April 2007 Archives

It's MySpace and I'll cry if I want to

TechCrunch reports that MySpace is preventing its users from embedding media hosted on competing services : PhotoBucket Videos Blocked on MySpace: "This is turning into a habit for MySpace, which usually claims bugs, security issues or terms of service violations were the cause of a shut down. In January MySpace mysteriously shut down all Flash widgets on the site for 2.5 hours. An Imeem blockade came next. Vidilife, Stickam and Revver have been permanently banned."

Also, Wired's Kevin Paulsen notes: MySpace Sued for Deleting Profile: "A Joplin, Missouri man filed a federal lawsuit last week against MySpace for violating his 'freedom to use the social networking site in peace.'" The pro se complaint, Mora v. MySpace, is, well, a pro se complaint.

Under the clickwrap terms of service agreement between MySpace and its users, MySpace can summarily delete profiles. Of course, a site owner does face judgment in the court of public opinion for appearing to censor its users for political reasons.

The more interesting qustion is whether MySpace has any obligation to third party beneficiaries (like PhotoBucket, Revver and YouTube) who have no contractual relationship with MySpace?

Fan Fiction Video Games

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Macworld: Free Battlestar Galactica game hits the Mac:

"Beyond the Red Line rewinds the show’s timeline a little bit, taking players back to Battlestar Galactica’s second season. You arrive on board the Battlestar Pegasus, ready to help defend humanity against the Cylons. Actually, you’ve been given no choice: A civilian refugee, you’ve been press-ganged into service as a pilot, and you take the yokes of a Viper Mk II, Mk VII or Raptor spacecraft as you test your skills against wave after wave of Cylon craft."

Sounds interesting. But wait, there's more:

"The game is entirely fan-created — it’s neither made nor endorsed by Universal Studios, NBC nor anyone else officially associated with the hit reimagining of the 1970’s space opera, which has received massive acclaim since its introduction three seasons ago."

Is Beyond the Red Line infringing on the copyrights or trademarks of NBC Universal?

Does it make a difference that an official BSG game will be released out in the fall by Sierra Online. "We're huge fans of Battlestar Galactica and are thrilled to have the opportunity to create a game inspired by the TV series," said Ed Zobrist, president of Sierra Online. "NBC Universal is working closely with us so that players will be able immerse themselves in the Battlestar Galactica universe and re-live their favorite missions from the TV series."

Apple and EMI go DRM-free

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Apple Unveils Higher Quality DRM-Free Music on the iTunes Store: "DRM-free tracks from EMI will be offered at higher quality 256 kbps AAC encoding, resulting in audio quality indistinguishable from the original recording, for just $1.29 per song."

This allows the labels to go above the $0.99 price point, and Apple to give customers a justification to spend more per track-- the $1.29 track is simply a better product than the $0.99 track in terms of sound quality and freedom to use.

The next question is: do the other majors sign on?

When does Apple offer the same terms to independents. Many indies would be willing to go DRM-free at $0.99. How price elastic are digital downloads?

Albums will remain at $9.99 with some price flexibility, but will be the premium, 256 kbps, DRM-free versions. It's a subtle way of adding value to the higher priced album product.