U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, strong supporter and prime author of much of U.S. copyright law and intellectual property rights, weighs in on the Ninth Circuit’s recent decision in the Napster case. Hatch has been a very vocal supporter of Napster since this whole controversy began, and has a lot to say on the subject:

“The Napster community represents a huge consumer demand for the kind of online music services Napster, rightly or wrongly, has offered and, to date, the major record labels have been unable to satisfy.”

“I am a longtime advocate of strong intellectual property laws. There is something in our legal system called copyright, and the principle underlying copyright is a sound one. I believe that artists must be compensated for their creativity. And I believe that Napster as it currently operates, threatens this principle.”

“I also believe that the compensation principle underlying copyright can co-exist – and has in fact co-existed – with society’s evolving technologies for generations. And, in each case this coexistence has benefitted both the copyright owner and the consumer.”

“I am particularly troubled because if the popular Napster service is shut down, and no licensed online services exist to fill this consumer demand, I fear that this consumer demand will be filled by Napster clones, particularly ones like Gnutella or Freenet, which have no central server, and no central business office with which to negotiate a marketplace licensing arrangement. Such a development would further undermine the position of copyright law online, and the position of artists in the new digital world that the Internet is developing.”

“Some have suggested that the labels merely wished to establish a legal precedent and then would be willing to work on negotiating licenses. Well, it seems to me that now might be a good time to get those deals done, for the good of music fans, and for the good of the copyright industries and the artists they represent.”

I know… I’ve gotta cut down on the Napster links… It’ll all be over soon, anyway… promise.

This guy’s got some issues that he needs to deal with on his own. Apparently, for State Sen. Winthrop S. Smith Jr., the word Vagina on a roadside billboard is just too much. The billboard in question was one for “The Vagina Monologues,” a series of monologues by women that ran earlier this month in New Haven. The billboard did not illustrate genitalia or promote scantily clad women – but it did contain the words “The Vagina Monologues” in giant letters with “Spread the Word” in smaller type. According to Smith, “There are some words that should not be up on a 20-foot billboard, like ‘penis.'”
Wow, this guy has some serious sexual repression issues. I mean, we’ve all got one or the other, but we’re just not allowed to talk about them – proper names, or not! Maybe somebody should get him one of these. Or one of these.

Of course they did… The labels have told Napster to take their Billion and shove it. Not much of a surprise there. Hillary “Nazi Beeeotch” Rosen made a statement: “Stop the infringements. Stop the delay tactics in court, and redouble your efforts to build a legitimate system. This path would be more productive than trying to engage in business negotiations through the media.” I don’t see how shutting the service down completely is productive in any way, either – she claims that they, too, want Napster to go legitimate and work out deals with the labels. Once again, she doesn’t seem to get that by shutting the service down in the interim, they will lose all of the users – when any website or internet service is down for any substantial period of time, even a week, they can kiss their user base good bye – it’s the nature of the internet… same here – people will flock to other file-trading services – ones that can’t be shut down or even sued.
Richard Parsons, COO for AOL gets the Asshole Award this week for ripping off John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech: “We must be prepared to pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friends, oppose any foe to protect the interests and property rights of those in the artistic community whom we represent.”

I’m really curious to see how this plays out – in a last-ditch effort to smooth things over with the RIAA, Napster has offered a five year, $1 Billion deal if the recording industry agrees to ease off in its legal push to have the service shut down. I think we all know what I think they should do : the labels should take the money – this way, they’ve at least got a fighting chance to connect with the 50 million users of the service. A big question is how Napster plans to get the money – well, that’s their problem – if they can’t get it together, they’ll be forced to shut down… if they manage to turn enough of the 50 million freeloaders into paying customers, then everybody gets paid. win-win. But the RIAA isn’t really all that smart – they will likely turn down the deal and once again call for Napster’s head on a platter…

Posts will probably be thin this week I’m on training – learning Cold Fusion. Edjumucashun is goooood.

Cigarettes Kill – Anthony Saduk is in jail after he loaded an antique-replica Thompson Hawken rifle with black powder and cigarette butts and, as a joke, fired it at his friend. I guess he wasn’t expecting three of the butts to penetrate his friend’s ribcage and kill him. (via)