April 24, 2007

A © Strategy For Developing Countries? [5:07 pm]

Make sure that it’s first world subsidiaries who are penalized? Yahoo China loses music piracy case - pdf

The lawsuit filed by the International Federation of Phonographic Industries accused Yahoo China of violating copyrights because its search engine linked to sites that carried 229 pirated songs. It was filed on behalf of 11 recording companies including Sony BMG, Warner Music, EMI and Universal Vivendi.

“We’re very pleased with the outcome,” said Leong May Seey, Asia regional director for the federation. “We think it is a step in the right direction in creating a legitimate online music service in China.”

[...] Yahoo China said it would appeal and stressed its respect for intellectual property rights.

“We will appeal this decision because we believe Yahoo China’s music search service both meets and exceeds the relevant legal standards for intellectual property protection,” a company statement said. “An important principle is at stake in this case - search engine operators should not be held liable for content posted on third-party Web sites.”

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Perjorative Much? (updated) [1:58 pm]

What an opening line - this is how to characterize fans? Yahoo, Gracenote launch lyrics service - pdf

Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO - news) and digital media company Gracenote launched an online lyrics service on Tuesday, the first industry-backed effort in a market dominated by unauthorized, rogue Web sites.

Later (2007 May 7): Yahoo untangles licensing web for lyrics service - pdf

Yet at Yahoo and elsewhere, lyrics remain a notable omission from digital music files either purchased or acquired through subscription models. Not only do consumers not receive song lyrics with their download, they can’t search for songs by lyrics within Yahoo Music Unlimited or any other digital music service including iTunes.

The cost of including the lyrics to these files — primarily the result of the licensing fee — would either force digital retailers to increase the cost of their service or accept less of an already-thin margin.

But Yahoo and Gracenote say these issues will be resolved over time once publishers begin realizing the added revenue that lyrics bring them. Gracenote CEO Craig Palmer estimates that lyric license fees could result in as much as $100 million in annual revenue within 10 years.

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Reconciling the Irreconcilable [1:08 pm]

One more demonstration of the problems a notion of ownership engenders in this space: Microsoft, Trying to Avoid a European Fine, Defends Demand for Royalties

The legal skirmishes over the European Commission’s antitrust ruling against Microsoft are moving into a fourth year. In its original ruling, the commission ordered Microsoft to sell a version of its Windows operating system without its Windows Media Player. Microsoft did so, but the so-called N version, which sold for the same price as Windows with the Media Player included, was a commercial flop.

Microsoft maintains that the other remedy imposed in the 2004 ruling — that it share its confidential server software code — implied that it could charge royalties.

But competitors say that Microsoft is asking exorbitant fees, discouraging many from designing software to work with Microsoft products. According to its Web site, Microsoft is proposing royalty fees that range from $5.60 to $666.75 a server under a formula that ties the fee level to the revenue generated by any software designed using Microsoft’s information.

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OT: Ya Think George McGovern’s A Little Upset? [9:01 am]

From today’s LATimes: George McGovern: Cheney is wrong about me, wrong about war - pdf

VICE PRESIDENT Dick Cheney recently attacked my 1972 presidential platform and contended that today’s Democratic Party has reverted to the views I advocated in 1972. In a sense, this is a compliment, both to me and the Democratic Party. Cheney intended no such compliment. Instead, he twisted my views and those of my party beyond recognition. [...]

[...] THE VICE PRESIDENT spoke with contempt of my ‘72 campaign, but he might do well to recall that I began that effort with these words: “I make one pledge above all others — to seek and speak the truth.” We made some costly tactical errors after winning the nomination, but I never broke my pledge to speak the truth. That is why I have never felt like a loser since 1972. In contrast, Cheney and Bush have repeatedly lied to the American people.

It is my firm belief that the Cheney-Bush team has committed offenses that are worse than those that drove Nixon, Vice President Spiro Agnew and Atty. Gen. John Mitchell from office after 1972. Indeed, as their repeated violations of the Constitution and federal statutes, as well as their repudiation of international law, come under increased consideration, I expect to see Cheney and Bush forced to resign their offices before 2008 is over.

Aside from a growing list of impeachable offenses, the vice president has demonstrated his ignorance of foreign policy by attacking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for visiting Syria. Apparently he thinks it is wrong to visit important Middle East states that sometimes disagree with us. [...]

[...] We, of course, already know that when Cheney endorses a war, he exempts himself from participation. On second thought, maybe it’s wise to keep Cheney off the battlefield — he might end up shooting his comrades rather than the enemy.

On a more serious note, instead of listening to the foolishness of the neoconservative ideologues, the Cheney-Bush team might better heed the words of a real conservative, Edmund Burke: “A conscientious man would be cautious how he dealt in blood.”

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LATimes on Morissette’s YouTube Entry [8:41 am]

Working the system; sending a message; establishing cred? Satire busts a humppdf

At first glance, it simply looks like another pass-along parody, a takeoff on the original “My Humps” hit by the Black Eyed Peas. But Morissette’s video is armed with a provocative subtext that has people abuzz with debate. It’s a fascinating piece of video art, an inspired combination of satire, social criticism and career reinvention that is a signature artifact of today’s viral Web culture.

On one level, “My Humps” is a commentary on dim-bulb pop. The Black Eyed Peas’ “My Humps,” though a huge smash, was widely mocked for its vapid, suggestive lyrics. (Sample: “The boys they wanna sex me, they always standing next to me, always dancing next to me, tryin’ a feel my hump, hump.”) The video, featuring Fergie, the group’s lead singer, was, if possible, even tawdrier. Full of nonstop teasing and thrusting, it’s the kind of hip-hop booty porn that would make great torture material for Muslim prisoners at our Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

Dressing herself Fergie-style, with baubles and bling, surrounded by black-clad male dancers, Morissette retained the original’s visual sluttiness but replaced the Peas’ thumping rhythm track with a pensive solo piano. By removing the intoxicating bass line and clearly enunciating the crass lyrics, she gave the song’s sexpot swagger a new tone of sadness and desperation while simultaneously parodying her own artistic tendencies toward self-absorbed angst.

It’s a striking performance, functioning as both social criticism and self-criticism. It also has given an instant shot of street cred to Morissette, whose career had slid downhill after her incandescent debut in 1995 with “Jagged Little Pill.” Stereotyped as an earnest navel gazer — one blogger recently dismissed her as an “emo-feminist” — she suddenly has fans seeing her through fresh eyes.

[...] Morissette has followed the model once practiced by Bob Dylan, who in his ’60s heyday refused to explicate anything, bobbing and weaving in interviews, baffling the MSM of the day with a fog of evasions, sly jokes and put-ons.

Unlike Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and Fergie, who can’t stop blabbing about their various addictions, pet causes and loser lovers, Morissette has greeted all “My Humps” interview requests with a vow of silence.

Then, we are suddenly talking about FoxAttacks.com. Not that I don’t see a connection, but it’s not at all clear that it’s *the* connection that I would make.

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