing on cyberlaw, intellectual property, and First Amendment issues. Mr. Miller attended the U.S. Naval Academy before attending Yale Law School, where he was president and co-founder of the Law and Technology Society, and founded the technology law and policy news site LawMeme. He is a fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Ernest Miller's blog postings can also be found @

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The Importance Of ... Law and IT.

Feel free to contact me about articles, websites and etc. you think I may find of interest. I'm also available for consulting work and speaking engagements. Email: ernest.miller 8T

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January 19, 2006

Free Food at Kitchen Academy - Feb 1st, 2nd, 3rd

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Posted by Ernest Miller

If you are in the Los Angeles area at the beginning of February and like food, then you might find this news from my culinary school, Kitchen Academy, of interest:


Food will be served on a first come, first served basis ... when we're out, we're out

For the Lunch and Dinner Restaurant Event:
When: Wednesday, February 1st, 2006
Time: 8:30am-10:00am AND 2:30pm-4:00pm AND 8:30pm-10:00pm

Lunch/Dinner Menu Includes:
St. Louis Ribs, Santa Maria Tri-Tip,
Barbequed Baked Beans, Macaroni & Cheese, Country Onion Rings, Hush Puppies and Fruit Salad
Carnitas, Guacamole, Refried Beans, Salsa Verde, Mexican Style Rice with Tortillas

For the Breakfast Buffet Event:
When: Thursday, February 2nd, 2006
Time: 8:30am-10:00am AND 2:30pm-4:00pm AND 8:30pm-10:00pm

Breakfast Menu Includes:
Eggs Benedict and Eggs Florentine, Scrambled Eggs
Bacon and Sausage
French Toast
Potatoes Roesti and Hash Brown Potatoes
Quiche Lorraine and Quiche Florentine
Omelet Bar

For the Cuisines of Asia Buffet
When: Friday, February 3rd, 2006
Time: 8:30am-10:00am AND 2:30pm-4:00pm AND 8:30pm-10:00pm

Asian Menu Includes:
Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Hoison Peanut Sauce
Poke Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette
Fruit Platter Presentation
Tempura Udon, Crab Rangoon, Shrimp Toast, Chicken Satay
Soft Shell Crab with Sunomono
Suckling Pig, Peking Duck, Mu Shu Pork with Mandarin Pancakes, Kung Pao Beef
Pad Thai, Fried Rice, Beef Panang, Honey Walnut Shrimp
Lemongrass Sorbet, Green Tea Ice Cream

Kitchen Academy - Hollywood
6370 West Sunset Blvd
(on the Cinerama Dome Property)
Hollywood, CA 90028
Jennifer Farris, Campus Director

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Culinary School | News

January 10, 2006

And Now, For Something Completely Different

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Yesterday, January 9th, I began classes at Kitchen Academy, a new culinary school located in Hollywood, California.

Over the next several months, I intend to document my experience in culinary school on this blog. As someone who is quite ignorant about the whole food/restaurant business thing, it'll definitely be a learning experience.

I'll also be returning to blogging on the copyfight, as well ... but things will be a little different here (which may or may not be better than the entire silence of the past six months).

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Culinary School | News

July 08, 2005

Out of Town

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Posted by Ernest Miller

I'm heading out of town for a couple of days. I won't be posting again until Sunday evening, July 10th.

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News

July 06, 2005

July 04, 2005

Fourth of July Links

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Thomas Jefferson, who died on this day in 1826, has travelled through time to provide us with TeeJ's Live Journal. In a special edition, he provides a most excellent (even classic) Blawg Review #13.

I have recently received the favors of the gentlemen of Blawg Review, requests fitting for my scholarship for my appraisal in the attention to legal matters discussed on this thing called the "blogosphere", on this national Independence Day. As a former president of the United States, a proficient & endearing student of law, practicing lawyer (I did pass my first county court bar exam some 236 years ago, so forgive me if my legal expertise is somewhat outdated), and the principle architect of our government, my perspective has become of interest to some, as much perhaps that the opinion of today's many lawyers, legislatures and courts is of interest to me. This brings me into the harmony today's events, on the dawn of this July 4th.

Ever since my arrival in this strange and wondrous part of the American future, or rather, the American "present", I have been on an ongoing inquiry into the very nature of modern law and government. So injudicious the unscrupulous acts of legislature I have seen, and apathetic the American mind has grown to these matters, that I have been prone to action that I might record and observe what I can, and today is an excellent opportunity to do just that. So I have been asked to offer my review and commentary on these various internet weblogs, writings, essays and other posts. I was fearful that my opinion and analysis of recent history would be ignorant of the many changes since my time, so I have invited my roommate Daniel to join my commentary... who, I am afraid, was slightly bored with all the dense legal issues, so I fear his commentary may be a bit... amiss. [links, ancient diction in original]

A classic!

Phosita rounds up some firework patents: Independence Day.

But beware the dangers of fireworks according to this recently released report from the US Fire Administration, which is an an entity of the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fireworks Cause 23,200 Fires, $35 Million in Damage and Injure 9,300. Read the 7-page report: The Dangers of Fireworks [PDF].

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News

'The United States Themselves Are Essentially The Greatest Poem'

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Posted by Ernest Miller

On July 4, 1855, Walt Whitman published Leaves of Grass. From the preface (1855 Edition Hypertext):

The Americans of all nations at any time upon the earth have probably the fullest poetical nature. The United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem. In the history of the earth hitherto the largest and most stirring appear tame and orderly to their ampler largeness and stir. Here at last is something in the doings of man that corresponds with the broadcast doings of the day and night. Here is not merely a nation but a teeming nation of nations. Here is action untied from strings necessarily blind to particulars and details magnificently moving in vast masses. Here is the hospitality which forever indicates heroes . . . . Here are the roughs and beards and space and ruggedness and nonchalance that the soul loves. Here the performance disdaining the trivial unapproached in the tremendous audacity of its crowds and groupings and the push of its perspective spreads with crampless and flowing breadth and showers its prolific and splendid extravagance. One sees it must indeed own the riches of the summer and winter, and need never be bankrupt while corn grows from the ground or the orchards drop apples or the bays contain fish or men beget children upon women.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News

July 02, 2005

Thanks, JD

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Posted by Ernest Miller

I just wanted to thank JD Lasica for dropping by this week (good timing!) as part of his Blogger Book Tour for Darknet: Hollywood's War Against the Digital Generation. A quick guide to his posts:

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Copyright | File Sharing | News

June 28, 2005

Welcome to Future Tense

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Corante launches a new group blog today: Future Tense

Read the introductory post: Welcome to Future Tense

Future Tense is about the trends and pressures that are forcing employers to change the way they think about the workplace. We'll be discussing management practices and collaborative tools, innovation and motivation, architecture, distributed work, mobility and gradual retirement. We will track how traditional hierarchies are breaking down and what is rising to replace them. Our goal is to look into the near future and provide useful information, case studies and interviews with leading thinkers. By identifying and discussing the multitude of trends that are reshaping work as we know it, we hope to provide a valuable resource to the people who are leading the way forward.

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News

June 23, 2005

June 22, 2005

June 21, 2005

Jack St. Clair Kilby, Inventor of Integrated Circuit, Dies

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Jack St. Clair Kilby, inventor of the integrated circuit and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2000 for his work on the integrated circuit, died on Monday, June 20, 2005 at the age of 81.

As this AP wirestory in USA Today states (Electronics pioneer Jack Kilby dead at 81):

The contributions of Kilby — who also co-invented the handheld calculator — are hard to overstate, according to technology experts.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News

June 20, 2005

June 16, 2005

Moderate SoCal Earthquake

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Felt a couple seconds worth of shaking. Quite intense. No significant damage here.

See: Recent Earthquakes in California and Nevada.

Recent Significant Events in the California Region

Recent Earthquake Activity in USA

Previous earthquake: Earthquake in SoCal

UPDATE Looks like a 5.3 near Yucaipa, CA.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News

June 15, 2005

June 12, 2005

Earthquake in SoCal

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Whoa. Significant earthquake in So Cal, 5+ on the Richter Scale, I think ... felt rather sharp, not like the rolling motion of the last one. See: Recent Earthquakes in California and Nevada.

UPDATE Looks like a 5.6, located in Anza, California, southeast of LA, northeast of San Diego (Recent Significant Events in the California Region).

UPDATE 2 Looks like there was a 3.1 pre-cursor quake last night around 2300 (Recent Earthquake Activity in USA). Scroll down through the bottom frame.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News

June 11, 2005

June 10, 2005

June 09, 2005

June 08, 2005

June 07, 2005

In Search Of: A Positive Agenda for the Copyfight

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Posted by Ernest Miller

My friend, Prof. Beth Noveck, has written (not for the first time) about the need for a progressive political agenda with regard to cyberlaw on her Cairns Blog (Positive Cyber-Progressivism).

I say "as usual" not because I am playing social critic again but because cyberlaw so predictably tends to focus on negative liberty rather than positive rights. In other words, how can I be free from abuse? Free from constraint? Free from censorship? This reactive stance has characterized cyberlaw for the last decade of its existence. Our agenda is full with staving off excesses of intellectual property "protection" and privacy-violating snoops. Far too little attention is paid to positive prescriptions. How can we use law and technology to enable greater innovation, creativity, productvity and freedom? Being free from the law and free from intrusive code is not the only way to deepen human happiness. Rather, the legal code as well as software code -- designed right -- can promote the same shared values.
Part of this is, of course, because even negative liberty has been under constant attack for the past decade. We copyfighters have barely fought off things like the INDUCE Act and Broadcast Flag, which doesn't leave much time for focusing on positive goals.

Which isn't to say that there haven't been a number of positive goals put forward. In the copyright realm there have been several alternative compensation schemes for filesharing put forth, from prominent law professors (Neil Netanel and William Fisher among others) and organizations such as EFF. I keep deluding myself that it's all about the distribution, and copyright reform should follow along those lines, most recently: A Reply to Dennis Kennedy, Michael Madison and Marty Schwimmer on iPods, Distribution and Copyright. Larry Lessig has called for shorter terms and a return to some copyright formality. There are other examples. Unfortunately, however, none has really caught on for a variety of reasons, not least that there is much disagreement.

And, actually, I'm not even sure what "negative liberty" means in the context of copyright law. Most copyfighters, myself included, are intent on finding the right level of copyright, not freeing us from it entirely. That seems to me a very progressive goal itself.

The main problem, I think, is that most people really don't care about copyright; they don't realize how important to a democratic culture it is. We don't lack for potential progressive prescriptions. We lack agreement on them and we lack the marketing.

The issue of free speech, which Beth also raises, is also an interesting one. Free speech is a funny sort of negative liberty. It is a negative liberty that is, in part, justified by its positive purposes. According to Mill, the best way to approach truth is by allowing, almost encouraging, error. Accepted truths will be strengthened through battle with error. Error will be overthrown by truth. And, as is most likely the case, both sides have a little bit of truth to them and we move to a better synthesis. Free speech may be a negative liberty we cherish, but even were it not, it would be a progressive policy goal.

Be that as it may, there are also a number of progressive free speech policies out there - particularly for what I call "freedom of the press", the role of government in regulating distribution of information. For example, there are those who want stricter control over media ownership and claim a progressive mantle. I disagree with them (as I disagree with Netanel and Fisher), but it is a positive platform. There are many in the copyfight who argue for open access and open standards in order to free distribution. This seems to me a positive, progressive goal. Unfortunately, these two groups seems somewhat opposed and, among other reasons, very little is accomplished along these lines.

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Copyright | Freedom of Expression | Network Law | News

June 05, 2005

Where Are We in the 'DVD Replacement Cycle'?

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Posted by Ernest Miller

During the 1990s, there was a boom in the sale of CDs. A significant part of this boom was due to the "CD replacement cycle," during which many people replaced their old vinyl LPs with new CDs. These were essentially freebie sales for the recording industry, which was able to make a quick buck by transitioning their back catalogs to CD. The good times couldn't last, of course, and CD sales declined, in large part because the replacement cycle ended. See, among others, BBC News (Stopping the Pop-Swappers).

So, where are we in the DVD replacement cycle? DVD has pretty much wiped out VHS and there are many who are replacing VHS libraries with DVDs, which is probably having a very nice effect on Hollywood's bottomline. Additionally, there is a big sale of back catalog stuff, particularly old television shows that were never released on VHS. Eventually, however, these good times are going to have to end. The question is, how far away is this? How big will the drop be? And, how much will the MPAA blame on copyright infringement?

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: File Sharing | News

June 03, 2005

WikiHow - Thanks, But No Thanks

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Wikipedia is one of the great success stories of the internet and will, likely, play an even greater role as it matures. Success, of course, breeds imitation. Recently, I came across a pitch for (no link love for them), which describes itself thus:

wikiHow is a collaborative writing project to build the world's largest how-to manual. With your contributions, we can create a free resource that helps people by offering clear, concise solutions to the problems of everyday life. Please join us by writing a new page, or editing a page that someone else has started.
Yeah, except that, unlike Wikipedia, their Wiki isn't under the GNU Free Documentation License. In other words, they're basically asking people to slave away for them for free. Thanks, but no thanks.

Extra bonus points for them not mentioning this difference when they note the differences between WikiHow and Wikipedia: "wikiHow differs from Wikipedia in several important respects:"

  • Neutral Point of View not Required
  • Multiple Methods and Pages
And... I guess the GNU Free Documentation License isn't an important difference. Nice try, guys.

UPDATE 4 July 2005 1415PT

WikiHow has now switched entirely to a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License: WikiHow Responds to Criticism - Goes Creative Commons. Good job guys.

Comments (6) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News

June 01, 2005

May 31, 2005

May 30, 2005

Memorial Day - Semper Fidelis

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Posted by Ernest Miller

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

- John McCrae

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News

May 29, 2005

Thank You Anonymous Donor

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Posted by Ernest Miller

I just wanted to thank the anonymous donor who made a contribution through my Amazon tipjar over on the lefthand column beneath my bio.


Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News

May 28, 2005

May 25, 2005

May 23, 2005

May 22, 2005

Larry Lessig's Heroic Courage and Convictions

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Ubercyberlawprof Larry Lessig has long been a hero among copyfighters. Today, I learned that he has taken a courageous and heroic stand in another realm, that of child sex abuse. An article in New York Metro recounts Prof. Lessig's fight against child sex abuse at the American Boychoir School in Princeton on behalf of the victims, including himself (The Choirboy):

As head boy at a legendary choir school, Lawrence Lessig was repeatedly molested by the charismatic choir director, part of a horrific pattern of child abuse there. Now, as one of America’s most famous lawyers, he’s put his own past on trial to make sure such a thing never happens again.
I applaud Prof. Lessig's courage and convictions.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News

May 17, 2005

JD Lasica's Darknet: The Mini-Book

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Posted by Ernest Miller

JD Lasica has just published Darknet and will be publishing stories and analysis from the book in weekly installments. Unfortunately, we won't be getting the entire book online, but we will get a weekly sample. There are two posts so far:

Darknet Mini-Book: Introduction

Darknet is not another book about the excesses of copyright law -- not really. It's a look at the future of future of movies, television, computing, music, games, art and more -- and the choice we face as a society....

Now, about the title. Throughout this book, “Darknets” simply refer to underground or private networks where people trade files and communicate anonymously. But I want to suggest two deeper meanings as well.

First, the Darknet is a metaphor for the hidden-away matter of the Web—the burgeoning pool of weblogs, independent sites, and grassroots media well outside the limelight of Big Media. Collectively, this “long tail,” as Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson put it, far outweighs all the bright material of the commercial Web sites with their seemingly impressive vast swaths of traffic. The dark tail is where the hope and promise of the Web resides.

Second, Darknet serves as a warning about a world where digital media become locked down, a future where the network serves not the user but the interests of Hollywood and the record industry. More and more activity on the open Internet will be pushed into the underground if current anti-innovation trends continue.

Darknet Mini-Book: The Teenage Filmmakers

The best darn fan film you'll never see.

Read it all.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Copyright | Culture | News

May 16, 2005

May 15, 2005

May 13, 2005

The Register Takes Cheap, Homophobic Shot at Hilary Rosen

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Posted by Ernest Miller

The Register goes for cheap, homophobic jokes aimed at Hilary Rosen (How Hilary Rosen learned to stop suing and hate Apple's iPod). Look, I like to Rosen-bash as much as the next copyfighter, and even take the cheap shot every once in awhile, but some things are just not cool:

A lesser man would deny the incredible attraction Hilary's shift conjures up within his soul. He would remind himself of Hilary's gay leanings and choose to admire her from afar. I am not a lesser man.

Ever since my dear wife Gertrude passed - God bless her soul - I've been searching for a spirit that could tame the unbridled yearnings which consume me. No woman has seemed up to the task until the new Hilary Rosen came along.

"The new iPod my girlfriend gave me is a trap," Rosen writes. "Yeah, it is great looking and I really love the baby blue leather case but when, oh when, will Steve Jobs let me buy music from somewhere other than the Apple iTunes store and put it on my iPod?"

It's hard to admit in front of you all, but, as I read this passage, I focused on one thing - my girlfriend, my girlfriend, my girlfriend, my girlfriend, my girlfriend, my girlfriend, my girlfriend, my girlfriend, my girlfriend, my girlfriend.

Was this signal - this cry - aimed directly at me? Wasn't this line from the new Hilary Rosen saying, "I have a girlfriend now, but I've proved that I can change"? Wasn't Hilary - pictured in all her glory on this fetish site - declaring her openness to the potential of heterosexual love?

My assistant wrote this week to the Huffington Post asking for an answer to these very questions. We've yet to receive a reply. So please, new Hilary, consider this an open letter to you. I request little more than a date or at the very least a sensual podcast. I can assure that I'm the man for the job.

This is supposed to be funny. It's not. It's pathetic and The Register ought to be ashamed for publishing it.

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News

May 11, 2005

Lysenko's Intelligent Design

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Over on Slate, William Saletan has been following the evolution/intelligent design/creationist debate quite closely and rather perceptively. However, I have to find some fault with his latest article, What Matters in Kansas: The Evolution of Creationism. Saletan makes the point that science is slowly winning over the public creationists, who have slowly moved into the camps of the intelligent design debaters, accepting, generally, an earth billions of years old as well as microevolution (mutation and natural selection within species). Saletan sees this as creationist theory on the verge of collapse. Hopefully, he is right. However, I'm not so sure about his other conclusion:

Perversely, evolutionists refuse to facilitate this collapse. They prefer to dismiss ID proponents as dead-end Neanderthals. They complain, legitimately, that Calvert and Harris are trying to expand the definition of science beyond "natural explanations." But have you read the definition Calvert and Harris propose? It would define science as a continuous process of "observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena." Abstract creationism can't qualify for such scrutiny. Substantive creationism can't survive it. Or if it can, it should.

It's too bad liberals and scientists don't welcome this test. It's too bad they go around sneering, as censors of science often have, that the new theory is too radical, offensive, or embarrassing to be taken seriously. It's too bad they think good science consists of believing the right things. In the long view—the evolutionary view—good science consists of using evidence and experiment to find out whether what we thought was right is wrong. If they do that in Kansas, by whatever name, that's all that matters.

The problem is that what the intelligent design theorists are doing isn't science. To pretend that it is, in any fashion, is to capitulate to those who oppose science. Furthermore, can you imagine the misuse of any limited concession? Creationists and ID types all too frequently quote-mine to give the air of authority to their arguments.

Calvert and Harris define science as a continual process of "observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena." However, what they don't do is exclude supernatural phenomena from the definition. Without that, the rest is essentially meaningless. You are no longer engaged in trying to create an explanation of natural phenomena, you are seeking to support an ideology. Lysenko, I think, would agree.

Indeed, intelligent design has more in common with Lysenko then it does with creationism.

The science of genetics was denounced as reactionary, bourgeois, idealist and formalist. It was held to be contrary to the Marxist philosophy of dialectical materialism. Its stress on the relative stability of the gene was supposedly a denial of dialectical development as well as an assault on materialism. Its emphasis on internality was thought to be a rejection of the interconnectedness of every aspect of nature. Its notion of the randomness and indirectness of mutation was held to undercut both the determinism of natural processes and man's ability to shape nature in a purposeful way.
The only difference it would appear is that creationists and intelligent design types repudiate evolution as philosophically materialist and denying god, neither of which is true.

Lysenko believed in "observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena." It is just that it would all have to concur with the Marxist dialectic. Was Lysenko engaged in science? I think not. In the case of intelligent design, they promote the processes of science, just so long as it accepts supernatural explanations, which I note, isn't science anymore.

In theory, you can have scientific intelligent design theory. Let me know when someone comes up with one. Until then, their "science" is rightly repudiated.

Comments (7) + TrackBacks (1) | Category: Evolution | News

May 10, 2005

May 09, 2005

Zealous Advocacy vs. Unprincipled Hacks

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Joe Gratz comments on Hilary Rosen's recent blog post on iPod/iTunes DRM (Hilary Rosen Wants Interoperability). For my take on Rosen's comments, see, Copyfight, Hilary Rosen Laments Apple's DRM Strategy.

I have to disagree with Gratz here, however:

This is yet another reminder that your adversary, whoever or whatever he or she is, probably isn’t evil — just fulfilling his or her legal duty to be a zealous advocate for his or her client.
Actually, no. While Rosen probably isn't evil, she shouldn't be allowed to cloak herself in the ethical shield of a lawyer zealously representing a client. The reasons that lawyers have a duty to be strong advocates for their clients, even when their clients are evil, are not applicable to the realm of public relations and lobbying. We shouldn't allow the strictly limited ethics of legal representation to be extended into other realms.

Rosen wasn't acting as an attorney, she was the public face and chief lobbyist for the RIAA. A lawyer must argue on a client's behalf; they have a true legal duty. A lobbyist who makes policy arguments they don't personally agree with is nothing more than an unprincipled hack.

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News

March 31, 2005

November 09, 2004

Announcing the Future of Digital Media Series

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Posted by Ernest Miller

I am happy to announce the launching of a series of interviews I am conducting for Corante called the Future of Digital Media:

The Future of Digital Media is a two-month series, sponsored by Orb, that explores how the empowerment of the consumer over his or her media experience, coupled with the technological innovation that's broadly democratizing media creation, is leading to a revolution in the way people access, consume, share and remake content.

Through interviews with leading commentators and cutting edge practioners, the Future of Digital Media examines the social, legal and economic impacts of this disruptive and revolutionary change.

The first interview, with Jeff Jarvis, is here: The Future of Digital Media: Jeff Jarvis.

Need I say ... read the whole thing.

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Broadcatching/Podcasting | File Sharing | News

August 30, 2004

The Google File System

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Slashdot points to an extremely interesting Google Gmail hack - the Gmail File System (GmailFS - The Google File System):

GmailFS provides a mountable Linux filesystem which uses your Gmail account as its storage medium. ... GmailFS supports most file operations such as read, write, open, close, stat, symlink, link, unlink, truncate and rename.
Most of the comments on Slashdot deal with the fact that this hack probably violates Google's terms of service and may result in users having their accounts abruptly terminated. However, there are some insightful ones (Re: GoogleOS).

More importantly, this does point towards another piece of the internet operating system puzzle (or, more specifically, Google Operating System).

Gee, I wonder if the advent of a Google Operating System will have any impact on copyright law, telecom regulation, etc., etc., etc...

On a somewhat related note (GoogleWatch Says 'Google Is Dying').

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Copyright | Internet | News | Open Standards | Telecomm | Tools

August 16, 2004

New Bizzness Law Blawg

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Anthony Cerminaro has started a business law blawg with a focus on technology companies and occasional forays into things like intellectual property licensing: Bizz Bang Buzz.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News

August 04, 2004

"We the Media" Book Review

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Posted by Ernest Miller

My book review of Dan Gillmor's We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People is available on Slashdot: Book Review: We the Media. If you're reading this blog regularly, you probably should read Gillmor's book.

Download the Creative Commons-licensed work here: Open Book Content: We the Media. Read the We the Media Blog.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Blogging and Journalism | News

July 10, 2004

Happy Birthday LawMeme!

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Posted by Ernest Miller

A belated happy 3rd birthday to LawMeme!

LawMeme went public July 2, 2001 with this post on facial recognition technology: Tampa uses cameras to scan for wanted faces. Since then, there have been more than 1500 posts on LawMeme. Three years might not seem like a long period of time, but to my knowledge, LawMeme was the first official law school blog, thanks to Prof. Jack Balkin, the Information Society Project and all the people who have posted, worked on it, read it and commented on it over the years. Congrats and many thanks to LawMeme and the LawMeme crew!

Below are some of what I consider the more popular and/or noteworthy posts from the past few years. There are many other great posts, but these are just a few that stand out in my memory.

On Copyright: Top Ten New Copyright Crimes

The First Academic Blawg (and possibly, blog) Conference: Revenge of the Blog

On Privacy: James Grimmelmann's Accidental Privacy Spills: Musings on Privacy, Democracy, and the Internet

On Contract: James Grimmelmann's Google replies to SearchKing lawsuit

On Spam: Rebecca Bolin's Incredible Series LawMeme: Spam

On Biometrics: Fingerprint Follies and the Superman/Clark Kent Biometric Conundrum

On Annotations: Silly Things Directors Say

On the DMCA: Analysis of BNETD and Blizzard

On Gaming: James Grimmelmann's On the Second Life Tax Revolt

On Filesharing: Compulsory Licensing - The Death of Gnutella and the Triumph of Google

First post to get mainstream press notice: US Wields $ Not Law to Censor Satellites

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News

July 09, 2004

FCC Chairman Powell Has a Blog - No, Seriously

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Posted by Ernest Miller

FCC Chairman Michael Powell has launched a blog [As Dave Barry would say: I'm not making this up] (Michael Powell Joins the Blogosphere). So what does the chairman have to say in his first post? Well, he reiterates his commitment to deregulation, that is, when it doesn't upset entrenched interests too much.

Our struggle to define appropriate regulatory regimes to promote innovation is not limited to the telephone sector. The Commission's digital television transition is yet another example of how difficult the struggle can be.
Yeah, the broadcast flag is really going to promote innovation. Why, just think of the useless technology developed because television was an open platform! To borrow some concepts from Prof. Frink, "I predict that, if the FCC were in charge of developing the VCR, that within 100 years a VCR will record twice as much programming, be 10,000 times larger, and so expensive that only the five richest moguls in Hollywood will own them."
For example, I need to hear from the tech community as we transition to digital television. It may be possible to deploy innovative wireless services in the unused spectrum between broadcast stations (for example, there is no channel 3 or channel 6 here in San Francisco)...Broadcasters, however, claim these unused channels as "their" spectrum. Yet a public policy that favors innovation and experimentation would seek to open these unused channels to develop new wireless services…just look at how much value has been created in the sliver of spectrum that has become Wi-Fi! If the high-tech community believes that new digital technologies will enable this kind of new thinking about and use of spectrum, then I need to know that.
*ahem* Chairman Powell, it may be possible to deploy innovative television services based upon an open television platform. Broadcasters, however, claim that they must control and direct development of a closed platform, that the platform is "theirs" and requires a "broadcast flag." Yet a public policy that favors innovation and experimentation would seek to open the platform to develop new services…just look at how much value has been created in the open analog television platform! Many in the high-tech community believe that new digital technologies will enable this kind of new thinking about and use of an open television platform. *ahem*
Regulated interests have about an 80 year head start on the entrepreneurial tech community when it comes to informing regulators what they want and need, but if anyone can make up for that, Silicon Valley can. This is important not just for Silicon Valley—it's essential to insure that America has the best, most innovate communications infrastructure.
You know, unless it upsets Hollywood. Because Hollywood will ensure that America has the best, most innovative communications infrastructure.

via JD Lasica

Jeff Jarvis has some harsh words for Powell's "blog" (Daily Stern - July 9, 2004).

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Blogging and Journalism | Broadcast Flag | News | Telecomm

July 02, 2004

SPAM: New and Improved with More Varieties Than Before!

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Posted by Ernest Miller

This story is a few days old, but I'm pretty sure similar stories will become more and more common as time goes by. Gadget blog engadget reports a case of VoIP spam, or what they call uneuphoniously "vam" (let's hope that phrase doesn't catch on) (Get ready for vam, or voice spam). Apparently, VoIP provider Vonage dropped a voicemail directly into engadget's voicemail inbox. Now, this is not something anyone outside Vonage could probably do (we hope), but it does point out the potential of spamming in many different communication channels as our connectivity becomes ever more decentralized.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News

June 28, 2004

Hollywood to Kerry: Here's $5Mill

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Some months ago, Teleread asked the Kerry Campaign for some statements on copyright policy (such as whether Kerry supports the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act and DMCA), but got blown off. A recent post probably explains why (New Hollywood millions for John Kerry: Copyright implications?). The New York Times (reg. req.) reports on a recent Kerry fundraiser in Hollywood (Streisand Sings, Kerry Smiles):

In an event that was part Woodstock ("for really, really rich people," Mr. [Billy] Crystal said), part red carpet and part Gridiron dinner, an A-list of Hollywood celebrities shared the stage in the architectural splendor of Disney Hall to raise a show-stopping $5 million for Senator John Kerry and the Democratic National Committee.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News

June 23, 2004

Happy Birthday Alan Turing!

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Today, Alan Turing, one of the formative giants of the computer age, a man who saved many lives during WW2 and helped ensure victory for the Allies, would have been 92. That is, if he hadn't been hounded to suicide by government homophobes.

via BoingBoing

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Gay Rights | News

June 11, 2004

Welcome Howard Stern Fans!

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Posted by Ernest Miller

You want to start reading HERE.

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News

May 10, 2004

Attending E3

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Thanks to the folks at the Entertainment Software Association, I'll be attending the E3 Expo this coming Wednesday - Friday. I plan to write some reports on the expo focusing on issues of interest to this blog. If any readers plan to attend as well, drop me a note.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Games | News

May 04, 2004

Darknet - The Blog, the Wiki, the Book

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Veteran tech journalist JD Lasica has nearly completed writing a new book on the personal media revolution entitled, Darknet: Remixing the Future of Movies, Music and Television. Taking the lessons he learned in writing the book to heart, he is using the new media revolution to help him with the book itself. Like another author/pioneer, Dan Gillmor, JD is giving the public an opportunity to assist him in writing the book by making it available for public editing. JD has helpfully provided both a blog, Darknet Blog, and a wiki, Darknet Wiki.

via JD's New Media Musings

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March 22, 2004

Copyfight - The Remix

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Donna Wentworth has made her blog, Copyfight, a must-read since its beginning. That is why I am honored to join her and some most excellent colleagues in continuing Copyfight as a group blog. I will be posting along with Elizabeth Rader, Jason Schultz, Aaron Swartz, and Wendy Seltzer. Read the greeting message: Copyfight--the Expanded Edition. The blog description:

Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development and technological innovation that creates--and will recreate--the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

I'll continue to post here, of course, especially my longer pieces.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Blogging and Journalism | Broadcast Flag | Civil Liberties | Copyright | Digital Millennium Copyright Act | Digital Rights Management | Internet | News | Trademark

March 10, 2004

Xerox PARC Founder George Pake (1924 - 2004)

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Posted by Ernest Miller

George Pake, scientist and founder of Xerox PARC, has died (PARC founder George Pake dies):

Pake led the research lab from its inception in 1970 until 1978, then moved on to oversee Xerox's corporate research from 1978 until 1986. PARC helped pioneer research into many key technologies, including laser printing, Ethernet, graphical user interfaces and client-server computing.

Comments (3) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News

March 04, 2004

New Hacking Blog

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Ed Felten writes about the Freedom to Tinker, "the right of technologists and citizens to tinker with technological devices." Anyone who has ever pulled something apart and tried, successfully or not, to put it back together understands the freedom Felten is talking about. While Felten focuses mainly on the legal and policy issues, there is now a blog (not associated with Felten) dedicated to practical examples of the "Freedom to Tinker," though Felten might not like the name too much.

mehack describes itself thus:

extend, personalise, break, poke, peek, learn. hacking hacking hacking. ever had that desire to pop open your tivo, your xbox, cell phone, or your car? ever wanted to know what the hardware and software hackers are up to? this is what mehack is all about.
we all know the frustration in discovering that there isn't something out there that does exactly what you want it to do. we've all fantasized about doing it ourselves, or taking something off the shelf and modding it. we're going to be tracking people, projects that are doing both -- we're interested in those that take the "hell with it, i'll just build it" attitude, and we're interested in those that buy those things off the shelf and pop them open to coerce them into doing what they want. and we're interested in the tools they use too.
our agenda is simple -- we want to learn from others. we're not interested in doing anything destructive. and we're not interested in piracy. we just want things that we can hack on. and most of all, we want to make it simple for people like you to start building.

There are already some good posts on the hecklebot, audiotron api, and playing with linksys access points upping the firmware.

Add it to your RSS feed when adding the new gadget blog, engadget.

via PVR Blog

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Blogging and Journalism | News | Tools

February 13, 2004

WIPO Honors Its Own - Valenti Gets Medal

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Posted by Ernest Miller

The Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization met with copyright maximalist and president of the MPAA Jack Valenti last Tuesday and issued a press release (WIPO and MPA Discuss Value of Copyright Industries and Effective Enforcement of IP Rights). The big news? WIPO has recognized Jack with a WIPO Medal and a Citation for Distinguished Service. This isn't surprising since, rather than being an international forum simply for IP harmonization, WIPO is an organization promoting copyright maximization worldwide. See, Medium-Term Plan for WIPO Program Activities - Vision and Strategic Direction of WIPO:

The main objectives of the Medium-term Plan, as expressed in the past remain constant: maintenance and further development of the respect for intellectual property throughout the world. This means that any erosion of the existing protection should be prevented, and that both the acquisition of the protection and, once acquired, its enforcement, should be simpler, cheaper and more secure.

Why wouldn't WIPO give a medal to Jack Valenti? Seems as if Jack wrote WIPO's mission statement. My only hope is that they are giving Jack a medal because he will be retiring very soon.

Comments (0) | Category: Copyright | News

January 15, 2004

HP's Corporate Schizophrenia

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Late last week Hewlett Packard Chief Executive Carly Fiorina declared that starting this year all HP digital entertainment products will use software that respects the copyrights of artists. In other words, HP would become one of the leading proponents of DRM (HP Goes Off the Rails).

This week, Fiorina is celebrating the fact that HP raked in the bucks selling Linux-related products and services in 2003, according to a C|Net News article (Linux brings in $2.5 billion for HP). HP is selling Linux-based collections of hardware and software, as well as thin clients that plug into central Linux servers. Revenues for Linux-related products and services in 2003 increased $500 million or 25% over 2002. Sounds like a nice, healthy, growing business to be in.

Apparently, not a business HP really wants to see take off, however. Someone at HP should inform Fiorina that DRM and Linux don't work too well together.

Here's an idea Fiorina: the heck with sucking up to Hollywood; start selling Linux-based digital entertainment products to consumers. Who wouldn't want a central Linux server that sends multimedia to a bunch of thin clients throughout the house?

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Digital Rights Management | News | Open Source

January 14, 2004

Bad Boys, Bad Boys, Watcha Gonna Do?

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Posted by Ernest Miller

If you are interested in digital crime, you are going to participate in or attend Yale Law School's Information Society Project's conference on cybercrime: Digital Cops in Virtual Environment - CyberCrime and Digital Law Enforcement Conference.

The Information Society Project at Yale Law School is pleased to announce its upcoming conference on Cybercrime and Digital Law Enforcement entitled: "Digital Cops in Virtual Environment," which will take place on March 26-28, 2004 at Yale Law School.
This ground-breaking conference will bring together policy makers, security experts, law enforcement personnel, social activists and academics to discuss the emerging phenomena of cybercrime and law enforcement. The conference will question both the efficacy of fighting cybercrime and the civil liberties implications arising from innovations in law enforcement methods of operation.
During this weekend-long conference, a distinguished group of experts will discuss how a shift to a digital environment: (1) changes the crime scene; (2) facilitates the commission of new types of crimes; (3) leads to radical changes in law enforcement methods; (4) equips law enforcement with new tools of surveillance, technological design and risk sorting systems; (5) presents challenges for the legal process; and (6) introduces new forms of social resistance through hacktivism and counter-surveillance.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Cybercrime | News

January 09, 2004

HP Goes Off the Rails

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Things must really be bad at Hewlett-Packard since CEO Carly Fiorina sounds quite desperate in her keynote speech at CES as C|Net News reports (Fiorina calls for defense of digital rights). How strange the spectacle of a major computer manufacturer calling for an all out war on what computers enable:

"[Copyright infringement is] illegal and wrong, and there are things we as a computing company can do" to prevent it, Fiorina said.
The HP chief added that starting this year all HP digital entertainment products will use software that respects the copyrights of artists. The company will actively promote copyright protection and step up efforts with antipiracy and consumer groups [which consumer groups would those be?], she said.

Does Fiorina think that by saying these things it will make her and her company more popular with the beautiful people of Hollywood, with the in crowd? Hollywood has never respected the tech industry; as far as Hollywood is concerned technology exists to increase their profits, period. To the extent that the technology industry has different ideas, Hollywood sues and legislates against it. Would there be PCs or an internet if Hollywood were in charge? Yet this is the group that is now giving Fiorina their approval:

In a show of support for HP's stance, Fiorina was joined on stage by Interscope Geffen A&M Records Chairman Jim Iovine as well as artists Dr. Dre, U2 guitar player The Edge, Sheryl Crow, Alicia Keys, Toby Keith and other music executives.

Such celebrity worship is simply sad. Even worse is the schizophrenia evidenced by the next line of the article:

HP also provided a glimpse of new products that would allow for easier use of digital media.

Since when has DRM made the use of digital media "easier"? All DRM systems that I've worked with have only served to increase frustration. And what is this "allow"? A subtle reference to the fact that DRM "allows" one to do what would otherwise be considered a right?

Apparently, HP will happily be used by Hollywood for some mythical short term gain in the consumer electronics market. Consumer electronics is a viciously competitive market. Yet HP seeks to thrive in this marketplace by ceding control of the future of HPs primary market (computers) to Hollywood. This is the epitome of a sucker's deal, one the shareholder's of HP will regret.

HP sells really nice computers, which are essentially being commoditized. So what do they do? Seek partnerships with content companies. Brilliant strategy - not!

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Copyright | News | Tools

November 19, 2003

Congratulations to Frank Field!

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Posted by Ernest Miller

The writer of one of my favorite blogs, Furdlog, is honored with the first annual Joseph Nemec ESD Educational Excellence Award (Dr. Frank Field Honored). Congratulations!

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News

November 15, 2003

America's Army for Xbox?

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Just a quick note from The State of Play: Games, Law and Virtual Worlds.

The developers and people behind the US Army recruiting/education game America's Army are well-represented. I asked one of them whether they were developing a version of America's Army for use on the Xbox through Xbox Live. Seemed like an obvious extension of what they were doing to me. His response? Quite seriously, "I can neither confirm nor deny." I'll take that as a qualified, "yes," although it will be interesting to see how the US Army gets along with Microsoft's proprietary Xbox Live network.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Games | News | The State of Play

November 14, 2003

Email Access and Me

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Just an annoucement ... I am able to receive email, but I cannot send it currently. So, if you have emailed me in the last couple of days, please be patient.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News

November 11, 2003

321 Studios to Support EFF

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Posted by Ernest Miller

EFF has announced that DMCA-threatened company 321 Studios will donate $25 (up to $1,000,000) for every copy of DVD X Copy Platinum or Lite-On DVD burner sold through the 321 website or their retail location in the St. Louis Galleria Mall. Read the press release: 321 Studios Advocates Fair Uses in Digital Copyright Law. I think this is a great model for supporting challenged technologies. Hopefully other technology companies will take similar supportive measures.

via JD's New Media Musings

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Civil Liberties | News

November 10, 2003

Semper Fi - Happy 228th Marines!

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Posted by Ernest Miller

For those who don't know, I'm a prior enlisted Marine and graduating from boot camp is one of things I am still most proud of.

Marine Corps Commandant General Hagee's Birthday Message

General Lejeune's Marine Corps birthday message

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News

November 07, 2003

Copyright Scholar Ray Patterson has Passed Away

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Larry Lessig reports sad news (extraordinarily sad news). Noted copyright scholar and historian Ray Patterson has passed away. I never met him, but his writings have certainly informed my thinking about copyright and I would highly suggest his work to anyone interested in copyright issues. He will be missed.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Copyright | News

Desperate Music Industry Mergers

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Posted by Ernest Miller

George Mason University Economics professor Tyler Cowen has a pretty good take on the music industry mergers, I think (New music merger?):

This is a desperation merger in a fading industry. The real "industry sector" includes file sharing, once you count that, and the accompanying zero price, the concentration issues do not look so bad. On the other hand, shareholders should not worry if they don't get regulatory approval. I would expect a mess more than any significant cost savings, as the merger does not address the underlying problems faced by either company.

via The Bottom Line

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: File Sharing | News

November 04, 2003

Advertising Effectiveness and Media

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Posted by Ernest Miller

The New York Times (reg. req.) has an informative article on new attempts at measuring the effectiveness of internet marketing (Measuring Online Ad Effectiveness). The new systems don't simply measure click-throughs and other basics like sales, but "online consumer trial rates and consumer awareness via Internet inquiries."

I wonder what would happen if they applied such techniques to television - such as through TiVo? Everyone seems to complain about the effectiveness of internet advertising, but how effective, really, is television advertising?

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News

October 26, 2003

Symposium on Wearable Computers Highlights

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Posted by Ernest Miller

DocBug went to the 7th IEEE International Symposium on Wearable Computers and all he got was this lousy implant.

DocBug, aka Bradley Rhodes and an expert in Intelligence Augmentation, has provided some highlights of this years conference on his blog (Wearable Computing Conference Highlights). Highlights include a keynote on implantables, memory glasses and a sociometer. Interesting stuff.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News

Weather Report - Partly Smoky, Slight Chance of Ash Showers

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Posted by Ernest Miller

This is completely unrelated to technology, IP, or any of the usual stuff I like to blog about. Just thought I would note that thanks to the tragic fires here in Southern California, it is currently raining ash at my home. I haven't seen an ash rain since I witnessed an eruption of the Sakurajima Volcano in Japan about seven years ago.

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News

October 25, 2003

Valenti Out - Tauzin In?

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Posted by Ernest Miller

The New York Post is reporting that Jack Valenti is stepping down as head of the MPAA, probably by the end of the year (Tauzin May Take on Hollywood). Rep. Billy Tauzin (R - LA) will be taking over. There is no official confirmation, but Hillary Rosen says this is a done deal.

After 37 years as head of the MPAA, at least Valenti is going out on a high note, with most of Hollywood ticked off at him for the screener ban. bIPlog comments on Valenti's apparent agelessness (Billy Tauzin is Taking Over for Jack Valenti).

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News