by Mike Masnick
Fri, May 7th 2010 4:16am
writers guild of canada
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jan 19th 2010 1:56am
from the there's-a-legal-fight-brewing dept
It looks like this debate is kicking off again, with a discussion on News.com over whether or not the Fourth Amendment covers information stored in "the cloud." It tackles some of the same ground that we covered a while back, but points to a recent law review paper on this topic (pdf) by David A. Couillard.
The paper does a good job separating out the thinking here, and explaining why the Fourth Amendment absolutely should apply to information you store online. As it notes, while the Smith case said that phone numbers dialed might not be private, that did not extend to the contents of the phone call itself. And that's key. The reason that the phone company gets the phone numbers dialed is because that information is key to it delivering its service of connecting the phone call. So you can make a reasonable argument that while such information (the information needed to initiate a service) might not be subject to privacy protection, everything else communicated or stored via that service still deserves those protections.
The issue is that right now we really don't know how the courts feel about this -- and you can bet this is going to become an issue that shows up in the court system before too long. Hopefully, the courts will recognize that any "third party doctrine" when it comes to the Fourth Amendment is limited to a very narrow subset of information provided for a particular purpose, rather than all information stored on third party servers.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Dec 3rd 2009 4:35pm
from the maybe,-but-not-quite dept
It's an interesting idea, but if that's the case, I'm not sure the newspaper is really the best or most efficient means of "storing" news. Part of the reason why the TiVo (or other DVRs) and the iPod have been so successful is not just because they allow for the storage of content, but because they allow for the customization of what content, and give significantly more control over how it's consumed. Newspapers aren't quite like that. They tend to be more "here's what we've decided you want," rather than a delivery of what you've asked for or chosen to store. I would think that something like an RSS aggregator would be a lot more like "TiVo'd news" than any newspaper.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jun 2nd 2009 11:11am
from the think-it-forward dept
When it comes to the future of music I've always consider myself an optimist.The whole thing is worth reading, but the final paragraph makes a really important point that we've discussed in the past, but which often gets forgotten in trying to understand trendlines and the music business. It's that storage is growing ever bigger and ever cheaper at an incredibly rapid pace -- and as such it won't be all that long until you can carry every song ever recorded on a device in your pocket:
For one I'm certain that musicians and music fans have a prosperous future ahead of them. That's because music is the single most important ingredient in the music business soup and music is of course a result of artists' creative minds. And it's when musicians interact with listeners that a window for business is opening. Not before, and not just because some A&R person, marketeer or CEO open their wallet. That the relationship between musicians and fans is the foundation to the business is the single most important piece of knowledge that we all have to submissively recognize. This is the key to the future for the middle men we call record labels – we have to encourage the interaction and realize that it will live without us.
We as middle men have to remember that we always need to convince our customers (musicians and fans) why they should engage with us. Music on plastic discs or plain mp3s just ain't enough anymore. Competition is hard and consumers don't take bullshit anymore. If they love something you don't offer, they'll go create it themselves.
In five years a hard drive available to ordinary consumers will carry 35 TB of data. Data = music. 35 TB = 2.5 million songs. Watch this development closely. It's easy to get blinded by Spotify, but imagine when file sharing on the street means transferring the entire music history. At least it is a wild card. Anyhow it seems that we will have to work on better ways of charging for music than 1 dollar a song. Don't you think?Indeed. When you can carry every song ever... do people really think that $1/song is going to make sense?
from the is-that-the-library-of-congress-in-your-pocket-or... dept
by Timothy Lee
Mon, Jun 16th 2008 3:12pm
from the local-storage dept
A couple of weeks ago TechCrunch had a good write-up of the move toward open local storage APIs in web browsers. As websites have come to look more and more like applications rather than static pages, they've begun to bump up against the limits of what today's web browsers can do. Developers have responded by using a variety of proprietary plug-ins and workarounds to expand the browser's functionality. One example of this is local storage. There aren't a lot of good options for applications that want to store significant amounts of data client-side in a way that will continue to be available if the Internet connection goes away. Google has Google Gears, while Adobe has Flash. Each offers local storage, but neither is compatible with the other, nor are their APIs likely to be adopted by other browser vendors in the future.
Luckily, as part of the HTML 5 effort, it looks like the major browser vendors are moving toward a set of open APIs for local storage that will (theoretically, at least) enable developers to write an application targeting this functionality and have it work on any modern browser. It appears that the latest versions of Firefox largely already support the API, and support has been added to recent builds of WebKit, the foundation of Apple's Safari browser. The big laggard is Internet Explorer, which has some but not all of the functionality. But even IE users have the option of installing Google Gears, which has promised to add HTML 5-compliant local storage APIs. The broad support of these APIs by other browsers, along with the fear of giving the edge to its arch-rival Google, will put a lot of pressure on Microsoft to jump on the bandwagon.
What's really interesting about this is that browsers are starting to resemble operating systems in their own right. One of the most fundamental features of operating systems is to provide a consistent interface for data storage. OS developers call it a file system, rather than "local storage," but the concept is the same. And as websites come to increasingly resemble full-blown operating systems, I think browser vendors are increasingly going to have to solve the same kinds of problems that operating system vendors do.
In a sense, this is the belated fulfillment of Netscape's "middleware" strategy to make the web browser the new operating system. As detailed in the Microsoft antitrust saga, Netscape's hope (and Microsoft's fear) was that the browser would supplant the operating system as the default platform for user applications. That's now starting to happen, although it didn't happen fast enough to save Netscape.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Apr 15th 2008 10:09am
from the be-smart,-make-money dept
In the meantime, if storage isn't your thing, there are some other open cases within the Insight Community that may interest you, including ones on helping a major beverage company provide online value to its retail partners, the market for accounting software and a look at what Sales 2.0 might really mean. All Techdirt Insight Community cases work on the same basic premise: be really smart, write up your insights and earn money and reputation. We've got lots more coming from the Insight Community in the next few months, but there's no reason to wait. Join now, be smart and earn some money.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Sep 11th 2007 6:24am
from the everything-must-stay dept
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Sep 7th 2007 5:11pm
from the start-counting dept
He also highlights how the idiotic focus on getting more per song just as everything else about music and technology gets cheaper is hurting the record labels much more than it helps them. He compares the situation to how expensive it was to use mobile phones a dozen years ago. People were scared to use mobile phones because the charges were ridiculously high. You only used it in special circumstances. Today, however, the rates are much, much lower and that's massively grown the market for mobile services. Do you think the mobile operators would prefer to go back to $1/minute charges? Yet, why does the recording industry insist on $1/song charges when the infrastructure can support an entirely different model. Instead, make the music cheap and easily accessible. Take advantage of the infrastructure that allows people to carry around 40,000 songs in their pocket. Sell iPods that are pre-loaded with all kinds of music and watch them fly off the shelves. The record labels (and their supporters) will claim that it doesn't make sense to sell music for less when people are clearly willing to pay $1/song, but that's misunderstanding the market potential. People were willing to pay $1/minute for mobile phone calls too. And they were willing to pay $150/month for broadband access. But as all of those things got much, much cheaper it opened the markets up much wider, provided all sorts of new applications and services that made them more and more valuable -- and helped make the companies much richer by providing better services at cheaper prices. Why can't the recording industry understand that?