(entry last updated: 2003-06-06 13:34:04)
This should be a productive line of inquiry: New Probe in EU Microsoft Case – Source
The European Commission (news – web sites) has started digging anew to find out if Microsoft abused its dominance in PC operating systems by incorporating its Media Player software into Windows.
The Commission had been investigating Microsoft for more than three years before it recently sent questionnaires to companies that make movies, records and television to determine if the software giant’s product can push others out of the marketplace, a source said. A Commission spokeswoman said on Friday she would not give any deadline for completion of the work, saying it would be completed “in due time.”
…The Commission has said it is also looking at whether Microsoft designed Windows to work better with its own servers than those of rivals.
The war of words around the Verizon suit continues in this AP Wire release: Verizon Reluctantly Tattles. This bit drew my eye:
Verizon’s Deutsch said the recording industry seems to be using the case “to teach Verizon and all the service providers in the future that we shouldn’t dare challenge one of these subpoenas.”
As evidence, she pointed to the recording industry’s demand for $350,000 in legal fees.
Oppenheim, the music industry representative, called such demands standard.
“Verizon decided to litigate this as though this were a case involving capital punishment going to the U.S. Supreme Court,” he said. “They decided to put the full weight of a $40 billion company behind protecting pirates, and somebody has to pay for that.”
Slashdot on the denial of the stay: Verizon to Reveal Customers in DMCA Subpoena Case; LawMeme has some good pointers to key parts of the case, including the order vacating the stay: Stay Vacated, Verizon to Name Names
Wired News covers a story that’s been developing for a while – hacking routable streaming back into the iTunes player: ITunes Music Swap Just Won’t Die. See also this Slashdot article: iTunes Internet Sharing Restored With Third-Party App
CNet asks if File-sharing networks infight in sight?
In a sign that file-sharing communities may start to turn on one another, Altnet said Thursday that rival networks may be violating its patent for digital tags, and it plans to bring to them in line.
…”Altnet is very focused on the infringement of the TrueNames patent and we believe that many of today’s active peer-to-peer applications may be in direct violation,” Altnet CEO Kevin Bermeister said in a statement.
“We’re very focused on preserving the integrity of the patent and realizing the potential it offers peer-to-peer applications and content owners.”
If Pearl Jam — now touring the United States to wildly enthusiastic crowds — is able to create a successful business model mobilizing its fans via the Internet and engaging in such “crazy” stunts as releasing live double albums of every show it performs, this could be the beginning of a stampede away from the lumbering dinosaurs that the major labels have become.
…“We are very excited about our freedom,” band manager Curtis told me. “New technology and the Internet have made it possible to try all kinds of new things, and that’s what we’re going to do.” Their Tenclub provides a “direct link between the band and its fan base, 50,000 strong,” according to club manager Tim Bierman.
The NPD Group issued a press release yesterday, declaring that Declining Music Sales: It’s Not All Digital Downloading, Says The NPD Group
According to data from NPD, consumers across all demographics are purchasing less music now than in the past two years. Total full-length CD sales were down 13 percent Q4 2002 compared to Q4 2001. Already this year Q1 unit sales trended downward by 9 percent. More than half of lost music sales can be attributed to file sharing; however, 60 percent of music consumers with access to the Web have not downloaded any music for free, and sales to those customers are off by as much as 7 percent.
“Without a doubt, file sharing has had a huge negative impact on music industry sales,” said Russ Crupnick, vice president of The NPD Group. “But our research shows that even if digital file sharing were to disappear tomorrow, the record labels and retailers would still need to overcome important underlying causes of recent market declines.”
Missed this: Senator wants limits on copy protection
The bill, authored by Sen. Sam Brownback, would regulate digital rights management systems, granting consumers the right to resell copy-protected products and requiring digital media manufacturers to prominently disclose to consumers the presence of anticopying technology in their products.
The Kansas Republican’s bill requires that a copyright holder obtain a judge’s approval before receiving the name of an alleged peer-to-peer pirate. That would amend the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which a federal court concluded enables a copyright holder to force the disclosure of a suspected pirate’s identity without a judge’s review. This law is at issue in the recording industry’s recent pursuit of the identity of a Verizon Communications subscriber.
The main thrust of the Brownback bill, however, is to slap regulations on digital rights management (DRM) technology, which has become increasingly popular tool in reducing the widespread copyright infringement on the Internet.
Slashdot discussion: Senator Pushes Bill To Limit Anti-Copying Schemes