I'm fresh off the Delta Shuttle from Boston and sitting in the press room at C3 Expo (Corporate and Channel Computing) at the Javits Center on New York City's West Side (photo of a dead show floor shown below). I'm also fully loaded with gear for some multimedia coverage. In addition to my notebook for blogging, I've got my Nikon D70 digital SLR and my Edirol R-4 digital audio recorder (in hopes of getting a few podcasts in). I've also got Motorola's Q with me (as I begin my long term test of that device) and finally had a chance to start leafing through its manual on the shuttle flight down. I'm very disappointed that it doesn't support Bluetooth's Dial Up Networking (DUN) profile (a Verizon Wireless choice, not Motorla's). So far, I've lost my work twice when trying to access our Wordpress systems from the press room. There's no WiFi here and the wired network has evaporated twice (right in the middle of me pressing the SAVE button). It's pathetic. Had Verizon Wireless chosen to support DUN on the Q, I could be doing an end-run around the wired network hear that the show using Verizon's 3G network by using the Q as a 3G modem for my notebook computer. Oh well.
I took downtime to be interviewed (via telephone) by NPR's Marketplace regarding the digital rights management angles on two stories in the entertainment business: First, the deal that Guba has done with Warner Bros. to redistribute the latter's movies. Although Guba's press release says "With the launch today, GUBA becomes the first US video sharing community to distribute licensed Warner Bros. Entertainment’s content online," that's really just spin since Bittorrent (perhaps not a "US video sharing community," technically speaking) recently cut the same deal with Warner. Both Bitttorrent and Guba are using Microsoft's digital rights management technology (what I call C.R.A.P.: see CRAP, The Movie and CRAP, The Sequel) to protect Warner's content. The significance of that choice is that people will not be able to download content for playback on video iPods since iPods are not compatible with Microsoft's DRM.
Second is the news that YouTube will be distributing clips from NBC's television programming. As far as I can tell (please correct me if I'm wrong), there is no DRM involved here because YouTube will only be distributing clips as a part of NBC's efforts to promote certain television shows such as the Jay Leno Show.
In both cases (Warner and NBC), it demonstrates how entertainment companies are beginnging to realize that if they can't beat the Internet, the had better join it. It's no secret that the Internet has been stealing time away from traditional entertainment venues (TV, movies) and digging into the bottom line of television and movie studios. Now, finally, we are beginning to see these companies realize that the Internet is a viable channel to distribute and promote their content.
Disclosure: In the spirit of media transparency, I want to disclose that in addition to my day job at ZDNet, I'm also a co-organizer of Mashup Camp and Mashup University. Microsoft, which is mentioned in this story, is one of the sponsors of both upcoming events. For more information on my involvement with these events, see the special disclosure page that I've prepared and published here on ZDNet.