On video copyright and hints of sanity from executives

If you’re interested in copyright and the current mess of streaming rights, it’s worth reading Why Johnny can’t stream by James Grimmelmann at Ars Technica. That said, there are hints of sanity coming from television executives these days, perhaps a sign that people upstairs are finally getting it.

From Australia, broadcaster ABC will offer Doctor Who for streaming not long after it airs in UK.

“Piracy is wrong, as you are denying someone their rights and income for their intellectual property,” Mr. Dahill said. “The fact that it is happening is indicative that as broadcasters we are not meeting demand for a segment of the population.

“So as broadcasters we need to find convenient ways of making programs available via legal means to discourage the need for piracy.”

I’d like to think his statement was obvious, but it’s taken the better part of a decade for them to catch up with the torrenters.

HBO also appears to be making some inroads in the realm of sanity, bringing streaming only service to part of Europe. I’d like to see how this one plays out first, it could be massively crippled. Given the hoards of people who wants to throw money at HBO for access to content, you have to assume they’re making gobs of money from the cable companies or signed terrible contracts a few years back.

O’Reilly on E-books

Jon Bruner interviews Tim O’Reilly for Forbes Magazine. O’Reilly Media doesn’t put DRM on any of its books, he explains why:

People who don’t pay you generally wouldn’t have paid you anyway. We’re delighted when people who can’t afford our books don’t pay us for them, if they go out and do something useful with that information.

I think having faith in that basic logic of the market is important. Besides, DRM interferes with the user experience. It makes it much harder to have people adopt your product.

The lack of DRM is one of the reasons I purchase books from O’Reilly directly. It feels like you’re actually buying something — they’ll also give it to you in whatever format you want and will email when there’s an update. If you keep an eye on their twitter feed, they offer decent discounts.

Riepl’s Law

In 1913, Wolfgang Riepl, chief editor and a Nuremburg daily, made this statement in his dissertation concerning ancient modes of news communications.

New, further developed types of media never replace the existing modes of media and their usage patterns. Instead, a convergence takes place in their field, leading to a different way and field of use for these older forms.

The old doesn’t necessarily die out. In some instances, the old methods are absorbed or recycled into a new form. In others cases, those methods are refined and distilled down to their essence.