Tim Longhurst's Blog

Futures of media – Cory Doctorow talk on increasing access to knowledge

April 20th, 2006 · No Comments

doctorowMovies, TV shows and music are all available via the internet for free. Filesharing software is becoming more sophisticated and the library of content is becoming increasingly rich. What does this mean for the future of media?

Over 90 minutes, Cory crystalised his perspective: new media, like all new technology in history, is going to create winners and losers. “Ask a blacksmith if he thinks the railway is a good idea and he’s likely to say no.” With internet and filesharing, the winners, in Cory’s opinion, are those people most able to adapt and take advantage of the benefits of cheap distribution.

“My problem isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity. People that haven’t heard of me aren’t going to buy my book.”

And so Doctrow argues that filesharing technologies work great for him as an author, because although he releases his content under Creative Commons license on the internet, he also publishes his books in hard copy and they sell, mainly because people know of him because of the internet. “Technology giveth and technology taketh away.”

According to Doctorow, conversation, not content is king, and it is inspiring and facilitating conversation that will determine success in the internet age.

For more on Cory Doctrow, including a mind map and MP3 of Cory’s talk, check out Delicate Genius Blog.

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Category: Communication and connection

Next Generation DVDs – the entertainment industry’s vision of tomorrow

March 9th, 2006 · No Comments

Have you ever seen an episode of MTV Cribs? Basically, it’s a show where people in the entertainment industry show you how much money they’ve blown on their house. One episode I saw featured a child way too young to have a license showing off his personalised sports car. More often than not, the ‘celebrity’ is someone I’ve never heard of, but they’ve amassed enough wealth to own a multi-storey complex with a pool, gym, home theatre and little electric buggies to get around in.

So when corporate frontmen from the entertainment industry claim that copying DVDs and CDs is threatening their industry, I think about “Cribs”. But the entertainment people think about something else: they imagine next generation of DVDs, discs that can’t be backed up, discs that can’t be copied and discs that dictate the way they are viewed. To quote Gerry Block, “You know those previews on DVDs that you can’t skip through? That’s only the beginning of the ways Hollywood wants to control your entertainment experience.”

How is this all happening? Through the Advanced Access Control System (AACS). AACS has been negotiated by a mega-corporation dream team:

  • IBM
  • Intel
  • Microsoft
  • Panasonic
  • Sony
  • Toshiba
  • Walt Disney, and
  • Warner Bros

are all members.

Basically, AACS is a system that means next-generation DVDs will only work on specially licensed equipment. That means you’ll need a new DVD player AND a new TV! Even the three million High Definition Televisions (HDTVs) in America today will be rendered obsolete by AACS.

A former Apple Executive, Mike Evangelist has pointed out an announcement from AACS that mentions an “analog sunset” – a decision to end support for traditional analogue playback in the coming years.

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Category: Media Mayhem