Competition / anti-trust issues.

CBS Forms Record Label, Will Supply Songs to iTunes CBS Forms Record Label, Will Supply Songs to iTunes

A Reuters article talks about how CBS Corp. is reviving CBS Records.

Owning the music also makes negotiating Internet video deals for CBS shows less complicated and more profitable, as TV show producers seek to strike deals with online video services such as Google Inc.'s YouTube.

If these deals seem overly complicated for CBS, then what about the rest of us? Clearly there needs to be a way that user generated content can include past movie, television or music without the complexity that even CBS finds to be too much. Teenagers posting YouTube videos don't have the option to create their own label to simplify the situation.

Geist: The Letters of the Law: The Year in Canadian Tech Law

Michael Geist's weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) features his annual review in law and technology with a particular emphasis on Canadian developments.

This past year in law and technology has been marked by a series of noteworthy developments including the explosive interest in user-generated content (culminating in Time Magazine's Person of the Year award), the emergence of several artists-backed copyright coalitions, and the arrival of Industry Minister Maxime Bernier, who has focused on reshaping Canadian telecommunications regulations. From A to Z, it has been a remarkably busy twelve months.

We need to protect the music industry from the legacy recording industry!

(Republished by p2pnet, MP3newswire)
Most Canadians are confused about the music industry and how different parts exist that seem to be battling each other for music related money. The largest division is between the composers/authors/publishers of the underlying music and the recording industry (labels, etc).

We are moving into a time when the recording industry may no longer have much of a purpose, with much of their roll being replaced by cheaper methods of recording and distributing recorded music, more fair promotional methods that don't leave the majority of musicians poor in order to prop up superstars, and a wider variety of business models available to artists. The recording industry is fighting back against this modernizing trend, trying to replace some of the money they are loosing in this market modernization by taking it from the music publishing arm which has seen growth with new media.

MAKE Magazine: The Open Source gift guide

Make Magazine has created an Open Source gift guide.

There are hundreds of gift guides this holiday season filled with junk you can buy - but a lot of time you actually don't own it, you can't improve upon it, you can't share it or make it better, you certainly can't post the plans, schematics and source code either. We want to change that, we've put together our picks of interesting open source hardware projects, open source software, services and things that have the Maker-spirit of open source

RocketBoom has a video demonstrating some of these gift ideas.

May the Source be with you this holiday season!

HDTV a threat to Canadian culture, critics warn

There is an interesting perspective put forward by critics of HDTV in a CBC article. I am not a fan of HDTV, but it is because these technologies are being locked down with "DRM" which makes them incapable of being operated by their owners in ways not "allowed" by their manufacturers, and made deliberately less interoperable with competative content or other technologies.

Also in the article:

But while the two Calgary professors are worried the technology represents a threat, NDP heritage critic Charlie Angus thinks Canada should be concerned about the alternative.

"If we don't look at the move to HD, then none of our programming will be sellable," Angus told CBC Arts Online.

"We won't be in the game."

Slyck: Telus Voices Opinion on Interoperability

A Slyck article by Drew Wilson starts:

Two months ago, Telus, one of Canada's largest ISP's (Internet Service Provider,) made demands that the government should back a tougher "fair use" regime. Recently, the same company has become vocal again - this time, the CEO, Darren Entwistle, started defending interoperability and fair use.

Contrast this with what I wrote earlier about the origins of much of the current regressive copyright revision proposals.

Is Telus seeing a competitive problem with centralizing the control of communications technology in the hands of a few telecos and hardware manufacturers? Do they believe, unlike Bell and Rogers, that they can possibly become the remaining teleco monopoly after the anti-competitive shakedown that such control will result in?

Telus coming out in favour of interoperability is as forward-looking and enlightened as if a CRIA or CAAST member started to aggressively come out against DRM. Is this the shape of things to come, or an anomaly?

Toronto firm fined for unlicensed software use : Move sparks piracy debate

This IT World Canada article by Nestor E. Arellano includes:

The anti-piracy body acted within its rights in leveling fines, but its actions exhibit a failure to adjust to technology and economic trends, according to Russell McOrmond, policy coordinator of CLUE (The Canadian Association for Open Source). CLUE promotes the use and development of free and open-source software.

"CAAST's problem is not the lawlessness of their customers, but their own failure to embrace new business models suited to the Internet era," said McOrmond.

U.S. 'lobbied' the EC over Microsoft fine..

An article by Richard Thurston, Special to CNET, includes:

The U.S. government sought to influence the European Commission over Microsoft's antitrust case, according to Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

Kroes said the U.S. Embassy in Brussels, Belgium, had asked her to be "nicer" to Microsoft ahead of her decision to fine the software giant 280 million euros ($357 million) in July.

A look at the bigger picture tells us more. Many of these antitrust problems have their roots in governments granting too strong rights in the form of copyrights and patents. Rather than protecting creativity or innovation, recent changes have had the root intent of lessening competition by creating platform monopolies (so-called "anti-circumvention" in copyright law) or other excessive monopolies (patents on manipulations of intangibles such as information processes, which by their nature have no marginal cost).

The real threat to the major labels and studios... if you think it is unauthorized P2P, think again...

A New York Post article by Tim Arango documents how retail behemoth Wal-Mart has told some of Hollywood's biggest players it will retaliate against them for selling movies on Apple's iTunes. I suspect they would like to go after services like Rogers On Demand which, when coupled with a PVR, provides a similar service.

It is important for people to realize that when it comes to the legacy business models of the recording and motion picture industry, that major retailers like Wal-Mart have a far greater impact than non-commercial copyright infringement such as unauthorized P2P filesharing. Wal-Mart has already pushed unit prices lower, as well as only displaying a small number of titles. This already reduces revenue from what was available when people frequented retail outlets that specialized on entertainment products, with any retaliation from Wal-Mart over Apples' iTunes trivially being a larger impact on the studios than any non-commercial copyright infringement.

Vista launch estimated to cost European economy $40 billion

A Reuters article discusses a study that Microsoft hired IDC to do that discusses the estimated costs associated with the roll-out of their Vista operating system.

I have always found press releases from the Business Software Alliance to be interesting, given they seem to exist in an alternate reality than the rest of us. For everyone but these single vendors their products represent costs of doing business, and thus need to be put on the expenses side of the economic analysis. When they include the losses to retail channels when people use software that doesn't go through the retail channel, they have always tried to suggest that this increased efficiency is a loss to the economy. This is the same mindset that thinks that war, natural disasters and disease are good things as they all cost massive amounts of money (to cause and to clean up).

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