Composing Software from Pete Townshend

Pete Townshend (of The Who) announced an Internet-based software program that will help compose personalized music at the click of a button. Users will be able to compose instrumental tracks that they can email or post on their Web sites.

There will be free access to the Web site, (it’s not alive yet), for three months starting May 1. After that it will become a subscription-based service.

The Effective Emailer

I recently received a “how-to” email from a friend about how to email. It gave good advise about how not to make the mistakes that lots of people make, for instance replying “okay” without including what they are replying to. I like good advise, but ignore the parts I consider bad advise.

The Effective Emailer” also gives mostly good advise. A bit of it is business oriented (“to help you become a more effective emailer”), but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t also apply to personal emails.

Ignore the parts that don’t work for you. Rules are made to be broken, but first you have to know the rules.

Free 411

I had heard of 800-FREE411, but forgot about it because I rarely use 411. Today I got a call from Harbor Light Entertainment that was raving about how great 800-GOOG-411 is. It’s another free 411 service, but it can text details to your cell by SMS so you don’t have to write it down. They do say that it’s “still in its experimental stage” and may not be available in all areas or at all times.

Record company drops suit after sternly worded lawyer-letter

This is lifted from BoingBoing; see the permalink for the original location. I love the wording of the letter. Since the RIAA keeps doing this stuff, it’s nice to have a starting point for a response on record.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A California man got out of his music-sharing lawsuit by having his lawyer send a sharply worded letter to Sony Music, the plaintiff (music lawsuits aren’t brought by the RIAA, but by individual record companies — like Warners, who are suing a paralyzed man for his disability check). The letter threatened to sue Sony for malicious prosecution, citing the crummy evidence used by record companies in other suits, and on receipt the letter it, Sony chickened out and withdrew the suit.

The Evidence Code sections are quite clear: settlement negotiations of all kinds may not be used to prove the validity of any claim or defense. Mr. Merchant has and had no more duty to respond to attempts to “sell” him one of your clients’ boilerplate, non-negotiable $3750 settlements than he has to return cold calls from pushy life insurance salespeople. If your client (and your law firm?) are seeking probable cause shelter in a settlement negotiations house of straw (as suggested by your March 23 letter), all of you should consider the prevailing winds of the Evidence Code before making yourselves too comfortable. Straw will burn.

Your client take the position that my middle-aged, conservative clients should speculate regarding the identity of persons your clients’ claim used their AOL account to download pornographic-lyric gangsta rap tracks as predicate to possible case resolution. In an age of Wintel-virus created bot-farms, spoofs, and easily cracked WEP encrypted wireless home networks (among other easy hacks), the only tech-savvy response to such a request is, “You’ve got to be kidding.” The extensive press that has been generated over computer security (and the insecurity of Windows XP and its predecessors) underscores the complete absence of facts on which probable cause to sue my clients could be established and your clients’ willingness (even insistence) that others be implicated in Big Music’s speculative, “driftnet” litigation tactics. Sorry: Mr. Merchant cannot and will not expose himself to still more litigation by speculating.

Link (Thanks, JMT!)

posted by Cory Doctorow at 06:54:52 AM permalink | Other blogs’ comments