Archive for the 'blather' Category

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Phone DNS

Friday, October 25th, 2002

ENUM is a proposal for a DNS for phone numbers, whereby you can look up the number and determine what services and protocols are available – fax, voice, data, etc. Very cool.

I got that tidbit from Jon Udell, who is perpetually consistent in his technology prescience.

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Ensuring the legacy of knowledge

Thursday, October 24th, 2002

John Perry Barlow encapsulates the copyright argument:

…when Jefferson and his fellow creatures of The Enlightenment
designed the system which became American copyright law, their primary
objective was assuring the widespread distribution of thought, not profit.

Read that again, and let it sink in. The purpose of copyright law is to assure the universal ownership of all knowledge. The mechanism by which this goal is achieved is that copyright is granted for a limited time as an exclusive ownership of knowledge in order to promote creativity via profit incentive. Profit is the means, not the end. Without the limit, the entire goal of copyright law – i.e. the assurance that all knowledge ultimately belongs to the commons for the good of all – is negated.

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Stopping the flow will only work for so long.

Monday, October 21st, 2002

Scott Andrew Lepera comments on the studio-artist-radio-advertising-consumer ecosystem, shedding some light that it’s more complex than it seems.

I also had a phone discussion with Paul (Chico) Fernandez from whom I understand more fully the complex relationships and pie slices – mechanical rights, royalties, radio play, performance, artists, composers, lyricists, artist musicians, session musicans.

Further, there are complete side issues like percentage-based slush funds fed from the RIAA revenue which apparently allow the union to pay artists for playing at free gigs in the park etc.

I can see that there is a lot of entrenched economic ecosystem at stake here.

A couple of things are still niggling at me though.

1) The more I look at it, the more I see that Artists (unless they are also composers) get the very least out of the recording industry pie. Why does the RIAA continue to trumpet that they’re working for the advancement of artists needs? Why does that have to be spun at us? Why not just say to us “hey, this whole huge ecosystem is in danger an could affect lots of money, people and families – let’s see what we can do to avoid that problem”. I might actually have some sympathy for that. I don’t have any sympathy for a cause that tries to tell me it’s something it’s not and runs around calling everybody crooks while at the same time grinding maximum advantage out of contract naifs.

2) I’m increasingly concerned about big money attempting to buy Congressional votes and using them to legislate artificial “solutions” which act as dikes against natural technology and market evolution. Surely the dikes are going to burst as the forces of advancement march on and cause far more disruption than if everyone were to plan to work with the changes. You might think the studios would remember the video issue or 20 years ago and how it turned out that once they were forced to deal with it rather than hide behind legislation, they managed to make it hugely successful.

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downloading = disintermediation?

Saturday, October 19th, 2002

I just watched The New Music on City TV in Toronto. Today’s show was largely about downloading and its effects on the industry. All through the piece it was all about the artists, how downloading affects *their* livelihoods.

I’d be interested to see/hear artists describing their revenue breakdown. How much do they as artists make from the records and royalties? How much do they make from concerts, appearances, merchandise?

My impression from articles and letters from Janis Ian, Courtney Love, and the recent court statements from one of the Backstreet Boys about never receiving royalties is that the artists themselves make very little if anything from the recording industry. The assumption I’d like investigated is that they view the recording industry as a necessary evil that allows them to graduate into revenue streams that actually make it as far as their own pockets – concerts, merchandise.

Assuming that these observations hold true, with professional recording and wide distribution having become reasonably affordable via computers, might it not be true that artists could be far better off in the future producing and distributing their own material for free consumption in order to jumpstart their personal payback of concert and merchandising streams, thus cutting out the RIAA middlemen who seem from many accounts to be taking close to all of the money and exerting all of the control?

This is fairly closely tied to the CARP issue that has effectively shut down internet radio stations, who were also encroaching on the recording industry’s ability to control what is played on increasingly centrally-owned broadcast radio. Both downloading and internet radio are threats to the RIAA et al in that they realize that if enough artists wake up to it, they will realize that completely disintermediating the process will give them direct control over their art, their profits, and their marketing.

It sounds almost too simple. Am I wrong?

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Time to pull the blinds

Thursday, October 17th, 2002

I’m finally dropping Robert Scoble’s RSS feed. There was a time when he had some insightful things to say, but lately I’ve just been waiting for him to post photos of his hickeys. I really am trying to be happy for his newfound naivete and lovestruck giddyness – I really do appreciate that it’s a fantastic force in his life, but it’s an ongoing spectacle I somehow feel uncomfortable being privy to in an increasing way. My brain’s auto-meta-tagger taxonomy engine wants to recategorize him from useful industry bellwether to the highly ignorable zits-and-angst teen blog category.

Robert and Rageboy seem both to be running around wagging their boners in the air lately (although RageBoy in a more abstruse and discreet way). Must be a California thing. I’m happy for them to be bonking like bunnies, but guys, consider pulling the blinds, or start using categories and let me spare myself the soap opera. For now, I’ll just avert my eyes.

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The other shoe drops and customers say no

Saturday, October 12th, 2002

Looks like Microsoft’s subscription pricing strategy isn’t gonna fly. I saw the holes in their plan way back in May 2001 and made my own plans to get off the merry-go-round a year ago.

Funny how they spin it that we’re the idiots for not understanding it. I understand it well enough, of that you can be certain.

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Another acronym explained

Friday, October 11th, 2002

I’ve always said it stood for International Bowel Movement. Seems I was right.

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Testing Marks’s new “further reading” reference injector

Friday, October 11th, 2002

Just in time for Canadian Thanksgiving! Dramatically expand the size of your
Pilgrim in just a few links! Guaranteed increase in girth!