Posted in CES, Content Redistribution, Copyright, DRM, iPod/iTunes, Music, Oregonian, Piracy, Politics, Privacy, RIAA, Technology, VHS/Betamax, tagged CES, downloading, Music, RIAA on January 2, 2008|
Just days before the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) where legendary musicians and the buzz of new product introductions will showcase how consumers manage and enjoy their digital media “everywhere”, the Washington Post is reporting that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has a federal case against Jeffrey Howell, an AZ, man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer. RIAA maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.
Huh? It’s illegal to transfer CDs to a computer? I thought court rulings over the last 20 years have found no violation of copyright law in the use of VCRs and other devices to time-shift TV programs; that is, to make personal copies for the purpose of making portable a legally obtained recording?
Who is RIAA? It’s an organization that represents the major recording labels in the USA. These labels pay multi-millions of dollars for this representation and since RIAA is based in Washington, DC., they act as an industry lobbyist, literally. They often urge, cajole or otherwise influence Congress to take their side in the “battle” against “music piracy.” I’m not sure who would visit, but the RIAA even ran a Holiday Anti-Piracy Campaign message streaming across its web site offering tips on “avoiding pirate products.”
And northwest news the Oregon State Attorney General and the University of Oregon are being assaulted by RIAA’s tactics. RIAA subpoenaed the University asking it to turn over the names of students that it suspected of making copyrighted material available to file sharers. Note the keyword here is suspected. While no one would disagree that it’s appropriate for victims of copyright infringement to pursue statutory remedies, shouldn’t that pursuit be tempered by basic rights of privacy and due process?
Typically RIAA harassment comes in the form of a pre-litigation letter to “suspects” they believe are guilty file sharers. There is even a credit card payment link – p2plawsuits.com where these so called “suspects” that receive the pre-litigation letters can drop off a quick $3000 to stop the RIAA from suing them. Maybe next up is payroll deduction options?! Good grief!
But that’s not good enough. RIAA is now running around with deep- pocket teams of lawyers saying that even making a personal copy on your computer is a violation. This hard-line position is clear. RIAA wants to roll back time to pre-internet days of vinyl albums. If you make copies of copyrighted music recordings – even on cassette tape – you’re stealing. You’re breaking the law and you could be held legally liable for thousands of dollars in damages.
The RIAA’s legal crusade against consumers (its customers) is a text-book example of an old media company clinging to a business model that has collapsed.
UPDATE: The Washington Post left out a couple of facts that are now being reported for the people who need to read all the details. Turns out the article was misleading in that the RIAA was not only going after Howell for ripping his CD’s, but for also putting those ripped files into a shared Kazaa folder. I disagree that because he put them in a shared folder its infringement, but its a different claim than the original one of just ripping them to his PC. It will be interesting to watch…
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Posted in Apple, Content Redistribution, Copyright, DRM, DVD, Films, IPTV, microsoft, Mobile TV, Movie Download, Piracy, Sony, Technology, Video, tagged Streaming Video, TV, Video on December 11, 2007|
Let’s see, I slept for 7 hours; it’s a new day and an announcement of yet another start up in the internet video space. This seems like a daily ritual.
The newest is Sync TV, a spin off from consumer electronics company Pioneer, which launched a beta download service.
The audio and video quality of the TV shows is comparable or superior to the same show on DVD. SyncTV will provide HD programming across some of the different channels and will also have programming available in discreet 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus, giving you the “home theater” experience. They allow you a great deal of flexibility in how you play back the TV shows you download. You can play back shows on up to five ‘home’ devices which mean PCs/Macs now and other home entertainment devices in the future (read portable players).
That’s the good news. The bad news is yet another DRM (Digital Rights Management) technology for the consumer to try and get their head around. Sync TV is using an open-standard DRM called Marlin. Yet another group of top electronics manufacturers joining forces to develop a standard for content management and protection. Marlin is also referred to as “OMArlin” because it supposedly bridges between the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) DRM v.2.0 and the Marlin DRM standards. Does anyone care, outside the companies involved? Not really. Consumers might agree that content protection is a good idea but, they just want to play their stuff on all their devices. And they want everything to be cheaper, too.
It’s another set of companies trying to protect what they see as their intellectual property and make money. You could make the claim as the same motive as Microsoft, Apple, RealNetworks and others in the DRM struggle. The marketing spin tries to convince us that DRM is intended to make it easy for us to buy content and share it, without being encumbered by content protection schemes. But, adding Marlin to this mix will be yet another failed attempt to create a DRM “standard”.
What I do find interesting with Sync TV and all the regulatory noise about bundled programming, is the fact that users can subscribe a-la-carte for a variety of programs they want to watch. Each channel costs about $2 each per month, and currently there are four subscription channels available. Showtime is the foundation partner with promise of more.
The Sync TV launch underscores the two worlds that now exist–the heavily regulated telecoms and broadcasting sectors and the almost entirely unregulated internet channel.
Where do you think most of the innovation is?
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Posted in Blogroll, Copyright, Technology on April 23, 2007|
A recent decision by the Copyright Royalty Board in Washington, DC to nearly triple the licensing fees for Internet radio sites is irrationally high and will hurt music sites like Pandora. The new royalty rates are more than 4X what satellite radio pays and broadcast radio does not pay these. These new royalties will kill Internet radio.
In response to these new and unfair fees, Pandora formed the SaveNetRadio Coalition, a group that includes listeners, artists, labels and webcasters.
If you want to help you can sign a petition urging your Congressional representative to act to save Internet radio.
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New copyright exemptions went into effect at the end of November, and it’s still illegal to copy a DVD to your iPod for personal use. The proposed exemptions to allow copying commercial DVDs to portable media players were rejected. The new copyright exemptions are in effect for three years and additional information is available at the U.S Copyright Web site.
Consumers can NOT copy DVDs for personal use, but film professors can use software to copy movie clips from the discs for educational use. Huh? And there is an exemption where the blind can now use applications to hack and read copy protected books. This is bizarre. It’s okay to space and time shift your video, yet it’s illegal for protected (e.g. DVD) content under the DMCA rules to be copied to your iPod?!
But, Wal-Mart steps up to save the day and is now offering the general public a chance to buy a DVD…say Lord of the Rings and pay $2-$4 extra for a downloadable copy that can be played on a laptop, portable video device, or both. According to CNN, 40 percent of all DVDs sold in the U.S. are sold at Wal-Mart.
When customers buy “Lord of the Rings”, they can choose to pay $1.97 more to play it on portable devices, $2.97 more to play it on PCs or laptops, or $3.97 more to play it on either portable devices or PCs/laptops. But not in iPods. According to the WalMarts Web site;
The Portable format is optimized for on-the-go viewing using ‘PlayForSure’ portable video players. If played on a PC, the image quality will not be as good as the higher resolution Standard format. These videos are not compatible with Apple iPods. Portable format videos are encoded at a 320 x 240 resolution with an average bit rate of 500 kbps.
Any movie that is downloaded from Wal-Mart will be stored in a user’s Wal-Mart Video Download Manager as well as their Windows Media Library. Users can only have the movie on one computer at a time, but they can re-register the license on any number of computers, meaning it is possible to play it on the computer with the license and then move it to another computer only if you move the license.
I’ve always learned to frame debates or arguments in terms of the average person, not the looney edge-case fringe, but I would argue this is kind of confusing!
This is a spiraling vortex of ruin and doesn’t support the consumer content value chain…We buy a title, not a particular file for a title (so, we buy video once, for all devices!).
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