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Tuesday, 27 February 2007

BitTorrent Goes Legit!

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BitTorrent is restyling its business to sell downloads of movies and TV shows licensed from studios. This development is a bit of a surprise because BitTorrent was the bane of Hollywood, making it a regular event for people to share video based media easily over broadband Internet.

BitTorrent is betting that one third of current downloaders (users of its BitTorrent protocol) will be willing to pay for legitimate content rather than to take the gamble with possible law enforcement. And that's the point, that BitTorrent is not similar to Napster in that one respect: BitTorrent is a protocol, a means of communication between computers of a network, without a centralised server, whereas Napster had a centralised server. (Link: No, It's Not The New Napster, via About.com)

On the other hand, Hollywood executives will need more than a little reassurance to rest easy. Their biggest hope for daunting the would-be pirates of the newly available content (as low as USD$1.99 per episode!) would be digital rights management safeguards created by Microsoft Corp. search Google suggesting that Windows Media Player will play a prominent role in this interesting development. The next biggest hope would probably be digital watermarking search Google to track the original user and the movement of the digital file. It would probably be a bit like how scientists track penguins.

On the other hand, the press statement by Les Ottolenghi is that Hollywood's executives hope that "someone at home passes it on to someone at home, from one device to the next, and that becomes a value to the consumer" -- but somehow, that statement just does not seem to follow. Why is digital watermarking and digital rights management required if all that executives hope for is that the same user will continue to use the downloaded content?

Apparently not everybody is convinced to "go legit". Says one character:

"The sad thing is, it’s not about the money. I’m not interested in renting a movie. I want to own it. I want total portability. I want to give a copy to my brother. Digital convergence is supposed to make things like this easier, but D.R.M. is making them harder."
[source: New York Times]


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Saturday, 24 February 2007

iPhone Trade Mark Dispute Ends

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Talk about how an intellectual property dispute can be amicably resolved! Today's news covered one such incident: Apple Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. agreed that both parties could use the "iPhone" trade mark for their respective products and that all prevailing lawsuits would be dropped. I anticipate that the iPhone will prove to be another cash cow for Apple Inc.

The companies said they reached an agreement that will allow Apple to use the name for its sleek new multimedia device in exchange for exploring wide-ranging "interoperability" between the companies' products in the areas of security, consumer and business communications. No other details of the agreement were released.

The companies both said they would dismiss any pending legal actions regarding the trademark.

Source: CIO Today [link]


An analysis of the excerpt above also proves that in addition to the trade mark being made available to both parties, there is also increased co-operation and "interoperability" -- a very good example of savvy negotiation skills. In negotiation tactics, the best bet is to increase mutual benefits (upping the "win-win") by "looking around". In an age where Microsoft uses its huge market share to influence the direction of computing, alliances by other computing heavyweights are necessary to ensure survival.

In another recent incident involving Apple Inc., Apple Inc. settled patent disputes with Creative Technologies of Singapore in the following terms: USD$100 million, Creative Technologies being made a "Made For iPod" vendor, introducing various iPod compatible earphones and speaker systems, and cross-licensing of patents. link

Here's to more good negotiating skills in intellectual property disputes.
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Friday, 2 February 2007

6 Million Malaysians Transacted Online Last Year

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IDC Malaysia1 in a study reported that six million unique buyer identitites conducted online transactions i.e. e-commerce.2

Here are some statistics from the report:

Malaysia's population: 26.6 million
Growth of e-commerce spending: 70%
Malaysian business funds spent online last year: RM47.6 billion
Percentage of Internet access devices represented by mobile Internet access devices: 45%

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Notes

1. http://www.idc.com.my/
2. In-Tech, the Star newspaper (Malaysia), at page IT22
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