chris_brand's blog

Business models

Interesting reading this morning.

On the one hand, a Vancouver Sun article with some fascinating quotes from Graham Henderson (president of the CRIA), and on the other, a Locus Online article by Cory Doctorow about the economics of giving stuff away for free.

OECD Public Consultation

The OECD has launched a public consultation for the Ministerial Meeting on the Future of the Internet Economy.

There's a preparatory meeting in Ottawa 3rd October, with various options for online participation, and there's an online questionnaire asking for comments in 4 areas :
* Using the Internet to improve future economic performance and social welfare
* Benefiting from convergence
* Fuelling [sic] creativity
* Building confidence

US box office better than ever

The BBC reports that 2007 marks the first time that US summer box office takings surpassed the $4bn mark.

Presumably they'll stop pressing for more legislative changes in their favour now, then, and we'll stop hearing all the press reports about how much "piracy" hurts them.

A new argument for decreasing copyright

Tom W Bell has a post at the Technology Liberation Front with an argument for reducing copyright that I haven't heard before.

Here's the one-sentence summary :

Holding all else equal, an increase in population, because it brings an increase in the number of authors motivated by non-pecuniary incentives, tends to render copyright less necessary.

The full article is well worth a read.

Wal-Mart jumps on the DRM-free bandwagon

Ars reports that Wal-Mart's online music store now sells DRM-free music from both EMI and Universal.

Given that Wal-Mart is the world's largest music retailer, and that they clearly see value in being able to market the music as ready to "play on the ipod", how long before they force Warner and Sony BMG to follow suit ?

Hopefully it's before our government decides to enact our own version of the DMCA...

Who's computer is it anyway ?

Wired reports on a DMCA lawsuit (in the USA) where somebody is accused of creating and distributing both instructions and a program for defeating the limits on the number of coupons from that can be printed from one computer.

This sounds pretty straight-forward until you read that defeating this particular DRM involves deleting files or registry entries from your computer.

According to the experts cited, there's definitely a case here.

NYTimes - most patents not worth the cost

The New York Times reports on a study analysing data from 1976 to 1999 comparing the costs of patent litigation to the profits generated by patents. The conclusion of the study is that patents are worthwhile for the pharmaceutical industry but that's about it.

“Today, over all, patents don’t work; for the information technology industry especially, they don’t work,”

Note that they're not saying that companies shouldn't apply for patents, but that the total cost to the industry outweighs the total benefits, and so patent reform of some kind is needed.

RIAA has to pay legal fees of person they accused

C|net news reports that the RIAA has been ordered to pay nearly $70000 in legal fees to somebody who they accused of vicariously aiding copyright infringement.

Surprise - stricter copyright laws don't make authors richer

The Register has a report on a study on the income of authors in the UK and Germany :

Writers in Germany earned less than those in the UK, despite the fact the country's copyright regime is more beneficial to authors

The dangers of Lawful Access

A superb illustration of the risks of mandating that a system be easily wiretapped by law enforcement has just been published.
(There's still a very strong push for lawful access legislation in Canada).

The lawful access infrastructure in the Greek phone system was used by persons unknown to tap the phones of over 100 people, including the Prime Minister, the Mayor of Athens, and an employee of the US embassy.

All the gory details are in the article in IEEE Spectrum

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