Popping up for a moment

Could bad handwriting be an encryption mechanisim? Would attempting to read that handwriting be a violation of the DMCA?

Hillary Rosen (RIAA) notes:

“In the age of $150 sneakers, $12 movie prices and $40 video games, I’m just unsympathetic,” Rosen says. “At any price in the $10 to $18 range, CDs are a great value.”

What she’s not noticing is that that $12 movie comes on dvd with interviews with the cast, outtakes, and theatrical trailers. And in some cases, the DVD of the movie is less expensive than the random soundtrack that was thrown together for a little additional profit. As for the shoes and video games, well, it’s all about style. Perhaps unpopular cd’s should sell for $5, and popular, stylish ones should go for $20.

Janis Ian has a good idea: Take the out of print catalogs from all the majors and put them online in MP3. Charge $.25 a song, and see what happens in a year. It opens up lots of material that is not readily availiable, tries something new in search of a model, and more importantly, would make digital copies of some lps that I have easy to get. (that means you AOLTW, bring the Talking Heads out of the vault.)

One final note about Digital Rights Management, or rather the right to reach my digital in box (the one version of DRM that I support). I’ve been testing SpamAssassin for the past week and a half, and so far we’re at 3 false positives, (including a reminder that I need to pay my dsl bill), 12 false negatives, 720 non-spam, and 350 spam. Pretty good, but the false positives could have been really bad.

In a couple of ways, SpamAssassin is taking the wrong approach to the problem, in that the difference between spam and non-spam is permission, not content. It scans content, technical header issues, and realtime blacklists. Of these, the last 2 are good technical predictors in the general case. But with the first, SpamAssassin is taking the same track that the virus scanners have taken on Windows in the last 10 years, that is look for things that look suspicious. The criteria are public, so anyone can work to get past it. It’s going to be a constant war to keep spam definitions up to date in the face of ever changing incoming spam.

But the problem of permission is something that’s not easy to solve. It needs to be easy and automated for both the sender & receiver, a distributed system, and attack resistant. Ideally it would not be a boil the ocean scheme. But more on this later.

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