March, 2011

The price of policing piracy

Copyright Implementation of the U.K.’s already delayed Digital Economy Act is likely to be postponed again, this time until at least 2012. Two of England’s largest ISPs,  British Telecom and TalkTalk plan to challenge the law in court on Wednesday on grounds that it’s proposed curbs on file-sharing violate users’ basic rights and received inadequate Parliamentary scrutiny. Assuming the high court agrees to hear the challenge the legal process is expected to take at least a year and the whole process could take even longer if Parliament decides to make changes to the law based on the court’s decision. Read More »

Chris Dodd shows how not to make an entrance

Lobbying I’m not sure former-Senator Chris Dodd did himself any favors by giving an interview to the Times’ Maureen Dowd in his first week as CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America. The Sunday op-ed piece that resulted opened with Dodd waxing whimsically about the job he really wanted (“just down the street” at the White House) and closed with him damning Hollywood with faint praise about its mild winter climate compared to Washington, DC and Connecticut. In between Dodd recounted a weird anecdote about Katherine Hepburn that made the legendary movie star sound snooty and boorish and described the movie industry’s business model as “nuts in many ways.” Read More »

The Albanians strike back

Over-the-Top Back in December, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes dismissed Netflix as a pip-squeak power in the media world, famously likening it to Albania. “It’s a little bit like, is the Albanian army going to take over the world?,” Bewkes told the New York Times. “I don’t think so.”

Even a pip-squeak army can inflict damage, however, if it picks its spots. And this week, the Red Envelope Brigade struck again, at a strategic but vulnerable spot in the Time Warner empire. On Tuesday, reported that Netflix had apparently managed to outbid several major cable networks, including Time Warner’s HBO, for rights to a big-budget original series, “House of Cards,” executive-produced by and starring Kevin Spacey. Read More »

White House moves to deputize MPAA

Copyright The Obama Administration is looking to swear in copyright owners to help it catch DMCA violations at U.S. borders.

In a new legislative proposals issued Tuesday, the Administration is asking Congress to let the Department of Homeland Security share samples of possible circumvention devices entering the country with rights owners prior to those devices being seized by DHS’ Customs and Border Patrol agents, to help determine whether they are, in fact, circumvention devices. It also wants Congress to allow DHS to provide information to copyright owners about devices seized by CBP without prior involvement by the rights holders. Read More »

Dissing disintermediation

Online Video Needham Insights analyst Laura Martin and colleagues are out with an interesting report this week comparing and contrasting the demand curves for analog and digital entertainment goods, and the pricing implications of each.

According to their analysis, demand for entertainment goods in the analog world, in this case consumers’ willingness to subscribe to a particular TV channel, is fairly inelastic, in that a change in price at any point on the curve has relatively little effect on the amount consumed. Thus, the demand curve exhibits a traditional, smoothly curved shape as prices decline (below).

In the digital world, however, their analysis shows that demand is top heavy: a small slice of the audience accounts for a huge percentage of the use, making for a much steeper demand curve when plotted against the total consumer spend on the goods or service in question (below). Read More »