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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Censored from Billboard.com?: Discussion of a Solution

Currently this common is not being led through over at :

https://edit.billboard.com/articles/business/6450640/sony-google-apple-lawsuit-pre-1972#comment-1818226398

Here is the workaround: they cannot charge anybody sound recording royalties (or royalties of any kind) for playing your own music back to yourself. Or music you borrow, say from a library. thedce.com already does this. It's the cloud from which you stream your own music, and other people's music that you borrow. Organized on playlists of your choosing, (or other people's choosing).
US Public libraries have been streaming content to borrowers for the better part of a decade without a peep from anybody that a royalty is owed.
Radio stations are a 20th-century idea, as are the royalties occasioned by them ... doesnt matter that they are coming at you digitally in the 21st century. 21st century ... increasingly... you (and your friends) program your own radio station.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Much Ado About Bit Torrent

1. The key to making bit torrent irrelevant is to make the counterfeits that they "mint" less-useful.
2.  Unlike a counterfeit dollar bill, which is a physical thing, with a digital item you can NEVER tell which is counterfeit and which is real. They are identical.  This is why DRM never works ... at least not for long.
3. There is no need to interfere with Bit Torrent, which does in fact have legitimate uses.  Stopping people through legal action is messy anyway.  What we should do with a problem like Bit Torrent is what we've always done: obviate the problem through innovation and cooperation among those negatively affected.
4.  What is needed, then, is an invention of some kind that deals with the digital file on the redemption end of the business: i.e. when you go to use it for its intended purpose (i.e. watch, listen, read, play).
5. This type of invention is not likely to come from the tech industry, or from the entertainment industry. This type of invention is likely to come from people who already have experience dealing with fungible digital commodities and the problems they cause.
6. The people who have experience dealing with fungible digital commodities and the problems they cause, are mostly found in the securities industry, which has the most at stake (dollar-wise) from allowing counterfeits to be redeemed.
7. The Digital Content Exchange is an invention created, prototyped and implemented  (Beta: thedce.com) by former securities industry experts in the Design of Exchanges.

(The Digital Content Exchange in Seven Steps.)

Monday, November 24, 2014

What happens when music purchases are a small fraction of their current numbers?

.... asks Billboard magazine.

The DCE comment:

The author is quite right to note this trend, which shows no signs of abating.  The problem? 
Look no further than the weak definition of "Permanent Digital Downloads (PDDs)" contained in CFR 385.2 ("means a digital phonorecord delivery that is distributed in the form of a download that may be retained and played on a permanent basis.") and by Harry Fox Agency ("A download that can be retained and played permanently, like songs downloaded to your PC or phone").



What does a purchaser get when he purchases?  Not much. What does "permanently" mean anyway?  Is it any more permanent than an illegal download?  Not at all.  They both are given the same "full faith and credit".  

What is needed is to devise a way that ownership can be given value again.  The Digital Content Exchange is one way.

All this focus on "streaming" is misplaced or at least a misnomer.  What Spotify, Youtube, Netflix and Pandora really are is "renting".  You are renting a universe of songs for a month. They could be gone next month. Or the rent could be raised to $50 a month (beyond your budget). Owning is the only sure way to guarantee access to a movie, book, game or video that you really like and would want to play again.  But the industry is offering no alternative for those who want to own.  In music, there is no fluctuating marketplace, just $.99 or free from Bit-torrent or a "streaming" service. Digital Rights Management was and is a bad idea.  So because of that, the entire content industry gives up on finding a good idea??

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Where We've Been/Dialogue on Billboard.com

Although we have been busy practicing law, raising a family, etc. the Chronicle of a Solution continues unabated. The content industries (movies, music, books and games) are no closer to a solution than they were when we last posted. We had a meeting with Neal Harmon recently who obviously "gets it".  

We have also been active on various comboxes and message boards. A notable one of which is a recent exchange on billboard.com, reproduced below.   The dialogue started around the article about industrial-rock pioneer Trent Reznor, who has been hired by Apple to do... well, er, something.   

"Ownership is waning. Everybody is comfortable with the cloud -- your documents, who knows where they are? They are there when you need them. That idea that I've got my records on the shelf doesn't feel as important even to me as it used to. I just think we haven't quite hit the right formula yet."

  • Trent is confusing ownership with location. I own my stuff in the cloud, too. I better, anyway, or we have a problem... No, I dont care "where it is", but I do own it.


    2) Laz Laz  2 days ago
    This is one of the best interviews I've read, props to the interviewer. Some really excellent questions, and TR really comes across as a smart guy. He's an artist who's been on the cutting edge of the writing/ packaging/releasing music for decades, it's interesting to see what happens next - combining the weight of Apple and the expertise of Reznor...

    Have to disagree. Being on the cutting edge of writing/ packaging/releasing music has nothing to do with coming up with something unique to solve the technical/design/business problem

    I don't get that. I didn't say TR would be the guy to 'run' the business. But there's very few people with MORE knowledge about what works and doesn't work in the music industry. If anyone can come up with how to transform the music industry, TR is a good bet.

    I get that. Maybe we disagree about what the problem is, then. It is not a problem of what "works or does not work in the music industry", like a problem of which genre, which sound, which album cover, which marketing campaign.
    What we have is a technical problem. It is a problem that was unleashed in the 1980s when the record industry rushed headlong into selling a new product (CDs) in the same old way that they had sold the old product (vinyl and cassettes). That problem has never been addressed. Instead, the problem has been ignored, with everyone just hoping, with blind fideism, that some new revenue stream will make everybody forget that there is a problem and just be happy with the money they are making. Hence, the freefall that the music industry has been in ever since then. (Incidentally, it has never been solved for videos, books, and games either).
    If you keep turning to "music guys" (e.g., Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre, Trent Reznor), the problem is never going to get fixed. Like any other problem that you want fixed, you have to turn to innovators, i.e inventors. We are actually a very innovative country (the USA). There has hardly been a problem we have not been able to solve. But you have to actually turn to the people to fix it, or it is not going to get done. The music industry has never had to do that in its entire history. (Sure, scientists have brought them new technologies, and they have employed them. But they have never had a technical problem before that has cratered the industry like this one).
    What about Google, Apple and Amazon, you say? Aren't they innovators?? Yeah, sure. And they could fix it if they wanted to. But it is not their problem, it is the content industries' problem. Why should they fix the content industries' problem? The chances of it conflicting with one of their business models are too high (e.g. the venerable "Opt-out" rather than "opt-in" at Google.)


    Monday, June 25, 2012

    Precursor to Freemium?

    On June 28, 1915, the Brooklyn Tip-Tops of the Federal (baseball) League hosted the Chicago Whales in a contest at which all would be admitted for free.  Brooklyn owner Robert B Ward had a substantial bakery in New York.  Perhaps he figured that more fans would see his outfield ads for bread and so forth.  Of course we know what happened to the Brooklyn Tip Tops and the whole Federal League.