EMusic Sells 100 Millionth Song without DRM

Online music seller eMusic is second only to DRM-laden iTunes for legitimate online music sales. Most of its library of 2 million songs comes from independent labels. It's success proves that consumers are more than willing to pay fair prices for DRM-free music. While it took the eMusic two years to sell its first 50 million songs, it has taken less than a year to sell the next 50 million.

Dales Comment:  While I applaud eMusic, it too has a business model that I don't like. While individual songs can be purchased, their business model requires the user to pay a minimal subscription fee every month. Song purchases are deducted from the monthly fee. If you spend more than the fee, then you have to pay extra.  My perfect world of music sales is to buy DRM-free songs with no minimum monthly commitment. I would be able to buy as many or as few as I want. Frankly, I'd like eMusic service to mimic that of AllofMP3.com's. Charge a fair per song price, allow me to purchase whatever I want in whatever format I want. That is a service I'd use!

Sources: Washington Post | MacWorld | Sydney Morning Herald | TopTechNews| Tech Dirt | MP3.com | CNet Blogs | PC-Pro | Pocket-Lint

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Hollywood to Sell (not just rent) Downloaded Movies on Same Day as DVD Release

Six major studios are starting U.S.-based Internet services to sell movies that buyers can download and keep for watching at any time. New movies will cost about $20 to $30 to download; older titles will cost as little as $10. The downloads will be available on the same day that the DVD is released – quicker than rentals, which are put online about 45 days later and cost $2 to $5. Customers will be able to store movies for as long as they like on computers, as well as transfer them to two other computers and burn them on DVD, but only for copying to the two other PCs. Note: Regrettably, burned DVDs will not be playable on conventional DVD players. These DVD’s will be protected with Microsoft’s Windows Digital Rights Management software.

Sources: Herold Tribune | New York Times | L.A. Times | CNet | BBC | MSNBC | Times Online | Fox News | FT.com | Washington Post | Business Week | USA Today | MovieWeb | Red Herring | MSN Money | ABC News | Forbes | CNN Money | Reuters | Engadget | China Daily | San Jose Mercury News | Hollywood.com | SiliconValley.com | Examiner.com

Dale’s Comment: This is a solid step in the right direction but the Holy Grail of online movie purchase/rentals remains movie downloads to TV-centric devices such as a TiVo, XBox 360 or PS3 where the user calls all up movies via an imdb.com-type interface on their TV (or their PC) for download and ultimate interactive viewing through home networks on their TVs. Given that Windows Media Center functionality is to be built into Vista, and the XBox 360 will be able to access content from Vista-powered PCs, I expect a movie download service announcement from Microsoft around the time Vista is released (in early 07). Selling (rather than renting) first run titles on DVD release dates, is a major shift for Hollywood and they must be given credit for finally making this decision. But, in my opinion, they are making a blunder by not permitting users to burn copies of PURCHASED movies to DVDs for playback by the owner on conventional DVD players.

Bush Signs Digital TV Transition Bill – Setting February 17, 2009 Deadline

Bush signed into law legislation setting February 17, 2009, as the date U.S. broadcasters must end transmission of analog television signals and move to all-digital broadcasts. The move from the upper-700-MHz spectrum band will free 60 MHz of wave space for auction to mobile wireless carriers and 24 MHz for emergency response agencies.

Sources: PC World | joystiq | HDTV Magazine | Multi-Channel News | RCR News | Network World | DTV Design Line | Digital Connect | Telecomweb

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First Simultaneous Theatrical, DVD, Broadcast Film Release … a New Era Begins ?

The movie is Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh's "Bubble." But the persistent buzz around its release has less to do with the film's artistic merits than with the fact that it will be broadcast on the high-definition network HDNet the night of its full theatrical release, Jan. 27, and also made available on DVD just four days later.

Sources: CNet | RealTechNews | Spokesman Reveiw | USA Today | ars technica | The Ledger

Note: This is not unprecedented. Mark Cuban-produced "Good Night and Good Luck" was also released on Cuban's HDNet simultaneously with it theatrical release.

BitTorrent and MPAA Reach Agreement

BitTorrent and the MPAA reach an agreement under which unlicensed copyright movies will be expeditiously removed from BitTorrent.com's recently launched search engine

Sources: Wired | ZDNet | Reuters | BBC | The Register | Los Angeles Times | Forbes

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Microsoft and Cablelabs Agree on Cablecard Integration into Windows Media Centre

Microsoft and CableLabs have announced an agreement to bring CableCard access to the PC, along with the ability to share it with connected devices (like the Xbox 360).

Dale's Comment: This will, of course, only work in jurisdictions where cable providers use cable-card technology in their headends. While required of all major cable companies in the U.S., Canada does not yet (nor will it ever likely) mandate such cable-card compatibility.

Sources: Yahoo! News | HD Beat | PC World | Multichannel News | CED Magazine | Cable Digital News

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U.S. Supreme Court Finds Grokster Liable

Text of Decision
Grokster is held to be contributorily liable for inducing/encouraging its users to directly infringe the copyright in content shared through the Grokster peer-to-peer file sharing network.
Sources: Wikipedia Entry | PDF version | EFF Page | DRM Watch

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