671 - Vista Price Patch 1
Friday, February 29, 2008

Windows Vista may be maligned, enterprise-unfriendly, and seemingly without compatible drivers, but hey, at least it's cheaper! In other not-at-all-surprising news, it looks like Apple's iPhone SDK might be a little locked down, they might micromanage the apps that end up on the phone, and don't even get us started on the accessories situation. In sum, your basic Apple stuff.

Stories CoveredEdit

  • Microsoft cuts Vista price[1][2]
  • iPhone/iPod SDK: Apple to approve, distribute apps, limit add-ons[3][4]
  • Bluetooth not working after iPhone 1.1.4?Simple fix: [5]
  • Mac OS X secretly cripples non-Apple software[6]
  • Wii outsells the PS3 4-to-1 in Japan, Sony execs “not psyched”[7]
  • Artists to music labels: Where’s our Napster money?[8]
  • Google expands free phone number and voice mail project[9]
  • Steve Chen: YouTube to add live video[10]
  • BBC broadcasting Rugby Six Nations match in 3D[11]
  • U.S. Air Force shoots down blogs, airmen frustrated[12]
  • Robin Williams saves the day at TED when tech fails[13]
  • Final goodbye for early Web icon[14]

From The PhonesEdit

  • MC Fisticuffs: I’m studying for my doctorate.
  • Tracy from Atlanta: So wait, I have an iPhone question.
  • Jeremy from Delaware: Save Palm!


Copyright tax thoughtsEdit

Hi Gang,

Sorry I’m late to the game on this but I’ve been a bit busy lately. I did have some thoughts on the Copyright tax which I like the idea of, but I think it might prove to be a bit untenable.

First-You could tax this property if you wanted to. (Just thinking (Buzz) out loud now-no real research done on any of this.) The Government’s right to grant Copyright protection comes directly from the Constitution, and presumably this question of taxation would only come up as an issue of Interstate Commerce-which The Federal Government can collect on. So we wouldn’t have to worry about which state the work is in, or if it crosses state lines because it would be a Federal, not State, issue (for those two reasons). States pretty much don’t protect copyright because the ‘76 Act grants protection at the moment of fixation. You just get it from the Federal Government straight away-so state protection is (pretty much) moot.

With regards to IP existing in someone’s head a la the Coke Formula-that’s not a problem here. Again, protection is extended (as the Magician pointed out) when it is fixed (again for Copyright only now). The protection is for the content of things, but only after it has been fixed. So there would have to be tangible thing somewhere-even if the thoughts and expressions can be retained intangibly.

The real problem I think is deciding who to tax: We all have copyrights on things we have written, but should we all be taxed based on that? Should my blog (which I do have protection for) be taxed simply because its protected? If everyone starts going to because of the insightful reviews of Lost, or the stellar coverage of the Buffalo Bills in the off-season, or just for the charming wit of the author and I can start selling ad space is that enough for the tax to kick in? If that happened, I presumably would be paying taxes already on the revenue I generate-should I be doubly taxed then? Or I if I’m not making any money, but I just don’t want people to pass of my work as their own should I have to pay for that right? Remember-even a Creative Commons License only works because the copyright is already in place, so even giving permissions and limitations to people with such a license doesn’t get around the notion that you are using the copyright protection.

Further, if you file at the Copyright Office to retain a record of the ownership of your work (which grants you a few extra perks such as the right to sue in Federal Court) you have to pay a fee-should there be a tax on top of that as well?

I’m with you guys, I want there to be some way that major copyright holders who exploit the long protection period for financial gain at the cost of the public domain to either be paying a bit more for that privilege, or to be forced into letting the work go-but I think the collateral damage to smaller publishers could be huge and, at first glance anyway, there doesn’t seem to be an easy workaround.

Frank L.

Magicians’ intellectual propertyEdit

Dear Buzz crew,

Here’s a good Economist article on how IP is regulated in the magicians’ world:

Just a soundbite:

The traditional view is that IP can be protected only by the long arm of the law. But magicians rarely rely on the law, as the very act of describing what they want protected would reveal their secrets.

{}s, Fabio Sao Paulo, Brazil


Hi guys, thanks for the podcast. I thought you might be interested in my experience with Comcast.

I called Comcast’s 1-888 number to ask about a rumor that TV guide channel was being removed from the analog cable, I never got an answer to that. I had two different people tell me that _by law_ they will need to be discontinuing analog service as of next February. Even after I talked about that only being for over the air and mentioning, they stuck by their guns. The second lady even argued that they had training and this is what they were taught… she knows better than little old silly me.

I called the state, who told me to call the county who told me that they did not have control over what Comcast said (and thought they were right) but would send my concerns to Comcast. A lady from Comcast called me and said that of course I was correct in what I was saying. She seemed quite concerned that Comcast employees were saying differently and wanted information about who I had spoken.

While I had her on the line, I told her that if Comcast forced me to get a box on every TV, I would be leaving Comcast. Honestly, the lack of a set-top box is the only thing keeping me from Dish or FIOS.

Amy from Maryland

Peter Jackson can’t save New LineEdit

Hey Buzz crew,

It’s Sperling, the digital cinema product manager from Los Angeles. A few weeks back I wrote in after you reported the story about the Tolkien estate suing New Line Cinema for not receiving any of the profits from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. At the time, I mentioned the eyebrow raising which occurred throughout the industry when just a month before New Line released their turkey, The Golden Compass, they miraculously came to an agreement with Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson on The Hobbit.

It turns out that all those industry insiders that had speculated the studio might be in financial trouble when they conceded to the Jackson deal weren’t far from wrong. No doubt you know by now, not even pinning their financial hopes to the famed director and his Rings prequel could save the studio, as Time Warner is shuttering the New Line so that it can be absorbed by Warner Bros. Pictures. I guess sometimes Hollywood rumors really are true.

However, given your report on the Tolkien estate law suit, the whole affair really brings out the conspiracy theorist in me. Could Time Warner be folding New Line simply to avoid paying the Tolkien’s their piece of the $1 billion gross Rings raked in? Probably not, as Time Warner would still be liable, but even so . . . [in Molly’s voice] I’m just saying!

Of course, love the show.

Regards, Sperling

Buzz town mottos for WikiEdit

Hey Tom, Molly, and Jason

Myself and a few other buzzers (Trojanbee and Tales) have been working on some mottos in the chat (live chat) for the Buzz Town wiki and we need your help. So far we have these 12:

1: "The content may be inspired by them, but the work was us." (Trojanbee) 2:”When the robots, zombies, Mac Users, and RIAA come knocking on your door, you know where to find us.” (Trojanbee) 3:”You know, we were just kidding about making this for you? Its all about us- us, us, us!” (Trojanbee) 4:”Watch BOL, Now with extra buttons” (Tales) 5:”‘Plain and simple’!?!- Your in the wrong place” (Trojanbee) 6:”Well, actually, we don’t care for this whole ‘Web 2.0′ experience.”(Trojanbee) 7:I’m to editorializing for this sort of “emotional” stuff(Trojanbee) 8:”We want to be helpful. Just keep Molly away from the code.”(Trojanbee) 9:”If we build this for them, do you think they’ll release on time?”(Trojanbee) 10:”Soon, all are plans will be complete(d) (and Buzz Town will fill the world with nerditude)!!!”(Trojanbee) 11:”Might I recommend the Linux Chaser with your Cake?”(Trojanbee) 12: “If I listen to all of the podcasts, do I get a cookie?”(Trojanbee)

Do you have any ideas for the Buzz Town wiki motto? Can you create lucky No.13?

Love the podcast,

Jacob the student from Australia - Wiki (Thanks to Trojanbee for helping me edit it)

Molly, I just went to and it just forwarded to .org, and it sure looks like your blog.


After the ShowEdit

  • Jason and Tom sing a weird song lyric: "Goodbye to you!"
  • Lee, soon to be Alex from Boston: What happened to tildes in URL's?
  • Unknown caller: BOL stole my walrus's bucket!

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