You’ve got to be kidding me. The US Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Congress can remove works from the public domain and re-copyright them in order to bring the the pieces into compliance with international copyright schemes. Yeah, because that doesn’t run completely against the spirit of copyright law or anything.
For one reason or another, the American copyright protections of many famous, foreign works—including H.G. Wells’ Things to Come, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony and Peter and the Wolf, Shostakovich’s Symphony 14, Cello Concerto and everything by Igor Stravinsky—moved into the public domain despite still being copyrighted overseas. To “correct” this issue, Congress passed legislation in 1994 that would move the works in question back to protected status and comply with the Berne Convention, an international copyright treaty.
This week, the Supreme Court ruled on a case brought by a coalition of educators, performers, and film archivists who rely on public domain works such as these for their livelihoods. If these pieces are place back under copyright, this group (like everybody else) simply can’t use them. However in a 6-2 ruling—Justices Stephen Breyer and Samuel Alito dissenting—the Court ruled that bringing these works into agreement with the international treaty did not violate the First Amendment rights of those people using the works as they are now (no, those folks will just have to pay licensing fees to perform), nor does it set a precedent for Congress to eventually push for perpetual copyright protections.
In his dissent, Justice Breyer stated that the congressional legislation,
bestows monetary rewards only on owners of old works in the American public domain. At the same time, the statute inhibits the dissemination of those works, foreign works published abroad after 1923, of which there are many millions, including films, works of art, innumerable photographs, and, of course, books – books that (in the absence of the statute) would assume their rightful places in computer-accessible databases, spreading knowledge throughout the world.
As Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project at Stanford University commented, the ruling “suggests Congress is not required to pay particularly close attention to the interests of the public when it passes copyright laws.” Well, yeah, it’s Congress. They don’t need to read bills and amendments, they don’t need to represent their constituents. They jus need to ensure hard-working people like Igor Stravinsky gets the royalty checks he needs so desperately. Hey, a guy’s gotta eat—especially when he’s been dead since 1971. [ArsTechnica - top art: the AP]
Despite the creation of the .xxx top-level domain (TLD), no one will use it. Porn purveyors will not use it for sure because they want to avoid parental control software which can easily block the entire TLD. And regular citizens won’t know to type it in or will simply add a .com after it because of force of habit. This is a perfect example of a lot of work that went into creating something that no one will use.
A new top-level porn domain, XXX (e.g., http://pornexample.xxx), was approved today by ICANN, the non-profit organization responsible for managing the assignment of domain names and approval of new top-level domains like .com, .org, and so on. This doesn’t mean that all porn sites will leave their current cushy URLs for XXX, but it’ll be an easy block for concerned parents. [PC World]
Compete shows that Bing’s unique users in June 09 is bigger than Twitter, CNN, and Digg.
This is not because people are voluntarily going to Bing.com. It is because Microsoft redirected all traffic from live.com and search traffic (results pages) from msn.com to bing.com.
This is what it looks like when a site changes domain names and redirects all rtraffic from the old site. By next month Compete will show the same “X” for Live.com vs Bing.com
Already starting to see the decline of traffic from live.com which is entirely redirected to bing.com
how do we judge the relative merit and effectiveness of different types of advertising? By finding a common parameter that can be used to compare “apples to apples.” We argue that cost of customer acquisition is a great candidate for such a parameter.
For example, if television advertising cost $50 million to produce and air, and 1,000 people came to the acquisition website, and 10 people applied for and received credit cards then the CCA — cost of customer acquisition would be $5 million ($50 million / 10 people who got the credit card). Of course television advertisers would claim that the “impressions” from TV would have “branded” millions more people and they would eventually get a credit card from the company. That’s possible. But for the purposes of this exercise, if there is no absolute end-to-end tracking, we don’t count it. Because, for example, many other possible scenarios can also occur, like the person saw this ad for a credit card but ended up getting a card from a different bank, they saw and remembered the ad but they already had several credit cards from the company, etc.
With “online” we can easily see lift in search activity around the time that brand/awareness advertising is in-flight. This is one of the best indicators of interest — the person saw the TV ad, and was inspired enough to go online to do more research to inform their own purchase decision. Modern consumers will typically search and then click through. In rare instances, they will type the URL, but it is usually the domain name, not the special URL — domain_name.com/special_url — just because of pure laziness or simply because they forgot the /special_url portion.
Now let’s look at a print example: a print ad cost $5 million to produce and traffic in targeted magazines. About 1,000 people came to the website and 10 people ended up purchasing the advertised product. So the CCA is $500,000 per customer acquired. There may be more people who saw the ad and eventually came in to buy a product. But again, there is a problem of attribution.
Now a final example from “online” marketing. Search ads were run using Google Adwords and a $1 CPC (cost per click) was paid. Of those people who clicked through 1 in 20 purchased a product. So it took 20 clicks at $1 each to achieve 1 sale – so the cost of customer acquisition is $20.
OK, so what about prodycts not sold online? We can use a proxy which has a known conversion to sales. For example, once a coupon is printed from the website, from historic data the advertiser knows that 30% end up using the coupon – i.e. redeeming with a purchase. So, again, if we used a $1 CPC and 1 in 20 ended up printing the coupon and 30% of those “converted” to an offline sale, the CCA would be $66.67 ($20/0.30).
So to recap
Television – $5 million CCA
Print – $500,000 CCA
Paid Search – $20 CCA
Paid Search + Offline Sale – $67 CCA
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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