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
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
Review Lawsuit: Oh good, the roads have been so icy for the past day and a half that almost everything is shut down. Even government offices closed yesterday. Nothing like a fight on the internet that I missed in January to divert me.
Coffee pods: Can hardly wait for the law suit. This type of behavior is why I last bought a Lexmark printer in the 90’s.
I just got a Keurig for Xmas. I use my fill-your-own cup as much as I do actual pods. The K-cup “approved” fill your own cup is a piece of dooky compared to the other ones.
Forgot to add — I look forward to all the instructions on the internet about how to jailbreak your Kcup and pods, hehe.
Review lawsuit: I am reminded of a book I reviewed about a decade ago, which I harshly (but accurately) described as “utter drek.”
The publisher made the brilliant decision to use this quote as the centerpiece of their marketing campaign — I still have the poster and buttons somewhere — and the series went on to become solid bestsellers.
DRM coffee — I await the day that Toyota, say, partners with Starbucks and DRMs the cupholders in their cars to hold only pre-approved beverages upright.
I was given a Tassimo brewer last year and it already has DRM — the brewer will only work if it scans a barcode on the top of the pods. I get around this by having a bar code I stick on pods I’ve used, emptied out, and filled with my own stuff, but that’s a lot of hoops to jump through. They say it’s because the temperature for each drink is different but pfft, it’s so I can’t use a refillable one or use off-brand ones.
Don’t get me wrong, it is convenient and I really like a lot of the drinks, but I have a shelf full of tea that wants drinking!
A DRMed coffee machine? That’s absurd. I better buy a machine now if I want one.
That Keurig choice sounds a lot like patent misuse to me–using their monopoly on new patented articles in Keurig 2.0 devices to leverage a monopoly on expired patents. I haven’t done a whole lot of research on how that actually plays out, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone challenged it on those grounds.
Also, I am now doubly glad I don’t have a Keurig.
I bought a Keurig during a kitchen reno when we were living in our basement and needed to be able to make coffee. The convenience is addicting, but the K-cups are not cheap and we shop around, especially online. If they do go this route, I will probably go back to making cold process coffee, which requires planning but actually makes better-tasting coffee, and save the K–cups for when I want one cup of decaf. Cold process coffee is pretty much acid-free, too, so it’s easy on the tummy.
I use a little bialetti stovetop coffee maker: http://www.amazon.com/Bialetti-Express-6-Cup-Stovetop-Espresso/dp/B000CNY6UK/
Nice strong coffee. Better than what I got from the few espresso makers I’ve tried. Affordable, too.
Wow, feeling a major cultural disconnect over the Keurig thingy that looks like pre-packaged coffee?? We speak the same language but it’s not working for me :) On the other hand @Erin : agree, the bialetti makes the best coffee.
I LOVE my Keurig, but DRM for coffee is completely stupid. There were one cup coffee makers before Keurig, most of which failed because you had such limited and often expensive options. One of the things that makes Keurig so great is that there are so many options out there. If you take that away it’s just another one-cup coffee maker that will end up in the back of the closet where people keep the rest of their lame kitchen gadgets.
@Courtney Milan: I think that’s already happened: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/treehouse-foods-sues-green-mountain-coffee-and-keurig-for-anticompetitive-conduct-lawsuit-seeks-to-preserve-consumer-choice-and-price-competition-in-k-cup-market-244959221.html
I don’t think I even understand the concept of DRM coffee.
I’m glad to know because that boggles the mind.
@Erin Satie: I’ve had one of those for 35 years now – my dad gave it to me when I went to college.
Still works great, and no drm! :D
The LinkedIn article was pretty confusing for me. I’m not sure I understand their motivation… Sounds like something to educate myself on!
Not everyone is going to like your book. There’s always a risk of a bad review. Respond without drawing attention to it and let it go.
Good analysis, Robin. Thanks!