Spy Act Revisted

A new version of the Spy Act, H.R. 29, is in committee. Details later.
Susan Crawford: What’s next: Spyware: “Last year spyware legislation overwhelmingly passed the House (399 to 1). The Senate didn’t act on it. We’re going to see a lot of activity on this front again this year. But I’m not so sure legislation is such a great idea.”

Replay it again, Sam

Apple’s new Mac mini is a snazzy little computer. Because it is so small, the mini is an ideal computer to act as a media server.
Yesterday, Engadget discussed HOW-TO: Turn your Mac mini into a media center; “It can serve the role of scheduler, controller, audio/video recorder, audio/video playback, audio/video download, and it even makes a decent audio/video production unit, as well.”
The mini is less than ideal as a home media server not just because of its limited storage capability, but due to the fact that it, unlike most Windows Media Center PC’s, requires external hardware and additional software to serve as a DVR. I’d bet that Apple will likely release its own DVR software with a future revision of the mini before too long, however.
Since I acquired some more disk space, I started playing around with DVArchive. DVArchive is cross-platform software for networking a computer to a ReplayTV. It allows one to download recordings from the ReplayTV and edit and remix those recordings. Of course, since the most powerful computer at AndrewRaff.com World HQ is an iBook G3, editing or archiving programs to DVD is not feasible. A Mac mini, on the other hand, would make an ideal audio and video server…
In contrast, TiVo’s just-released TiVo-to-Go downloads programs in a proprietary file format and requires additional processing to use those transferred recordings as standard MPEG-2 files.
DVArchive doesn’t just take programs off of the Replay, but acts as a networked Replay unit, so that it is possible to watch programs stored the computer on the television using the Replay. (Amazing Race marathon?) Additionally, DVA allows one to control the ReplayTV from the computer.
The only drawback to DVA is that it is a cross-platform program written in Java, so its interface is less intuitive than and not as pretty as a native Mac OS X program.

Grokster, briefly

Courtesy of Joseph Hall and his RSS mercenary, a RSS feed for MGM v. Grokster from the EFF case archive:
The briefs filed so far include:

Briefs of Petitioners (entertainment companies)

Amicus Briefs Supporting Petitioners

Amicus Briefs Neutral as to Result


Ed Felten looks at briefs submitted by the Solicitor General and a group of “anti-porn and police organizations,” Grokster Briefs: Toward a More Regulable Net : “These briefs are caught between nostalgia for a past that never existed, and false hope for future technologies that won’t do the job.”
Previously: Ninth Circuit Affirms Grokster Ruling (including actual analysis), P2P in the 9th Circuit, Again, NYT on Grokster, Seeking Cert in Grokster, Grokster briefs, Supremes grant cert in Grokster, Grokster, Brand X and the ‘Net, Supreme Geekery

Cartoon ass (and 35 other programs) found not indecent

In two decisions, the FCC rejected 36 indecency complaints filed by the Parents Television Council:

Isolated uses of the word “dick” or variations thereof as epithets “intended to denigrate or criticize their subjects.” Such a use is not sufficiently explicit or graphic to be patently offensive. Similar uses of words “penis,” “testicle,” “vaginal,” “ass,” “bastard,” and “bitch” are not patently offensive when used in similar capacity. 04-279 at ¶8.
Depictions of partial nudity where sexual and/or excretory organs are “covered by bedclothes, household objects, or pixilation” do not rise to the level of patent offensiveness. 04-279 at ¶9. When partial nudity is a fleeting and rudimentary depiction of “a cartoon boy’s buttocks,” that material is not sufficiently “graphic or explicit, or sustained, to rise to the level of being patently offensive.” 04-280 at ¶9.
Vague references or innuendo to sexual organs or activities are insufficiently graphic or explicit to be considered patently offensive. 04-279 at ¶10, 04-280 at ¶11. Additionally, material that only alludes to sexual activity or depicts men and women engaging in physical activity that implies sexual activity is not sufficiently graphic or explicit. 04-280 at ¶10.
Jeff Jarvis: The Parents Television Council loses one 36: “I have a theory that the people in the FCC — including even lame prude Michael Powell — are secretly embarrassed that they have turned themselves into the nation’s chief prigs and mouth-washers, that they have kneecapped the First Amendment, and that their tenure will be marked in history for the stupidity of following along with what they thought was a political movement but turned out to be only a few religious nutjobs with no lives. But that’s just a theory. If it were true, it would explain how the FCC decided to reject these 36 PTC complaints just as Michael Powell ducks out of office.”
Previously: Pixellating a cartoon character’s ass

Can Bin Laden Claim Copyright Infringement?

Slate’s Explainer explorers whether Doubleday is violating Osama bin Laden’s copyrights by publishing a compilation of translated writings by Bin Laden. Osama, Call Your Agent!

Doubleday, an American publishing house owned by German media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG, is planning to release The Al Qaeda Reader in 2006. The book will consist primarily of translated writings by Osama Bin Laden and Egyptian Jihad founder Ayman al-Zawahiri, along with a smattering of other jihadist statements. Is Doubleday violating Bin Laden’s copyright?

Joe Gratz takes a look at the practical implications: UBL’s Copyright Infringed?: “But Doubleday could say just about anything they wanted to about their legal justifications for publishing bin Laden and al-Zawahiri’s works, since they’ll never be sued for copyright infringement. It’s obvious that the authors themselves wouldn’t appear in court to sue Doubleday, since they’re all subjects of an international manhunt.”