Happy Mother’s Day to my mum, as well as all mums around the world.
My Surface Pro 3 experiment is coming along well, I haven’t touched my old desktop all week. There are still some issues with my screen set up, as switching between the SP3’s screen and my monitor can sometimes make all the icons look weird (signing out and back in again is the only way to solve it). But largely, it’s great being able to take work with me around the house, as well as outside of it, and to switch between tablet, laptop and desktop without much effort at all.
Let’s get started with the news roundup …
When MPAA prez Chris Dodd called for more unbiased research in the area of copyright, one might have thought that a new page had been turned by Hollywood’s copyright lobby, and that there might now be a genuine desire to find the root cause of the piracy problem. At least that’s what one might think, if one was not familiar with how the MPAA works.
So despite the publicly call for unbiased research, privately, the MPAA is doing the opposite – paying researchers for pro-copyright studies. We know what the MPAA are doing privately thanks largely to the leaked Sony emails (a goldmine of information on just how exactly Hollywood works, behind the scenes), but even if we didn’t, should we expect anything different?
The MPAA talks about trying to improve their public image, but it’s transparent stunts like these that give them a bad name. Instead of dealing with the very real piracy problem using facts and logic, it’s all rhetoric and scapegoating. Given that the MPAA has already decided who is to blame for the piracy problem (ie. everyone but themselves), do we really expect them to accept conclusions to studies that present a different view?
But just to show how far apart the MPAA is to the rest of the world, they’re the ones always complaining about how current copyright laws are not strong enough, when it’s clear that current laws are far too biased towards rights holders. The European Union, for example, understands that the problem with current copyright legislation is not that it’s too weak, but that’s it’s too anti-consumer, and they have a plan to make it fairer. Using geo-blocking as a way to control prices and maximize revenue will no longer be allowed, and content purchased within the EU will no longer be access controlled in EU member countries. For the MPAA, modernizing means putting in new copyright restrictions and penalties for new uses of content, but keeping pace with how consumers use content is the real meaning of modernization, and the EU’s plans are a step in the right direction.
The reason why the MPAA, the RIAA and others seems to be so far removed from the rest of us is because they have a fundamental misunderstanding of just why we have copyright. The copyright lobby believes copyright is solely a tool that helps to protect rights-holders earnings, but that’s not the end-goal of copyright at all. While the right for content creators to earn is important, the reason why creators should be rewarded is so they can keep on producing content. And not only do we want more content to be created, the end-goal of copyright is also to ensure the content is consumed, shared, debated freely (free as in freedom, not always in price), and that creativity is never stifled. Current copyright laws, in my opinion, fails to achieve these objectives, and major rights-holders are now using biased copyright laws to stifle consumption, sharing, debate and creativity.
Take Twitter’s Periscope. The innovative live streaming app opens up a whole new level of creative sharing, but all of the attention has once again been focused on the copyright issue. Yes, people use it to share copyrighted content, but just like YouTube back when Hollywood was seriously hating it, there’s much more to Periscope than what a few users choose to do with it. It’s a point the co-founder of Periscope Kayvon Beykpour was trying make. Rights-holders have tried to make Periscope out to be this new scourge that needs to be killed off, even during the highly publicized Mayweather-Pacquiao fight (a pay per view event that was a prime candidate for live piracy streaming), only 30 take-downs were needed on a platform where hundreds of thousands of streams were happening.
Periscope is a new way to consume, share and debate content, and a new platform for creativity. It’s the kind of innovation that the pro-copyright old guard don’t understand, and so fear – so it’s no wonder that it’s become public enemy number one for them.
The PS3’s lead over the Xbox One is still growing, but perhaps at a slightly slower pace. This is largely thanks to the price cuts Microsoft introduced for the Xbox One, price cuts that seems to have put quite dent into the Redmond firm’s profit margins. Hardware revenue was down 4%, and it was only due to the better than expected performance of their Surface range that hardware revenue wasn’t down more (and as someone who has now completely switched over the the Surface Pro 3 for all my desktop, laptop and Windows tablet needs, I’m not at all surprised that this great little device is doing so well).
With so many missteps by Microsoft during the launch of the Xbox One, something that former EA CEO John Riccitiello pointed out this week, this could allow the PS4 to become the best selling game console in history if current trends continue.
Companies these days are increasingly addicted to having more control, but just like that other much more serious type of addiction, there should only be one response when companies, like Microsoft with the Xbox One, feels the urge to experiment with DRM: Just Say No!
Another WNR done, again all completely on the SP3. See you next week!