ReDigi Sued by Capitol / EMI

This is a key case in digital rights law — one of the biggest issues users have with digital media butts heads with the industries’ desire to sue anyone who could possibly be copying anything. Whether we are talking books, movies, songs, or any form of digital art the industry is trying to limit your ownership of your copy, and ReDigi is trying to break down that faux ownership barrier that the industry erects.

If you come over to my house I can lend you a physical book or CD that I own, or I can give it to you, or I can sell it to you all legally*. You can’t do that with e-books or songs. You can’t even do it with your wife, son, or daughter, which is really ludicrous. E.g. the only way to “share” a book between two household kindles is to deregister it on one account, and move it to another. For amazon there isn’t a shared bookshelf in the house like there is with your physical books. The really bad news is that the “deregister/register to spouse’s account” trick doesn’t work with Fire and the newer Amazon appliances, as they wipe content when moving between accounts. So this case is seminal, and everyone should watch it closely.

In the iTunes store, the hit song “Someone Like You” by Adele sells for $1.29. Head over to ReDigi, an online marketplace where people can resell the music files they’ve purchased, and there’s the track for only 59 cents.
It’s the very same soulful tune. The difference is that ReDigi calls the copy on its site “used” or “recycled” (it was originally sold on iTunes). These are terms usually applied to physical goods like worn novels or unwanted CDs, not the growing volume of songs, books, and games composed of easily shared, everlasting bits. ReDigi’s plans–and the legal debate they have generated–touch on the changing nature of ownership in an increasingly digital age (see “A Cloud over Ownership”).

The Massachusetts-based startup is applying a concept of ownership ingrained in U.S. law: that a person who buys creative work can resell the originally purchased copy. “You buy it, and you own it. You should be able to sell it,” says ReDigi chief technology officer Larry Rudolph, who is also a computer science researcher on leave from MIT. “If you steal it, you shouldn’t be able to sell it. It’s very simple.”

But Capitol Records, a division of the music giant EMI, is now suing ReDigi, accusing it of being a “clearinghouse for copyright infringement.” The Recording Industry Association of America has also sent the company a cease-and-desist order. “While ReDigi touts its service as the equivalent of a used record store, that analogy is inapplicable: used record stores do not make copies to fill up their shelves,” Capitol’s filing states.

Read the rest

* The bonus the industry seems to ignore: people lend the things they truly love because they want to share that experience with their friends. When the friend doesn’t return it, you end up buying another copy for yourself. I’ve lost track of the numbers of copies of Babel-17 / Empire Star and Dangerous Visions that I’ve lent to friends.

Post Modern Me

According to my results in the Pew survey talked about in the video below I fall into the “Post Modern” category of political typology. I owe how I got here to a strange progression of revelations over the past few years about my former political fellow travelers in the GOP and the extremism and zealotry they support.

I walked away from the new millennium definition of “Conservative” simply because it involves being a hateful busybody for God, anti science, and harshly anti human rights; it also meant knowingly allying with groups that are well beyond the pail. Here’s the political typology survey if you wish to take it and be surprised before you watch the video.

House panderfest reaffirms ‘In God We Trust’ as US motto

“In God We Trust” became the national motto back in the fifties during the red scare days, but the nimrods in the GOP decided it was more important to re affirm this motto (that’s really an unconstitutional smack in the face of all US Buddhists, atheists, and Polytheists,) than to do anything to aid the economy, or to help education, or to help technology sectors, or to help taxpayers, or to help homeowners, or to help their constituents.

The Hill estimates that with three bills worked yesterday the actual cost for the session time during this panderfest put on for the self-selected busybodies for God was >200 thousand dollars. Remember that next time you hear one of these wingnuts lying about 16 dollar muffins.

via LGF Pages – House panderfest reaffirms ‘In God We Trust’ as US motto.

Missouri GOP Wants To Raise Taxes On 100,000 Seniors And Disabled Citizens To Pay For Corporate Tax Break

Yesterday, Missouri lawmakers began a special session during which Republicans will try to pay for a business tax cut by eliminating a tax credit that benefits more than 100,000 senior citizens and disabled people.

Missouri Republicans are just the latest in a long list of state legislatures that are funding more corporate tax breaks on the backs of low- and middle-income residents. In this case, Republicans are targeting a property tax credit that helps offset higher rent for some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens:

At stake is a tax credit that provides up to $750 for lower-income elderly and disabled people. Called the “Circuit Breaker,” it is designed to be an offset for the property taxes included in the rent paid by people with incomes of $27,500 or less. The tax credit costs $53 million annually. Repeal is part of a package that also would impose limits and sunset dates on credits targeted to developers. The Circuit Breaker tax credit is the only credit slated for repeal.

“The real issue is that many people with disabilities simply can’t own their own homes because they live on a subsistence income,” said Edward Duff of Joplin, a member of the Governor’s Council on Disability. “It really is a sort of parity to offer these renters this shelter.”

Once again, Republicans have shown they are not averse to raising taxes, as long as they are on the poor. The “circuit-breaker” tax credit is such an important aid for low-income residents that 29 other states offer property tax circuit-breakers or similar programs, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Killing the credit would raise taxes on groups including disabed vets and senior citizens by up to $750 a year.

via Missouri GOP Wants To Raise Taxes On 100,000 Seniors And Disabled Citizens To Pay For Corporate Tax Break | ThinkProgress.

Alabama’s harsh new immigration law explained


Over at the War Room Justin Elliot delves into the chilling police state powers that the new Alabama immigration bill adds beyond the “papers please!” clause that we saw in the Arizona Immigration bill. It continues to amaze me that the same people who sympathize with the sovereign citizen movement and who would absolutely bristle at the idea of a national identification card also back giving their state authorities sweeping police state powers. The dissonance is strong with them.

The twist is a provision in the Alabama law that requires schools to determine and verify immigration status of any student who is enrolling and any parent of students who are enrolling. The bill’s backers are saying that this is constitutional because they are not turning people away from schools. The schools are not supposed to turn people away, but they are required to collect this data and to report it to the Legislature. This is clearly in violation of existing Supreme Court precedent, because it will in fact have a chilling effect on immigrant children enrolling in school.

There’s also a prohibition on renting in the law. It is a crime for a landlord to rent an apartment if they knew or should have known that the tenant is undocumented. Also under the law, if a person enters into a contract with someone who they know to be an undocumented immigrant, that contract is unenforceable in the state courts.

Is it possible to know at this point what that rental provision will mean on the ground?

There are two states that have previously tried something similar, where you would have to get an occupancy permit from the city before you could rent, and the city was in charge of immigration verification before issuing a permit. The Alabama version is a little different. It says that the landlord is committing a crime and can be prosecuted if they rent to someone who they know or should know is an undocumented immigrant. We are very fearful that landlords will start to discriminate, because if there’s any question about a person, the landlord will want to err on the side of not going to jail.

via LGF Pages – Alabama’s harsh new immigration law explained.