Technology and Business Law Blog

Fair Use- Lives!

It might be really outdated by now, but not linking to this Youtube video by the Israeli musician  Kutiman would be shameful for one who advocates fair use and borrowing of  pre-existing creative works to create something new! Several of my previous posts have been about loosening copyright law and arguing that these laws are outdated and do not hold much water in today’s digital world.

Enjoy the video as much as I did!!

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March 25, 2009 Posted by | Copyright Infringement, Technology | 5 Comments

Sharing Media Content Without Infringing Copyright

If you cannot fight them then join them and if you can make money in the process nothing can beat that. A company called Digital Containers (www.digitalcontainers.com) introduced a new software that allows content owners to share, store and distribute copyrighted material over the Internet without losing control while providing monetization and metrics to the content owners.

The company provides ‘super distribution’ of online content for sharing digital media between consumers. According to the Washington Post article the way it works is that: Digital Containers works with media companies to “package” pieces of content, like an episode of “Lost,” in a container with an encrypted seal. As it’s passed from person to person, each new viewer that “unzips” the container agrees to either watch a few ads, or pay a few bucks, in exchange for getting premium content. When that viewer passes the container to another user, that person also starts a “relationship” with the media company that produced it. You may have to tell the company how old you are, or whether you’re male or female, which then helps to sell ads. Or, if you happen to share a lot of Jonas Brothers‘ songs with friends, Disney may want to give you a reward or incentive for spreading the music and helping to build the brand.

According to the company the way it handles the copyright issues are it legally licenses media from the copyright holders and therfore gains their permission to distribute their digital media, and then they digitally protect each copyrighted media file with copyright protection software or Digital Rights Management (DRM). DRM is the umbrella term referring to any of the several technologies used to enforce pre-defined policies controlling access to software, music, movies or other digital data. It distributes content by utilizing the different channels of the Internet like search engines, p2p, the web, RSS, blogs, social networks, IPTV, mobile etc and provides consumers with rich media experienc.

So unlike lots of other sites, their’s is not a website and it is a perfectly legal network marketing style distribution channel to share content.

August 15, 2008 Posted by | Copyright, Technology | | 1 Comment

Technology and the Fourth Amendment

Technology has made our lives magical and a fantasy. Not too many years ago, to communicate with others we wrote letters (real paper snail mail ones), before going somewhere we called people to get directions and poured over paper maps, when we missed an exit in the freeway we pulled over at a gas station and asked for directions or used the coin operated public telephones and we also minded our own businesses, did not invade into people’s privacy and followed established legal procedures to prosecute people.

Although technology has brought flexibility and convenience it has not reduced crime and in fact crime is getting more sophisticated and we have to now deal with the traditional and the technology related crimes. One of these technology crimes happens by invading our privacy and getting hold of our personal information. On the flip side technology is also being used by the enforcement authorities to track down and keep the crime rate down.

The issue that then arises is the conflict between use of technology and traditional principles of law laid down in the Constitution. One of the most common area of conflict arises in the area of the Fourth Amendment which relates to right to privacy. The text of the Fourth Amendment states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

According to Wikipedia, the Fourth Amendment specifies that any warrant must be judicially sanctioned for a search or an arrest, in order for such a warrant to be considered reasonable. Warrants must be supported by probable cause and be limited in scope according to specific information supplied by a person (usually a peace officer) who has sworn by it and is therefore accountable to the issuing court.

This safeguards the citizens rights against the enforcement officials stepping over the line, following procedures established by law and not being persecuted under any pretext.

Across the country, police are using GPS devices to snare thieves, drug dealers, sexual predators and killers, often without a warrant or court order. Privacy advocates said tracking suspects electronically constitutes illegal search and seizure, violating Fourth Amendment rights of protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, and is another step toward George Orwell’s Big Brother society. Read here.

Craig Fraser, director of management services for the Police Executive Research Forum, said tracking technology’s new capabilities might eventually require legal adjustments.

“The issue is whether the more sophisticated tools are doing the same things we used to do or are creating a different set of legal circumstances,” he said.

It is true that technology is helping the enforcement officials catch offenders of the law and cuts down on the resources utilized but on the other hand what about the citizens invasion of privacy and how does one decide in what circumstances it is OK to cross the line and not follow established procedures. Privacy has been greatly affected by the advancement in technology and the new challenge is figuring out how to use technology without the government breathing over our necks and also other entities and individuals misusing our personal information.

The solution is to use common sense by not putting out personal information out in the open and courts restricting the governments use of technology without following procedures.

August 14, 2008 Posted by | privacy, Technology | , , | Leave a comment

Communicate by Text Messaging

You want to level with your kids, or have them think you are cool, get on the fast moving tech train. Kids live in a tech savvy world and to be able to communicate with them you need to scramble along and try to keep up with them at least at the periphery of their world of technology. As I had mentioned once earlier kids nowadays are wired at birth and so they might always be at least one step ahead of us in the tech game.

They spend most of their time with some sort of gadget and most of their interactions with friends and others are more in remote mode than in person. Nowadays with almost ever teenager or even preteen having a cell phone, mostly mom’s are getting into the text messaging band wagon and have began to communicate with their kids via text messages on the day to day activities and to keep track of schedules , kids get the message and use the same mode to get back. Read here. Now I better hurry up and get good at text messaging before my son becomes a teen and I almost forgot and the lingo to go along with it too!

When this become their way of life then every kid needs to have a cell phone and the communication channels of just good old talking is bound to get curtailed and will soon make us wonder as to what happened to having an eye ball to eye ball conversation, and not an eye ball to an LCD screen.

April 12, 2008 Posted by | Technology | Leave a comment

Interesting Technology Articles

Here are a few interesting articles:

1. Google offers $30 million for the first commercial lunar rover

2. Robotic “Zeno” can’t speak or walk yet, but its face has a range of expressions
Zeno has blinking eyes that can track people; face made of a skin-like material. I always wondered about Tom Cruise’s mask in Mission Impossible, this sort of explains it.

3. Reference kilo appears to have lost 50 micrograms

4. Beloved Brandeis University research parrot named Alex dies. Alex helped researchers better understand the avian brain. The parrot could count to six, identify colors and express frustration

September 14, 2007 Posted by | Research, Technology, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Facebook or LinkedIn?

Facebook is getting to be THE most popular networking website. No longer just among teenagers and college students but even amongst adults and professionals, Facebook is taking over LinkedIn a popular networking site used by professionals. So will LinkedIn become obsolete? or maybe acquired by Facebook?

July 19, 2007 Posted by | Networking Sites, Technology | 2 Comments

The Ongoing Privacy Battle

Google and privacy issues have been synonymous lately. Google continues to forge ahead with personalization projects and it’s new product iGoogle has personalized home pages that store a slew of content preferences based on user names, and not on anonymous IP address which Google uses to store individual search data.

Privacy International has characterized Google as “an endemic threat to privacy” .

Google and other companies who come up with the latest technology tracking people in the normal course of their lives and their searches over the net and thus keeping tab on their day to day activities, come up with defenses stating that all the information gathered is confidential or that the appropriate security measures have been taken, but the problem is that these so called security measures don’t stand the test of time because there are others out there who are always prying and snooping and take it up as a challenge to hack through these security technology and they do and will succeed.

Cracking through these security measures put up by the likes of Google, gives these hackers a thrill and such information could fall into the wrong hands. As naive as it may sound my question is who is profiting from developing all this technology that snatches away people’s identity and peace from themselves. The reality of life is that unless one wants to live in a cave in isolation, just conducting normal day to day activities and being part of the society threatens people’s privacy and people have become a pawn in this game.

June 20, 2007 Posted by | privacy, Security, Technology, Uncategorized | 1 Comment