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Archive for February, 2011

Physical media: between human nature and futurology

Monday, February 14th, 2011
CD and punched card - the speed with which one technology is supplanted by another is determined by many factors

CD and punched card - the speed with which one technology is supplanted by another is determined by many factors

It’s hard to answer prediction questions concerning physical media, letting alone assigning the exact date of their expiration. We might be laughed at by the future generations. Since the total disappearance of existing technologies is a sociological matter rather than technological, it’s always safer to predict the order of changes than to give exact rates.

It sounds trivial, but implementing a new technology into the market is always up to people. Those who live in big metropolies of the developed world may have an impression that certain technology (like Blue Ray) is so common that everyone and their dog is using it.Obviously, this is not the full picture.What about billions of people living in rural areas and in other places of the world?

Secondly, the speed with which the old technology can be supplanted by the newest one depends also on how well it fits the existing infrastructure. And the level of country’s existing infrastructure depends strongly on the level of its economic development, but also on the local business, politics, culture, even climat. Various technologies can be targeted at different groups of people and sectors of market, like cell versus land line phones. An intresting phenomena is observed in some developing countries of Africa with no previous landline infrastructure – they shifted directly to developing cell phone business.

And lastly, the human factor mentioned in the title. Basically, people vary as far as adopting new technologies is concerned. Not everyone is novelty-seeking, many wait to let the market verify the real value and suitability of the newest shiny gadget. Some simply attach sentimental value to items they possess and physical access is very important to them.There will always be traditionalists, sentimental collectors and fans of vintage. And this also stimulates the producers’ creativity. The more niches in the market, the better.

Piracy – Hydra – headed monster of entertainment industry

Monday, February 14th, 2011
Solutions developed to battle piracy become obsolete quickly

Solutions developed to battle piracy become obsolete quickly

Illegal downloading and counterfeit CDs and DVDs manufacturing, are threatening the entertainment industry which is extremely technology-oriented. On the other hand, piracy is also testing the industry’s creativity and ability to response rapidly.

It is estimated that one in three CDs sold worldwide is a counterfeit and 23.76% of worldwide internet traffic is generated by unauthorised content. In the USA, the commercial value of unlicensed software reached $51.4 billion, which was a 41% increase compared to previous years. But an exact loss figure is hard to calculate as there are many other factors, difficult to determine like whether someone would have purchased the content if it was impossible to obtain it illegally.

The UK, which is one of the leading digital music markets, with 67 legal services, also has to face the problem of illegal downloading. The first answer is education, which means making Internet users aware how physical and digital format piracy affects artists, songwriters and record producers.

But an informative and persuasive campaign is not enough to make users migrate to legal services. When there are no more carrots available, it’s high time to use the stick. Thus the UK, together with France, South Korea and Taiwan introduced legislation based on a gradual response. It was proved that 90% of P2P users would change their behaviour upon receipt of a second warning from their ISP, combined with a deterrent sanction if they continued their illegal activity.

Adopted in November 2009, the Anti Piracy Unit obliges the Internet service providers (ISP) to notify subscribers alleged to be infringing on copyright and produces a list of repeat infringers.

Piracy is like a multi-headed monster which continuosly transforms and forces people who deal with it to come up with one effective solution after another, as they become obsolete quickly. The next challenge is ‘cyberlocker’ sites with fast spreading illegal links, and no users to identify.

An interesting innovation was developed by Fortium. It’s a File Based Pin Play solution that secures the content at the moment of receipt. A special wrapper is attached to the file and the receiver has to enter a separately provided pin in order to open the content. It is aimed at protecting DVD’s from unauthorized duplication.

It seems that battling piracy can be effective if the efforts of all the parties involved: industry suppliers, assosiations and goverments, work together. But as always, there is also another side of the coin: what threatens the economic stability of a developed industry, boosts the rapidly growing markets like Brazil, India and China.

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