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December 28, 2005

A Good Question: Who Cares? [11:46 am]

What *is* it going to take to get the consumers to care about the choice between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray? This article suggests that it’s all just a fight over positioning deck chairs on the Titanic: Fiddling With Format While DVD’s Burn

There are growing signs, though, that the battle for supremacy in this multibillion-dollar market may yield a hollow victory. As electronics makers, technology companies and Hollywood studios haggle over the fine points of their formats, consumers are quickly finding alternatives to buying and renting packaged DVD’s, high definition or otherwise.

“While they fight, Rome is burning,” said Robert Heiblim, an independent consultant to electronics companies. “High-definition video-on-demand and digital video recorders are compelling, and people will say, ‘Why do I need it?’ ” when considering whether to buy a high-definition player.

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Leverage [11:26 am]

Linkin Park Will Stay With Warner Music

Less than eight months after issuing a stinging, public vote of no-confidence in its record company, Warner Music Group, the multiplatinum rap-rock act Linkin Park has signed a lucrative new pact with the recording giant. The six-member Los Angeles band and its management company, the Firm, last week reached a deal with Warner calling for an estimated $15 million advance for the group’s next album, executives involved in the contract negotiations said. The pact provides the company’s Warner Brothers Records unit with an option for up to five more albums from the band, one more than had been called for in their original deal.

Warner also agreed to increase the musicians’ royalty rate to an estimated 20 percent. The next Linkin Park CD, still untitled, is expected to be released as early as mid-2006.

[...] Linkin Park joins a long list of major acts who have publicly threatened or taken legal action against their label only to back down after receiving a hefty check. Acts like the Dixie Chicks, Beck, Incubus and Don Henley have traveled the same path.

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R. (c)rumb v. Amazon [9:40 am]

Artist Puts His Foot Down on Amazon [pdf]

Jules Zalon, Crumb’s lawyer, said people who searched the Amazon website for a product that it didn’t carry were shown Crumb’s famous “Keep on Truckin’ ” image — a big-footed man in full stride, leaning sharply backward — with instructions to keep on looking.

When Crumb’s representatives complained to Amazon in 2003, the company promptly removed the image, Zalon said Tuesday.

The lawsuit, filed in Seattle last week, seeks unspecified damages. It came after the two parties were unable to agree on how much Amazon should pay for using the image, which over the years has been memorialized, among other places, on the mud flaps of trucks.

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