Infreemational news for the new year

January 8th, 2007 | by ian |

More signs that the music industry is realizing just how bad DRM is for business and experimenting with distributing music without digital rights controls:

“The majors . . . have got to capitulate, or they will continue to have a fractured digital media market that will slow down and stagnate,” says Terry McBride, president of Nettwerk Music Group, management home of such acts as Sarah McLachlan and Avril Lavigne.

In the Canada file, Michael Geist writes for the Toronto Star reflecting on the Time person of the year – “you” – and the implications of internet culture for the future of Canadian society:

… the role of government will be to support the enormous economic and cultural potential of user-generated content, while avoiding steps that might impede its growth. It can do so by focusing on the three “C’s” – connectivity, content and copyright.

Joseph Stiglitz proposes stimulating innovation by offering medical research prizes instead of incenting intellectual property land grabs by private industry, which leads to enormous costs for society:

Research needs money, but the current system results in limited funds being spent in the wrong way. For instance, the human genome project decoded the human genome within the target timeframe, but a few scientists managed to beat the project so they could patent genes related to breast cancer. The social value of gaining this knowledge slightly earlier was small, but the cost was enormous. Consequently the cost of testing for breast cancer vulnerability genes is high.

Second life, the widely discussed online virtual world takes a bold move towards providing the platform for the “metaverse” by releasing its code as open source:

A lot of the Second Life development work currently in progress is focused on building the Second Life Grid — a vision of a globally interconnected grid with clients and servers published and managed by different groups.

On the whole, a very interesting new year!

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