eTailing Beatles Music

Beatles in talks for online song sales

But it may be some time before “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and “Let it Be” are sold on Apple Computer’s iTunes or on Napster. One idea being considered is a Beatles-branded store that would be the only place online where the group’s music, videos and other multimedia products would be sold, sources said. The store could be operated by one of the existing online music services.

[…] In an earlier technology shift, the Beatles decided to wait before releasing their songs onto CDs, well after most of the music world had already made the transition.

Any exclusive deal–especially if the music is distributed in a proprietary copy-protected format from a company such as Apple or Microsoft–could spotlight the growing problem of the lack of interoperability between services, digital music formats and portable devices, analysts said.

Day 2: WIPO

Notes from Day 2 of WIPO Meetings on the Draft Broadcasting Treaty. From Cory’s writeup:

We’ve just wrapped up the second day of Broadcast Treaty negotations at the UN in Geneva, and once again, two colleagues and I took really extensive notes on the proceeding. Brazil and India gave amazing testimony today, and I was able to address the UN on DRM — it was screamingly cool. We did a lot more editorializing today — it’s still hard to follow, but damn this is important. If we lose here, it’s a disaster for the Internet and the PC.

Copyfight writeup

Update: Slashdot has a story that points to the IP Justice’s Top 10 List of Reasons to Reject the WIPO Treaty: WIPO Broadcast Treaty Creates New Legal Rights for Broadcasters

From June firstmonday

Pirates, sharks and moral crusaders

File sharing in peer-to-peer (p2p) networks is a popular pastime for millions of Internet users and a source of concern for copyright holders and for many others who fear the worldwide spread of offensive and illegal content. As file sharing proliferates, the question is what can and should be done to regulate this practice. Can and should governments cooperate to develop stricter laws and regulations and invest in wide-scale international cooperation in order to arrest Internet villains? Can and should copyright holders in the music, film and software industries extend their tactics of inciting fear, by randomly threatening customers with lawsuits in which they claim millions of dollars in damages?

This article explores a possible alternative, namely that of user self-regulation, and uses an empirical investigation of two different peer-to-peer networks to examine social norms in these networks and the informal social sanctions that are used to enforce these norms.

The results of this investigation indicate that some self-regulation already exists and suggest that it may be possible to strengthen this self-regulation to reduce the occurrence of some types of offences. However, there is a limit to the effectiveness of peer control of illegal and antisocial activities on the Internet.

IFPI Lawsuits Announced

Music industry preps more lawsuits

On Tuesday, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said that it will sue 24 individuals in Denmark for trading music files online and that Britain, France and Sweden could be added to the list of target countries.

“It’s inevitable,” said Jay Berman, IFPI’s chief executive, when asked of the likelihood those countries would be included. He added that Japan, the world’s second largest music market, is also a strong candidate for lawsuits as recorded music sales there continue to slide.

Their latest news release is Recording industry shows first results of international campaign against illegal file-sharing, with gems like these:

Litigation updates

Denmark: Of 88 alleged file-sharers to receive civil demand letters in March, 17 individuals have either already paid or agreed to pay compensation averaging around 3,000 euros each. A further 23 are negotiating levels of compensation. Cases are being taken out against 24 more file-sharers on June 8-9. Several hundred further cases are planned in the coming months.

Germany: Earlier this month a 23-year old man from Cottbus in south east Germany, agreed pay compensation of 8,000 Euros. He had 6,000 MP3 files on his computer and 70 CDs containing further files. In a second case, a 57-year old teacher from Stuttgart has been charged with copyright infringement and will face similar compensation demands. Further cases will be reported to the public prosecutor.

Italy: following criminal raids, the Public Prosecutor has charged 30 individuals with copyright infringement and trials are expected to start within the next few months. Further cases will be brought in the near future.

United States: Since September 2003, the leading record companies have brought copyright infringement lawsuits against 2,947 alleged illegal file sharers. There have been 504 settlements to date.

Update: Global P2P jihad claims success

Giving Jack Valenti Heartburn

First 16x DVD R Recording Tests Available

An anonymous reader submits “CD Freaks.com has made a first preview of 16x DVD recording. Many people wondered if 16x DVD recording would be too fast and data could not be delivered by the hard disk. The first tests show that this is not a real problem. 16x DVD recording means that a DVD disk is written in about 6 minutes . The test drive, a BenQ DW1600, also supports dual layer writing and writing at 16x to 8x media.”

Broadcast Flags Here, There and Everywhere

RIAA launches radio offensive [pdf] — note the declaration that digital radio is a "bigger piracy threat" than online file-sharing.

In the face of the commercial failure of DAT, just how many cries of "Wolf!" is this industry going to be allowed as they strive to kill off innovation in delivery of music content?

The recording industry, already reeling from online music theft, is pushing the federal government to head off what executives fear is a potentially bigger piracy threat in the emerging world of digital radio.

In documents and meetings at the FCC and in communications with other industry trade groups, the RIAA is attempting to convince the government of the need for copyright protection for sound recordings aired on digital radio.

While the RIAA’s campaign has been largely behind the scenes, the association will take a higher profile on the issue this week as its CEO and chairman, Mitch Bainwol, hopes to make it a focus of a hearing scheduled on copyright issues facing webcasters. The RIAA also plans to file formal comments with the commission on the need for digital radio copy protections when final comments on a range of issues surrounding the technology are due June 16.

[…] The RIAA contends that they aren’t trying to prevent people from doing what they do now but want to head off another piracy scourge before digital radio turns into the P2P-like quagmire. The only behavior the record industry wants to prevent is the redistribution of recordings onto the Internet, removable media or to other devices [Editor’s note: Is that all?] and limit automated copying such as by artist or song title so that individual recordings cannot be separated from other songs.

“The things people can do now on the radio are not the issue,” Bainwol said. “We don’t even have a problem with time shifting, the real issue is on allowing cherry-picking of individual artists or blocks of songs and passive recording. It’s really narrow.”

Broadcasters complain that the RIAA is a Johnny-come-lately whose request will simply gum up the works.

“Our question is, why now? This thing has been going on for a decade, and now that there are stations on the air and it’s authorized, they decide to weigh in. The timing just seems curious,” NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton said. “We’ve been moving aggressively (in) getting digital radio rolled out, and to delay that just so the record companies can add more revenue, that causes some concerns.”

See also Cory on the Broadcast Flag for Radio Fight

Another Stab At It — Mercora

McAfee founder returns with ‘legal p2p radio’

A former McAfee CEO appears to have found a way around the legal minefield hindering anyone attempting to enter the music sharing market: by a licence to webcast content.

Mercora is a P2P – “person to person”, is how it defines the term – network that allows users to share songs without actually downloading them. It’s an approach the company dubs “P2P radio”.

The software allows users to share and catalogue digital photos, and provides instant messaging functionality too. But it’s focus is sharing music. Essentially, it streams the music files on a user’s hard drive out onto the Net. Other Mercora users can tune in and listen.

The company’s reckons it’s safe to do so because it has acquired a non-interactive digital audio webcasting licence as mandated by the notorious Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). “This license pertains to the digital performance rights of sound recordings and the associated reporting and royalty payments to SoundExchange (the independent non-profit organization that represents over 500 record companies and associated labels),” Mercora says.

[…] Had the Recording Industry Ass. of America (RIAA) exhibited a more sensible, less knee-jerk reaction to the P2P phenomenon, it’s possible Napster might have converted into something not unlike Mercora, funded like so much commercial radio, by advertising yet provided free to the listener.

But perhaps not. In any case, Mercora sounds like it is delivering that concept. Time will tell whether the litigious RIAA will allow it to continue, or what revenue streams will maintain it.

See Jenny Levine’s experiences: Naxos Music Library Group Purchase!

More on Wireless Business Models

Followup to yesterday’s Show Me The Money: Wi-Fi: If Not Free, Then How?

“Wi-Fi wants to be free,” said John Yunker, an analyst at Byte Level Research who follows wireless technology. He believes high-speed wireless access will evolve over the next several years into a freebie service, much like cable television or air-conditioning in hotel rooms, that customers come to expect at cafes, airports and conference centers.

For surviving Wi-Fi players to remain afloat, Yunker believes, they’ll have to change their business models, offer more all-you-can-surf plans and cut prices. For those who do charge, he believes customers will be comfortable paying rates of about $4 a month for unlimited access to a network of hot spots.

Today, such a price point is out of line with reality.