November 2007 Archives

Circuit Court Caselaw

Public.Resource.org, Announcement: "Public.Resource.Org and Fastcase, Inc. announced today that they will release a large and free archive of federal case law, including all Courts of Appeals decisions from 1950 to the present and all Supreme Court decisions since 1754. The archive will be public domain and usable by anyone for any purpose."

Very impressive. This opens the door for some very interesting possibilities for search tools and empirical analysis.

Previously: Freeing Caselaw

Statutes Shape Streaming Services

In the Listening Post blog at Wired, Eliot Van Buskirk tries out Boomshuffle, a new service from Snocap, New Direction For SnoCap: Free, 15-Song Embeddable Mixes: "The service only plays 30-second clips of the songs unless you include 15 tracks by 15 different artists, because that helps Boomshuffle qualify for a lower internet radio royalty rate -- fine by me, I'd rather include more music anyway. Other royalty-related requirements: the songs shuffle, and users can't skip to a specific song, rewind, or skip more than 4 tracks"

Here is a case of how the statutory licensing has directly shaped the way that this service operates.

Take a look at 17 USC §114(d)(2) and compare the limits of interactivity allowed for webcasters using the statutory license with the terms of the Boomshuffle service.

Type "nytimes" into your browser's location bar. Unless you have a local server on your network called nytimes, some web browsers (including Safari) will automatically add "http://www." and ".com" to bring you to The New York Times at "http://www.nytimes.com." Other current browsers will search for the keyword in the user's default search engine (including IE). That is, unless you get your internet access through Verizon.

Recently, Verizon has changed the way that its DNS servers react to these domain requests. Instead of sending the browser a "host not found" message, and following the individual user's preferences, Verizon returns its own search page:

verizon-nytimes.jpg

ConsumerAffairs.com, Verizon Overrides Internet Searches With Its Own Results: "The change has been advertised by Verizon as a way to help users reach the site they were trying to get to, but some are concerned that it's done more to gain revenue from advertisements placed on the Verizon search site."

In 2003, Network Solutions (the company that controls the .com and .net registries) made a similar change. While that change affected the entire internet's DNS system for .com and .net domains, this affects only Verizon's customers.

Susan Crawford, Monetizing Disorder: "Is this a violation of net neutrality? It certainly is a 'system expectation violation.' We don’t expect ISPs to be filtering our web browsing requests and inserting themselves into the conversation. There’s some concern that the ISP could be doing more than presenting a response page, as we’ve seen from the Comcast flap. Although in a larger sense it’s just what all the other players in the chain want to do - make money from disorder - we want to avoid having the plumbing, the transport, do this without a user’s acquiescence."

Ed Felten, Freedom to Tinker, Verizon Violates Net Neutrality with DNS Deviations, "This is a clear violation of net neutrality: Verizon is interfering with the behavior of the DNS protocol, in order to drive traffic to its own search site. And unlike the Comcast scenario which might possibly have been justifiable as legitimate network management, in this case Verizon cannot claim to be helping its network run more smoothly."

Test

I hope that this is indeed fixed soon.

MTTLR

The Michigan Telecommunications and Technology Law Review launched a new blog, The MTTLR Blog. It's a nice site, so far, although there is a contrast between the majority of posts written with formal, law review-style footnotes and others with web-style hyperlink citations.

(Side note: this site is still somewhat under the weather, with permalinks not actually linking to the pages where the content lives. Please bear with me.)