Since beginning its campaign against college students in February, the RIAA has sent out 4,157 prelitigation settlement letters to 160 different schools in ten separate waves.
The schools targeted run the gamut. There are large state schools like Ohio State University, the University of Texas – Austin, and the University of Tennessee. There are also a handful of small liberal arts colleges on the list, including Swarthmore College, evangelical Christian school Bethel University in Minnesota, Gettysburg College, and Carleton College. And the elite schools in the US are well represented, too: Stanford, Northwestern, MIT, and the aforementioned Ivy League schools have all received missives from the RIAA. But not Harvard.
There may be another factor at work here: hostility towards the RIAA’s campaign on the part of Harvard Law School professors Charles Nesson and John Palfrey, who run the law school’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Responding to the RIAA’s claim that its litigation strategy has “invigorated a meaningful conversation on college campuses about music theft, its consequences and the numerous ways to enjoy legal music,” the profs called on Harvard to not betray the “trust and privacy” of its students.
“The university has no legal obligation to deliver the RIAA’s messages. It should do so only if it believes that’s consonant with the university’s mission,” wrote Nesson and Palfrey. “[The RIAA seems] to be engaging in a classic tactic of the bully facing someone much weaker: threatening such dire consequences that the students settle without the issue going to court. The issue is that the university should not be carrying the industry’s water in bringing lawsuits.”
Should the RIAA decide to send prelitigation settlement letters to Harvard, chances are good that 1) the letters will not be passed on, and 2) some of the best and brightest at Harvard Law School will get involved in a big way. That doesn’t look too appealing, especially when the campaign isn’t going as smoothly as the RIAA would like.
Yay!!! Some background on what’s actually going on here. So when people are sharing music the only thing that the RIAA can see is an ip address linked to a university. They send a prelitigation settlement letter to the university that in turn passes it onto the student. Until the point the RIAA doesn’t know who the student is. It turns out that the RIAA doesn’t have much legal footing and banks on the idea that students won’t commit the legal resources to fighting the battles. I’ve read in other places that the funds recovered don’t actually even go to the RIAA, they just go to pay for lawyers. No one wins here.
:: Article via ars technica ::
I am currently ensconced in Phillip Pullman’s The Golden Compass to the detriment of all else. It started slow and displays all the expectedly “unpredictable” plot loops of a children’s novel. Somewhere in the first 70 pages it switched silently from childishly bland to endlessly engaging. I adore it deeply and find much of my waking thoughts devoted to pondering how my life would be different if I had a fearsome and brilliant polar bear as companion.
I picked the book up because I heard, damn accurately, that it was good AND much to my delight I’ve discovered there is a film adaptation in the works! Just today I learned that it will emerge next week or thereabouts. sweeeeeet! Talk about instant gratification!
Now there is a bitter and widely recognized truth that the book is always better than the film. There are a few cunning plays for exceptions to this rule and I believe Fight Club is one of them because it, like the others, allows us to into the exceptionally gifted imagination of someone else. I had a tingling wait for the large, high definition trailer and it was astoundingly good and seemingly marksman accurate to the book. From the trailer it seems like The Golden Compass is going to be lord of the rings meets steampunk Harry Potter. I think I’ll be waiting in line on opening night.
I would love to present the trailer right here, in this very blog, but someone at apple or the film studios seems to have forgotten (or likely not learned in the first place) how the internet works. It doesn’t appear that I can do that (maybe i can, but it’s nonapparent). Searching for Golden Compass on youtube and clicking on the official trailer gives me a message that this video has been taken down bc it violates terms of service (ie copyright violation).
There’s a simple rule about usability and thus success on the internet that *should* be obvious by now…the internet is unimaginably vast and entertaining. Therefore every time you force large groups of users into making a choice, you will lose a surprisingly high number of them to some of the other fascinations on the internet. Many of the people running the entertainment industry came up in the days when there were three channels on television. To them, it makes sense to force the trailer off youtube with copyright suits so that users will have to visit the official Golden Compass Website ™ in order to watch the trailer. This is unimaginably dumb.
My studies have yielded what I believe is a useful (although incomplete) metaphor: Intellectual property is best viewed as a liquid and copyright is most usefully seen as an old and leaky yet functional faucet through which it can flow. Close the faucet off by tightening copyright and less intellectual property will flow. Sometimes this is both good and useful. Open the faucet and IP will gush forth filling whatever container is presented (the internet in this case).
Fundamentally, what is a trailer? A D V E R T I S I N G !!!
So why would you want fewer people to see that by tightening the faucet? because you grew up in the fifties and you don’t understand the tubes (they definitely aren’t a dump truck).
The internet is about relinqishing control, opening the faucet more widely than ever previously imagined.
….fuck. Now that I’ve written all this, I just found the trailer on youtube. Dammit, it seems that there is an *official* studio funded group called HisDarkMaterials.org given the rights to distribute all footage.
So here’s the official trailer in youtube format. You can watch it here, but paradoxically (almost), I’m going to recommend that you go and watch the hi def trailer on the official website. Like I said, lord of the rings meets steampunk harry potter. the extra resolution is worth it.
I guess most of my misplaced copyright rant is still mostly accurate, just apply it to a broader context or something.
I may have to back off my steampunk claim and replace it with a victorian scifi based stance.
“Anyone whose goal is ‘something higher’ must expect some day to suffer vertigo. What is vertigo? Fear of falling?… No, vertigo is something other than the fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.”
I’m pretty sure that if picasso were alive today he would have a website selling tshirts.
So there’s this website called freerice.com, you go, answer vocabulary questions and they donate 10 grains of rice for every question you answer correctly. That’s not even a spoonful by the way. I make a policy of going there and clicking until I get bored every time someone forwards me the link. Tonight, with the aid of a heady beer buzz, I’ve been able to sustain a personal record of donating 250 grains of rice in one sitting. I’ve now totaled over 1000 grains in several sittings (and achieved the highest vocabulary score thank you very fucking much). buuuuuut, I have some reservations.
first, vocab is pretty boring (and by that I mean it ambuscades fascination, you philistine), they should expand to general trivia and lsat questions. People should be able to pick what kind of trivia they get.
internet research* ™ reveals that there are
-at least 29,000 grains of rice in a pound of rice (src that bitches)
-given my current record of 250 grains/5 minutes I can donate 3000 grains of rice per hour.
-it would take 8-9 hours of constant vernacularization** on freerice.com to donate a pound of rice
-a pound of rice costs around 3 dollars…retail (prices may vary depending on stuff).
-25,000 people die each day from hunger or hunger-related causes, most of them children
25,000 people?!? that’s total bullshit! so rather than fucking around on freerice.com I decided to just donate to the UN World Food Program Directly!
You should too, because we’re all pretty serious ballers compared to people who are like, starving to death (fuck my phone costs more than a lot of people on earth make in an entire goddamn year!). seriously, no one reading this can’t spare three dollars. so do it, do it now, that way you can have a clear conscience when you’re stuffing your face with pie.
come on, just do it.
* all calculations and research are done under the aegis of a half bottle of wine, at least 2 but no more than 4 shots of scotch and 5ish beers. all of which are worth about 600,000 grains of rice.
** you can put that in your lexicon and smoke it!
ps You’re not allowed to comment on the blog ever again unless you donate. and you know I’m going to say/do something stupid so you better just kick down to preserve your commenting privs.
Hey I know I’ve been posting a lot of youtube videos lately but this one is really good. If everyone did this, there wouldn’t be a war.
:: via email (thanks ben!) ::
:: Via SaraK ::
that http://www.simplethings.com is a) taken and b) taken by a link farm
a link farm is any group of web sites that all hyperlink to every other page in the group. Although some link farms can be created by hand, most are created through automated programs and services. A link farm is a form of spamming the index of a search engine (sometimes called spamdexing or spamexing).