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US$50 DVD Players, Courtesy Of The RIAA? 31 July 2000 Edition
Previous Edition

Here's something the RIAA and MPAA won't admit to (yet) but is, so I'm told, being given considerable thought...

The problem: Audio CDs have absolutely no copy protection and the encryption used to protect DVD recordings from digital copying has been broken due to an oversight by one of the licensees. In effect -- the bird is out of the cage and thanks to MP3 and DivX technologies, copyrighted music and video is being swapped at unprecedented levels across the Net.

The planned solution: A new media standard.

Of course you and I know that if the RIAA and MPAA members stopped pressing CDs and DVDs tomorrow there'd be a huge outcry. Most of us would object strongly if we had to go and spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a new player just to handle this new format.

However -- the recording industry (including the movie industry) realise that their entire future is dependent on retaining control of their intellectual property and, unless they do something drastic, their profits will certainly be devastated by this new digital revolution and the Internet.

So... one of the solutions is for the creation of a new media standard which, although being laser/disk based, is completely incompatible with existing CD and DVD players -- with ultra-strong encryption built in so as to prevent unauthorised copying.

And you will buy it -- because the new player will be free (or nearly free) and they will no longer produce new recordings/videos in CD/DVD format.

By having the players manufactured in extremely high volumes, and remembering that some of the biggest studios are also in the consumer electronics industry (Sony for example), they will be able to virtually give away these new feature-laden players. "Buy 10 new disks and get free player" will likely be one of the package deals on offer.

If they're prepared to (almost) give away the player, it effectively nixes consumer complaints that they shouldn't have to spend more money just to play the new media -- while allowing all new recordings to be published solely in this new format.

If you think this is unlikely -- just look at how many ISPs around the world are virtually giving away PCs in order to get customers to commit to a 12 or 24 month connection contract. The recording industry's plan is exactly the same -- give away the player and recover the money by forcing them to buy material in the new format.

Once the new format is established (which won't take long if you can pick up the equivalent of a top-line DVD player for $100 or so), the recording industry can then push up the prices of its music and videos so as to recover that heavy initial investment.

If the encryption is strong enough (and it will be) then it will take quite a while for the hackers to crack it. Remember -- the only reason the DVD encryption was cracked is because one of the licensees was stupid enough to publish a critical part of the system by accident.

So the good news is that we could all end up with some very cheap players -- the bad news is that the recording industry might just be arrogant and greedy enough to try this scheme.

You read it here first!

Check out the August 1 edition for more on this issue

Marketing Your Website
In the last part of this series I mentioned that in order to get your press release past the editors of various publications and broadcasters it's really important that it is newsworthy.

On reflection, it would be rather silly for me to provide you with a list of ways to become newsworthy -- since it's usually only the first instance of any particular event that makes the grade. However, I will offer a few examples of what others have done in the past to grab the eye of the media while promoting their website:

  • Last year, JenniferAnne.com chose to rename an entire North Island town after itself. This even made the overseas news wires!

  • On Friday, Dstore.com.au convinced an Australian DJ to change his name to dstore.com.au for a day in the name of charity.

Unfortunately it's becoming harder and harder to come up with novel and newsworthy ideas on which to base your site launch or that can elevate a press release into the "newsworthy" category -- but it never hurts to hitch your wagon to a trend or currently unfolding story.

A good example of this was the coverage the media gave local site mp3.net.nz at a time when MP3s have become the "in thing" and everyone is talking about the legality and future of sites such as Napster and MP3.com

Continued tomorrow...

As always, your feedback is welcomed.

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