The Internet Law Blog


New Links. I spent a little time updating the links. Check them out when you get a chance.


Spam Soup: Proposed anti-spam legislation gets watered down. According to the Washington Post, Lobbyists for the marketing, retailing and Internet service industries have been working closely with two powerful House committee chairmen to craft federal legislation to curb junk e-mail, creating a bill that state law enforcers and several consumer groups say would do more to protect mass e-mail advertising than to combat spam. Of course, what else would happen if the Direct Marketing Association, America Online, Microsoft and the National Retail Federation (among others) weighed in on an anti-spam bill? This will NOT turn out to be a compromise bill like the legislators suggest.

Who feels the pain when you download music? After making a lot of assumptions, it appears that for every $16.98 album that you don't buy because you downloaded the songs, the promoters, producers and the label lose about $16.64 and the artist loses about $.34. A case study in the NY Daily News breaks down the cash flow of a hypothetical hit album. It identifies all the people that get paid along the food chain, including some odd recoupable record company expenses, like a 25 percent "packaging deduction" and a 15 percent "free goods charge," off the top, most of which the label keeps. The bottom line is that the old model for music distribution no longer works, even at the rates charged by Apple. At iTunes' prices, the 14 songs on a typical CD would cost $13.86, just about the retail price of a CD. However, downloading a song does not incur any of the costs associated with the physical distribution of music, a significant share of the final retail price. As I've mentioned in this blog before, we need a new model for buying music online.


Hacking iTunes. It appears that Apple's new iTunes software contains features that allow Mac users to stream music to each other over a network. Hackers can listen to any song on another network-connected Macintosh's hard drive and they ave converted that ability into listening over the net. This is all very frustrating to Apple, of course, who wanted to stay away from the issues associated with swapping free files. Streaming songs typically requires a specific kind of license from the copyright holders separate from the license required to download and play the same song. The war over streaming licenses has been intense and, IMO, is not over.


An intriguing listing of awards and settlements in IP infringement cases. Gregory Aharonian, Internet Patent News Service, provides a table listing the monetary awards that companies have received because they were either victorious in an IP infringement lawsuit, or they negotiated deal in the absence/presence of a infringement lawsuit, or related technology litigation such as antitrust. He collects the reports from the media and the results are impressive . . . and very interesting. He's looking for more if you know of any.

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