Help EFF Save Web Content: Prove Podcasting and Media Patent is Wrong

Act now, or this puppy is in grave danger. Podcasting pug photograph (CC) zoomar. Patenting the use of all episodic media on the Web might sound absurd, but the US Patent and Trademark Office has granted just such a patent, to a company called VoloMedia. It’s a significant issue, one that could threaten the freedom of all media distribution online. Wherever you are in the world, you can help. Intellectual property law was created in order to protect genuine inventions and innovation from exploitation. But predatory patents, based on bogus claims and attempting to stake out broad rights, threaten to …

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Rant – Congratulations, Apple: “Syncing” Music Now Means “Using iTunes”

Photo (CC) Tim Douglas. Critics frequently attach the phrase “lock-in” to Apple’s iTunes Store – iTunes – iPod/iPhone combination. But, in the post-DRM age, what does that mean, exactly? First, you have to recall that while for many of us the manual drag-and-drop music management is appealing, it isn’t so for many average consumers. They want sync. That means that music will be stored in iTunes and synced to Apple devices and nothing else. Apple is serious about locking you to their store and their devices, enough so that they frequently update their software with special keys that prevent the …

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On Behringer’s Track Record, “Value,” and “Copies”

Photo (CC) sleepydisco aka David Wood. In pointing out Behringer’s clone of Apple’s homepage, I may have left some things unclear. I was honestly surprised to find a number of people rushing to Behringer’s defense. I wasn’t trying to score cheap and easy points against the brand, but while venting frustration, I may have underestimated the response of people who own Behringer gear. If you do, and it’s working for you, as always – that’s a good thing. The conversation got me excited, and I stepped into the comment fray. I shouldn’t have in this case, and unless asked to, …

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Behringer’s Latest Rip-Off Job: Apple.com

  Look out: Behringer, already a notorious rip-off artist, is taking the “first step in [the] company’s reinvention of online presence.” I shudder to think what the coming steps will look like. But yes, the new site looks a wee bit familiar. It actually gets worse as you dig into the layout. In fairness, for over a decade now, Apple’s site has perhaps the most ripped-off Website design on the Internet. But then, Behringer is special. Back when the blog Music Thing was publishing, it was able to do an annual series on cloned Mackie and Roland/BOSS gear, some down …

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Chip Strikes Back: Finnish Label Sues Timbaland, Nelly Furtado

MusicRadar’s Joe Bosso reports that the long-simmering controversy over alleged 8-bit music intellectual property theft has come to a lawsuit: Timbaland, Nelly Furtado sued for plagiarism [MusicRadar] The suit is being brought by the Finland-based Kernel Records, which acquired the song Acidjazzed Evening. The case again puts musical sampling in the spotlight. Timbaland’s response in 2007, which you can read in the MusicRadar article, basically amounted to “I didn’t know where it came from, so it’s not theft.” Oh, and then there’s this gem: “It’s from a video game, idiot.” That’ll be Timbaland demonstrating that he doesn’t understand what 8-bit …

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Pirating a Fundraising Album for an Italian Quake – Really?

Ligabue, one of the contributing artists, live in Berlin. Photo (CC) Matthias Muehlbradt. Sure, many issues around intellectual property are gray. But contributor Jo Ardalan has a disturbing story: what happens when a fundraising album gets pirated? Did illegal file sharing users know what they were doing — is there a need for a donation mechanism for these services — or is it really this bad? Apologies if this is old news – catching up during travel – but a question well worth considering. -Ed. We all know piracy forces labels, artists and developers to incur a huge cost. Recently, …

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Inside the Performance Rights Act, And Deciding Who Gets Paid on the Radio

Performers don’t get paid for radio play, even if writers do. Billy Corgan – yes, the Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan – is getting in on the issue, testifying to Congress. So should you be on Billy’s side, or the broadcasters? That’s a trickier question. Photo (CC) Andra Veraart. Policy, intellectual property, and changing business models remain hot threads to follow on this site as we watch the transformation of music distribution in the electronic age. This time, we welcome a new contributor to look inside the issues. Surprise: one radio host sides with the record industry, and the issues may …

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“Music Simulation” Patent Unsuccessful, Gibson Mucks Up Own Case

Simulated guitar? Gibson gets carried away, but the law wins. Photo/bento creation (CC) Sakurako Kitsa.(Yup, this is a Fender Strat, but this is my kind of simulation of a musical instrument – in cheese form!) Gibson, the guitar company, has been on an utterly absurd campaign against music games, bringing lawsuits against the developers of both Guitar Hero and Rock Band and even against retailers. In the latest illustration of how screwed up patent law is, and just how over-litigious it has made technology in this country, the patent was based on a Gibson patent for a “System and method …

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Android, Apple, and Multi-Touch, from the Man Who Hacked the G1

We’ve got further compelling evidence Apple doesn’t really own multi-touch and multi-touch gestures — and that other devices and interfaces will press forward (which is a good thing for everyone). Lest you think I’m straying too far from creating digital music, by the way, I think this means lots of new music apps – as musicians have devoured multi-touch more than any other group (and certainly have used it for the coolest stuff). I am concerned about how multi-touch innovation will wrangle with over-zealous intellectual property legal wrangling. But hopefully I made it clear that, even with my concerns about …

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Intellectual Property, Multi-Touch: Will Apple IP Stifle Innovation?

The iPhone launch, two short years ago. Photo David Pham. Apple’s iPhone should be a herald of a new age in interface design. But now, with speculation that Apple and Palm could get into a patent battle, and murky concerns about patents in multi-touch interface design in general, it’s unclear how much intellectual property legal wrangling will have to happen first. I’m going to resist turning this into a long rant – partly because I think the jury is out on so many issues. It’s never been entirely clear what Apple continues sacred in its intellectual property on the iPhone. …

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