Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Koleman Strumpf (Harvard Business School) have a paper out in which they examine whether file sharing (and thus a weaker copyright) does negatively impact on incentives to create, release and market cultural works. Their answer is no (to the extent that data is available). Both for empirical reasons (considerably more music, books, and films have been released in 2007 and in 2000) and theoretical reasons (substitutes vs complements; artistic motivations vs financial motivations).
The NYT has an article that the Taliban's financial resources have been diversifying. Most interestingly, their number one source of money is no longer drug-related (though that is still important) but stems from donations.
The C.I.A. recently estimated in a classified report that Taliban leaders and their associates had received $106 million in the past year from donors outside Afghanistan (...). Private citizens from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran and some Persian Gulf nations are the largest individual contributors (...) there is no evidence so far that the governments of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates or other Persian Gulf states are providing direct aid to the Afghan insurgency.
Back in the days when states were the main actors in international politics and security matters, it was impossible to run a guerrilla war without some outside state backing it. The Soviets would never haven been defeated in Afghanistan without the CIA financing and equipping the mujahedeen. This seems no longer to the case. While this is not directly related to the ability to pool small resources for major projects characteristic of many internet-based organizations, it seems in line with a general trend that it becomes more easy to aggregate the resource of large, loosely organized networks.
OpenNet Initiative: Covering the state of Censorship and Filtering online
From an interview with Rafal Rohozinski, a founder and principal investigator of the Information Warfare Monitor and the OpenNet Initiative.
One of the more interesting things we've observed in recent years has been the emergence of "third-generation controls". This form of content control stops short of censorship, but rather sees the state (and pro-state groups) engage in active information warfare against their opponents. They use denial of service attacks, and other techniques in order to silence opposition. This approach is interesting, as it allows the state to claim that it is not censoring groups, but the effect is the same. Of course, there is no legal recourse to challenge these practices.
NYT has an article on the fears of the book industry about e-book piracy. There are numerous parallels to the music industry, including that the business model is under pressure even without piracy. The music industry remains dismal.
Since music sales peaked in 1999, the value of the industry’s inflation-adjusted sales in the United States, even including sales from Apple’s highly successful iTunes Music Store, has dropped by more than half, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.
Janko Roettgers writes about a release of an open source bittorrent streaming apps:
GoalBit uses a hybrid approach that combines the best of the BitTorrent world, with features from the likes of P2P networks such as Gnutella and KaZaA’s FastTrack network. Its network features a tracker similar to the one used by BitTorrent clients, but it also makes use of so-called super-peers. These are computers with fat pipes that help to distribute the initial signal until it trickles down to users with ordinary DSL connections and limited upload speeds. Super-peers can be run either by the broadcasters themselves, or self-selected based on the connectivity of the individual end user. The idea of this multilayer approach is to prevent too many direct connections to the broadcaster while at the same time making the system scalable.
A new study shows that, when asked, people do not like tailored ads, because of privacy concerns.
From the abstract:
Contrary to what many marketers claim, most adult Americans (66%) do not want marketers to tailor advertisements to their interests. Moreover, when Americans are informed of three common ways that marketers gather data about people in order to tailor ads, even higher percentages - between 73% and 86% - say they would not want such advertising. Even among young adults, whom advertisers often portray as caring little about information privacy, more than half (55%) of 18-24 years-old do not want tailored advertising. And contrary to consistent assertions of marketers, young adults have as strong an aversion to being followed across websites and offline (for example, in stores) as do older adults.
I'm not sure what such studies are worth. For decades now, people say, when asked, that they are worried about privacy, but do nothing to protect it. On the contrary. It's called the "privacy paradox" and indicates that the question is, perhaps, wrong.
NYT has a short note that a deal between Google/YouTube and Warner Brothers has been reached. Terms are not disclosed, but it ends the row that had forced Youtube to remove all WB contents from its site last December. According to Business Week:
"Google says the new deal allows Warner to sell ads against its own music videos, as well as user-generated videos that contain clips of its songs."
Yet another indication that the majors can force good deals for themselves, while all others, the indies, will see no money from Google. The media industry turns into a content oligopoly.
Ipoque Internet Study, 2008-2009
Yet another indicator that filesharing is not going away, even if video-streaming is growing more rapidly.
Some of the key findings of the study are:
- P2P generates most traffic in all regions
- The proportion of P2P traffic has decreased BitTorrent is still number one of all protocols, HTTP second
- The proportion of eDonkey is much lower than last year
- File hosting has considerably grown in popularity
- Streaming is taking over P2P users for video content
- Usenet, a file sharing alternative for P2P, appears in the statistics for the first time
Here is a short but good blog posting listing some of the copyright issues Andy Warhol encountered.
Copyright law works with the distinction between 'public' and 'private' whereas CreativeCommons introduced the distinction 'commercial' and 'non-commercial'. But since the beginning of CC in 2001, it has been unclear what these terms mean. Now, CC published a study that tries to come up with a common definition of the term, based on user feed-back. This will be used when it comes to developing the new version of the license (v.4.0), a multi-year process to be started in 2010.
Creative Commons noncommercial licenses include a definition of commercial use, which precludes use of rights granted for commercial purposes:
… in any manner that is primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation.
The majority of respondents (87% of creators, 85% of users) replied that the definition was “essentially the same as” (43% of creators, 42% of users) or “different from but still compatible with” (44% of creators, 43% of users) theirs. Only 7% of creators and 11% of users replied that the term was “different from and incompatible with” their definition; 6% or creators and 4% of users replied “don’t know/not sure.” 74% and 77% of creators and users respectively think others share their definition and only 13% of creators and 11% of users wanted to change their definition after completing the questionnaire.