The Digital Media Manifesto



François-Xavier Nuttall


Comments on Complete draft of Digital Media Manifesto




Chapter 1.

In addition to the Actions/hurdles I see 2 other points that could help DM.

(a) Consistency in the marketing messages.

There are strong contradictory messages reaching consumers. Sony Entertainment is suing people who download while sony Consumer Electronics is encouraging you to rip and burn on a Vaio and Philips business model is to sell content copying machines. In addition, most ISP are using P2P file sharing as the killer app for broadband. How can you built consumer trust and respect this way?

(b) availability of content

Too often you cannot find a specific content that you would acquire legally, but you will find it on P2P. As an example, sales of Classical and Jazz music range in the 5% of all sales on physical media and 12% in P2P exchange. It is the chicken and egg problem of DM, but Unless there is content consumers will not invest in devices and purchase online and vice versa. But piracy will never stop unless the same products are available elsewhere.

Chapter 2.

The legal solution

There are 2 other fronts, where media companies have taken important legal actions.

  1. the DMCA and the EUCD have also introduced a new concept. "The circumvention of blocking technologies is unlawfull". I think it is an important concept because many cases such as the DeCSS to allow playback of DVDs on Linux have been based on this principle.
  2. the on-going extension of the period of copyright protection. It is now famous that the copyright protection period has been extended 14 times in the past 25 years in the US. We also know that some highly profitable productions like "Notre-Dame de Paris" are based on public domain works.

Chapter 3.1.1. Mapping Rights ..

In the right to privacy I would insist a little more on the right to anonymity. I am one of those who find it VERY annoying to have to provide my age and gender just to enter an online music store.

Chapter 3.1.1. References

I suggest to add the Electronic Frontier Foundation "" who is very active in the protection of user's rights (amongst many other fights)

Chapter 3.1.2 Phasing out analogue legacies

I see more legacies that we must overcome:

VAT and Sales Price (like the sales tax in the US)

Many countries in Europe suffer a very high VAT rate. In France, the VAT rate is 19,6 % on CDs and 5,5% on Books. On the other hand, books have a fixed sales price, whilst CDs can be sold for any price.

The EU Commission has refused a request for a reduced rate on CD's arguing that a reduction in the rate would never appear on the consumers' bill. On the other hand, countries like Malaysia, with a very active market of pirated CDs is currently passing a law to impose a low sales price, as to be competitive with pirated products. At the end of the day, consumers see a sales tag. in that price you have Levies, VAT, productions costs and profits. Each one of these must be considered to produce an impact on DM consumption.

As for the levies, here are a few references:

Levies are enforced in EU except Luxemburg, UK and Ireland.

Not enforceable in the US.

Levy prices in France:  
Analog Audio: 0;285 €/hour
Minidisc: 0,564 €/unit
Hard Drives: 12€/per 10Gb
MP3 players: 0,335€/32Mb
CD-R: 0,327€/unit
Levies in Belgium and Italy:  
CD Burners: 3% of sales price
FAX and Photocopying machines 0,03€/page