RIAA: Moving the Goalposts

The EFF points to a Godwin’s Law entry: RIAA’s Big Push to Copy Protect Digital Radio

Never mind that digital audio broadcasting is not significantly greater in quality than regular, analog radio. Never mind that its music quality is vastly less than than that of audio CDs. In spite of these inconvenient facts, the RIAA is hoping that the transition to “digital audio broadcasting” will provide enough confusion and panic that they can persuade Congress or the FCC to impose some kind of copy-protection scheme or regulation on digital radio broadcast.

Immediately below is the text of the joint resolution by RIAA and other groups, asking Congress to copy-protect radio (which has never been copy-protected before).

Slashdot: RIAA Trying to Copy-Protect Radio; see also MusicUnited’s WWW page

Jobs Calls ‘Em Like He Sees ‘Em

Apple’s Jobs warns on music pricing [pdf]

Apple boss Steve Jobs, the man behind the popular iPod digital music player, called the music industry greedy for considering a hike in the price of digital downloads, warning such a move would drive users back to piracy.

Record companies have begun rethinking how to price songs sold over Apple’s iTunes Internet shop — 99 cents each in the United States and 79 pence in Britain — before new contract negotiations come up with the California-based company.

“If they want to raise the prices, it means that they are getting greedy,” said Jobs, chief executive of Apple , at a news conference in Paris on Tuesday.

price goes up, they (consumers) will go back to piracy and everybody loses,” he said.

Slashdot: Jobs Resists Music Industry Pressure

What To Do With All That Money?

Google plans own WiFi service: Web site [pdf]

Online search leader Google is preparing to launch its own wireless Internet service, Google WiFi, according to several pages found on the company’s Web site on Tuesday.

A WiFi service, which offers a high-speed connection to the Internet, would take Google even further from its Internet search roots and move it into the fiercely competitive world of Internet access providers and telecommunications companies.

The Google Web site has several references to Google WiFi but provides few details. One page, http://wifi.google.com/faq.html, refers to a product called “Google Secure Access,” which is designed to “establish a more secure connection while using Google WiFi.”

[…] “Becoming a service provider would be quite a stretch for Google, but considering the billions of dollars Google could throw at the problem it could become a reality,” Ovum analyst Roger Entner wrote in the wake of the Business 2.0 article.

“Depending on how Google can adapt to these challenging areas and how committed it is to the space, it could become a home run or could break the bank.”

According to Slashdot, Google WiFi+VPN Confirmed

Later: Wired News’ Google Moves Into Wi-Fi Arena and the NYTimes’ Avidly Seeking Wireless Clues From Google

Sprint Joins In

Sprint Launches Streaming Music Service [pdf]

The nation’s No. 3 wireless provider said Monday that it and Seattle-based digital media provider RealNetworks Inc. are launching a streaming music service for Sprint PCS customers called Rhapsody Radio.

[…] This is the second partnership between the companies. Sprint, with corporate headquarters in Reston, Va., and operational headquarters in Overland Park, already uses RealNetworks to provide streaming video content for its Real-rTV service.

Can We Get There From Here?

File-Sharing Services Seek Pact With Record Studios

At least five online file-sharing companies have started trying to reach an accord with the music industry to convert the free trading of copyrighted music on their networks to paid services, according to several recording industry and file-sharing executives.

[…] Record industry and file-sharing executives say that the recording industry is looking for settlements that resemble its deal with iMesh, which paid $4 million in damages and promised to convert to a paid service that blocked the trading of copyrighted files without the permission of the copyright owner. None of the executives would discuss the amounts that the industry has been asking in the most recent settlement discussions.

“Ever since the Grokster decision, we have been thinking about what our next iteration should be and obviously the letter last week made that process more urgent,” said Sam Yagan, the president of MetaMachine, which distributes eDonkey. He said he had talked to both iMesh and MashBoxx but had not decided whether to sell the company, to offer his own legal service, or to continue to fight the record industry.