March 10, 2004

Another Datapoint: Sources of Creativity [5:42 pm]

Hit Song Science Scores A Hit On First Attempt – Anastacia’s Left Outside Alone

HSS takes a song that sounds like it might be a hit and makes sure it can be one. With finely tuned adjustments in the mix we can ensure it has the optimal mathematical patterns for maximum market performance,” said Wake who has been using the new HSS technology in his studio for several months. “With that base covered, the odds of success are tremendous.”

“Hit Song Science does not take the place of golden ears and gut instinct”, said Mike McCready, CEO of Polyphonic HMI. “Much like the x-ray machine is a tool that gives doctors objective and scientific information about the body, HSS is a tool that allows artists, producers and music industry executives the ability to see their music and their markets in ways that were previously impossible.

Even with great ears however, the best in the industry are wrong a lot more often than they are right. The stark reality for every music label is that songs that sound and feel like hits get promoted on a regular basis, but strangely do not perform in the market. Most of these songs do not have what Polyphonic has determined to be optimal mathematical patterns that compel people to want to hear the song again and again, or better yet, go out and buy it. This is not because of some mind-controlling element hidden in the music, rather simply because the music connects with them on a visceral level.

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Slashdot on EU IP Directive [2:57 pm]

Nice headline: EU Passes Nasty IP Law

Re:Highlights (Score:5, Insightful)

by BiggerIsBetter (682164) Alter Relationship on Wednesday March 10, @06:42AM (#8519670)

(Last Journal: Friday March 05, @03:40AM)

["The European law was shepherded through the European Parliament by MEP Janelly Fourtou, wife of Jean-Rene Fourtou who is boss of media giant Vivendi Universal. "]

And there you have it.

Nice to see politicians (are MEPs even elected?) have *our* best interests at heart.

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French Artists Rights Association Sues Apple [2:24 pm]

Slashdot report: Apple Sued in France for iPod Music Royalties. From the Yahoo! news feed article cited, we get this implicit assertion that, of course, piracy is the purpose for acquiring a device that makes copies:

The argument centers on a fee levied in France on sales of blank CDs, tapes, hard disks and other hardware that can be used to copy music. The proceeds go to musicians and other rights holders who lose money to piracy.

The Society of Music Creators, Composers and Publishers, or Sacem, accuses Apple of consistently refusing to pay the levy on sales of its iPod music player, which contains a hard disk drive.

In a statement, Sacem said that unless Apple settles its growing account, the agency that collects the payments “will have no other option than to go immediately to court to make sure that the rights of artists, composers and producers are respected.”

Unsurprisingly, the Slashdot discussion contrasts with the Canadia blank media levy. However, once you read the below comment (assuming it’s true — an interesting perspective from the land of droit d’auteur, though)), you have to wonder what the new EU IP Directive will mean for this perspective:

You can copy as much as you want (Score:4, Informative)

by youdontcare (322766) Alter Relationship on Wednesday March 10, @12:49PM (#8522683)

This is not a “piracy tax”, this is a “right to copy” tax. In France, we can copy anything but software as long as the source is legit (comes directly from the rights owner) and the copy is kept for our own private use.

Your friend buys a DVD, CD, book ? Copy it and keep it for yourself - it’s legal.

Rent a movie, copy it, bring it back and watch the copy as much as you want - legal.

Buy a CD, copy it, sell it - legal.

Go to your media-hungry friend who owns thousands of DVDs, CDs, books and copy them - legal.

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Ernest’s Having A Busy Day [1:54 pm]

With some excellent posts:

  • Dangermouse, the Jay-Z Construction Set and the Videogame Content Creation Model

    This collection of material is certainly a violation of copyright, yet it points the way to a much richer vision for culture. I would hope that, in the near future, artists and publishers will see the value of releasing not only polished works, but the bits and parts used to create a work, including those parts that were rejected.

    This is good not only for fanboy obsessives, but could serve to train people’s musical ears, helping them hear the difference between different mixes of music. It would obviously be a boon to unexperienced musicians who could learn much from the choices other musicians and producers make. DJs would certainly have more opportunity to creatively add to the originals with this sort of access. And, likely, such efforts would help identify new talent.

  • FCC Sued Over Broadcast Flag - Yay!

  • Why the ala Carte Music Model is Doomed

    It costs $499 to buy a new 40G iPod.

    It costs $10,730 to fill it with songs purchased online at 99 cents each.

    He then refines this observation by pointing out how that kind of storage leads to a kind of expectation that is inconsistent with the current pricing models.

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Media Standards — Who’s On First? [12:58 pm]

Real hits Major League Baseball with lawsuit

Seattle-based RealNetworks is seeking a temporary restraining order in U.S. district court to compel MLBAM, a division of Major League Baseball, to use its formats. The suit centers on a contract reached in February, which stated that the league is required to offer RealNetworks’ media streaming format alongside any other format that the sports organization chooses.

RealNetworks spokesman Greg Chiemingo said subscribers to MLB.com’s subscription service, which offers live audio and sometimes video streaming of Major League Baseball games, are encoded in Microsoft’s Windows Media format only.

Real Sues Baseball Over Windows Media

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Online MAD [12:55 pm]

And I don’t mean the magazine: Security product to strike back at hackers

Mike Erwin, Symbiot’s president, and Paco Nathan, its chief scientist, are preparing for the release by posting a set of “rules of engagement for information warfare” on the company’s Web site. They say such rules should be part of corporate security policy to help companies determine their exact response to an incoming attack.

[...] Symbiot, located in Austin, said it bases its theory on the military doctrine of “necessity and proportionality,” which means that the response to an attack is proportionate to the attack’s ferocity. According to the company, a response could range from “profiling and blacklisting upstream providers” to launching a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) “counterstrike.”

Security experts, however, see problems in such a strategy.

Graham Titterington, principal analyst at Ovum, said “such a counterattack would not be regarded as self-defense and would therefore be an attack. It would be illegal in those jurisdictions where an antihacking law is in place.”

Symbiot’s Rules of Engagement (Isn’t it comforting to watch as we work to reshape all of our cultures to match that of the military?)

For a complete defense, offense must be considered. This paper outlines the use of strategies and tactics which have been refined by thousands of years of warfare, diplomacy, and legal recourse. These are applied in the context of proportional response within the global Internet environment, to initiate Rules of Engagement (ROE) for Information Warfare.

[...] In conclusion, it has become clear that for the enterprise to develop a complete strategy of defense, the full cycle of intelligence met with the rules of engagement must be invoked within the theatre of the Internet. Online assets are eclipsing real-world assets due to the inconsequential costs of conveyance, storage, processing, and control. The consequences for continuing a defense-only approach to information security prepare the way for eventual catastrophic infrastructure hits against the enterprise.

Current malicious activities are prosecuted by little more than privateering by analogy, whereas multilateral responses will be backed by capital, coordination, and thousands of years of praxis. Make no mistake, we are in the midst of an information warfare conflict which we have not been fighting.

Update: Slashdot — An Anti-DoS Tool That Returns Fire

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NY Stay for 321 [12:46 pm]

Court puts DVD-copying decision on hold

A New York federal judge on Tuesday temporarily put on hold a ruling against 321 Studios, which makes DVD-copying software, pending a hearing next week. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Owen ruled last week that 321 Studios’ software violated copyright laws and that the company must stop selling its DVD products.

Owen’s ruling on Friday has little practical effect, however, since a similar ban, instituted by San Francisco federal Judge Susan Illston, is in effect. The company is still seeking a stay of Illston’s order, and has said it would appeal both judgments.

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A Telecoms Media Fight [12:44 pm]

There was a full page ad in today’s Boston Globe telling me to call EchoStar because I was not going to be able to watch SpongeBob or the NCAA Tournment: EchoStar Removes Some CBS Stations and Viacom Service

EchoStar Communications pulled CBS from its satellite service in 16 cities yesterday and dropped all of Viacom’s cable networks, including MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, nationwide because of stalled contract negotiations over fees for carrying the channels.

[...] Martin Franks, the executive vice president of CBS, openly urged viewers in the cities affected to “dust off their rabbit ears” to try to receive CBS’s signals the old-fashioned way - through the air.

Luckily, I already use my rabbit ears — makes you wonder about those whose HDTVs were made without tuners, though.

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A Datapoint: Sources of Creativity [12:39 pm]

Heinlein’s Prophetic First Novel, Lost and Found

In 1939, after leaving the United States Navy and failing in local politics in California, Robert A. Heinlein, then 32, decided to become a writer. He wrote a Utopian novel, “For Us, the Living,” taking the title from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Two publishers rejected it, so he shelved the book and later discarded the original manuscript.

[...] Less a traditional commercial novel than philosophical fiction, it has value for its prophecies and for the light it sheds on Heinlein’s other books. One reason he refused to publish the novel later in his career was that he used it as a source for ideas and events that appeared in his subsequent work, including “Stranger in a Strange Land,” “Starship Troopers” and the story “If This Goes On . . . .”

“It’s completely rewritten my view of his career,” said Robert James, a Heinlein scholar who wrote an afterword to “For Us, the Living.” “The impression was that he was writing commercial fiction from Day 1. Like a juggernaut he dominated science fiction. Actually from Day 1 he was writing what society should be about.”

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Apple Responds to pPod [12:26 pm]

Reach Out and Strong-Arm Someone (See A "Look and Feel" Suit In The Making? )

“They made us aware of Apple’s trademark on the word ‘iPod,’” said Kelly. “They said the pPod name was too similar for a player device.”

Kelly said the product is now called the Pocket Bop, or pBop for short.

The Apple lawyer was also concerned about the overall look of the product, Kelly said. He was worried the pBop’s mimicry of the iPod’s interface may lead consumers to think they are buying an iPod, rather than a software facsimile, Kelly said.

“They were concerned we were pushing our product as an iPod,” Kelly said. But, “the product is software for the Pocket PC. We can’t believe that anyone would think they were buying an iPod.”

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NYTimes on the EU IP Directive [12:22 pm]

Europe Moves to Strengthen Piracy Laws. The NYTimes tries to be even handed in this article, but the spin is all negative from my perspective. The lead paragraph is only marginally mitigated by later text:

The European Parliament on Tuesday approved an antipiracy law intended to bring lax national laws in countries like Greece and the new entrants to the union into line with countries with stricter standards like Britain.

[...] The law, originally intended to stop trafficking in goods like pirated CD’s, counterfeit luxury goods and look-alike drugs, has become a wide-reaching instrument covering all forms of intellectual property, including patents, copyrights and trademarks.

Consumer groups argued that the law would be used to clamp down on individuals who copy music on the Internet for private use, as much as against people who make money copying goods created by others.

Meanwhile, intellectual property owners like record companies and software makers, who described the law as a step in the right direction, said the measure fell short over all.

Update (3/16/04): Wired News’ article: Europe Considers Harsh Piracy Law

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Hmmmm [9:29 am]

It looks like Napster has a very interesting licensing contract with the music industry: Napster, IBM Unveil New Music Delivery System

Napster, owned by digital media company Roxio Inc. (Nasdaq:ROXI - news), said its new “Super Peer” application uses International Business Machine Corp.’s (NYSE:IBM - news) eServer BladeCenter systems to store popular songs from Napster in on-site servers rather than from the Internet.

The most popular tracks in the Napster system are stored locally, enabling customers like The University of Rochester and Penn State University, to reduce their computing infrastructure’s vulnerability to overuse.

“When we embarked on our industry-leading university program, we set out to alleviate the technical and business strains that illegal file-sharing puts on Universities and ISPs,” said Bill Pence, Napster’s chief technology officer.

Pence said Napster daily usage at Penn State for instance totals about 100,000 downloads and 100,000 streams.

With the new application, about 90 percent of these downloads and streams would not result in traffic across the open Internet, saving the university an estimated $50,000 in bandwidth fees in the first year.

Wonder if the grave of MP3.com is undisturbed this morning……

Update: InfoWorld’s link will probably last longer than Yahoo!’s - Napster uses IBM/Linux technology for music delivery

Update: Ernest has more links: Napster’s New Music Delivery Service, Not So New, Not Efficient

CNet: Napster, IBM promise cache savings

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