The Pirate’s Dilemma

April 9, 2008

The Pirates Dilemma
This is an absolutely brilliant video.

Matt Mason, author of The Pirate’s Dilemma – How Youth Culture is Reinventing Capitalism at the Medici Summit last month, discussing that the only useful way to compete against piracy is to adopt the pirates’ marketing strategy.

The money quote — “If throwing lawsuits at your fans becomes a core component of your business model, you no longer have a good business model. Unless you’re a lawyer.”

The Pirate’s Dilemma – How Youth Culture is Reinventing Capitalism

Kindle First Impressions

February 1, 2008

My Kindle arrived last night, and I’ve had just enough time with it to form some early impressions.


Yes, the thing is butt ugly. It badly needs a pass through Apple’s industrial design group. Or even Dell’s. But that’s okay, it’s early days, and you buy it to read ebooks, not look cool. That’s why you have the iPhone.

I’m a little more concerned about the build quality — the buttons, particularly the Previous/Next/Back paddle buttons, feel a little fragile. I’m not sure if they are, but I’m a little nervous about how many times I’m going to click them before they stop responding.

Worse, you can’t avoid the things. Between the big navigation buttons, and the keyboard, there is very little room to grab or hold the unit without hitting a button.

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Unleaded DRM

April 3, 2007

No DRMI’m already tired of hearing people bitch about the new iTunes Store / EMI deal to offer DRM-free music. The typical whine is about paying $0.30 more for them not to put DRM on the music.

Get a grip, folks — for your $0.30, you also get a reasonable sampling rate (256Kb/s AAC – double the old rate — is awfully close to CD quality), and if you don’t want to buy ala carte, the whole album (without DRM, at 256Kb/s) is the same price as the old DRM’d up one.

Besides, it’s not like they don’t know you’ll go for it — how much extra money did you pay the oil companies to not put lead in your gasoline? And they didn’t even include a feature that was two times better than an old one.

[tags]iTMS, DRM, Big Oil, Apple, EMI[/tags]

SXSW 2007 Music Torrent

February 24, 2007

The good folks at this year’s South by Southwest festival have been kind enough to once again put up a Showcasing Artists torrent.

Weighing in at 3.1 gig with a massive 739 totally DRM-free MP3s, this may not be quite as good as being there, but it’s a damn site better than not hearing it at all.

Hurray for SXSW for once again demonstrating how to do this kind of thing right!

(via TorrentFreak)

iTunes, Fairplay & The Long Game of Steve Jobs

February 9, 2007

In the wake of Steve Jobs’ Thoughts on Music, there has been a lot of speculation as to what it means that Jobs — who fathered the most extensively used Digital Rights Management system in the world (Fairplay) – is calling for the end of DRM.

Wired’s Cult of Mac sums up some of more intriguing thoughts here, speculating that just as the iTunes Music Store “One contract fits all” approach managed to build the world’s largest digital music store, with DRM on all music (whether requested by the owners or not), the same leverage could now be applied to force all of the participants to leave DRM behind, or lose access to their only growth market.

Is it really possible that this has been Jobs’ “Long Game” all this time? That Apple embraced DRM only to get it to hold still long enough to drive a stake through its heart?
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Courtney Love’s Manifesto

December 24, 2005

Okay, so maybe she’s not always appeared to be the sharpest tool in the shed, but Courtney Love has figured out the problem with the recording industry’s games, she’s not planning on taking it any more, and not surprisingly, she’s not going to go quietly.

Courtney Love Does The Math

I want to work with people who believe in music and art and passion. And I’m just the tip of the iceberg. I’m leaving the major label system and there are hundreds of artists who are going to follow me. There’s an unbelievable opportunity for new companies that dare to get it right.

How can anyone defend the current system when it fails to deliver music to so many potential fans? That only expects of itself a “5 percent success rate” a year? The status quo gives us a boring culture. In a society of over 300 million people, only 30 new artists a year sell a million records. By any measure, that’s a huge failure.

Maybe each fan will spend less money, but maybe each artist will have a better chance of making a living. Maybe our culture will get more interesting than the one currently owned by Time Warner. I’m not crazy. Ask yourself, are any of you somehow connected to Time Warner media? I think there are a lot of yeses to that and I’d have to say that in that case president McKinley truly failed to bust any trusts. Maybe we can remedy that now.

The Hole thing (sorry) is really quite well thought out and well written.  Do yourself a favor and go read it — and pass it on.

CableCARD and DRM

November 21, 2005

While I’m thrilled to see Microsoft’s announcement of CableCARD support coming to Windows Media Center next year, I still get a little nervous as to how all of the digital rights managment issues are going to work out.

‘Cuz things aren’t exactly rosy on the CableCARD front, even without involving DVRs.

For example, check out this thread over on the AVSForum’s Plasma and LCD forum:

Panasonic Policy prohibiting digital audio out with Cable Card?

The upshot of it is that owners of Panasonic plasma TVs with CableCARD support are finding that their digital audio output is disabled whenever the cable company sets a flag indicating that a channel contains “high value” content — basically, any time you’re viewing anything other than locals.
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Media Center Edition to support CableCARD

November 17, 2005

Speaking of recording premium HD content…

Thomas Hawk has the scoop — Microsoft has just announced CableCARD support in Media Center PCs — by “Holiday 2006 time frame”.

REDMOND, Wash. and LOUISVILLE, Colo., Nov. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Microsoft Corp. and Cable Television Laboratories Inc. (CableLabs(R)) today announced they have reached an agreement that will allow Microsoft and PC manufacturers to bring to market digital-cable-ready Windows(R) Media Center-based PCs in the holiday 2006 time frame.

These Media Center PCs, capable of supporting a CableCARD(TM) module, will allow consumers to enjoy one-way cable programming, including premium high-definition cable content, on their personal computer and throughout the home on compliant network-connected devices, such as Xbox 360(TM), while protecting cable operators’ investments in high-value content in a digital environment. Microsoft is working closely with CableLabs to document final approval of Windows Media(R) Digital Rights Management (DRM) as a content protection technology for OpenCable(TM) products that receive one-way cable content under the terms of this agreement.

This is great news, and has the potential to put Media Center over the top in DVR capabilities, but even outside of the lengthy wait (a lot can happen over a year), there are a few things about this that concern me.
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How-To Fix MCE 2005 Restricted Content Problem

November 8, 2005

I’ve had a problem since shortly after re-installing my MCE 2005 system (complete with update rollup 2). Although everything was working fine at first, a few days later I wanted to view a DivX clip from Windows, outside of MCE.

I installed a DivX codec (in fact, I installed FFDShow, since it included several codecs I wanted and it has a fairly low processor overhead in the configuration I needed; I was careful to insure that it wasn’t installed for any of the MS formats), and attempted to launch Windows Media Player.

Since this was the first time I’d run it on this system, it led me through all of the initial configuration questions and then came back and said “Media Player 9 is not installed correctly” (I have no idea why it wasn’t v. 10), and asked me if I wanted to download a fresh copy and install it.
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First Look at (5G) Video iPod

October 13, 2005

Video iPodiLounge has up a pretty detailed first look at the new “Fifth Generation” Video iPod.

Here’s my take…

As per usual for newly announced Apple products, my drool factor for this thing is awfully high, but also as per usual, it’s a real mixed bag of an announcement.

On the upside, it’s an iPod, so of course it’s sleek and sexy. It’s thinner, it has a bigger screen, it’s available in black (without U2 even), it (predictably) came in at the previous generation’s price point. And hey, it has video!
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