DRM = Digital Restrictions ManagementRichard Stallman's got it right - DRM isn't Digital Rights Management, it's Digital Restrictions Management.
Online film piracy cuts into industry profitIt is interesting that nowhere in this whole article about a study concluding that the Motion Picture industry is harmed by “Internet piracy” does the reporter ever mention that the study itself was sponsored by the Motion Picture Association of America (who's CEO is quoted liberally in the article, including the statement: “It's getting clear -- alarmingly clear, I might add -- that we are in the midst of the possibility of Armageddon”). The article goes on to say:
“Valenti worries that digitally pilfered film copies -- packaged into file sizes that can fit on and be burned to a standard CD or DVD, then traded, shared or sold -- will not only undercut box-office sales, but erode the lucrative rental market.”This is the same Jack Valenti who, in 1982 testimony before the U.S. Congress, said:
“But now we are facing a very new and a very troubling assault on our fiscal security, on our very economic life and we are facing it from a thing called the video cassette recorder and its necessary companion called the blank tape. And it is like a great tidal wave just off the shore. This video cassette recorder and the blank tape threaten profoundly the life-sustaining protection, I guess you would call it, on which copyright owners depend, on which film people depend, on which television people depend and it is called copyright.”Come to your own conclusions.
Siebel Can't Sink Any Lower Than This, Can They?
I felt dirty just reading this article. Apparently Siebel wants to help the government fight terrorism (and make a tidy profit as well) using CRM software. While loopy enough of an idea in and of itself, they've crossed several lines with their PowerPoint demo showing how Siebel software could have prevented the events of September 11, 2001:
During the course of several weeks, simulated in the demo, e-mails arrive and databases are queried; all manner of serious-looking charts and maps get drawn. Patterns begin to emerge, and connections and plots are uncovered. Finally, thanks to Siebel, the agent is able not only to unmask the entire operation, but he is also able, on the morning of Sept. 11, to order the arrests of the terrorists before they board their planes. (There is even a handy "Detain" button on his screen that lets him do this.)
With Siebel software, it seems, exposing even the stealthiest terrorist plot is scarcely more difficult than ordering a book from Amazon. And not only is the software effective, it would be easy to install; Siebel promises that such a system could be up and running at the FBI in 18 months, tops.
Disgusting. Simply disgusting.
The other Ozzie attempts a comeback
So, let me get this straight, Groove 2.0 allows you to turn the internet into a private network:
The only viable alternative [to dealing with spam] is to consciously try over the next year or two to introduce environments for secure online work between people who you know
Wooohooo! The internet as Notes. The dream becomes reality.
Marketplace Reaction to Hailstorm puts Microsoft in Hegelian Synthesis Mode
It looks like Microsoft's Hailstorm (aka “Persona”, aka “My Services”) is turning into a light rain:
“We're sort of in the Hegelian synthesis of figuring out where the products go once they've encountered the reality of the marketplace.”
-- Charles Fitzgerald, Microsoft's general manager for platform strategy as quoted in the New York Times.
By ”Hegelian synthesis” Mr. Fitzgerald appears to mean that in developing the Persona concept Microsoft's management forgot something that they were tought in Econ 101: businesses are in competition with each other¹. In all the (quite justified) hoopla surrounding the use and potential abuse of customer information by businesses, we too sometimes forget that competition serves fairly well in protecting our interests as consumers.
Most of us were leery of of letting one company, especially Microsoft, control so much data about us. Potentially, given Microsoft's current ubiquity on the desktop and their aggressive business practices, forking our personal information over to Microsoft would become unavoidable as more and more businesses whose products or services we desired or required joined the Microsoft Persona “Partnership”.
A funny thing seems to have happened on the way to the party, though. It turns out that, we, as consumers, weren't alone in not wishing to allow some third entity control over our information. Since information about customers is a core business asset — the foundation of any business's competitive advantage gained through a better understanding of their customers — businesses themselves had no desire to let someone else control information about their customers. Chalk one up for the free market.