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September 22, 2004

Speaking of New Music Business Models…. [11:37 am]

Why worry about selling CDs when you can pimp yourself out for corporations? Isn’t that what music is all about? Bridging Hip-Hop Consumers and Suits

The MTV Video Music Awards had ended hours earlier on what would be just another work night for Mr. Stoute, a former record executive who has leapt into advertising. Sean Combs, in town for the awards and the party’s official host, had taken the stage to place an order with the bar for 500 shots of tequila, while barely clad dancers writhed in cages on platforms around the floor. On Hewlett-Packard’s tab, hundreds of fans were dancing, drinking and, so went the hope, trying out the company’s mini-printers or digital photo technology.

It is in such climates, Mr. Stoute said after last month’s party, that a buttoned-up brand name like Hewlett-Packard’s can loosen up and, potentially, become cool. “It’s not a party,” he said of the event. “It’s a Puffy party, which makes it an event that only the finest of the fine get invited to.”

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More on “Three Notes and Running” [10:00 am]

Remixing to Protest Sample Ruling (see earlier Taking on Bridgeport)

A music activism group is encouraging people to remix a controversial sample from Funkadelic to draw attention to a court ruling that requires all musicians to get permission before sampling any music — even if it would be unrecognizable in the new work.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that even if a sample has been mixed into an unrecognizable form, artists must secure the rights to use such clips. In this case, NWA used a 1.5-second section of Funkadelic’s “Get Off Your Ass and Jam.” The ruling reversed a lower court decision.

“It’s a ridiculous standard,” said Nicholas Reville, co-founder of Downhill Battle, which organized the 3 Notes and Runnin’ protest. “It’s a standard that only comes about when the current copyright regime is totally out of sync with the way music is made today.”

He said the decision is a blow against artists and creativity. In protest, the group is encouraging people to submit 30-second songs created from the 1.5-second sample (.mp3) that was the focus of the lawsuit.

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Finally! [9:38 am]

I’m sure I won’t qualify, but it’s great to see that someone’s ready to take the bull by the horns when it comes to moving to HDTV/digital TV. Uncle Sam Wants Your Airwaves. Note that it’ll take a couple of weeks before I can point you to an appropriate URL, but I can try to explain now why this is so funny to me. Basically, I wrote the following letter to the editor in response to this editorial in a recent Design News

To Chief Editor, Design News:

It seems to me that there’s an easy way out of the problem my wife set in her recent editorial. Rather than forcing HDTV tuners on the 85% of the public that relies upon cable anyway, why not simply have the federal government buy cable service for the 15% of us who rightly perceive these companies as the “devil’s spawn?”

Not only would this accelerate the transition to HDTV (thereby freeing up analog TV spectrum for government auction, more than offsetting the cost of the subscriptions), but there’s the endless satisfaction of watching the cable companies struggle to collect their fees from a bureaucracy even less concerned about customer satisfaction than they.

Until then, I expect that NetFlix will be the only route to HBO in the Field household!

Aggrieved Husband,

Frank Field

Now, see this from the Wired News article:

The legislation — pointedly named the Spectrum Availability for Emergency-Response and Law-Enforcement to Improve Vital Emergency Services Act [ed. note - S.2820], or just the Save Lives Act — sets a new deadline of Jan. 1, 2009, for the federal government to free up the analog TV spectrum for use by public-safety agencies.

The bill also would clear the way for auctioning spectrum to commercial interests — like wireless broadband service providers.

And in a nod to subsidy programs in Europe, the legislation would provide $1 billion to help 17.4 million U.S. households without cable, satellite or digital TV tuners pay for equipment that would enable them to go digital.

[...] Despite the potential backlash, lawmakers are starting to support the idea of a hard deadline that forces consumers off analog. Low-income households would get first priority under the subsidy program contemplated by McCain, but it’s unclear how broadly the program would apply to everyone else.

Some support the subsidy concept. “Every successful rollout of digital (over-the-air TV) has come with a free box,” said Kaufhold. “The model for digital TV in the world has been to give people a free box. The U.S. is starting to fall behind.”

According to the bill’s text, the subsidy would amount to a small portion of the $30 billion to $70 billion the federal government expects to collect when it auctions off large portions of the analog TV spectrum to wireless companies. (Other estimates, however, have been much smaller.)

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Couldn’t Happen To A Nicer Bunch Of Guys [9:25 am]

Linux Australia fights Motion Picture Association of America notice

What seems to be an embarrassing blunder by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in its hunt for online pirates has prompted Linux Australia to contact its legal representatives and warn of a possible breach of Australian law.

Linux Australia president Pia Smith told Builder AU the MPAA had issued Linux Australia with a notice of claimed infringement demanding the group cease providing access to two copyrighted movies — one called “Grind” and the other “Twisted” — and ordering it to “take appropriate action against the account holder”.

However, the files in question had nothing to do with those movies. The file entitled Twisted is a download of the popular framework written in Python and Grind refers to a download of Valgrind, a tool for developers to locate memory management.

The MPAA has no legal rights over this software.

See also p2pnet’s MPAA cock-up in Australia

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Putting IRC Back Into Digital Music Distribution [9:09 am]

Recall that Napster’s protocol included IRC hooks to find other users online — it looks like what was old is new again: Can IM morph into ‘instant music’?

As Internet giants step into the crowded online music arena, some are banking on a new weapon to help attack market leader Apple Computer: instant messaging.

[...] Yahoo’s plans are still sketchy, but sources close to the company say instant messaging will play a key role. While the popular IM software already lets people listen to online radio, new versions will let people share and interact with one another’s digital playlists.

“The whole advantage that (Yahoo) has is using its broad reach to push products and integrate them,” said one source familiar with the plan who spoke under the condition of anonymity.

A Yahoo representative declined to comment for this story.

Microsoft has publicly acknowledged similar interests in tying its MSN Music online store into MSN Messenger. [...]

[...] Label executives say that people who are part of the same subscription service can listen to each other’s playlists without a problem, because they’re all already paying for rights to the same music. But allowing one IM user to browse another person’s playlist and stream music without paying for it could become problematic.

“If I’m streaming my collection to someone else, and no one’s getting compensated for it, that’s not ok,” said one label executive, who asked not to be named.

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