From the digital media front

Starting the year on a positive note:

  • On the last day of 2007, New York Times published an article about the University of Oregon resisting RIAA’s subpoena requests. In the Fight Over Piracy, a Rare Stand for Privacy points to the opposition from Oregon state Attorney General’s to RIAA request for student information. RIAA has been aggressively going after P2P file-sharing in higher-education. Quoting the article:

The recording industry may not be selling as much music these days, but it has built a pretty impressive and innovative litigation subsidiary.

Oregon AG is not taking a stand on the principle that file sharing should be legalized in all forms– that more extreme position, while espoused by EFF is unlikely to hold sway with the courts. Instead this is a more focused, tactical battle against the questionable approach used by RIAA in going after suspected file-sharers by pressuring colleges to work around due-process and presumption of innocence.

  • More labels announced support for publishing their catalog without DRM. Sony/BMG is the last label to get on the bandwagon; still a long way for a company that once root-kitted user machines in the name of content protection.
  • Better technology can succeed in the market: Warner may just have delivered the fatal hit to HD-DVD by throwing its weight behind Blu-Ray format pioneered by Sony. This new alignment brings everyone one step closer to the anticipated end of the high-definition DVD format wars. The 3% decline in DVD sales for the past year was in part being attributed to consumer reluctance to buy into a new format until the dust settled. Some companies such as Samsung tried capitalizing on the confusion by building dual-mode HD/Blu-Ray players but consumers balked at the price. Sony may have its revenge for losing the VCR format with BetaMax, which provided a textbook example of how a better technology (similar to BluRay having more storage capacity than HD-DVD) does not necessarily succeed in the marketplace against savvy deal-making. It sounds like Sony learned the lesson and aggressively pursued studios with heavy incentives for exclusive commitment to its favored format this time around.


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