Links of Interest

Steve Gordon, The Register: Zune means zilch for artists: “Although this pattern of not paying artists for digital music sales is dreadful, the chances of artists seeing anything from the royalty placed on Zune is even worse. There is nothing in the standard recording agreement that says the labels must share income derived from licensing digital devices.”
David Weinberger: The safe harbor theory of media literacy – and two discussions about the Net and teaching: “I came away realizing why media literacy programs often bother me. Frequently, the idea even is that we have to teach our children how to recognize the Internet sites that are as reliable and safe as what they’ll find in a library. That’s a useful skill, but the overall picture is wrong.”
William Patry: A Novelty Claim: “On November 17th, in Conwest Resources, Inc. v. Playtime Novelties, 2006 WL 3346226 (N.D. Cal.), Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong denied a motion for a preliminary injunction in a case which should immediately make its way into copyright casebooks. Plaintiff is in the business of producing adult entertainment, including what it claimed to be 12 copyrightable ‘sculptures’ of male genitalia sold as ‘novelty items.’ A dispute arose with a licensee, whom plaintiff asserted had distributed copies after termination of the license.”
NY Times: To Web Fans, Peter Jackson Is the One True Director. Wingnut Films, Peter Jackson’s company, is in a legal dispute with New Line over accounting of royalties and revenues from the “Lord of the Rings.” The film rights to “The Hobbit” revert from New Line to Tolkein Enterprises next year, and New Line is highly motivated to begin production before then.
New World Notes: Judge Richard Posner comes to Second Life
Tomorrow in NYC: State of Play/Terra Nova Symposium on virtual worlds: “This is a very small event that picks up on the mission of Terra Nova: it is going to engage in the serious study of virtual worlds by getting researchers to inquire into the nature of research into these worlds.”
AskMefi: Who is the anti-Lawrence Lessig in relation to US copyright?
Tiny firm wins ‘Chewy Vuiton’ suit, but still feels a bite: “The fact that the real Vuitton name, marks and dress are strong and recognizable makes it unlikely that a parody — particularly one involving a pet chew toy and bed — will be confused with the real product.”

Internet access and monopoly power

FTC Commission Jon Leibowitz briefly touched on the competition law aspects of network neutrality and last-mile access in a speech at the FTC “Protecting Consumers in the Next Tech-ade” Hearing earlier this month: The Changing Internet: Hips Don’t Lie

Some of the most important issues regarding Net Neutrality involve transparency and disclosure. Will carriers block, slow, or interfere with applications or services? If so, will consumers be told all of this before they sign up? To my mind, failure to disclose these limitations would be “unfair or deceptive” in violation of the FTC Act.
Net Neutrality also invokes complicated competition issues. The last mile of the Internet is its least competitive. Nearly all homes in the US – upwards of 98 percent – that receive broadband get it either from their cable or telephone company. Up until now, the relative neutrality of the Internet has meant that competition and innovation elsewhere in cyberspace has not been affected by the market power of the telephone and cable companies. But if these companies are able to discriminate, treating some bits better than others, there is a danger that their market power in the last mile can interfere with the growth, character, and development of the Internet.
To be sure, there is another side to the debate. The ability of providers to charge more for time sensitive applications and content that takes up more broadband may encourage them to make necessary investments. That’s a goal that all of us should support.

Taking a step back from the framework of competition law or even telecommunications law, Susan Crawford is thinking about the big picture of communications policy: Searching for a principle “At the moment, federal telecommunications policy seems to have no coherent set of goals. We have complex and separate regulatory structures covering telephony (wired and wireless), broadcasting, cable television and satellites. Although there is no express delegation by Congress to the FCC to regulate the internet, the FCC sometimes imposes heavy-handed rules (E911 and CALEA for VoIP) and sometimes claims that its chief goal is to be deregulatory.”

links for 2006-11-28

Appelations of Origin and Brooklyn-style Pizza

Brooklyn Law School professors Tony Sebok and Sam Murumba, Findlaw: Should the Law Regulate Whether and When Corporations Use Locality-Based Food Designations Such as “Brooklyn Style Pizza”?: “In the case of Domino’s ‘Brooklyn Style Pizza,’ we think that the lesson is particularly clear: Local flavor or authenticity should not be manufactured along with a homogenized, national product. Even if consumers are not fooled–they know, in the end, they are just getting a Domino’s pizza–Brooklyn and the dignity of its local culture have been cheapened as a result.”
Slice NY tried Domino’s Brooklyn Style Pizza so we don’t have to. As did The Brooklyn Paper (with a direct comparison to Front Street Pizza in Dumbo) and The New York Times (compared to Totonno’s in Coney Island.)
(via Concurring Opinions)

links for 2006-11-22

links for 2006-11-21