Will the European Union extend copyright protection to new digital media? That question was still unresolved Friday, May 26, after extended talks between ministers of the EU's 15 member nations failed to produce a coherent result. Meeting in Brussels, the ministers have been discussing how best to protect the interests of copyright holders while allowing consumers adequate leeway to use and reproduce legally purchased music, movies, video, and computer software.
When we received notice several days ago from Panasonic that the company was finally releasing its DVD-Audio players next month, we filed the press release for a couple of days to see if it would last the week (see previous story). Apparently, the products are still a go. Panasonic says it will offer a full line of DVD-Audio/Video models under both the Panasonic and Technics brand names, with the first units arriving in stores in July. As previously announced back in August 1999, the Panasonic DVD-A7 will have a suggested retail price of $999.95, and the Technics DVD-A10 will have an SRP of $1199.95.
In an effort to smooth the way for websites that wish to legally reproduce copyrighted music, BMI announced last week that it has now become the world's largest online digital rights management company with the launch of its Digital Licensing Center (DLC) and "Klick-Thru" online copyright licensing system. The company says that the DLC is intended to help Internet companies digitally obtain a music-performance license through BMI.com, allowing them to publicly "perform" any of BMI's 4.5 million copyrighted works from its 250,000 songwriters, composers, and music publishers.
A year after introducing the Super Audio Compact Disc player to upscale audiophiles, Sony Corporation has decided it is time to make the technology available to a wider audience. On May 17, Sony announced that its third-generation SACD player will be launched in Japan in June at approximately $730 US (¥80,000). The company's current SACD players, which debuted last fall, list at $3200 and $5000.
The gold rush is on in the wake of a Federal Trade Commission decision effectively ending the music industry's policy of minimum advertised pricing (MAP) on compact discs. Attorneys in California and New York wasted no time in filing class-action lawsuits against the music industry's major conglomerates, following the FTC's announcement May 10 that it had reached a negotiated settlement with them over a longstanding noncompetitive pricing policy.