Archive for May 31st, 2008

Prince has the law on his side

The following is all over the news today: Prince licensed and sang Radiohead’s “Creep” at the Coachella festival. An unauthorized fan recorded it, posted it to YouTube, and Prince’s label had it taken down under the DMCA. Radiohead disagrees with the take down and say “Well, tell him to unblock it. It’s our… song.

Well, yes and no. Radiohead quite possibly own the song (usually major labels own or co-own the music). However, the performance belongs to Prince. He has every right to bar professional photographers or fans from recording/snapping/posting his performance, as the Coachella festival is a private event that he controls. Radiohead, YouTube, and the fans, have absolutely nothing on this. It is up to Prince to allow this performance to be public or not — and there is even a case where he might not even have this right at all, if his contract for the song doesn’t specifically grant full broadcasting rights to Prince. So basically, even if Prince has or has not the right to himself post an audio/video of his performance online, he has the law on his side when he takes down other’s videos of his performance. Because his performance, that’s 100% his, he controls it, and it’s copyrightable. Therefore, this take-down request was NOT a DMCA abuse, as some people wrote online.

Now, of course, this is how the law is. That doesn’t mean that the whole of copyright law is nice or adjusted for modern times. I personally find Prince to be a jerk. I never liked him, even when I first heard of him in the early ’80s. I much prefer Robert Downey Jr. I think. Yeah.

UPDATE: Radiohead should feel like asses right now. “Creep” is NOT their song. Radiohead wrote and performed the song, but both the original recording performance and the copyright of the song belongs to EMI. In other words, like I said above that it’s usual with major labels, that was “work for hire” that they did, and they have ZERO say in this Youtube case. In fact, not even EMI has a say.

UPDATE 2: Matt says that Radiohead has 33% controlling interest on the song.

SanDisk Sansa e280 8GB Player

Geeks.com, sent over the SanDisk Sansa e280 MP3 and WMA player for a small review. The device has 8 GB of storage internally and it also supports microSD cards.

The device is smaller than an iPod Mini, but bigger overall than a Nano. It has a 1.8″ TFT screen, FM radio, a microphone, while it sports USB 2.0 support. The device came to us with its USB cable and earbuds. No documentation or other accessories were included in this white box release. The battery is rechargeable via the USB cable and it manages up to 20 hours in ideal conditions. The e280 has a “record” button on the side, proprietary USB port on the bottom, microSD slot on the other side, and a 3.5mm headphone jack and a “hold” button on the top. There is also a lanyard/wrist-wrap hole near the top.

The device turns on/off with its “power button” below the main wheel menu. This button is also used to go back to home screen if you press it lightly during usage. The wheel button is actually a blue LED wheel navigates fast on long lists of media when turned. I personally found the blue LED incredibly bright, more so than what it was needed as it was overshadowing the look of the LCD. Inside and around the wheel there are buttons that help you navigate or are playback controls.

When booted up, you can select from a scrolling menu the main function: pictures, video, music, audio recording, FM radio, or settings. The device is really easy to use, although some navigation usability is not as good as the iPod’s. More over, if you get back to the music list and you click on the song that’s currently playing, it starts playing back instead of getting you to the “playback screen”. In fact, I found it very difficult to get back to the playback screen after you have wandered around on other parts of the system. It is details like these that show that Sandisk is simply not as good as Apple in designing interfaces.

Nevertheless, the music quality was perfect, and overall this is a usable system. There is a ratings screen, album artwork, EQ and custom EQ, and various ways to sort music. The Pictures menu allowed for background music while enjoying a slideshow, while on the settings you could find screen, language, volume limit and more. The only really unfortunate part on that media player is the video format it accepts: MJPEG in the MOV container. This white box doesn’t come with software so there is no video converter software included, and using free tools to encode in the exact video format that this player supports is a challenge.

Overall, this is a worthy mp3 player. But if you try to use it too much, rather than leaving it playing on the background while you are working or exercise, you might stumble into a few usability issues.

From CyberLink PowerDirector to Vimeo 720p HD

Here’s how to export from CyberLink PowerDirector 7 for Vimeo’s 720p HD service. The produced files are also compatible with the PS3 and XBoX360.