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Tuesday News: Keurig introduces DRM, self-published authors and 1-star reviews, fair use prevails in Harvard lawsuit, and LinkedIn looks like a media organization

Tuesday News: Keurig introduces DRM, self-published authors and 1-star reviews, fair...

Keurig’s next generation of coffee machines will have DRM lockdown – Ugh. I love my Keurigs. Yes, that’s right; I own more than one. What a ridiculous, consumer-alienating idea it is to have a DRM-ed machine. Seriously?! For coffee?! Not only does it go against everything that makes Keurig appealing (its diversity and flexibility), but it goes against the spirit of epicurean adventurism. And it’s a total bullshit way to get around the expiration of the K-cup patent.

Green Mountain plans to launch “Keurig 2.0″ this fall, a new set of machines that will only interact with Green-Mountain-approved pods. There is no documentation showing how Green Mountain will control this. But if Sony is any precedent, it seems like maintaining control over plastic pods of coffee may be an uphill battle. –Ars Technica

Should You Sue Your eBook Reviewers? – Some of the commentary to Sunita’s post on Amazon reviews reminded me of this piece by Greg Strandberg, who investigates the case of author Joe Nobody, who claims he has lost $23,000 because of a one-star review on his book. If the logic of that conclusion has stumped you, you’re not alone. Strandberg makes a very compelling argument about how Nobody managed to draw a whole lot more attention to the one-star review than anyone else, because his own exchange with the reviewer in the comments resulted in other readers marking the review “helpful.”

So now that one-star review is marked as “most helpful” negative review, Nobody is claiming that the reviewer is the one who cost him money, and other authors are slamming Strandberg because he dared question Nobody’s behavior. This so reminds me of how things were six or seven years ago, when a number of traditionally published authors were complaining about critical reviews, arguing that they were “mean” and “harsh” and inappropriate for genre fiction.

How about that 1-star review? It’s there front and center, which it should be – it’s been labeled by Amazon customers as the most helpful review. The fact that Joe Nobody helped make it that way through ignorance, sheer egotism, and an irrational approach is surly being left out of that $23,000 lawsuit. –Big Sky Words

Harvard Professor Settles Fair-Use Dispute With Record Label – Score another victory for fair use and for EFF, which represented Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig against Liberation Music, an Australian record label. When Liberation threatened to sue Lessig for using a song in one of his lectures, Lessig — an Internet law scholar — sued them instead, and he got them to agree that Lessig’s use of the music was fair use. There were also financial damages, but the amount was not made public.

The record label agreed that Mr. Lessig’s use of the song was fair use, and said it would “amend its copyright and YouTube policy to ensure that mistakes like this will not happen again.” –Chronicle of Higher Education

LinkedIn walks like a publisher and talks like a publisher. But is it? – Here’s a follow-up piece to the news I posted recently that LinkedIn was opening up its publishing space beyond its 500 “influencers.” However, this article argues that LinkedIn is behaving like a company that views itself as a media organization. LinkedIn currently generates revenue from a) premium accounts, b) ads, and c) “tools for recruiters.” One concern about this is that because LinkedIn does not own the content it hosts, it can remain free of liability while still generating profit. A parasitic model of journalism, in other words.

The fact remains that LinkedIn’s “publishing platform” looks more and more like a media property. Dan Roth was slightly less circumspect with Readwrite’s Owen Thomas last week, telling him that LinkedIn hoped to discover its own Nate Silver, the statistician-turned-writer, first for the New York Times and now for ESPN. Lest there be any confusion, the Times and ESPN are media organizations; the publisher of the next Nate Silver is a media organization too. –Fortune/CNN

Thursday News Facebook buys WhatsApp, Top Shelf opens DRM-free comics store, LinkedIn expands its publishing platform, and English university offers MA in self-publishing

Thursday News Facebook buys WhatsApp, Top Shelf opens DRM-free comics store,...

Facebook to buy WhatsApp for $19 billion – That collective groan you heard across the Internet yesterday heralded the announcement of this small purchase, which Mark Zuckerberg hopes will boost the messaging power of Facebook, by at least the 450 million users WhatsApp currently claims. Growing by about a million users daily, according to Zuckerberg, WhatsApp will now be represented on Facebook’s board by CEO Jan Koum. After news of the deal hit, Facebook stock fell slightly, given the hefty price tag.

Facebook said on Wednesday it will pay $4 billion in cash and about $12 billion in stock in its single largest acquisition, dwarfing the $1 billion it paid for photo-sharing app Instagram.

The price paid for Instagram, which with just 30 million users was already considered overvalued by many observers at the time.

Facebook promised to keep the WhatsApp brand and service, and pledged a $1 billion cash break-up fee if the deal falls through. –Reuters

Top Shelf Comix launches DRM free store – Check out the 2014 offerings for the Top Shelf digital comics store, including From Hell, by Eddie Campbell and Alan Moore, Lost Girls, by Melinda Gebbie and Alan Moore, and The Underwater Welder, by Jeff Lemire. –Boing Boing

LinkedIn’s publishing platform opens to all users – With sites like Medium and Tumblr providing new opportunities for online users to create and share shorter form content, LinkedIn has decided to join the trend by opening its existing publishing platform — previously exclusive to 500 so-called “influencers” — to all members. The company is looking to expand its focus and use, as evidenced by its purchase of Pulse, which added a news aggregating feature to the service. LinkedIn plans to start by providing 25,000 users with access, and slowly expanding to a “global roll-out” over the next few months.

Ryan Roslansky, LinkedIn’s head of content products, told TechCrunch ,”We do this because we want LinkedIn to be the place where members can become productive, successful professionals – not just when you’re trying to find a job, or search for another person.” –Gigaom

Self-publishing MA aims to bring authors’ ideas to book – Yes, you read that right: The University of Central Lancashire is offering a master’s degree in self-publishing. With 25 students a year, and an in-house university press, Uclan Publishing, the University’s existing program in publishing has become popular enough to warrant expansion to a self-publishing program, which will begin with approximately 15 students and looks to be a year-long program. Given the fact that publishing is a tough business, and self-published authors have to function as both author and publisher, this doesn’t sound like such a bad idea to me.

Those embarking on the course will acquire core publishing skills such as editing, production, layout, sales and marketing, although from the perspective of an author rather than an employee, while also learning the basics of running their own business.

The final semester will give students an opportunity to put all this into practice, taking their text up to PDF stage, so that it is ready for publication as either an e-book or a traditional hard copy book. –Times Higher Education