April 3, 2006

Swamped! [7:50 pm]

Gonna be a little overwhelmed for a few days, so posting will be a little spare.  I hope to get a few things in, but it’s going to be iffy for a while.

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Mesh Network Testing on West Bank [8:37 am]

Nortel to test “Wireless Mesh” in Israel [pdf]

Nortel Networks (Toronto:NT.TO - news) (NYSE:NT - news) said on Monday it received Israeli government approval to perform a test of its “Wireless Mesh” network in the Jewish settlement town of Ariel in the West Bank

[...] In Ariel, the network will help with municipal law enforcement, provide video surveillance to limit vandalism, read water meters remotely, allow for wireless data and voice communications between municipal workers and employees at the local university, and enable wireless Internet for residents.

The network is expected to be up and running within a month and the test should be concluded in one year. Costs were not disclosed.

[...] The test in Ariel for Wireless Mesh — which links together multiple access points without the need for cables into a wireless network — comes after Taipei selected Nortel to provide high-speed wireless broadband access in the Taiwan capital.

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The RIAA “Education” Campaign [6:49 am]

A chance to be bullied into speaking to the public via an LATimes op-ed. Coerced communications to the public — wonder why that seems so familiar?  Sinking a music pirate [pdf]

THE WORD TO describe it is “shame.” The shame in realizing I’d been monitored for months, with paper logs of my online conversations; the shame of begging my university dean to allow me to remain a student; the shame of continuing to squander such a significant portion of my family’s savings on legal fees; the shame of pleading with professors to reschedule tests; the shame of desperately searching for landlords on short notice; and, of course, the shame of knowing I’d stolen the property of others like me who are passionate about the art of music.

The other word is “fear.” Fear that keeps me awake at night and distracted in class. Fear of my May sentencing date (I pleaded guilty in March) in the same courthouse as Zacarias Moussaoui; fear of the possible prison time I am facing; fear of my job prospects when I graduate college in December with a felony criminal record; and fear for the future I’ve recklessly damaged.

Everybody wants something for nothing, and I’ve come to learn that “free” music is anything but. The hidden cost is enormous. Although I am unqualified to opine on the price of piracy for the artists whose work is stolen, I can describe the price I’ve paid.

Stealing, no matter how little, or how easy, is never right. There is no justification for downloading music without paying. I’m not just saying this to reduce my sentence; I want to get the message out to young people who might not otherwise understand — copyright infringement, whether it is buying a bootleg album from a street vendor or downloading a song from the Internet, has very serious consequences.

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More on the iTunes Pricing Fight [6:31 am]

After iTunes saves market, music companies chafe at pricing [pdf]

Now, however, some labels feel hamstrung by Jobs’s insistence on pricing all tracks at 99 cents. With the labels expected to enter into music licensing discussions with Apple this year, any moves by Apple to abandon uniform pricing will test whether music fans are willing to pay more to download music that many acquired for free only a few years ago.

”The labels really want to be able to boost up the price for downloads on new releases,” said Matt Kleinschmit, a digital music analyst with the Ipsos Insight market research firm. ”The question is: Are we at a time now that we want to experiment with variable pricing?”

Recording labels make about 70 cents per download, but could pocket significantly more by increasing retail prices by just a few cents.

[...] Last fall, Edgar Bronfman Jr., chief executive of Warner Music Group Corp., suggested that Apple should allow different download prices for songs and even give the labels a cut of iPod sales.

[...] Jobs has argued that recording companies already make more profit by selling a song through iTunes than on a CD, which carries extra marketing and manufacturing costs. ”So if they want to raise the prices, it just means they’re getting a little greedy,” he said at Apple Expo in Paris in September.

The push by labels reflects an industrywide scramble to reap the most from a business model that only three years ago seemed unlikely to survive amid overwhelming online piracy.

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Virtual Theft in China [6:26 am]

China stands by verdict on virtual property thief [pdf]

China has upheld a guilty verdict and fine against a man who stole and sold players’ games IDs and online equipment amid growing calls for more concrete virtual property laws, state media said on Monday.

A court in Guangzhou, the provincial capital of China’s southern province of Guangdong, dismissed an appeal by Yan Yifan, 20, found guilty of selling stolen passwords and online equipment from 30 players of the online historical quest game, “Da Xihua Xiyou,” last year.

[...] More and more virtual property disputes are being brought before China’s courts, prompting calls from intellectual property rights lawyers for more strongly defined virtual property laws, the China Daily reported.

The Guangzhou ruling follows a suspended death sentence delivered to a Shanghai online game player last year for stabbing a competitor to death for selling his virtual cyber-sword.

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More on the Claria Foray Into Clickstream Monitoring [6:17 am]

E-Commerce Report: Every Click You Make, They’ll Be Watching You

WOULD you trust a company enough to let it follow your every click online?

Claria, a company once vilified for raining pop-up advertisements across the Internet through its Gator software, is betting its business that the answer is yes. Claria said it would announce Monday the release of PersonalWeb, a service that will let people download a piece of tracking software and receive a home page filled with news stories and other information tailored to their interests.

[...] Claria says that because those ads are so closely aligned to the user’s interests and recent behavior, marketers will be willing to pay more than they might on other sites for the ability to reach PersonalWeb users.

That part of Claria’s plan is convincing enough for some analysts, and privacy advocates appear satisfied that Claria will stand by its pledge to track only the computer (whose owner it does not identify), not the personal information of the user. Whether many consumers will use the service anyway — and give marketers an audience worth pursuing — is the big question.

“I’m not convinced that consumers will place enough of a value on personalization that they’ll be willing to download a piece of software and change their home page just to try it,” said Kenneth Cassar, an analyst with Nielsen/NetRatings, an Internet consultancy. “And it remains to be seen whether Claria’s personalization will yield something that much better than the typical home page of today.”

[...] “Claria’s likely to make a lot of people uneasy when they realize how much of their personal life is exposed through their Web surfing,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, an advocacy group.

While other companies are stopping short of asking consumers to expose their complete surfing habits, they are considerably more interested in personalizing their sites for consumers than they were a few years ago, said Michael Strickman, chief technology officer of ChoiceStream, which helps companies like Yahoo, America Online and others personalize the products or content they show to consumers.

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