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September 18, 2006

YouTube Moves Up [1:48 pm]

YouTube signs partnership with Warner Music - pdf

YouTube, which has over 100 million videos viewed everyday, and Warner Music, the fourth biggest record company, said on Monday the pact would help Warner distribute music videos, behind-the-scenes footage, artist interviews and original programming.

The companies said YouTube users would also be able to incorporate music from Warner’s catalog into the videos they create and upload.

Music videos belonging to Warner Music and other record companies are regularly uploaded to YouTube by its users but usually without permission from the labels.

Related: Online music business model questioned - pdf

Only one in five European iPod owners regularly buys songs online, new research shows, a signal that the music industry will need to rely more heavily on other ways to recover revenue lost to piracy and illegal downloading.

Later: Warner Music Makes Licensing Deal With YouTube; WaPo Warner Announces Deal With YouTube

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The Beginnings Of A Workable Dialog? [7:53 am]

Or just one more bump on the way to total information awareness? Hewlett Review Is Said to Detail Deeper Spying

The revelations at Hewlett-Packard, the computer and printer maker that helped define Silicon Valley, have provided a rare glimpse of boardroom turmoil — resulting in Ms. Dunn’s agreement to step down as chairwoman in January, and two resignations from the board.

But they have also cast a harsh light on the questionable and possibly illegal techniques used in the episode, raising the possibility of criminal charges.

The account of those briefed on Hewlett-Packard’s review of the matter sheds new light on the scope and timing of the investigative methods, establishing that invasive and possibly illegal techniques were used far earlier than previously known and that the company’s chief ethics officer was among those providing supervision.

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The Avatar Push [7:51 am]

Games? Escapes? Entertainment? Market channels? What does it look like to you? The continuing search for ways to learn as much as possible about a consumer before targeting products and marketing messages. Not in the Real World Anymore

At MTV, reality has always been a moving target. [...]

Now the cable channel aims to push the boundaries of false reality one step further. This week, MTV will introduce Virtual Laguna Beach, an online service in which fans of the program can immerse themselves — or at least can immerse digitized, three-dimensional characters, called avatars, that they control — in virtual versions of the show’s familiar seaside hangouts.

“You can not only watch TV, but now you can actually live it,” Van Toffler, the president of the MTV Networks Music, Film and Logo Group, said in an interview.

Wednesday’s introduction of Virtual Laguna Beach is the first of three virtual worlds that MTV plans over the next year as part of an effort to steal a march on popular Web sites like MySpace and YouTube that have diverted the attention of the MTV audience. [...]

While avatars and virtual communities are a puzzling concept to many people over, say, 35, they are old hat to players of video games and to young people accustomed to revealing details of their lives online through social networking Web sites. Avatar-based social Web sites like Sims Online, Second Life and There.com have attracted hundreds of thousands of users.

They are not so much games as three-dimensional chat rooms where you can simulate just about anything else that can be done in the — pardon the expression — real world.

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NYTimes Looks At Baidu [7:46 am]

How much “compromise” is needed to “lock-in?” And who’s got the stomach for it? The Rise of Baidu (That’s Chinese for Google)

But Baidu’s evolution, and Mr. Li’s journey as an entrepreneur, offer textbook examples of the payoffs and perils of doing business in China and suggest that Baidu may prove to be far more resilient than some analysts believe. China has a population of 1.3 billion, about 130 million of whom are Internet users, an online market second in size only to the American market. Because China is the world’s fastest-growing major economy, analysts consider it the next great Internet battleground, with Baidu uniquely positioned to prosper from that competition.

In exchange for letting censors oversee its Web site, Baidu has sealed its dominance with support from the Chinese government, which regularly blocks Google here and imposes strict rules and censorship on other foreign Internet companies.

In addition, analysts say, entrepreneurs in China have a knack for pummeling American Internet giants. “The globally dominant U.S. Internet companies have failed to take the No. 1 market share position in any category,” says Jason D. Brueschke, a Citigroup analyst, of the Chinese market. “And they came with more money and major brand names. And so there’s something fundamentally different about this market.”

So fundamentally different, Mr. Brueschke believes, that Baidu will retain its hammerlock on the Chinese search industry. “The real battle in the competitive landscape is not about who’s No. 1, it’s about who’s going to be No. 2,” he says.

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A Look At The Internet-Enabled Chinese Voice [7:41 am]

A New, Computer-Generated Voice - pdf

With every passing year, Chinese are increasingly expecting freer information from varied sources and with less government spin, to the consternation of a Communist Party that has long been reliant on an information monopoly to bolster its political monopoly.

The growing appreciation among young Chinese for unfettered news — and their ability to convey their opinions rapidly across cyberspace — is a key reason why Beijing will ultimately lose the information war, analysts say, even if it wins some near-term battles.

[...] “I have to say, it’s very impressive how they work to control the Internet,” said Lucie Morillon, Washington representative with Reporters Without Borders, a media rights group.

Increasingly, however, Beijing ends up looking silly and churlish in the process, some add. Last year, when the state-run China Youth Daily quietly enacted a reporter bonus system based on how much praise articles received from government officials, the editor of the newspaper’s popular supplement Freezing Point posted a protest on the company’s internal computer network.

Within hours, details of the plan were all over the Internet, prompting a red-faced Propaganda Department to scramble to purge all website references. The damage was done, however, and the agency was forced to drop its plan.

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A Couple of Pointers [7:32 am]

From an interested reader:

  • First, a pointer to Royal Society Publishing, which is offering the Royal Society archives, back to 1665. The hitch? The archives are generally available only until December. Information, marketed like other addictive habits — “the first taste is free.”

    Nearly three and a half centuries of scientific study and achievement is now available online in the Royal Society Journals Digital Archive following its official launch this week. This is the longest-running and arguably most influential journal archive in Science, including all the back articles of both Philosophical Transactions and Proceedings.

    For the first time the Archive provides online access to all journal content, from Volume One, Issue One in March 1665 until the latest modern research published today ahead of print. And until December the archive is freely available to anyone on the internet to explore.

    A critique: Lilliputians encircle the Gulliver of IPR: Part 1, The Royal Society

  • A second tale: the New Zealand State Services Commission releases their DRM policies, with a notable twist:

    The State Services Commission released a set of policies advising government departments how to use digital rights management (DRM) - under which only certain software can open certain files - as well as Trusted Computing, which embeds technology in hardware to make information on it harder to view, steal or alter.

    DRM is commonly used to impose restrictions on media files to prevent “piracy” of films and music, but can apply to any proprietary file formats that can only be read by certain software. Trusted Computing is a concept involving several technologies promoted by a group of industry heavyweights that include AMD, Microsoft, HP and IBM.

    The SSC wants to ensure government agencies can always access their own information. It says government agencies must not use DRM or Trusted Computing unless there’s a clear business reason to do so.

    They also call for an independent agency - probably Archives New Zealand - to hold “master keys” to all tools that government agencies applied to restrict access to documents. This would let it strip DRM protection from documents to regain control of the information in them if it needed to.

    Without a master key, the SSC fears the Government might not be able to access documents if software companies went bust, refused to support older versions of their products, or got into a dispute with the Government.

    The policies also ensure digital restrictions used by the Government don’t violate citizen’s privacy rights.

    Find the policy document here: Trusted Computing and Digital Rights Management Principles & Policies; local copy

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