September 29, 2005

Continuing To Challenge “First Sale” [5:41 pm]

This article was a topic of discussion on a email list today — seems like this discussion recurs in the fall. I wonder why? Internet Grows as Factor in Used-Book Business

Over all, used-book purchases accounted for $2.2 billion, or 8 percent, of the $26.3 billion that American consumers spent in 2004 on books of all types. That total was up 11 percent from the previous year, the study found.

“The growth reflects how easy is has become to sell used books and to create inventory in this business,” Jeff Abraham, the executive director of the [Book Industry Study Group], said in an interview.

[...] Publishing companies and authors have long expressed concern over used-book sales, saying they cannibalize potential sales of new books and, because they generate no royalties for authors or revenue for publishers, they harm the ability of authors and publishers to make a living.

“It certainly is a threat,” Paul Aiken, the executive director of the Authors Guild, said in an interview. The guild has complained in particular about Amazon.com, whose Internet site offers consumers the ability to buy used copies of a book on the same screen where it offers new copies. In many instances, used copies are made available for sale by outside parties almost as soon as a new book goes on sale.

Some earlier links: Peerflix DVD Exchange Writeup; The Power of a Word; Wired News’ Authors Question Author’s Guild

See also Donna’s summary here: In Praise of First Sale, Part IIEmail This Entry

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Communication and Culture: China [5:24 pm]

On Chinese Television, What’s Cool Is No Longer Correct [pdf]

At first glance, the new rules handed down by China’s broadcasting authority seemed natural enough in a country where the Communist Party feels duty-bound to set the tone for everything, even pop music.

[...] But also in the latest set of rules, published Sept. 10 by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, was a less obvious stipulation: Masters of ceremony should always use standard Mandarin Chinese and should stop affecting Hong Kong or Taiwanese slang and accents.

To millions of Chinese, particularly boys and girls in the provinces who constitute the main audience for pop-oriented variety shows, Hong Kong and Taiwanese speech has come to mean being cool. The reason is simple. Most of the music and performers making teenage hearts throb here have long originated in the freer atmospheres of Hong Kong and Taiwan.

As a result, some hosts and hostesses of mainland variety shows have taken to throwing Taiwanese slang words and Hong Kong tones into their on-air speech, associating themselves with the cool radiating from those two centers of the Chinese-language pop industry. [...]

And don’t miss the discussion of the consequences of their “American Idol”-style contest — the “Mongolian Cow Sour Yogurt Supergirl Contest.”

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Another Distribution Channel — and a DRM Experiment [5:09 pm]

Stones’ Album to Come on Memory Card [pdf]

Virgin Records said Tuesday it would release the Rolling Stones’ latest album on a new encrypted flash memory card that will allow users to preview and buy locked tracks from four of the veteran rockers’ previous albums.

The memory card, dubbed Gruvi, is manufactured by Sunnyvale, Calif.-based SanDisk Corp., and will be available in November at select U.S. stores for $39.95, SanDisk and the label said in a statement.

[...] SanDisk spokesman Ken Castle said the value for consumers is in being able to use the thumbnail-sized memory card to move music and other media between compatible mobile phones, electronic organizers, computers and other devices.

To keep that content from ending up on Internet file-swapping sites or otherwise distributed without permission, the card comes with copy-protection technology, or firmware, built in.

“You can take the card out and transfer it to other devices and the content stays locked in the card rather than to the device,” Castle said.

I look forward to the hacks.

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Who Gets To “Own” Root? [5:04 pm]

U.S. Insists on Keeping Control of Web [pdf]

A senior U.S. official rejected calls on Thursday for a U.N. body to take over control of the main computers that direct traffic on the Internet, reiterating U.S. intentions to keep its historical role as the medium’s principal overseer.

“We will not agree to the U.N. taking over the management of the Internet,” said Ambassador David Gross, the U.S. coordinator for international communications and information policy at the State Department. “Some countries want that. We think that’s unacceptable.”

Later: Declan McCullagh spells out the consequences: Power grab could split the Net

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