by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 27th 2012 8:01pm
by Michael Ho
Mon, Feb 27th 2012 5:00pm
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
- Enjoy your fifteen minutes of fame, Ed Weiland -- for being a bit less surprised than most about Linsanity. Weiland wrote in 2010: "... Jeremy Lin is a good enough player to start in the NBA and possibly star." [url]
- Nate Silver called himself a forecaster, explained how he looked at baseball stats, and created the PECOTA system for evaluating MLB players. Baseball Prospectus bought the PECOTA system in 2003 and publishes its forecasts for all kinds of baseball fans and fantasy baseball leagues. [url]
- The annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference has picked its top ten finalists for its Research Paper of the Year. These papers discuss various stats like "15% of basketball rebounds hit the floor before being collected." [url]
- To find some other online challenges and games, check out what StumbleUpon has found to play. [url]
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 27th 2012 3:54pm
from the new-way dept
There are lots of artists who recognize this basic formula. For example, hip hop star Wale was recently asked about things like SOPA, and he explained that he doesn't get too involved in those things, but he just wants to make music and give it to his fans for free, knowing that they'll support him when it comes time to buy:
I just know that I want to continue to make music and give it to the people for free and then if it’s good enough when it’s time for it to be sold they’ll go out and support it. I’m a fan of the mode that it is now...Of course, he's signed to Universal Music, which kinda limits his ability to give out his music for free. They don't like that kind of thing. But it again raises questions about the claims of labels that they represent the best interests of artists. It seems like some artists have a better handle on what's best for themselves...
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 27th 2012 2:35pm
Rumblefish CEO: Claiming Copyright On Your Incidental Recordings Of Birds Was Merely A Series Of Unfortunate Errors
from the that-just-happen-to-profit-us dept
I'm the CEO of Rumblefish, I guess we're the newest up and coming bird music licensing company - I'm also a copyright, music licensing, entrepreneur guy. Ask me anything.the details aren't leaving many satisfied. The key explanation is basically that it was a "series of unfortunate errors":
Here's what happened. YT ID'd a song in our catalog improperly, it was disputed, one of our content ID reps re-instated the claim mistakenly. The issue was brought to our attention b/c of a post tonight. We reviewed the video, I watched it myself, and it was clearly a mistake. We released the claim on Sunday eve a few hours after our mistake came to our attention. That's what happened.This is, almost certainly, an accurate reflection of the specific events, but hardly touches on the key error. That the Rumblefish rep re-instated the video "mistakenly." Remember, this was a nature video. There was no music. No one who watched the actual video would think that it involved someone taking "bird songs" off of some Rumblefish licensed track and placing it on the video.
We review a substantial amount of claims every day and the number is increasing significantly. It's been rather challenging. We have millions of videos now using our songs as soundtracks and keeping up is getting harder and harder.
Separately, this highlights an ongoing problem that we've discussed concerning YouTube's ContentID program. While it has been a great way to enable copyright holders to make money from content uploaded by others, it also can (and often is) abused to either take down content or to monetize someone else's content.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 27th 2012 1:32pm
from the boycott's-work dept
While we continue to oppose government mandates in this area, Elsevier is withdrawing support for the Research Work Act itself. We hope this will address some of the concerns expressed and help create a less heated and more productive climate for our ongoing discussions with research funders.Of course, then it immediately complains about the kinds of mandates that the Act would have disallowed:
Cooperation and collaboration are critical because different kinds of journals in different fields have different economics and models. Inflexible mandates that do not take those differences into account and do not involve the publisher in decision making can undermine the peer-reviewed journals that serve an essential purpose in the research community. Therefore, while withdrawing support for the Research Works Act, we will continue to join with those many other nonprofit and commercial publishers and scholarly societies that oppose repeated efforts to extend mandates through legislation.That's pretty ridiculous actually. None of these mandates "undermine" these journals in any way -- unless you consider their insane set up (free writing, free editing, full copyright ownership, and subscriptions that cost tens of thousands of dollars) some sort of divine right. The mandates refer to federally funded research, which should be accessible by the public since they paid for the research in the first place. Elsevier doesn't pay for the research. Hell, they don't even pay the researcher for their paper. Or the peer reviewers for their work. So forgive me for not shedding any tears if Elsevier has to learn to adapt to only being able to have the exclusive rights to a paper for a year.
Still, with Elsevier dropping its support, hopefully it means that the original backers of the poorly thought out bill, Reps. Darrel Issa and Carolyn Maloney will drop the bill entirely. Instead, I'd very much like to see much greater support for Rep. Mike Doyle's counter-proposal, which would mandate that federally funded research be made available to the public.
Update: And.... now Issa has said that he won't move forward on the bill and (more importantly) that he now understands the importance of "open access" and how it's "the wave of the future."
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 27th 2012 12:30pm
from the make-a-statement dept
New businesses are the key to job creation and economic growth, and the Internet is one of the most fertile platforms for new businesses ever established.From there, we have a list of twelve topics that we think are important -- but we want your input. So we've posted this same thing both here and over at our Step 2 discussion platform. Over at Step 2, we've also posted those initial twelve topics, with each one as a separate comment on the original post, so you can vote them up and down. If you want to really participate, please head on over to Step 2, where you can do three separate things (and, yes, your Techdirt login works there too):
We believe deeply in the value of decentralized, emergent, bottom-up innovation, and we want to shape public policies that will allow it to flourish.
- Suggest your own topics that should be part of an innovation agenda by responding to the main post.
- Vote on existing topics to show which ones are more important... and which ones are less important.
- Comment on the existing topics to provide feedback or suggest ways to improve them.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 27th 2012 11:33am
Sony Music Exec: The Internet Is Full Of Opportunities & Not A Problem; Intransigent Collection Societies, However...
from the more-people-getting-it dept
GEMA, of course, says that it's doing this to "protect" the artists. But as I've pointed out in the past, many, many artists in Germany don't believe that at all. In the past we've noted that GEMA tried to ignore Creative Commons licenses as well as barred members from offering their music for free (two years ago, when I was in Germany at a music conference, I had multiple artists explain to me they had an "official" website where they would "sell" music to keep GEMA happy... and an "unofficial" website where they'd offer their music for free. The whole thing is crazy.
In fact, it's gotten so crazy that apparently even the major labels are getting sick of it. TorrentFreak has the news of a top Sony Music exec, Edgar Berger, who runs their international business, talking about how the internet hasn't been a problem at all, but has created tons of new opportunities. The ones creating the real problems for the industry? GEMA. Because the music is blocked "to protect the artist," it appears that the labels and artists are missing out on large revenue checks from YouTube's ContentID...
“There is absolutely nothing to complain about. The Internet is a great stroke of luck for the music industry, or better: the Internet is a blessing for us,” Berger said.Quite a contrast from the "old" story, right? Here's a situation in which technology and business model innovation via Content ID are creating massive new revenue opportunities for the entertainment industry -- and the old school system of excess protectionism is denying them that revenue.
“You can not blame the Internet for harmful excesses. On the contrary. It has brought us tremendous new opportunities,” he added.
But with these new opportunities come new rivals from an unexpected corner. According to the Sony boss, music rights collecting agencies are now preventing innovation in certain countries.
In Germany, for example, most YouTube videos by Sony artists are blocked due to the music rights group GEMA, and not because Sony wants it that way. When asked why Sony’s music is not available on YouTube in Germany, Berger responded bitterly.
“It’s not because of us. You must direct this question to the German collecting agency GEMA, they licensed the copyright very restrictively.”
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 27th 2012 10:30am
from the dmca-abuse dept
So isn't it interesting that we've just discovered that our own key anti-SOPA blog post and discussion... have been blocked thanks to a bogus DMCA takedown?
Last November, in the heat of the SOPA fight, I wrote a blog post, where I tried to pull together a bunch of the different reasons why SOPA and PIPA were really bad ideas. It was a very popular post for us, and I heard directly from many people that it was quite helpful in getting them to understand the real problems of these two bills.
Well, as I just discovered, that post cannot be found directly via Google any more.
I actually discovered this entirely by accident. I was looking for a totally different old Techdirt post, and was scrolling through Google results, when I saw a note at the bottom of the Google page saying that results had been removed due to a DMCA takedown:
If you're scratching your head, you're not the only one. There's clearly nothing infringing in our post. I just wasted too much time going through all 300+ comments on that post and I don't see anything that includes any porn or even links to any porn as far as I can tell. Instead, it seems that Armovore and Paper Street Cash sent a clearly bogus DMCA takedown notice, which served the purpose of censoring our key blog post in the SOPA fight. And they did it on January 20th... the day that SOPA was officially shelved.
There are some other oddities in that list as well, including TorrentFreak's article about how ICE took down 84,000 websites illegally by seizing the mooo.com domain and saying that all 84,000 of those sites were involved in child porn.
In other words, two separate articles that have been key to the discussion concerning abuses of copyright law... both taken out of Google's index due to a bogus DMCA takedown. Hmm....
While many of the other links do appear to go to sites that may offer up infringing content, just looking at the URLs alone make you wonder what most of them have to do with Paper Street Cash or TeamSkeet. Some of the links talk about top Christian albums. One is to some Dave Matthews songs. Another is to Wiz Khalifa music. There's another one that appears to be a link to downloads of the TV show Prison Break. Obviously those things may be infringing, but the notice itself only talks about TeamSkeet, and if Armovore doesn't represent those other artists, it may have broken the law in pretending to.
Then there's a really bizarre one. Entry 533 on the list is... TeamSkeet's own website. I don't know how much Armovore charges Paper Street Cash, but they deserve a refund.
Most importantly, though, our page clearly is not infringing. This is a 100% bogus DMCA takedown -- something we only discovered by complete accident over a month later -- hiding one of our key articles in an important fight about abusing copyright law to take down free speech. Seems like a perfect example of how copyright can be -- and is -- abused to suppress free speech.
In the meantime, we'll be exploring our options for responding to this obviously bogus takedown from both Armovore and Paper Street Cash.
Update: After "further review," Google has reinstated our story to its index....
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 27th 2012 9:24am
from the that-ain't-right dept
"I make nature videos for my YouTube channel, generally in remote wilderness away from any possible source of music. And I purposely avoid using a soundtrack in my videos because of all the horror stories I hear about Rumblefish filing claims against public domain music. But when uploading my latest video, YouTube informed me that I was using Rumblefish's copyrighted content, and so ads would be placed on my video, with the proceeds going to said company. This baffled me. I disputed their claim with YouTube's system — and Rumblefish refuted my dispute, and asserted that: 'All content owners have reviewed your video and confirmed their claims to some or all of its content: Entity: rumblefish; Content Type: Musical Composition.' So I asked some questions, and it appears that the birds singing in the background of my video are Rumblefish's exclusive intellectual property."While it's still not fully clear what happened, the idea of claiming copyright on birds singing is actually not an entirely new concept (though, yes, it is ridiculous). In 2010, we wrote about Apple getting sued buy a guy, Martyn Stewart, who had recorded a bunch of bird sounds. Someone else had used those sounds in an app called iBird. As I said then, I'm not sure that there really is much "copyright" to claim over recording birds, but even if someone wants to make an argument that recording birds is copyrightable, it's pretty clear that the guy in the story above was just recording his own sounds -- not using someone's "copyright"-covered bird songs...
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 27th 2012 8:27am
from the aim-high? dept
by Tim Cushing
Mon, Feb 27th 2012 7:09am
from the studio-shocked-to-find-zero-sum-game-on-either-end dept
In an interview with The Quietus to discuss the Blu-ray release of Repo Man, Cox discusses, among other things, the many ways Universal Studios has given him its patented shaft, starting with the supposed sequel to Repo Man:
We took Repo Man sequels to Universal and proposed they do it, but they weren't interested. What they did instead is they brought out a movie titled Repo Men and pretended that was the sequel.So, there's strike one. Studio takes a meeting, feigns disinterest, does it on its own terms while simultaneously abusing any goodwill built up between the director and his fans and between the studio and fans of the original. Then there's the wholly incomprehensible "reason" why the UK is getting Repo Man on Blu-ray but the United States isn't:
Universal Studios has an antipathy towards Repo Man and towards Walker. I don't think they will ever bring out a good version in the US. I can't understand why Universal won't do a sequel given how much money they made off the original Repo Man. It's an institutional animus. The kinds of people that get jobs in studios tend to be fearful of their superiors and that's how they keep their jobs. The guys at Universal, even though they were 13 when Repo Man came out, they've been told by their superiors: 'We don't like that film'. And that's the official attitude from generation to generation in the studio. They have an institutional animus which almost makes you think that corporations really could be people.And... strike two. For reasons only truly known to the studio, Repo Man is not going to see a US release on Blu-ray. Cox has worked with Universal so it's hard to imagine he's just making this up. He's completely right about the institutional fear built into the major studios, which explains everything from the reliance on sequels and remakes to the legislative flailing about in response to piracy. Large entities seldom move quickly and their response time is usually infected with serious amounts of institutional lag. You'd think it would be as simple as throwing on some Region 1 encoding and firing up the burners, but it looks as if Universal Studios would rather American audiences pick this up through alternate methods. If you're worried about "lost sales," it would seem that you'd at least attempt to make your product available for sale.
But Cox isn't through yet. The interviewer mentions "and then there's the crisis of getting the rights from the studios." At that point, Cox tees off:
It's so corrupt. Now they want to have longer copyright periods because they say the young artists are relying on this money. The young artists never see any money because they sign away that money to big media corporations, like Universal and Viacom. We, the artists, lose all of our rights to these massive corporations, who then come down heavy on these kids for downloading films and music that we never see a penny from. It's complete bullshit. I want to encourage your audience to go and pirate a bunch of my stuff right away.Strike three.
This is what happens when you fight a stranger in the Alps, Universal. Instead of having a happy artist celebrating the worldwide Blu-ray release of a seminal film, you've got a disgruntled former employee telling people to shoplift the hell out of the store. The studios seem to think they're playing a super-smart "long game" by pushing for extended copyright while simultaneously refusing to relinquish any control over the creations of others. As long as the major studios (and labels) continue operating in this antagonistic fashion, they'll find that their "long game" has left them with nothing to play for. Piracy is a message and it's being repeated by the very artists they thought they had under control.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 27th 2012 5:36am
Indiana Court Says Anonymous Commenters Deserve High Standard Before Being Exposed, But Aren't Necessarily Protected By Shield Laws
from the seems-reasonable dept
It looks like the court effectively agreed with just about everything we said. The court rejected the shield law argument, but not in a broad way saying that commenters aren't protected under the shield, but that this comment wasn't really a "source" in any meaningful way, and the newspaper didn't use the comment as the basis for any additional reporting. However, the court pretty clearly suggests that in other cases, commenters could be considered sources and could be protected by shield laws.
However, perhaps more importantly, the court set a relatively high bar for unveiling the anonymous commenter -- adopting the Dendrite rules that give the anonymous person a chance to respond and which require the plaintiff to present a significant amount of evidence that the comments violate the law before any unmasking is ordered. While the Dendrite rule still is not standard, it is spreading, and it's nice to see Indiana adopt it as well.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 27th 2012 3:37am
Patent Aggressor Microsoft Files EU Complaint Against Google/Motorola For Charging Too Much To License Patents
from the live-by-the-sword dept
Of course it was partly Microsoft's aggressive patent position against Android that put Google in the position of feeling compelled to buy Motorola Mobility to get its patent portfolio, mainly for the sake of protecting itself and having a bunch of patents that it could use as a shield against a lawsuit from the likes of Microsoft. Of course, Microsoft was already suing Motorola over the company's use of Android.
A few weeks ago, we discussed the tough spot that Google was in over Motorola's patents. The company has indicated that would keep in place Motorola's current patent licensing strategy. While many of us would prefer that Google make a big statement by freeing or opening up many of these patents, the company is actually in something of a ridiculous position: if it does that... its competitors (mainly Microsoft) will claim anti-trust violations by saying that the company is using its market position to undercut the prices that other charge.
It's other choice? Keep the current rates. And that's what it's indicated it would do... so the second that the EU and the US approved the merger, Microsoft files this antitrust complaint, arguing that the rates Motorola charges for its patents is too high. It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't position for Google. Keep the rates as they are, and they're violating antitrust rules by charging too much. Cut the prices or free up some of the patents, and it's an antitrust issue for leveraging their position and "dumping" in the market.
Of course, Microsoft's almost gleeful blog post about its complaint ignores all of this reality and history, and tries to position it as if Motorola and Google are trying to "kill" web and mobile video by charging too high a royalty rate. Frankly, for anyone who knows anything about Microsoft's patent practices over the past few years, they'll see through this and recognize how laughable Microsoft's claims are.
Either way, the situation is ridiculous. Fighting over patents doesn't help bring any new innovations to market. It just diverts money to the lawyers.