Thursday, December 6, 2007

The copyright police are all over the place

First of all I can not believe how much attention goes to copyright as opposed to war mongering in Iran. It is all out of proportion.

So there is a house bill "The College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007" Which got some play in the tech-press
here and here. But this was actually a sad sort of spin off of a different weird and totally wrong idea. Which was on the mp3 insider podcast in late summer 2007 as a rumor. The rumor was that the RIAA would get government to force the makers of mp3 players to pay a fee to the RIAA. (sort of like what the BBC does in the UK where everyone who owns a TV is supposed to pay some fee annually.)

The COAA even got on to some academic news with Digital Campus Episode 16 - Steal This E-Book. But there is a real war going on. Today Declan McCullagh writes about a second piece of legislation.

A couple of things about my media. I own and iPod and a Samsung Yepp 256mb mp3 player. I spent a month ripping CDs to the iPod format. But have listened to maybe 4 hours of music on these players ever. I use my players for playing free (but yes they are copyrighted) podcasts and material from iTunesU. With TV I don't watch commercials but with the iPod I do (hey HP the commercials for the Blackbird on Webb Alert really got my attention). Come to think of it I only watched about an hour of TV in the last two weeks. If I had to pay some fee when I bought these players to the RIAA or the MPAA it would have been extortion.
I also Pay for some content as a full subscriber to Air America Premium and until recently a subscriber to TimesSelect A not on times select the most valuable feature was the podcasts but my wife and I had decided over the summer that we would not renew even before the cancellation of the service (why because the NY Times does such a lousy job).

Speaking of Webb Alert there was an item this morning about Nilsen selling some sort of files for use in digital fingerprinting. And then there was

Steve Jobs pitching "premium," iPod-loadable DVDs on Boing Boing.

None of this will of course compare to the attention devoted to the kindle. Or for that matter the faux format war between blu-ray and Hd-dvd.

And then there are the triumphalists who say that DRM will soon be gone. They are wrong. DRM will continue for many years to come and we will find that it invades more and more of what we do. If the technology gets better and interferes less with what they want us to do then it will expand and expand. Think about the Marlin initiative. They have a spec and some diagrams. I am doubtful that anyone will ever be able to make software that can talk to so many devices in such a complex way.

And there is the rub. There are so many legitimate uses of content, and so many devices to play/read content on, that DRM is always software blocking legitimate use. And then there is service to history. In my professional life my customers are librarians and archivists. And they know the importance and the challenges of being able to access digital content even when there is no DRM. Formats evolve media degrades. Software becomes incompatible and obsolete. Throw in DRM and their jobs are a nightmare.

Let's think about major league baseball for a moment.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I know this post is a year old but I could not find a description of WOWIO on the WOWIO site Wowio: It All Ads Up

So a book with adds. I was thinking about this and all of the ad supported business models being floated lately (reminds me a bit of 1999 before the dot com crash) and I was thinking about the previous post I made today.

Advertising has no future. Machines will do what they do and they will chose what we buy and there will be no point in fighting for our attention because we will have no money because why pay people to do thing a machine can do.

There are manny among us who sense the arrival of the Borg

I just read a post on the Oxford University Press Blog which is typically non-committal on privacy.Privacy in Peril?
Then I clicked to the author page for James B. Rule and saw that he also wrote �Bait and Switch� (on the alleged WMDs in Iraq), Dissent, Spring 2004.

So why the title of this post. Well, I am one of those who feel a connection and (maybe some are making it more intellectually than I) between the illegal warrantless wiretaps Ad networks and the credit rating agencies. TRW etc. As James Rule points out, it is not that any specific step in the tracking is so objectionable it is that the tracking is so pervasive and systematic.

I had this vision as I read of an 18 year old at the shoe store glancing at a screen on the cash register to find out a bit about me before coming to offer me help. And I though well that migh be good. Then I saw some things wrong with that picture. First the word 'Cash' attached machine for paying. Second training an 18 year old to be curious. Third, why have an employee at all. The machine probably knows my size already. Finally I thought for a moment about the screen on the register. When I worked retail the screen was a green dot matrix sort of display. I'm seeing the beginnings of real technology that eliminates the need for screens between people and information. Brain-computer interface for Second Life

My world is changing fast and I'm not sure that my imagination is sufficient to guess what the world will be like for two children.

Have you ever taken a survey and found that none of the possible answers to any of the questions make any sense

Friday, October 26, 2007

Now I have a reason to create a FaceBook page

This article is a bit tongue in cheek, but it include some numbers from a real polling firm, and if the numbers are real then Colbert has lots of myspace friends.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

registration required (every few months it seems)

On election night 2004 I was following the results hopefully clicking from site to site. Seeing news about polls being kept open by a judge in Missouri and voting machine malfunctioning Ohio. The the signature experience of the evening (other than the deep morbidity that set in the next morning when the results sank in) was registration required newspaper websites. I kept following links from blogs to this or that story and many sites required registration. This was frustrating as my primary email was not webmail. My hard drive based emails were set up on different PCs all over the house. And the speed of these emails was a problem.

By election night 2006 I had a plan. and I had set up accounts with major regional papers. This helped, in addition I read a lot on the web about Intellectual property and technology, and have registered with countless sites. (meaning I stopped counting). I understand that these sites need to know a little about me before they give me the content for free. I respect their business model and feel that it is a fair exchange.

BUT why do they keep forgetting me?! I'm not talking about OpenID. I'm annoyed by these sites not recognizing my username/email/passwords anymore. Do they wipe their databases every 3 months? that is what it seems like. I have been involved with several website migration that included a great deal of effort put into migrating user credentials. And some where the leadership determined that migrating the users was not worth the effort.

I would imagine that the quarterly academic journal websites that I work on cause this same level of frustration.

I would like to say that 15 years after the creation of the world wide web we should do better! And the business leadership ought to recognize the impact to their marketing teams, customers and end users when they say that it is ok to replace the login credentials every two years along with a graphic redesign.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

I someone is getting really good at target marketing

Everything you’ve read about Vista DRM is wrong (Part 1) by ZDNet's Ed Bott -- Self-described "professional paranoid" Peter Gutmann of the University of Auckland has become the most widely quoted source of information on DRM and content protection in Windows Vista. The trouble is, Gutmann's work is riddled with factual errors, distortions, contradictions, and outright untruths, and his conclusions are equally wrong. In this three-part series, I'll show you why Gutmann's outrageous and inflamatory arguments don't stand up to close scrutiny.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Copyright / Columbia journalism review / Pew research

Fair use is not a consumer right | Perspectives | CNET

I'll Start with a quote from the article:
Still others, including some uses within the home, may not be specifically designated fair use by a court, and may or may not qualify if put to the test, but are generally not the subject of legal challenges by a copyright owner.
Mr. Ross is saying in this one sentence that:
1. Watch what you do in your home we are watching you!
2. There is no way to know if you have a right to anything unless you get sued. Because as he said earlier there is no affirmative right.
3. Just because people have not historically generally been sued for what they do int their homes doesn't mean we won't come after you now.

Wow! I make a living in the the publishing industry and believe strongly in copyright but this is absurd, belligerent and threatening. And Ok it is a response to a lawsuit so maybe that is why it is so bellicose in tone. But Ross is actually threatening that a copyright holder can come after you for what you do in your home and implying that since he denies there is any such right as fair use any use should be assumed by the authorities to be infringing use.

Ross is wrong! For exactly the reason he says the other side is wrong. Use is rarely infringing unless it interferes with a right holders ability to commercialize their rights.

On another note I disagree with may of the comm enters who object to CNET posting this. Intellectual Property and Copyright are issues fundamental to our society and there are very important dialogs underway regarding how (if at all) current technology change them. The lawsuit, Ross's bizarre assertions and many more points of view will make much more interesting water cooler conversation than what other media put out there.

What Kind of News do People Really Want?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Publishers librarians and google

I once heard a C level executive at an international publishing company describe the platform hosting the online version of over 1800 of his journals as simply a fulfillment system. In fact it is but in the online world the publishers role is much larger. Librarians, publishers, and Google all claim as part of their mission organizing information.

When an end user goes to a university library and uses a z39.50 enable federated search gateway to find content the holdings knowledge base will direct them to the appropriate copy on some platform where the IP address is recognized as coming from a university and the user is given access to the content they have found. and in that content there are scholarly citations to other content and the platform builds an OpenURL link back to the Library's link resolver which again looks in the holdings database and directs the user to the appropriate copy of the second conten item.

I have spent a good part of the last ten years getting this system to the point where it sometimes works. But How many users really begin at the OPAC? And even if they do how do social bookmarking and tagging sites fit into the appropriate copy discussion? For journals it is rare for the same content to be hosted in more that three or four systems. and the vast majority of access controlled journals are hosted in fewer. And then there are books. As book content increasingly goes online and records for those same books are distributed in ONIX or Marc21 to hundreds of websites how is the appropriate copy issue ever to be addressed.

The answer is publishers. Publishers are not irrelevant. They have new and very important roles to play in the organization promotion and distribution of content. We have special standing with at least Google and microsoft and their respective academic and books sub-platforms. because as publishers we have engaged in special arrangements though cloaking and CrossRef and distribution of full text books to these entities. And are thus able to get first among equals treatment from these search engines.

These links come to the publisher controlled version of the landing page as do links in the references sections of other publishers articles through CrossRef. One interpretation is that the end user is at least as likely to come to the publishers page first as they are to go to the librarian hosted page. But the librarian is the customer and the publisher wants usage Final Report on the Investigation into the Feasibility of Developing and Implementing Journal Usage Factors. The publisher should recognize this and provide an OpenURL link back to the link resolver. And to do this the publisher will have to put access authentication on their catalog. But it would be silly to send then to the OPAC only to have the use sent right back to the publisher site to get the content so the catalog also needs an entitlements system.

We have a lot of work to do to get the knowledge bases and COUNTER reports for books in place but the Google mediated world makes the role of the publisher in provisioning content to a library and its patrons is as important as ever.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Death to Cell Phones long live the iPhone (or not)

Firstly, even though this is the first post on this blog it is not the first post of my blog I seem to have misplaced the other blog.

So I have been doing some thinking lately, some about how unreliable my WiFi is and some about how unreliable my cable modem is (which makes my VoIP phone pretty unreliable).

And of course I have been like so many others lusting for an iPhone.

Then I saw this and it all came together:

The day the iPhone turned into a web surfin’ iPod

And I thought about it some more and looked up links to some of what I have been reading listening to.

T-Mobile says hello to Wi-Fi calling service

Verizon technology chief talks fiber

IPhone-Free Cellphone News

Mobile Malcontent

So if I can get a Fios highspeed from verizon that is more reliable than the Time Warner cable (I Use Direct TV for the TV and DVR) I could get an iPhone and have a nice little device (much more convenient for surfing in bed than a laptop. and it would still be a phone when hooked in to the WiFi.