Skirmish in the Fight Over the Next DVD Standard

Toshiba Wins Support for HD DVD from 4 Film Studios [pdf]

The studio endorsement is a setback for the Blu-ray group, but representatives said its fight to become the standard technology was far from over. Officials from the studios that backed Toshiba said they would continue working with Blu-ray.

At stake is the pole position in the $10 billion-a-year DVD player and recorder market, and a PC drive market of similar size. The winner could license its technology, meaning that billions of dollars in royalty income is also up for grabs.

KaZaA Trial Notes

In the Washington Post, we get Kazaa Launches Defense in Copyright Case [pdf] (also BBC’s Kazaa launches file-swap defence)

The owners of file-swapping giant Kazaa claimed Tuesday their software, which allows users to exchange copyrighted music and movies online, doesn’t differ from video recorders, as they launched their defense in a landmark music piracy case in Australia.

Lawyer Tony Meagher was outlining his defense strategy on the second day of a civil case in which the Australian recording industry is suing Kazaa’s owners for widespread copyright infringements by the global network’s estimated 100 million members.

From Findlaw we get an article on the industry position: Australia Music Industry Decries Kazaa [pdf]

Lawyers for Australia’s recording industry branded the popular Kazaa file-swapping network “an engine of copyright piracy to a degree of magnitude never before seen” as they launched a court battle to shut down Kazaa’s illegal activities.

Later: And this earlier article from Wired News: Trial to Unmask Kazaa Owners

Even later: Slashdot’s Kazaa Betamax Defense, Reports From The Courtroom

The Mechanics of Taking Philadelphia Wireless

Philadelphia, Verizon Strike Deal on WiFi (See earlier “Wireless-ing” Philadelphia)

The city of Philadelphia and Verizon Communications Inc. struck an agreement Tuesday that would allow the city to provide wireless Internet access as a municipal service even though Gov. Edward G. Rendell (D) signed legislation giving Verizon the power to scuttle the project.

Lawyers for the city and Verizon, the city’s local telephone company, found common ground Tuesday in discussions with the governor’s office, said spokeswomen for Verizon and Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street.

[…] Even with a deal between Philadelphia and Verizon, the legislation will leave every other Pennsylvania city and town subject to a provision that gives the local phone company right of first refusal before they can move forward with any plans to provide municipal Internet.

Later: The Slashdot story links to a seamy tale from the Wall Street Journal: Verizon-Pushed WiFi Bill Becomes Law in PA; even later — The Register’s take: Philly sells Pennsylvania to Verizon and the NYTimes’ Pennsylvania Limits Cities in Offering Net Access