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Friday, August 13, 2010

Government Again Behind the Curve: Efforts to Implement Cloud Computing in the Public Sector

Gartner, a leading IT research firm, predicts that "by 2012, 80 percent of Fortune 1000 enterprises will pay for some cloud computing service, while 30 percent of them will pay for cloud computing infrastructure." But there's been far less progress in the public sector, according to recent report released by Vivek Kundra, Obama's Federal Chief Information Officer.

Continue reading Government Again Behind the Curve: Efforts to Implement Cloud Computing in the Public Sector . . .

posted by Jeff Levy @ 10:40 AM | Cyber-Security, Innovation, Internet, Software

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Wow, Part II: USPTO, NTIA, and Commerce Officials Urge ISPs, Ad Networks, Payment Processors, and Search Engines to Cooperate and Create a Law-Abiding Internet that Deters Counterfeiting and Piracy.

Recently, I used the word "Wow" in the title of a post because a hearing held by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary produced bipartisan calls for broad voluntary cooperation to ensure that Internet commerce--like real-world American Commerce--abides by the rule of law, including those rules of law that prohibit copyright infringement and trademark counterfeiting.

What inspired me about those calls to restore the rule of law was not that they were substantively controversial. For example, the World Bank estimates that intangible capital accounts for 80% of the wealth in the developed world, and that 57% of that intangible capital arises from the rule of law--including all those government-granted monopoly rights that most call "private-property rights" See The World Bank, Where Is the Wealth of Nations? 20, 87 (2006). (Education was the next-largest contributor; it accounted for 36% of intangible capital.) In effect, the World Bank thus concluded that the rule of law accounts for almost 50% of American wealth. Obviously, an Internet that fails to preserve rule of law will thus become a job-killing economic catastrophe for the United States.

Continue reading Wow, Part II: USPTO, NTIA, and Commerce Officials Urge ISPs, Ad Networks, Payment Processors, and Search Engines to Cooperate and Create a Law-Abiding Internet that Deters Counterfeiting and Piracy. . . .

posted by Thomas Sydnor @ 1:16 PM | Copyright, Cyber-Security, Global Innovation, IP, Innovation, Internet, Trade

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Send In the Clowns: A Review of Oberholzer-Gee and Stumpf's Copyright and File-Sharing (Part 1)

And where are the clowns?
Quick, send in the clowns…
Don't bother—they're here.
—Judy Collins/Stephen Sondheim, Send in the Clowns

Recently, Nate Anderson of Ars Technica published File-sharing has weakened copyright—and helped society. This story's title summarizes the thesis of a "new" paper by those Grokster-loving, Free-Culture-Movement Professors, Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Coleman Strumpf (collectively, "OGS"). Their "new" paper is entitled File-Sharing and Copyright. Fortunately, their non-sequitur thesis does not follow from their clown-car collection of factual, legal, economic, and historical errors that poses as "scholarship."

Indeed, I just published a blog post and a longer paper to show that those who listen to the likes of Oberholzer-Gee merely end up accusing the Government Accountability Office of decades of wrongdoing by celebrating the "positive economic effects" of criminal racketeering. The blog post is entitled, Why Copyright Industry Costs-of-Piracy Studies Correctly Ignore the "Positive Economic Effects of Criminal Racketeering; the paper is entitled, Punk'd: GAO Celebrates the "Positive Economic Effects of Counterfeiting and Other Criminal Racketeering.

Continue reading Send In the Clowns: A Review of Oberholzer-Gee and Stumpf's Copyright and File-Sharing (Part 1) . . .

posted by Thomas Sydnor @ 7:46 PM | Antitrust & Competition Policy, Capitalism, Copyright, Cyber-Security, Economics, Global Innovation, IP, Innovation, Internet, Mass Media, Software

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Why Copyright Industry Costs-of-Piracy Studies Correctly Ignore the "Positive Economic Effects" of Criminal Racketeering

I just published a new paper called Punk'd: GAO Celebrates the "Positive Economic Effects" of Counterfeiting and Other Criminal Racketeering ("Punk'd"). It debunks efforts to claim that a recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reasonably concluded that counterfeiting and piracy have important "positive economic effects" and that all copyright-industry estimates of piracy's economic costs are "bogus," "baseless" and "false." A few of the many examples of such nonsense include Content Industry Piracy Claims Are Bogus and GAO Concludes Piracy Stats Are Usually Junk, File Sharing Can Help Sales.

Punk'd explains why these backfiring claims are the real "bogus junk." This post summarizes some of its arguments.

Continue reading Why Copyright Industry Costs-of-Piracy Studies Correctly Ignore the "Positive Economic Effects" of Criminal Racketeering . . .

posted by Thomas Sydnor @ 3:54 PM | Copyright, Cyber-Security, IP, Innovation, Internet, Trademark

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Monday, June 7, 2010

LimeWire Begs for a... "Second" Chance?

At Wired, David Kravets has posted LimeWire Begs Music Industry for Second Chance, an interview with the justifiably desperate Zeeshan Zaidi, COO of LimeWire LLC. In the aftermath of Judge Kimba Wood's Order holding that LimeWire intentionally induced mass piracy for a decade, Mr. Zaidi has announced that LimeWire will now generously "consider aggressively filtering out pirated content" if the music industry will agree that LimeWire will be "permitted to live on as a for-pay music download service."

There are three flaws in Mr. Zaidi's plan. Each seems fatal.

Continue reading LimeWire Begs for a... "Second" Chance? . . .

posted by Thomas Sydnor @ 6:54 AM | Copyright, Cyber-Security, IP, Innovation, Internet, Security

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Friday, June 4, 2010

LimeWire's "Idea Man" Scuttles His Own Last-Ditch Defense

Perhaps the only spectacle more gratifying than the sight of rats deserting a sinking ship is the far-more-rare spectacle of the officers of a sinking pirate ship, sitting in the bilge, crying about their wet socks as they obliviously blast more holes into the remains of their hull.

Which brings me to LimeWire. In the aftermath of Judge Wood's Opinion holding Mark Gorton, the Lime Group, and LimeWire LLC liable for intentionally inducing mass piracy for a decade, all sorts of strange shenanigans have ensued. But none tops the campaign of self-destruction waged by the Lime Group's chatty CEO, Mark Gorton.

In court, Gorton's lawyers recently filed a Motion for Reconsideration informing Judge Wood that she misstated both the law and the facts when she held that Lime Group and Mark Gorton personally were both legally liable for the inducement of mass piracy perpetrated by LimeWire LLC, the company that distributed the LimeWire file-sharing program. In this motion, Gorton's lawyers make a mostly perfunctory and error-ridden attempt to argue that Judge Wood was just totally wrong to conclude that poor Mark Gorton should be personally liable for all those bad things done by those bad people at LimeWire LLC.

Meanwhile, back at Lime Group, Mark Gorton had another brilliant idea: While his lawyers argued in court that he was not really involved with LimeWire at all, he would argue the opposite case in the court of public opinion. The result was the aptly-titled New York Times piece, Idea Man of LimeWire at the Crossroads. In it, Gorton explains how he was always the driving vision behind the program that Judge Wood just held to have been a deliberately crafted piracy machine.

That may help further clarify the proper disposition of the Motion for Reconsideration arguing that the "Idea Man of LimeWire" had no idea what was going on in his corporate basement.

Meanwhile, back in the basement, LimeWire LLC CEO George Seale decided to find a friendly journalistic outlet to vent his own tale of woe. Naturally, he picked Billboard magazine. There, reporter Anthony Bruno broke with technology-journalist convention and asked some hard questions, including one that prompted the CEO of LimeWire LLC to explain that for the last ten years, neither he nor anyone else at LimeWire has had the slightest clue as to why people use their program:

Rather than address each point of evidence, let's focus on the most important one--that more than 98% of files requested on LimeWire infringe on copyrights.
LimeWire considers this an open issue still in litigation. I can't say that I agree with any of the expert reports that were submitted. Whatever the numbers of files authorized for sharing versus those that are not, LimeWire does not know those numbers. It did not in 2000 and it does not now. LimeWire's searching and sharing functions are entirely decentralized. After downloading and installing LimeWire on their computers, we currently have no visibility into what types of content users seek, send and receive with the software.
This is what the Electronic Frontier Foundation would call "plausible deniability." By contrast, Judge Richard Posner might call it evidence of criminal intent. See In re Aimster Copyright Litig., 334 F.3d 643, 650 (7th Cir. 2003) ("One who, knowing or strongly suspecting that he is involved in shady dealings, takes steps to make sure that he does not acquire full or exact knowledge of the nature and extent of those dealings is held to have a criminal intent... because a deliberate effort to avoid guilty knowledge is all that the law requires to establish a guilty state of mind.").

posted by Thomas Sydnor @ 9:55 AM | Copyright, Cyber-Security, IP, Internet, Security, Software

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

NPR Interview on FCC's Third Way

I was interviewed this morning by NPR's Joel Rose on the FCC's broadband reclassification / "Third Way" proceeding (see more here & here) kicked off just today. Listen here to the NPR interview.

The following are some notes I prepared for our talk.

Thumbnail image for Mike NPR Shots 006.jpg

Continue reading NPR Interview on FCC's Third Way . . .

posted by Mike Wendy @ 3:31 PM | Antitrust & Competition Policy, Broadband, Capitol Hill, Communications, Cyber-Security, DACA, Internet, Net Neutrality, Neutrality, Privacy, Security, The FCC

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Copyrights, Copycense, and Nonsense

A revealing dispute has erupted between Ben Sheffner of Copyrights & Campaigns and the not-so-competent Editors of the website Copycense, which humbly describes itself as "the online journal of code and content."

To shorten a longer story, Professor Edward Felten recently disclosed a summary of the results of a forthcoming "Sahi-Felten study" of files available to users of a "trackerless" BitTorrent-based file-sharing program. According to Professor Felten's summary, statistical analysis showed that 99% of the files available were infringing. Ben Sheffner then authored a blog post that described this summary as "[v]aluable information to keep in mind while debating net neutrality rules and IPS's right to manage their networks and fight piracy."

But Mr. Sheffner's observation outraged the allegedly pious data-prudes at Copycense. In an unsigned "Editorial" entitled Science vs. Advocacy, the crack team at Copycense thus sanctimoniously denounced Mr. Sheffner for daring to suggest that such imperfect "summary" data should ever affect important debates about network neutrality: Calling his post "reflexive" and "impetuous" they denounced his conclusion: "drawing such correlations at this point--with respect to the summary, the resulting paper, (which has not yet been vetted, reviewed, or published), or Felten's perceived or actual personal or professional biases--is premature and careless."

I will not summarize the droning Copycense account of a few of the many, many things that can inarguably go wrong during statistical analyses of sociological phenomena. Indeed, that would be pointless because Copycense itself actually concluded its sanctimonious sermon by agreeing with the substance of the conclusions that it had just denounced as "premature and careless":

"We can say with a strong level of confidence, however, that the way the current statutes are written, it would have been shocking if anything significantly less than 100% of the files on BitTorrent were technical infringements of copyright law."
How thoughtful of Copycense to admit that it knows better than to take seriously its own prudish fretting about theoretical defects that could arise from yet-to-be-reported nuances of the Sahi-Felten study. Even though Copycense currently lacks all the data that it claims to need in order to fully and completely assess all of the implications of this forthcoming study, Copycense still admits that even persons as erudite as its own Editors can, nonetheless, already "say with a strong level of confidence [that]... it would have been shocking if anything significantly less than 100% of the files on BitTorrent were technical infringements of copyright law."

Continue reading Copyrights, Copycense, and Nonsense . . .

posted by Thomas Sydnor @ 1:56 PM | Copyright, Cyber-Security, E-commerce, IP, Internet, Mass Media, Neutrality, Think Tanks

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars: EFF Condemns Patry For "Assembling the Rhetorical Siege Engines of the Copyright Wars...."

In my last post on William Patry's worthless book, Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars, ("Copyright Wars"), I documented two simple points:

  • The rhetoric and metaphors in Copyright Wars are indefensible. Childish sanctimony led Mr. Patry to viciously condemn war or murder metaphors in copyright discourse--in a book about copyright discourse that aimed barrages of war metaphors at copyright owners ceaselessly accused of trying to "kill off" or "strangle" the Internet and innovation.
  • A particularly indefensible part of Copyright Wars is its juvenile, mad-dog tirade about the Stalinist, Fascist, chastity-belt-on-someone-else's-wife DMCA.
Today, I discovered an unexpected source of support for these views: a short book review of Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars authored by Fred von Lohmann of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ("EFF").

Here is what EFF had to say about Copyright Wars' shrieking tirade about the DMCA: "If you're looking for a basic primer on digital copyright, or the DMCA, or DRM, this isn't the book for you...." That seems a bit understated: If you are looking for an advanced--or just non-childish--primer on digital copyright, or the DMCA, or DRM, then Copyright Wars still isn't the book for you.

But the gratifying sentences in the EFF review are those that criticize the rhetoric of Copyright Wars, the self-parody that so piously denounced anyone who has ever used harsh rhetoric and metaphors when discussing copyrights and the Internet:

There are times when Patry's frustration with copyright lobbyists shows through. In those moments, it might be fairly said that he's an energetic participant in assembling the rhetorical siege engines of the copyright wars, rather than a dispassionate neutral observer.
It is nice to know that even EFF agrees that Mr. Patry became an "energetic participant in assembling the rhetorical siege engines of the copyright wars" by writing a denunciation of harsh rhetoric riddled with war-and-murder metaphors that analogize copyright enforcement to Robespierre's Terrorism, Mao's Cultural Revolution, Stalin's centrally planned Terror-Famine, and Mussolini's Blackshirt Fascism--while sanctimoniously denouncing those who would stoop to "name-calling."

Nevertheless, I do like the "frustration-with-copyright-lobbyists" excuse for Mr. Patry's 250-page self-parody: It recalls the scene in Forrest Gump when the deranged SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) leader explains why he hit Jenny: "It's just this war and that lying [expletive] Johnson[/Jack Valenti]."

That is one of many reasons why I consider Mr. Patry's book Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars to represent the simultaneous apogee and nadir of the "thought" of the Free Culture Movement.

posted by Thomas Sydnor @ 5:17 PM | Books & Book Reviews, Copyright, Cyber-Security, Economics, Googlephobia, IP, Innovation, Internet, What We're Reading

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Privacy Solutions Part 8: The Best Anonymizer Available: Tor, the TorButton & TorBrowser

By Eric Beach and Adam Marcus

In the previous entry in the Privacy Solutions Series, we described how privacy-sensitive users can use proxy servers to anonymize their web browsing experience, noting that one anonymizer stood out above all others: Tor, a sophisticated anonymizer system developed by the Tor Project, a 501(c)(3) U.S. non-profit venture supported by industry, privacy advocates and foundations, whose mission is to "allow you to protect your Internet traffic from analysis." The Torbutton plug-in for Firefox makes it particularly easy to use Tor and has been downloaded over three million times. The TorBrowser Bundle is a pre-configured "portable" package of Tor and Firefox that can run off a USB flash drive and does not require anything to be installed on the computer on which it is used. Like most tools in the Privacy Solutions series, Tor has its downsides and isn't for everyone. But it does offer a powerful tool to privacy-sensitive users in achieving a degree of privacy that no regulation could provide.

Continue reading Privacy Solutions Part 8: The Best Anonymizer Available: Tor, the TorButton & TorBrowser . . .

posted by Adam Marcus @ 4:15 PM | Cyber-Security, Privacy Solutions

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ars Technica Reviews Patry's "Screed," Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars

posted by Thomas Sydnor @ 7:09 PM | Books & Book Reviews, Copyright, Cyber-Security, Googlephobia, IP, Innovation, Internet, Trade

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Announcing PFF's Taxonomy of Online Security & Privacy Threats

posted by Adam Marcus @ 1:28 PM | Cyber-Security, Privacy Solutions

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More Members of Congress Pay the Price for P2P Piracy

posted by Thomas Sydnor @ 11:04 AM | Copyright, Cyber-Security, Economics, IP, Internet, The FTC

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The DVD Rental Window: Fiddling while Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars Burns.

posted by Thomas Sydnor @ 3:05 PM | Copyright, Cyber-Security, E-commerce, Googlephobia, IP, Internet, Mass Media

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Monday, October 26, 2009

The L.A. Times and Huffington Post Blast Patry's Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars

posted by Thomas Sydnor @ 9:58 AM | Books & Book Reviews, Capitalism, Copyright, Cyber-Security, Economics, IP, Internet, Internet TV, e-Government & Transparency

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Copyright Wars, "Welfare for Authors" and Pedophiles: Part Two of a Reply

posted by Thomas Sydnor @ 10:33 AM | Books & Book Reviews, Copyright, Cyber-Security, E-commerce, Economics, Googlephobia, IP, Innovation, Internet, Mass Media, Software

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars: A Worthless Book

posted by Thomas Sydnor @ 12:27 PM | China, Copyright, Cyber-Security, E-commerce, Economics, IP, Innovation, Internet, Regulation

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Friday, September 11, 2009

WordPress Worm: Cyber-Security Begins at Home

posted by Berin Szoka @ 12:18 PM | Cyber-Security, Privacy

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  Government Again Behind the Curve: Efforts to Implement Cloud Computing in the Public Sector
Wow, Part II: USPTO, NTIA, and Commerce Officials Urge ISPs, Ad Networks, Payment Processors, and Search Engines to Cooperate and Create a Law-Abiding Internet that Deters Counterfeiting and Piracy.
Send In the Clowns: A Review of Oberholzer-Gee and Stumpf's Copyright and File-Sharing (Part 1)
Why Copyright Industry Costs-of-Piracy Studies Correctly Ignore the "Positive Economic Effects" of Criminal Racketeering
LimeWire Begs for a... "Second" Chance?
LimeWire's "Idea Man" Scuttles His Own Last-Ditch Defense
NPR Interview on FCC's Third Way
Copyrights, Copycense, and Nonsense
Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars: EFF Condemns Patry For "Assembling the Rhetorical Siege Engines of the Copyright Wars...."
Privacy Solutions Part 8: The Best Anonymizer Available: Tor, the TorButton & TorBrowser
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