How do you solve a problem like YouTube?

[There’s an edited version of this on the BBC News website]

Mark Cuban doesn’t think much of video-sharing site YouTube or its prospects for future growth. Speaking to a group of advertisers in New York Cuban, who might be thought to have a vested interest as the founder of a high-definition TV channel, argued that YouTube will eventually be ‘sued into oblivion’ because of copyright breaches. Continue reading “How do you solve a problem like YouTube?”

Unbounded Freedom?

Last night I had a fun time chairing a debate to mark the launch of Unbounded Freedom, a publication from the British Council’s Counterpoint think-tank that offers a guide to Creative Commons thinking for cultural organisations.

Christian Ahlert from CC UK and Caroline Michel, MD of the William Morris Agency. It was a lively debate, and a podcast should be available soon.
The book was written by a friend, Rosemary Bechler, and it’s well worth reading if perhaps a liitle too proselytising for the publishing audience that came along last night, many of whom seem to believe that CC is about replacing copyright and giving everything away for free. It reminded me of one of my favourite scenes from Ghostbusters

This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
Mayor: What do you mean, “biblical”?
What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath-of-God type stuff.
Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies. Rivers and seas boiling.
Forty years of darkness. Earthquakes, volcanoes…
The dead rising from the grave.
Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together – mass hysteria.

There’s also a blog for continuing discussion, and Ian Brown has given his usual entertaining take on the proceedings. Oh, and Andrew Orlowski takes a flaming sword to the whole endeavour…

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Digital enclosures

[You can also read this on the BBC News website]

If you buy a Zune player from Microsoft then you’ll be able to share your songs with your friends using its built-in wireless link.

However Microsoft, clearly worried about what the record companies will think, have decided that you’ll only be able to listen to a transferred song three times, and that after three days you won’t be able to play it at all. Continue reading “Digital enclosures”

You Couldn’t Make It Up…

The UK record industry wants tax breaks on the money it spends finding new artists, according to a report on the BBC website. Apparently the British Phonographic industry:

wants its members to be eligible for tax credits which are currently awarded to businesses conducting research.

Such a system would lead to “greater investment” in new music, said BPI chairman Peter Jamieson.

In a world where YouTube and MySpace can break a band, and the need for the record industry oligarchs is increasingly questionable, you have to admire their chutzpah. But as we all know, calling for tax breaks is the last refuge of the scoundrel.

Update: Will Davies has picked up on this at Potlatch and has a more extended, erudite and intelligent comment to make. As usual.

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Fame at last…

Since my spat with Jimmy Wales I try to keep an eye on my Wikipedia entry, and was gratified to see that someone had decided I was worthy of vandalism..

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Welcome to the Zuniverse?

[As ever, you can read this on the BBC News website]

Now that Microsoft has announced the players, accessories and online store that make up its  Zune music service we can begin to see how it stacks up against the iPod and other MP3 players.

The player has a 30Gb hard drive, much smaller than the top of the range iPod with its 80Gb of storage, but it will no doubt grow. It’s got a larger 3-inch screen, a built in FM radio tuner, and comes in three colours: white, black and brown.

Continue reading “Welcome to the Zuniverse?”

Getting it right

I’ve just downloaded and installed the new release of iTunes, 7.0. It comes with Cover Flow which lets you flip through album covers – I’d used an early version on my Mac and it’s extremely nice. But of course getting artwork means iTunes needs to know what you’ve got in your library – and tell Apple…  but it seems that Apple have learned their lesson from the experience with the Ministore..

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Who can you trust?

[As ever, you can read this on the BBC News website too]

Most of the discussions about Craigslist, the phenomenally successful classified advertising website that started over ten years ago in the US, focus on the job ads and accommodation listings and how they are challenging existing advertisers.
But the site is also used extensively for personal ads of all sorts, including many from people looking for sex with no complications.

The ads, some of them very explicit, can be found in the ‘casual encounters’ area of the personals section, behind a warning notice designed to deter children or the easily offended.
Continue reading “Who can you trust?”