Big Day Today

So, about the time that Grokster and Brand X get handed down, I’ll be moderating a panel session at a conference being held here today. (Not that I’ve been that effective at staying on top of the news the past couple of days, for this and other reasons <G>) Ordinarily, I’d sneak peeks from my laptop, but it’s kinda hard to do that when I’m supposed to be in charge. Something to look forward to when I’m done.

Not to mention the fallout if more than one Justice announces his/her resignation!

Magnatune, Others Profiled

Continuing the evolution of the digital distribution models: Online music stores singing a new tune: No big labels allowed [pdf]

Launched in the shadow of large digital distribution empires such as Apple’s iTunes and Napster, these independents-only music stores are designed to serve musicians who find themselves buried beneath the major labels’ artists.

Even on the Internet, where inventory isn’t limited by real-world display space, unsigned artists don’t stand a chance unless they have a record deal.

But the tables are starting to turn, with the emergence of indie-only online music stores that not only give exposure to musicians on independent labels but to unsigned musicians. Businesses like and are changing the way fans download music.

Stopped Clocks Right Twice A Day…

And Hiawatha Bray gets it right on occasion, too: Local WiFi plan turning into a federal case [pdf]

If Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino is tempted to imitate the Philadelphia plan, he may have to clear it with Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican in the US House. This month, Sessions offered a thoroughly odd bill that would ban cities from running communications networks that compete against private-sector telecom companies.

Those of you who thought Republicans believed in states’ rights might be puzzled. If the leaders of Philadelphia or Boston or Sioux Falls want to dabble in WiFi, why should a Texas congressman make a federal case of it? Maybe it has to do with his previous career as an executive of SBC Corp., a large phone company that isn’t too eager to face fresh competition.

[…] What do these examples prove? Mainly, that it’s silly to try to resolve this by law, either state or federal. This is why we have 50 states; so the various regions can experiment with different solutions. Given the fact that half of US Internet households have broadband, it’s not clear there’s really a problem here. But Philadelphians are keen on making the effort, and the rest of us can learn from their experience. It may prove to be a fiasco, but I don’t pay taxes in Philly.