January 7, 2005

New Digital Media Project Paper [9:26 am]

Derek let me know about this new paper out of the Berkman Center: Content and Control:Assessing the Impact of Policy Choices on Potential Online Business Models in the Music and Film Industries

The online environment and new digital technologies threaten the viability of the music and film industries’ traditional business models. The industries have responded by seeking government intervention, among other means, to protect their traditional models as well as by developing new models specifically adapted to the online market. Industry activity and public debate have focused on three key policy areas related to copyright holders’ control of content: technical interference with and potential liability of P2P services; copyright infringers’ civil and criminal liability; and legal reinforcement of digital rights management technologies (DRM).

This paper seeks to support policymakers’ decision making by delineating the potential consequences of policy actions in these areas. To do so, it assesses how such action would impact relevant social values and four business models representative of current and emerging attempts to generate viable revenues from digital media. The authors caution that government intervention is currently premature because it is unlikely to strike an appropriate balance between achieving industry goals while supporting other social values, such as consumer rights, the diversity of available content, and technological innovation.

Slashdot: Berkman Center Releases Digital Media Policy Paper

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Followup On 2004 CD Sales Stats [8:38 am]

From The Register: Nappletizer users - getting physical?

Evidence in the UK suggests that 92 per cent of people who bought from an online store preferred CDs. Hardly surprising, as the real thing sounds better, allows you to share the music with friends and you have something tangible at the end of the day. That’s a lot of advantages to something that costs about the same, or in the case of discount CDs, is much cheaper.

Who wants to pay more to get less?

See earlier Yearend Sales Stats

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Blu-ray Claims A Lead [8:21 am]

Posturing on the way to defining the next generation standard: Games win for Blu-ray DVD format

Blu-ray, backed by 100 firms including Sony, is competing against Toshiba and NEC-backed HD-DVD to be the format of choice for future films and games.

The Blu-Ray Association said on Thursday that games giants Electronic Arts and Vivendi would both support its DVD format.

[...] Both Toshiba and Blu-ray are hopeful that the emerging DVD format war, akin to the Betamax and VHS fight in the 1980s, can be resolved over the next year when next-generation DVD players start to come out.

When players do come out, they will be able to play standard DVDs too, which is good news for those who have huge libraries of current DVDs.

[...] While Toshiba’s HD-DVD technology has won backing from Paramount, Universal and Warner Bros. “The real world benefits (of HD-DVD) are apparent and obvious,” said Jim Cardwell, president of Warner Home Video.

Mr Cardwell added that rapid time to market and dependability were significant factors in choosing to go with HD-DVD.

Both formats are courting Microsoft to be the format of choice for the next generation Xbox, but discussions are still on-going.

Of course, recall that there’s more to the next generation of DVDs than just capacity.

CNet offers a more balanced discussion in Next-generation DVD formats rally support

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BBC on Exeem [8:18 am]

File-swappers ready new network

Legal attacks on websites that help people swap pirated films have forced the development of a system that could be harder to shut down.

One site behind the success of the BitTorrent file-swapping system is producing its own software that avoids the pitfalls of the earlier program.

A test version of the new Exeem program will be released in late January.

But doubts remain about the new networks ability to ensure files being swapped are “quality copies”.

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Area Art Exhibition Explores Copyright [7:47 am]

Keith Sanborn, The Artwork in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

When the lines blur [pdf]

A New Order: Appropriation Art in the Digital Age,” now up at Montserrat Gallery at Montserrat College of Art, scrambles across the extremely slippery slope of copyright in visual art. Inspired by a 2003 exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art called “Illegal Art,” curator Leonie Bradbury has put together her own collection of artists who mine the work of others. It’s a powerful show, provocative and befuddling. It challenges the viewer to decide who deserves which rights. Just as you get comfortable with your decision, another artwork undermines it.

Collage and montage are as common in art as sampling is in music. Artists have been plundering copyrighted pictures for decades, if not centuries. Probably since cave drawings, artists have borrowed from and commented upon one another’s work. What makes this topic so thorny is that artists here are often both perpetrators and victims of theft.

[...] “A New Order” raises dozens of questions about culture as its own source, about authorship, about easy access and display on the Internet, and about the power structure that enables corporations to protect copyright far more efficiently than individuals can. It’s a thicket of issues and it makes for a deeply satisfying exhibition.

Image at right - from the gallery, Keith Sanborn’s The Artwork in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

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