Technology


File Sharing

File SharingReaders of this site know I try to keep abreast of the ongoing battle between the music industry and file sharers. I'll be posting significant developments as they arise both here in Canada or in the United States.

I just read Kate Taylor's article in Saturday's Globe & Mail. I agree with her that the legality or illegality of it all is so wishy-washy it's virtually impossible for a Canadian to know what's a violation of copyright law and what's not. There were significant victories for downloaders in Canada and the U.S. yet still a promise from the CRIA to file lawsuits. Kate Taylor sums up the current status below.

CRIA has specifically stated, however, that it will not sue mere downloaders. Although CRIA argues the practice is illegal, when you download a music file from the Net, you could be considered to be making a single copy for personal use, which is permitted under copyright law. When you upload, that is when you allow other users to copy your copy, you are on much shakier legal ground because you are distributing the music. And it is the users with thousands of music files sitting on their computers and available for sharing who are the industry's target for lawsuits.

In 2004, there should be more concrete developments in this arena so stay tuned.

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Law Suits?

Law Suits?Despite last week's ruling from the Copyright Board of Canada, word is the Canadian Recording Industry Association will follow the RIAA's lead and file lawsuits against those who share copyrighted files on the Internet.

This report from the Globe and Mail site asks the question we're all wondering. Can a legal challenge even succeed, given the significant differences between Canadian copyright law and U.S. copyright law? As Matthew Ingram writes, "The wording of the Copyright Act and several Copyright Board rulings suggest that Canadians are legally allowed to download music for their own use, because of the copyright levy."

Presumably, the CRIA will only target those sharing more than a certain number of copyrighted songs. In the United States, this number was 1,000. Most should be safe from persecution.

It will be very interesting to see how this all unfolds. Stay tuned, I'll keep you updated...

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Hand-Coding

Canadian IdentityAm I crazy to still be hand-coding this site? I edit every stitch of torontomike.com in a basic text editor (good ol' Notepad does the trick nicely) building and maintaining it character by character. I know the XHTML and CSS that make up this site intimately, but am I wasting my time? Sometimes I wonder.

A friend of mine swears by Movable Type. He uses MT to manage a number of sites and has been encouraging me to convert. Others maintain their blog with help from Blogger, Radio UserLand, LiveJournal or another weblog publishing tool. At the very least I should be using software to build this site, like Dreamweaver, Pagemill or Frontpag perhaps. Yet here I am hand-coding this very entry.

I know why I do it. I love the control, I take pride in the accomplishment and I find the entire process to be rather romantic. Allow me to explain. When you hand-code every aspect of a site you have absolute control over how it behaves. If there's an issue or something that needs repairs, you can make the desired change and achieve the desired effect in no time at all. Should you envision an enhancement, you know exactly how to make it so. It's your XHTML and your CSS and nobody will ever know it the way you do. This is where the romantic aspect comes in. You start to feel emotionally attached to the source code. You find yourself staring at it in Notepad and swooning. You're validating each page with the W3C MarkUp Validation Service and beaming with pride when the blue banner proclaims your page is valid XHTML 1.0. You're proud of your creation because nobody helped you. No software saved you time and cluttered up your code and no software managed your blog entries for you. Now if you don't mind, I'd like a moment alone with my code.

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Absurd

CDA couple of days ago I wrote about Alex Halderman who pointed out copy protection software could be blocked if people used the SHIFT key when they inserted a CD. This morning I read in the news that SunnComm Technologies, the company that developed the anticopying technology in question, was suing Halderman as a result.

In a statement, SunnComm alleges Halderman violated criminal provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in disclosing the existence of a driver the anticopying software loads on the computer when the CD is played. Probably a result of some hefty negative feedback, they've just retracted and announced they would not pursue the matter in court.

Even threatening a lawsuit in this instance is completely absurd. Why not sue Microsoft for this article on their site? After all, it is Microsoft that enables you to stop AutoRun by holding down the SHIFT key. As for the idiots at SunnComm, would you invest?

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