July 18, 2008

YouTube and Product Promotion [8:06 am]

Advertising - Remember ‘2 All-Beef Patties?’ McDonald’s Hopes You Do

The year was 1974: gas prices were high, inflation was rampant and an unpopular Republican occupied the White House. McDonald’s introduced a spirit-lifting jingle: “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame-seed bun.”

Now it is 2008, and McDonald’s is reviving it as a TV commercial. The company has asked consumers to write their own songs using the exact words of the jingle, and submit them to a contest on MySpace.com. The official reason is this year’s 40th anniversary of the Big Mac, but the then-and-now cultural similarities are not entirely lost on the company.

[...] But today the McDonald’s channel of choice is a social networking site geared to people who were not yet born in 1974. Nevertheless, nearly 1,000 songs have been submitted, and judges have selected five finalists. The public has been invited to vote, and a winner will be announced Tuesday. In keeping with the tone of today’s economy, the winner won’t get any cash, but his or her song will be featured in a commercial later this month.

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Bratz Verdict In [8:02 am]

Designer created Bratz while at Mattel, jury says (pdf)

Mattel Inc., maker of the Barbie doll, won a jury verdict concluding a former employee made original drawings of MGA Entertainment Inc.’s Bratz dolls while working at Mattel.

A federal jury in Riverside, Calif., agreed yesterday that designer Carter Bryant made most of the first sketches of the pouty Bratz characters while he was employed by Mattel in 1999 and 2000. The verdict might clear the way for Mattel to seek damages for copyright infringement.

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BitTorrent and Textbooks [7:56 am]

Textbooks, free and illegal, online (pdf)

Faced with soaring prices for textbooks, cash-strapped students have discovered a tempting, effective, but illicit alternative - pirated electronic books, available for free over the Internet.

“We think its a significant problem,” said William Sampson, manager of infringement and antipiracy at Cengage Learning Inc., a reference book publisher in Farmington Hills, Mich. Sampson said that in any given month, 200 to 300 of the companys titles are posted illegally as free Internet downloads. Distributing books for free without permission violates copyright laws and deprives publishers of revenue.

Its not just textbooks that are being downloaded improperly. Ed McCoyd, director of digital policy at the Association of American Publishers in New York, said a survey in May located about 1,100 titles available illegally online, including novels and books on current events.

But textbook piracy is particularly seductive, McCoyd said, because students are often hard-pressed to pay for academic books that can cost more than $100, three times the price of most other books.

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