2003 April 17

(entry last updated: 2003-04-17 13:31:14)

  • Ed Felton’s posted his thoughts on the Blackboard lawsuit to block a conference presentation last week.

  • And Ed’s Slashdot interview has been posted: Princeton CS Prof Edward W. Felten (Almost) Live

  • D&M Holdings (makers of Denon and Marantz hardware) get ReplayTV and Rio for $36.2 million. Now what? D&M’s press release says:

    D&M Holdings is purchasing inventory, receivables, intellectual property and capital equipment. The company will also take over selected contractual relationships and liabilities. D&M Holdings intends to keep all ReplayTV customers and will design, manufacture and distribute a line of ReplayTV and Rio products.

    …D&M Holdings also announced plans to establish a new digital development group under D&M Holdings U.S., Inc. The business assets purchased from SONICblue will be merged into this new digital development group. The new subsidiary, Digital Networks North America, Inc. (DNNA), will drive the strategy and develop the core technologies that will enable the brands within D&M Holdings to become the leaders in the emerging entertainment-based home networking market.

  • Donna’s moved to Diane Cabell’s copyfight.org (Dotster’s Whois Lookup)

  • Wired covers a complex issue for National Geographic: is a CDROM archive the same as a microfiche/microfilm archive? And, if not, how to compensate copyright holders? The fact that many news organs have specifically revised their freelance contracts to include digital rights ownership puts the Society in a difficult position.

  • LATimes, April 8: Disney Plans to Be on Digital Frontier

  • Mark Mulligan’s comments on the IFPI press release describing the decline in music sales is well-thought-out.

    So what does it all mean?

    Well, it really just tells us what we already know. The CD replacement has clearly come to an end and the music industry is entering a period of readjustment during which it is going to have find it’s true scale in the face of increasing competition for leisure expenditure from computer games and DVDs etc etc. Piracy has also played a significant role. It is no coincidence that Germany suffered such a steep decline and is also flooded with counterfeit CDs from the old Eastern bloc countries. Physical CD piracy is a truly global problem and will not be brought under control whilst there is such over capacity of CD production in so many countries.

    Online piracy also played a role, though a far lesser one: don’t forget only 37% of Europeans are Internet Users, of which just 18% use file sharing networks regularly. But, as I’ve said many times before, the real impact of file sharing is not yet being felt. It will only really hit when the young music fans who are file sharing now reach the age when they would be expect to be spending significant money on CDs. That is when the music industry may find that its core constituency has disappeared and when an 8% decline may sound like good news.

  • I think I missed this one: Free content: why not? – a provocative argument around distribution economics.

  • A followup to the Apple/Vivendi speculations: Will Apple’s Rip-Mix-Burn Tune Change?

  • Slashdot picks up this article from the Sydney Morning Herald about a DRM system from IPR Systems that has been adopted by some of the big 3G mobile phone producers.

  • The Register picks up a piece from the Baltimore Sun about the penalties levied against the Naval cadets whose computers were confiscated last year because of potential copyright infringement. The punishments were relatively mild, and certainly not consistent with the notions of "theft" that are frequently bandied about in such cases. However,

    In an effort to curb the midshipmen’s music consumption, the Naval Academy has decided to cut back on the dormitory bandwidth and install software to restrict file sharing.