The Register on Napsterized Colleges

What went wrong at Wright State when Napster arrived

You’ll find that almost every Napsterized school – all 8 of them – is using dot-com era methodology to justify the service. The schools receive the Napster service either for free or for a massive discount and plan to subsidize whatever costs they do incur in the short term. Then, one day, the students – or more accurately their parents – will wake up and discover they are in fact going to start paying for a service they don’t really want and that a huge chunk of students can’t even use.

“I don’t really consider us as being in the music business,” [Paul] Hernandez [director of computing and telecommunications at Wright State] said. But he is in the music business.

Hernandez admits that one of the key motivators in signing up for the Napster service was protection from the RIAA and its lawsuit machine. By targeting college students with legal action, the RIAA has managed to force a number of schools to consider opening a Napster shop. Do the schools really care about solving the long-term problem of music piracy? Not really. They just want the lawyers to go away.

Ted Turner on Big Media

“My Beef With Big Media”

It’s not that there aren’t entrepreneurs eager to make their names and fortunes in broadcasting if given the chance. If nothing else, the 1990s dot-com boom showed that the spirit of entrepreneurship is alive and well in America, with plenty of investors willing to put real money into new media ventures. The difference is that Washington has changed the rules of the game. When I was getting into the television business, lawmakers and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took seriously the commission’s mandate to promote diversity, localism, and competition in the media marketplace. They wanted to make sure that the big, established networks–CBS, ABC, NBC–wouldn’t forever dominate what the American public could watch on TV. They wanted independent producers to thrive. They wanted more people to be able to own TV stations. They believed in the value of competition.

[…] Today, media companies are more concentrated than at any time over the past 40 years, thanks to a continual loosening of ownership rules by Washington. The media giants now own not only broadcast networks and local stations; they also own the cable companies that pipe in the signals of their competitors and the studios that produce most of the programming. To get a flavor of how consolidated the industry has become, consider this: In 1990, the major broadcast networks–ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox–fully or partially owned just 12.5 percent of the new series they aired. By 2000, it was 56.3 percent. Just two years later, it had surged to 77.5 percent.

In this environment, most independent media firms either get gobbled up by one of the big companies or driven out of business altogether. Yet instead of balancing the rules to give independent broadcasters a fair chance in the market, Washington continues to tilt the playing field to favor the biggest players.

Slashdot: Ted Turner’s Beef With Big Media

Good Proposal, Therefore Doomed To Fail?

Cheaper anti-copy CDs suggested [via TechDirt]

Atlantic Records’ UK head Korda Marshall – who signed The Darkness – said there could be different prices for CDs with different copy protection.

“Maybe there’s a point in the future where you’d buy a copy-protected CD at a lower price,” he told BBC Radio 2.

Many copy-protected CDs do not work on some players such as PCs and in cars.

Mr Marshall suggested a new pricing structure could see fans pay more for CDs that would play on more devices.

The Perils Of Rhetorical Success

From the IFPI’s report on commercial piracy (Press Release: Music pirate sales hit record 1.1 billion discs but spread of fake CD trade slows), we get an indication of what happens when you conflate language to exploit subtext:

Commercial piracy, contrary to what commentators mistakenly think, is just as important a problem for the music industry today as internet piracy. And in several of the music industry’s very largest markets Рcountries with low rates of broadband penetration such as Brazil, Mexico and Russia Рpiracy of physical discs still dwarfs its internet equivalent.

Just who are these “commentators?” Methinks that they’re largely drawn from the recording industry…..

More On MaryBeth’s Weltanschauung

In Derek’s July 15 posting, More on eBay Music and First Sale, he reminds us that MaryBeth Peter’s has some grand notions when it comes to the digital realm:

The problem is, the first sale doctrine only provides an exception to the right to distribute. It does not implicate copyright holders’ exclusive right to make copies of their works. If you were to resell your iTunes song, you would necessarily have to makie copies – a copy in RAM, in intermediate computers in transit, and a copy on the buyer’s computer. At least the latter and perhaps all would likely infringe the right to make copies, even though you might not infringe the distribution right. The only way you might be able to resell that song in a clearly legal way is to send the physical hard drive on which the song is stored to the other person.

The Register of Copyrights argued that first sale does not apply to the digital world.

Fair use, first sale — what’s going to be left of the "balance" upon which culture depends? (See Ernest’s note: Copyright Office on INDUCE Act (IICA): It isn’t Strong Enough)

Technological Alienation

The hook for this article, When Technology Imitates Art, points to the cognitive problem that comes up every time a technology is employed in a novel fashion to create something that could be produced another way, but now no longer need be.

A FEW weeks ago, a sculptor in France contacted Studio Roc, a new stone-milling company in North Hollywood, Calif., with the type of challenge the company was seeking. He had a 19th-century limestone lion’s face that he wanted to reproduce for a line of fountains. But carving each face by hand was a tedious chore for which he no longer had the time or resources.

Instead, he shipped the original work to Studio Roc, where technicians mapped it in three dimensions with a laser scanner. Then they placed a limestone blank in a computer-controlled milling machine and used the scan data to carve a duplicate lion face at the touch of a button.

[…] But the harnessing of these granite-grinding Xerox machines, able to duplicate just about any sculpture, may also blur the line between what is authentic and what is not. Is such a sculpture art, or merely a computer-aided copy? [emphasis added]

[…] While Studio Roc is aiming for the building trade, the Johnson Atelier Technical Institute of Sculpture in Trenton caters to New York-area artists who want to begin a new work or enlarge an existing one by sitting at a PC instead of standing on a ladder.

Slashdot: 3D Printing in Stone, or Copy a Sculpture in Rock

See also: For Doctored Photos, a New Flavor of Digital Truth Serum

IICA/INDUCE Roundup – 1

U2 and Theft (And Maybe P2P)

Bono Moves to Preempt Thieves — Note how the title allows you to think that the “thieves” are those who participate in P2P, while the actual “thief” is whoever actually stole the CD:

Irish rockers U2 will release their recently stolen album on Apple’s iTunes music store if it shows up online, according to a report in the London Daily Telegraph.

An advance copy of U2’s brand new album, which is not due in stores until November, was stolen last week at a photo shoot in the south of France.

[…] “If it is on the Internet this week, we will release it immediately as a legal download on iTunes, and get hard copies into the shops by the end of the month,” Bono told the paper.

[…] A rough cut of the disk disappeared from a recording studio in Nice during a photo shoot. The band was putting together the finishing touches. Most of the album had previously been recorded in Dublin.

[…] “A large slice of two years’ work lifted via a piece of round plastic,” said lead guitarist The Edge on the band’s site. “It doesn’t seem credible, but that’s what’s just happened to us.”

Later: U2 vows iTunes release if album pirated

Our Congress, Wasting Its Time

When you read an article like this, House Backs Bill to Limit Power of Judges, you have to wonder what’s the point of trying to explain the subtle problems with IICA/INDUCE when the House clearly doesn’t understand the basics of judicial review:

The House of Representatives joined the fight over gay marriage on Thursday, approving legislation that would prohibit federal courts from overturning parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Republican backers of the legislation, which was adopted on a mainly party-line vote of 233 to 194, said it was needed to prevent federal judges from invalidating the part of the 1996 law that says states cannot be forced to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.

[…] “If this bill becomes law, it will represent the first time in our history that Congress has enacted legislation that completely bars any federal court, including the United States Supreme Court, from considering the constitutionality of federal legislation,” said Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House.