The Clash Of Music Downloading Ethics: Google Vs. Baidu

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August 29, 2007

 

As BusinessWeek reports, China has a HUGE music pirating problem. They reference a man by the name of Eric Zhou, who lives in Beijing and likes listening to western pop music. He doesn’t pay for the music though, which he receives thanks to Chinese search engine Baidu (BIDU). Baidu has a special MP3 tab that allows users to quickly find and download MP3s. Eric listens to everything from “the Backstreet Boys to the Spice Girls, on his MP3 player” (which should be a crime in itself).  He does not think that he is doing any wrong by downloading these songs and believes that the fault lies with the law and not the users. And Eric is not alone, according to Leong May See, Asia director for the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, nearly 100% of all music downloaded in China is pirated. WOW! So how can Google China gain search market share if it does not allow access to pirated music, while its rival nearly promotes it? It can’t.


BusinessWeek says that the ease at which Baidu’s users can find MP3s has made it hard for Google China to compete with Baidu. Google indeed has a challenge, but what about companies that sell music for that stuff called money? It would be nearly impossible for them to thrive with the current piracy levels in China. But according to Jianguang Li, a Chinese venture capitalist, “more Chinese are learning to respect intellectual property online.” Li has even participated in funding companies who charge for downloading music. But with those estimated piracy rates in China nearing 100%, I doubt that any of those companies will create the next iTunes.

A Lot Happening At EarthLink

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August 26, 2007

 

A press release issued today by EarthLink (ELNK) outlines a comprehensive corporate restructuring plan that is taking way immediately. The plan includes cutting approximately 900 jobs and closing multiple offices nationwide, which is expected to give the company $25 to $35 million in cost savings this year alone. However, the costs associated with the restructuring will be anywhere from $116 to $140 million, allocated between the third and fourth quarters of 2007. The company expects cost savings to overtake restructure costs within six months. EarthLink has changed their outlook for 2007 as a result of the restructuring and is now expecting $1.19 to 1.21 billion in revenue for 2007. In addition, they expect industry-wide subscriber addition to slow, forecasting fewer EarthLink subscribers in 2008. The company’s board of directors has also authorized an additional $200 million for stock buyback, bringing the total allocation to $270 million. And lastly, for the company’s updates, Joe Wetzel has been appointed EarthLink’s new COO.

Read: Home Safes For Guns Offer Protection And Security

A lot of news for the company and wall street seems to like it. The stock was up as much as 12% on the news.…

BarCampBlock Day 1: An Amazing Day!

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August 18, 2007

Today was day 1 of BarCampBlock in Palo Alto. It was an amazing experience that allowed attendees to be submerged in Silicon Valley tech culture. I learned an insane amount, and I don’t just mean “knowledge”. There was an energy that seemed to be flowing around (not the wifi) and it was very enlightening to take part in that. And it’s not too late if you want to experience it yourself, because tomorrow it is all happening again, from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM. But if you can’t make it, you should be able to get a pretty good idea of the atmosphere and happenings of the day by doing a couple of things. First, make sure and visit BarCampBlock Session Notes . You will be able to see notes on the informal sessions that occurred throughout the day (There are only three sessions’ notes on the wiki right now, but I’m sure this will change soon). Next, go to flicker to get some pictures of the event. If stills don’t do the trick, you can see a few video clips on Ustream and you should be able to watch the live stream tomorrow. Also, there will likely be more blogging about the event and I will post links as they surface.

My take on the day:

I showed up at about 9:30 AM, by myself and not knowing a single soul. That changed quickly though as everyone was, for the most part, extremely social and friendly. So if that is what is stopping you from attending tomorrow, I wouldn’t worry about it. The first session I attended was called “What Are Widgets”, led by Shawn from Clearspring. Clearspring makes sharing and tracking widgets easier. The discussion was about widgets in general and what Clearspring can offer to widget developers. The next session I attended was called “The Big Crash of Web 2.0” aka “web 2 point uh oh”. This was my favorite session by far as there was a lot of passionate audience interaction. The discussion was focused on looking at where we are in web 2.0, in regards to three aspects: investment, technologies, and adoption. The next two sessions I attended were lead by KRS Murthy, who is a venture capitalist with expertise in mergers and acquisitions, and is an extremely intelligent person. In his first session, he talked about the need to change the way venture capital is raised, to allow for the funding of companies that are not in close geographic proximity to a vc. Murthy’s next session was about mergers/acquisitions and roll up plans for social networking websites. The last session I attended was called “Why Companies Fear Bloggers”, led by Paul Joyce of SimplifyMedia. This was more of an open discussion, where we talked about many aspects of blogging, including: writing about competitors, interacting with customers, and the damage that blogs can do to companies.

It really was an amazing day and I want to thank all the people and sponsors that made the experience what it was. And if you’re attending tomorrow, I’ll see you there.

Links:

-Brian Solis wrote an excellent post about BarCampBlock at bub.blicio.us

-Robert Scoble, who is on a blog break, came out and wrote about his late visit to BarCampBlock.

iPhone Software Unlock Company iPhoneSIMFree Has Been Acquired

-Infotropism has a nice roundup of links to blogs about BarCampBlock.

-Don’t forget to visit the BarCamp wiki to see the list of blog posts about BarCampBlock…

Facebook Secrets Blog Shutdown By Google?

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August 15, 2007

The anonymous blog Facebook Secrets, that posted Facebook source code not once, but twice, has been shut down, either by author or by Google. But one would have to assume it was by Google since the anonymous author had no method of contact on the blog, so Facebook was probably unable to send a cease and desist letter. This may have forced Facebook to do things the long way and go through Google to have the blog shut down, but this is unconfirmed.

This little battle between Facebook and Facebook Secrets does little to nothing in preventing the source code from being distributed further, as it has surely been saved and redistributed by many others. It does, however, prove a point, or rather a possibility: a simple blog that no one had heard of before this (it didn’t exist) was able to cause some pretty heavy embarrassment to a site that nearly everyone has heard of.

NEW: TechCrunch posts that a blog called Facebook Secrets Again has been created in regard to the shut down blog Facebook Secrets. The new blog shows the emails (DCMA Notices) from The Blogger Team, first requesting that the infringing content be taken down, then saying that they (The Blogger Team) took the content down themselves. This confirms that Google did indeed take the blog down.…