Sony Continues To Seek Losing Strategies

Getting in bed with WMA — now < b>there’s a solution: Sony tests anti-CD burning technology [pdf]

part of its mounting United States rollout of content-enhanced and copy-protected CDs, Sony BMG is testing technology that bars consumers from making additional copies of burned CD-R discs.

Since March the company has released at least 10 commercial titles – more than 1 million discs in total, featuring technology from UK anti-piracy specialist First4Internet that allows consumers to make limited copies of protected discs, but blocks users from making copies of the copies.

[…] Under the new solution, tracks ripped and burned from a copy-protected disc are copied to a blank CD in Microsoft’s Windows Media Audio format.

The DRM embedded on the discs bars the burned CD from being copied.

And, of course, it still won’t work

Later: Sony BMG tests technology to limit CD burning

The Register Falls For A Contagious Media Project

The Contagious Media Project nets another victim: Cheating wife? Try GPS panties. You’d think The Register’s editors would at least check out story URLs — yes, it’s funny, but the Contagious Media Project WWW page raises some interesting ideas

Global capitalism has produced hundreds of millions of bored office workers who sit in front of computers forwarding emails and surfing the web, inadvertently creating the Bored at Work Network (BWN). The BWN has become the largest alternative to the corporate media. Activists, artists, and hackers can reach millions of people through the BWN.

Solo and in collaborative groups, I create content for the BWN, including email forwards, net art, joke web sites, phone lines, and weblogs. These viral projects are examples of what I call “Contagious Media” and this site documents four examples that have reached millions of people: the Nike email, the Rejection Line, Black People Love Us, and Fundrace.org.

These experiments illustrate the practical application of concepts like emergence, 6-degrees of separation, and tipping points. The work starts small and spreads virally to millions of people without any promotions, advertisements, or press releases. In the end, the mass media picks up the story as a trend, and the work is able to permeate the culture at multiple levels.

This low-budget, bottom-up approach makes it possible to create a global cascade that begins with a small group of friends and extends to the set of CNN or the Today Show. These Contagious Media Experiments suggest new opportunities for artists and activists in the networked age.

A Modest Proposal

Photo by Mark Ralston/Reuters.

Oh, and what about that region encoding thing? A straight-to-DVD solution for piracy [pdf]

Here’s one solution to the nagging problem of movie piracy — release films in theaters and on DVD on the same day.

Frankly, it’s already happening. Less than 24 hours after its theatrical release, bootleg DVDs of “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” were selling in small shops and on street corners around New York, and probably lots of other cities as well. Though the quality ranged from poor to decent, from what I’ve seen, it’s a safe guess that lots of people bought them anyway since they cost around $5, about half the price of a movie ticket. And for those with the patience and hardware, the film was also available — illegally, of course — over the Internet.

[…] Already, the Motion Picture Association of America is threatening to file lawsuits against those downloading movies from online file-sharing services. As with the music industry, yes, that’s one way to fight piracy, but suing the same people you ultimately want to purchase your product seems like a pretty shortsighted business plan.

Instead of strong-arming its customers, the film industry needs to consider eliminating the so-called “window” between theatrical runs and DVD releases.

But Of Course!

TiVo-like devices for radio raise piracy fears

Various devices that enable listeners to record Internet radio streams and then convert them into MP3 files are catching on and making Web radio and streaming services more appealing to the general public.

But some legal experts say the recording software may violate digital copyright laws and does little more than promote piracy.

“Obviously if people can use the TiVo-like unit to download a recording from Web radio and preprogram it to search digital radio to find tracks that you want, it’s going to beg a big question with the record industry,” said Jay Cooper, an veteran entertainment lawyer.

The Complexities of Deploying MS’ Rights Management System

Oliver Rist: Microsoft amends Rights Management Server

For those who don’t remember, RMS is a cousin of Digital Rights Management Server, but it’s intended to protect documents that circulate within a single organization and perhaps within some partner organizations; it’s not aimed at securing documents, such as an e-book, that have a broader, Internet-wide audience. Within an organization, RMS has the power to enforce security policies down to the document level, and it allows the document to carry its security along with it wherever it goes in the enterprise.

RMS’s security features are significant, including encryption, specific user or group access, denial of save, print, or change capabilities, and more. So BT’s Pearson could create a hypothetical document alerting senior staff to buy millions of PlayStations for the Pearson Brain-Drain Game project, and he could make the document viewable only by a select group of BT executives. Let’s call them the Guinness Drinkers. If Pearson e-mails the document to the entire BT Executive Group, only those in the Guinness Drinkers subgroup will be able to open it.

Pearson could further make sure that no one in Human Resources, Legal, or Psychological Evaluations can even see the document, let alone print or save it. And should Sony issue an announcement that it will evaluate his proposal by a specific date, Pearson can set his original document to expire on that date in favor of his new document, “I Don’t Know What I Was Thinking.”

The Evolving Demographics of ‘Net Use

Silver surfers say net is ‘vital’

Two polls marking Silver Surfers’ day, suggest technologies like the net are considered essential by older people.

More than half of over-55s online say the net gives them a new lease of life. Seven percent look for love online, and 22% play games.

The annual Silver Surfers’ day tries to introduce older groups to technologies.

The day, which gets support from the European Union’s social fund, aims to ease 10,000 “digitally excluded” older people into a digital life by showing them how technologies might add to their lives.

The attitudes towards technologies across the generations is levelling out, thinks technology giant Hewlett Packard (HP).

An FCC Decency Casualty

You’re #@&$% Fired!

A reporter for WCBS-TV, Mr. Chi’en was on a Midtown street doing a live standup on MetroCard swindles. This was for the benefit of however many New Yorkers happened to be awake at 6 a.m. and tuned to Channel 2. Behind him stood two dolts who taunted him on camera, gesturing vulgarly and holding up a sign for the Opie and Anthony radio show.

Opie and Dopey, you may recall, are the geniuses who once broadcast a live account of a couple supposedly having sex inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral. They’re still around, heaven save us, on satellite radio. Their idea of fun now includes sending dolts to torment hard-working reporters.

Mr. Chi’en, acting human, lost his cool. After finishing his report, he turned to his harassers and yelled something on the order of, “What is your problem, man?” That last sentence is sanitized here. […]

That was Mr. Chi’en’s foolish thing. He thought he was off the air, he says. But he knew right away that he had gone too far. When he went back live moments later, he apologized, but to no avail. Before the morning was out, WCBS had fired him.

[…] SOME of Mr. Chi’en’s allies sense a climate of fear in the F.C.C.’s pumped-up campaign against indecency.

In parts of the country, television stations have refused to broadcast the film “Saving Private Ryan” because it shows soldiers at war being, of all things, violent and foul-mouthed. Some stations have rejected “Schindler’s List” for showing naked female prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp being herded to the showers. Never mind that any viewer sexually titillated by that scene probably needs a therapist.

It is in this climate that Mr. Chi’en lost his job, his supporters say. “It’s a gross overreaction,” said Al O’Leary, a spokesman for the police officers’ union, who used to speak for New York City Transit. “To sacrifice Arthur Chi’en’s career on the altar of political correctness is just wrong.”