:: LawGeek :: Thoughts on Things by Jason Schultz

Intellectual Property Rants, SUV Wrongs, and Random Movie/Media Reviews
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:: Saturday, May 10, 2003 ::

P2P Systems Offer Useful Market Research

ABC News reports that radio station program managers are looking to a new source for what today's teens want to hear: P2P networks like KaZaA, Morpheus, and Grokster.

Turns out that nowhere else on the face of the planet can offer more current realtime insights into popularity and demand for certain groups and certain songs. Funny how putting consumers directly in touch with artists and music can do that.

And check out this part of the story:

In the weeks before rapper 50 Cent's new album Get Rich Or Die Tryin' hit stores, Big Champagne saw his songs were queried and swapped like crazy, prompting Interscope Records to release the album five days sooner....The album is now a huge hit.

"We have a demand curve that precedes the introduction of new content," Garland said.


"When you really boil it down to what's hot on the downloads," Demery said, "it's the same stuff people are buying, the same stuff people are requesting, the same stuff the radio stations are playing."

So let's see. 5 days before its release, 50 Cent's songs were being "swapped like crazy" yet now the album is a huge hit and selling like hotcakes. And what people are downloading is the same stuff people are buying.

But wait? Didn't Jack Valenti and the RIAA tell us that no one can compete with free? Who are these folks who keep buying CDs instead of downloading the songs for free? Why won't they help Jack prove that swapping is evil? They should be arrested, damn it. Oh right ... if Jack had his way, they would be.

:: Jason 11:21:00 AM [+] ::

:: Thursday, May 08, 2003 ::

Music Swappers Are Also Shoppers

Web traffic tracker Neilsen/NetRatings reports that Internet users who consistently download music are more likely to buy music, both online and retail, than average internet users.

But wait? What about the MPAA/RIAA battlecry that they can't compete with free?

:: Jason 9:53:00 AM [+] ::

:: Wednesday, May 07, 2003 ::

Popup Ads Patented

MSNBC reports that a porn site owner has patented the method of using popup ads to prevent web site viewers from exiting the site. How annoying.

Part of me would want to invalidate this patent. On the other hand, if he sues people and it is upheld, most companies will likely stop using them rather than pay licensing fees. Could be a nice example of patents used for social good.
:: Jason 8:52:00 AM [+] ::

:: Monday, May 05, 2003 ::

Obligatory post re: RIAA-college Student Settlement

So John has challenged me to comment on the fact that all four students sued by the RIAA have settled their cases. Here are my comments:

First, none of the students admitted any liability.

Second, they each agreed to pay between $12,000 and $17,000 over the course of the next few years or so to the RIAA.

Third, the payments are predicated on their own individual file sharing, not the search engine systems they were running on campus computers.

Conclusion:I think the RIAA is the loser here. First off, in the PR world, they would have benefited much more in their Scare Campaign if they had either gotten an official legal judgment against the students or at least gotten the students to admit what they did was wrong If the massive RIAA can't even get an 18 year old college student to admit infringing their copyrights, they'll have a really hard time corraling the other 40 million P2P users into doing so.

Second, none of the cases seems to have settled based on liability for the search engines the students were running but rather on their own liability for possessing traded songs. In other words, the RIAA didn't want to push these suits and face another Morpherus/Grokster decision against them. I think it is no coincidence that a settlement happened after the Morpheus decision was announced.

Finally, even though $12,000-$17,000 is a lot of money for a college student, I'm guessing it barely pays the attorneys fees for the RIAA. Thus, once again, none of this money will actually go to the artists who wrote or performed the songs allegedly infringed. Until the RIAA actually shows that the artists are earning more money, I think they will have a hard time morally justifying their digital assault on the youth of america.

p.s. Happy John? :)

:: Jason 2:28:00 PM [+] ::

Warren Buffett: Bush Tax Cut Hurts Working America; Only Helps Rich Folks Like Me

You know you're in trouble when the Second Richest man in the World thinks your Tax Cut plan is unfair and gives him too much money.

Reuters reports that Warren Buffett has come out against the Bush Tax Cut plan as unfair:

Asked about President Bush's plan to eliminate the tax on companies' dividends, Buffett said it would unfairly benefit rich people like himself, at the expense of ordinary workers.

"He (Bush) is not changing the amount the American public sends the government," Buffett said, "just changing who does it." The only way to cut taxes is to cut government spending, Buffett added.

:: Jason 9:31:00 AM [+] ::

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