Thursday, December 4, 2008

Should we stop the sale of used video games?

Being able to buy used games is a huge advantage to the middle class every day gamer. Instead of spending 60$ for a new game we could spend 30$ and get that same game used. Or we could buy the game new and sell it back when we are done in order to get some money back to buy another game. The developers aspect of the used game market is however not so positive. They see is as loosing revenues for them in new game sales. Now the Game Industry is trying to use such tactics as post game content and other bonuses that come along with buying the game new instead of buying it used. The question we have to ask ourselves is wether this post realease game content is enough to convince the gaming world to stop buying used games. The one thing the gaming industry overlooks is the hidden revenue they receive from used game sales. Buy making games avaliable for a more affordable price, the game industry gets their titles into the hands of people who might not buy it in the first place. If they like the game then they will be the first ones in line to buy the next one new. These discounted games are also attracting new gamers. This overall benifits the gaming industry.

Harvard team: Let consumers hack abandonware

As we all know when Digital Rights-based music or any other DRM products shut down, we no longer have access to these products. If we pay for it we should be able to use it as long as we live. This is now becoming a serious problem now that MSN music, Walmart music, Google's video store, and Yahoo music have all shut down and anyone who purchased music from these sources can only play them on one device, if they can play them at all. What if the consumers had the right to bypass these DRM protections once they expire? The team and Harvard is proposing just that! As we all know the Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it illegal for us to circumvent DRM, but every three years the Copyright office asks for requests to make exemptions to these laws. This team from Harvard submitted a request that, in the event of DRM failure, users be able to circumvent the DRM protections on the failed software, so they could still use what they payed for. Without this users with any works that have failed DRM would not be able to transfer any of these works to other devices or even re-authenticate them for use on that same device. Say for instance Electronic Arts were to go bankrupt, millions of people would lose the ability to re-install or repair any software purchased from them. If this plan passes then researchers will be able to study the authentication messages flowing back and forth between the software and the DRM systems. This will allow them to learn how DRM works and how we could eventually lawfully circumvent it in the case of a DRM system failure or shutdown. This exemption for researchers has also been added into the plan sent to the Copyright Office for review. Lets hope it works, for our sake and for the sake of our DRM software, music, and games that we payed for. 

Remixers, Unlockers, Jailbreakers, Oh My!

I thought this was an interesting development. EFF submitted two petitions to the copyright office. They are after DMCA exemption of a few specific technology related activities, remixing, unlocking cell phones, and jailbreaking phones such as the iPhone.

The exemption for remixing covers ripping DVDs for remixing purposes. Fair use. Currently, once someone rips a DVD, the DMCA gets angry and jumps the gun by saying that that person broke the law without determining if the use was fair or illegal. The petition is to protect these people and actions so that the creators on websites such as youtube and vidders are still free to create.

Unlocking cell phones is a different subject. Cell phone companies lock their phones so they can only be used with their service and to protect their copyrighted material. So a phone that you got from AT&T won't work if you want to switch to Verizon or Alltel. They do this to discourage people from switching networks and it slows competition between carriers. Thousands of phones, because of this, end up in dumps and landfills because they can't be used with a different carrier. Unlocking these phones would allow for easier recycling.

Jailbreaking is like unlocking, but it applies to phones with applications, like the iPhone. Many iPone owners have already 'jailbroken' their phones so they can recieve apps from places other than the app store that Apple provides. I think I read somewhere that Amazon has made one or a few apps for the iPone..

The cell phone exemption petition would allow people to play with the stuff they bought, 'tinkering' is used in the article. The locks on the devices limit freedom with something you rightfully own because you paid for it.

The Copyright Office is supposed to announce the determinations in October of 2009..

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bye Bye Bratz?

Bye Bye Bratz?

U.S. District Judge Stephen Larson ordered for all Bratz products to be removed from warehouses and stores because of copyright infringement. This battle has been going on for a long time between the maker of Barbie, Mattel Inc. and MGA Entertainment Inc. MGA Entertainment Inc. has been growing more and more popular with the Bratz dolls and products, controlling the dolls on market. The final hearing isn’t until February to find out the verdict on those Bratz. The jury in Larson’s courtroom believed that the Bratz dolls were made by a designer who had worked with Mattel Inc. in the past. The designer had worked with Mattel under an exclusivity agreement, not allowing the Barbie/Mattel Inc. designs to leave Mattel Inc. The jury awarded Mattel Inc. $100 million for copyright infringement as well as for breaking the exclusivity contract with Mattel Inc. MGA believes that losing the revenue from the Bratz dolls and products will be very costly for the Van Nuys Company.

Mashups: No SOA required, but keep IT in the loop

The writer of this blog talked about how everybody is doing mashups for their own purposes. He states that it doesn’t take a lot and believes that users should “just do it.” He believes that mashups should be a part of the SOA evolution, moving the SOA forward. Jackbe’s Chris Warner, writing in Fast Company, agreed with the author of this blog. Chris outlined “the five common mistakes to avoid” with mashups. 1) True mashups don’t have anything to do with vendors, so don’t believe it when vendors say they offer mashups. 2) IT needs to establish a strong and secure infrastructure. 3) Mashups can be done without SOA. 4) Mashup reuse should be encouraged. 5) Security issues- secure your mashup files.

Woman sues Tyler Perry for copyright infringement

Woman sues Tyler Perry for copyright infringement

Donna West filed a lawsuit against Tyler Perry for stolen material used for the film, “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.” She is suing Tyler Perry for copyright infringement in U.S. District Court. She has asked for a jury because she is asking for all profits made from the film for her family. Donna West testified that she developed a script based on her life experiences titled, “Fantasy of a Black Woman.” She starred in the play. It was performed at the Junior Black Academy of Arts and Letters at the Dallas Convention Center in 1991. Donna West believed that Tyler Perry (or anyone apart from that production) could have seen the play since it was open to the public and replicated it. Tyler Perry’s movie earned about $50 million when it came out in 2005. Jurors watched Tyler Perry’s movie and also listened to a part of the script from West’s play. Tyler Perry’s attorney, Veronica Lewis, told the jury that Perry had prior success to the film and that he was a talented individual who did not need the help from another person. The case will be completed in about a week.

Live, From Carnegie Hall: It's the YouTube Symphony Orchestra

Live, From Carnegie Hall: It's the YouTube Symphony Orchestra

YouTube announced that they will be generating content by launching a symphony orchestra. The YouTube Symphony Orchestra has two main goals. 1) The creation of mash-up performance will come from video submissions. 2) There will be a live performance written by composer Tan Duan at Carnegie Hall on April 15, 2009 with 150 players selected based on their YouTube submissions. The idea was first brainstormed by two YouTube employees about a year ago. The other people who are contributing to the YouTube Symphony Orchestra will be Michael Tilson Thomas who will conduct the Carnegie Hall performance, the London Symphony Orchestra, and Lang Lang the pianist. Participants who are interested must be older than 14 and cannot be bound by any contracts that wouldn’t allow them to participate in the project. Participants can download the music for “Internet Symphony No. 1: Eroica”, selecting one of the 26 instruments. Participants who want to participate online can upload their videos of the symphony onto Participants who want to audition for the live performance can submit their videos following the specified standards by January 28, 2009.