August 10, 2005

eTextbooks? Well, Of Course They Need DRM-Enabled Expiration Dates…. [6:05 pm]

Heaven knows, *I* certainly haven’t ever needed a textbook once the term ended……… Scarily, once again Richard Stallman foresees a problem (The Right To Read)

Coming to campus: E-books with expiration dates

When students at Princeton University, the University of Utah and eight other colleges start combing their school bookstore shelves for fall semester textbooks, they’ll find a new alternative to the hard-covered tomes they’re used to buying.

Alongside the new and used versions of Dante’s “Inferno” and “Essentials of Psychology” will be little cards offering 33 percent off if students decide to download a digital version of a text instead of buying a hard copy.

That’s not a bad deal for a cash-strapped student facing book bills in the hundreds of dollars. But there are trade-offs. The new digital textbook program imposes strict guidelines on how the books can be used, including locking the downloaded books to a single computer and setting a five-month expiration date, after which the book can’t be read.

[...] “As long as people have the choice (of printed books), it’s not such a dangerous move,” said Fred von Lohmann, an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group that has been critical of efforts to copy-protect academic works. “The real question is how long before publishers stop printing on paper. There is no doubt that publishers would like to move to a world where there is no used market for textbooks.”

Slashdot: Textbooks With EULAs

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Scrambling for a New Model [8:26 am]

Deep strategic thinking –” Hmmm, let’s copy the movie industry!!” Note, however, that the game being described is being played out in the wireless phone industry, where the network is under distributor control: Music industry seeks Hollywood’s ‘windows’

Sony BMG is already seeing 10 percent of its revenue in the United States, and more than 20 percent of its revenue in China and South Korea, come from digital and mobile products, the executive said. In the next year, labels will increasingly find ways to boost those figures by offering a large range of different products at different times, and through different channels.

“We will see tiered pricing in the online world,” Hesse said. “It will be coming out in different windows over time, and will be much more sophisticated than just the 99-cent download that we have seen.”

These budding music windows–ranging from exclusive tracks posted on iTunes or prerelease ring tones to live CDs released long after an album’s street date–are signs of how seriously the music industry is taking the digital business at last.

[...] With a quickly expanding number of products and channels, including cell phones, online subscription and download sites, retail stores, streaming and downloadable video and more, the music business is evolving into a natural home for windows, some analysts say.

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Massport: Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’ [6:57 am]

Strongarming Logan Airport travellers into paying $7.95 for wireless: Massport criticized for WiFi shutdowns [pdf]

Massport spokeswoman Danny Levy denied the authority is trying to squeeze private-sector rivals out of the WiFi business at Logan, saying officials were only concerned about interference from the Continental and T-Mobile services that could affect ”critical public-safety communications” by the State Police, Massport, and the Transportation Security Administration. ”There are legitimate reasons why we’re concerned about the threat to security,” Levy said, but said she could not elaborate.

Levy also said Massport is willing to negotiate a ”roaming” agreement that would let T-Mobile subscribers or Continental passengers get access to the Logan-controlled network, for which T-Mobile and Continental would have to pay Massport a fee.

[...] ”That’s just nonsense,” said Alan E. Gold, a frequent American Airlines traveler out of Logan. Gold, chief marketing officer for Avotus Corp., a Burlington telecommunications consulting firm, has been involved in wireless communications technology for more than a decade.

Noting that private WiFi services are available at dozens of other airports around the country, and the technology is designed to allow multiple networks to coexist on different radio channels, Gold said, ”There’s just no justification for the position Massport is taking. This hasn’t come up as an issue at any other airport around the country that I’ve ever been in.”

p>

See earlier A “Security Threat?”

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