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||Could the RIAA run out of money in the future? I'm sure
champagne makers all across the globe would see increased revenue
with all the toasting going on, but let's no go there yet: So far,
is reconsidering to pay so much money to the RIAA, which in turn
uses that money to sue its own customers and gets tons of bad press.
We'll finally get to see exactly how much the RIAA gets per song
sold online - as part of one of the ongoing lawsuits against alleged
P2P users, the judge has ordered
the RIAA to turn over the actual expenses the labels incur for each
Wired has an interesting
article about the CEO of Universal music. You'd think as head
of any company that's in a competitive market (maybe that's what
they don't get... we can take our money elsewhere, go to the movies,
buy a game, go to Disneyland, drink beer, etc.), you should try
and stay ahead of technology, but the guy freely admits he has no
idea about technology and even makes bold statements about nobody
being able to predict the rise of MP3 and Co. Well, there are a
lot of companies out there that thrive on staying ahead, there are
entire industries built on constant innovation - and if you can't
keep up, you're doing down. That's the other side of capitalism,
After having conquered wide parts of the world already, the DMCA
is knocking on the doors that pesky nation to the north - Canada's
government has finally caved and is preparing
DMCA style legislation. As usual, Michael Geist not only has
the analysis but also a
list of things you can do.
I'm not sure it exist in your country as well, but where I'm from,
we have this saying that goes something like this: If you give the
devil your finger, he ends up taking the whole hand. I've already
hinted multiple times that the EU data retention (some call it Stasi
2.0 which seems quite fitting) initiative would soon lead the copyright
industry asking for access to this data in order to sue you. And
so it has happened in Germany where proponents
are asking to modify the law implementing the data retention routine
to include access for copyright owners.
1.0.0 alpha 10 fixes a bunch of GUI bugs and shows the maximum
bitrate noted in the parsed file.
So here it is, the MPAA's
idea on how universities should prevent piracy on campus: install
the MPAA's wiretapping software on your network, log all P2P traffic,
then give those users the boot.
2.05 supports libavcodec for decoding of TrueHD, MLP and E-AC3
And France's government has found a way to get into good graces
of big content. Not so long after parliament was considering a P2P
flatfee, the idea of cutting
off a user's Internet connection if they are accused of copyright
infringement is an entirely different tune. Vive Vivendi Universal
it is now.. By the way, review commission that came up with that
idea is lead by a rabid P2P hater and chairman of one of France's
largest consumer electronics retail chain (who obviously blames
piracy for declining sales, unlike his colleagues in the UK).
And Marc Cuban, CEO of HDNet, starts
singing the anti P2P ballad, too.
should be faster and can handle more titles.
AMD's native quad core chips are finally available to end users,
the Phenom line of processors currently disappoints - after
all the hype intel's glued together set of dualcore chips (known
as the Core2 Quad) still managed to outperform AMD's latest offering.
content is also entering the presidential race in the US - they
sent a list of questions on how touch each candidate will be on
copyright enforcement and expansion if elected. If any responses
will be made public, make sure you pick the candidate that the industry
likes the least :)
For once, it's not piracy that gets the blame: UK's Entertainment
Retailers Association doesn't blame piracy on their declining sales,
but instead asks the labels to drop DRM. According to the ERA, it's
DRM that prevents the digital music market from growing.
1.0.0 alpha 7 support PAFF decoding.
With the current writer strikes and more and more shows being threatened
to go off the air, spectators are taking a closer look at Hollywood
- and find that especially the shares from the gross revenue some
actors and directory get, has made
the business of making movies a lot less profitable these days
(under such deals, the studios have to pay out even if a movie in
the end turns out to be a loss). But of course, they keep blaming
piracy for everything;)
Other commentators seem to think the Strike is a chance
to get away from the traditional studio model to smaller and more
flexible (and possibly venture capital financed) models. Of
course, this is as disruptive as the Internet has become for the
music industry so expect the major studios to not accept any chance
without a major fight.
Macrovision, know as the wrench content providers throw into fair
use efforts of paying customers, has added another anti customer
solution to their portfolio: they
bought up the company that developed BD+ - the most consumer
hostile technology ever to be deployed. If there are ever any BD+
cracks and the software / author mysteriously disappears, we already
know what to look for in court documents - Macrovision vs..
With copyright laws running amok all across the globe, a researcher
at the University of Utah has taken a closer look at where copyright
law is broken on a daily basis, and summed up a tally of the cost
of potential copyright infringement going on day after day. His
paper, titled "Infringement
Nation", stipulates that each day, copyright of content
valued at $12.45 million is infringed.
And in yet another disruptive experiment that will have the execs
of their label throwing chairs - Nine Inch Nails recently opened
a new site where fans
can share fan-created remixes.
Will ISPs soon turn into copyright cops? The RIAA's and MPAA's wet
dreams have resurfaced in various countries, and after spying on its
own customers without warrants for years, AT&T
could soon start doing the bidding of big content as well.
has a new EPG module (not quite complete yet), support the CI module
for certain technotrend BDA drivers and supports the TeVii S420
DivX enters the AVC arena: rather than developing their own codec,
the parent company known for the DivX codec has bough
up Germany's MainConcept AG, maker of various codecs and codec
related technologies and amongst others, a full fledged AVC encoder.
I guess the MPAA will be the next industry association to pressure
Russia on copyright matters - following the AllOfMP3 model, ZML.com
is a new that sells movies in a bunch of formats and for a price
that has the studio execs worry about the lease on their S-class.
The head of Warner music - one of the studios to still vehemently
oppose DRM free content - admits that the industry is at least partially
to blame for what happened to music in recent years. But as
usual, Edgar still manages to miss the point - there's not a word
about DRM, which arguably is one of the main roadblocks to more
widespread use of digital content. What good is a digital track
if it plays on your iPod but not in your car, your living room and
Now it is final - the triple
layer, 51GB HD DVD standard has finally been approved While
some say that approval could only have been made after extensive
compatibility testing (meaning the new discs work in existing hardware),
I suppose that the HD DVD camp will shed some light on that when
they launch their latest PR offensive. I'm also wondering whether
anything has been changed with regards to the data rate - it would
sure be fun to hear the Blu-ray camp squirm and trying to find excuses
they can sell to the public why they're not releasing movies in
both formats (these days size is all the rage, if that goes away
they'd go for bandwidth unless that has also been taken care off
with the triple layer HD discs - I guess they'll go with the numbers
of PS3s in the future as revealing the true reasons - region coding
and more DRM - are not such a good sell).
And speaking of selling things to the public, Cyberlink recently
removed one very useful feature from their PowerDVD Ultra player
- the software used to play both HD formats from your harddisk,
but that feature has disappeared without notice in the most recent
patch. When asked, Cyberlink will tell you that the feature has
been removed due to pressure from the AACS LA and the movie studios,
but I wonder just where in the AACS license there's anything about
playing HD content from your harddisk. After all, neither standard
mandates AACS on all content - with HD DVD there's no mandatory
AACS anywhere, with Blu-ray, AACS is mandatory on BDMV when on a
BD-ROM disc. Cyberlink now faces a lot of upset customers that are
demanding a refund, and I wonder what feature will have to go next.
I think studios would like to get rid of playback of any unencrypted
content, but they face the specs there (I have at least two HD DVD
discs that have no AACS), so I think it's more likely that playback
of BDMV without AACS will be next to go (so no more playing Blu-ray
discs with AnyDVD HD running in the background) - that would also
take care of the current BD+ loophole.
And in another piece of HD news, Warner
has abandoned Total HD for now - the hybrid Blu-ray / HD DVD
disc is not to happen anytime soon.
0.22 finally contains SMP support, has improved interlaced encoding
as well as more CLI parameters and bugfixes. There are also settings
for priority, colorimetry, MPEG level and AviSynth.
1.5.0 beta 13 has a most recently used file list in the file
menu and fixes a problem in the automatic PID setting.
22.214.171.124 is the first non beta release of the 4.0 series. It
features the new GUI and improvements in the DVD arena - keep in
mind though that there is no MKBv4 support.
contains a rewritten EPG parser.
In their "battle for those whose likelihood depend on creating
copyrighted works", major TV stations have started firing
people who currently participate in the writer's strike.
After dumping iTunes, NBC has launched NBC
direct - a place where you can watch and in some instances even
download full episodes of some of NBC's most popular series.
Meanwhile, economists are beginning to doubt that unauthorized
content distribution on sites like YouTube really hurts the television
Those pesky Canadians are at it again - this time the Canadian
to gives up chasing real criminals and instead prefers to turn a
blind eye to unauthorized downloads for personal use. How dare
Back in the good old US of A, things are more on track with the
an industry sponsored amendment to the Higher Education Act which
would force universities to focus
on preventing P2P rather than teaching people. And then we also
have the Intellectual Property Enforcement Act of 2007 - another
industry sponsored attempt at turning
the Justice Department into the industry's personal arm of the law.
Oh, and Wall Street is waking up to artists promoting their own
music and stocks
of major labels have hit a 52 week low - and analysis do not
predict good things for the 4th quarter either. Perhaps if the industry
was looking ahead rather than trying to force the good old times
back by suing people left and right..
Things are also almost on track in Japan with the proposed extension
of copyright protection by an additional 20 years. Now what
was the optimal duration of copyright protection again? A dozen
years and them some? And here we're talking life + 70.
In yet another example of how less DRM sells more content, UK based
7 Digital report that their customers
are 4 times more likely to be DRM free content than the DRM encumbered
1.5.0 beta 11 should no longer miss any audio tracks in special
situations, and the info dialog shows more information about MPEG
HD 126.96.36.199 supports more MKBv4 titles, and handles BD+. Now,
that doesn't mean BD+ is cracked. You still need a BD+ capable player
to play the decrypted disc - however, it seems that burning the
decrypted disc with the BD+ folder will result in proper playback
on devices that can handle BD+. Since playback of non encrypted
BDMV discs is outside the Blu-ray specs, it remains to be seen whether
Sony and Co. will undo that loophole by coming up with yet another
Blu-ray profile that prohibits playback of unprotected BDMV discs,
or if Fox and Co. revamped the BD+ spec to only allow decryption
if the underlying disc has AACS encryption. Either way, at this
point I wouldn't bet much money on this workaround being permanent,
so you should heed Slysoft's advice about buying HD media and buy
HD DVD over Blu-ray - it is the more consumer friendly format (not
to be confused with a consumer friendly format) and the risk you
incur of not being able to exercise your fair use rights in the
future are greatly reduces if Blu-ray becomes the prevailing format.
HD DVD players skyrocketed after the $99 sale last week. VideoBusiness
reports that about
90'000 units were sold in a single weekend. That's not nearly
enough to even get close to Blu-ray's installed base, but if Toshiba
can keep this up and bring in HD DVD into many homes as affordable
upscaling DVD players with a bonus (thus following the same Trojan
horse approach Sony takes with their PS3 gaming console), this could
potentially shift disc sales numbers considerably.
If you've ever considered buying DRM protected content online -
this one is for you: America's Major League Baseball has given us
a very graphic demonstration of why you should insist on DRM free
content: they changed
DRM system and whomever bought content under the old system is now
no longer viewable (and you don't get a refund either). So much
about owning what you paid for. And you wonder why people use P2P..
If you prefer to have the story in pictures rather than words,
has it, too.
This should serve as a lesson for those who believe music or movie
industry lawyers that an IP address is evidence enough to convict
somebody - ISPs can mess up their records, and that
can land you in jail.
Last but not least, in what couldn't be farther away from the statements
made up until last summer, Sony's
CEO now suddenly considers the format war to have hit a stalemate
and he'd like to go back in time and come up with a united format.
Then again, can you imagine Sony not trying to push their own agenda
in hopes of reaping more licensing money? And you just had to have
And they're trying again: the DVD CCA is once again poised to vote
on a CSS license change to put Kaleidoscope out of business
(it's more about preventing legit ripping of CSS protected content,
but the end result is the same).
The RIAA clearly has to step up lobbying efforts in Spain - how
else would a court rule that downloading
unlicensed songs is not punishable unless it involves a financial
Finally, here's one study on P2P that will keep the RIAA spinsters
busy with attempts to discredit: two University of London researchers
no direct link between use of songs downloaded off P2P networks
and the sale of CDs, but found that heavy P2P users are more
likely to go out and buy CDs.
can open multiple channels from the same transponder and fixes Diseq
for Hauppauge cards.
And the $99 HD DVD players just keep on coming - the latest company
to sign up to the party is Best
Sony is no longer sitting idly by and hints
at a price cut of their $499 Blu-ray player to $399 for the holiday
season, to once again achieve twice the price of the cheapest
HD DVD player (looking at the regular price, not the current sales
which I think will only be temporary..) Once again, instead of just
doing it, Sony is first announcing a price cut to happen in the
future.. and the PR appears to be working yet again.
Last but not least, from the "it's all about the artists"
department - we have EMI ripping off one of their own artists: They're
selling music online even tough they have no distribution license
- but wait, they
had no license whatsoever for distribution and still continued selling
songs online. If regular folks were to do that, they will end
up paying massive amounts of money and even risk jail, if a major
studio does it, do we throw a bunch manager types into the slammer
to get acquainted with Bubba?
I'm back :) Last weekend's successful movie streaming from my NAS
to a UPNP media player in the living room marked the definite end
of the remodeling, the new PBX is up and running, just OpenVPN is
giving me a hard time on my primary router.
In case you don't care about high def formats, scroll down because
there's a bunch of things that have happened since my last post..
Anyway, a lot has happened. For instance on the high def front:
The release of Paramount's summer blockbuster Transformers stirred
up quite some controversy because of Paramount
reported significantly higher
numbers than established tracking sources. According to Paramount,
they sold 100k units the first day, and 190k units in the first
week which would make it the fastest selling high def title to date
(but compared to 4.5 and 8.3 million units on DVD you can clearly
see that high def is a niche market at best) - Nielsen only counts
110k. Meanwhile, Disney stepped up to bat for the Blu-ray camp with
a buy one, get one for free offer, and thus at the end of the week,
Blu-ray came in with a 51% to 49% lead in units sold. Hats off to
the Blu-ray camp, this was a brilliant PR move that paid off - they
can still claim a win in every single week since the beginning of
Shortly thereafter, we started seeing an unprecedented price erosion
on HD DVD players. First came Wal-Mart with the $198
HD-A2 from Toshiba. Circuit
City followed and was soon joined by Amazon,
and now we have a $169
HD-A3 and a $99
HD-A2 for Black Friday. Since the third generation of Toshiba
players is about to hit retail, Toshiba says there has been no change
in the suggested retail price on their part. And while Sony and
Co. have managed to convince some retailers to give Blu-ray a nudge,
the recent Wal-Mart promotions appear
to be more than short lived - they also have a HD DVD disc promotion.
Kmart is also putting its weight behind HD DVD and will
only stock Toshiba's HD DVD player for the holiday season -
they are still selling PS3 consoles obviously so it's definitely
not an exclusive commitment.
$499 DMP-BD30K Blu-ray player finally delivers profile 1.1 features
(any player that is released after the 31st of October must implement
profile 1.1), and Fox has already announced the first title making
use of profile 1.1 features - Sunshine.
Faced with all the buzz about cheap HD DVD player, Sony is starting
a major PS3 push to coincide with the launch of the $399 PS3
So I guess it's true what they say... Q4 will be interesting. I
wished they had a $99 HD DVD player around here - I still need an
upscaling player for the living room.
Prior to all that buzz, the Wall Street Journal finally woke up
to HD DVD being region free and ran an article on how
you can get a number of Blu-ray exclusive titles on HD DVD if you
know where to look. Here's an idea for Toshiba's PR department:
"The Look and Sound of Perfect" - $99. Playing supposedly
Blu-ray exclusive titles in your HD DVD player - priceless :)
And if this all wasn't enough, SlySoft
has managed to crack MKBv4 meaning all the latest HD DVD and Blu-ray
titles are wide open - except those Fox titles using BD+. And if
that weren't enough, they claim to have cracked BD+ as well and
promise an updated AnyDVD HD to handle BD+ by the end of the year.
I'd prefer to have some proof, but I guess just in case I'll put
a bottle of champagne in the fridge in anticipation of BD+'s downfall.
I guess the "won't be broken within 10 years" PR spinster
will soon be looking for a new job and Fox's recently announced
titles might suddenly go in hiatus again.
Last but not least, I found this excellent
editorial on technical aspects of the format war over at High-Def
Digest. It might not be surprising to those with some experience
in video encoding (and especially those that often use filters on
their encodings.. ) but it's always good to recall that size and
bandwidth alone aren't everything.
Meanwhile, neuron2 has been busy and released a bunch of betas
1.5.0 - the latest being beta 10.
There also appears to be an open
source MLP / TrueHD decoder floating around, which gives hope
that a full open source HD playback solution will soon be available
- we already have VC-1 and AVC decoding as well as EAC3 decoding,
so the only thing lacking are the optional DTS modes.
contains a reworked subtitle and teletext parser.
DVDFab HD Decrypter 188.8.131.52 has a new user interface, no longer
freezes when PathPlayer encounters a time-out and has a better structure
rewriting engine. If you're interested in HD media, keep in mind
that once you play the first MKBv4 title, DVDFab
HD Decrypter will no longer work on any of your titles.
Then we have the roundup of legal shenanigans copyright holders
pull on a regular basis - for one we have a large Canadian public
domain scores site shutting
down under fire from Austria's Universal Edition. While the
site is perfectly legal in Canada where copyright on scores runs
out earlier than in Europe, it illustrates that today being within
your rights hardly does matter - you need to be able to back it
up in court against well founded copyright cartels.
Then we have the British IFPI and BPI shutting
down a large invite only Bittorrent site - OiNK. Interestingly
enough, the site counted some prominent musicians like NiN's Trent
And the music industry has apparently found some friends in the
British government as well - they have hinted
at anti filesharing laws.
Meanwhile, artists outside the established industry demonstrate
yet again that you can use
uncontrolled sharing to your advantage. Are you surprised that
the official arm of the major labels sings a different tune? And
unlimited use of disruptive technologies might
also open a whole bunch of new opportunities in China.
Denmark is the latest country where the idea of a filesharing
flatrate is being considered - apparently even proposed by the
local IFPI. I wonder if you can already take bets on how long it
takes for the RIAA central to send down the Nej directive to Denmark.
After the recent win, the RIAA is on the losing side yet again,
when a Rochester, NY court decided that the evidence the music
industry presented is not sufficient to identify the defendant and
to prove and distribution. You might recall that the definition
of distribution was one of the deciding factors in the RIAA's recent
As if interfering with your use of legitimately purchased content
wasn't enough, DRM can also pose security risks - Macrovision's
allows malicious software to take over your systems and exploits
have already been found in the wild.
And for some more abuse of the law we have before
the fact legal threats about posting Black Friday ads and ridiculous
copyright claims to forbid
the viewing of HTML source code of a website.
In light of Google's recent introduction of a copyright filter
on YouTube, Viacom (Parent of Paramount), Disney, Microsoft, Fox
and CBS have teamed up to develop "guidelines"
for content sharing sites. And when Viacom's CEO complains
about incompatible filtering systems, what about the DRM crap
you impose on our content? Why should we put up with artificial
restrictions on where and how we consume digital media while you
want a unified system to crack down on online publishing of unlicensed
Finally, in yet another example of how competition between different
branches of the entertainment industry can easily explain why a
part of the industry isn't doing so well - the release
of Microsoft's Halo 3 has apparently lead to a notable reduction
on revenue for the movie industry as people stay at home playing
games rather than going to the movies.
Last but not least, a strike may be brewing between writers and
producers about how much money writers get when content they've
written is redistributed via the Internet. Producers
would like to pay writers nothing at all, once again illustrating
that it's all about those poor people that create content.
Last month's news can be found here.