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.
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."
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!
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.
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.
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
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.