May 31, 2005

Sony Continues To Seek Losing Strategies [2:39 pm]

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

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The Register Falls For A Contagious Media Project [7:49 am]

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.

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A Modest Proposal [7:26 am]

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.

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