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December 10, 2007

BusinessWeek Says Subscriptions Are Coming [10:40 pm]

Seems like wishful thinking to me, but I’m old: Stars Are Aligning for Subscription Music

[C]hanging consumer behavior is giving subscription advocates new hope. Members of the Facebook Generation are bombarded with music recommendations every day, and don’t necessarily want to pay a buck to check each one out. And since people are used to getting e-mail, appointments, and news feeds streamed to smartphones and other devices, many industry watchers assume they’ll want the same for music. “If I can access whatever I want whenever I want,” says Ted Cohen, who led EMI’s digital music efforts and now runs an entertainment consultancy called TAG Strategic, “why do I need to own it?”

Don’t miss the comments section

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An ACAP Article [2:07 pm]

Although it takes a while to get there: Paying for Free Web Information

NEWSPAPER publishers and other content producers have a complicated relationship with giant search engines like Google and Yahoo. They simultaneously try to curry favor with these sites, hiring people known as optimizers with magical incantations to make articles show up high on the results pages and drive traffic, all the while grumbling that maybe, perhaps, it isn’t fair for the search engines to make copies of their material — so that it can be searched or appear on aggregation sites like Google News — without compensation.

But few are willing to speak as unambiguously as Samuel Zell, the real estate developer who intends to buy the Tribune Company, did this spring at Stanford University.

“If all of the newspapers in America did not allow Google to steal their content for nothing, what would Google do?” he asked. “We have a situation today where effectively the content is being paid for by the newspapers and stolen by Google, et cetera. That can last for a short time, but it can’t last forever. I think Google and the boys understand that. We’re going to see new deals and new formulas in the media space that reflect the reality of cost benefit.”

[...] The problem for the publishers is that the big search engines are largely happy with the access they have right now. The current system relies on robots.txt, a more-than-decade-old convention that Web sites can use to block automated spiders — computer applications that crawl the Internet indexing Web pages.

But robots.txt is an all-or-nothing proposition. And publishers are in need of a hybrid solution to the fundamental challenge that has come as content has migrated online. Enter ACAP.

[...] If ACAP is intended to be a “a cudgel to force search engines to change their business models,” writes Jonathan Zittrain, an Internet law expert at Oxford University, it “won’t be successful.” Rather, he writes, “if it takes off at all, it will likely be only with a few of its more basic features. That may well be enough for the content publishers.”

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No Matter How You Slice It … [10:14 am]

It still comes up bologna — McConnell heads to the NYTimes op-ed pages to tell us that we just have to have retroactive immunity: Help Me Spy on Al Qaeda

Finally, it is critical for the intelligence community to have liability protection for private parties that are sued only because they are believed to have assisted us after Sept. 11, 2001. Although the Protect America Act provided such necessary protection for those complying with requests made after its enactment, it did not include protection for those that reportedly complied earlier.

The intelligence community cannot go it alone. Those in the private sector who stand by us in times of national security emergencies deserve thanks, not lawsuits. I share the view of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which, after a year of study, concluded that “without retroactive immunity, the private sector might be unwilling to cooperate with lawful government requests in the future,” and warned that “the possible reduction in intelligence that might result from this delay is simply unacceptable for the safety of our nation.”

Actually, the issue is that we WANT our telecommunication companies to stand up to the government when it makes UN-lawful requests. Without liability, why should we expect them to do that?

Later: letters to the editor — Checks and Balances for Our Spies - pdf

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