Microsoft’s Mundie Sees DRM as Protection for Personal Data

Craig Mundie, senior advisor to Microsoft’s CEO, is proposing that a form of digital rights management can be used to secure personal data. He believes it is vital, since people do not currently have a method to ensure that the data they share will not be misused. However, DRM has been ineffective at preventing some illegal copying of media files. And many companies may oppose the idea as they require access to personal data for their businesses. Continue reading Microsoft’s Mundie Sees DRM as Protection for Personal Data

Should the Film Industry Embrace Piracy-Related Technologies?

An article in MIT Technology Review this week looks at the history and trends involving content distribution and suggests that Hollywood should consider adopting methods that are similar to those related to media piracy. While efforts to combat piracy continue, some question the perceived impact of file-sharing and other techniques, suggesting the film industry might be better served by adopting new ways to distribute its content and gain potential exposure. Continue reading Should the Film Industry Embrace Piracy-Related Technologies?

MPAA Wins Lawsuit Against Hotfile for Copyright Violations

In a major victory for the Motion Picture Association of America and its member studios, a Florida federal judge has ruled that Hotfile is liable for copyright infringement. According to the MPAA, the decision marks the first time a U.S. court has ruled against a cyberlocker regarding copyright infringement. Hotfile is one of the most popular cyberlockers and of the largest scale, but its claims of safe harbor from copyright liability and no indirect liability of its users failed. Continue reading MPAA Wins Lawsuit Against Hotfile for Copyright Violations

Napster Documentary: The Music, the Battle, the Revolution

“Downloaded” is a new documentary that examines the rise and fall of music file-sharing service Napster. The film tells the story of Napster co-founders Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker while providing details of the service’s launch in 1998 through its eventual 2011 acquisition by Rhapsody. It examines the downloading generation, resulting changes to the music industry, piracy and legal arguments, and the impact of services such as Spotify and iTunes. Continue reading Napster Documentary: The Music, the Battle, the Revolution

From Disc to Online: Impact of iTunes Over the Past Decade

Over the past decade, Apple’s iTunes has helped shape music discovery and consumption by providing a legal online model for distribution and sales. Since its 2003 launch, the iTunes Store has revamped the way music is distributed and has dismantled the traditional concept of the album. However, now there is concern that artists are not receiving proper creative and financial support with digital distribution expanding to multiple platforms. Continue reading From Disc to Online: Impact of iTunes Over the Past Decade

Is Skype Co-Founder Gunning for Netflix with Subscription Vdio?

  • Janus Friis, co-founder of KaZaA, Skype, Joost and Rdio (with partner Niklas Zennstrom) is working on a new online video subscription service that will be available soon in the UK.
  • According to GigaOM, Friis has been “assembling an A-team of media and Web technology experts to launch a site that seems destined to replicate the model behind their music subscription site Rdio in the video space.” Offices have been set up in Santa Monica and Europe.
  • From the follow-up Q&A: Vdio (Vee-dee-o) is in closed beta for the UK and is privately funded, while the assembled team’s experience comes from companies such as Netflix, Microsoft, TV Guide and Napster.
  • A spokesperson for Zennstrom’s VC company Atomico confirmed that Zennstrom is not involved in the project.

Rhapsody is Betting on Napster Purchase to Grow Subscriber Base

  • Subscription-based music service Rhapsody has acquired Napster from Best Buy in a deal expected to be finalized the end of November.
  • “There’s substantial value in bringing Napster’s subscribers and robust IP portfolio to Rhapsody as we execute on our strategy to expand our business via direct acquisition of members and distribution deals,” said Rhapsody president Jon Irwin.
  • Rhapsody and Napster have the two largest music service subscriber bases and the acquisition could impact other music services such as Rdio, Spotify and MOG.
  • Irwin emphasized the importance of a strong subscription base: “This is a ‘go big or go home’ business, so our focus is on sustainably growing the company.”
  • “Apparently it takes more than Facebook sharing to win the subscription war,” comments Gizmodo. “Too bad I haven’t seen a Rhapsody or Napster song actually shared on Facebook.”

Smart TV: Netgear Goes After Roku with its NeoTV Streaming Player

  • Netgear will roll out its smart TV box, the $80 NeoTV Streaming Player, which provides streaming media from Netflix, Vudu, YouTube, Pandora, Napster, Picasa,, Crunchyroll, Revision3 and others.
  • “Looks like Netgear is taking what it learned from licensing Roku’s tech last year and streamlining its connected TV offerings,” suggests Engadget.
  • The company’s press release indicates the device “opens up a world of Internet entertainment with streaming movies, TV shows, music, videos, news clips and games.” Users can also connect to friends through Facebook and Twitter channels.
  • “On the hardware side you’re looking at a glossy black box with a 300Mbps Wi-Fi radio, Ethernet, optical audio out and, of course, HDMI,” reports Engadget. The media player also includes a regular remote control for those who opt not to use the NeoTV Remote app via their smartphone.
  • The Roku 2 XS is currently the CNET pick for best media streaming solution under $100, but NeoTV may provide some competition.