GartnerG2 and Berkman Publish First Paper

GartnerG2, a business strategy firm, and the Berkman Center have published the first paper in the Digital Media Project entitled: “Copyright and Digital Media in a Post-Napster World“. It chronicles the major legal and business developments in the copyfight and is a lead up to a discussion of possible future scenarios. I had a hand in writing the legal sections and am quite looking forward to the next stages of the project. For those of you who have devotedly followed the development of digital media, the law section might be a bit of old news, but the business section will definitely satisfy you.

Takin’ A Break

…not gettin’ hitched, but my brother is. Until then I’ll be a bit busy finishing up work stuff, saying goodbye to friends, and winding up this wonderful summer in SF. I should be back in about two weeks.

Revised Snapster 2.0, Continuing the Legal Hack

Matt links to Cringely’s update to Snapster. He takes into consideration the basic fair use considerations and thinks he’s in the clear.


Cringely asserts that Snapster 2.0 is legal because it’s based on lending. But he’s actually talking about a pseudo-rental scheme, which isn’t legal because of the Record Rental Amendment of 1984. It tacked the following onto Section 109 of the copyright code (the part dealing with the “first sale doctrine”):



“Unless authorized by the owners of copyright in the sound recording… and in the case of a sound recording in the musical works embodied therein, neither the owner of a particular phonorecord … may, for the purposes of direct or indirect commercial advantage, dispose of, or authorize the disposal of, the possession of that phonorecord … by rental, lease, or lending, or by any other act or practice in the nature of rental, lease, or lending.”


You ever wonder why we don’t have a music version of Blockbuster? This is it.  I think the words “indirect commercial advantage” pretty much kill Snapster 2.0.


(Note: post updated to correct name of 1984 act – had it as Sound Recording Amendments Act)