Wednesday, June 05, 2002


Got my car jump-started today - I was so afraid that I was going to have to get a new battery for my car - battery #2, I think, that would have been. And the car is only a 1999!!!! I have to be more conscientious about turning off the lights from now on.

I have been playing Diablo II lately. We have the expansion and I am playing my first assasin. She is very cool, and I whizzed through act I and act II, but I am now stuck in act III with all the little guys with blow guns and knives. I hate them. Between them and the really big nast tree-looking things (I always forget the monsters' names), I keep dying. Over and over. So I decided to take a break from Diablo and do something else. Like blog.

Playing Diablo II again reminded me that Blizzard is suing bnetd for copyright violations. I feel really bad playng Diablo II considering that I support efforts such as bnetd, and oppose the DMCA and other overly restrictive copyright legislation. I decided to see if I could find any updates on the bnetd case. While most of the media coverage of this legal three-ring-circus is concentrated in April, when Blizzard filed their lawsuit against bnetd and Internet Gateway, there are a few more recent tidbits available at the bnetd site. It seems as if, for the moment, Vivendi and Blizzard are suing bnetd, not for DMCA violations, but for unathorized public performance of Blizzard copyrighted materials. As EFF and other sources point out, Blizzard's initial use of DMCA to threaten developers, and the subsequent lack of DMCA-related charges in the actual legal case, demonstrates the scary intimidation power of the DMCA. This law is not only excessive, but can be used to intimidate developers and ISPs. This seems particualrly likely to become a pattern: large corporation invokes 1201 DMCA in order to threaten a small development team, etc., gets what they want and then either takes no further action or files charges using traditional copyright legislation. Evil. This and other DMCA-related cases can be reviewed in the EFF report Unintended Consequences: Three Years Under the DMCA.

And finally, one more gripe about IP in this country today: a news story on the EFF website from May 24 discusses how Hollywood wants to "plug the 'analog hole'," basically regualting analog-to-digital converters. Now, for the public at large, this is a serious issue, and a threat to our ability to access information. This looks to be just another step in the degradation of the information commons. To an educator, however, this looks terrifying. If ADC devices are regulated, this means that my ability to transition analog media to a digital format for use in educational settings is limited. This also means that teaching effectiveness miht be adversely affected, and it means that my ability to use the web to provide multimedia enrichment for classroom and out-of-class activities is also severely curtailed. I will not even get into the impact this may have on online course delivery/distance education. Why does a potential threat to Hollywood mean so much more than a potential boon to educators in this country?

- posted by laurie @ 6/05/2002 12:55:00 PM
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