Friday, June 27, 2008

Let Instinctiv Choose The Next Song You Listen To

New startup Instinctiv launches today and simultaneously announces a first round of angel financing. The company’s product, Instinctiv Shuffle, is an iPhone application (jailbroken iPhones only, for now), that watches your listening habits to make a smart guess about which song you’ll want to listen to next. It claims to guess your mood and know exactly what you’ll want to listen to.

The company, which was founded by Justin Smithline and Peter Brodsky, has raised $750,000 from Cayuga Venture Fund, Rosetech Ventures and a group of angel investors.

This isn’t the first music-addon service for the iPhone that’s received funding. Israeli startup TuneWiki, which let’s users download song lyrics to their iPhone, was funded by Benchmark Capital earlier this year as well. Both applications should prove to be very popular once the iPhone App Store launches next month.

My Way or Norway: Prince Sues to Obliterate Tribute Album

Fifty artists who recorded Prince covers in honor of His Purpleness' 50th birthday June 7 have been slapped with a lawsuit by the short-tempered star. His lawyers now demand that all copies of the tribute be destroyed. Shockadelica had reached No. 8 on Norway's album charts and received several popular reviews by the Norwegian press.

It's perfectly legal to record and sell cover songs of someone else's material, so long as you pay the compulsory licensing fee of about 10 cents per song. To sell their five-disc set of 81 Prince cover songs, they would have to remit around $8 per unit sold to Prince, under a compulsory mechanical license.

Norway's C+C Records distributed 5,000 of the box sets starting earlier this month, plus digital versions, and claim that no one made any money from the project. As a result, they didn't think they owed Prince anything except maybe a free copy.

C+C Records owner and Prince fan Christer Falck contacted the Purple One's people to try to send one to Prince, and that's when the trouble began, according to the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet (re-reported in Daily Swarm), one of many publications to post positive reviews of the collection.

For now, all 81 songs can be previewed free on C+C Records' website, and some are also available on MySpace in streamable medley form.

When this giveaway first began, there were 5,000 copies of the compilation in circulation. Thanks to Prince's lawsuit and the publicity it will generate, we expect that number to balloon significantly in the coming weeks.

An Essay Concerning MPAA Understanding of 'Making Available' in the P2P Context

The Copyright Act says a rights holder has the exclusive right "to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending."

On Tuesday, in a lengthy telephone interview with Threat Level, two of the leading lawyers for the Motion Picture Association of America defined the Copyright Act as it applies to peer-to-peer file sharing networks: No actual transfer of the work is required, they said.

"You don't have to prove actual distribution. You need to prove there's works in the share folder, and that is distribution," said Joseph Geisman, MPAA's chief intellectual property attorney, as he described the so-called "making available" concept.

The discussion centered on a Threat Level story posted Friday explaining the MPAA's position about what is necessary to prove copyright infringement via peer-to-peer -- a story that was widely distributed throughout the blogosphere and parts of which were disputed by the MPAA.

The attorneys said the text of the story about the "making available" argument was accurate, but they thought the headline and the first paragraph were inaccurate.

The attorneys were Greg Goeckner, the MPAA's general counsel, and Geisman.

We had a cordial, and highly academic back-and-forth about a legal concept that stands at the heart of the file sharing world: Is merely making available music, or other copyrighted works, on a peer-to-peer network unauthorized distribution under the Copyright Act, subject to a maximum $150,000 fine for each work?

The MPAA answered that question with an emphatic yes on Tuesday and did so on Friday in a lengthy brief submitted on behalf of the Recording Industry Association of America's lawsuit against Jammie Thomas.

In October, a Duluth, Minnesota, jury dinged Thomas $222,000 for unlawfully distributing 24 copyrighted songs via the Kazaa file sharing network, in what was the nation's first and only file sharing case to go to a jury. (The RIAA has sued more than 20,000 individuals for making copyrighted music available on Kazaa, Limewire and other networks. Most defendants have settled out of court for a few thousand dollars.)

The federal judge in the Thomas case instructed the jury that the recording industry did not have to prove anybody else downloaded the songs from Thomas' share folder. (It's impossible, by the way, to prove members of the public on peer-to-peer networks have actually copied music from somebody else's share folder.)

During the Thomas trial, U.S. District Judge Michael Davis instructed jurors they could find unauthorized distribution -- copyright infringement -- if Thomas was "making available" the copyrighted works over a peer-to-peer network. The jury decided her liability in five minutes.

On Friday, the MPAA weighed in the case after judge Davis, having second thoughts on that jury instruction, invited comments from the public at large ahead of an August hearing, at which time he will consider ordering a mistrial.

The MPAA and RIAA say piracy costs them billions of dollars in lost revenue each year.

"What we're saying, by having a copy of a copyrighted work in a shared folder, you are distributing it under the copyright law," Goeckner said during the interview.

Threat Level reported that assertion on Friday. The two lawyers were unhappy with the headline, which read: "MPAA Says No Proof Needed in P2P Copyright Infringement Lawsuits."

The MPAA attorneys also did not like what in journalism jargon is called the "lede," the first paragraph of our Friday post: "The Motion Picture Association of America said Friday intellectual-property holders should have the right to collect damages, perhaps as much as $150,000 per copyright violation, without having to prove infringement."

In defense to such alleged egregiousness, Threat Level quoted directly from the MPAA's brief, which backed the "making available" argument:

"It is often very difficult, and in some cases, impossible, to provide such direct proof when confronting modern forms of copyright infringement, whether over P2P networks or otherwise…."

We naturally thought, by reading the brief, the MPAA meant no proof was required. But the lawyers, during our discussion, pointed out that "indirect proof" is necessary.

The MPAA's lawyers said the argument rests on how one defines distribution in the copyright context.

"It is a distribution by putting works in a shared folder. You can deem that copies are being made. That goes for the indirect proof," Geisman said. "Having it in a shared folder is indirect proof of actual copying of another user."

"In our view," he added, "you don't have to actually show copying happening in order to prove distribution."

A host of digital rights groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a group of professors, labeled such an assertion as attempted copyright infringement, not covered under the Copyright Act. They claim infringement occurs only when there is actual proof of distribution -- that somebody else made downloads of a defendant's share folder.

The MPAA counters, saying that was never Congress' intent.

"If the other side is right," Goeckner said, "it's kind of open season on copyrighted works on the internet."

Orginal here


Not only was Kung Fu Panda a critical success it was also a hit with audiences – so far the animated flick has made over $150 million at the domestic box office. That’s why it should come as no surprise that DreamWorks is moving ahead with a sequel, and apparently work is already underway.

Over at The Animation Guild blog, Steve Hutely, business representative for the guild, recently visited DreamWorks and posted the following update:

Every building of the DW campus is bursting with activity. Monsters and Aliens, Shrek, Madagascar Deux, and on and on. DreamWorks’ Lakeside Building is getting enlarged, and the administrative staff is gone from the upper floors.

But down on the lower levels, artists are working. A story crew has started early work in Kung Fu Panda, the Sequel, even while animators are hand-drawing new material for the DVD of Kung Fu Panda, the original.

So what do you say, 2010 for Kung Fu Panda 2?

Punisher: War Zone Posters!

By Kellvin Chavez on June 26, 2008

Check out these two posters we have been provided with for Marvel and Lionsgate's new comic book film "Punisher: War Zone" starring Ray Stevenson, Dominic West, Julie Benz, and Dash Mihok.

The film is due out December 5th 2008.

Waging his one-man war on the world of organized crime, ruthless vigilante-hero Frank Castle sets his sights on overeager mob boss Billy Russoti. After Russoti is left horribly disfigured by Castle, he sets out for vengeance under his new alias: Jigsaw. With the "Punisher Task Force" hot on his trail and the FBI unable to take Jigsaw in, Frank must stand up to the formidable army that Jigsaw has recruited before more of his evil deeds go unpunished.

Check out both posters below.