By now it should be clear that ebooks are more than just a passing fad. That digital reading revolution we’ve been hearing about for over a decade is finally starting to take shape. Amazon has sold over a half million Kindles, Sony has moved several hundred thousand digital Readers, and Stanza, the free reading app for the iPhone, has been downloaded over 1.3 million times.
As consumer adoption of digital reading devices accelerates, publishers are grappling with the impact that digital distribution will have on existing business models. It’s hard not to feel a certain sense of déjà vu as we witness yet another form of mass media completely remade in the digital era. And it’s hard not to feel just a little bit sad that publishers are making many of the same mistakes we’ve seen made in other industries — most notably by the recording industry.
At long last the Federal Trade Commission is taking a serious look at DRM and the impact the technology is having on consumers. The Commission has scheduled a Town Hall meeting in Seattle on March 25th.
The FTC is soliciting public comments until the end of the month. I’ve already submitted my comments, and I encourage all Medialoper readers to do the same. You can submit your comments online until January 30, 2009.
While no one can doubt the importance of protecting the intellectual property rights of copyright holders, it is equally important to protect the rights of consumers. Unfortunately, where DRM is concerned, consumers have no rights.
Well, all I can say is that it’s about godsdammed time. Today’s big news out of Macworld — that the iTunes Music Store is going DRM-free AND adding a tiered pricing structure — is good news for everyone involved.
It’s good news for consumers because — from the consumer standpoint — DRM sucks fully, totally and utterly. No matter how it was spun as one of those “for your protection” things, or as “protection for the artist,” it’s been proven time and time again to be a big pain in the ass for consumers. Anytime you purchase an artifact — including a digital file — with eithervsome kind of purely arbitrary use restriction and/or dependency on the large corporation that sold you the artifact to keep it working, that’s potential trouble. Period.
So in the spirit of George W. Bush’s ninja-like ability to duck a shoe thrown at him from point blank range, the following people and things spent 2008 getting away with shit that they really should have been busted on.
With Chinese Democracy topping 1.5 million in CD sales and downloads in its second week — for a two-week total of 5 million, the best ever — it is now official: the American Music Industry has never been healthier. Even in what is easily the most crippling recession most of us have seen in our lifetimes, people are buying music at a record pace.
How have they done it? According to Frederick Stamphammer, the RIAA’s Vice-President of Digitization — and the man seen by most insiders as the key figure behind the transformation of the music industry into a virtual profit machine — it was by seizing the opportunity afforded by the internet nearly 10 years ago.
This may surprise some of you, but, DRM has been very good for Medialoper. While it’s true that the whole ‘Loper team is generally opposed to all things DRM, it just so happens that a huge segment of new readers arrive at Medialoper each day after searching Google for solutions to various DRM related problems. The sad truth is, DRM is what brought many of you to Medialoper in the first place.
While our DRM related search traffic is mostly constant throughout the year, we see a surge in traffic around the holidays. That surge peaks on Christmas day as consumers desperately search for ways break the shackles on various DRM crippled holiday gifts.
While it’s great that new readers are discovering Medialoper, we’d be happier if consumers weren’t being suckered into the DRM shell game that restricts fair use and offers no value in return.
And so, in the spirit of the holiday season, and despite our best interests, we’re happy to present Medialoper’s first annual DRM-free Holiday Shopping guide.
Finally, Election Day!! I’m tossing that out as a public service, just in case you didn– . . . no, I can’t even make that joke.
How is it possible that after two nonstop years of this — 20 full months after I first wondered if this election was going to be the best reality series ever — that anybody who would possibly be reading this wouldn’t know the election was today?
And man, am I glad that — gods willing — it will all be over tomorrow. And yet, I gotta wonder, then what?
Well, it’s now official: Joe The Plumber — thrust in the spotlight by his newfound close personal friend John McCain — has officially endorsed Senator McCain for President. This should be a surprise to absolutely nobody. While Mr. The Plumber has heretofore demurred as to whom he was supporting, he continually undermined those demurrals by saying how much worse his life would be if Senator Obama became President Obama.
However, Medialoper has it on good authority that Mr. The Plumber — real name Samuel J. Wurzelbacher — should actually be rooting for Senator Obama. Because the FOX network is going to put his beliefs to the test!!
That’s right, if Obama wins, look for The Joe The Plumber’s Real America Show reality series on FOX next year! According to our sources, it will be “in the tradition of The Hills,” as we follow Wurzelbacher’s attempt to actually earn more than $250,000 in 2009, and thereby qualify to have his taxes raised by Obama.
If he makes that much money and has his taxes raised, then he wins!
My name is Jim Connelly, and I am an Asynchronous Voter. And by that I mean that instead of voting on Election Day itself, I’ve always requested an absentee ballot and voted by mail. I’ve been an Asynchronous Voter for several years now, ever since I realized that the State of California would let me mail in my ballot instead of waiting in line either prior to or after work.
I’ve always figured that it didn’t matter how or when I cast my vote, as long as I cast it. For the longest time, this made me an anomaly — voting absentee every election was weird for a young(er), healthy, non-traveling person.
However, this year, I’ve become a trend! Loads of people are voting asynchronously. I should have known something was up when the State of California asked Rox and I if we wanted to become “Permanent Vote by Mail Voters”. Hell yes!