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October 21, 2003

Sideshow Entertainment [12:38 pm]

While lookinng for some more information to go along with this CNet News article, U.S. lawmakers form antipiracy caucus, I found this Freudian slip headline in a press release announcing another IP caucus formed last spring: Congressional Caucus on Intellectual Property Promotion and Privacy Prevention To Be Launched in Congress — yes, that’s "privacy" not "piracy" — in the URL, too! The text, of course, uses the latter term.

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Cute Title, Provocative Thesis [11:08 am]

From Wired News: Buck a Song, or Buccaneer? One would expect Eric Garland to defend his turf, but Fred von Lohmann agrees that itunes (et al.) are not really going to change consumer attitudes toward P2P music networks.

So confident is Jobs of competing with the file-sharing networks, the store will sell 100 million songs before the end of next April, Jobs predicted.

But to Eric Garland, CEO of BigChampagne, a Beverly Hills, California-based research firm that tracks file-sharing networks, 100 million songs is the teeniest, weeniest drop in the bucket.

[...] “They might create a successful business, but they are not tackling the main point of consumption,” Garland said. “It’s like charging a premium for every thousandth (song) download, but most music is still being downloaded for free.”

[...] Both [the EFF's Fred] von Lohmann and BigChampagne’s Garland scoffed at suggestions that the music store would increase the number of files on the file-sharing networks.

Garland said everything at the iTunes store already is available on the file-sharing networks. “There’s far more music on Kazaa than on the Apple store,” he said. “Why would Kazaa be getting its music from that network? I don’t think the Apple store is going to be feeding music to Kazaa.”

The one exception, Garland said, are those tracks exclusive to the Apple store, which in every case have been uploaded to the file-sharing nets within hours of their release, sometimes before, he said.

“Every exclusive on the Apple store is immediately available on Kazaa,” he said. “And many, many more people are acquiring those exclusives from Kazaa than (from) the iTunes music store.”

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Reworking the Business Model [8:12 am]

The PrimusLive WWW site. From this week’s Tangled Web:

Primus will make each concert from its upcoming reunion tour available for purchase online. The outing, featuring the band’s original lineup, launched last week in California and runs through the end of November. Shows from October will be available for purchase on the newly created Web site PrimusLive.com beginning Nov. 7.

Each performance will offered in MP3 and FLAC audio formats. Pricing for the downloads has not yet been set. After Nov. 7, new concerts will be posted online 48 hours after their completion. Fans will also be able to download artwork for use in CD jewel cases.

Primus will play a different first set each night of the trek, dubbed the Tour de Fromage, followed by a second set replicating the 1991 album “Sailing the Seas of Cheese” in its entirety. The tour marks the first time leader Les Claypool and guitarist Larry LaLonde are performing with original drummer Tim Alexander since his 1996 departure.

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Commentary on the E-Data Suits [7:54 am]

Via The Register: E-Data goes after Microsoft music service

The E-Data release states, “The OD2 platform enables Tiscali Music Club customers to download individual music tracks for a fee using Microsoft’s Windows Media Player and Digital Rights Management technology.”

It goes on, “Microsoft, Tiscali, and On Demand Distribution are in blatant violation of our patents by jointly enabling consumers across Europe the ability to download music tracks. The Freeny patent [USPTO] covers the downloading and recording of information, such as music, from a computer onto a tangible object, such as CDs, DVDs and MP3 players. As a result, we are seeking an injunction to prevent further violation of our intellectual property.”

[...] Companies that scour the markets for publicly available and obvious existing processes and them file patents for them are retrograde and slow down the pace of innovation. This company is just like others that establish a patent that does not rest on its own inventiveness and who have never tried to exploit the technology in any way directly by bringing products to market. It would be fitting if it were bankrupted in the European courts and if this led to its successful US appeal being re-examined.

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Just How Stupid Do You Think Consumers Are? [7:43 am]

I realize that shameless promotion is part of writing about the music industry, but is it really so hard to understand why DVD-Audio hasn’t taken off? DVD-Audio discs amplify music’s sights and sounds

Unless you’re a serious audiophile, there are only two things you really need to know about DVD-Audio (DVD-A) discs. Yes, you can play them in your current DVD player, and yes, they deliver sound far superior to anything available on regular CDs.

No, they won’t work in CD players, and true, for the best DVD-A sound — advanced resolution multichannel — a DVD player with full DVD-A capabilities is required. Still, even those with modest home-theater setups (a surround-sound receiver, five speakers, and a subwoofer) will be blown away by DVD-A, which takes full advantage of the Dolby 5.1 surround-sound technology common on most DVDs.

And because they are essentially tricked-out DVDs, in addition to enhanced fidelity they can offer videos, documentaries, on-screen lyrics, commentaries, photo galleries, and snazzy features such as allowing listeners to isolate instruments or remix specific tracks. (Super Audio CD is the other high-fidelity format, though it features only music.)

Somehow, the recording industry has been unable to get this message across, which may explain why high-resolution formats like DVD-A have yet to catch on. Still, some industry types believe DVD-A discs could help boost their sagging profits. DVD-A releases aren’t yet as plentiful as CDs and DVDs, but record labels have been picking up the pace. So far many of the releases have been back-catalog items such as REM’s ”Automatic for the People,” Neil Young’s ”Harvest,” and Frank Sinatra’s ”Sinatra at the Sands with Count Basie & the Orchestra.” Some new recordings are being released on both CD and DVD-A, packaged together in special editions.

Hmmm - maybe something about the expense of new equipment and the difficulty of ripping an MP3 from a DVD-A disk would explain this? How about not falling for the same trick (buy everything all over again in yet another format) twice?

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Insight Into The Mind of a Criminal [7:28 am]

Today’s Zits cartoon (from Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s cartoon page):

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