Category Archives: Legal Issues


Common Craft has done it again — a great video on plagiarism. It has a very positive focus, which should make it even more helpful.


Amazon Cloud Player

Amazon has just announced a new music service – Amazon Cloud Player. It works like this:

  • Using your Amazon account, buy music from Amazon MP3 and save it to your Amazon Cloud Drive. No cap on the amount of music stored if you purchase it from the Amazon MP3 service.
  • Download and install the Amazon Cloud Player (for Android or web); play your music using this app.
  • Add any music you already have to the Cloud Drive. First 5 GB of storage are free; 20 GB are free if you purchase an album from the MP3 service.

Sounds great, right? It’s your music and you are storing it in the cloud instead of a hard drive. If you have an Android device, you have access to it pretty much wherever your are; have access to the web, same thing.

Unfortunately, the music industry thinks that Amazon needs licenses for the music before they can launch this type of service and they have none.

From Amazon:

Cloud Player is an application that lets customers manage and play their own music. It’s like any number of existing media management applications. We do not need a license to make Cloud Player available.

Makes sense to me, but I’m sure we’ll see more on this.

[from ars technica]

First Tech Device in the House

Representative Henry Cuellar, a democrat from Texas, brought the first tech device into the House of Representatives this past year.

Previously, the floor of the House was a “technology-free zone.” Some felt that use of these devices would be disruptive with so many members of the House.

However, Rep. Cuellar took his iPad to the Speaker’s podium, later stating that it’s use could make a more efficient Congress.

Then incoming Speaker of the House proposed allowing “certain electronic devices, including the iPad on the House floor, as long as it doesn’t ‘impair decorum.'”

Another Texas first!

[from CNET News]


Last fall, MusOpen was a project struggling to get donations. Their focus was to provide copyright-free recordings of music. Since then, they have more than met their goal and now provide links to music, primarily classical, that can be streamed or downloaded, as well as some sheet music.

Although there is much more music to go, if you like classical, this is a great start. Check out their radio! I think it basically shuffles through all their music.

Kindle Works with Libraries

Amazon has announced that, later in 2011, Kindle users (and Kindle reading app users) will be able to check out Kindle books from libraries. I assume this will work like hard-copy library books, e.g., limited number of copies and a check-out period.

This should also work through OverDrive, so this would be a great value-added service for those libraries that already use it.

[from Amazon]

How Much Does Your Cell Phone Company Know About You?

Remember a story a couple of years ago about a German politician, Malte Spitz, who asked for and received 6 month’s worth of his personal data from his cell phone company? He received 35, 831 pieces of information about himself. He then turned it over to Zeit Online, a German newspaper site. They added to this information his Twitter posts and created an interactive map of where he went and what he did for the 6 months.

Germany apparently has a privacy law that provides for obtaining this information,  I’m not sure if the United States has something similar. If it did, we probably would have seen something similar from a US citizen.

[from beSpacific]

E-Rate Changes for 2011

Changes to the E-Rate program will go into effect as of January 3, 2011 and will be implemented in the July 2011-June 2012 year. The changes fall into 3 conceptual categories (from Federal Register):

  • Providing more flexibility to select and make available the most cost-effective broadband and other communications services;
    • Ability to lease dark or lit fiber from the most cost-effective provider;
    • Schools can now allow their communities to use E-rate-funded services outside of school hours;
    • Supports eligible services to the residential portion of schools that serve students with special circumstances;
    • Indexing the funding cap to inflation;
    • Seeking proposals for a limited pilot to establish best practices to support off-campus wireless for portable learning devices outside of regular school/library operating hours.
  • Simplifying and streamlining the E-rate application process;
    • Reduce administrative burden on applicants;
    • Remove technology plan requirement for priority one services;
    • Facilitate disposal and recycling of obsolete equipment that received E-rate support.
  • Improving safeguards against waste, fraud, and abuse.
    • Codify requirement that competitive bidding processes be fair and open.
    • Includes eligible services list for funding year 2011.

Much of this supports the priorities of the National Broadband Plan.

[from District Dispatch]

XXX Domain Passed

ICANN, the organization that coordinates the domain name system, has considered creating a “xxx” top-level domain for many years. Each time, they have denied the request. All that changed in June.

They agreed that “xxx” should become a top-level domain, similar to “com,” “gov,” and “edu.” However, it’s not yet a certainty; there are a few more hoops it has to jump through.

If it does pass, this domain will not be required for adult entertainment sites, but optional.

The details from ICANN.

[from CNN]

New Porn Filter

Encrypted Searching?

Encrypted Google SearchingYes, encrypted searching. Google has launched a new search service which allows your search terms to stay private and does not provider referrer data (which website you went to from the search results) for other web servers. However, Google retains this information.

I can see this being helpful if you are on an open WiFi network and wish a little privacy. Right now it is available only on, not on the country-specific domains.

The URL is Note the protocol used — https; also “www” must be used to reach the encrypted service. FYI – this is in beta.

[from Wired]