Tom Kabinet can keep selling 2nd hand e-books

The Dutch website “tom kabinet” is permitted to continue to offer services to resell “second hand” ebooks. The “NUV” (Nederlandse Uitgevers Verbond) had requested that the site would effectively stop.


This is a first lawsuit; it is unlikely the NUV will stop given what is potentially at steak.

“tom kabinet” appears quite bonafide. It does not have the technical means to verify that the original owner is the one offering the book and that he “destroys” his own copy after sale. It does require sellers to sign up to a statement that they own and will destroy it however. It does verify that the same owner only sells an item once. It has also offered to collaborate with the publishers to collaborate from the day of its creation to provide better technical provisions. The most important step is that they should verify the original ownership of the books that get offered.

It is interesting to understand how copyright law is interpreted in this case of physical media going electronic. It is clear “old habits” are problematic in the electronic world where copying and shipping are by definition infinitely more easy. It is also interesting to understand if DRM protected book rights would need to permit reassignment. The “Oracle arrest” did conclude software could be resold. But a recent German lawsuit was in favor of the publishers.

The news is quite fresh and is not reported in the Dutch press yet. Below an article (in Dutch) reporting on the prelude to the court’s verdict.

Kort geding NUV vs. Tom Kabinet dient vanmiddag (+ 1 reactie) – BOEKBLAD – Vaktijdschrift voor boekhandel, uitgeverij, auteurs en bibliotheek.

Tom Kabinet’s own news page (where their news is published/referred).

The official verdict (in Dutch)

Germany: VOD versus cable and satellite

VOD: The wars of the future are starting in Germany this year: will the web and the global offerings win from the local TV service providers and how will IPTV, which is on the rise hold out.

A lot of marketing figures in the article below; have a look. It will be interesting to see if Germany can remain a market that is “different” than others. It has one of the lowest payTV penetrations and payTV revenues are really small. Free TV is tremendously popular and although the HD versions are now behind a CA wall on both satellite and cable, and Sky Germany is gradually gaining ground, PayTV remains an exception. It is also interesting to see how the cable operators UPC and Vodaphone (which recently acquired Kabel Deutschland) will position towards the likes of among others Netflix (coming to Germany this year) and Amazon’s Love Film (already present).


In Germany, subscribers are warming to pay-TV, VOD services | VideoMind.

Posted in OTT

DCAS Revives?

It seems Comcast and Tivo have a deal to make Comcast services available on new Tivo devices using some form of downloadable Conditional Access. All this should be seen in the light of the recent push by cable operators to have the Cablecard mandate on their boxed lifted. The details of the technology are sketchy; it may also be a proprietary DRM style approach.



TiVo and Comcast, which disclosed the agreement in an FCC filing dated July 14, didn’t go into explicit technical detail on how the non-CableCARD approach would work, though it’s possibile that the intended approach would use a downloadable version of video security. But they did note that Comcast will make the solution available to other cable operators “on commercially reasonable terms.” 

The service is reported to include all of Comcast’s cable delivered services, but it is not explicit to which extent the UI and VOD libraries are running on the Tivo box.Time Warner and Cox are also working on an integration with Tivo. Cox will use an IP based approach similar as with it’s service for tablets.

Comcast, TiVo Working On Non-CableCARD Approach | Multichannel.

Comcast, TiVo Complete VOD Connection | Multichannel

Ziggo says cloud solution gives it web velocity | VideoNet

The virtualization of the settop box brings great rewards for operators: that is what the message of Ziggo is. Similar to cloud computing: by moving more functionality onto servers and having less in the clients it becomes much easier to upgrade and improve.

Ziggo is using a cloud based interactive TV UI in collaboreation with CI+1.3 modules (running a very basic interactive TV shell) and basic STBs to deliver interactive services to all of its customers. Without any upgrade of the STBs. That seems like pretty good value.

The interaction speed (and superduper animated graphics) are the achilles heel of the system: standard delay on a key press is more than 0.5 seonds which is quite long. But this is a specific property of the technology selected by Ziggo; other forms of virtualized STBs can do better than this. But the PayTV world is too divided to try to create a standard solution; they could possibly get their act together; maybe use the RDK initiative and channel part of the energy there in this direction (unfortunately this may create too much of an existential tension).

Ziggo says cloud solution gives it web velocity | VideoNet.

4G TV may come in the Netherlands

After the failure of Belgium DTT (Belgium is the country with the highest Cable/IPTV penetration in Europe) now the future of Dutch DTT is under discussion with the event of the upcoming DTT license renewal. DTT in Netherlands uses 5 multiplexes in a partial SFN network (not country-wide). One mux is dedicated to 3 public channels and a regional channel and is unscrambled. The other four muxes are run by KPN with 20 channels of mostly FTA commercial channels, but in a pay model for around 10 euros/month – essentially to undercut analog cable subscriptions which are running at 15 euros/month. The subscriber base is slowly decreasing; around 600k subs now (<10% HH). It has not received any significant investment in the service in the past 7 years.

KPN has a special role: it is also the largest mobile operator and has paid premium euro for 4G UHF spectrum giving good coverage with fewer basestations. If may not like more UHF spectrum becoming available from a competition point of view, so it may try to continue to run Digitenne as long as possible, also to keep competing in the low end TV services market whereas with IPTV and fiber KPN covers the higher end.

All of this is far too defensive to be sustainable. It is time to review where the real future lies. What role can terrestrial TV play: it is where fiber, cable and IPTV don’t come: campings, non-home locations, requiring cheap simple service distribution. It would be perfect if a mixed model mobile/TV broadcast system could take over and it would also provide a perfect basic totally free broadcast platform for a new era.

The only question is if there is enough of a market there; but 4G handsets with a free or nearly free subscription model is a simple solution. It is not obvious 4/5G reception mode will make it into TVs however; a broader market trend would be needed for this. Unfortunately in the larger countries in Europe (even in Germany) DVB-T2, HDTV etc. seem to roll out on DTT, so it is likely this will not happen.

This leaves only one scenario going forward with freely (or very cheaply) accessible mobile TV services: 4G..5G broadcast mode. And who knows TVs will pick up receiving these in due course. In the mean time low income household members may want to cast their mobile reception to the big screen in some way to avoid paying for TV service reception.

Decision on future of Dutch DTT in 2015.

Posted in DTT