Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger and "Digital Downloads"..

A cnet distributed Reuters report report that Wal-Mart denies dissuading movie downloads.

The report quotes Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger "has repeatedly said digital content delivery platforms such as iTunes have not cut into DVD retail sales or TV viewership."

The question I have is this: Given the indirect methods industry associations use to estimate the "harm" from unauthorized digital distribution (non-commercial filesharing, clips via YouTube, etc), how can they state that "authorized" digital delivery systems have not cut into DVD retail sales and yet at the same time claim that "unauthorized" digital delivery systems have?

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.

Giveaways killing DVD cash cow

This Australian IT article by Jeffrey Goldfarb includes:

BRITISH newspapers are now giving away free as many DVDs as are being purchased in stores, revealing a silent factor contributing to the decline of Hollywood's cash cow format.

Lets be clear: This is not unauthorized copying, but newspapers licensing older movies and bundling them with newspapers. The claim that this is causing a "decline" in revenue lays bare the reality that the fight Hollywood has is not against unauthorized copying, but against competition. This also exposes the reality with ever increasing or obfuscated copyright terms: it is not that these intermediaries want to collect more money from older movies, but that they don't want these older movies to compete with new releases.

CMPDA honest about who it serves.

A Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association press release includes the following honesty.

The CMPDA serves as the voice and advocate of the major U.S. studios of the Motion Picture Association of America whose distribution divisions market feature films, pay TV, prime time entertainment programming for television and pre-recorded DVDs in Canada.

Now if only people would realize the same of CRIA and CAAST, given the only thing Canadian about them is the (ab)use of the word Canadian in their name. CRIA and CAAST aren't U.S. only as with the CMPDA, but their interests are clearly foreign interests and should not be allowed to dominate Canadian policy discussions.

Swedes in good hands with P2P insurance policy?

An article by Greg Sandoval and Amanda Termen, Staff Writer, CNET, includes:

File-sharers in Sweden, which recently began cracking down on Internet piracy, can now buy insurance to protect themselves from government fines.

This is another case where the entertainment companies are missing the boat. While it is clear fans are interested in flat-fee "all you can eat" type services, requiring payment rather than permission like how commercial radio and cable television works, the industry is handing the market over to an insurance company.


This is becomming more and more common, with artists taking offense at and challenging the special interest of the incumbent intermediaries. This happened at a panel titled The Future of Darknets at the South by Southwest Music and Media Conference (SXSW) 2006.

Until we (users, industry groups, lawyers, and politicians) finally make a clear legal and procedural distinction between copying a work for noncommercial creation of new works (like mashups or backups) and wholesale piracy for profit (like duplicating a work for the purpose of resale), we're just going to keep shouting at each other in conference rooms and newspapers, and real innovation will never get made.

France backs down on flat-fee plan for file-sharing

This CBC Arts article includes:

France has cut a controversial clause from its copyright bill that would have allowed unlimited file-sharing for a flat monthly fee.
Canada's Heritage Minister Bev Oda is under pressure from the same lobby groups to upgrade Canada's copyright law.

It is unlikely that the flat monthly fee will be seen in Canada in the short term. This is not a radical proposal by any stretch of the imagination, given the existing private copying regime. It would be a simple extension of the "private copying" regime that applies a levy on blank media to non-commercial distribution of music on the Internet. It is also similar to the existing regime used for music on broadcast radio.

The Conservative party which currently forms the government have already indicated that they will "eliminate the levy on blank recording materials" and thus are unlikely to extend the regime.

RIAA Says Future DRM Might “Threaten Critical Infrastructure and Potentially Endanger Lives”

This Freedom to Tinker article by Ed Felten includes:

The CCIA and Open Source and Industry Association made an even simpler request for an exemption for DRM systems that “employ access control measures which threaten critical infrastructure and potentially endanger lives.” Who could oppose that?

The BSA, RIAA, MPAA, and friends — that’s who.

There is a growing awareness that DRM systems which presume the owner of communications devices are "the attacker" are incompatible with network and computer security which is designed to ensure that the owner (and not a third party) are in control.

MPAA exec can't sell A-hole proposal to tech companies

This BoingBoing article by Canadian science fiction author Cory Doctorow includes:

For a couple years now, the MPAA has been promising to "plug the Analog Hole" by getting the government to pass a law crippling all recorders, so that they'll refuse to record anything with a secret watermark that says it's a copyrighted work (heaven help you if your son's first steps take place in the living room while the TV's playing -- your camcorder will be of no use). Nettwerk defends online piracy(sic)

This article by Steve Lalla includes:

Nettwerk Music Group CEO Terry McBride echoed this uncertainty - "that it is still to be decided by the courts, as it's unclear" whether Canadians are allowed to download and share music via the Internet. Incredibly, McBride maintains that even though his company "has been hurt, especially in catalogue sales... the current actions of the RIAA are not in my artists' best interests."

See also: A wild ride: the digital music industry by Bryan Borzykowski for Canadian Business Magazine.

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