CD Sales GROWTH in 2004!

copyright, wtf?, p2p, policy

BBC: US sees growth in CD sales market

US CD sales rose by 2.3% in 2004 - the first rise in four years - despite the growing popularity of legal digital music downloads.

Wow. Is filesharing contributing to this rise in sales? Are the lawsuits, etc.?

Copyrighting Cease and Desist Letters?

copyright, secrecy, chilling effects, policy

Can attorneys claim copyright in cease and desist letters they send (to prevent them to be forwarded)?

TechDirt has an interesting story up, "Since When Is It Illegal To Just Mention A Trademark Online?" (via Doug's Clipblog).

The trademark issue between Urinal.net and the Marco Beach Ocean Resort is not what I find interesting (that is, it's clear that the site is using it in a descriptive sense, and in terms of trademark law and jurisprudence, this is fair or nominative use.)

What interests me is the following:

I asked the maintainers of the site if I could see a copy of the cease & desist, but apparently the lawyers claim that the cease & desist is copyrighted to them and that the recipient is not allowed to forward it to anyone. I wonder if that means they can't even forward it to a lawyer? So, as far as I can tell, the Marco Beach Ocean Resort seems to think that [...] any cease and desist is to be some sort of "secret" cease & desist that can never be shown to anyone, which seems to go a bit beyond what rights copyright gives them.

This is pretty silly and, if true, would have major implications for a site like ChillingEffects.org (created by w00t! Wendy).

First, to file a copyright infringement lawsuit against Urinal.net, MBOR's attorneys would have to register the copyright in the C&D with the copyright office, and there's a small but real chance that it would not be issued (sometimes, under a "rule of doubt" the Copyright Office will issue the registration but send a letter saying that the work may or may not be copyrightable. A court would have to determine this for sure.).

Attorneys claiming that they have a copyright in a C&D? Well, lets check the four factors of fair use that would be weighed in a copyright infringement lawsuit:

  • purpose of the use - (I was trying to avoid having to go to or link to Urinal.net, but I just did.) The only thing commercial about this website is the Google AdWords at the bottom (they do have a sad-if-true and funny-any-which-way "Career Opportunities" page: "Throw your career in the toilet! - Urinal Dot Net is Hiring!").

    It would seem that this site's use of a C&D - likely for display purposes, if any - would more than likely be non-commercial (I can't imagine that they'd start to sell viewings of the C&D letter or start selling t-shirts of the C&D!).

  • nature of the work - Unless these attorneys are damned creative, I can't imagine that there's much in the way of creativity in a trademark-related C&D letter. It would seem that most of the text would be factual and legal prose (that they likely ripped off of other attorneys within or without of their firm).

  • amount of work taken - Well, to publish the C&D, they'd want to publish the whole thing, like a scanned image.

  • effects on market for the work - The idea of attorneys selling their carefully crafted C&D letters is hilarious. I can't imagine anyone would buy them, much less how they'd advertise them for sale.

So, in short, only one of the four factors (amount) would seriously weigh against Urinal.net. They should post the C&D to let the world see what ridiculous claims the lawyers for Marco Beach Ocean Resort are making.

UPDATE [2005-01-07 14:43]: This was posted on Interesting People and Politech.

What do you believe that you cannot (yet) prove?

system, wtf?

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/04/science/04edgehed.html?pagewanted=2&ei=5090&en=ce9bddb9581db4d9&ex=1262581200&partner=rssuserland

"What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?"

The quote below is from an NYT piece where 14 scientists were asked the same question: "What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?"

Donald Hoffman
Cognitive scientist, University of California, Irvine; author, "Visual Intelligence"

I believe that consciousness and its contents are all that exists. Space-time, matter and fields never were the fundamental denizens of the universe but have always been, from their beginning, among the humbler contents of consciousness, dependent on it for their very being.

The world of our daily experience - the world of tables, chairs, stars and people, with their attendant shapes, smells, feels and sounds - is a species-specific user interface to a realm far more complex, a realm whose essential character is conscious. It is unlikely that the contents of our interface in any way resemble that realm.

Indeed the usefulness of an interface requires, in general, that they do not. For the point of an interface, such as the Windows interface on a computer, is simplification and ease of use. We click icons because this is quicker and less prone to error than editing megabytes of software or toggling voltages in circuits.

Evolutionary pressures dictate that our species-specific interface, this world of our daily experience, should itself be a radical simplification, selected not for the exhaustive depiction of truth but for the mutable pragmatics of survival.

If this is right, if consciousness is fundamental, then we should not be surprised that, despite centuries of effort by the most brilliant of minds, there is as yet no physicalist theory of consciousness, no theory that explains how mindless matter or energy or fields could be, or cause, conscious experience.

Profound. [This idea] seems to treat the universe we perceive as an interaction of a subset of the universe with our consciousness. [I] would have [never] thought that disparate disciplines I've been involved with - HCI and cosmology - could be so linked[, even if only tenuously at this abstract of a level.]

This kind of a theory [see discussion in comments about what constitutes a "theory"] might begin to account for why 90% of the matter of the universe is dark matter - matter that we cannot see or touch but that interacts with us via gravity - and dark energy - [negative] energy that acts as a sort of anti-gravity.

[So, What do I believe is true even though I cannot prove it? I believe that there is a glorious, productive and much more copacetic future for mankind... and that we are all contributing to this happening whether we consciously try or not. BTW, I'm consciously trying.]

UPDATE [2005-01-04 17:07]: I should point out that I'm not seriously considering Hoffman's ideas as a valid scientific explanation of any sort. I just think it's a neat perspective... it gives me goosebumps, and that doesn't happen often. Usually, when I've happened across something profound. I've added some bracketed stuff to clarify.

A Quick Cinnamon Roll Recipe Using Pizza Dough

recipe, food
a picture of three cinnamon rolls made from pizza dough...

Well, to partially help Morgan with her request for recipes, here's a quick one you can use if you have some frozen pizza dough in your freezer (unfortunately, you'll have to wait a week or so for my write-up on my favorite pizza dough recipe).

Pizza dough is surprisingly versatile... you can even make cinnamon rolls out of it, here's how:

  1. Take a frozen pizza ball (or two if you plan to feed more than a few people) out of the freezer and into the refrigerator 24 hours before you plan to cook.

  2. Two hours before you plan to make these cinnamon rolls, take the dough out of the freezer and let sit at room temperature. This will allow the yeast in the dough to re-activate and rise a tad.

  3. When you're ready, roll the pizza dough out on a floured surface into a rectangle. You can start by patting it down to about 1-inch thickness, and then using a rolling pin to work it into a thin rectangle (you want it about 1/4-1/3 of an inch thick).

  4. Cover the top side of the dough with butter or margarine.

  5. Sprinkle brown sugar, lots of cinnamon and some nutmeg over the margarine. (You can add pecans or other nuts here if you like... make sure none of your guests are allergic or make two batches of cinnamon rolls.)

  6. Now, roll the dough up from one of the short sides of the rectangle to the other to form a log. You'll want it tight but not too tight... that is, you don't want your rolls to fall apart.

  7. Cut about 3/4 to 1 inch round off of the log... they should look like fledgling cinnamon rolls with spiral and all.

  8. Place the rolls in a greased muffin pan and cook at 375 degrees until they brown (approximately 30 minutes... don't take my word for it, though! Watch them carefully.)

  9. As soon as they come out, glaze them using a simple powdered sugar glaze (whisk 1 cup powdered sugar with 1 tbsp. milk and about 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract... you'll want it to be slightly thick.)

  10. Let cool just a bit, put them on a plate and serve.

If you really want an amazing cinnamon roll - instead of just another way to use pizza dough - you'll want to check out and experiment with Sour Cream Cinnamon Rolls where the dough is made with a bit of sour cream... this may sound weird, but I guarantee they're the best cinnamon rolls you'll ever have.

A Solution for Messy Cables?

hacks, wtf?
a picture of a rat's nest of cables...

Man, this is my rat's nest of cables... every time I organize the bastard, I end up having to unplug something and screwing it all up. Does anyone have any advice on rat's nests of cables? Is there some twist-tie / table-mount solution to these kinds of things that has worked well for you?

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