Category Services

Smart Speakers Are Table Radios for the Digital Age

One of the big holiday gift choices this year is likely to be smart speakers, such as Amazon Echos and Google Homes. Here’s the funny thing about smart speakers: while everyone was getting excited — or worried — about them as home shopping devices or yet another way for tech companies to spy on users, […]

Blockchain Comes to E-Books, DRM Included

Blockchain technology has reached e-books. The CEOs of two startups with e-book distribution platforms based on blockchains, Scenarex and Publica, are going to appear with me on a panel at the Digital Book World conference in Nashville in early October. The similarities of their technologies indicate a direction for blockchains in the e-book world. The […]

Music Modernization Act Draws Concerns About Mechanical Licensing Agency

The Copyright Society of the USA’s Annual Meeting took place over the past couple of days in Toronto. One of the many interesting sessions was one on music licensing, where we from the U.S. got to learn that Canada has just as much of a “sausage factory” as we do when it comes to the […]

The Fifth Era of Recorded Music

The RIAA released its aggregated annual recorded music revenue numbers for the United States last month. They show that the industry has completed its transition to streaming — and more particularly, to interactive or on-demand streaming. Last year interactive streaming — a la Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, Napster, Deezer, Tidal, etc. — turned in […]

W3C Approves Encrypted Media Extensions as Web Standard

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced on Monday that it has approved Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) as a Recommendation, meaning that it’s now an official standard. This announcement marks the end of a very contentious debate about the role, if any, that DRM should have in web browser environments and open web standards. EME […]

Libraries: Be Careful What You Wish For

Last week we discussed the new “cost-per-circulation” (CPC) model for public libraries — in which they can make e-books available to patrons and pay the publisher per “loan” instead of paying fixed fees to “acquire” titles as if they were print books (the “pretend it’s print” or PIP model). HarperCollins has just become the first […]

Hoopla Digital and HarperCollins Disrupt Library E-Lending

An announcement this week by hoopla digital and HarperCollins augurs big changes in the ways that public libraries make e-books available. It sets the stage for realignment of the relationships between publishers and libraries, and it could have longer-term ripple effects on the entire e-book market. For more than a decade, public libraries have been […]