Let us forget for a moment that Wal-Mart's online music store is a joke. When Wal-Mart tells content publishers to jump, they don't ask how high: they just do it.
Well, actually, it's not about YouTube exactly, but it's about writers reminding producers that they, too, are entitled to a cut of what the New York Times is calling "so-called-new-media revenue":
Screenwriters argue that their labors generally create programming that has very high value — value that would seem to multiply as it spread over more platforms.
Media companies have a story to tell as well: If they are about to make jillions on new media, the markets don’t seem to think so....Writers, still smarting from giving away the store in terms of video and DVD before the true value of those businesses became apparent, are not about to cave in. Producers, who have yet to find a revenue model for digital content, do not want to be hamstrung by a costly deal with writers while they try to figure it out.
Wal-Mart will soon be offering DRM-free downloads of recordings from Universal and EMI, says the Wall Street Journal this morning. Unlike EMI, Universal will not make these recordings available to iTunes - meaning Apple is shut out from their distribution.
The Journal observes,
Apple uses its own DRM software, which doesn't work with services or devices made by competitors, resulting in locking owners of its popular iPod music players into buying the most popular mainstream music Apple's the iTunes store, and not from its competitors. Record companies have blamed this lock-in for limiting digital-music sales, which account for around 15% of all recorded-music sales in the U.S.
Burger King will be giving away DRM-free MP3s with meals in the UK, reports Tech.co.uk:
Under the campaign, consumers will be able to search for, sample, and download a pre-paid EMI Music track from a specially created microsite after inputting a unique code. Codes are being distributed to Burger King consumers upon purchase, and there will be links from the microsite to an online retailer, allowing consumers to purchase further tracks by EMI artists featured on the microsite.
Yes, the same EMI that is releasing DRM-free music to Apple is also looking for innovative ways to distribute music outside of iTunes, the article says:
However, there was one really interesting post from a woman who had copied a bunch of CDs into iTunes at her parents' house, and downloaded them to her iPod; she went home and of course her home-based iTunes is radically different and her iPod wanted to sync up and thus erase all the stuff she'd just downloaded.
I wrote her a note saying she should burn a CD from the iTunes at her parents' house and duplicate the songs into her iTunes at home. But then came a much better answer from a contributor to the Unofficial Apple Weblog, who also happens to be a Park Slope Parent:
The digital rights management in the iTunes/iPod ecosystem only applies to music that you purchase from the iTunes Music Store (and not even all of that music anymore, as EMI has made its catalog available DRM-free on the iTMS -- time to buy Dark Side of the Moon AGAIN! :-). This DRM means that the tracks you buy online will only play on your computer + 4 additional computers you select, plus on any iPod you sync with your machine. You can generally identify these tracks by the .m4p suffix on their filenames, the 'p' standing for 'Protected.'
Your challenge is that you have music on your iPod that is not DRM-controlled -- standard MP3 files ripped from CD, which will play on any computer or any iPod -- but you don't have a handy way to get them back off the iPod and onto your computer, short of going back to your parents' house and burning them to CD. The iPod stores your music in hidden folders which
are not normally accessible to the Mac Finder or to Windows Explorer. This "feature," while not technically DRM, is intended to frustrate exactly the kind of casual music sharing you're trying to do, by preventing you from using your iPod as a music conveyor. Fortunately there are a slew of tools to help you work around this problem.
The simplest way to avoid this is to copy the music to your iPod as a disk (enable Disk Mode in iTunes) and then add it to your iTunes library when you get home. In your situation, where you've already loaded up the iPod, you need to use a copying utility to get the files from the iPod and into iTunes on your computer.
For the Mac, the most basic (and effective, and free) tool in this family is called Senuti, which is 'iTunes' backwards -- and that's exactly what it does:
There's a couple of other free tools called Floola & Yamipod, which are a bit more complicated but also will get the job done. Both work on Mac or PC.
For $20, there's a Mac/PC application called iPod Access that will also let you copy music back off:
The 'grandparent' tool in this space is Anapod Explorer, a very powerful ($25) tool for Windows that has every bell and whistle you'd want when it comes to managing your iPod data.
I'll also put in a plug for the iPod/iTunes/iPhone coverage over at The Unofficial Apple Weblog (tuaw.com), where I'm a contributor:
[O]nce a password is compromised and posted on the Web, the industry answers by changing the way in which its new DVD titles are made. Anyone who pops one of the new discs into their personal computer without installing a software upgrade will find that it destroys the computer's ability to play any high-definition DVD at all. To restore the computer's ability to play them again, the owner is forced to download new software from the Web -- software with a new password that hackers haven't yet discovered. The old password, or key, has been revoked.This is called "key revocation", and it's frustrating innocent consumers simply because the moment a hacker uploads a password to the web, ALL users of that DVD are affected and must download new software with the new password in order to play ANY of their DVDs.
Pretty draconian. And a real turn-off.
Bob recently gave an address at the O'Reilly TOC conference about the ways assistive technology and developing book technology can work together for consumers as well as the disabled. He brought up an interesting copyright point - that the need for accessible materials for disabled people is so pressing, getting permissions to create these "derivative works" is often an obstacle. He's proposing a change in copyright law to allow educational institutions to create accessible media for their disabled constituencies, without having to defy copyright law to get these folks the materials they are entitled to.
More info is here.
A colleague in Europe recently forwarded to me the Google agreement with the CIC libraries. Even though I had been told this new agreement had some very different language from that in prior contracts, it was still eye-opening reading.Brantley goes on to discuss how this may well be a sop to publishers, who have been quite concerned about the copy that the libraries have been getting of in-copyright or dubious-copyright material. However, in the case of the CIC libraries, the copy goes into escrow until it becomes public-domain.
Simply put, the CIC libraries are contributing in-copyright material to Google for scanning, but for the first time (known to me), they will not get a copy back.
I think the CIC agreement is a significant enough departure from the prior public contracts that we must take notice of its suggestions that the relationship between Google and publishers is maturing, and that Google is more cautious of the distribution of In-Copyright material than they ever have been before.That said, Brantley concludes that if the contracts are challenged by any of the universities at any point, the litigation will prove so expensive that anyone else who wants to get into the digitization game will be discouraged because of the cost of playing in the turbulent copyright-law field.
And that to me is potentially the saddest loss, should such an arrangement come to be realized. Because in real terms, across this vitally important collection of humanity’s literature and thought, of all the ways of thinking about books and working with ideas on the Web, we might be left with only one way.
I think about the concept of the mash-up, and how college professors have been using that tool for quite some time in their courseware environments - combining chapters from different books, throwing in some video or visuals or music - to create entirely new experiences for their students.
And the question becomes, as that technology begins to migrate to the consumer market, how do those chunks of content get identified in the supply chain - how do the publishers and e-commerce vendors and distributors all talk to one another about selling this stuff?
Around the table, we had a large publisher, several small publishers, a distributor, the heads of two ISBN agencies, and a variety of others whose businesses run on digital standards. A very lively discussion, where we tried hard to crack this nut and then - once it became apparent that this wasn't going to happen within the confines of a two-hour meeting - settled on simply attempting to articulate the problems clearly. More will be coming out of BISAC about this - meanwhile, it was a great experience in how the landscape (and the attendant problems in publishing) is shifting.
The big news, of course, is that Microsoft's Windows Live Search is live. Cliff Guren explained all the features today, and it's very similar to Google Book Search except for this important differentiator - no scanning of books with dubious copyright status. Microsoft scans books that are out-of-copyright, and publishers submit in-copyright books for inclusion (giving their permission for scanning).
There's no cost to publishers for the service. And there's no print functionality, or even cut-and-paste functionality, in the search: "As we all know," Guren says, "hacks run amok." So expect a few wiseasses to create end-runs around the protections that Microsoft has installed.
Publishers are able to control how much of a book they want consumers to see - including blocking certain pages from view altogether (in the case of a mystery, for example), or images to which they don't have the rights.
Guren admitted that the primary reason behind Windows Live is competition with Google for "query share" - which has a heavy influence on ad revenue. Look for a Windows Live demonstration at the Crystal Palace - which sounds like a brothel but is really a section of Javits.
THE DOWNLOAD: - DRM is Not Copyright; Copyright is not DRM: A Primer (Part II of II), by Laura Dawson
TIA - THIS ISSUE'S ACRONYM - GTIN – Global Trade Identification Number
INTEL: COMPANIES - Chris Anderson of Wired Magazine announces new start-up
INTEL: PRODUCTS - Alibris launches “Alibris Basic”
INTEL: PEOPLE - Muze shakeup continues
THE JOB EXCHANGE - Listing the hottest jobs in the sector
"Where we left off, before we were interrupted by digital asset distribution issues…the crucial question, “How do we encode e-books with some kind of ‘locking’ technology that prevents people from copying them and sharing them?”
The answer, of course, is that we don’t.
Do we encode print books with a “locking” technology? If I finish a Greg Iles thriller, and I know I never want to read it again, as good as it was (it ain’t Dostoevsky), and I choose to leave it on the seat of the PATH train from Hoboken to 33rd Street for the next likely reader...no law is going to stop me (unless the definition of littering expands significantly)..."
Click here to access our newsletter archives and read the May 29, 2007 issue in full.
EMI Group PLC, the world's third-largest recorded-music company by sales (and the fourth-largest in the U.S. market) announced yesterday it would license its catalog to Amazon's DRM-free service. The three other major music companies haven't said publicly whether they expect to play ball with Amazon, but people close to all three companies said they don't expect to license content to Amazon in the near future. That means consumers shopping for downloads on Amazon will be able to buy tracks from EMI artists like Norah Jones and Coldplay, but are unlikely to be able to find music by most other major artists, including, for instance, each of the top-10 selling albums last week. Another complication: Apple's iTunes is moving toward offering music without copy protection, and also plans to release EMI's catalog in that format.As always, Bezos has his eye so far on the future that today's plan doesn't seem so sensible. But in the inevitable loosening-up of copy-protection on digital media, maybe 5 years down the road or more, Bezos's vision of Amazon as a one-stop shop for consumables - regardless of their format - is a sound one.
Participating user-partners will be treated as other content partners and will have the ability to control the monetization of the videos they create. Once they’ve selected a video to be monetized, we’ll place advertising adjacent to their content so participating user-partners can reap the rewards from their work.For now, this is only open to a select group of users hand-picked by Google based on their popularity with other users. But it's truly interesting that Google is launching this program now, before the suit with Viacom is settled - and it will be settled - as they put themselves at risk if these selected users upload copyrighted video.
This, from I Can Haz Cheeseburger, pretty much says it:
THE DOWNLOAD: - DRM is Not Copyright; Copyright is not DRM: A Primer (Part I of II), by Laura Dawson
TIA - THIS ISSUE'S ACRONYM - ISBN – International Standard Book Number
INTEL: COMPANIES - Murdoch’s MySpace expands into Chinese market
INTEL: PRODUCTS - Will the Amazon Kindle launch at BEA?
INTEL: PEOPLE - Genevieve Shore promoted as Penguin's Global Digital Director
THE JOB EXCHANGE - Listing the hottest jobs in the sector
"It occurred to me, in all the hoo-ha over Steve Jobs’s manifesto to record companies and Jack Valenti’s obituaries citing his work with the Copyright Term Extension Act, that some of the folks covering these events seem a little confused. There’s a common conflation of DRM – digital rights management – and copyright; a lot of writers are not really making a distinction between the two.
Copyright, as we know, is the set of laws that governs one’s ability to copy certain works. An author grants the “copy right” to a publisher, who has the exclusive right to reproduce the work – and pay the author a royalty. Eventually, the copyright expires and the work enters the public domain – meaning anyone can copy it and distribute it..."
Check my newsletter next Tuesday for more - I'll be pontificating about this in The Download.
His successor at MPAA, Dan Glickman, spoke at LexisNexis's DRM conference over the weekend about "rippable" DVDs and the movie industry's take on those - Ars Technica has the scoop:
MPAA boss Dan Glickman said the movie studios were now fully committed to interoperable DRM, and they recognize that consumers should be able to use legitimate video material on any item in the house, including home networks. In a major shift for the industry, Glickman also announced a plan to let consumers rip DVDs for use on home media servers and iPods.
This seems like a great solution that the US could adopt. But copyright is so aggressively guarded here (to wit: DMCA), it may be some time before publishers see the benefits in providing the text for search.The group recommended that digital copies of orphan works—for whom no copyright holder can be identified—be made available for noncommercial purposes after a thorough search for copyright holders is completed, according to a European Commission press release.
For materials that are out of print but still under copyright, the group proposed that libraries be granted a license that bestows nonexclusive and nontransferable rights to digitize and make their holdings available to users on a closed network of other European libraries, museums, and archives.
No word on which labels, besides most likely EMI, will participate in the DRM-less store.Amazon confirmed yesterday that it was looking closely at the MP3 market. It is expected that its service, which could launch as early as next month, will differ from its rival by selling music without anti-piracy measures.
As we talked amongst ourselves about digital books and the problems of unequal access, it seemed to me that librarians and publishers should be talking about the same kind of initiative for digital books that many STM journal publishers have embraced for access to articles in the Third World....Book publishers might worry about loss of sales, pirate sites, and so forth. I think there are several rejoinders to this, the first being that journal publishers have evidently managed to figure this out satisfactorily. Perhaps Elsevier can provide some assistance to text publishers, if they have qualms. There is also the potential argument that there is more to lose - a whole book, vs. an article. Here again, I think there are fallacies: I think many people are interested in only parts of books, not whole ones, and access could be provided granularly.
[Hendrix] referred to such writers as "webscabs," and accused them of "rotting our organization from within." He got more specific: "Webscabs claim they're just posting their books for free in an attempt to market and publicize them, but to my mind they're undercutting those of us who aren't giving it away for free and are trying to get publishers to pay a better wage for our hard work."A flurry of SF writers weighed in on the argument - one of the most eloquent was John Scalzi, who wrote:
"I'm willing to bet a nice chunk of change that there isn't a single person he would point to that he can prove is undercutting themselves, other writers or the genre directly by using the online medium for promotion," Scalzi concluded. "I, on the other hand, can very easily show you an entire group of people and entities who are using freely-available work online to build the genre."Time for Cory Doctorow to say something.
And this is a great model. Many businesses do the same thing - Publishers Weekly, for example, gives away its PW Daily; Michael Cader gives away PublishersLunch; John Mutter does the same with Shelf Awareness. In these cases, they use a wide dissemination to get ad revenue - they're hitting a broad target, and the ad revenue comes as a result of their huge lists. In Cader's case, there's the value add of joining his network for a small monthly fee, and having access to a database of other members, more articles, etc.
As I'm publishing The Big Picture, I'm thinking about these models, and I ran across this on a blog called Flametoad, in an entry called "Is Cory Doctorow Bad for Ebooks?":
What does this tell me about his books? It tells me that when I buy his book from Amazon, I’m paying for the paper because the content has no value. I am afraid that Cory, and to a lesser extent JC, Scott, and a host of other authors using creative commons to promote their work, are training readers to place value only in wood pulp bound together with glue rather than a well-told story. Readers are being trained to expect audiobooks and e-books to be free, because only physical books are worth paying for.Which is an interesting point. I don't know what to make of it, but I'm adding it to the soup pot of my thoughts.
We know never to count Microsoft out, but 100 million is a really big head start for Apple. Do you know anybody who has a Zune?
- Libraries have been digitizing their holdings long before Google came on the scene.
- The massive scope of Google Book Search requires libraries to create new partnerships to make use of all this digital content.
- Most of the libraries in the project are scanning only public-domain works until the copyright issues get sorted out.
Consumers hate DRM, and all the legislation and “education” prorgrams in the world won’t change that. While I’d vastly prefer gentle DRM over the Draconian variety, the best solution is none. I’ll spend much more on e-books if I can own them for real.
So is that the new business model? Music companies will assess the potential "pass along" risk of music copying, and charge vendors for that? The physical analogy would be if Random House charged Barnes & Noble a fee to cover potential lost revenues when people loaned books to their friends (instead of the friends buying the books themselves).EMI temporarily shelved plans to drop DRM after various iTunes competitors declined to guarantee significant "risk insurance" payments designed to offset potential losses from the move. It is unclear whether Apple has guaranteed any such fee.
Have a little crazy with your coffee this morning.