Links through to January 16th:

  • Beatles’ First Single Enters Public Domain — In Europe [Techdirt] – The Beatles remain the iconic pop group, so news on VVN/Music that their very first single has now entered the public domain is something of a landmark moment in music:
    The Beatles first single, Love Me Do / P.S. I Love You, has entered the public domain in Europe and small labels are already taking advantage of the situation.The European copyright laws grant ownership of a recorded track for fifty years, which Love Me Do just passed. That means that, starting January 1 of 2013, anyone who wants to put out the track is free to do so.
    Unfortunately, if you’re in the US, you’ll probably have to wait until 2049 or so. And things are about to get worse in Europe too. As Techdirt reported, back in 2011 the European Union agreed to increase the copyright term for sound recordings by 20 years,
  • App Store Tops 40 Billion Downloads with Almost Half in 2012 [Apple - Press Info] – Apple passes 40 billion app downloads: “Apple® today announced that customers have downloaded over 40 billion apps*, with nearly 20 billion in 2012 alone. The App Store℠ has over 500 million active accounts and had a record-breaking December with over two billion downloads during the month. Apple’s incredible developer community has created over 775,000 apps for iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch® users worldwide, and developers have been paid over seven billion dollars by Apple.”
  • World Map of Social Networks [Vincos Blog] -“December 2012, a new edition of my World Map of Social Networks, showing the most popular social networking sites by country, according to Alexa traffic data (Google Trends for Websites was shut down on September 2012). Facebook with 1 billion active users has established its leadership position in 127 out of 137 countries analyzed. One of the drivers of its growth is Asia that with 278 million users, surpassed Europe, 251 million, as the largest continent on Facebook. North America has 243 million users, South America 142 million. Africa, almost 52 million, and Oceania just 15 million (source: Facebook Ads Platform). In the latest months Zuckerberg’s Army conquered Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia and Vietnam.”
  • Over 8 million game downloads on Christmas Day! [Rovio Entertainment Ltd] – Rovio’s big Christmas download haul: “Wow, what a year! We released four critically-acclaimed bestselling mobile games, developed two top-rated Facebook games, and reached more than a billion downloads — all before our 3rd “Birdday”! Angry Birds Star Wars and Bad Piggies in particular have dominated the app charts, with Angry Birds Star Wars holding the #1 position on the US iPhone chart ever since its release! To top it all off, we had 30 million downloads during Christmas week (December 22-29) and, on Christmas Day, over 8 million downloads in 24 hours alone!”
  • R18+ game rating comes into effect [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – Finally: “An R18+ video game rating has come into effect across Australia after a deal between the states and the Commonwealth last year. The change means some games that were previously unavailable to adults can go on sale, whereas others that could be accessed by children will become restricted. The issue had divided interest groups, with some claiming the new classification would protect children but others feared it would expose them to more violent games. Legislation to approve the rating was passed by the Senate in June. Under the previous classification regime, the highest rating for computer games was MA15+, meaning overseas adults-only games were either banned in Australia or given a lower classification, allowing children to obtain them.”
  • Two billion YouTube music video views disappear … or just migrate? [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – Despite rumours of massive cuts to major record labels’ YouTube channel counts, the explanation is rather more banal: “Universal and Sony have, since 2009, been moving their music videos away from their YouTube channels and over to Vevo, the music industry site the two companies own with some investors from Abu Dhabi. YouTube, meanwhile, thinks that is only right to count channel video views for videos that are still actually present on the channels – which means that whenever YouTube got round to reviewing the music majors’ channels on its site, a massive cut was always going to be in order.”

Links for February 16th 2010 through February 17th 2010:

  • Google admits Buzz social network testing flaws [BBC News] – “Google has admitted to BBC News that testing of its controversial social network Buzz was insufficient. The firm has had to make a series of changes to the service after a ferocious backlash from users concerned about intrusions of privacy. The BBC understands that Buzz was only tested internally and bypassed more extensive trials with external testers – used for many other Google services. Google said that it was now working “extremely hard” to fix the problems. “We’re very early in this space. This was one of our first big attempts,” Todd Jackson, Buzz product manager, told BBC News.”And the line that has everyone going “Duh*: ““We’ve been testing Buzz internally at Google for a while. Of course, getting feedback from 20,000 Googlers isn’t quite the same as letting Gmail users play with Buzz in the wild.”
  • The fear fades: legal downloads make sweet music for industry [SMH] – What’s that? Given actual legal options, people still buy music? “The very thing that has torn strips from the Australian music industry now looks to be driving a return to profitability. Digital music has experienced rocketing sales that appear – last year at least – to have more than offset the continuing drop in CDs sold, according to figures released yesterday by the Australian Recording Industry Association. Buyers’ increased enthusiasm for legal digital downloads has fuelled the industry’s first year of financial growth since wholesale earnings peaked in 2003. Overall revenue last year was up almost 5 per cent to $446 million on the back of a 72 per cent rise in digital-album purchases to almost 2.3 million.”
  • A fight over freedom at Apple’s core [FT.com / UK] – Jonathan Zittrain on Apple’s philosophy shift from open (Apple Mac) to closed (iPhone/iPad): “In 1977, a 21-year-old Steve Jobs unveiled something the world had never seen before: a ready-to-program personal computer. After powering the machine up, proud Apple II owners were confronted with a cryptic blinking cursor, awaiting instructions. The Apple II was a clean slate, a device built – boldly – with no specific tasks in mind. Yet, despite the cursor, you did not have to know how to write programs. Instead, with a few keystrokes you could run software acquired from anyone, anywhere. [...] Mr Jobs ushered in the personal computer era and now he is trying to usher it out. We should focus on preserving our freedoms, even as the devices we acquire become more attractive and easier to use.”
  • Is ChatRoulette the Future of the Internet or Its Distant Past? By Sam Anderson Feb 5, 2010 [New York Magazine] – Accessible and human article about ChatRoulette (a service which connects random strangers to each other to ‘chat’ via webcam or text). ChatRoulette has many sides, with some amazing stories and people, but also an awful lot of things that are best left unshared (also, not safe for kids, not safe for work, etc). For one of the most human moments I’ve read about a ChatRoulette interactions, see Scott Heiferman’s Notes from hell.
  • EMI Apparently Forgot Grey Album Disaster; Issues Takedown Of Wu Tang vs. Beatles [Techdirt] – “I’m beginning to think that EMI is trying to commit suicide, given many of its recent actions. Its latest move is to force offline a wildly popular mashup, mixing The Beatles with The Wu Tang Clan., despite it getting rave reviews and lots of attention… and despite a history of similar actions backfiring massively for EMI. Let’s take a look back. Apparently the folks over at EMI/Capitol Records have no sense of history. Back in 2004, DJ Danger Mouse put together “The Grey Album,” a fantastic mashup of The Beatles’ “The White Album” with Jay-Z’s “The Black Album.” EMI/Capitol, who holds the copyright on much of The Beatles’ catalog went nuts, and started sending cease-and-desists to pretty much everyone, leading to the infamous “Grey Tuesday” on February 24, 2004, where lots of websites posted the album in protest. Years later, EMI admitted that the Grey Album didn’t do any harm, but the company didn’t care, saying “It’s not a question of damage; it’s a question of rights.””

Links of interest for October 31st 2008:

  • War and Social Upheaval Cause Spikes in Zombie Movie Production [io9 - Chart Porn] – “There’s been a huge spike in the production of zombie movies lately, and many of them seem to be inspired by war. Everything from 28 Days Later to Zombie Strippers make explicit reference to wartime, as did seminal 1968 zombie flick Night of the Living Dead. Is there really a connection between zombie movies and social unrest? We decided to do some research and find out. The result? We’ve got a line graph showing the number of zombie movies coming out in the West each year since 1910 — and there are definite spikes during certain years, which always seem to happen eerily close to historical events involving war or social upheaval.”
  • Beatles make digital debut in new game [The Age] – “The Beatles are coming to a game console near you. For the first time, the legendary group’s music will be featured in the lucrative video game market in a deal with MTV Games and Harmonix, creators of the Rock Band series. The game is scheduled to make its debut in time for next year’s holiday season. “The project is a fun idea which broadens the appeal of The Beatles and their music. I like people having the opportunity to get to know the music from the inside out,” Paul McCartney said in a statement. The game will not be titled Rock Band, but will work with the existing instruments – a guitar, drums and microphone. Game developers were cagey about whether new instruments, such as a keyboard, would be incorporated.” (One final frontier for Paul McCartney to get royalties … and, yes, I suspect when this comes out he’ll get a few of my hard-earned dollars!)
  • Hulu, Dr. Horrible Make Time’s 50 Best Inventions of the Year [NewTeeVee] – Dr Horrible is a horribly good idea, it seems!
  • Election ’08 Fanfiction – US election fan fiction and even slash fiction … Obama/Clinton is one thing, but Obama/McCain … hmmm. [Via Waxy]