by Mike Masnick
Fri, Oct 31st 2008 5:24am
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Aug 26th 2008 10:46am
from the doing-the-same-thing-repeatedly... dept
Now, Hasbro only owns the rights to Scrabble in the US and Canada. Mattel owns the rights elsewhere. Now, seeing that Mattel had the distinct advantage of seeing how much backlash there was against Hasbro for its actions, and how poorly Hasbro's own Facebook Scrabble was received, you might think that Mattel would try a different path. Nope. Mattel has now forced Scrabulous offline outside of the US as well. To be fair, the guys from Scrabulous overplay their reaction as well. It's not that shocking. After all, this is how companies react these days. Rather than going with the faux outrage, why not just release WordScraper and get people to sign up for that, rather than any "licensed" version of Scrabble?
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Aug 7th 2008 11:53am
warner music group
from the are-they-serious? dept
"The amount being paid to the music industry, even though their games are entirely dependent on the content we own and control, is far too small."Fine. This is the point at which both of those video games should stop using any Warner Music content, and see how Bronfman feels when everyone else is jamming to content from his competitors, increasing the attention and sales that they get -- while Warner musicians are left out in the cold. Once again, we're seeing how Edgar Bronfman Jr.'s supposed epiphany about the digital age of music was no such thing.
The industry simply assumes that, if something makes use of their content, all of the value is in the content. That's incorrect. Yes, the content is a part of the value, but it's the game that's making that content valuable. This is the same thing that's been true of so many other services that the industry has freaked out about -- from Napster to YouTube to Seeqpod and many others. Until the recording industry recognizes that this isn't a zero sum game, and someone out there promoting your content is helping to make it more valuable, the industry is never going to figure out how to really adapt.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jul 29th 2008 11:46am
from the too-bad dept
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jul 24th 2008 1:49pm
from the don't-you-ever-do-that-again dept
It's rather telling that Hasbro waited until its own version was online to file the lawsuit. What the company is basically admitting is that Scrabulous was a great promotional vehicle for Scrabble (otherwise why leave it up?), but now that Hasbro is competing with Scrabulous online, it wants to cut out that competition. Hasbro's General Counsel is being quite misleading in saying: "Hasbro has an obligation to act appropriately against infringement of our intellectual properties." That's not quite true. There is no "obligation" to sue someone who made your game popular again just because you were late to the game.
Scrabulous showed Hasbro that there was a huge market for their game. There was no indication that Hasbro had any interest in Scrabble for Facebook prior to Scrabulous' success.
Then there's this bizarre quote from Hasbro's GM of digital initiatives: "Hasbro has always had the same two priorities. One is to offer a great playing authentic game for fans and the second is to protect our intellectual property. This was theft of I.P., plain and simple." Really? Your second biggest priority is to protect your IP? Then why did you wait all this time to sue? Clearly there was a benefit in leaving Scrabulous up while your own version was being developed. Clearly the comparison to "theft" is incorrect. No one would let "theft" go on for months on end before suing, just so they could create their own competitive offering.
The Scrabulous/Hasbro situation is a perfect example of Matt Mason's thesis that "piracy" is almost never about "theft." It's almost always a market indicator that the market is unhappy with what's being offered. It's the market showing companies what they want.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jun 27th 2008 6:15pm
from the is-it-illegal-to-help-someone? dept
Now, obviously, some will claim (as easyJet does) that easyJet should have the right to only sell flights off of its own website. But if these other sites are merely scraping the content and then linking back to easyJet, then what's the problem? These sites are sending more business to easyJet, and it wants to sue them. The lawyer quoted in the article discusses copyright issues (which again, seems to go against what the company should want) and also database rights -- which is recognized in Europe rather than the US. But even if it's true that easyJet has a legal right to block these sites, it still seems like a bad business idea to sue sites for giving you free advertising -- especially when those are the sites people go to when they want to buy airplane tickets.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Mar 25th 2008 11:52am
from the content-and-advertising dept
"Recorded music is nothing but marketing material to drive awareness of an artist."Now, I'm not going to speak for Arrington, but I will speak for myself, and note that I've been saying similar things for nearly a decade. So I'll defend my own statements and explain exactly how it fits into the point last week about all content being advertising -- and all advertising being content. First off, I don't think that recorded music only drives awareness of the artist. I think it helps drive awareness of a whole host of other scarce goods related to the artist. But awareness is the biggest and most important in implementing a useful business model. So I find it hard to see how it's either sad or stupid, considering that it's actually quite accurate and a fundamental understanding of economics would show how it's true. Besides, if that's really the saddest or stupidest (or both!) sentence Carr has ever read, he doesn't read much.
So why is Arrington right and Carr incorrect? Because Carr still doesn't seem to understand the difference between scarce and abundant (or infinite goods). He doesn't seem to understand externalities. And he doesn't seem to recognize basic econ 101 points, such as price being set at the intersection of supply and demand, or price being equal to marginal cost (two ways of saying the same thing). Finally, he doesn't understand that non-monetary value is equally as important as monetary exchange (and that non-monetary value can be turned into money). For someone who is apparently (is he really?) a well respected economic commentator, these are odd omissions to his education. With an infinite good, the price gets pushed to zero over time. Map out the supply and demand curves and you see that, and you can confirm it when you see that the marginal cost is zero. But this doesn't mean that all is lost. In fact, it's a benefit, because that infinite good now becomes a resource that makes any scarce good it touches much more valuable. In other words, it acts as "promotion" or "marketing material" or "advertising" for those scarce goods. But, you've heard this before.
This is also why all content is advertising. Content is an infinite good. All content advertises something and makes something scarce more valuable. Nick Carr's blog, for example, helps advertise him and convinces people to buy his book (a scarce good) or hire him for consulting (which is buying his time -- another scarce good). Billy Bragg's music acts as advertising for Billy Bragg. It helps him sell more concert tickets at a higher price, or better yet, embrace newer more interesting business models like Trent Reznor, Jill Sobule or Maria Schneider. All of whom are examples of using their content to sell something scarce. It's that content that makes the scarce item valuable, but the content itself, once it exists, is an infinite resource. Once you think of it that way, it's a promotional good that can be given to everyone for free, making every other scarce good you possess more valuable. It's hard to think of why you wouldn't want to promote that way.
And that leads us to Carr's mocking of Arrington with the following paragraph, showing how little he understands the difference between scarce and infinite goods:
"As a printed poem, one assumes, is nothing but marketing material to drive awareness of a poet. As a sculpture is nothing but marketing material to drive awareness of a sculptor. As a film is nothing but marketing material to drive awareness of a director."As for the first example, yes, a poem is marketing material to drive awareness of a poet. And that allows the poet to sell many scarce goods, including books of poems, the ability to write a new poem, the ability to perform the poetry or even to get a job (say, as a poet laureate or a poetry teacher). None of those things are possible if the poems are not known. A sculpture is not an infinite good, so the statement doesn't quite fit. But an image of a past sculpture absolutely does help promote the sculptor and get them additional work in creating new sculptures (scarce goods!). As for the film, we've discussed this in great detail in the past. It is marketing material to drive people to buy scarce goods: seats in a theater. Even the great theater owner Marcus Loew recognized that: "We sell tickets to theaters, not movies." The movie is the content. It "advertises" the seats. It makes those scarce seats valuable. The content, you see, is advertising. That's not loutish, sad or stupid. It's just a basic economic truth.
Other posts in this series:
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Mar 3rd 2008 6:34am
from the please-explain dept
That's lawyers speaking, not marketers. How could a fun online game that has rejuvenated interest in what was seen as a rather dull board game among many folks today, be considered a "bad precedent?" How could having millions of new fans of your game and treating them right, rather than depriving them of what they want be considered a "bad precedent?" Some may answer that the "bad precedent" would be that it would encourage others to create similar knockoffs of other Mattel games, but, again, if they drove as much interest in the originals as Scrabulous did, isn't that a good thing? Some may claim that it would deprive Mattel the opportunity to license the games for lots of money, but again looking at Scrabble as an example, the bigger fear for Mattel should have been the fact that many people didn't care about the game at all. By letting random people create the games for it, it can quickly determine which games work well online and then work with the creators of those games to put an official stamp on it. The Agarwalla brothers created this game at no cost to Mattel, who otherwise would have spent a ton of money to create it after which it might not have caught on in the same way Scrabulous did. This way the game has been created, tested and even built up an audience at no cost to Mattel. Shouldn't they consider that to be a good thing?