Archive for 2012/10/07
Coca-Cola and Samsung have pulled their advertising from a popular Vietnamese website notorious for providing unlicensed downloads of Western and local songsPosted: 2012/10/07 in Copyright, Education / Awareness, Enforcement, Illegal File Sharing, New Business Models, Online advertising, Stats / reports
A rare victory against online piracy in a country where it has grown unchecked. Besides Coca-Cola Co. and South Korea’s Samsung, other multinationals that have advertised on Zing include Canon, Yamaha, Intel and Colgate Palmolive
NetNames, the provider of domain name management, brand protection and online security services, has today voiced a strong warning to UK businesses that they need to improve their online brand protection practices in order to remain competitive in today’s marketplace. NetNames estimates that online piracy currently accounts for 24% of the world’s internet traffic, while cybersquatting costs trade mark holders more than £615,800 per brand, per year. In addition, one in every 28 pages on the internet currently suffers from some form of brand infringement.
While most businesses can see the potential that online channels offer, NetNames believes that many organisations are failing to recognise the hidden dangers that face their brand online, including digital piracy, cybersquatting and counterfeiting. In order to protect brands against the rise of these threats, businesses need to adopt a ‘search, find, stop’ approach. This comprises of searching for the dangers that are facing the brand online, identifying the specific threats, and introducing the appropriate measures to protect their business.
The Arab world’s top broadcasters have united to lobby against 30 pirate TV stations and websites that they claim cost them millions of dollars a year in lost revenuesPosted: 2012/10/07 in Copyright, Education / Awareness, Enforcement, Public Policy, Stats / reports
When discussing innovation, the Chinese like to tout the country’s “Four Great Inventions”—paper, gunpowder, the compass, and woodblock printing—and their enormous impacts on human civilization. Of course, that dates China’s creative peak at more than 1,000 years ago. When it comes to originating the great inventions of the last century—the semiconductor, the microprocessor, the Internet—China’s fingerprints are nowhere to be found.
Kim Dotcom is the second of two “cybercriminal” folk heroes US posses seek overseas: Wikileaks’ Julian Assange, for spilling the secrets of Washington, and Dotcom for allegedly pickpocketing Hollywood, the soul of the American dreamPosted: 2012/10/07 in Copyright, Cybercrime, Education / Awareness, Enforcement, Public Policy, Stats / reports
Dotcom’s judge described his hacking as “youthful foolishness.” The beak who rapped Assange’s knuckles said the lad was not malicious, just intellectually inquisitive. Hmm. Spare the rod?
Psych profiles of hackers reveal brainy misfits who believe themselves Michelangelos of the keyboard. They lack interpersonal skills and confidence, and get back at the world via computer sabotage. Hackers long to impress.
Assange does his St Robin Hood act by stealing secrets from the powerful to tell to the poor. Dotcom, rather differently, appears to have been mounting an attempt on the Guinness record for bad taste.
Leaks from Assange’s own organisation hint at a highly unpleasant young man, who now risks being remembered as a banana republic refugee from rape charges. For all that, one would presume Assange’s achievements earn him more in the sympathy stakes than Kim Dotcom, but this may not now be so.
The Dotcom saga has more cockups than a roll call of roosters. Plus malice, toadying, shiftiness, deceit, and buck-passing, So does anything remotely good emerge from this sorry tale?
The New Zealand government might have to do more to keep Hollywood productions coming here, director James Cameron said on TVNZ’s Q+A programme this morning – and, bluntly, that “doing more” means chipping in more money.
Asked if what he thought about the Kim Dotocom case, Mr Cameron said the Megapuload founder was “probably dirty”.
More, given the capital and jobs involved in the movie industry, Mr Dotcom could be seen on a par with someone who tried to destroy New Zealand’s agricultural industry, the director said – and hence worthy of attention from the Crown.
“I think it’s not inappropriate for a government to protect major foreign investments,” Mr Cameron said.
The director hosted a dinner where Prime Minister John Key meets with major studio heads.
TIM: Kim Dotcom – what is Hollywood’s perspective on him and on illegal downloading?
MR CAMERON: I think to the extent that the guy is guilty of fostering illegal downloads of movie content, I’d be against that, obviously. I mean, the guy’s probably dirty. I don’t think he’s a saint. The music business was eviscerated by illegal downloads, and it’s never recovered.
Not that there aren’t still plenty of artists out there who can create music. But movies are different. Movies aren’t three guys in a garage with a couple of guitars.
Movies require, you know, hundreds if not thousands of people and hundreds of millions of dollars to create the calibre of imagery that we expect to see. If the movie business takes a hit in revenues that’s equivalent to what happened in the music industry, you’ll never see that again. I think it’s not inappropriate for a government to protect major foreign investments.
If you think of the film industry not as something frivolous but as a major industry, and I think the term is correct – it creates jobs, it brings capital and so on – then it would be like anything else. It would be like someone who was potentially undermining let’s say the agricultural industry, which is obviously near and dear to the heart of the New Zealand economy.
LeaseWeb, a privately held Dutch-based hosting provider, is setting up in the US with the idea of competing against Rackspace, Amazon and SoftlayerPosted: 2012/10/07 in Education / Awareness, New Business Models, Stats / reports
Conservatives are using embattled torrent site The Pirate Bay, known for making movies and music illegally available, to run anti-Obama ads, reports a technology site with some knowledge on the subject.
According to an article on Torrent Freak, The Pirate Bay is used by millions daily, but the American Future Fund, a “secretly-funded conservative-leaning organization” is running an anti-Obama campaign on the torrent site.
Anonymous is at it once again, this time launching what is being called “the biggest thing to ever happen in Anonymous history.” The group posted a video to YouTube in which is calls for Anonymous supporters to help it attack a number of Swedish government sites for the perceived slights against The Pirate Bay and controversial Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that, sure enough, a number of Swedish websites have been taken offline after being flooded with traffic.
None of the founders of The Pirate Bay have seen the inside of a Swedish prison. Swedish legal system a jokePosted: 2012/10/07 in Copyright, Education / Awareness, Enforcement, Illegal File Sharing, Jurisprudence, Litigation, Public Policy, Stats / reports
Similar to NZ, file sharing in SE has become too much intertwined with local economic and political interests
Popular online music service Spotify’s financials show that the bigger the company gets, the bigger its losses. PrivCo has exclusively obtained privately-held Spotify’s just-closed full year financials, and while Spotify’s revenue growth is impressive, its overall financial results are alarming.
While Spotify’s revenues grew 151% in 2011 to $244 Million (€187.8M), over 2010, Spotify was unable to generate any material improvements to its cost of sales margin. In fact, virtually every new dollar of revenue went directly to music companies as royalty payments, evidencing the fact that the more members Spotify adds, the more money the company loses. This is a clear indication that the online licensing fee/royalty model is increasingly restricting Spotify’s ability to generate sustainable margins using its freemium model.
In almost a one-for-one scenario, every dollar Spotify is generating immediately exits the company due to licensing fees as members listen to music and ring up Spotify’s music royalty tab. In addition, in 2011, Spotify’s 311 employees grew salary costs 173% year over year, outpacing revenue growth, and adding to the red flags that this business model needs to address. With 98 cents of every dollar of revenue going to pay music royalties, this leaves only 2 cents on the dollar to cover ALL other operating costs, from all payroll, overhead, office rent, sales, marketing, data server costs, and so on, which is mathematically impossible.
PrivCo Founder and CEO Sam Hamadeh said today in a statement, “Spotify’s 2011 results indicate that drastic changes must be be made quickly to its business model in order to generate growth while actually improving operating margins so that break-even, let alone profitability, is somewhere, anywhere, on the horizon. Either the online music royalty payment model to artists and music companies needs to change, which is highly unlikely in the near term given that digital royalties are record companies only growing revenue stream, or Spotify needs to ASAP introduce a tiered subscription system, as opposed to its current flat monthly fee model, which is clearly a broken business model.
As currently designed, Spotify’s business model is unsustainable. Spotify’s heaviest users will have to pay, for example, for a “Spotify Platinum” level for $25/month with more song plays allowed. No matter how we slice the math, it is patently clear that something must change soon on Spotify’s business model if the company is to survive.”
French Music Startup Deezer Gets $130M Fourth Round, Led By Warner Music Group’s Owner Access IndustriesPosted: 2012/10/07 in Education / Awareness, New Business Models, Stats / reports, Tech Evolution
In France, it is the biggest startup funding round ever. Warner Music Group’s owner Access Industries and previous investor Idinvest are investing €100 million ($130 Million) into music streaming startup Deezer. €25 million ($32.6 million) will be used to buy out previous shares. Orange previously had 11 percent of the company and toyed with the idea of an acquisition. As it is not reinvesting, this plan seems to have ended.
Back in February, the company was already looking for a potential investor to stay relevant in the music streaming space. Even though the company is doing well in its country of origin, it is still at the very beginning of its international expansions.
Music companies, and especially Warner Music Group, will have a major influence on Deezer’s future. It is not unusual but it represents a double-edged sword. Streaming companies are very dependent from their deals with the music industry.
Having a major stake in the company can make the negotiating process one-sided when the contract is up for renewal. It remains to be seen whether multiple streaming companies can survive in that capital intensive industry.
Google’s learning software is based on simulating groups of connected brain cells that communicate and influence one another. When such a neural network, as it’s called, is exposed to data, the relationships between different neurons can change. That causes the network to develop the ability to react in certain ways to incoming data of a particular kind—and the network is said to have learned something.
The company’s neural networks decide for themselves which features of data to pay attention to, and which patterns matter, rather than having humans decide that, say, colors and particular shapes are of interest to software trying to identify objects.
Google is now using these neural networks to recognize speech more accurately, a technology increasingly important to Google’s smartphone operating system, Android, as well as the search app it makes available for Apple devices (see “Google’s Answer to Siri Thinks Ahead“). “We got between 20 and 25 percent improvement in terms of words that are wrong,” says Vincent Vanhoucke, a leader of Google’s speech-recognition efforts. “That means that many more people will have a perfect experience without errors.” The neural net is so far only working on U.S. English, and Vanhoucke says similar improvements should be possible when it is introduced for other dialects and languages.