May 31, 2007

NPR Files Appeal of New Webcasting Rates [8:27 pm]

NPR, others challenge online royalties - Yahoo! Newspdf

NPR filed a notice with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington Wednesday signaling that it would challenge the ruling by a panel of copyright judges that would sharply raise the amount of royalties that NPR stations and others have to pay record companies for streaming music over the Internet.

NPR also said it was filing a request with the same court on Thursday along with other Webcasters for an emergency stay blocking the adoption of the new rates, which are set to go into effect July 15.

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“Perfect” Copies [9:11 am]

A reminder that “perfection” is in the ear of the listener: Where’s the Other Half of Your Music File?

Last fall, Dr. Naresh Patel, a physician in Fort Wayne, Ind., moved into a home he designed with his wife, Valerie. It has a home theater, complete with projector, surround-sound speakers and a high-end amplification system. The sonic centerpiece is two Bowers & Wilkins loudspeakers that cost Dr. Patel $12,000 “with a discount.”

It was all working beautifully until Dr. Patel connected his iPod to the system. Sitting down in the theater’s sweet spot to enjoy his music, he was instead appalled.

“I couldn’t believe what I heard,” he said. “You don’t need a trained ear to hear the complete lack of so many things: imaging, the width and the depth of the sound stage. It almost sounded monaural, like listening to music in mono. The clarity, silkiness, the musicality of the music, if you will, was not there.”

Later: reversing the effect — That Warm Sound of Old in a Cold, Compressed World - pdf

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Microsoft and the Open Source ‘Tar Baby’ [7:47 am]

Let’s see whether Microsoft can really do better than Brer Rabbit (or how long it will take to get the US Government to, once again, throw them into the “briar patch” with another toothless remedy): A fight Microsoft can’t win?pdf

Whatever its motives, Microsoft may be picking a fight it can’t win. Free-software advocates have challenged the company to specify which patents were being violated so open-source developers could write around them. And a group of high-tech companies with critical patents stands ready to defend Linux and bring its own claims of infringement against Windows.

More significantly, the battle raises questions about the value of software patents. [....]

Or, is it possible that Microsoft is forcing an issue to get the issue of software patents on the agenda? (earlier post)

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Speaking of Ongoing Strategies … [7:40 am]

News Corp. isn’t letting up: 2 amateur video sites snapped uppdf

News Corp.’s Internet division plunged further into the fast-growing world of amateur video Wednesday, buying two young companies for a combined $270 million.

Fox Interactive Media spent about $250 million for Photobucket Inc., which draws more than 30 million monthly visitors who view and store billions of digital photographs, videos and slideshows.

The Beverly Hills-based News Corp. group also spent more than $20 million for little-known Flektor Inc., which offers free tools for editing and displaying online videos.

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Other Strategies [7:37 am]

Of course, this will do nothing to resolve Sony’s schizophrenia about what business it’s really in: content or electronics — but it does show which personality is currently calling the shots there: Viacom to sell music publisherpdf

As part of the deal, Sony/ATV will be entering the production music business through the Famous Extreme division.

[...] Publishing has become one of the more coveted segments of the music industry as recorded music has been hit by piracy. It has been affected by consumers’ relatively slow transition to buying digital songs to make up for the downturn in CD sales.

Publishing is less vulnerable to the vagaries of music retailing, generating revenue by licensing songs to a variety of users, including television, advertising, radio and live performance.

This month, French media giant Vivendi’s Universal Music Publishing Group unit became the world’s largest music publisher after it bought BMG Music Publishing in a $2.19-billion deal.

Related: Comedy Business Turns to the Web

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Monitoring The “Use” Of Copyrighted Content [7:26 am]

So, let’s see if I get flagged: AP steps up online copyright protectionpdf

The Associated Press will intensify its efforts to protect its copyrights on the Web and possibly uncover new sources of revenue by working with a Silicon Valley startup that’s trying to help the media gain more control over digital content.

Under an agreement to be announced Thursday, the AP will subscribe to a service developed by Attributor Corp. [Ed: Let's make it easy.] to track how its stories are distributed across thousands of Web sites. The monitoring tools eventually will be expanded so the news cooperative will be able to keep tabs on the use of its photos and videos on the Internet, too.

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Only Makes Sense In The Funny Pages [7:20 am]

Cute in the funny pages (the current Jumpstart series on Doctor Appleby’s blog), stupid in a malpractice trial: Blogger unmasked, court case upendedpdf

It was a Perry Mason moment updated for the Internet age.

As Ivy League-educated pediatrician Robert P. Lindeman sat on the stand in Suffolk Superior Court this month, defending himself in a malpractice suit involving the death of a 12-year-old patient, the opposing counsel startled him with a question.

Was Lindeman Flea?

Flea, jurors in the case didn’t know, was the screen name for a blogger who had written often and at length about a trial remarkably similar to the one that was going on in the courtroom that day.

In his blog, Flea had ridiculed the plaintiff’s case and the plaintiff’s lawyer. He had revealed the defense strategy. He had accused members of the jury of dozing.

With the jury looking on in puzzlement, Lindeman admitted that he was, in fact, Flea.

The next morning, on May 15, he agreed to pay what members of Boston’s tight-knit legal community describe as a substantial settlement — case closed.

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Here We Go, In Reverse Order of Size [7:09 am]

Trying out different distribution models: Warner to put ad-supported video archive onlinepdf

Warner Music, the world’s fourth largest music group, is putting its archive of music video online and making it available for free to fans.

Warner, home to Madonna and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, will work with digital services provider Premium TV to create online TV sites or “digital hubs” that will be organized by artist, genre or label and funded by advertising.

The move is part of the music industry’s drive to generate revenue from new sources to offset the fall in CD sales and follows the explosion in popularity of online video.

Also, the Apple-EMI DRM-free distribution model takes the next step: Apple rolls out copy protection-free iTunespdf

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