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August 5, 2006

Norman Lear on MediaCon, Redux [6:15 am]

Does Big Media Need to Get Any Bigger? - pdf

OVER THE LAST 25 years, the number of corporations that dominate television, movies, music, radio, cable and the Internet has dwindled from more than 50 to just a handful of massive conglomerates. Do we really want Big Media to get even bigger?

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin does. He just relaunched the FCC’s formal review of media ownership rules. The agency’s “Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,” issued July 25, is vague, but its intent is clear: to let a few giant media corporations swallow up more local television channels, radio stations and newspapers in a single market.

[...] Industry and Wall Street propaganda says local media can’t compete without further consolidation. Yet media companies already enjoy higher profit margins than most industries. They say we must deregulate. But radio and TV station ownership is by definition regulated — these are the public airwaves and there are only so many channels available in a community. The only question is on whose behalf will Washington make the rules: major media companies or the public?

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LimeWire Suit [6:12 am]

Music Publishers Sue Owner of Web File-Sharing Program

The Recording Industry Association of America said in a statement that it had sued the Lime Group, the corporation’s executives, and the subsidiaries that designed and distributed LimeWire. The suit was filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

The case is the first piracy lawsuit brought against a distributor of file-sharing software since the Supreme Court ruled last year that technology companies could be sued for copyright infringement on the grounds that they encouraged customers to steal music and movies over the Internet.

[...] In the complaint, the record companies contend that LimeWire’s operators are “actively facilitating, encouraging and enticing” computer users to steal music by failing to block access to copyright works and building a business model that allows them to profit directly from piracy.

[...] Last fall, LimeWire was among several file-sharing services to receive warning letters from the Recording Industry Association of America, which represents the major record labels.

The trade group said LimeWire’s operators did not show adequate interest in developing a licensed business model or agree to shut down.

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