January 26, 2007

Is This What They Mean By “Mindshare?” [1:59 pm]

And what’s that worth, exactly? I guess we’ll get to find out: Popularity of Web brands signals power shift - pdf

A consumer poll on Friday exposed the worst kept secret in the business world: Internet companies are becoming more important to people than firms that operate in the real world.

[...] Visitors of technology and telecoms tradeshows, for instance, may be forgiven for thinking that photo-sharing site Flickr, blogging software firm Vox, Internet calling service Skype and YouTube are multibillion dollar companies, because no company from the old world announces anything without them.

[...] “All innovation is coming from the edge of the Internet,” said James Enck, an analyst at Daiwa Securities, referring to the Web sites which offer services online.

[...] John Chambers, the chief executive of Cisco (founded in 1984) which is the biggest plumber of the Internet, calculated that in four years time 20 families will generate as much Internet traffic as the entire world in 1995.

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Confirmation of HD DVD “Crack” Claim [9:26 am]

The earlier claims seems to have been confirmed that it has been possible to capture so-called “title keys:” Hackers find key to DVD piracy - pdf

Hackers have defeated the core means for protecting the medium seen by Hollywood as a major new source of revenue as growth of traditional DVDs has slowed.

An underground programmer this month released code on the Internet that would free some high-definition DVD movies from their digital handcuffs if a consumer also had a software key for that particular video.

On Thursday, backers of the anti-piracy technology confirmed that those keys were being posted on the Internet. Late in the day, keys for 35 titles, including “King Kong” and “World Trade Center,” were available.

“Such unauthorized disclosures indicate an attack on one or more” of the high-end video players that use the anti-piracy technology known as AACS, for Advanced Access Content System, according to the website of the consortium of home-electronics, technology and entertainment companies backing the encryption system.

[...] An executive at one of the member companies involved in the decision-making said the group might deactivate the model of player used in the hacking.

Although such a move would make life difficult for consumers and manufacturers, most studios have “grave concern that content is being unencrypted,” said the executive, who asked that his name not be used because the group had not reached a decision on what action to take.

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The Passing of a Famous Name [8:48 am]

EMI Merging Record Labels and Ousting Capitol’s President

In the United States, the world’s biggest music market, the cutback is expected to represent the effective end of Capitol as a stand-alone label, though EMI will continue to occupy its offices, a famed cylindrical tower that opened its doors in Hollywood in 1956.

As usual, the LATimes coverage (pdf) has a little more “inside baseball:”

But Art Alexakis, singer of the band Everclear, which has been on the Capitol roster since the 1990s, said he believed that the move signaled EMI would be on the sales block soon.

“I think really it’s no secret that they’re bringing in people to get the place in shape so that they can sell it,” Alexakis said. “The only way to make it look profitable on paper is to downsize. The heyday of the entire music business looks to be long gone, and so I think now you see companies trying to figure out what’s next.”

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It’s Just Hard To Believe This Is Going To Turn Out Well [8:41 am]

But at least there’s hope: Secrecy Is at Issue in Suits Opposing Spy Program

The Bush administration has employed extraordinary secrecy in defending the National Security Agency’s highly classified domestic surveillance program from civil lawsuits. Plaintiffs and judges’ clerks cannot see its secret filings. Judges have to make appointments to review them and are not allowed to keep copies.

Judges have even been instructed to use computers provided by the Justice Department to compose their decisions.

But now the procedures have started to meet resistance. At a private meeting with the lawyers in one of the cases this month, the judges who will hear the first appeal next week expressed uneasiness about the procedures, said a lawyer who attended, Ann Beeson of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Lawyers suing the government and some legal scholars say the procedures threaten the separation of powers, the adversary system and the lawyer-client privilege.

Later: The Bait-and-Switch White House

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