EU © Fee Overhaul Scrapped

EU abandons plans to overhaul copyright levies

In a surprise move, the European Commission said Wednesday it is shelving plans to overhaul Europe’s rules on copyright fees, after intense lobbying from France and from groups representing artists and authors.

[…] The Commission wanted to harmonize the rules and scrap levies on most hardware. Its aim was to reduce the fees, which in some cases increase the price of goods dramatically.

[…] The Commission has been planning to harmonize copyright levies across the E.U. since 2000. Since then the case for scrapping most levies has grown stronger. Digital rights management software, which allows copyright owners to track the copying of their works, has become commonplace.

The Commission’s climb down sparked an angry reaction from the companies and industry groups pushing for a change to the system.

Leahy Speech at Georgetown

Ensuring Liberty And Security Through Checks And Balances: A Fresh Start For the Senate Judiciary Committee In The New 110th Congress

Americans’ privacy is a price the Bush Administration is willing to pay for the cavalier way it is spawning new databanks. But privacy rights belong to the people, not to the government. They need to stop treating the privacy of ordinary Americans as an expendable commodity.

When it comes to protecting Americans’ privacy, what we have today are analog rules in a digital world. We are way overdue in catching up to the erosion of privacy, and the Judiciary Committee now will help to bring this picture into focus. This will be one of our highest priorities.

[…] New and improved technologies make data banks and data mining more powerful and more useful than they have ever been before. They can be important tools in our national security arsenal, and we should use them in an effective way. But data banks are ripe for abuse and prone to mistakes without proper safeguards. A mistake can cost Americans their jobs and wreak havoc in their lives and reputations that can take years to repair. Mistakes on government watch lists have become legendary in recent years and would be comical if not a tragic reflection of dangerous government incompetence. Not only do we need checks and balances to keep government data bases from being misused against the American people, that is what the Constitution and our laws require.

One Time Collapse? Or A Harbinger Of Something Else?

Apples iTunes music sales collapses in H1: survey

Since January 2006 the number of monthly iTunes transactions has declined 58 percent, while the average size per purcahse declined by 17 percent, leading to a 65-percent overall drop in monthly iTunes revenue, U.S. market research group Forrester said in a survey among North American consumers.

“It is too soon to tell if this decline was seasonal or if buyers were reaching their saturation level for digital music,” Forrester said in the report that was published to its clients last week, and made available to Reuters on Wednesday.

A Second Life Push for IBM Marketing

Note that Wladawski-Berger is a visiting professor here at MIT/ESD. IBM to open islands in virtual worldpdf

IBM Corp. is launching an ambitious marketing campaign in the hip virtual world “Second Life.”

Big Blue has developed 12 “virtual islands,” and most will be open to anyone with a Second Life account starting next week. Other areas will remain private haunts for about 800 IBM employees — including the CEO — who have cyber alter-egos.

[…] IBM’s chief technologist, Dr. Irving Wladawsky-Berger, acknowledged Tuesday that virtual-world business is the “experimental stage.” Big Blue doesn’t expect to generate a profit in Second Life soon.

But the medium is promising — particularly for training and orientation sessions for Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM, which has 330,000 workers worldwide. Two in every five IBM employees work offsite part- or full-time, and it’d be vastly easier to host a virtual meeting than to assemble hundreds of salespeople or engineers in a physical conference room.

The technology is particularly suited to online education — not only for executives but for kids, Wladawsky-Berger mused.

Later: Clay Shirkey sounds a note of skepticism – A story too good to check

Much later: An NYTimes year-end roundup of digital advertising trends – The Crystal Ball: What’s Ahead in Ads