Chilling Effects

The Nutjob gets what the Nutjob wants: Gibson bans Danish Braveheart beerpdf

Mel Gibson has succeeded in banning a beer from a small Danish brewery, because it was called Braveheart – the same name of his 1995 Oscar-winning movie.

The Hollywood star was angry the beer from Midtfyns Bryghus was called Braveheart, and even threatened to sue for the brewery’s use of the name.

[…] [The brewery owner] says, “I was certain I had a good case against those big guys in Hollywood, but evidently it wasn’t enough.

Albums and Apple

Apple gets behind the album format with new offerpdf

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL – news) is throwing its weight behind the music industry’s efforts to protect the album format by allowing fans to buy complete digital albums without having to pay again for songs they already own.

[…] Apple said on Thursday iTunes is introducing a “Complete My Album” service that offers customers who want to turn individual tracks into an album a 99-cent credit for every song they have already purchased from the album.

For example, if a customer had bought three 99-cent singles and decides to download the entire album with a listed price of $9.99, the customer would only have to pay $7.02.

Fans will only be able to take advantage of the discount within 180 days after first buying the songs, Apple said.

Web Radio — You Listen, But Who’s Watching

Is CRM coming to popular culture? Does American Idol discover real artists? A look at what a blend of radio and the Internet can be: A Radio Station Just for You

At signup, the service asks users to download software — available for Macs and PCs — that tracks the music playing on your computer. The song-counting process, called “scrobbling” by Last.fm’s chief software developer, lets the company observe shifts in popularity, spot unexpected correlations between songs, and even discover new artists — or new tracks by known artists.

To date, Last.fm has “scrobbled” 65 million tracks by 8 million artists, in just about every country in the world. As with Pandora, you can identify songs you love, which helps to tailor your radio experience. The result is a stream of music that, statistically speaking, you ought to enjoy.

[…] The royalty issue is explicitly why services like Soundflavor, Goombah and Mog don’t offer true streaming radio. Soundflavor DJ, a free player available at www.soundflavor.com, uses a collaborative filtering technique, but instead of streaming new songs, it lets you cue up songs on iTunes or Windows Media Player, then takes over D.J. responsibility, matching your initial choices with other tracks from your own collection. It is especially effective if you have a library with thousands of tracks. After every few songs, Soundflavor offers you a free track download from an independent artist, or the opportunity to buy a song that its filter suggests you might like.

CD == Dead?

If the CD is dead, why are so many companies going into the CD business?

What we are witnessing is not so much the imminent death of CDs but the death of the old methods of selling CDs. It’s still possible to make money in the CD business—any business with more than $7 billion in retail sales should allow someone, somewhere, to make a profit. The incumbents are getting killed, but upstarts are thriving, using different methods.

Legacy music retailers and manufacturers now face many of the same difficulties as American auto companies. They built a business infrastructure—national chains, huge outlets in high-profile locations, layers of management—predicated on selling massive and growing quantities of CDs for $15.99 and up. Like the American automakers, they found that new competition—from iTunes, file-sharing, and online retailers—severely cut into their margins, their market share, and their pricing power. In such an environment, companies with significant capital invested in stores and substantial overhead costs get destroyed. And as they fail, they do so loudly, inspiring widespread pessimism.

Yet the new rules open opportunities for upstarts who approach the business of making and marketing CDs in a fundamentally different way. […]

On, and On, and On and ….

Historians lose “Da Vinci Code” plagiarism appealpdf

Two historians lost another legal battle in British courts on Wednesday over claims that author Dan Brown plagiarized their ideas for his blockbuster novel “The Da Vinci Code.”

[…] In the appeal, their lawyers argued that the High Court judge, Mr Justice Smith, who controversially wrote a secret code of his own into his 71-page judgment [local copy], had misunderstood the law and the basis of their claims.

Also Da Vinci Code appeal is dismissed

Participation in Entertainment Decisions

Adjusting to a new way of doing things: Network fear of the Net as copilotpdf

THE Internet is giving Hollywood a nervous breakdown.

Way, way back in prehistory — let’s say, 2004 — if you made a TV pilot and the network didn’t pick it up, the judge’s decision was final.

But now you have a savior, an ally, a friend with millions of other friends. You have YouTube.

[…] Did Comedy Central blow the call? See for yourself. The entire pilot, in three segments, was posted on YouTube several weeks ago. (To watch, go to YouTube and type in “Three Strikes.”) Whether it is still there after this column appears is another issue, since Viacom, which owns Comedy Central, is suing YouTube’s parent company and has pulled all its shows from the site.

Participation in Entertainment Decisions

Adjusting to a new way of doing things: Network fear of the Net as copilotpdf

THE Internet is giving Hollywood a nervous breakdown.

Way, way back in prehistory — let’s say, 2004 — if you made a TV pilot and the network didn’t pick it up, the judge’s decision was final.

But now you have a savior, an ally, a friend with millions of other friends. You have YouTube.

LATimes Editorial on the Cablevision © Suit

Court can’t see Cablevision for what it ispdf

THE SUPREME COURT ruled more than 20 years ago that recording TV shows on your VCR is legal. Nowadays, technology allows your cable company to essentially keep those shows on its VCR, not yours. Yet a federal court has ruled that this system violates copyright law.

What’s the difference? This is not a case of technology changing behavior. It’s a case of the law failing to adjust to new technology.

See earlier A Replay of the MP3.com Fight

Sleeping Well?

And you thought you should be worrying about identity theft: Terror Database Has Quadrupled In Four Yearspdf

Each day, thousands of pieces of intelligence information from around the world — field reports, captured documents, news from foreign allies and sometimes idle gossip — arrive in a computer-filled office in McLean, where analysts feed them into the nation’s central list of terrorists and terrorism suspects.

Called TIDE, for Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, the list is a storehouse for data about individuals that the intelligence community believes might harm the United States. It is the wellspring for watch lists distributed to airlines, law enforcement, border posts and U.S. consulates, created to close one of the key intelligence gaps revealed after Sept. 11, 2001: the failure of federal agencies to share what they knew about al-Qaeda operatives.

But in addressing one problem, TIDE has spawned others. Ballooning from fewer than 100,000 files in 2003 to about 435,000, the growing database threatens to overwhelm the people who manage it. “The single biggest worry that I have is long-term quality control,” said Russ Travers, in charge of TIDE at the National Counterterrorism Center in McLean. “Where am I going to be, where is my successor going to be, five years down the road?”

TIDE has also created concerns about secrecy, errors and privacy. The list marks the first time foreigners and U.S. citizens are combined in an intelligence database. The bar for inclusion is low, and once someone is on the list, it is virtually impossible to get off it. At any stage, the process can lead to “horror stories” of mixed-up names and unconfirmed information, Travers acknowledged.