- Free as in Smokescreen (Mike Shaver) — H.264, one of the ways video can be delivered in HTML5, is covered by patents. This prevents Mozilla from shipping an H.264 player, which fragments web video. The MPEG LA group who manage the patents for H.264 did a great piece of PR bullshit, saying “this will be permanently royalty-free to consumers”. This, in turn, triggered a wave of gleeful “yay, now we can use H.264!” around the web. Mike Shaver from Mozilla points out that the problem was never that users might be charged, but rather that the software producer would be charged. The situation today is just as it was last week: open source can’t touch H.264 without inviting a patent lawsuit.
- Crowdsourcing for Pakistan Flood Relief — Crowdflower are geocoding and translating news reports from the ground, building a map of real-time data so aid workers know where help is needed.
- Dirpy — extract MP3 from YouTube. Very nice interface. (via holovaty on Delicious)
- Three Rules of Thumb for Bloom Filters — Bloom filters are used in caches and other situations where you need fast lookup and can withstand the occasional false positive. 1: One byte per item in the input set gives about a 2% false positive rate. For more on Bloom Filters, see Maciej Ceglowski’s introduction. (via Hacker News)
H.264 Patents, Pakistan Flood Crowdsourcing, YouTube to MP3, Bloom Filter Tips
Crowdsourcing Investigations, YouTube Wins, 3D IP, and Drupal Visualization
- Crowdsourcing the Goldman-Sachs Investigation (Crowdflower) — Goldman-Sachs turned over “several hundred billion pages” of documents in response to a government investigation request. Crowdsourcing may be the solution, as with UK MPs’ expenses. Clearly, technology presents a double-edged sword for investigators and other regulators. On the one hand, companies under investigation can use technology to more efficiently bury investigators in terabytes of data (paging Goldman Sachs). On the other hand, technology provides tools for deftly sifting through the data (enter crowdsourcing). Another reminder that open data is necessary but not sufficient for improvement.
- Google-ViaCom Decision (PDF) — conclusion appears to be that you don’t lose safe harbour for knowing “YouTube is full of copyright violations”, so long as you act on DMCA takedowns. (via Google Blog)
- The Intellectual Property Implications of Low-Cost 3D Printing — leaving aside the questionable value of the term “intellectual property”, this paper is interesting. Adrian Bowyer, coauthor, is the founder and leader of the RepRap open source 3D printer project. The effect of these exemptions is that many items attractive for 3D printing will not be protected as registered designs. Many spare parts are likely to be components or fall under the “technical function” or “must fit” exemptions. The latter also applies to the shape of accessories and customisation items such as covers for mobile phones (but not, as noted below, to copyright artwork decorating them). Furthermore, even if a spare part escapes these exemptions and is protected as a registered design, such protection is not infringed by its use for “the repair of a complex product so as to restore its original appearance”. This would cover the 3D printing of a part such as a car wing panel that was normally visible and not wholly constrained in design by its function or fit, but which had to be replicated in order to maintain the vehicle’s original appearance. (via teh_aimee on Twitter)
- VIDI Modules — open source Drupal data visualization modules.
Wikileaks Fundraising, Internet Censorship, Unfree as in Video, and Museums Online
- WikiLeaks Fundraising — PayPal has frozen WikiLeaks’ assets. Interesting: they need $600k/yr to run.
- The Great Australian Internet Blackout — online protest to raise awareness about the Great Firewall of Australia.
- History of the World in 100 Objects (BBC) — a radio show, telling the history of humanity in 100 objects from the British Library. Exquisitely high quality commentary (available in original audio and in textual transcript), hi-resolution images, maps, timelines, and more. It’s growing day by day as episodes air, and shows how a quintessentially offline place like a museum can add to the online world.
Ongoing Palm Fail, YouTube Numbers, Plugin Patent Pain, Bivalve-Oriented Architecture
- Followup to jwz’s Palm App Store Fiasco — redux: still nothing concrete from Palm, but they’re saying they’ll create a second-rate app store into which open source apps will go (along with apps that Palm hasn’t reviewed).
- Schmidt on YouTube — the interesting bit for me was Every minute, more than 10 hours of video is uploaded to the site.
- Company that won $585M from Microsoft sues Apple, Google – The infamous ‘906 patent granted to Eolas and the University of California was one of the first patents to get the young online tech scene going in 1998. The patent addresses third-party browser plug-ins to run various forms of media as an “embedded program object”—essentially a program that runs within another program. Eolas promptly sued Microsoft for its implementation of ActiveX in Internet Explorer, which set in motion a years-long legal battle between the two companies. and won $585M, now they’re suing many large Internet companies. (via Hacker News)
- IBM Uses Mussels as Sensor Network — Concerned with the environmental and revenue impacts of leaks during oil drilling, StatOil sought an innovative and automated way to detect leaks. They wanted to replace a manual process that included deep sea drivers. StatOil’s innovation, they attached RFID tags to the shells of blue mussels. When the blue mussels sense an oil leak, they close which prompts the RFID tags to emit closure events. In response to the events, the drilling line is automatically stopped. And, in case you are wondering, this is of no harm to the blue mussels. (via monkchips on Twitter)
In an essay catalyzed by YouTube's removal of a film criticism archive, which included ripped clips from copyrighted movies, Matt Zoller Seitz addresses the disconnect between takedown policies and the gray areas of digital culture: There should be a way to distinguish between piracy-for-profit (or unauthorized, free redistribution) and creative, interpretive, critical or political work that happens to use…
YouTube's Content ID service, something we've covered in the past, gives publishers two options for handling unauthorized videos: the material can be removed from YouTube or it can be turned into advertising/revenue opportunities. An article in today's New York Times shows which option Google prefers — Content ID can now be used to associate "click-to-buy" links with video clips:…
Some publishers are turning pirated YouTube clips into advertising opportunities.
A fairly significant ruling came down Wednesday in Lenz v. Universal, a rather infamous case where Universal Music Publishing Group issued a takedown against a YouTube video of a young child dancing to a song in the background — a song in which Universal maintained some rights. Universal later acknowledged that this was a fair use of the music,…
As Google, Amazon and others become de facto digital libraries — and lawsuits emerge — Jeff Jarvis wonders what this means for users' privacy. From BuzzMachine: Any site with content — Google, Amazon, a newspaper, a blog, an ISP — is now the moral equivalent of a library or bookstore, two institutions that try hard not to hand over…