27 February 2010

British Library launches national web archive

(ZDNet UK)
The British Library has said its UK Web Archive may store 220TB of data annually from 2011. The project aims to store all the UK's free-access websites. The British Library said the UK's rapidly growing and changing web domain has some eight million sites with an average life expectancy of between 44 and 75 days. Material that is freely available on the web is still subject to copyright and cannot be archived without permission. However, the library hopes parliament will change the law following a Department for Culture, Media Sport consultation, due to close on 1 March.

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21 February 2010

Competition for Google - A German Library for the 21st Century

(Der Spiegel)
The German Digital Library wants to make millions of books, films, images and audio recordings accessible online. More than 30,000 libraries, museums and archives are expected to contribute their digitized cultural artifacts. The idea, in part, is to compete with Google Books. But will it work?

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18 February 2010

Users will pay for content online, with a few catches

(Ars Technica)
Magazines and newspapers may have some hope in getting consumers to pay for online content after all, though people trying to generate income by writing blog posts and making YouTube videos may not be so lucky. Media research firm Nielsen has found from its latest 52-country survey that there are indeed opportunities to make money on content, but users can be choosy about what kinds of things they're willing to pay for. The survey, which included more than 27,000 customers globally, found that consumers are (naturally) more inclined to keep already free things free. Still, things that people pay for offline?such as movies, music, and games?were the same things that people were most willing to pay for (or consider paying for) online.

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25 January 2010

UK - Tim Berners-Lee unveils government data project

(BBC)
Web founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee has unveiled his latest venture for the UK government, which offers the public better access to official data. A new website, data.gov.uk, will offer reams of public sector data, ranging from traffic statistics to crime figures, for private or commercial use. The target is to kickstart a new wave of services that find novel ways to make use of the information. Sir Tim was hired by PM Gordon Brown in June 2009 to oversee the project.

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07 January 2010

FR - France could tax Google to subsidize music

(CNET)
A report financed by the French government recommends that Google, MSN, Yahoo, and other big advertising companies - as well as Internet service providers -vbe taxed, with revenue set to help fund the music and publishing sectors. Google is "profiting without any consideration" for music artists and book publishers, according to the report, written by Jacques Toubon, France's former minister of culture, Patrick Zelnick, a former music executive who produced French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy's songs, and Guillaume Cerutti, an executive at Sotheby's France.

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05 January 2010

The year of the paywall - Newspapers will try to persuade online readers to pay in 2010

(Economist)
In the coming months Rupert Murdoch, News Corp's boss, is expected to introduce paywalls on the websites of the bigger publications in his stable, such as the Times of London and the Sun. Last month Axel Springer, a large German publisher, began charging for some of its newspapers. Variety, a trade publication for Hollywood, has begun demanding money. The New York Times is pondering a similar move. Will these paywalls, however carefully crafted, persuade people to pay for something they are used to getting free? A barrage of surveys suggests it will be difficult.

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30 December 2009

UK - Website archives to be fast-tracked

(Guardian)
New legal powers to allow the British Library to archive millions of websites are to be fast-tracked by ministers after the Guardian exposed long delays in introducing the measures. The culture minister, Margaret Hodge, is pressing for the faster introduction of powers to allow six major libraries to copy every free website based in the UK as part of their efforts to record Britain's cultural, scientific and political history.

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24 December 2009

Read-e for the masses - The growing popularity of electronic books

(Economist)
E-reader sales have been gathering momentum since Amazon launched the Kindle in 2007. In 2009 falling prices, combined with a flurry of deals, announcements and technical upgrades, primed the market for a vast expansion. There are about 5m e-readers in circulation worldwide and double that amount will be sold in 2010, according to iSuppli, a market-research firm.

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14 December 2009

FR - La numérisation du patrimoine dotée de 750 millions d'euros

(20minutes.fr)
C´est un énorme coup de pouce pour la numérisation du patrimoine français. Le ministre de la Culture, Frédéric Mitterrand, a décroché lundi matin le budget de 750 millions d´euros qu´il réclamait pour financer ce vaste chantier. Il prend ainsi une sérieuse option pour se passer du géant américain Google.

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03 December 2009

EU - Viviane Reding: "Verteufelt nicht das Internet!"

(boersenblatt.net)
Viviane Reding, Brüsseler Medienkommissarin und designierte EU-Kommissarin für Justiz, Grund- und Bürgerrechte, spricht mit boersenblatt.net über Google und den Rest der Welt, über verwaiste Bücher und deren Bewahrung für die Öffentlichkeit – und über die Herkulesarbeit der Digitalisierung gemeinfreier Werke.

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02 December 2009

Google to limit free news access

(BBC)
Newspaper publishers will now be able to set a limit on the number of free news articles people can read through Google. The concession follows claims from some media companies that the search engine is profiting from online news pages. Under the First Click Free programme, publishers can now prevent unrestricted access to subscription websites. Users who click on more than five articles in a day may be routed to payment or registration pages.

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30 November 2009

FR - French minister wants Europe to take on Google

(Reuters)
European Union members want to create a joint project on the digitization of books, French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand said, challenging Google's plan to create a massive digital library. EU ministers agreed in Brussels to create a committee of "wise men" to carve out a plan, Mitterrand said in an interview with French newspaper Journal du Dimanche. He also said the digitization of books should not be left to private companies, and governments had to come up with appropriate policies.

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20 November 2009

The strange death of illegal downloading

(Guardian)
This year is the most successful in the UK's history for singles sales. More than 117m have been sold - comfortably beating the previous record of 115.1m, set in 2008. It is happening because of an explosion of new companies offering tracks free, legally, without having to go to peer-to-peer sites and thereby avoiding the risk of getting bogus tracks or viruses. People are flocking to them simply because it is a much easier way of listening to music. None of these sites were started by the music industry. Two of the newbies, Spotify.com and We7.com, alone have gained at least 5 million new users in their first year, mainly people who previously downloaded illegally. They use so called "freemium" business models offering streamed tracks for free if you accept an advert or for nothing if you take out a monthly subscription.

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Twitter chief tells Murdoch: internet paywall will not work

(Guardian)
The co-founder of Twitter warned Rupert Murdoch that his plans to charge for online content, and block Google from using stories produced by his News International titles, were a vain attempt to "put the genie back in the bottle".

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14 November 2009

Google, Authors try to answer book deal concerns

(Reuters)
Google and the Authors Guild filed a new version of a deal to create a massive online library in hopes that changes will answer possible antitrust and copyright concerns in the United States and overseas. Amendments to the settlement were crafted after extensive meetings with the Justice Department, according to the parties. Google's plan to put millions of books online has been praised for bringing broad access to books but has also been criticized on antitrust, copyright and privacy grounds. In one shift, money from unclaimed or orphan works will go to an independent fiduciary rather than go to the registry. Also, books in the registry and covered by the deal were reduced to those copyrighted in the United States or published in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.

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27 October 2009

EU history at the click of a mouse

(Europa)
On 16 October, the EU bookshop launched its digital library, its online collection now containing every document published by the EU since 1952 - 110 000 publications. With the archives now included, the digital library contains no fewer than 12 million scanned pages in 50 languages. The new digital library will be linked to Europeana, a digital version of libraries and archives all over Europe.

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13 October 2009

DE - Google digital library plan opposed by Angela Merkel

(Observer)
German chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday waded into the row over Google's plans to build a massive digital library. The move was a remarkable intervention from a leading world politician in a growing dispute about the threat posed by the internet, and Google in particular, to publishing companies, authors and also newspapers. In her weekly video podcast, before the opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair this week, Merkel appealed for more international co-operation on copyright protection and said her government opposed Google's drive to create online libraries full of scanned books.

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03 October 2009

EU - The Digital Single Market: a key to unlock the potential of the knowledge based economy

(RAPID)
Viviane Reding Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media. EDiMA's White Paper on Policy Strategy for the Development of New Media Services 2009-2014 ? Launch Breakfast Event Brussels, 1 October 2009

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20 September 2009

US objects to Google book deal

(BBC)
The US Justice Department has urged a New York court to reject a deal that would allow internet company Google to publish millions of books online. The deal raised copyright and anti-trust issues, the department said, and should be rejected in its current form. See Press release. In its filing, the Department proposed that the parties consider a number of changes to the agreement that may help address the United States? concerns, including imposing limitations on the most open-ended provisions for future licensing, eliminating potential conflicts among class members, providing additional protections for unknown rights holders, addressing the concerns of foreign authors and publishers, eliminating the joint-pricing mechanisms among publishers and authors, and, whatever the settlement's ultimate scope, providing some mechanism by which Google's competitors can gain comparable access.

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08 September 2009

EU - Time for Europe to turn over a new e-leaf on digital books and copyright

(RAPID)
Joint Statement of EU Commissioners Reding and McCreevy on the occasion of Google Books meetings in Brussels. Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media, and Charlie McCreevy, Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services, have made a joint statement setting out the important cultural and economic stakes of book digitisation in Europe. To face the daunting task of digitising Europe's books, of which there are tens of millions in Europe's national libraries alone, the two Commissioners stressed the need for fully respecting copyright rules to ensure fair remuneration for authors, but also welcomed public-private partnerships as a means to boost digitisation of books. They highlighted the need to adapt Europe's still very fragmented copyright legislation to the digital age, in particular with regard to orphan and out-of-print works. The statement of the two Commissioners comes ahead of a series of workshops and meetings between the Commission, cultural institutions, right holders, IT companies and consumer organisations, which start with an information hearing on the US class action settlement on Google Book Search. see also articles in BBC, Guardian and New York Times.

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28 August 2009

EU's Reding backs Google in online books row

(Reuters)
The European Union's media commissioner, Viviane Reding, has thrown her weight behind internet search group Google in the row over whether it should be allowed to publish millions of scanned books online. The EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media added her voice to the debate welcoming "private-sector initiatives" such as Google's. "Google Books is a commercial project developed by an important player," Reding said in a statement. "It is good to see that new business models are evolving which could allow bringing more content to an increasing number of consumers."

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Europe's Digital Library doubles in size but also shows EU's lack of common web copyright solution

4.6 million digitised books, maps, photographs, film clips and newspapers can now be accessed by internet users on Europeana, Europe's multilingual digital library ( www.europeana.eu ). The collection of Europeana has more than doubled since it was launched in November 2008 ( IP/08/1747 ). The European Commission, in a policy document declared as its target to bring the number of digitised objects to 10 million by 2010. The Commission has launched a public consultation on the future of Europeana and the digitisation of books that will run until 15 November 2009. Questions the Commission asks include: How can it be ensured that digitised material can be made available to consumers EU-wide? Should there be better cooperation with publishers with regard to in-copyright material? Would it be a good idea to create European registries for orphan and out-of print works? How should Europeana be financed in the long term? see also EUROPEANA ? Europe's Digital Library: Frequently Asked Questions.

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20 August 2009

US - Google's book project faces growing opposition

(Guardian)
Google's ambition to create the largest body of human knowledge on the internet by scanning millions of library books and turning them into a massive digital publishing venture is prompting growing opposition from authors and legal experts who object to its scope and copyright implications. Opponents and supporters of Google's plans are lining up for a showdown that will come to a head on 4 September, the deadline for submissions to be lodged with a Manhattan court that is reviewing the scheme, known as Google Book Search. see also A plan to scan (FT).

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28 July 2009

UK - BBC strikes web video-sharing deal

(Guardian)
The BBC has struck a landmark deal with four national newspaper groups to share video news on their websites for the first time. The BBC is providing a limited range of video news content to Mail Online, guardian.co.uk, Telegraph.co.uk and Independent.co.uk, which will supplement the newspaper websites' own material, in four areas - UK politics, business, health and science and technology. For partner media organisations to use the BBC online video content there must be no advertising - such as pre-roll or post-roll ads - running around any clips. The video shared with partner organisations will carry BBC branding. All BBC content will appear in a branded video player and the content will be geo-blocked so that it can only be viewed by web users in the UK. The video news sharing proposal marks a significant shift in relations between the BBC and rival media companies. Newspaper publishers, in particular, have long argued that the BBC has used the public subsidy provided by the licence fee to fund its expansion into digital media areas - such as online video - while commercial companies have not had the financial firepower.

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26 July 2009

Associated Press plans tracking system to enforce its rights online

(Guardian )
The largest US news agency, Associated Press, says it is backing its threat to act against illegal use of its content online through a new system to track how its news stories, pictures and videos are used by websites and to enforce its terms of use. Ap intends to create a news registry that will tag and track all its content online to ensure compliance with its terms of use. The system, which will initially cover AP text content, uses a built-in "beacon" to alert the news agency about how each piece of its content is being used. The system will be extended to content from the 6,700 media organisations that are members of AP early next year; ultimately it will also cover photos and video. see also Newspapers, news & internet - important developments - "DRM for news" & tracking copying of news stories (Tech & Law blog).

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23 July 2009

US - Amazon deal to reprint rare books

(BBC)
Online retailer Amazon is teaming up with the University of Michigan to provide reprints of 400,000 rare, out-of-print and out-of-copyright books. The books from the university's library are in more than 200 languages from Acoli to Zulu and include a 1898 book on nursing by Florence Nightingale. Amazon's Book Surge unit will print the books in soft-cover editions at prices from $10(£6) to $45. It comes as the Ann Arbor college seeks to digitise its book collection. Financial details of the tie-up arrangement have not been revealed.

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03 July 2009

US - DOJ officially opens investigation into Google Book Search

(IDG News Service)
The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating a settlement involving Google Book Search for possible antitrust violations, following months of speculation that the agency had its eye on the service. In a filing to the judge overseeing the settlement of a lawsuit filed by The Authors Guild against Google, the DOJ informed the court that it has opened an investigation into the proposed settlement after reviewing public comments of concern. Those comments suggest that the agreement might violate the Sherman Act, a U.S. antitrust law, the DOJ said.

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18 June 2009

UK - British Library publishes online archive of 19th-century newspapers

(Guardian)
Over two million pages of 19th and early 20th century newspapers go online, part of the vast British Library collection. The British Library worked in partnership with the Joint Information Systems Committee and Gale, part of Cengage Learning, to create the service, which can be found at. Searches are free, but users can pay to download information.

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05 April 2009

Google's Plan for Out-of-Print Books Is Challenged

(New York Times)
The dusty stacks of the nation's great university and research libraries are full of orphans ? books that the author and publisher have essentially abandoned. They are out of print, and while they remain under copyright, the rights holders are unknown or cannot be found. Now millions of orphan books may get a new legal guardian. Google has been scanning the pages of those books and others as part of its plan to bring a digital library and bookstore, unprecedented in scope, to computer screens across the United States. But a growing chorus is complaining that a far-reaching settlement of a suit brought against Google by publishers and authors is about to grant the company too much power over orphan works.

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24 February 2009

UK - Museum lovers' social networking

(BBC)
Museum visitors will be able to share their cultural passions in a social networking website. A group of the UK's most famous museums, including the British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum, is creating a collective website. As well as finding information about exhibits, museum lovers can use the website to create communities based on their historic and creative interests.

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05 February 2009

UK - Education minister's online typos

(BBC)
England's Schools Minister, Jim Knight, has urged pupils to pay more attention to proof reading their work - admitting his own blog was strewn with errors. These included: receieved, maintainence, convicned, curently, similiar, foce, pernsioners, reccess and archeaological. Some of his sentences also had words missing or were otherwise mangled.

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25 January 2009

UK - Websites 'must be saved for history'

(Observer)
Historians face a "black hole" of lost material unless urgent action is taken to preserve websites and other digital records, the head of the British Library has warned. Just as families store digital photos on computers which might never be passed on to their descendants, so Britain's cultural heritage is at risk as the internet evolves and technologies become obsolete, says Lynne Brindley, the library's chief executive. See We're in danger of losing our memories.

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Monty Python and Vatican on YouTube

(Ars Technica)
Monty Python has a new gambit for the digital age: put all of the most popular material on YouTube, free of charge... and make a ton of money. They launched a customized YouTube channel in November 2008, telling viewers, "For 3 years you YouTubers have been ripping us off, taking tens of thousands of our videos and putting them on YouTube. Now the tables are turned. It's time for us to take matters into our own hands." Rather than sue users, Monty Python decided to upload good-quality copies of the most popular clips from its Flying Circus TV show. The troupe explained its motivation in a YouTube video of its own. see also Watch it on YouTube, then Click-to-Buy and The Pope on YouTube (YouTube blog) and The Vatican.

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18 January 2009

Legal downloads swamped by piracy

(BBC)
Ninety-five per cent of music downloaded online is illegal, a report by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has said. The global music trade body said this is its biggest challenge as artists and record companies miss out on payments. There has, however, been a 25% rise since last year with downloads now accounting for a fifth of all recorded music sales. The IFPI said worldwide music market revenues shrank by 7% last year. This was blamed on falling CD sales, while the increase in digital sales failed to make up for this.

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08 January 2009

iTunes Music Store Finally Ditches DRM, Adds New Prices

(Wired)
After years of fits, starts, threats and ultimatums, Steve Jobs and three major labels have come to terms on a deal: Music will be available immediately on iTunes without DRM restrictions. Free of the limitations that currently restrict music playback to Apple products, the new plan will let consumers choose from three price levels instead of the 99-cent song model the store implemented on day one.

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25 December 2008

PEER - Invitations to tender for research now available

(STM)
Invitations to Tender for the Behavioural Research and Usage Research aspects of the PEER project are now available. 1. Behavioural Research: Authors and Users vis-à-vis Journals and Repositories 2. Usage Research: Journals and Repositories. Tenders for both areas of research must be received by the Max Planck Digital Library by 17.00 on Tuesday 17 February 2009. PEER (Publishing and the Ecology of European Research), of which STM is a partner, will investigate the effects of the large-scale systematic depositing of authors' final peer-reviewed manuscripts (so called Green Open Access or stage-two research output) on reader access, author visibility, and journal viability, as well as on the broader ecology of European research. PEER is supported by the EC eContentplus programme.

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24 December 2008

EU's new online library reopens

(BBC)
The European Union's huge digital library Europeana, which crashed last month just hours after its launch, is back online. The website's server capacity has been quadrupled to cope with demand, European Commission spokesman Martin Selmayr told reporters. But the homepage - at www.europeana.eu - warns that "the user experience may not be optimal in this test phase".

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19 December 2008

EU funding for OA projects in 2009

(Open Access Newsletter)
The EU's Information and Communication Technologies Policy Support Programme (ICT PSP) has released its Draft Work Programme 2009. If the EC approves the draft in January, then it should open a call for proposals from January 29 to June 2, 2009. one thread of the new funding program is devoted to OA: Objective 2.4: Open access to scientific information.

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23 November 2008

EU - Europeana website overwhelmed on its first day by interest of millions of users

(Europeana)
On the first day of its launch, Europe's digital library Europeana was overwhelmed by the interest shown by millions of users in this new project. This is an unexpected difficulty, but it is also an encouraging sign that citizens in Europe and around the world have great interest in Europe's digital library. Europeana must now be made more robust to deal with peak hour requests - thousands of users searching in the very same second for famous cultural works like the Mona Lisa or books from Kafka, Cervantes or James Joyce. The Commission and the Europeana management are confident that Europeana will be up and running again by mid-December.For the time being, a demo version of Europeana will be available at http://dev.europeana.eu/. See Europeana: A shop window on Europe's cultural heritage Speech by José Manuel Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission, Launch of Europeana, Brussels, 20 November 2008; La bibliothèque numérique européenne: du rêve à la réalité Discours de Viviane Reding, Membre de la Commission européenne, responsable de la société de l'information et des médias, Forum d'Avignon 2008 ? Culture, facteur de croissance, Avignon, le 17 novembre 2008; EUROPEANA: un voyage à travers la culture européenne Discours de Viviane Reding. Lancement d'Europeana, la Bibliothèque européenne Bruxelles, le 20 novembre 2008; Now Online: "Europeana", Europe's Digital Library; EUROPEANA - Europe's Digital Library: Frequently Asked Questions. See also EU Presents Ambitious Open-Source Library Digitization Project, Site Promptly Crashes (TechCrunch) by Kathlyn Clore.

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10 November 2008

US - You Tube to start showing full-length films

(Times)
YouTube took its first step towards a comprehensive movie service, reaching a deal with a big Hollywood studio to start showing full-length television shows and films. The video-sharing website is set to announce that it will host TV episodes and movies from the archives of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) in its latest step to boost advertising revenue. The deal is expected to be the first of many. It emerged over the weekend that the site, which is owned by Google, was in negotiations with other Hollywood studios.

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29 October 2008

US - Breakthrough deal by Google to sell book content online

(Guardian)
It took a multimillion dollar lawsuit, two years of tense negotiations, and an awful lot of scanning. But yesterday the publishing world stood on the threshold of a digital era after a US deal paved the way to transform publishing. The agreement between Google and the US book industry means that internet users will soon be able to choose from and buy millions of titles, many out of print, or read them on a page-by-page basis. see New chapter for Google Book Search (Official Google Blog) by David Drummond and The Future of Google Book Search. See also Google settles with book publishers, becomes bookseller.

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10 September 2008

Old newspapers get online launch

(BBC)
A new initiative to bring old newspapers that pre-date the digital age to the web has been launched by the search giant Google. The company has partnered with around 100 newspapers to digitize them and make scanned copies available online. This means users will see entire pages of the original paper as they were printed at the time.

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21 August 2008

EU - Opening soon: a digital library for Europe

(RAPID)
Europe's cultural diversity in books, music, paintings, photographs, and films open to all citizens at the click of a mouse via one portal - this dream of a European Digital Library could become reality this autumn. However, further efforts by the EU Member States are needed, said the Commission in a new Communication on making available digital versions of works from cultural institutions all over Europe. Digitisation of cultural works can give Europeans access to material from museums, libraries and archives abroad without having to travel or turn hundreds of pages to find a piece of information. Europe's libraries alone contain more than 2.5 billion books, but only about 1% of archival material is available in digital form. The Commission therefore called on Member States to do more to make digitised works available online for Europeans to browse them digitally, for study, work or leisure. The Commission itself will provide some € 120 million in 2009-2010 for improving online access to Europe's cultural heritage. see Communication on Europe's cultural heritage at the click of a mouse and Staff Working Paper. See also Frequenlty Asked Questions (FAQs).

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04 June 2008

EU - Agreement between Cultural Institutions and Right Holders on Orphan Works

(Europa)
An agreement on copyright was signed by libraries, archives and right holders, in the presence of Commissioner Viviane Reding. The Memorandum of Understanding on orphan works will help cultural institutions to digitise books, films and music whose authors are unknown, making them available to the public online. In parallel, the High Level Group on Digital Libraries, chaired by Viviane Reding, adopted practical guidelines for partnerships between cultural institutions and private organisations. In relation to copyright issues, the High Level Group adopted a final report in which it endorsed a new model license for making works that are out of print or out of distribution accessible for all on the internet. It also gave guidance on copyright issues related to the preservation of web-content by cultural institutions. In the area of scientific information, publishers and scientists presented the progress of a large scale project on the effects of open access to scientific journals.

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24 May 2008

Microsoft To Shut Live Search Books

(Washington Post)
Microsoft is shutting down its book digitization initiative, which launched in 2006. The company has digitized 750,000 books and indexed 80 million journal articles to date. Google's competing product, Book Search, is adding 3,000 books per day to their index, although they have not disclosed the total number of books scanned. The company said "Based on our experience, we foresee that the best way for a search engine to make book content available will be by crawling content repositories created by book publishers and libraries."

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23 May 2008

UK - Web worlds 'useful' for children

(BBC)
Virtual worlds can be valuable places where children rehearse what they will do in real life, reveals research. They are also a "powerful and engaging" alternative to more passive pursuits such as watching TV, said the BBC-sponsored study. The research was done with children using the BBC's Adventure Rock virtual world, aimed at those aged 6-12. The researcher said the BBC should have involved children early on to guide development and provide feedback.

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14 February 2008

US - Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences goes Open Access

(Ars Technica)
In recent years, the Open Access movement in academic publishing has been gathering steam, with the growth of open access journals such as PLoS and mandates from funding bodies such as the NIH that require authors to deposit copies of their work into open databases. Now that 800lb. gorilla of academe, Harvard University, has started to throw its weight behind the spread of Open Access publishing. Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences has voted to require faculty to make copies of their research freely available through the Office of Scholarly Communications.

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31 January 2008

Cellphones take spotlight at Cannes music show

(IHT)
The mobile phone is now the world's best-selling portable music device - even if most people don't play tunes on their phone. An MP3 player is almost standard on any midrange or high-end phone coming to market these days. Orange is about to open digital music stores in a half-dozen countries. The Orange stores will not be just for phone users, however. They will be on the Web, and anyone with an Internet connection can buy. In addition, Orange customers will be able to get their downloads from either their computer or their phone. Internet access is key for music on phones. Nokia said that 75 percent of customers were "sideloading" music from their computers to their phones via a cable, while 25 percent were downloading the tunes over the air.

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Could social networking sites save the music industry?

(IHT)
Especially among 15- to 25-year-olds, people seem to need their peers to validate their musical tastes, making the Internet a perfect medium for the intersection of MP3s and mob psychology. The challenge is to draw young people away from file-sharing networks that don't bother with legal licenses. So "added value" has become the new hook, or as one industry participant put it at a music industry gathering this week, "a better form of free." Imeem and Bebo are two Web sites trading on the idea that music is a social phenomenon, and that the Internet is the place to be to gather around it. Imeem asks, "What's on your playlist?," while Bebo calls itself a "social media network."

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26 January 2008

UK - Writers' digital row with library

(BBC)
Scores of writers are refusing to let their works be scanned for an online archive at the National Library of Wales because they are not being paid. A year after a near-£1m project was awarded to digitise modern Welsh writing, a dispute between authors and the library has not been resolved. The library is putting some 3.5m words from 20th Century English and Welsh periodicals and magazines on the web.

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25 January 2008

UK - BBC Worldwide signs MySpace deal

(Guardian)
BBC Worldwide has struck a deal with MySpace to make programmes including Doctor Who and Top Gear available to the website's 100 million-plus global users. The partnership will initially see around 150 clips of BBC programming made available online via a dedicated BBC Worldwide channel on the social networking website's video service, MySpaceTV. The MySpace deal is only the second of its kind BBC Worldwide, the corporation's commercial arm, has struck following reaching an agreement with YouTube in March last year.

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11 January 2008

From major to minor

(Economist)
Last year was terrible for the recorded-music majors. The next few years are likely to be even worse

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10 January 2008

UK - Apple to cut UK download prices

(BBC)
Apple has announced that it will cut the price it charges for music downloads in the UK from its iTunes music store within the next six months. The cut will bring the UK into line with the charges in the rest of Europe. Apple currently charges 79 pence per download in the UK, compared with 99 euro cents (74p) in the rest of Europe. EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes welcomed the move, saying that it would "allow consumers to benefit from a truly single market for music downloads". A Commission spokesman said the settlement had been the result of direct talks between Ms Kroes and Apple boss Steve Jobs. see also Commission Press Release.

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03 January 2008

EU - Creative Content Online in Europe's Single Market

The Commission has adopted a Communication on "Creative Content Online in Europe's Single Market". In the Communication, the Commission identifies four main, horizontal challenges which merit further action at EU-level: The Commission is launching a public consultation in order to prepare ? by mid 2008 ? an EU Recommendation on Creative Content Online for adoption by the European Parliament and the Council. Stakeholders are invited to comment on today's Communication by 29 February 2008. In addition, the Commission will set up the "Content Online Platform", a stakeholders' forum.

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01 January 2008

EU - Commission authorises French aid scheme for video game creation

(RAPID)
The European Commission has authorised, under the EC Treaty rules on state aid, a French tax credit aimed at encouraging video game creation. This tax credit may be granted only to video games that meet the criteria of quality, originality, and contributing to cultural diversity. After an in-depth investigation, the Commission has concluded that this measure qualifies for the exemption provided for by the EC Treaty for aid to promote culture. See also UK Government and ELSPA speak out on French tax breaks (MCV).

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17 December 2007

Google debuts knowledge project

(BBC)
Google has kicked off a project to create an authoritative store of information about any and every topic. The search giant has already started inviting people to write about the subject on which they are known to be an expert. The system will centre around authored articles created with a tool Google has dubbed "knol" - the word denotes a unit of knowledge - that will make webpages with a distinctive livery to identify them as authoritative.

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05 December 2007

DE - Merkel startet "Netz für Kinder"

(Heise)
Mit dem Portal fragFINN.de ist der erste geschützte Internet-Bereich für Kinder in Deutschland gestartet. Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel (CDU) schaltete am Donnerstag in Berlin die Webseite frei, die Zugang zu ausschließlich kindergerechten Angeboten bieten soll. In das "Netz für Kinder" stellt eine Redaktion nur geprüfte Inhalte ein. fragFINN.de soll als Startseite im Webbrowser dienen. Mit einem Browser-Plugin kann zusätzlich der Zugang zu nicht von fragFINN.de genehmigten Seiten verhindert werden; das Plugin steht bislang nur für den Internet-Explorer zur Verfügung, eine Firefox-Version soll in Kürze folgen.

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Games content 'concerns parents'

(BBC)
More than 75% of parents are concerned about the content of video games played by their children, a survey suggests. Almost half of the 4,000 parents surveyed in the UK, France, Italy and Germany said that one hour of gaming each day should be the limit. Some 43% of the surveyed parents said they were not aware of ratings systems for games to determine suitability. The survey comes as Dr Tanya Byron conducts a separate review of games and their impact on UK children.

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01 December 2007

Launch of European digital library "on track"

(RAPID) A high level group on digital libraries met Commission officials in Brussels to discuss progress towards launching the European digital library. A European digital library foundation has recently been created. This formalises the agreement of European archives, museums, audiovisual archives and libraries to work together and to provide a common access point to Europe's cultural heritage online.

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23 October 2007

US - RIAA tries to pull plug on Usenet.

(Declan McCullagh)
The Recording Industry Association of America has found a new legal target for a copyright lawsuit: Usenet. In a lawsuit, the RIAA says that Usenet newsgroups contain "millions of copyrighted sound recordings" in violation of federal law. Only Usenet.com is named as a defendant for now, but the same logic would let the RIAA sue hundreds of universities, Internet service providers, and other newsgroup archives. AT&T offers Usenet, as does Verizon, Stanford University and other companies including Giganews.

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12 October 2007

EU - The European Approach to Promoting "Content Online"

(Europa)
Speech by Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media. High Level Seminar on European Audiovisual Content Online, Lisbon, 9 October 2007

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29 September 2007

British Library books go digital

(BBC)
More than 100,000 old books previously unavailable to the public will go online thanks to a mass digitisation programme at the British Library. The programme focuses on 19th Century books, many of which are unknown as few were reprinted after first editions. The library believes online access to the titles will help teachers.

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04 August 2007

All the news that's fit to link

(CNET News.com)
The humble hyperlink ought to be counted high in the ranks of digital-age phenomena that have transformed the face of news reporting and consumption. In one sense, it's the 21st-century equivalent of a newspaper running an Associated Press or Reuters wire story instead of assigning one of its own reporters to the task. On the other hand, the hyperlink is the foundation behind a phenomenon that's purely Web 2.0.: the news aggregator.

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01 August 2007

How digital technology is changing the way cinemas work

(Economist)
A rapidly growing number of cinemas are going digital. Over 3,000 North American screens have been converted, nearly two-thirds of them in the past year. Some download films and advertisements via satellite, and others have films delivered on hard drives (which are a lot smaller, lighter and cheaper than big reels of film). America's biggest chains, which have lagged behind, will start to convert cinemas next year. And Europe, which has trailed even further, should catch up thanks to a deal announced this month with two Hollywood studios.

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23 July 2007

EU - MEPs vote to create a European digital library

(EUObserver)
European lawmakers have called for the creation of a multilingual European digital library aimed at securing easy access to the continent's cultural heritage. MEPs in the European Parliament's culture committee unanimously adopted a report - 'i2010: Easy access to European cultural heritage' - by French centre-right MEP Marie-Hélène Descamps.

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05 July 2007

Hanging up on ringtones

(Guardian)
With the market for downloadable over-the-air content flat, operators and music companies are looking to other ways of making money from mobiles, says Adam Webb

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24 May 2007

Game net distribution 'lift off'

(BBC)
Steam, an online distribution platform for videogame content, has signed up more than 13 million users, the system's owners Valve has said. More than 150 PC games can be downloaded via Steam and the system has also been used to automate more than 2,500 updates to existing games. Digital distribution of game content is a growing segment of the industry. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have all started online services for downloading games onto consoles.

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21 May 2007

BBC iPlayer: free TV, radio programme downloads on demand - preview

(A Consuming Experience)
by Improbulus. This is a first look at the BBC iPlayer, the umbrella term for "catchup TV" and other "on demand" services proposed by the BBC's management. The new services were finally approved on 30 April 2007 by the BBC Trust following an extensive public consultation - but with a couple of changes.

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14 April 2007

OECD - Study on Participative Web: User-created content

(OECD)
The concept of the "participative web" is based on an Internet increasingly influenced by intelligent web services that empower the user to contribute to developing, rating, collaborating on and distributing Internet content and customising Internet applications. This study describes the rapid growth of "user-created content" (UCC), its increasing role in worldwide communication and draws out implications for policy. Questions addressed include: What is user-created content? What are its key drivers, its scope and different forms? What are new value chains and business models? What are the extent and form of social, cultural and economic opportunities and impacts? What are associated challenges? Is there a government role and what form could it take?

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07 April 2007

Push for open access to research

(BBC)
Internet law professor Michael Geist takes a look at a fundamental shift in the way research journals become available to the public. Last month five leading European research institutions launched a petition that called on the European Commission to establish a new policy that would require all government-funded research to be made available to the public shortly after publication. That requirement - called an open access principle - would leverage widespread internet connectivity with low-cost electronic publication to create a freely available virtual scientific library available to the entire globe.

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31 March 2007

2007-06-21 Geneva ITU/EBU High-Level Experts Meeting on Competitive Platforms for Digital Content

(ITU)
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) are jointly organizing a high-level experts meeting to identify global trends and to address the new technological and policy challenges in the digital content delivery environment. The ITU/EBU High-Level Experts Meeting on 'Competitive Platforms for Digital Content' will be held from 21 to 22 June 2007 at EBU Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland. It is a unique opportunity which will bring together the world's leading ICT companies, decision-makers, international organizations and governments for a high-level meeting to facilitate the creation of new opportunities for growth in the digital content market.

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