The Digital Media Manifesto



L. Chiariglione


Response to "Comments on Complete draft of Digital Media Manifesto"




Below italic indicates the text to which a response is given.

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?

Well, this is exactly what the DMP aims to achieve. Of course DMP cannot tell two divisions of Sony how they should harmonise their product strategies or marketing messages, but DMP specifications will allow SME to release protected content and Sony Electronics to sell the best players for SME, UMG, EMI etc content.DMM must describe this vision (I hope it does already, if not, help me improviing it)

(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.

I do not know the music market well enough to explain this, but I would not be surprised if it were beacuse titles of Classical and Jazz are sold in too few numbers to make publication of those titles profitable.

This is another example of how the business rules of physical and network distribution of content are different. The DMP will let rights holders benefit of the network distribution channel and titles should be available on the DRM platform specified by DMP. If they will not be people will have one reason to silence their conscience (if not a law suit) if they resort to a P2P to find what they are looking for.

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.

I am sure Don would love to be drawn into this issue. Yes, it is worth to mention this fact.

  1. 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.

I agree with you that extending 14 times the copyright protection period in 25 years may lead one to think that there is a determined will to make Zeno's paradox real. But I am sure that every one of the 14 times had a good justification. I know that the justification of the last extension was the desire to align with EU legislation, an admirable case of concrete action to remove legislative barriers across continents.

I grant you that having more mangeable protection periods would help creating more opportunities for creative people to draw from a commonly shared asset of works, like the Notre-Dame de Paris you quote.. The problem I have to make it an issue in the DMM is that this is a purely legal/legislative issue. We can mention the need to review the copyright protection period in the context of a digital environment where things move faster, but we should do that only if there is a strong support from the reflector.

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.

Agreed, let's say something more.

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.

We can add the need to achieve a greater uniformity of taxation

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

Tnak you, this was very useful.