Another fictional product brought to you by the Dreamer. Last post I wrote about one of the gadgets that I have been dreaming about for many, many years. Now for the service that would make the gadget work.
Built for the iPage
Compatible with existing readers, PDA’s, iPod’s, TV’s and other devices capable of displaying images or text
Works with both rights-protected intellectual property and public domain media
With rights-protected intellectual property:
Client runs on computer and will output to any device that is not able to then copy to other devices
Each time an output is made information on the receiving device is sent back to the service
Will output up to five times
Customer service can reset counter in the case of technical difficulties
With public domain media:
Client runs on computer and will output to any device
Mirrors or provides access to Google Print, Project Gutenberg, News services, blogs and websites
Will output unlimited times
The list of titles in a user’s library is viewable online with a password. Any public domain media can be downloaded to any computer without installing the client. To access rights-protected intellectual property on another machine the content on the first machine must be disabled. It will then be available to the client on the second machine.
Kim Cameron and many others are working towards a new way to validate a user’s (and a machine’s) identity that works better than passwords and is easier to use. I have a few other ideas I will discuss in another post. For now, I will say, I am confident that we now have the technology to make it easy to use rights-protected intellectual property without making it easy to break the law. It has always been possible to photocopy a book, it is just not easy. iTales will not be pirate-proof, just pirate-resistant.
One “feature” of books is the ability to give your book to a friend. iTales unlike many other attempts at an electronic solution will keep this very valuable feature. iTales allows a rights-protected intellectual property to be deactivated in one client, donated or resold to someone else and then re-output. This of course can only be done five times. Also, the $20 iPage could easily be passed on to someone else.
iTunes is a neat idea that makes things really simple, but iTales will be even better. A proprietary format that ties a product and service together makes things very easy for early adopters … for a while. If the iPod and iTunes had not been so easy to use they would not have the near monopoly that they currently have. Unfortunately many companies are working on incompatible devices and services. I love Apple. The products they make are nearly perfect. Actually they are too good. In the pursuit of perfection they left everyone else behind. For better or worse, there are many other MP3 players and services. And iPod and iTunes do not work well with them. This is not a deal breaker, but kind of takes away some of the easy in a family that is determined to use as many different kinds of toys as possible. iTales will work across platforms with many different devices.
iTales will be released in two stages. By summer the beta should be available with thousands of public domain books. By the end of the year Version 1 will allow access to all web published content, like Google Print, Project Gutenberg, and blogs. It will also work with most password protected content like online academic journals and subscription based online media.
Version 2 will handle the digital rights management (DRM) for rights-protected intellectual property. Programming should be complete early in 2007 but this time frame is dependant on the DRM work of Microsoft, Apple, and the Linux community. It is not clear at this point whether Linux will be able to handle DRM, or if the Linux community would even want access to rights-protected intellectual property on these terms. The source code for iTales would almost have to be proprietary, at least at the core.
Disclaimer: This is the personal opinion of one employee. If you make any investment decisions based on this blog, you are crazy. All product specifications, prices and dates are merely what I would like to see and do not reflect anything remotely resembling actual plans. This is all based on publicly available information. If you want to pretend that you have access to inside information that is between you, God, and the FCC. I am just a dreamer, who thinks he is seeing one of his dreams come true.