DRM  

Today in Science, members of the Facebook data science team released a provocative study about adult Facebook users in the US “who volunteer their ideological affiliation in their profile.” The study “quantified the extent to which individuals encounter comparatively more or less diverse” hard news “while interacting via Facebook’s algorithmically ranked News Feed.”*

Source: multicast » Blog Archive » The Facebook “It’s Not Our Fault” Study

Adobe has just given us a graphic demonstration of how not to handle security and privacy issues.A hacker acquaintance of mine has tipped me to a huge security and privacy violation on the part of Adobe. That anonymous acquaintance was examining Adobe’s DRm for educational purposes when they noticed that Digital Editions 4, the newest version of Adobe’s Epub app, seemed to be sending an awful lot of data to Adobe’s servers.My source told me, and I can confirm, that Adobe is tracking users in the app and uploading the data to their servers. Adobe was contacted in advance of publication, but declined to respond. Edit: Adobe responded Tuesday night.And just to be clear, I have seen this happen, and I can also tell you that Benjamin Daniel Mussler, the security researcher who found the security hole on Amazon.com, has also tested this at my request and saw it with his own eyes.

via Adobe is Spying on Users, Collecting Data on Their eBook Libraries – The Digital Reader.

So, Did Tim Ferriss’s BitTorrent Book Gamble Work? – ReadWrite.

So, Did Tim Ferriss's BitTorrent Book Gamble Work? – ReadWrite.

Last night, robots shut down the live broadcast of one of science fictions most prestigious award ceremonies. No, youre not reading a science fiction story. In the middle of the annual Hugo Awards event at Worldcon, which thousands of people tuned into via video streaming service UStream, the feed cut off — just as Neil Gaiman was giving an acceptance speech for his Doctor Who script, “The Doctors Wife.” Where Gaimans face had been were the words, “Worldcon banned due to copyright infringement.” What the hell?Jumping onto Twitter, people who had been watching the livestream began asking what was going on. How could an award ceremony have anything to do with copyright infringement?Bestselling science fiction author Tobias Buckell tweeted: tobiasbuckell@tobiasbuckell Oh, FFS. Ustream just shut down live worldcon feed for copyright infringement.2 Sep 12 ReplyRetweetFavoriteAnd then it began to dawn on people what happened. Gaiman had just gotten an award for his Doctor Who script. Before he took the stage, the Hugo Awards showed clips from his winning episode, along with clips from some other Doctor Who episodes that had been nominated, as well as a Community episode.Wrote Macworld editorial director Jason Snell: Jason Snell@jsnell Ustream just shut down the #Hugos live stream because they showed clips of the TV nominees. Automated copyright patrols ruin more things.2 Sep 12 ReplyRetweetFavoriteThis was, of course, absurd. First of all, the clips had been provided by the studios to be shown during the award ceremony. The Hugo Awards had explicit permission to broadcast them. But even if they hadnt, it is absolutely fair use to broadcast clips of copyrighted material during an award ceremony. Unfortunately, the digital restriction management DRM robots on UStream had not been programmed with these basic contours of copyright law.

via How copyright enforcement robots killed the Hugo Awards.Last night, robots shut down the live broadcast of one of science fictions most prestigious award ceremonies. No, youre not reading a science fiction story. In the middle of the annual Hugo Awards event at Worldcon, which thousands of people tuned into via video streaming service UStream, the feed cut off — just as Neil Gaiman was giving an acceptance speech for his Doctor Who script, “The Doctors Wife.” Where Gaimans face had been were the words, “Worldcon banned due to copyright infringement.” What the hell?Jumping onto Twitter, people who had been watching the livestream began asking what was going on. How could an award ceremony have anything to do with copyright infringement?Bestselling science fiction author Tobias Buckell tweeted: tobiasbuckell@tobiasbuckell Oh, FFS. Ustream just shut down live worldcon feed for copyright infringement.2 Sep 12 ReplyRetweetFavoriteAnd then it began to dawn on people what happened. Gaiman had just gotten an award for his Doctor Who script. Before he took the stage, the Hugo Awards showed clips from his winning episode, along with clips from some other Doctor Who episodes that had been nominated, as well as a Community episode.Wrote Macworld editorial director Jason Snell: Jason Snell@jsnell Ustream just shut down the #Hugos live stream because they showed clips of the TV nominees. Automated copyright patrols ruin more things.2 Sep 12 ReplyRetweetFavoriteThis was, of course, absurd. First of all, the clips had been provided by the studios to be shown during the award ceremony. The Hugo Awards had explicit permission to broadcast them. But even if they hadnt, it is absolutely fair use to broadcast clips of copyrighted material during an award ceremony. Unfortunately, the digital restriction management DRM robots on UStream had not been programmed with these basic contours of copyright law.

via How copyright enforcement robots killed the Hugo Awards.

Douglas County Libraries, in Colorado, is trying something new: buying eBooks directly from publishers and hosting them on its own platform. That platform is based on the purchase of content at discount; owning—not leasing—a copy of the file; the application of industry-standard DRM on the library’s files; multiple purchases based on demand; and a “click to buy” feature.Its new DCL Digital Branch is one outcome of this strategy. As of this writing, more than 800 publishers have signed up, and their works are seamlessly integrated into and delivered from the library catalog, rather than from third-party sites.After integrating the ebooks it owns into its catalog, Douglas County Libraries began installing digital branch hardware and software in six of its Colorado locations in February.In a physical library, the digital branch features interactive touch-screen technology that allows library patrons to browse digital content from multiple platforms, including eBooks hosted by DCL, Overdrive, 3M and Freegal music. It integrates seamlessly with DCL’s library catalog, patron database, and its mobile app, DCL to Go. This same experience is also available online.The digital branch allows patrons to view and explore digital content using their hands and eyes the same way they might explore a traditional collection, with added functionality like immediate access to staff recommendations, most popular titles, and new content. Digital branch technology and features will change and improve as Douglas County Libraries’ eContent collection grows and patron use of digital content evolves.Douglas County Libraries’ model for purchasing eBooks directly from publishers is gaining interest from more and larger publishers, with five more joining just in the last week. DCL’s revolutionary distribution model is attracting not just publishers, but libraries across the nation. Marmot Library Consortium on Colorado’s western slope and Anythink Libraries in Adams County will soon provide eContent hosted by DCL. Other library systems have shown interest as well, from regions including California, New England, New York and New Jersey, and the Colorado State Library has created eVoke, an internet portal for libraries wishing to replicate DCL’s eBook model.

via Libraries set out to own their ebooks – Boing Boing.Douglas County Libraries, in Colorado, is trying something new: buying eBooks directly from publishers and hosting them on its own platform. That platform is based on the purchase of content at discount; owning—not leasing—a copy of the file; the application of industry-standard DRM on the library’s files; multiple purchases based on demand; and a “click to buy” feature.Its new DCL Digital Branch is one outcome of this strategy. As of this writing, more than 800 publishers have signed up, and their works are seamlessly integrated into and delivered from the library catalog, rather than from third-party sites.After integrating the ebooks it owns into its catalog, Douglas County Libraries began installing digital branch hardware and software in six of its Colorado locations in February.In a physical library, the digital branch features interactive touch-screen technology that allows library patrons to browse digital content from multiple platforms, including eBooks hosted by DCL, Overdrive, 3M and Freegal music. It integrates seamlessly with DCL’s library catalog, patron database, and its mobile app, DCL to Go. This same experience is also available online.The digital branch allows patrons to view and explore digital content using their hands and eyes the same way they might explore a traditional collection, with added functionality like immediate access to staff recommendations, most popular titles, and new content. Digital branch technology and features will change and improve as Douglas County Libraries’ eContent collection grows and patron use of digital content evolves.Douglas County Libraries’ model for purchasing eBooks directly from publishers is gaining interest from more and larger publishers, with five more joining just in the last week. DCL’s revolutionary distribution model is attracting not just publishers, but libraries across the nation. Marmot Library Consortium on Colorado’s western slope and Anythink Libraries in Adams County will soon provide eContent hosted by DCL. Other library systems have shown interest as well, from regions including California, New England, New York and New Jersey, and the Colorado State Library has created eVoke, an internet portal for libraries wishing to replicate DCL’s eBook model.

via Libraries set out to own their ebooks – Boing Boing.

WordPress is web software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog. We like to say that WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.

via WordPress › Blog Tool, Publishing Platform, and CMS.

Unfortunately, the side effect in this less-than-successful attempt to fight piracy is the hours it takes users to retrieve, rip, and back up their music when a services shuts down, is sold, or simply decides DRM wasn’t the right way to go sometimes in as little as five months. The following is a brief history of the rise and fall of DRM in music services.

via The DRM graveyard: A brief history of digital rights management in music | opensource.com.

“We’re a broken record on this,” Newell told me,. “This belief that you increase your monetization by making your game worth less through aggressive digital rights management is totally backwards . It’s a service issue, not a technology issue. Piracy is just not an issue for us.”And it’s not because Steam avoids regions of the world known for their software piracy, they actually embrace them.”When we entered Russia everyone said, ‘You can’t make money in there. Everyone pirates,'” Newell said.But when Valve looked into what was going on there they saw that the pirates were doing a better job of localizing games than the publishers were.”When people decide where to buy their games they look and they say, ‘Jesus, the pirates provide a better service for us,'” he said.So Valve invested in getting the games they sold there localized in Russian. Now Russia is their largest European market outside of the UK and Germany.”The best way to fight piracy is to create a service that people need,” he said. “I think publishers with strict DRM will sell less of their products and create more problems.

via Why Portal’s Publishers Don’t Fear Piracy, Competition.

LibraryGoblin sez, “HarperCollins has decided to change their agreement with e-book distributor OverDrive. They forced OverDrive, which is a main e-book distributor for libraries, to agree to terms so that HarperCollins e-books will only be licensed for checkout 26 times. Librarians have blown up over this, calling for a boycott of HarperCollins, breaking the DRM on e-books–basically doing anything to let HarperCollins and other publishers know they consider this abuse.”

I've talked to a lot of librarians about why they buy DRM books for their collections, and they generally emphasize that buying ebooks with DRM works pretty well, generates few complaints, and gets the books their patrons want on the devices their patrons use. And it's absolutely true: on the whole, DRM ebooks, like DRM movies and DRM games work pretty well.

But they fail really badly. No matter how crappy a library's relationship with a print publisher might be, the publisher couldn't force them to destroy the books in their collections after 26 checkouts. DRM is like the Ford Pinto: it's a smooth ride, right up the point at which it explodes and ruins your day.

HarperCollins has some smart and good digital people (they're my UK/Australia/South Africa publisher, and I've met a ton of them). But batshit insane crap like this is proof that it doesn't matter how many good people there are at a company that has a tool at its disposal that is as dangerous and awful as DRM: the gun on the mantelpiece in act one will always go off by act three.

And that's why libraries should just stop buying DRM media for their collections. Period. It's unsafe at any speed.

I mean it. When HarperCollins backs down and says, “Oh, no, sorry, we didn't mean it, you can have unlimited ebook checkouts,” the libraries' answers should be “Not good enough. We want DRM-free or nothing.” Stop buying DRM ebooks. Do you think that if you buy twice, or three times, or ten times as many crippled books that you'll get more negotiating leverage with which to overcome abusive crap like this? Do you think that if more of your patrons come to rely on you for ebooks for their devices, that DRM vendors won't notice that your relevance is tied to their product and tighten the screws?

You have exactly one weapon in your arsenal to keep yourself from being caught in this leg-hold trap: your collections budget. Stop buying from publishers who stick time-bombs in their ebooks. Yes, you can go to the Copyright Office every three years and ask for a temporary exemption to the DMCA to let your jailbreak your collections, but that isn't Plan B, it's Plan Z. Plan A is to stop putting dangerous, anti-patron technology into your collections in the first place.

The publisher also issued a short statement: “HarperCollins is committed to the library channel. We believe this change balances the value libraries get from our titles with the need to protect our authors and ensure a presence in public libraries and the communities they serve for years to come.”

Josh Marwell, President, Sales for HarperCollins, told LJ that the 26 circulation limit was arrived at after considering a number of factors, including the average lifespan of a print book, and wear and tear on circulating copies.

As noted in the letter, the terms will not be specific to OverDrive, and will likewise apply to “all eBook vendors or distributors offering this publisher's titles for library lending.” The new terms will not be retroactive, and will apply only to new titles. More details on the new terms are set to be announced next week.

For the record, all of my HarperCollins ebooks are also available as DRM-free Creative Commons downloads. And as bad as HarperCollins' terms are, they're still better than Macmillan's, my US/Canadian publisher, who don't allow any library circulation of their ebook titles.

via HarperCollins to libraries: we will nuke your ebooks after 26 checkouts – Boing Boing.

Slashdot

“Ambiguity surrounds the real impact of digital book piracy, notes Brian O’Leary in an interview with O’Reilly Radar, but all would be better served if more data was shared and less effort was exerted on futile DRM. ‘The publishing industry should be working as hard as we can to develop new and innovative business models that meet the needs of readers. And what those look like could be community-driven. I think of Baen Books, for example, which doesn’t put any DRM restrictions on its content but is one of the least pirated book publishers. As to sales, Paulo Coelho is a good example. He mines the piracy data to see if there’s a burgeoning interest for his books in a particular country or market. If so, he either works to get his book out in print or translate it in that market.'”

Telegraph Blogs

 

If book publishers want to see the next decade in any reasonable health, then it’s absolutely imperative that they rethink their pricing strategies and business models right now. I hope this example will illustrate why:

I’m a big fan of Iain Banks’ novels; I always buy them in hardback as soon as they come out. It doesn’t matter what reviewers say, I need to have his books immediately. His latest novel, Surface Detail, came out a few days ago and promptly arrived at my office – all 627 pages of it. I lugged the thing home and began reading it this morning.

Surface_Detail_Hb_500x775

Being a Culture novel, it’s a real page-turner and I found it difficult to pull myself away from it. I didn’t want to lug it back to the office again, not least because I didn’t have any space left in my bag, so I did the unthinkable – I googled surface detail ePub so I could download and read it on my iPad (and iPhone).

I try doing this every six months or so, and I usually end up mired in a swamp of fake torrent links and horrible PDF versions; for what it’s worth, this was mostly out of curiosity, since six months ago I didn’t own an iPad.

This time, it took me 60 seconds to download a pristine ePub file, and another five minutes to move it to my iPad and iPhone. While this was going on, I took the opportunity to poke around the torrent sites and forums that my search had yielded, and discovered a wonderful selection of books, including:

Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen

Our Kind of Traitor, by John le Carre

Jump! by Jilly Cooper

The Fry Chronicles, by Stephen Fry

Eat Pray Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert

Solar, by Ian McEwan

Zero History, by William Gibson

Obama’s Wars, by Bob Woodward

Now, that’s not all of the current bestsellers, but it’s not a bad start. “Oh, but we’ve still got the backlist!” I hear some publisher cry. No such luck, because some helpful pirate has bundled entire collections of popular backlist novels into a single torrents, including:

Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels

Lord of the Rings

Narnia

Harry Potter

Artemis Fowl

Twilight

The Hunger Games

Every Ken Follett book

Every Stieg Larsson book

Every Stephen King book

Every Douglas Adams book

etc.

Pretty much all of these books are available in ePub, mobi, PDF and every other popular format (the non-fiction and literary selection is much worse though, which probably reflects the tastes of the people uploading the torrents – that’ll change soon enough).

I am not a torrent-finding genius – I just know how to add ‘ePub’ to the name of a book or author. I don’t need a fast internet connection, because most books are below 1MB in size, even in a bundle of multiple formats. I don’t need to learn how to use Bittorrent, because I already use that for TV shows. And Apple has made it very easy for me to add ePub files to my iPad and iPhone. So really, there is nothing stopping me from downloading several hundred books other than the fact that I already have too much to read and I think authors should be paid.

But why would the average person not pirate eBooks? Like Cory Doctorow says, it’s not going to become any harder to type in ‘Toy Story 3 bittorrent’ in the future – and ‘Twilight ePub’ is even easier to type, and much faster to download to boot.

After Christmas, tens of millions of people will have the motive, the means, and the opportunity to perform book piracy on a massive scale. It won’t happen immediately, but it will happen. It’ll begin with people downloading electronic copies of books they already own, just for convenience’s sake (and hey, the New York Times says it’s ethical!). This will of course handily introduce them to the world of ebook torrents.

Next, you’ll have people downloading classics – they’ll say to themselves, “Tolkein and C. S. Lewis are both dead, so why should I feel bad about pirating their books?” Then you’ll have people downloading ebooks not available in their country yet. Then it’ll be people downloading entire collections, just because it’s quicker. Then they’ll start wondering why they should buy any ebooks at all, when they cost so much. And then you go bust.

(In case you think this is just a scary story, think again – a conservative estimate this month suggests there are 1.5-3 million people looking for pirated eBooks every day [nb: this is a link to a PDF]. A suggestion: If you gave away a free eBook copy with physical books, that might help things. A bit.)

But of course I’m exaggerating. Most publishers won’t go bust. eBook prices will be forced down, margins will be cut, consolidation will occur. New publishers will spring up, with lower overheads and offering authors a bigger cut. A few publishers will thrive; most publishers will suffer. Some new entrants will make a ton of cash; maybe there’ll be a Spotify or Netflix for books. Life will go on. Authors will continue writing – it’s not as if they ever did it for the money – and books will continue being published.

Three years ago, I wrote a blog post called The Death of Publishers. Back then, most commenters didn’t believe that eBook readers would ever rival physical books for convenience and comfort. They didn’t think that it would ever be that easy to pirate books. The post caused a splash at the time, but it didn’t change anything.

Here’s an excerpt:

Book publishers have had a longer grace period than the other entertainment industries. Computers and iPods had an easy time besting DVDs and CDs, but it’s been difficult to make something that can compete with a book. It may be strange to hear, but a book is a fantastic piece of technology. It’s portable, it doesn’t need batteries, it’s cheap to print and easy to read. This has led many publishers to complacency, thinking there’s something special about books that will spare them from the digital revolution. They’ve seen so many poor or substandard eBook readers that they think it’ll never be done properly.

They’re wrong. eBook readers are about to get very good, very quickly. A full colour wireless eBook reader with a battery life of over a week, a storage capacity of a thousand books, and a flexible display will be yours for $150 in ten years time. If this sounds unbelievable, consider this – the first iPod was released only six years ago and cost $400. Imagine what an iPod will look like in four years time.

How wrong I was! It’s only taken us three years to get the Kindle 3 at a mere $189, with a battery life of a month and a storage capacity of 3500 books. Sure, it doesn’t have colour or a flexible display, but it does have global wifi and 3G, and it’s a lot lighter than I thought it might be. Give it another year or two and we’ll have that colour as well.

(I was also wrong about scanning and OCRing being the main way of pirating books – turns out it was people cracking the DRM of eBooks that publishers had helpfully formatted and distributed themselves!)

But I was right about the complacency of publishers. They’ve spent three years bickering about eBook prices and Amazon and Apple and Andrew Wylie, and they’ve ignored that massive growling wolf at the door, the wolf that has transformed the music and TV so much that they’re forced to give their content away for practically nothing.

Time’s up. The wolf is here.

 

Steal this book: The loan arranger | The Economist

 

AMAZON.COM says soon you will be allowed to lend out electronic books purchased from the Kindle Store. For a whole 14 days. Just once, ever, per title. If the publisher allows it. Not mentioned is the necessity to hop on one foot whilst reciting the Gettysburg Address in a falsetto. An oversight, I’m sure. Barnes & Noble’s Nook has offered the same capability with identical limits since last year. Both lending schemes are bullet points in a marketing presentation, so Amazon is adding its feature to keep parity.

Allowing such ersatz lending is a pretence by booksellers. They wish you to engage in two separate hallucinations. First, that their limited licence to read a work on a device or within software of their choosing is equivalent to the purchase of a physical item. Second, that the vast majority of e-books are persistent objects rather than disposable culture.

If you own a physical book, in much of the world you may sell it, lend it—even burn or bury it. You may also keep the book forever. Each of those characteristics is littered with footnotes and exceptions for e-books. We are granted an illusion of ownership, but may read only within the ecosystem of hardware and software supported by the bookseller with sometimes additional limitations imposed by publishers. Witness Amazon’s remote deletion—since abjured—of improperly sold copies of George Orwell’s “1984” and “Animal Farm” in 2009. This Babbage recalls an Apple executive, Phil Schiller, extolling to him in 2003 the virtues of purchasing downloadable music when that company’s iTunes Store launched, and the dominant model was for recurring subscriptions. Mr Schiller described buying a song as owning it. Asked if one could therefore sell the song, Mr Schiller said no. He explained:

I do think of it as ownership, and it really does fit the definition of legal ownership. [There are] certain boundaries on your rights, just as on everything I own. I can own a car but that doesn’t give me the right to speed 100mph in it.

That was as tendentious then as it is now, and applies just as directly to Apple’s current e-book offerings. True, Apple removed digital rights management (DRM) protection from its music when the recording industry decided its best tool to fight Apple’s near-total ownership of digital downloads was to make it possible for music to be played on devices other than iPods. But the licensing terms for music didn’t change, and books and video remain locked down, however ineffective such protection is.

But the reason for restricting lending, even with the sham of offering it in Amazon’s or Barnes & Noble’s form, is to distract people from the fact that buyers are spending real money to buy a book they may read just once. To judge from the information Amazon provides, the long tail applies to e-books as it does everywhere else. Many different titles are flogged, but the most disposable and ephemeral have the lion’s share of units sold. Dan Brown’s epics are rarely re-read, judging by how many copies are available for one penny or given away in free book bins weeks after release. Allowing the loan of “The Lost Symbol” by any purchaser to any other e-book hardware or software user worldwide turns each buyer into a one-person lending library. Publishers don’t much like libraries, either, despite the chin-wagging otherwise. (In the US, the public lending right or remuneration right doesn’t hold; the first-sale doctrine allows library lending of physical media without additional fees.)

With a physical book, the afterlife of a disposable read is to hand it off to another party: a library sale, a friend or relative, or the free bin outside a used bookstore. Such books are also purchased in the millions and sold for one penny plus shipping online partly as a marketing effort by booksellers who can then include their own catalogs with each sale. An e-book, however, lives in limbo. Neither moving on to the next life, nor returning to this one, it can never be freed.

That will change. Just as with music, DRM will be cracked. As more people possess portable reading devices, the demand and availability for pirated content will also rise. (Many popular e-books can now be found easily on file-sharing sites, something that was not the case even a few months ago, as Adrian Hon recently pointed out.) The end-game is unclear. Authors can’t turn to touring to obtain revenue in the way musicians can, though some can charge steep speaking fees. Nor can authors produce their work in 3D, only readable in certain special theaters. (McSweeney’s has a proposal in that regard.)

All is not lost, however. Despite fewer adults reading fewer books, billions are still sold worldwide each year, with an increasing portion being digital. Publishers and booksellers need to get non-readers to pick up a device and buy books, and existing readers to read more. Lowering the risk of purchasing a book that a reader may not like would reduce the friction between considering a title and clicking the buy button.

In fact, Barnes & Noble and Starbucks are experimenting with a sort of loan in their bricks-and-mortar shops. The bookseller allows its Nook hardware owners to read books willy-nilly on its stores’ Wi-Fi networks for up to an hour a day. Starbucks has partnered with several publishers to allow full access to some titles, but only while a browser is in the store. Barnes & Noble’s effort is a year old and Starbucks’ was launched just a few days ago.

In other words, they are finally doing with digital books what they have long practised with the printed sort. After all, most bookshops nowadays let you pick a book off the shelf and read it at your leisure, sometimes providing comfy armchairs. Cafés have been making books and newspapers available to patrons for centuries, to entice them to stick around for another cuppa.

The college-textbook market provides another replicable business model. Students pay through their noses for new textbooks at the start of term only to resell them at the end to other students or back to the original bookshop at a discount. Alternatively, they rent books for a fee while leaving a deposit which is returned when the book comes back to the shop. Creating a legitimate digital resale market along similar lines ought to be possible. If, that is, publishers can be convinced to let what are in effect mint-condition digital copies to go at a lower price.

Introducing either de facto rental (purchase and resell at prices set by the bookseller) or the actual sort (read a book in a set period of time for a lower fee) would expand general and specialist readership alike, while discouraging a turn to piracy by breaking the appearance of immutable, high prices. At the same time, it would enable publishers, booksellers and authors to sidestep the first-sale doctrine of physical media, and to rake in revenue each time a “used” digital copy passes from hand to hand.

The music and film industries fought a decade-long losing battle for the digital realm that only put them at odds with their best customers. The book business may yet be able to avoid recapitulating all that pain and disruption, not least by pinching ideas from the off-line world.

 

This was the second conference on book marketing. This time I was asking the Hungarian publishers and e-book dealers not to create their own black-market by using DRM on their books.

A II. könyvmarketing konferencián arról beszéltem, hogy hogyan fogják a magyar kiadók és a terjesztők a feketepiactól való páni félelmükben a DRM alkalmazásával maguk létrehozni a magyar kalózokat, és ezzel hogyan fogják kinyírni a magyar ekönyvpiacot egyszer és mindenkorra… :(

íEpicenter | Wired.com

It’s easy to tease, but the serious matter here is that neither the Kindle nor the Nook allow book owners to lend their e-books in any reasonable sense of the word. Amazon and B&N are allowing them to give it a one-time-only, two-week furlough. Not even a Netflix-like “as long as you like” policy. Not even to competing devices (format incompatibilities notwithstanding). And just plain forget about giving “your” e-book away, or reselling it — things that you can do with any of your only-slightly-more-expensive print editions.

Simon Says…

 

DRM’s Collateral Damage

The problem with technology-enforced restrictions isn’t that they allow legitimate enforcement of rights; it’s the collateral damage they cause in the process. In my personal opinion the problems are (very concisely) that they:

  1. quantise and prejudge discretion,
  2. reduce “fair use” to “historic use”,
  3. empower a hierarchical agent to remain in the control loop, and
  4. condemn content to become inaccessible.

 

Slashdot News Story | E-Books Are Only 6% of Printed Book Sales

“MIT’s technology blog argues that ebook sales represent ‘only six pecent of the total market for new books.’ It cites a business analysis which calculates that by mid-July, Amazon had sold 15.6 million hardcover books versus 22 million ebooks, but with sales of about 48 million more paperback books. Amazon recently announced they sell 180 ebooks for every 100 hardcover books, but when paperbacks are counted, ebooks represent just 29.3% of all Amazon’s book sales. And while Amazon holds about 19% of the book market, they currently represent 90% of all ebook sales — suggesting that ebooks represent a tiny fraction of all print books sold. ‘Many tech pundit wants books to die,’ argues MIT’s Christopher Mims, citing the head of Microsoft’s ClearType team, who says ‘I’d be glad to ditch thousands of paper- and hard-backed books from my bookshelves. I’d rather have them all on an iPad.’ But while Nicholas Negroponte predicts the death of the book within five years, Mims argues that ‘it’s just as likely that as the ranks of the early adopters get saturated, adoption of ebooks will slow.'”

Norman Spinrad At Large:

But there are also true idealists who believe they are performing a public service to both readers and writers by making books available for free that otherwise would have disappeared.  You don’t have to agree with their ideal–and I certainly don’t–to admit that they are sincere.

Doctorow’s First Law

In the meantime, I’ve been filling the time productively by attempting to discover which online booksellers exist to serve the interests of copyright owners, like me, and which ones are seeking to unfairly bind copyright holders (and consumers) to their platforms and, as a result, diminish our negotiating power. I’m happy to say that after much work, I have persuaded three major retailers to offer my e-books without any technology or license conditions that would prohibit my customers from moving the e-books they’ve purchased to a competitor’s device: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.  In the one thousand two hundred twenty-ninth year from the incarnation of our Lord, Peter, of all monks the least significant, gave this book to the [Benedictine monastery of the] most blessed martyr, St. Quentin.  If anyone should steal it, let him know that on the Day of Judgment the most sainted martyr himself will be the accuser against him before the face of our Lord Jesus Christ.

http://gotmedieval.blogspot.com/2010/08/medieval-copy-protection.htmlIn the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.  In the one thousand two hundred twenty-ninth year from the incarnation of our Lord, Peter, of all monks the least significant, gave this book to the [Benedictine monastery of the] most blessed martyr, St. Quentin.  If anyone should steal it, let him know that on the Day of Judgment the most sainted martyr himself will be the accuser against him before the face of our Lord Jesus Christ.

http://gotmedieval.blogspot.com/2010/08/medieval-copy-protection.html

Intellectual Property Watch

For example, data collection within the film lecturers and students/researchers community revealed two problems: DRM protection of cinematographic works is leading to difficulties in extracting portions of those works for educational use and those difficulties are triggering isolated acts of self-help for academic and educational purposes.

TorrentFreak

Starting today, Mininova will use a content recognition system that detects and removes torrent files linking to copyright infringing files. The system will also prevent the torrents from being re-uploaded to mininova later on.

Boing Boing

Hey suckers! Did you buy DRM music from Wal*Mart instead of downloading MP3s for free from the P2P networks? Well, they’re repaying your honesty by taking away your music. Unless you go through a bunch of hoops (that you may never find out about, if you’ve changed email addresses or if you’re not a very technical person), your music will no longer be playable after October 9th.

ReadWriteWeb

When the Yahoo! Music Store closes its doors this fall, the company announced today, past customers dependent on their music “phoning home” to get license approval before playing are out of luck. They’ll be able to continue playing purchased tracks on a single computer, until they make any changes to their operating system.

ars technica

Handfuls of Windows Vista Media Center users found themselves blocked from making recordings of their favorite TV shows this week when a broadcast flag triggered the software’s built-in copy protection measures. The flag affected users trying to record prime-time NBC shows on Monday evening, using both over-the-air broadcasts and cable. Although the problem is being “looked into” by both NBC and Microsoft, the incident serves as another reminder that DRM gives content providers full control, even if by accident.

Arstechnica

Filtering all Internet traffic to look for signs of illicit file-swapping has been a hugely controversial idea, criticized on grounds of privacy, efficacy, cost, and long-standing “safe harbor” principles that apply to network operators such as ISPs and phone companies. But a new study out from UK media lawyers Wiggin suggests that, if it works, such filtering could actually curtail “digital piracy” by 70 percent.

Gamasutra –

Below are the results of Reflexive.com sales and downloads immediately following each update:

Fix 1 – Existing Exploits & Keygens made obsolete – Sales up 70%, Downloads down 33%

Fix 2 – Existing Keygens made obsolete – Sales down slightly, Downloads flat

Fix 3 – Existing Cracks made obsolete – Sales flat, Downloads flat

Fix 4 – Keygens made game-specific – Sales up 13%, Downloads down 16% (note: fix made after the release of Ricochet Infinity)

From the results above, it seems clear that eliminating piracy through
a stronger DRM can result in significantly increased sales – but
sometimes it can have no benefit at all. So what does that mean for the
question about whether a pirated copy means a lost sale? The decreases
in downloads may provide a clue to that

As we believe that we are decreasing the number of pirates downloading
the game with our DRM fixes, combining the increased sales number
together with the decreased downloads, we find 1 additional sale for
every 1,000 less pirated downloads. Put another way, for every 1,000
pirated copies we eliminated, we created 1 additional sale.

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BusinessWeek

In a move that would mark the end of a digital music era, Sony BMG Music Entertainment is finalizing plans to sell songs without the copyright protection software that has long restricted the use of music downloaded from the Internet, BusinessWeek.com has learned. Sony BMG, a joint venture of Sony (SNE) and Bertelsmann, will make at least part of its collection available without so-called digital rights management, or DRM, software some time in the first quarter, according to people familiar with the matter.

Businesswire

“SpiralFrog is committed to solving music piracy by changing the way people discover music with free content, an engaging site and finally offering a real alternative to illicit file-sharing,” said Mohen.

“Our Apologies.

At this time, the SpiralFrog Web site is available only to residents of the United States of America and Canada.” sais Spiralfrog.

Back to piratebay.

Music industry attacks Sunday newspaper’s free Prince CD | | Guardian Unlimited Business

The eagerly awaited new album by Prince is being launched as a free CD with a national Sunday newspaper in a move that has drawn widespread criticism from music retailers.

The Mail on Sunday revealed yesterday that the 10-track Planet Earth CD will be available with an “imminent” edition, making it the first place in the world to get the album. Planet Earth will go on sale on July 24.

One music store executive described the plan as “madness” while others said it was a huge insult to an industry battling fierce competition from supermarkets and online stores. Prince’s label has cut its ties with the album in the UK to try to appease music stores.

The Entertainment Retailers Association said the giveaway “beggars belief”. “It would be an insult to all those record stores who have supported Prince throughout his career,” ERA co-chairman Paul Quirk told a music conference. “It would be yet another example of the damaging covermount culture which is destroying any perception of value around recorded music.

“The Artist Formerly Known as Prince should know that with behaviour like this he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores. And I say that to all the other artists who may be tempted to dally with the Mail on Sunday.”

UPDATE 14/16/2007: Weedshare is officially dead

“Shared Media Licensing operates the DRM technology known as “Weed.” When a file is protected by Weed technology, that file may be played up to 3 times for free. After this, if the user wishes to continue to play the file, he or she must pay for it. The price for any given file is set by the rights holder. The file can be copied to other users for free, whether across the Internet or otherwise. If the file is copied onto another machine, the file can be played 3 times without payment. When a user purchases a file, the rights holder receives 50% of the money paid by the purchaser and 15% of the purchase price goes to Shared Media as a processing fee. The remaining 35% of the purchase price is shared among those who previously purchased and distributed the music. This payment system is designed to encourage users to actively distribute authorized files.
Heart supports the use of peer-to-peer technology and believes that it is a very efficient means of distributing music. Encrypted with “Weed” technology (www.weedshare.com), “Jupiter Darling” was released on the Internet and has been shared on P2P networks. Heart’s “Weed” files outsold those on Apple’s iTunes during the third week of their availability on both services.” – Mark N. Cooper
http://www.weedshare.com/

Market capitalization
Cisco: 162.24B, Time Warner: 78.95B

2006 Gross Profit
Cisco:

18.747B, Time Warner:
17.811B

Cisco addresses legit P2P in Supervisor enhancement – CBRonline.com

Cisco Systems has unveiled both a product enhancement and a series of architectural templates to enable enterprise networks to address the challenge of legitimate peer-to-peer apps such as the Groove feature in Microsoft Office.

The product side of the announcement involves a deep packet inspection capability, delivered via a hardware upgrade to the Supervisor engine on its flagship 6500 switches, essentially introducing additional Cisco-designed ASICs to handle “DPI at multi-gigabit rates,” said Neil Walker, the company’s head of product marketing for core and foundation technologies in Europe.

There arises a need to be able to differentiate between good P2P and bad, which is where the Programmable Intelligent Services Accelerator (PISA) upgrade to Supe32 comes in. “It’s akin to what we’re doing on the carrier side with the P-Cube technology for broadband policy management,” said Walker.

“There the carrier can determine who you are, what you’re doing and the bandwidth you’re consuming to do it. In this case, we’re enabling enterprises to enable wanted P2P and block the unwanted,” he went on. “For instance, two employees might be allowed to exchange IM messages, but not if one of them has just accessed some sensitive data on an internal database.” PISA is not, however, in any way based on the P-Cube technology, but rather the result of internal development, he went on.

CE Pro §

Manufacturers, dealers, and champions of digital rights everywhere can rejoice: Video server maker Kaleidescape has beaten the DVD Copy Control Association (DVD CCA).

The DVD CCA, which licenses the Content Scramble System (CSS) for protecting DVDs, had claimed that Kaleidescape breached a contract when it created products that enable (indeed encourage) individuals to copy protected DVDs onto hard-drive servers.

Kaleidescape argued, first and foremost, that nothing in the DVD CCA licensing agreement prohibits the development of products that allow users to copy their DVDs. (For the full background, see “Copy Protection Group Sues Kaleidescape.”)

Indeed, that’s exactly what Judge Leslie C. Nichols ruled today in the non-jury trial at the Downtown Superior Court of Santa Clara in San Jose, Calif.: There was no breach of contract.

Microsoft changes tune on selling DRM-free songs

Following digital music pioneer Apple Inc.’s lead, Microsoft Corp. said it will soon sell digital music online without digital rights management (DRM) protection.

Microsoft’s apparent change of heart on selling DRM-free music came in response to Apple’s deal earlier in the week to sell unprotected content from recording company EMI Group PLC. The company previously claimed that DRM was necessary for current and emerging digital media business models.

“The EMI announcement on Monday was not exclusive to Apple,” said Katy Asher, a Microsoft spokeswoman on the Zune team, in an e-mail to the IDG News Service today. She said Microsoft has been talking with EMI and other record labels “for some time now” about offering unprotected music on its Zune players in an effort to meet the needs of its customers.

“Consumers have made it clear that unprotected music is something they want,” Asher said. “We plan on offering it to them as soon as our label partners are comfortable with it.”

WSJ.com – Login

In a major break with the music industry’s longstanding antipiracy strategy, EMI Group PLC is set to announce today that it plans to sell significant amounts of its catalog without anticopying software, according to people familiar with the matter.

The London music company is to make its announcement at a London news conference featuring Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs. EMI is to sell songs without the software — known as digital rights management — through Apple’s iTunes Store and possibly through other online outlets.

Music executives judge Jobs, lament losses | CNET News.com

Apple, digital rights management (DRM) and the public’s willingness to pirate music were discussed, debated and lamented once more by attendees of the Digital Music Forum East conference.

“We’re running out of time,” Ted Cohen, managing director of music consulting firm TAG Strategic, told the roughly 200 attendees. “We need to get money flowing from consumers and get them used to paying for music again.”

The call to arms by Cohen, who was moderating a panel discussion titled “The State of the Digital Union,” comes as the music industry suffers through one of the worst slumps in its history.

CD sales fell 23 percent worldwide between 2000 and 2006. Legal sales of digital songs aren’t making up the difference either. Last year saw a 131 percent jump in digital sales, but overall the industry still saw about a 4 percent decline in revenue.

That has the industry pointing fingers at a number of things they believe caused the decline.

At the opening of the conference, some of the panel members lashed out at Jobs. Members said Jobs’ call three weeks ago for DRM-free music was “insincere” and a “red herring.”

“Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats,” Jobs wrote in a letter that rocked the music industry. “In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat.”

Jobs’ position was perceived by many in the music industry as a 180-degree shift in direction. The view expressed at the conference is that Apple has maintained a stranglehold on the digital music industry by locking up iTunes music with DRM.

Cohen told the audience that if Jobs was really sincere about doing away with DRM, he would soon release movies from Disney–the studio Jobs holds a major stake in–without any software protection. An Apple representative declined to comment on Tuesday on remarks made by the panel.

Panel member Mike Bebel, CEO of Ruckus music service, said: “Look, I don’t think anybody is necessarily down on Apple. The problem is the proprietary implementation of technology…and it’s causing everybody else who is participating in the marketplace–the other service providers, the labels, the users–a lot of pain. If they could simply open it up, everybody would love them.”

The role of DRM
Panel members–who included Thomas Gewecke, Sony BMG senior vice president, and Gabriel Levy, general manager of RealNetworks Europe–were divided about what the music industry should do about DRM in general.

Most of the panel members, save for Greg Scholl, CEO of independent music label The Orchard, believe that some form of DRM is necessary.

Scholl said flatly that DRM doesn’t work. “The idea that DRM gives us choice isn’t right,” he said.

“The economics of the business are over for good and aren’t ever going to be the way they were before,” Scholl said. This is a position that some in the music industry are starting to warm up to.

In January, EMI said it was reviewing a request
by the Electronic Frontier Foundation to allow reverse engineering of
its digital rights management software. That EMI would even consider
the proposal was seen in many circles as a step forward by the anti-DRM
camp.

Gewecke also defended record labels against the criticism that the
music industry has its head in the sand and just doesn’t understand the
Digital Age. He said that Sony BMG is working with technologists and
retailers, and is constantly is looking for technological solutions to
some of the industry’s problems.

He also said that despite all the bad news, there’s plenty for the sector to be encouraged about.

“We
routinely talk to companies about what’s different,” Gewecke said.
“We’re constantly looking for where value is being created in a
business model. We are being flexible. There’s still an evolution that
has to happen. I say it’s an optimistic time considering there’s more
music being listened to now than ever before. There’s more
opportunities to monetize the music. We want to be out there looking
for new ideas and companies.”

arstechnica:

Earlier this month it was widely reported that EMI was indeed ready to cast DRM into the dark abyss and earn the company the honorable status of being the first major music label to realize that DRM alienates honest customers. As it turns out, the company is indeed open to the possibility of ditching DRM, but they expect to be paid well for it, and the online music retailers aren’t ready to meet their demands.

EMI is the only major record label to seriously consider abandoning the disaster that is DRM, but earlier reports that focused on the company’s reformist attitude apparently missed the mark: EMI is willing to lose the DRM, but they demand a considerable advance payment to make it happen. According to Bloomberg, EMI has backed out of talks for now because no one will pay what they’re asking. No dollar amounts are known at this time.

Online music giants Apple and Microsoft, along with smaller players including RealNetworks and Yahoo! Music, sought to indulge EMI’s demands by waving leafy-green dollar bills at the company, but it wasn’t what EMI asked for, and the company subsequently put the talks on hold. Warner’s renewed interest in EMI is likely another contributing factor to EMI’s own cold feet: Warner’s leadership is devoted to DRM, making the DRM-free discussions all the more circumspect.

Digital World Norway Outlaws iTunes

Norway has […] declare[d] that Apple’s iTunes store is illegal under Norwegian law.

Senators aim to restrict Net, satellite radio recording | CNET News.com

“New radio services are allowing users to do more than simply listen to music,” Feinstein said in a statement. “What was once a passive listening experience has turned into a forum where users can record, manipulate, collect and create personalized music libraries.”

So


Satellite and Internet radio services would be required to restrict
listeners’ ability to record and play back individual songs, under new
legislation introduced this week in the U.S. Senate.

this is what the Platform Equality and Remedies for Rights Holders in Music Act, or
Perform Act, propses, reintroduced Thursday by Sens. Dianne Feinstein
(D-Calif.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Joseph Biden (D-Del.) and Lamar
Alexander (R-Tenn.).

this is insane.

Studios OK technology for movie downloads – Yahoo! News

Hollywood studios have approved a new technology and licensing arrangement that should remove a major obstacle consumers now face with burning movies they buy digitally over the Internet onto a DVD that will play everywhere.

The lock, known as “content scrambling system,” or CSS, is backed by
the studios, TV networks and other content creators and comes standard
on prerecorded DVDs today. All DVD players come equipped with a key
that fits the lock and allows for playback.

With Qflix — and its studio-backed copy-protection system — consumers should have more options. But they’ll need new blank DVDs and compatible DVD burners to use it.

The system can also be used in retail kiosks, which could hold hundreds of thousands of older films and TV shows for which studios don’t see a huge market. Customers could pick a film, TV episode or an entire season’s worth of shows and have them transferred to DVD on the spot.

Isn’t this the same CSS system that was broken by DVD Jon?
I don’t quite get it. The studios are happy to announce to support a DRM known to be failed and agree to use it widely? Isn’t this a hidden admission of defeat? Or this is a last attempt to milk a dying format, the DVD?

Copyright vow going down the YouTube | FT business | The Australian

YOUTUBE’S failure to complete a key piece of anti-piracy software as promised could represent a serious obstacle to efforts by Google, its new owner, to forge closer relations with the media and entertainment industry.

The video website, the internet sensation of 2006, promised in September the software would be ready by the end of the year. Known as a content identification system, the technology is meant to make it possible to track down copyrighted music or video on YouTube, making it the first line of defence against piracy on the wildly popular website.

YouTube’s offices were closed for the New Year holidays. While providing no further details about when the system would be made formally available, it said tests of the system had been under way with some media companies since October 2005 and the system remained on track.

Mike McGuire, a digital media analyst at Gartner, said there was likely to be little patience for missed deadlines.

“The technology industry really has to start living up to the media industry’s expectations,” Mr McGuire said.

BBC NEWS | Technology

Hundreds of episodes of BBC programmes will be made available on a file-sharing network for the first time, the corporation has announced.

The move follows a deal between the commercial arm of the organisation, BBC Worldwide, and technology firm Azureus.

The agreement means that users of Azureus’ Zudeo software in the US can download titles such as Little Britain.

Until now, most BBC programmes found on peer-to-peer file-sharing networks have been illegal copies.

The titles will be protected by digital rights
management software to prevent the programmes being traded illegally on
the internet.

Users will also be able to link to programmes from blogs, social networks and fansites.

No pricing structure for the BBC content on Zudeo has been revealed.

The Register:

The leading DRM digital download service, Apple’s iTunes, has experienced a collapse in sales revenues this year according to analyst company Forrester Research.

While the iTunes service saw healthy growth for much of the period, since January the monthly revenue has fallen by 65 per cent, with the average transaction size falling 17 per cent. The previous spring’s rebound wasn’t repeated this year.

Forrester revealed some fascinating details about iTunes purchasing habits. Some 3.2 per cent of online households (around 60 per cent of the wider population) bought at least one download, and these dabblers made on average 5.6 transactions, with the median household making just three a year. The median transaction was slightly under $3.

“iTunes sales are not cutting into CD sales,” he elaborated to us, “they’re an incremental purchase at best.

“There’s a problem here. CD sales have fallen 20 per cent over five years. The message here is not that CD sales are coming back, the ability to obtain pirated music is now so widespread the DRM looks to consumers more like a problem than a benefit.”

Forrester and Nielsen’s figures merely confirm that what the industry is losing in falling CD sales, it isn’t gaining in DRM downloads.

MPAA sues over DVD-to-iPod service:

After the iPod gained the ability to play videos, services sprung up that would rip your DVDs and reencode them for viewing on your iPod. Useful, but illegal in the US. The Motion Picture Association of America has decided to sue one of those DVD ripping and reeconding services. Earlier this month, Load ‘N Go Video was sued by Paramount Pictures in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. The suit accuses Load ‘N Go Video of copyright infringement and violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Based in Boston, Load N’ Go was founded in 2005 to help consumers get video content on to their portable media players. Load N’ Go also sells iPods and DVDs, and will rip DVDs for its customers and load them on to their iPods. The customer then gets the iPod with the movies loaded on it and a copy of the DVD that she legally purchased. The DMCA makes it illegal to circumvent copy protection, even for fair use purposes, so Load N’ Go’s prospects do not look good. The implications of this case are even more troubling. Not only could the MPAA sue any other companies performing similar services, but they clearly believe that they can sue you for ripping DVDs and moving the content to your iPod or other digital media player.

Interview with  Peter Jenner on The Register:



So how long can the big labels keep up this charade?

Earlier I was talking about the ground moving underneath the industry. At In The City people are beginning to realise they have to do something. So I think in two or three years blanket licenses will be with us in most countries.


So it’s a fear of losing the distribution channels?

They won’t have any control over distribution. A blanket license is a blanket non-license, really – it’s simply saying “we won’t sue you”. But if you have commercial services exploiting music, we will want to pay you more. You’re licensing the anarchy.

It’s interesting where we’ll end up drawing the line between commercial and non-commercial, but in the end the numbers will be so huge it’ll iron itself out. Someone from England might pull in a lot of hits from Spain – but again, it doesn’t matter. I don’t then worry how they’ll pass the money to each other, but it’ll all come out in the wash.

via  Hardware 2.0 | ZDNet.com:

Speaking last week at the Digital Home Developers Conference, Brad Hunt, the executive vice president and chief technology officer for the MPAA, conceded that many people are frustrated at having to buy multiple copies of the same content to use on different devices and that this is driving them to piracy.

“I understand that if we frustrate the consumer, they will simply pirate the content,” he said. “The issue we face today is that consumers are buying content that uses specific DRM and that, in turn, is gradually creating a world of separate DRM systems.”

Digital rights in question as business model | Tech&Sci | Technology | Reuters.com:

“There’s been no growth this year at all,” he says. “The market has stalled.” On a month-to-month basis for this year, average monthly downloads are flat, just as they were last year, averaging around 10 million a week. Of late, average weekly downloads have slightly slipped, from 11.5 million in January to 10.7 million at the end of September. That’s after an all-time high of almost 20 million downloads the week after Christmas. According to the most recent SoundScan year-to-year figures, digital album sales through October 1 have grown 115 percent over the same period last year, while downloaded individual tracks have grown 72 percent.

Variety.com – Yahoo tests ‘Right’ to MP3 downloads:

In a first for mainstream pop music, Yahoo! will sell Jesse McCartney’s new album “Right Where You Want Me,” from Disney-owned Hollywood Records, in the unprotected MP3 format.

“We’re trying to be realistic,” said Ken Bunt, senior VP of marketing at Hollywood Records. “Jesse’s single is already online and we haven’t put it out. Piracy happens regardless of what we do. So we’re going to see how Jesse’s album goes (as an MP3) and then decide on others going forward.”

“We think this is a really good experiment, because copy protection is not doing anything to stop people from stealing when you can just get unprotected tracks off of a CD or get music illegally online,” said Yahoo! Music topper Dave Goldberg. “We think it’s good to make it easy for consumers to get digital music on whatever device they want and for companies like us to not be reliant on one particular technology company for how our consumers can access music.”

Because Apple doesn’t license the copy-protection technology behind iTunes, musicstores like Yahoo!, Napster and Rhapsody that want to sell major-label music have to use Microsoft’s alternative.

EMusic is currently the only online musicstore that sells songs in MP3 format, but it specializes in indie music and doesn’t have any major-label tracks.

Boing Boing: Amazon Unbox to customers: Eat shit and die:

Amazon’s new video-on-demand store may sound like a good idea, but once you take a look at the “agreement” you enter into by giving them your money, that changes. The Amazon terms-of-service are among the worst I’ve ever seen, a document through which you surrender your rights to privacy, integrity of your personal data, and control over your computer, in exchange for a chance to pay near-retail cost to watch Police Academy n-1. As Ben Franklin might have said: They that can give up general purpose computers for the sake of a little eye candy deserve neither computers nor eye candy.

EFF: DeepLinks:

Macrovision’s “Analog Copy Protection” (ACP) technology is intended to degrade the quality of video copies made on analog VCRs. It does this by intentionally adding noise to the vertical blanking interval of analog video signals. This noise confuses the automatic gain control (AGC) circuit used by analog VCRs. In short, Macrovision’s ACP is an exploit against a weakness in analog VCRs. Thanks to Section 1201(k) of the DMCA, VCR makers are now forbidden by law from fixing the weakness, which means that analog VCRs have remained vulnerable to ACP. In other words, Macrovision’s ACP is an antiquated DRM technology that owes its effectiveness in the analog world to a government mandate.

Deathmatch!

The following statement was issued today by Consumer Electronics Association (CEA®) President and CEO Gary Shapiro regarding a letter sent last week from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to U.S. Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA) concerning the RIAA’s refusal to participate in the Copy Protection Technical Working Group (CPTWG) to discuss efforts to prevent the mass, indiscriminate redistribution of copyrighted works over the Internet:

“We are pleased to see the RIAA letter finally confirmed, as we have long suspected, that no technical specification for an audio flag, or in fact anything else, exists and that the RIAA has stayed away from the Copy Protection Technical Working Group in part because it has nothing to propose. The letter also confirms that the RIAA’s interest lies solely in preserving its existing ways of business, with the hope that it can maximize profits by limiting innovation and undermining long-standing consumer rights. – CEA

Ed Felten writes on p2pnet:

Instead, advocates of DRM-bolstering laws have switched to two new arguments. First, they argue that DRM enables price discrimination — business models that charge different customers different prices for a product — and that price discrimination benefits society, at least sometimes. Second, they argue that DRM helps platform developers lock in their customers, as Apple has done with its iPod/iTunes products, and that lock-in increases the incentive to develop platforms. I won’t address the merits or limitations of these arguments here — I’m just observing that they’re replacing the P2P piracy bogeyman in the rhetoric of DMCA boosters.

“There’s no good answer to designing a “good DRM.” Or rather, no DRM is good DRM. iTunes is instructive again in this regard: Apple sold a billion tracks in three years in spite of its DRM, not because of it. No Apple customer bought an iTune because of the DRM. What’s more, every track in the iTunes music store can be downloaded for free from P2P networks. Apple proves that you can sell music without DRM all day long — all adding DRM to Apple’s music does is give Apple the ability to abuse its customers and its partners from the labels.” – InformationWeek