RIAApe Me… Again

IS the RIAA working hard behind the scenes to pass Audio Flag legislation to plug the analog hole during Congress’ lame duck session?

The *battle* is on and earlier this week, the RIAA’s Cary Sherman called BS on the Consumer Electronics Assn’s Digital Freedom docket in this op-ed published on CNET.

CEA President Gary Shapiro fired back almost immediately with this response.

I don’t trust either of these guys, quite frankly, and wonder what everybody else thinks about these association-types apparent attempt to duke it out, not to mention, Microsoft’s consent to sellout to labels for each Zune (despite fair use) sold and whether, in the end any of these efforts will lead us in any direction towards digital freedom for both consumers and creators.

Charles wrote in to Small Print Project:

…Seems like the RIAA is looking to make a push to pass the Audio Flag bill during the lame duck session. This will kill any hopes of having a digital radio recorder, much like Tivo, which companies like XM and Sirius are behind. Tonight the RIAA is sponsoring a tech demo/concert/open bar at the Russell Senate building. Special interests hard at work?

I can’t find anything at quick glance on this, but please — SOMEBODY crash it and report back!


Click to order RIAA toilet paper

More on the Sherman spin:
/. thread
Mistaken Goal posts of last week’s “revision of a white paper released in 2003 entitled ‘Background Discussion of Copyright Law and Potential Liability for Students Engaged in P2P File Sharing on University Networks.'”
Ars Technica

Originally posted November 16, 2006 at Set-Top Cop blog.

Is Amazon’s Omakase Ad-Link System TOO Invasive?

I’ve been using Amazon’s beta “Omakase” ad banner in the sidebar of my blog for a couple months now. I became an “Amazon Associate” primarily to get an extra 4 or 5 percent off when I enter the store via the banner.

But no doubt these ads freak the SHIT out of some people (especially those who’ve been searching for KY and butt-plugs).

Amazon’s Omakase links (Omakase is Japanese for [roughly] “it’s totally up to you.”) “show an Associate’s visitors what they’re most likely to buy based on Amazon’s unique understanding of the site, the user, and the page itself.”

How well does this work? See for yourself and let me know in the comments below.

Check the sidebar here: http://netzoo.net/…

Most reviews of Omakase (and Dave Taylor has an extensive one here relate the product as Amazon’s answer to Google’s Adsense. But my understanding is that Adsense content is based on the context on a particular PAGE, where as Omakase links are unique to the USER. Gigantic difference, no?

Plus, only the Associate knows what’s going on since you have to BE an associate (anyone can, I believe) to read the FAQ.

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I did make my first Amazon Associate cent (yes – exactly $.01) recently off some blog visitor who apparently purchased A Pilgrim in the Ruins: A Life of Walker Percy — which, it turns out was purchased for only ONE PENNY (hardcover even). I mostly think it’s cool to post images of books / CDs of interest (and from my experience in the record industry — labels and artists often stand to make more money via an Amazon order than a direct-from-label’s site order).

Originally posted November 9 2006 at Set-Top Cop blog.

Look Who’s Sleeping With You(Tube)

OMG! UMG is not gonna sue YouTube as threatened last month? Is YouTube pinned or just happy to share the bed? Today’s New York Times pulls back the covers:

Three of the four major music companies — Vivendi’s Universal Music Group, Sony and Bertelsmann’s jointly owned Sony BMG Music Entertainment, and the Warner Music Group — each quietly negotiated to take small stakes in YouTube as part of video- and music-licensing deals they struck shortly before the sale, people involved in the talks said yesterday. The music companies collectively stand to receive as much as $50 million from these arrangements, these people said.

This payoff will certainly materialize faster than any potential compensation from a lawsuit would. But the possible catch — doesn’t part-ownership also entail liability for any future content-related lawsuits filed against YouTube?

Earlier this week, Universal sued video-sharing portals Grouper and Bolt, demanding 15 grand per infringement and telling the press:

“Grouper and Bolt… cannot reasonably expect to build their business on the backs of our content and the hard work of our artists and songwriters without permission and without compensating the content creators,” a Universal spokesman said.

Yeah, I’m sure they’re worried about 50 Cent appearing on a mini-YouTube or Mariah Carey being compensated (doesn’t she have like a $20M contract)?

Last month it seemed Universal woke up thinking it was still 1999, only big mama RIAA is at bay (or, more likely, abusing the courts and/or high school kids).

Will there be more juicy details on this YouTube + Big 3 of 4 so-called partnership? Or is the new YouTube opaque?