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7/24/2006
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Will You Join The DRM Dance?

In This Issue:

1. Editor's Note: Will You Join The DRM Dance?
2. Today's Top Story
     - PC Sales Climb, HP Gains On Dell
     - Google Profit Doubles In Quarter
3. Breaking News
     - Judge Denies Request To Throw Out AT&T Spy Suit
     - Free Tool Scans Sites For Threats
     - Microsoft Spells Out Terms For Windows XP, 2000 Users Upgrading To Vista
     - Alaskan VARs Stand Behind Sen. Ted Stevens' Internet Flubs
     - Flash Drive Study: A Second Growth Wave Is Brewing
     - Digital Vault Said To Thwart Hackers
     - Blogging Is All About Me
     - Cisco Patches Several CS-MARS Vulnerabilities
     - AT&T Settles Customer Information Investigation
     - Yahoo Licenses Zillow.com Home-Valuation Engine
     - Arrest Tests Legality Of Online Gaming Rules
     - Dell Knew Of Burned Laptops Before Recall: Source
     - Microsoft Beta Tests Outlook Express Replacement
4. Grab Bag:
     - How Do You Like Them Apples?
     - Technology Rewrites The Book
     - The Wired 40
5. In Depth: Social Networking
     - Journalist Sues YouTube For Copyright Infringement
     - Mining For Data In Blogs
     - Review: Radar.net
     - Review: Flock Offers A Firefox For Bloggers
     - Hollywood Victory In Film-Sanitizing Suit Imperils Mash-Ups
6. Voice Of Authority
     - The 'Drama Queen' Of Software Installations
7. White Papers
     - Examining The Total Cost Of Ownership Of On-Demand Applications
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote Of The Day:
"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there." — Lewis Carroll


1. Editor's Note: Will You Join The DRM Dance?

Back in the bad old days of the 1970s, Sony came out with a wonderful machine called a Betamax videotape recorder. The idea was that consumers could tape their favorite programs off of their televisions and watch them at their leisure. No longer would people have to rush home in a panic in order to catch that week's episode of All In The Family—you could watch Johnny Carson at 9 a.m. and your favorite daytime soap at 1 a.m., if you wanted.

Universal City Studios didn't see it that way. Together with Walt Disney Productions, Universal took Sony to court, charging that the ability to copy shows and movies off of TV was copyright infringement. This led to the now well-known October 1979 legal decision stating that using VCRs to tape for personal entertainment or time shifting constituted fair use. VCR sales soared, and the technology became a given in most U.S. homes. And the movie studios? They coped—by creating a market for rental tapes that kept profits coming.

These days, entertainment companies are instituting the lawsuits and trying to stem the tide of digital downloads. One can hardly blame them for panicking—when you have thousands of potential buyers pulling music and videos off of the Internet for free, you can hardly call that fair use, even by the broadest interpretation of the term. If you want to listen to a copyrighted song or read a copyrighted novel or watch a copyrighted movie, you should pay for it.

However, I always assumed that it was the entertainment companies' (and the legal system's) job to handle the problem—not my operating system's. This is why I was a bit bemused when my colleague Alexander Wolfe said in his well-written article Top 10 Windows Vista Hits & Misses that he considered the digital-rights management (DRM) feature in the current prerelease version of Vista to be one of the operating system's hits. Why? Because DRM as implemented in Vista doesn't interfere with the user experience.

This strikes me somewhat like giving kudos to a policy of handcuffing people who want to walk in the park so that they won't pick the flowers—because the handcuffs are now more comfortable.

Let me be clear here: I have no objection to entertainment services instituting methods to enforce the copyright of the tunes and video that they peddle. If their products are good enough, people will use the services; if their methods of enforcement don't work, people will find other services. And I'm not naive—since Microsoft owns the underlying DRM format, it's not terribly surprising that it would incorporate it into its brand-new operating system.

However, I'm still not convinced it's the role of my operating system to enforce copyright on behalf of music and film companies. I keep having nightmares where my copy of Windows Media Player suddenly says to me, "You can't play this song—it hasn't been authorized."

"No, no," I scream, "you don't understand—I downloaded this in 1985! The recording dates back to 1923! It's not being sold anywhere anymore!"

"Sorry, dear. I've deleted the file, locked up the computer, and sent an e-mail to the RIAA. The police should be at the door any minute now..."

What do you think? Does Vista's implementation of DRM annoy you, thrill you, or is it simply one more Windows feature to be coped with? Let me know at my blog post.

Barbara Krasnoff
bkrasnoff@cmp.com


2. Today's Top Story

PC Sales Climb, HP Gains On Dell
Worldwide shipments are hot—except in Europe, where, IDC said, potential PC buyers were distracted by the soccer World Cup, and increased shipments failed to meet expectations.

Related Story

Google Profit Doubles In Quarter
Second-quarter net income rose to $721 million, compared with the year-earlier quarter's $343 million. International sales were particularly strong.


3. Breaking News

Judge Denies Request To Throw Out AT&T Spy Suit
That means the lawsuit will go forward. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is charging that AT&T broke the law by assisting the National Security Agency's efforts in eavesdropping on millions of Americans' telephone conversations.

Free Tool Scans Sites For Threats
The tool, called LinkScanner, allows users to enter a URL, and then the tool checks the target page for threats and exploits and reports back on its findings.

Microsoft Spells Out Terms For Windows XP, 2000 Users Upgrading To Vista
A page on the Microsoft Web site outlines which users will have to install Vista from a clean hard disk, and who can just install it over existing software.

Alaskan VARs Stand Behind Sen. Ted Stevens' Internet Flubs
Solution providers are concerned that the senator's verbal slips about the Internet—which he called a "series of tubes"—may give the wrong impression about Alaska's tech savvy.

Flash Drive Study: A Second Growth Wave Is Brewing
Researchers are predicting another wave of USB flash drive growth, saying better security and operating system compatibility will drive demand.

Digital Vault Said To Thwart Hackers
Vault ID, a single-function USB token, contains a smart card chip that stores user names and passwords for all online accounts.

Blogging Is All About Me
Most bloggers are interested in creative personal expression, and many blog to share practical knowledge or skills with others. But only one out of 10 bloggers focuses on politics and government, according to a new study.

Cisco Patches Several CS-MARS Vulnerabilities
The CS-MARS appliance monitors multiple network devices for security problems by examining configurations on routers and switches, and it allows companies to verify the security of their infrastructure against predefined security checklists.

AT&T Settles Customer Information Investigation
In response to allegations about its customer privacy practices, the company agreed to supervision and review of its opt-out processes for releasing proprietary customer network information and some other measures.

Yahoo Licenses Zillow.com Home-Valuation Engine
Zillow.com, launched in beta in February, provides estimated prices for nearly 67 million of the 88 million houses and condos in the United States.

Arrest Tests Legality Of Online Gaming Rules
After this week's arrest of a gaming kingpin, a former New Jersey gaming regulator says online gaming can't be effectively stopped because there are so many sites, at least 70 of them according to a recent count.

Dell Knew Of Burned Laptops Before Recall: Source
Dell grappled with apparently severe overheating problems in scores of notebooks for at least two years before it announced a recall of 22,000 notebooks last year, according to a source close to the company.

Microsoft Beta Tests Outlook Express Replacement
The client's code is based on Windows Mail, the e-mail application that will be bundled with Windows Vista when that operating system ships in early 2007.

All Our Latest News

Watch The News Show

In the current episode:

John Soat With "Something Like The News"
Microsoft unveils new fair-trade practices, Oracle releases new critical patch update, and reservations about e-voting on the Hill.

Larry Greenemeier With "Where Is The Cybersecurity Czar?"
More than a year after creating the position, the Department of Homeland Security has yet to fill the job.

Chris Murphy With "Music Rules"
The best and worst kind of music to listen to while trying to meet a deadline.

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4. Grab Bag:

How Do You Like Them Apples? (BusinessWeek Online)
The computer maker silenced skeptics with an avalanche of notebook sales. iPod sales held steady—and brought PC users into Mac stores.

Technology Rewrites The Book (New York Times)
The print-on-demand business is gradually moving toward the center of the marketplace. What began as a way for publishers to reduce their inventory and stop wasting paper is becoming a tool for anyone who needs a bound document.

The Wired 40 (Wired)
Wired lists the companies it considers the most innovative. New this year: Verizon, Lenovo, InfoSpace, and more.


5. In Depth: Social Networking

Journalist Sues YouTube For Copyright Infringement
Robert Tur, a reporter and owner of the Los Angeles News Service, argues that YouTube is encouraging copyright infringement by hosting his footage, including the beating of trucker Reginald Denny, on YouTube servers.

Mining For Data In Blogs
As the market evolves, it's become increasingly important for publishers to understand if an RSS can draw more traffic than the actual Web site, for instance, and what type of information in the feed is too much. New tools can help.

Review: Radar.net
Radar.net is a simple service that lets you share photos with family, friends, and small groups.

Review: Flock Offers A Firefox For Bloggers
Flock, a browser based on Mozilla's popular Firefox, adds a variety of features designed to appeal to the social networking crowd.

Hollywood Victory In Film-Sanitizing Suit Imperils Mash-Ups
A ruling against four companies that edit Hollywood movies to remove the dirty bits, without the studios' permission, could be trouble for mash-ups, as well as sites like Google Video and YouTube that host them.


6. Voice Of Authority

The 'Drama Queen' Of Software Installations
For a truly epic installation, David DeJean gives the Oscar for Best Drama to Symantec's Norton Internet Security upgrade. He just went through it not once, but twice, and says it's longer than the death scene from "Camille" and more emotionally draining.


7. White Papers

Examining The Total Cost Of Ownership Of On-Demand Applications
This study by the Yankee Group looks at the total cost of ownership of deploying and integrating CRM and ERP/accounting applications in small businesses and midmarket enterprises.


8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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