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November 6, 2006

Judge Rules P2P Music Dowload Legal

Judge Paz Aldecoa of number three criminal court in Santander, Spain, has ruled innocent the defendant charged with downloading music from the internet. The music industry association was demanding a two year prison term, but the Judge has taken a "what nonsense is this?" stance; she ruled that the practice is not criminal since no monetary gain involved, and the download was covered by the right to private copy.

The defendant, J.M.L.H, 48 years old was arrested for downloading music albums through several different systems, and for offering in exchange music he already possessed. He took part in conversations with this aim using chat and email. The facts of the case prove he offered and swapped music with other internet users at no price. The plaintiff, "The Spanish Phonographic and Videographic Association (Afyve), and the Spanish Association of Entertainment Software Distributors and Editors (Adeses), demanded a two year sentence, €7200 fine plus damages of €18361 in the first case, with further damages to be decided by the two associations later.

Judge Paz Aldecoa, deemed that for a case of Intellectual property theft to exist, monetary gain should be involved; a fact absent from this case.

"Neither price nor other compensations other than the swapping of material amongst the various parties were present in this case. And in my judgment, this is enters the purvue of article 31 of the Intellectual Property Law which allows that obtaining copies for private use without the authorization of authors; as long as their is no illicit aim to obtain monetary gain." [Free translation]

Judge Paz Aldecoa concludes her reasoning assuring that, without the monetary gain, the facts of the accusation do not constitute an infraction that warrants criminal sentencing.

[Via Una juez de Santander sentencia que descargar música por Internet no es delito | elmundo.es]

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November 3, 2006

Google Launches Mobile Web Search

google mobile

Google has just extended its Mobile web service, with amongst other things, mobile-web search. The mobile-web search page lists only true mobile-web pages; xhtml, imode or wap formats. Mobile phone users now see mobile-readable pages only. The service is a big improvement on the initial service which provided xhtml translations of normal web pages.

Google's new launch comes a month after the launch of the .mobi top level domain categories which are reserved for mobile-phone only web sites. Dot-mobi will be the first top-level domain to require its customers to stick to rules on how their users' websites are developed. The mobile-web pages must conform to the following:

  • Responses to URLs must be encoded in XHTML (WAP 2.0). This is to ensure the premium usability of the site for visitors using their mobile devices.
  • .MOBI sites must implement a page at the second level domain. This is to eliminate the need to type in “www” when browsing .mobi sites from a mobile device. For example, the web server should be able to respond to HTTP requests to www.mydomainname.com and to mydomainname.com.
  • No frames

Check out Eucap incubation team's first experiment of a mobile service mobile weather forecast.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is also redoubling its efforts to standardize mobile web content languages. The aim is he mobile-web to be as easily accessible as the world wide web. Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the internet protocols html-http, is prioritizing the new mobile web xhtml protocol just as much as the standard internet protocol html.

ask mobile

Not to be outdone, competing search service, Ask, has also launched its mobile.ask.com. Unfortunately, Ask has yet to index the mobile-web, it is still providing a mobile-format translation of normal web sites. A much poorer service.

Mobile-web Advertising

Just to confirm the mobile-web is coming of age, mobile-web advertising has also arrived. Google now provides Adwords for mobile advertising. Google's main mobile advertising competitor, Admobs.com, is boasting of over 200m mobile page impressions a month on their network of mobile web sites. Our tests show CPC and CPMs are still comparatively low, but the potential is huge.

Unlocking Mobile Phones for the Entire Mobile Web

Another issue for mobile web browsers is that mobile phone operators control the home page sites menus displayed on each mobile device. The user has a very limited range of sites that he can easily access. However with the new generation of smartphones and 3G, phone owners should recover control of their browsing, and surfing on a mobile should open fully to the entire mobile-web.

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November 1, 2006

How to Fight Accelerated Depreciation of Internet Assets

Like the incredible shrinking man, intangible assets like a layout design, a good logo, a strong brand, or web applications suffer from accelerated depreciation in the internet sector. All growth industries where the market evolves and changes quickly have rapidly depreciating assets.

Whereas the design of an electrical transformer station depreciates to zero in ten to twenty years. Software, specially internet software has a much shorter life span, sometimes measured in months.

Knowing how much your assets depreciate is important. A typical NASDAQ company reinvests 5 to 20 times its asset depreciation to stay competitive. If you are reinvesting less than your depreciation, you are in trouble.

Formally, accounting standards depreciate software in three years. In reality, competitive forces in the internet sector can wipe our your software, your brand, your programming, your intangible asset, in as little as three months.

kiko traffic

The Kiko example is a great a case in point. Its life cycle from conception to closure and asset sale, in a little over a year. Kiko was a web calendar application. Very popular as a complement to Google's Gmail.com. Popular until Google launched its own Calendar application already integrated with Gmail. The graph shows the downward turn in summer 2006, and the spike corresponds to its delightful sale on eBay.

Today, the Pluck RSS reader, a very popular add on for Internet Explorer is shutting down ; it has been wiped out by Microsoft's new browser, IE7, which has an RSS reader built in.

Accounting Standards

Accelerated depreciation is a self evident truth to all who work in the internet sector, but try and explain accelerated rates of depreciation to your company accountant. The other day I tried to get my accountant to introduce one year depreciation on all intangible assets in proximity to Google's interest. Needless to say GAAP accounting standards were quickly brought to bear on such outrageous ramblings. So, we now have two balance sheets; one that keeps our accountants happy, the other a reflection of life in the fast lane. Guess which one we use to set company investment budgets ?

Covering the Incredibly Shrinking Value of your Intangible Assets: Capital and Ideas

You need two things to fight accelerated depreciation, capital and ideas. A rare combination, in my opinion. Many Venture Capitals have much of the first, and little of the second. Startups have much of the second and little of the first.

In my opinion, ideas are much harder than capital. The value of capital is decreasing rapidly. When it comes to your capital expenditure, good ideas create more value than a sterile pot of money. When shoring up the depreciating value of your intellectual property look to a creative class team, rather than your MBA graduate.

The classical Venture Capital administrator, adept at forming teams and putting together good startup administration is finding life harder and harder. Know-how and innovation talent is the new king in growth industries; if you have no ideas, better give the capital back to your shareholders or limited partners. Pity there is no Master's accreditation for Creative Talent - Master in Business Creation (MBC). MBC is the new MBA.

[Via Pluck RSS Reader Shuts Down: Consumer RSS Readers a Dead Market Now]

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