The Consumer Electronics Association has at last quantified common knowledge: An overwhelming majority of Internet users download news stories, product information, pictures, graphics, audio files, and video clips—all for free. Furthermore, Internet users want and expect to continue getting all this content at no cost, and they are opposed to any kind of governmental regulation or interference that will prevent their doing so.
Will music fans willingly pay for what they've been getting free? With the shuttering of free music site Napster a strong probability, two giants of the music industry are moving forward with plans to roll out a subscriber-based online music distribution plan.
Many years ago, I awoke one Saturday morning to find my girlfriend, with whom I'd had a knock-down, drag-out fight the night before, out on the street in front of our house having an impromptu yard sale. The sale featured my record collection. We broke up. I still have the records.
Napster has been taking its share of hits this past week from the music industry and the RIAA as a result of the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling last Monday that will likely pave the way for shutting down the file-sharing service. In its findings, the Court states that "Napster users who upload file names to the search index for others to copy violate plaintiffs' distribution rights. Napster users who download files containing copyrighted music violate plaintiffs' reproduction rights."
Satellite radio may become one of the most successful communications formats ever launched, according to predictions from market research and analysis company The Yankee Group. A new report suggests that satellite radio will take off the way cable TV did back in the 1970s; the result may create permanent changes in the radio industry.
John Atkinson asked "What's that noise?" He wasn't referring to the piano that Robert Silverman was playing for Stereophile's recording, Concert, but rather to the sound of candy wrappers in the concert hall. The recording survived the crackling ordeal, but the lady with the wrapper did not. JA relates the entire story, and also serves up additional details about the making of the double CD set.
Consumer electronics site Etown has become the latest victim of the dot-com bust, dismissing its entire workforce of approximately 100 people in New York and San Francisco. The company had run out of money, according to chief executive Robert Heiblim. Etown, operated by Collaborative Media, Inc., has transferred its remaining assets to electronics retailer Best Buy, Inc. of Minneapolis, a major investor. The site was still active as of Sunday, February 18; whether Best Buy will simply shut it down or use it as a sales organ isn't known at present.
The European Parliament has enacted a strong new law to protect copyrights, approving the use of encryption to prevent piracy of publications, movies, and recorded music. The new measure, known as the Copyright Directive, will give copyright holders better protection in Europe than they enjoy in the US, according to Italian representative Enrico Boselli, sponsor of the law. The widespread availability of advanced digital technology requires establishing "clear rules for consumers, consumer-electronics manufacturers, Internet service providers, and others," Boselli stated.
The affair started quietly enough, with the following exchange that appeared in Stereophile's January 2001 "Letters" section, following my decision to put the Digital Audio Labs CardDeluxe high-end PC soundcard on the cover of our September 2000 issue: