Monthly Archives: May 2010

quinthar edition

David Barret responds to my Sue Em All Solved post, in which I say that the Sue Em All campaign is *succeeding*:

Are you sure it’s working out well? All the troubles of TPB amount to
little more than a couple slight dips — from enormous piracy to
slightly less enormous piracy. TPB is still alive and well. … nothing has been remotely effective at reducing torrent pirating.

It’s precisely wrong to see downloads as the measure of success —
what matters is activity that could be monetized. Unauthorized
downloads don’t matter unless the downloader would have made a
purchase. The point is to extract as much money as possible from each
potential customer, not to extract money from people who aren’t ever
going to be customers.

Sell Donald Trump a gold-plated tour jacket. Sell box sets to
20-somethings who passionately love a particular band. Sell single
MP3 downloads to teens with no more than a single dollar to spend.

in what possible universe can you claim pirates aren’t demolishing
their foes in every field of battle they choose to fight? … The only battles the copyright forces are winning are Pyrrhic. They’re *masters* of those.

I know that people who read tech blogs think P2P is winning and don’t
understand why anybody would be in a business that assumes copyright
will continue to exist. This is a dream world.

Licensed content businesses are a big deal, techies.
YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora,, Spotify, and on and on. And
awesome products from startups like Mog keep coming in wave after

vs The Pirate Bay

Or note that Limewire earned on the order of $20 million a year, while
the iTunes music store probably earns on the order of $150 million –
an order of magnitude. And it will probably cost Mark Gorton far north of a hundred million dollars to settle the lawsuit. That
investment is a huge disaster, even though he had the #1 product in an
important space!

Money reshapes the economy like icebergs reshape continents.
Slowly but inexorably, value follows investment and users follow
value. Spotify’s users are there because Spotify’s investors
subsidize them. Who is investing in the Limewire of tomorrow? And
who is investing in their competition?


Peter Van Dijck sez:

I want apps on my tv. But the UI has to be TV-UI, leanback. They should build some kind of html5 television UX standards that I could then easily build apps on. The TV UI would be quite different from the regular web UI.

The Kylo browser for televisions is a pioneer in this space. Their business is selling infrared mice that you can use as a remote. It’s a mouse that controls a pointer on the television from over on the couch.

This is a totally kamikaze user experience. But so what? They’re smack on the evolutionary cusp, figuring out how little has to change.

So are they more of a neanderthal than a homo sapiens, too close to the ancestor to live on among the descendents? How much more do they need to change, then?

Sue Em All solved

Given years of smug certainty among techies that sue-em-all was a mistake, how come suing em all seems to be working out pretty well?

suing consumers didn’t work, but suing businesses did. Unlicensed companies have been forced out of business or forced to license. Those which do license come out with new products, and consumers are going where the products are.

Limewire’s software will certainly survive legal annihilation because it is open source, but it will lose the casual users who rely on the quality level that Limewire the company has been providing. Sites that host the source code will hold their noses and take it down when they get credible lawsuit threats; then even developers will miss the polish, since the source repositories will have to be hosted on private servers or in the gray market.

In the end anybody who can be upsold to a licensed music source will be. The only people who stick to filesharing will be those who are too broke to pay and don’t care about the unpleasantness of life in the gray market. People with a few bucks will surely cough them up. Sue Em All has turned out to be a method of price discrimination, leaving the black market running but limited to the poor!


The biggest reason why TVs don’t run the real web is that the necessary hardware is too expensive for the razor-thin margins in consumer electronics. For GoogleTV to succeed it must convince consumers to pay a price for TVs that can support a PC inside. A PC *alone* is at least a couple hundred bucks. A Roku is down within a price range that consumers will accept, less than $100, but it doesn’t have the muscle to run GoogleTV.

favorites from Music Hack Day

Cool hacks from Music Hack Day San Francisco, this past weekend:

Map a score onto an MP3. Meaning that you can label the musical semantics in a sound recording – not a trivial accomplishment. Like closed captioning for notes.

Fakebook Browser:

View pages out of a PDF scan of a Fakebook. The idea is you can do a quick song search with your phone/laptop/whatever when you need the chart for a gig. Possible extras include annotations/bookmarks, and ideally music extraction/transposition.

sibxml — transparent Sibelius export:

If you want to get your score files out of the Sibelius data jail, and you don’t like the MusicXML data model (or want to pay $200 for the Recordare Dolet plug-in) seriously enough to do some programming, you don’t have to struggle with programming a Sibelius plug-in in the deplorable ManuScript language. The sibxml package allows you to quickly dump everything from a Sibelius score in XML, and provides a set of easy-to-subclass Python classes to let you do whatever you want with it. Runs in Python 2.x (x >= 5), supports output from Sibelius 4, 5, 6, and 6.1. DTDs are available, W3C Schema in the works.