Daily Show on Viacom v. YouTube

March 29, 2007 § Leave a comment

This is pretty great.

Mom, they bleep out some swears.

Last.fm

March 29, 2007 § Leave a comment

I think I’m a little late to the game on this one, but Last.fm is pretty sweet. I have been looking for a streaming music solution for a while and Last.fm is by far the best that I have come across. Definitely worth checking out. The coolest thing about it I think (besides it’s seamless, ad-free streaming music) is that it it’s NOT organized into channels – instead you just type the name of the band you want to hear at the time, and Last.fm feeds up similar music to the band you selected. This eliminates having to find stations or channels that have the mix you are in the mood for – when you want to switch from ambient mellow background music, type in Lemon Jelly, Radiohead, etc. When you want something higher energy, type in Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica…you get the point. They even have Jethro Tull. I’m pretty sure I’ve only scratched the surface of the features at this point – it also looks like everything is tagged and you can use them to filter as well. Lots of cool widgets too. Pretty sweet!

Home price index negative for first time since ’94

March 27, 2007 § Leave a comment

“The S&P/Case-Shiller Metro Area Home Price Indices are designed to be a reliable and consistent benchmark of housing prices in the United States. Their purpose is to measure the average change in home prices in a particular geographic market. They cover ten major metropolitan areas (Metropolitan Statistical Areas or MSAs), which are also aggregated to form a national composite. The indices measure changes in housing market prices given a constant level of quality. Changes in the types and sizes of houses or changes in the physical characteristics of houses are specifically excluded from the calculations to avoid incorrectly affecting the index value.”

For young renters like myself, this data is bittersweet. Obviously a bad sign for the economy and my heart goes out to those loosing value in their homes…but the housing market is ridiculously overpriced and needs to come down. I don’t want to rent forever!

Lichtman, Viacom & YouTube

March 27, 2007 § Leave a comment

Douglas Lichtman, IP legal guru and rising professorial star at the University of Chicago Law School, has joined the YouTube fray on the side of Viacom. His recent piece in the LA Times indicates that he is working for Viacom, although I am guessing he isn’t doing it pro bono. Lichtman is a high profile contract consultant for the Gerson Lehrman Group, and I’m sure he bills out at a pretty penny. He is also my patent law professor, and the first class meeting is tomorrow morning. Should be interesting…

Mark Cuban & the DMCA

March 26, 2007 § Leave a comment

Mark Cuban, the guy who sold streaming video and audio site Broadcast.com to Yahoo in 1999 (unclear if Yahoo’s failure to own the space is the fault of Broadcast.com or Yahoo) and later bought the Dallas Mavericks, really has it out for Google and YouTube. Cuban has branded himself a defender of copyright and anti-piracy, both reasonable positions, but he consistently doesn’t give the whole picture to his hordes of fanboys.

Case in point: I came across one of his posts today while researching the DMCA definition of OSP (online service provider). The legislation contains no real definition and courts have historically treated it as open-ended. Cuban thinks that the DMCA shouldn’t apply to websites since they weren’t specifically included within the definition of an OSP in the legislation – specifically, he thinks YouTube isn’t an OSP and shouldn’t be able to get into the DMCA safe harbor. This is an interesting position to take, but Cuban doesn’t mention the fact that if a court were to take this position, it would be go against the majority (if not all) other courts that have been faced the same situation. Hendrickson v. eBay, the flagship DMCA case, does just this and treats eBay as an OSP.

It’s possible that a court could look at YouTube and the DMCA and say that they are not an OSP, but this would be a major reversal of past precedents. Granted, the reviewing court may not be bound by the precedent set (Hendrickson was in federal district court in CA), but courts are far more likely to look to non-binding precedents before they dig into legislative history, as Cuban suggests they should.

Sorry for the law nerd rant.

J.K. Rowling v. eBay

March 25, 2007 § Leave a comment

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has gotten an Indian court to injunct eBay from selling pirated versions of the Harry Potter books. Granted the injunction is in India, but it comes at an interesting time and will return to court on May 23rd, just days after the Tiffany & Co. case, filed in June of ’04, reaches trial in the US. As noted by the Times of the UK, the Harry Potter ruling marks the first time eBay has been ordered to take affirmative steps to police items sold via its auction system.

My posts on Tiffany v. eBay actually get a fair amount of traffic from Google searches run on terms like “tiffany ebay court case”. I think this is mostly due to the fact that the mainstream press hasn’t renewed interest since the original hype back in ’04, although I’m guessing things will heat up as the May 15th court date draws closer. SDNY’s Pacer shows no action since the conference call back on December 20th.

Parallels update = good.

March 25, 2007 § Leave a comment

I’ve had Parallels installed on my MacBook Pro for a while and used it to connect to my employer’s VPN for a while (for some reason I could only get a Cisco VPN on a PC to connect) but haven’t used it much since. My buddy Lew also has a MacBook Pro and when I mentioned to him that I wasn’t a huge Parallels fan, he asked if I had loaded in the updates. I hadn’t, and while loading the update could have been easier, the end result is awesome. I wish I had thought of checking a while ago – the update was back in October of ’06. I can now run OSX and have a Windows bar on the bottom of my screen as well as specific windows open that are running Windows, and others running OSX. This eliminates much of the clunk from running a specific Windows window with all Windows windows open within that…window. It also allows me to have PC versions of PowerPoint and Excel open in windows on my Mac desktop that are no different than every other window I have open. Hopefully the sluggishness that came from having Parallels open and running will be gone too, but only time will tell on that one.

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