disk becoming obsolete

Between my smartphone, tablet, and laptop, it’s a problem if I have a file on local disk instead of in the cloud. The file is only accessible on FOO computer? Ridiculous.

When I was helping my brother set up a link between his digital camera and his laptop last weekend, he specifically didn’t want the photos to go to the laptop because then he would lose them as soon as he changed machine.

I’ve been backing up to Backblaze instead of a disk lately. Partly it’s that I’ve had several backup disks go bad and take down my history. Partly it’s that the files are then accessible via the cloud.

Not long ago this was spacey and futuristic. Soon it won’t be worth remarking on.

more on viacom vs youtube

From the Viacom vs YouTube summary judgement (pdf):

The DMCA notification procedures place the burden of
policing copyright infringement—identifying the
potentially infringing material and adequately
documenting infringement—squarely on the owners of the
copyright. We decline to shift a substantial burden
from the copyright owner to the provider …

That makes sense, as the infringing works in suit may
be a small fraction of millions of works posted by others on the
service’s platform, whose provider cannot by inspection
determine whether the use has been licensed by the owner, or
whether its posting is a “fair use” of the material, or even
whether its copyright owner or licensee objects to its posting.

This is a deeply wise decision. Solomonic.

The next hurdle is a method to enable rights holders to police infringement at internet scale. They need to be able to send takedown notices fast enough (and have them take effect) for their will to be respected.

safe harbor affirmed

YouTube won summary judgement motion against Viacom. This means that the DMCA safe harbors for ISPs have passed judicial review. That would mean a big reduction in legal risk for internet developers whose products are able to implement notice-and-takedown. Just be very careful to get the legal details right and your startup will be on predictable footing.

But caveat emptor. This is just one bit of data in a very complex landscape.

streaming displacing filesharing

“Filesharing music amongst UK teens down by a third” (PDF):

Overall levels of regular file-sharing music are down, particularly amongst UK teenagers:

  • The overall percentage of music fans file-sharing regularly (i.e. every month) has gone down since the last national survey. In December 2007 22% regularly file- shared tracks, but in January 2009 this was down to 17%, a comparative drop of nearly a quarter.
  • The biggest drop in those regularly file-sharing occurred amongst 14-18 year olds. (In December 2007 42% of 14-18s were filesharing at least once a month. In January 2009 this was down to just 26%)
    This is despite the fact that the percentage of music fans who have ever file-shared has, unsurprisingly, increased, rising from 28% in December 2007 to 31% in January 2009. The move to streaming – e.g. YouTube, MySpace and Spotify – is clear with the research showing that many teens (65%) are streaming music regularly (i.e. each month). Nearly twice as many 14-18s (31%) listen to streamed music on their computer every day compared to music fans overall (18%). More fans are regularly sharing burned CDs and bluetoothing tracks to each other than file-sharing tracks.

keep your eye on the products

David Barrett (aka Quinthar)‘s comment on the quinthar edition blog post:

The fact that an insignificant pirate outfit like Limewire is within an order of magnitude to the revenue earned by Apple on content sales is stunning. Apple is worth $240 *billion* dollars; it earns over $40B a year in revenue. For it to only earn $150M on content sales should be proof that nobody else should even bother. As a comparison, they sold 2M iPads in 2 months. Those cost $500 each, so that’s roughly a billion dollars. In 2 months, from one product. iTunes will never, ever be significant to Apple. Indeed, I believe the only reason Apple has iTunes is to distract from the fact that Apple is the major beneficiary of piracy. Nobody can argue with a straight face that people buy $30K worth of iTunes music to fill up their ever-expanding iPods; Apple *is* the largest inducer of piracy in the world. They’re just more clever about monetizing and hiding it.

Yup! I agree. I just don’t agree that unauthorized distribution matters to the recording industry except where it reduces profit. My case is not that the Sue Em All strategy has given consumers an direct incentive to stop filesharing.

My case is that the Sue Em All strategy has lead to new products being created which stay as far away from infringement as possible, and they are successfully drawing attention from filesharing. Pandora, YouTube, Hulu are all licensed, and they’re all doing significant volume. And out of the current wave of music products, nothing interesting is coming out of vendors with significant legal exposure.