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The Almighty Buck

NY Times To Charge For Online Content 488

Hugh Pickens writes "New York Magazine reports that the NY Times appears close to announcing that the paper will begin charging for access to its website, according to people familiar with internal deliberations. After a year of debate inside the paper, the choice has been between a Wall Street Journal-type pay wall and the metered system in which readers can sample a certain number of free articles before being asked to subscribe. The Times seems to have settled on the metered system. The decision to go paid is monumental for the Times, and culminates a yearlong debate that grew contentious, people close to the talks say. Hanging over the deliberations is the fact that the Times' last experience with pay walls, TimesSelect, was deeply unsatisfying and exposed a rift between Sulzberger and his roster of A-list columnists, particularly Tom Friedman and Maureen Dowd, who grew frustrated at their dramatic fall-off in online readership. The argument for remaining free was based on the belief that nytimes.com is growing into an English-language global newspaper of record, with a vast audience — 20 million unique readers — that would prove lucrative as web advertising matured. But with the painful declines in advertising brought on by last year's financial crisis, the argument that online advertising might never grow big enough to sustain the paper's high-cost, ambitious journalism — gained more weight."
The Internet

Ireland's Largest ISP Settles With Record Industry 222

An anonymous reader writes "In what has been billed as a world first, four music companies and Irish ISP Eircom have agreed to work together to end illegal music downloading. The Irish branches of the record companies (EMI Records Ltd, Sony BMG Music Entertainment Ltd, Universal Music Ltd and Warner Music Ltd.) brought a High Court action against Eircom last March which has resulted in this settlement after eight days of trial. Eircom will be implementing a three-step process — informing a subscriber that their IP address has been detected infringing copyright; warning the subscriber that if they do not stop they will be disconnected; and finally disconnecting the user if they fail to heed the warning. Which technology they will be using to spy on their customers is currently unknown. EMI and the other record companies have recommended US-based Audible Magic, which (among other things) claims to block copyright violating web content from sites like Youtube and MySpace. However, digital surveillance is nothing new in Ireland and Eircom may have already tested and implemented the necessary technologies."

Australia To Block BitTorrent 674

Kevin 7Kbps writes "Censorship Minister Stephen Conroy announced today that the Australian Internet Filters will be extended to block peer-to-peer traffic, saying, 'Technology that filters peer-to-peer and BitTorrent traffic does exist and it is anticipated that the effectiveness of this will be tested in the live pilot trial.' This dashes hopes that Conroy's Labor party had realised filtering could be politically costly at the next election and were about to back down. The filters were supposed to begin live trials on Christmas Eve, but two ISPs who volunteered have still not been contacted by Conroy's office, who advised, 'The department is still evaluating applications that were put forward for participation in that pilot.' Three days hardly seems enough time to reconfigure a national network."

Sony CTO Starts New "Buy Once, Play Anywhere" Group 138

jriding writes to mention that a new effort, headed by Sony Pictures' CTO, will attempt to allow customers to stream video content seamlessly on any device that they own. One has to wonder how successful or "all encompassing" it will be without Apple, TiVo, and Amazon, some of the major players in the space. "It's all very much in the future, however. The press release is peppered with confidence-wilting phrases such as "will define and build a new media framework" (something this complex hasn't even been defined yet?), "we are developing," and "over time." Without even a spec in place, there's no way we will see working products for at least a year, quite possibly longer. And, if the strategy document we discussed in August remains accurate, new DECE-ready devices will be needed to make the whole scheme work. By the time video stores adopt the tech, electronics firms implement it, movie studios support it, and consumers purchase all the pieces to make it work, will it still matter?"

Ghostbusters Is First Film Released On USB Key 448

arcticstoat writes "Are you the USB keymaster? You could be soon if you pick up PNY's new 2GB USB flashdrive, which comes pre-loaded with Ghostbusters. A spokesperson for PNY explained that it comes with a form of DRM that prevents you from copying the movie. 'They have DRM protection,' explained the spokesperson, 'so customers can download the movie onto their laptop or PC if they wish, but they have to have the USB drive plugged in to watch the movie, as the DRM is locked in the USB drive.' The music industry has been playing around with USB flash drives for a few years now, but it hasn't been a massive success yet; will USB movies fare any better?"

A Copyright Cop In Every Zune 454

Mike writes "As if the Zune wasn't already crippled and unpopular enough, now comes a story indicating that Microsoft may build a 'Copyright Cop' into every Zune. A future update of the software for Microsoft's portable media player will likely include a 'feature' that will block unauthorized copies of copyrighted videos from being played on it. The president of digital distribution for NBC, J. B. Perrette, said the plan is to create 'filtering technology that allows for playback of legitimately purchased content versus non-legitimately purchased content.' Of course there's no way to tell legitimate content that you create from 'non-legitimate' content, so this looks like just another nail in the coffin of the Zune." Update: 05/08 20:50 GMT by T : From Microsoft employee Cesar Menendez comes this categorical denial of any such filtering mechanism.

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