Wednesday News: Harper Collins doubles down on DRM, Canada may tax Netflix and iTunes, Microsoft buys Minecraft, and the habits of high tech parents
HarperCollins Adds Digital Watermarks to E-books – I read this whole article shaking my head at the idea that Harper Collins actually thinks it’s a good idea to add MORE DRM to their digital books. Why, you may ask? According to Harper Collins’ CDO Chantal Restivo-Alessi, the goal is “to prevent leaks in the digital supply chain as the company adds more e-tailers throughout the world.” Moreover,
Although the system is capable of identifying consumers who download e-books illegally, HC is using it to make sure that its e-tailers “are using the highest degree of security possible,”Restivo-Alessi said. If the Guardian Watermarking finds e-books that are being downloaded illegally, they will ask that e-tailer to either upgrade their security efforts or risk being dropped as an account, Restivo-Alessi added. –Publishers Weekly
Proposed “Netflix tax” divides Canadians at key TV hearings – Unlike Americans, Canadians pay a national culture tax, which has become somewhat controversial in the wake of a proposal that companies like Netflix should be subject to the tax and hearings before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission currently debating the wisdom, practicality, and political viability of applying the tax to non-Canadian media service providers.
At the “Let’s Talk TV” hearings now underway before Canada’s broadcast regulator, provincial governments like Ontario and Quebec have argued that Netflix should be subject to the levy. The country’s powerful cable industry and the national broadcaster, the CBC, have made the same arguments, arguing that companies like Netflix and iTunes should not get a free pass when their own services must pay for Canadian content.
Canada’s Prime Minister, however, has been denouncing the idea of a “Netflix tax” and some, including internet law professor Michael Geist, have suggested the idea is too politically toxic for the broadcast regulator to implement. –Gigaom
Microsoft To Buy Minecraft; Fans Worry About Game’s Future – Although Mojang, the Swedish creator of Minecraft, has indicated that it no longer has any interest in overseeing the development and maintenance of Minecraft, there is some definite concern over Microsoft’s acquisition of the game. Not only are fans worried that Microsoft will no longer offer the game on other computer and gaming platforms, but also that they will not honor the original direction and spirit of the game’s development. Phil Spencer, who oversees Xbox, insists,
“We are going to maintain ‘Minecraft’ and its community in all the ways people love today, with a commitment to nurture and grow it long into the future,” he said in a statement.
In announcing the deal, Microsoft pledged that Minecraft could tap into its expertise in cloud and soft development, which, it promised, would bring “richer and faster worlds, more powerful development tools, and more opportunities to connect across the “Minecraft” community.” –Silicon Beat
Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent – An interesting article on the way those in tech-related industries handle technology in the hands of their children. Except for the universal ban on computer screens in the bedroom, parents in tech have different approaches to the manner and time their kids can use various devices, applications, and social networks. The CEO of Twitter, for example, doesn’t put time constraints on his children’s use of devices. However,
Chris Anderson, the former editor of Wired and now chief executive of 3D Robotics, a drone maker, has instituted time limits and parental controls on every device in his home. “My kids accuse me and my wife of being fascists and overly concerned about tech, and they say that none of their friends have the same rules,” he said of his five children, 6 to 17. “That’s because we have seen the dangers of technology firsthand. I’ve seen it in myself, I don’t want to see that happen to my kids.”
The dangers he is referring to include exposure to harmful content like pornography, bullying from other kids, and perhaps worse of all, becoming addicted to their devices, just like their parents. –New York Times
I wouldn’t mind the digital watermark if it was *instead* of the current DRM rather than in addition to it.
Unless I’m missing something about digital watermarks, I think they allow you to convert formats for reading on any of your devices you like, but provide a unique identifier so that if it is uploaded to a torrent site the buyer will be able to be identified. Can someone tell me if I have that wrong?
Huge pet peeve: Using “worse” when “worst” is meant. Really, New York Times! It’s bad, worse, worst. /cranky
We closely monitor our kids’s email accounts (as in, how many they have and what they are) and they’s not allowed to sign up for anything without permission. They don’t get to have accounts on social media (except Pinterest). I kept telling them I wanted them to be able to screw up in private, without letting the world know, and that it’s hard to be cyberbullied if you’re not online to see it.
But that didn’t cut it until I showed them a few examples of what happened to kids their age who are either stupid online and catch blowback, or who were cyberbullied so badly they killed themselves.
Neither of the kids had any problem with it after that.
As for Minecraft, they both howled when I told them about Microsoft buying it.
And I think I’m done with Harper Collins. They don’t get it and so they no longer get my money.
Apparently I am a complete luddite, because I don’t have the slightest idea what Minecraft is (aside from some kind of computer game).
@Isobel Carr: It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t know what it is.
Dear HarperCollins: Have you bought e-books with DRM? Have you ever tried to download an e-book you bought and have gotten stuck with file.acsm?
And punishing the retailers for the actions of customers? WTH?
“Although the system is capable of identifying consumers who download e-books illegally” HarperCollins would rather add to the burden of the legal, paying consumer/reader/fan because it’s just easier to paint everyone with the same brush. Got it.
@Isobel Carr: Minecraft is a super popular sandbox-style video game where everything in the world is rendered in blocks. It doesn’t have a set play style, so you can screw around in the world to your heart’s content. Lots of people create private online games to play with their friends and it’s something kids and parents can play together. It’s a ton of fun, really.
This article gives you some idea of what you can do with Minecraft: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-29211032 I mean, if you are someone who understands it, not if you’re me.
I’m not a fan of DRM, however, I’ve known authors who find fly-by-night websites that were approved by their publisher/distributor giving their books away or heavily discounting with no payment to be forwarded later.
Obviously a better solution would be vetting retailers instead of letting anyone with a website sign up to sell books, but in search of the widest distribution possible, I don’t see that happening. So readers bear the brunt of this problem.
Netflix in Canada is but a pale reflection of Netflix in the US. Many of the movies and television programs are not available. I think we have less than half of the selections.