Dale Dietrich
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Category — FYI

Wired Article: Signs Music Industry May be Abandoning DRM

Categories: Big Media Makes ProgressDRM-Free ServicesFYINew Business Models

This Wired article, discusses the following list of reasons why the major music labels may abandon DRM in favour or water-marked MP3 Distribution:

  1. The label's don't have a choice;
  2. Apple might be forced into interoperability;
  3. Thomson has endorsed selling watermarked MP3s;
  4. Amazon is rumored to start selling MP3s by April;
  5. Sony: "DRMs are going to become less important";
  6. People love AllofMP3.com; and
  7. MP3 has future options.

Dale's Comment: There have been countless articles on this topic over the last few weeks. This Wired article is as good as any other. It presents a nice summary of the reasons why the major labels may abandon  DRM in favor of MP3 music distribution. This article falls into the category of "I'll believe it when I see it", but I do see it as an inevitability. I just don't see it happening as quickly as the recent optimistic bloggers do. But I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

Source: Wired News

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Winners and Losers of 2006

Categories: FYI

P2PNet: Winners and Losers of 2006

This list is culled from this P2PNet article – which I recommend. Links below are to my coverage of some of these winners/losers stories: 

Winners:

  1. YouTube
  2. Apple
  3. MySpace
  4. BitTorrent and Azureus
  5. Pirate Bay
  6. Brittany Chan
  7. Creative
  8. DJ Danger Mouse
  9. SanDisk
  10. eMusic
  11. TiVo

Losers:

  1. Streamcast
  2. Echostar Communications
  3. Sharman Networks (Kazaa)
  4. AllofMP3.com
  5. Captain Copyright
  6. OLGA- Online Guitar Tabulature Archive
  7. Blu-Ray and HD-DVD
  8. Amazon Unbox
  9. Sony BMG
  10. DRM – Digital Rights Management

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Ars Technica: Why Piracy is More Common than Legal Video Downloads

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersDRM-Free ServicesFYIiVOD/iTVNew Business ModelsPiracy

Ars Technica: Why Piracy is More Common than Legal Video Downloads

Warez.com: Piracy, the clear choice for 2006 

Dale's Comment: Each of these articles make the same essential point. Piracy of video content is pervasive because it provides consumers with a product they want – a vast selection of high quality content, meeting the tastes of both the masses and the long tail – with the ability to use/view the content on any device and with any software/service of their choosing. Something the TV and movie-industries fail to provide to the very consumers eager to purchase it from them – if only it was conveniently available at fair prices and under fair use terms.

This oft-quoted remark by Disney co-chair Ann Sweeney made at a conference in October, shows at least that the industry is finally starting to grapple with the issue: 

"We understand now that piracy is a business model. It exists to serve a need in the market for consumers who want TV content on demand. Pirates compete the same way we do – through quality, price and availability. We we don?t like the model but we realise it?s competitive enough to make it a major competitor going forward."

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Davis Freeberg Interviews DivX CEO Jordan Greenhall

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersFYIiVOD/iTVNew Tech

Davis' interview of DivX, Inc.'s CEO Jordan Greenhall is interesting. There isn't much here that is new to me but it is topical given DivX's recent public offering. One bit that was new to me was his explanation of why the inclusion of DivX encoding technology within CE devices like PVRs didn't make much sense until recently. Unlike decoding, encoding media to DivX is computationally intensive. Until a couple months ago DivX encoding chips where far more expensive than the inexpensive larger hard drives needed for use with less efficient codecs. With the emergence of cheap encoding chips it now makes sense for manufacturers to start embedding them within CE devices in conjunction with the DivX codec. 

The interview covers the history of the company, the current status and trends (YouTube, convergence) and where this promising, yet controversial, company and its technology are headed.

Dale's Comment: I had to smile when I read Greenhall's answers. Having lived in Silicon Valley for a few years, and having left it, his "Silicon Valley-speak" reminds me of the good old bubble days.  Take this snipped for example:

So the fact that DivX technology is associated with that path is a really interesting physical manifestation, but the reality of the value proposition is that the market, the community itself is a value proposition, so what you’ll find is, if you map our progress on a go forward basis …

Silicon-valley-speak notwithstanding, its an interesting interview of an interesting man in control of an important technology. Good work Davis!

Sources: Davis Freeberg

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Eben Moglen’s Plone Keynote – ‘Software and Community’

Categories: FYIOpen SourcePolicy Analysis

Below is a Youtube video of Eben Moglen's keynote speech at the 2006 Plone conference in Seattle (Oct 25-27).  Professor Mogeln is a professor of law and history of law at Columbia University, serves pro bono as General Counsel for the Free Software Foundation, and is the Chairman of Software Freedom Law Center.

Dale's Comment: Listening to this was my first introduction to Professor Moglen's ideas. I don't exactly know what to make of this speech. With the flair of an elequoent Baptist preacher he advocates on behalf of the free software movement. The speech has many interesting and compelling points.

But, my goodness, this substance of his speech seems to be, Open Source – all good, Closed Source – all bad, all the time. To my mind there is a place for both. Contrary to the underlying sentiment of this talk, I believe capitalism and software-for-profit is critical to global development and advancement. Open Source software is also, obviously, very beneficial to the world. Both have their place and importance.

Perhaps I haven't had enough exposure to Professor Mogeln yet. But while interesting, I found his talk, effectively dissing closed source software and its creators, eerily discomforting.

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Why Google & YouTube are Not Getting Sued Out of the Water

Categories: Big Media v InternetDMCA-like LawsFYIiVOD/iTVNew Business Models

This is a terrific Business 2.0 article (linked inot a CNN Money.com story) identifying why YouTube and Google are not the subject of as many copyright infringement lawsuits as had been predicted. Namely, Big Media is finding that YouTube can be a net postitive to their ratings and bottom lines.

Sources: CNN Money/Business 2.0

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Two New iMedia Law-Related Podcasts – TWiL & Out-law Radio

Categories: FYI

I have discovered two new iMedia law-related podcasts that I can recommend.  

TWiL (This Week in Law) is part of Leo LaPorte's ever expanding TWiT.TV network of podcasts. Denise Howell, and regular panel and special guests discuss breaking news and issues in technology law. This Silicon Valley-based podcast is scheduled to be "aired" twice monthly.

OUT-LAW Radio is a weekly, UK-based, 10 minute podcast brought to you by the folks from the terrific technology law website OUT-LAW.com

References: TWiL (This Week in Law) | OUT-LAW Radio 

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Law Review Article – Microsoft’s War Waged with FairUse4WM

Categories: DRM Arms RaceFYIPolicy Analysis

Text of Microsoft v. Viodentia Complaint (Sept 22, 2006)
Engadget replicates an article from the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review entitled "Microsoft's War Waged with FairUse4WM". It provides a good history of DRM circumvention, Microsoft's suit and the DMCA.

What's new to me from this piece is that Judge John Coughenour granted a motion request to subpoena e-mail providers Yahoo! and Google in search of Viodentia's identity. If that yields a relevant IP address, Microsoft is permitted to issue subpoenas to the ISP that operates or issued that IP address in order to determine the identity of Viodentia. Engadget says Viodentia claims to live outside of the U.S. If this is true, none of these subpoenas should amount to anything.

Soucrces: Engadget

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FYI: Billboard Magazine Questions Utility of DRM

Categories: DRM AnalysisDRM-Free ServicesFYINew Business Models

Feature Article: Billboard (via Reuters)

Discussed here: Macworld

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