Thursday, June 08, 2017

PND Media news update: Subscriptions, Copyright and Acquisition News.

Solving the crossword puzzle: Rebuilding a print habit on digital devices
Sometimes, I’ve learned, you have to take opportunity where you least expect it. And in the end that’s what happened to us. Nieman Labs

Lack of copyright support in India may require radical publisher rethink:
Mr Bisht runs Delhi University’s photocopy shop, a crowded room crammed with photocopiers and computers where students queue to get their entire course material copied for a fraction of what it would cost to buy the books.   Following the decision in March of three international publishing companies — Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor & Francis — to drop their legal case against Mr Bisht, his business is functioning with impunity.  The trio claimed his photocopying business undermined their intellectual property, but the Delhi high court ruled that it was not in students’ interests to shut him down. The companies appealed but later dropped the case, citing “longer-term interests”. Executives say they had given up hope of winning, but believed they could still make money in the country long term.
Global library cooperative OCLC has signed agreements with distinguished publishers from around the world to add metadata for high quality books, e-books, journals, databases and other materials that will make their content discoverable through WorldCat Discovery.
OCLC has agreements in place with 315 publishers and information providers to supply metadata to facilitate discovery and access to key resources relevant to researchers, faculty and students.
WorldCat Discovery provides over 2.8 billion records of electronic, digital and physical resources, including articles, books, dissertations and audiovisual materials in support of libraries and information seekers.   Metadata from many of these publishers will also be made available to users through other OCLC services based on individual agreements. Details about how this metadata may be used in library management workflows will be communicated to OCLC users as the data is available.  By providing metadata and other descriptive content, these partnerships help libraries represent their electronic and physical collections more completely and efficiently. More about WorldCat Discovery and OCLC partnerships is on the OCLC website.
Link to More
The New York Times Sees Record Newsletter Subscriptions and Open Rates.
Times free newsletters have always been popular with readers. However, growth remained fairly flat for a number of years. A team of newsroom editors, product managers, designers and engineers began taking a more systematic approach, including making better use of analytics, new tools and promotional strategies. The Times’s newsletter subscriptions have more than doubled to over 13 million in April 2017, from 6 million newsletter subscriptions in April 2014.
The Morning Briefing newsletter has more than 1.3 million newsletter subscriptions with a 60%+ open rate (an additional number of readers access the Briefing on Times apps and on the web). Other Times newsletters, including Today’s Headlines and Cooking, also boast more than a million newsletter subscriptions and many have especially high open rates: NYT Australia, Booming, Nicholas Kristof, California Today, Vietnam ‘67 and the Interpreter all have open rates of 80% or higher.
 New York Times
Academic publisher Taylor & Francis Group has acquired colwiz, an innovative, early stage digital research services firm, as part of its ongoing investment in technology and digital capabilities that support the use and discoverability of content. colwiz launched in 2013 from the University of Oxford's Isis Software Incubator.
colwiz launched in 2013 from the University of Oxford’s Isis Software Incubator. It provides interactive digital collaboration and reference management services for researchers in academia, industry and government around the world.
colwiz’s current suite of tools allows researchers to read and annotate PDF-based academic content wherever they are, manage and store research drafts, share citations and data and connect and collaborate within research groups around specialist content in an efficient and user-friendly way.
As part of the Taylor & Francis Group, the team from colwiz will in the first instance work on the launch of, a cutting-edge and comprehensive proprietary research knowledge graph. uses artificial intelligence and big data to generate continuously-updated analytics on scientific developments, delivering new insights into academic knowledge to inform how researchers advance their work.
Sheridan, a provider of print, publishing services and technology solutions to publishers, has acquired PubFactory, the industry-lauded online publishing platform for journals, books, and reference works, from O'Reilly Media. PubFactory will continue to be based out of Boston, MA, and will blend seamlessly into the Sheridan stable of publisher technology products and services.
The PubFactory team has been developing and delivering scholarly publishing technologies since 1999. In 2010, the PubFactory platform officially launched with the deployment of several major Oxford University Press products. This was quickly followed by the International Monetary Fund’s eLibrary and De Gruyter’s journals, books, and database products launching in 2011. Notable publishers including Bloomsbury Publishing, Brill, Edward Elgar Publishing, Harvard University Press, Peter Lang, and others have since joined the growing list of PubFactory customers.
PubFactory’s configurable suite of front-end and back-end capabilities allows for optimal support across content types, making it a truly content agnostic platform that is host to 1400+ journals, 400,000+ books, and numerous database and reference work products.
“We are delighted to offer our journal and book publishers this proven and comprehensive hosting and publishing platform,” said Gary Kittredge, Managing Director of Sheridan Journal Services. “PubFactory will propel Sheridan into a new level of engagement with our customers as we extend our range of services from high-touch editorial production and print solutions to hosting our customers’ content – a complete package.”
Leading Companies, Trade Associations Launch Corporate Committee for Library Investment to Save Federal Library Funding (PR)
Many of America's leading information, software, publishing and other businesses as well as multiple national trade associations today unveiled the Corporate Committee for Library Investment to advocate for federal library funding.

As Congress turns to funding the government beyond next September, CCLI launches against the backdrop of Administration proposals to eliminate most federal library funding and the agency that distributes those funds to every state. Members of CCLI are united by the common belief that America's libraries are business-building, job-creating, workforce-preparing engines of the U.S. economy in every corner of the country. The group formed to tell that story to Congress and other federal policy makers who control library funding and to encourage every American business to do the same.

CCLI today delivered a letter, which remains open to signature by any business of any size, to all members of the United States Senate. (Eight companies made a similar delivery in their own names on May 11.) The letter expressly asks senators to sign two letters to their colleagues on the Appropriations Committee calling for $186.6 million in FY 2018 funding for programs under the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and $27 million for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program (IAL). LSTA funding goes primarily to a population-based matching grant program that puts states in charge of how federal funds are spent. IAL allows school libraries and non-profit groups to buy books and educational materials for the nation's neediest children.

CCLI also will work to: rapidly reauthorize the Museum and Library Services Act, which created LSTA; and assure that any infrastructure investments authorized by Congress both include library facilities and leverage the nation's 120,000 libraries to make high-speed broadband service available in every corner of America, especially in rural and other underserved communities.

CCLI was co-conceived by Gale, a Cengage company, and the American Library Association, which will provide logistical support for the group. Founding members include Baker & Taylor, bibliotheca, Candlewick Press, Corporate Graphics International, EBSCO Information Services, Encyclopedia Britannica, Findaway, Follett, Gale/Cengage, Information Today, Jamex, Mackin, Macmillan, ­­OverDrive, Peachtree Publishers, Pearson, Penguin Random House, Prendismo, ProQuest, Public Information Kiosk, The RoadRunner Press, Rosen Publishing, SirsiDynix, the American Booksellers Association and the Software and Information Industry Association.
Clarivate Analytics has announced the acquisition of Publons and its leading global platform for researchers to share, discuss and receive recognition for peer review and editing of academic research. The acquisition brings together the world's preeminent citation database and the world's largest researcher-facing peer-review data and recognition platform.
Clarivate is developing and delivering innovative analytics and workflow solutions that increase efficiencies across the entire research lifecycle; from idea to experiment, to peer review, to publication, dissemination and assessment. The acquisition of Publons, its platform and data, increase the value of multiple Clarivate Analytics products, while supporting researchers as they manage their careers and work across the ecosystem of funders, publishers and institutions.
"The Clarivate Analytics citation network and researcher tools, including flagship products like Web of Science, EndNote and ScholarOne, are some of the most widely used tools in research," said Andrew Preston, co-founder of Publons. "Daniel and I founded Publons with the core belief that peer review is at the heart of research. As the pressures on scientific publishing continue to grow, we see an opportunity for Publons to have an even greater positive impact on peer review. The global scale and impartial position of Clarivate Analytics, combined with Publons, will allow us to further develop the platform, creating the tools and services that the research community needs."
The combined strengths of Clarivate and Publons will address critical research challenges in the $1.7 trillion global research market, including fraudulent scientific research, inefficiencies in peer review that slow down research and identifying and understanding top research as funders increasingly demand demonstrable impact and proof of contributions to the research environment. Peer review is at the heart of solutions to these challenges and will drive future improvements across the research ecosystem.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Moody's to Buy Amsterdam based publisher Bureau Van Dijk (BVD) for $3.3Billion

From Reuters:

Credit ratings agency Moody's Corp (MCO.N) said on Monday it would buy Dutch financial information provider Bureau van Dijk for about $3.3 billion, to extend its risk data and analytical businesses. 
Moody's will fund the deal through a combination of offshore cash and new debt financing.
Amsterdam-based Bureau van Dijk, owned by the fund EQT VI, distributes financial information and private company datasets of 220 million companies.
The deal is expected to benefit Moody's revenue and earnings in 2019, while adjusted earnings in 2018 is expected to see an uptick.
From the press release:
Moody’s Corporation (NYSE:MCO) announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Bureau van Dijk, a global provider of business intelligence and company information, for €3.0 billion (approximately $3.27 billion). The acquisition extends Moody’s position as a leader in risk data and analytical insight.

“Bureau van Dijk is a high growth information aggregator and distributor that positions Moody’s at the center of a unique network of global risk data,” said Raymond McDaniel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Moody’s. “This acquisition provides significant opportunities for Moody’s Analytics to offer complementary products, create new risk solutions and extend its reach to new and evolving market segments.”
“Moody’s is a highly regarded, authoritative source of credit ratings and analytical tools, with a strong brand and global reach,” said Mark Schwerzel, Deputy CEO of Bureau van Dijk. “The addition of Bureau van Dijk’s powerful information platform to Moody’s Analytics’ suite of risk management solutions presents a wide range of opportunities for us to better serve our combined customer base.”
Bureau van Dijk, operating from its Amsterdam headquarters, aggregates, standardizes and distributes one of the world’s most extensive private company datasets, with coverage exceeding 220 million companies. Over 30 years, the company has built partnerships with more than 160 independent information providers, creating a platform that connects customers with data that addresses a wide range of business challenges.
Bureau van Dijk’s solutions support the credit analysis, investment research, tax risk, transfer pricing, compliance and third-party due diligence needs of financial institutions, corporations, professional services firms and governmental authorities worldwide.
In 2016, Bureau van Dijk generated revenue of $281 million and EBITDA of $144 million. Bureau van Dijk will be reported as part of Moody’s Analytics’ Research, Data & Analytics (RD&A) unit. Moody’s expects approximately $45 million of annual revenue and expense synergies by 2019, and $80 million by 2021. On a GAAP basis, the acquisition is expected to be accretive to Moody’s EPS in 2019. Excluding purchase price amortization and one-time integration costs, it is expected to be accretive to EPS in 2018.
Moody’s will fund the transaction through a combination of offshore cash and new debt financing. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval in the European Union and is expected to close late in the third quarter of 2017.
Bureau van Dijk is owned by the fund EQT VI, part of EQT, a leading alternative investment firm with approximately €35 billion in raised capital across 22 funds. EQT funds have portfolio companies in Europe, Asia and the U.S. EQT works with portfolio companies to achieve sustainable growth, operational excellence and market leadership.
"We are very pleased with Bureau van Dijk's development under EQT ownership and want to thank management and employees for their hard work and dedication. We see an excellent fit between Bureau van Dijk and Moody’s Analytics, and congratulate Moody’s on acquiring this uniquely positioned company," said Kristiaan Nieuwenburg, Partner at EQT.
Some older stories on BVD from the blog:

Private Equity owners but the company up for sale in 2007 and had trouble selling at the time.  Reports suggested it sold for about $1.0B so quite an impressive return over 10 years for some group of owners.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Bezos' Principles for Success

Recently, Jeff Bezos released his annual letter to shareholders and it it he defined why it will always be "day 1" at Amazon.  In order to ensure that determination, he also outlined a few management principles which he believes are critical for the continued success of the company. 

These are:
  • Operate a high-velocity decision making environment
  • Recognize it is preferable to decide when only partial (70%) truth is known
  • Appreciate that a boss or team member can disagree but must commit when decisions are taken 
  • Recognize true misalignment issues early and escalate them immediately
Read the whole letter here.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Friday, April 14, 2017

Two million miles flown.

I think I got 90% of them counted. Beginning in 1968 - through last week.

And which airports have I visited the most:





















































































Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Pearson Annual Results

Pearson released their annual results back in February.  Here are the highlights and also their annual report which includes details about their future business strategy.  Since the release, share prices have remained flat and at long-time lows.

From their press release:

Pearson, the world’s learning company, is announcing its preliminary full year results for 2016, following its 18 January trading statement. Key headlines include:
  • 2016 operating profit and eps slightly better than January 2017 guidance. Strong 2016 cash conversion
    • Sales of £4,552m declined 8% in underlying terms. Good growth in Pearson VUE, US Virtual Schools Online Program Management and Wall Street English in China was more than offset by expected declines in US and UK student assessment and US school courseware, and a much worse than expected decline in North American higher education courseware, as detailed in our 18 January trading statement.
    • Deferred revenue was broadly level in underlying terms and is now 18% of our revenues (2015: 16.5%).
    • Adjusted operating profit of £635m was down 21% in underlying terms due to weaker revenues, the partial reinstatement of incentives and other operational factors, partially offset by cost savings from the restructuring plan announced in January 2016, a larger contribution from Penguin Random House, helped in part by modest one-off benefits from the integration programme, and a return to profit in our Growth segment.
    • Adjusted earnings per share fell 16% to 58.8p reflecting weaker operating results, higher interest and a higher tax rate of 16.5%, offset by the strength of the US Dollar and other currencies against Sterling.
    • Operating cash flow increased 52% benefitting from tight working capital control, lower cash incentive payments and the weakness of Sterling. Our cash conversion increased to 104% (2015: 60%).
    • Net debt increased to £1,092m (2015: £654m) reflecting the strengthening of the US Dollar relative to Sterling and restructuring costs.
    • Digital & services revenues now make up 68% of our total revenues (2015: 65%). We have made good progress in simplifying our technology platforms and seen strong growth in key digital products Revel, iLit, Q-Interactive, Connections Education and global wins in Online Program Management.
  • 2016 statutory results and goodwill impairment: Statutory loss for the year of £2,335m included an impairment of goodwill of £2,548m. This impairment charge is consistent with the challenging market conditions which we disclosed in January, and which resulted in an outlook for profit which is approximately £180m lower than previously anticipated.
  • 2016 restructuring program: Our 2016 restructuring program was delivered in full, reducing our cost base exiting 2016 by £425m at a cost of £338m. Adjusting for the impact of currency our plan delivered slightly higher benefits at a slightly lower cost than planned.
  • 2017 guidance, strategic actions to accelerate digital, simplify the portfolio and preserve financial flexibility
    • 2017 outlook in line with 18 January trading statement: Our guidance range is for operating profit in 2017 of £570m to £630m, adjusted earnings per share of 48.5p to 55.5p and cash conversion in excess of 90%. This is based on our existing portfolio, a 2017 net interest charge of £74m, a tax rate of approximately 20%, and exchange rates on 31 December 2016.
    • Trading in early 2017: Our early trading is in line with expectations. The phasing in our North American higher education courseware business in 2017 will show a benefit from returns normalising in the first half, whilst the underlying market pressures we have described will impact gross sales primarily in the second half.
    • Higher education courseware strategic actions: On 18 January we announced a series of actions, accelerating our work to simplify our product technology platform and enhancing our courseware service capabilities with £50m of additional investment, reducing eBook rental prices and launching our own print rental program piloting with an initial group of 50 titles made available through Pearson’s approved rental partners. We have reduced prices for eBook rental across 2,000 titles, have made good progress on our print rental program and are today announcing details of the first wave of new digital products with greater personalisation, enhanced engagement and cognitive tutoring.
    • Simplifying Pearson
      • Penguin Random House: With the integration of Penguin Random House complete, and with greater industry-wide stability on digital terms, we have issued an exit notice regarding our 47% stake in Penguin Random House to our JV partner Bertelsmann, in the contractual window, with a view to selling our stake or recapitalising the business and extracting a dividend. We will use proceeds from this action to maintain a strong balance sheet; invest in our business; and return excess capital to shareholders whilst retaining a solid investment grade credit rating. Our guidance assumes ownership of our stake in PRH for all of 2017.
      • Direct Delivery: We will continue to reduce our exposure to large scale direct delivery services and focus on more scalable online, virtual, and blended services, across our portfolio. We are today announcing that Pearson has initiated processes to explore a potential partnership for our English language learning business Wall Street English (WSE) and the possible sale of our English test preparation business Global Education (GEDU). These processes are at an early stage and there is no certainty that they will lead to transactions. In 2016, these businesses contributed £253m of revenues and £3m of adjusted operating income. Our guidance assumes ownership of both for all of 2017.
      • Efficiency: We continue to manage our costs tightly. We will take further actions to improve the overall efficiency of the company and continue to realign our cost base to reflect the changing needs of our markets. We will update on our plans through the year.
    • Preserving financial flexibility
      • Debt repayment: To ensure efficient use of the cash balances we held at 31 December 2016, we are today announcing that we will trigger the early repayment option on our $550m 6.25% Global Dollar bonds 2018.
      • Rebasing the dividend: As already communicated in January, we intend to recommend a final dividend of 34p for an overall 2016 dividend of 52p in line with our guidance, but as a result of the factors above we intend to rebase our dividend from 2017 onwards.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Initiative for Open Citation Data

A new group backed by PLOS, Wikimedia Foundation, eLife and others has come together to establish a framework for sharing article & journal citation data in an open manner.   In a short period of time this initiative appears to have gained significant support from publishers such as American Geophysical Union, Association for Computing Machinery, BMJ, Cambridge University Press, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, EMBO Press, Royal Society of Chemistry, SAGE Publishing, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis, and Wiley.  Each of these publishers have agreed to supply citation metadata publically and this support will also significantly increase the amount of citation reference data available in Crossref.

The organization establishing this effort is named I4OC and they list (on their site) what key benefits should result for release of the citation databases: 
  • The establishment of a global public web of linked scholarly citation data to enhance the discoverability of published content, both subscription access and open access. This will particularly benefit individuals who are not members of academic institutions with subscriptions to commercial citation databases.
  • The ability to build new services over the open citation data, for the benefit of publishers, researchers, funding agencies, academic institutions and the general public, as well as enhancing existing services.
  • The creation of a public citation graph to explore connections between knowledge fields, and to follow the evolution of ideas and scholarly disciplines.
Press release here

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Library of Congress Copyright Office wasted $11MM on new Technology

Techdirt received documents detailing gross negligence and incompetence at the office of copyright which resulted in the abandonment of a system to improve copyright recording and reporting at the library of congress.  

Techdirt does a great job of summarizing the findings but the bigger story is the White House's determination to remove the copyright office from the Library of Congress and make the head of the office a political appointment.

Here is some of the write-up from Tech Dirt:
Basically, the ship was almost entirely rudderless when Pallante was in charge. Ask for $1.9 million, spend $11.6 million -- without getting a working system -- and no one seemed to check on any of it.
According to the report, the most basic project management concepts were completely lacking at the Copyright Office. Pages 26 through 28 of the document embedded below should elicit gasps from anyone who's done any kind of project management. I won't detail all of it, but here are just a few highlights:
  • No monitoring of the project schedule
  • No project budget approval process at all
  • No periodic reviews to see if things were on schedule and within budget
  • No project management framework at all
  • No comprehensive project management plan for the executiion and monitoring of the project.
  • No official tracking of scope and schedule changes
  • No documentation of departures from planned schedule
  • No plan for what staffing was needed for the project
  • No analysis of alternatives
  • No system requirements baseline
  • No system development plan
  • No requirements for best practices, customer oversight or acceptance of the vendor
  • No technical requirements to ensure user functionality given to the vendor
  • No details on deliverables given to the vendor (seriously -- no requirements to hand over the code or any documentation)
  • No review criteria
  • No defined technical framework
  • No security testing

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Annual Horizon Higher Educational Trends Report

Just released from the executive summary:
What is on the five-year horizon for higher education institutions? Which trends and technology developments will drive educational change? What are the critical challenges and how can we strategize solutions? These questions regarding technology adoption and educational change steered the discussions of 78 experts to produce the NMC Horizon Report: 2017 Higher Education Edition, in partnership with the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI). This NMC Horizon Report series charts the five-year impact of innovative practices and technologies for higher education across the globe. With more than 15 years of research and publications, the NMC Horizon Project can be regarded as education’s longest-running exploration of emerging technology trends and uptake. Six key trends, six significant challenges, and six developments in educational technology profiled in this report are poised to impact teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in higher education. The three sections of this report constitute a reference and technology planning guide for educators, higher education leaders, administrators, policymakers, and technologists.
Full Report:

Past reports 

Thursday, February 09, 2017

An iPad in every classroom and for every student

At Maryville College in Missouri, campus President Mark Lombari speaks to CHE about their recent initiative providing iPads to all students:
Well, we about outfitted our entire student body with iPads, 2,800 deployed thus far to our traditional and certain selected graduate programs, loaded with free apps, about 80 learning apps of all different types, around different disciplines.
And then we've provided training for our faculty. We actually added two weeks to every faculty-member contract so that one week in May and August would be faculty training in the use of all this technology. And thus far 90 percent of our faculty have gone through the training and then are applying it in the classroom.
So what happens in that classroom is we've got our students and our faculty engaged in this vibrant learning process, where the students own it. They're involved, they're engaged, they actually are a part of creating that content.
So an example of that would be in a science class, for example, we would be going through a smart textbook. And the students and the faculty would be downloading and bringing video and other materials and loading that in so everyone can benefit from what the students and the faculty are bringing in and learning.
And the other part of this that's crucial is it's based on learning theory and learning diagnostics. So we have a learning diagnostics profile of every student, and we also provide that and implant that into the class for the faculty member. So the instruction on a one to one can be very personalized.
So if you're an auditory learner, you might be listening to the faculty member talk about this while I may be sitting next to you watching a video on the same topic and learning. So it really gets at the multiplicity of learning styles that exist, that we know exist, in every student and in every classroom.

Friday, February 03, 2017

The Netherlands welcomes Trump in his own words

And if that's not funny enough here's link to all of them (so far).

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Eugene Schwartz - A Life.

My friend Gene Schwartz passed away this week aged 90.  Several years ago he returned to Del Mar, California where he had spent many years earlier in life and, as always with Gene, he seemed to be cheerfully loving the lifestyle.   Recently, he was using his new 'start-up' Worthly Shorts to document the tales and stories about the Del Mar community he seems to have cared a lot about.

I can't say I knew him very well since I only met him for the first time less than 10 years ago but he was a good friend and always had a positive view on life (including mine).  He was always supportive of PND and frequently had something to say about my photos.  I tried to encourage him to scan and catalog his own collection but he never got to it, but Gene always seemed to have a lot going on - especially for someone in his twilight years.  Back in 2009, Gene wrote a post for PND which happily got me a lot of traffic.

About a month ago, I asked him for some advice about reaching out to military communities to promote a new website I've been working on (TheGlassFiles) and his advice was perfect.  Gene was one of the 'great generation' who served in world war 2 which is why I wanted his advice.   We also occasionally spoke about politics and the world generally and I am happy to report that Gene's last sentences to me were of hope about our prospects under this new administration.

PS regarding the election, now that the results are in, thinking out of the box may be in order. I have great faith in the foundations of our republic that our founders left us with, and the ultimate common sense of human nature given the opportunity to exercise it. Given the poor choices we had, It may not be as bad as you fear.
 I hope he is right.

All the best Gene.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Aaron Perzanowski on The End of Ownership

From Youtube intro:
Recent shifts in technology, intellectual property and contract law, and marketplace behavior threaten to undermine the system of personal property that has structured our relationships with the objects we own for centuries. Ownership entails the rights to use, modify, lend, resell, and repair. But across a range of industries and products, manufacturers and retailers have deployed strategies that erode these basic expectations of ownership. Understanding these various tactics, how they depart from the traditional property paradigm, and why some have been embraced by consumers are all crucial in developing strategies to restore ownership in the digital economy.

Aaron Perzanowski teaches courses in intellectual property, telecommunications and innovation. Previously, he taught at Wayne State University Law School, as a lecturer at the University of California Berkeley School of Information, and as a visitor at the University of Notre Dame Law School. Prior to his teaching career, he served as the Microsoft Research Fellow at the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology and practiced law at Fenwick & West in Silicon Valley.

His research addresses topics ranging from digital copyright to deceptive advertising to creative norms within the tattoo industry. With Jason Schultz, he is the author of The End of Ownership: Personal Property in the Digital Economy (MIT Press 2016), which argues for retaining consumer property rights in a marketplace that increasingly threatens them. His book with Kate Darling, Creativity Without Law: Challenging the Assumptions of Intellectual Property (NYU Press 2017), explores the ways communities of creators operate outside of formal intellectual property law.

More info on this event here:

Monday, January 23, 2017

NISO Report: Understanding MetaData

From their press release:
The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) continues its Primer Series with the publication of Understanding Metadata. This comprehensive overview of information about an item's creation, name, topic, features, and more updates NISO's 2004 advice on the subject and follows on the Research Data Management Primer published in 2015. An additional such work, Linked Data for Cultural Institutions, is forthcoming, and more guides will be published periodically.

"It's crucial for NISO to build understanding of technical issues at various levels and for various audiences," says NISO Executive Director Todd Carpenter. "Our Primers are therefore written to provide guidance for expert information managers who are already working with metadata as well as for professionals who are less familiar with information exchange issues. NISO values the opportunity to offer this guidance," Carpenter continues, "because in a digital world, information about content can often be more important than the content itself. Without good metadata, information effectively disappears."

The Primer, authored by Jenn Riley, Associate Dean, Digital Initiatives, McGill University Library, demystifies a type of information that is ubiquitous in our lives but that can be challenging to produce, store, and understand. Coverage includes topics such as metadata types, standardization, and use in the cultural heritage sector and in the broader world. The Primer is accompanied by plentiful examples of metadata at work.

Url:  http://

Friday, January 20, 2017

Picking Pineapple. Lanai, Hawaii 1959

Image dated approximately 1959 on Lanai, Hawaii.

The central part of Lanai was the inside of a volcano and is naturally shaped like the inside of a shallow bowl.  Lanai was nicknamed 'the pineapple isle' since virtually all the arable land there was devoted to growing pineapple.  Related, about 90% of the land was owned by the Dole Pineapple company.  In more recent times, this has all changed and there are now no commercial operations on the island and Dole sold off their holdings about 20 years ago.  The island is (for all intents and purposes) now owned by Larry Ellison of Oracle Computer fame.

Copyright Michael Cairns.  Lanai, Hawaii 1959

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Predictions 2017: Subscribe To Me

The end of one year and the beginning of another always represents an opportunity to reflect and think about what the future will bring.  That is, if you've nothing better to do over the two week break for Christmas and New Year’s.   Like many others, I've been doing this for most of my career and, over the past ten years of PND's history, I've been publishing annual prognostications.  As I have said before, it is less about being right about the future than being thoughtful about the future.  Trying to think about what it all means and making sense of what you see is important to planning how your business operates and confronts change.

This year I also looked back to 2016 at some of the big stories of the year and I've decided to use a similar, shorter format for my predictions for 2017.  At the bottom of this post are links to my predictions from prior years.  Read them (and perhaps laugh).

Subscriptions Are All In:

The explosion in podcasting is an indicator for publishing – specifically of the rapid growth of subscription models for content.  According to McKinsey's annual Entertainment and Media Report, consumers are spending less to buy content and more to access it without owning it.  And, as the trend gains in momentum, any doubt or concern about ownership seems to be waning.   Subscription models are offered for everything from jets and cars, to vacation homes and movie services.  Spending to buy content fell by 8% and access to view content grew by 31% in 2015.  Access to content will overtake ownership by 2018, according to McKinsey.

How subscription models will continue to evolve and expand will be a strong theme during 2017.  According to consulting company Activate, subscription revenues represent 50% of the $1.7Tillion content market and will grow by $226B (or 5%) by 2021.  Additionally, consumer pay models (subscription) for the top 100 (by revenue) non-game apps represent 71% of app downloads and 86% of revenue generated in 2016 versus 65% and 82% in 2015.  The strength and growth of content subscription models is real and will expand beyond video and entertainment to all content markets in the coming years.

Personalisation and Opt-in Marketing

More content and technology companies will work out how to tailor content for specific users and they will do this via browser and opt-in newsletter marketing.  Driving usage of content will become a mantra - not at the expense of irrelevance - for engaged users who receive highly relevant content, which will drive high-value subscription revenues.   The NYT has been using technology to "profile" users and deliver relevant content for several years now and the Washington Post (under new management) has aggressively used technology to create opt-in marketing programs oriented around user interests.

For publishers, the effort to market their content more effectively cannot be done without the use of third-party platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.  In particular, the adoption of live events (Facebook Live) will help publishers enliven their content and also reach a much wider market - than traditional book tours, for example.   Additionally, publishers will create "news teams" to maintain (constant) activity via these new avenues to readers.  Thus, avenues such as Facebook Live, Opt-In marketing/newsletter programs and similar initiatives will become vibrant channels delivering content to specific interested groups which will, in turn, drive purchasing.  Facebook Live Audio will be particularly applicable to the expanded role audio books will play in publishers planning for 2017.

While platforms are critical and an unavoidable necessity, don't underestimate the power of newsletters and personalized content delivery.  Understanding how your users interact with your content, making sense of that and then acting on it via a variety of efforts will be a focus for publishers in 2017.  Simply counting page hits “vanity stats” is not good enough.  Renewals is where it's at.

Rights Management

For many publishers, rights management and royalty processing is a complex business process.  And things will only get worse as markets become increasingly border-less.  Managing a more complex environment of publishers, authors, companies, territories, business segments, product types, formats and many other criteria will become standard practice with each deal.   All interested parties (not least authors) expect the "Amazon experience" where information is presented in real time and in an easy-to-understand manner.  Most media and publishers are years away from achieving anything like this level of transparency, but movement in this direction will be precipitated by numerous high-profile royalties audits as well as possible financial regulation requirements.

Over the coming years, more publishers will need to replace their royalties software as well as extract more value from the rights they hold.  These two trends are not mutually exclusive.

Some other more quick thoughts:
  • It’s unlikely we'll see much consolidation in publishing this year.  S&S is probably still stuck in the Viacom mess.   If only: Pearson may be sold to private equity.
  • I expect a big shake-out in the K-12 edtech market.  Some consolidation but more failures than you can count.  The market is too saturated for (me-to) edtech products and with uncertainty over the direction of federal policy this will cause many small providers to run out of time.
  • How long can NetFlix owner(s) withstand the ever-increasing values and still not sell?  More to the point, can Apple resist buying its own content business?  If the ATT/TW deal is not approved, then does the value of NetFlix go even higher?  Stay tuned.
  • Publishers will be doing much more with data - particularly in scholarly and academic - and will use tools like Tableau to rapidly experiment with and iterate new products.
  • Will Trump's AG go after Amazon for unfair trading practices because of the Washington Post’s coverage of the Trump administration?  I'd buy that subscription.
Past year predictions:

2017: Predictions 2017: Subscribe To Me
2016: Predictions 2016: Education, China, Platforms and Blockchain.
2013: Predictions 2013: The Death of the Middle Man
2012: Predictions 2012: The Search for Attention

2011: Predictions 2011: The Growth of Intimacy
2010: Predictions 2010: Cloudy With A Chance of Alarm

2009: Predictions 2009: Death and Resurrection:
2008: Predictions 2008

2007: Predictions 2007

2007-2013: My Big Book of Posts & Predictions on Slideshare