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ISPs home free

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The Supreme Court of Canada gave the recording industry another bonk on the head last week when they ruled 9-0 against a lawsuit against Internet Services Providers that would require them to pay royalties on music downloaded through their services.

The court said it was impractical and unfair to expect ISPs to monitor their clients and apply fees on downloads of copyrighted materials. They also noted that such a law would be inconsistent with the rest of the world.

The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers decided to go after the ISPs believing that it would be more efficient to go after a handful of companies for royalties than millions of individual users.

The ruling means that SOCAN will have to continue to sue individuals for copyright infringements, which will be difficult after a Federal Court judge ruled earlier this year that it wasn’t illegal to upload or download copyrighted materials from the Web. That’s on top of an even earlier ruling that it wasn’t illegal to download copyrighted materials, just illegal to make those materials available.

SOCAN has been looking for some form of Internet-based protection of copyrighted materials since 1995.

Sony brings back Walkman

Twenty-five years ago this week Sony released the very first Walkman, creating a whole new market for portable entertainment with a line of personal tape players so small you could fit one in a large back pocket. I remember that the batteries would last a whole two hours.

On the anniversary of the Walkman, Sony is hoping to create another revolution with the announced release of its new Network Walkman HD1 this fall, which comes equipped with a 20 gig hard drive. It’s expected to be slightly cheaper with longer battery life than iPod, and will be compatible with Sony’s popular online music store.

Right now the Apple iPod has about 50 per cent of the market for portable players, and is preparing to release a model with a 60 gig hard drive.

Apple lets Tiger out of the cage

Apple CEO Steve Jobbs let the cat out of the bag last week regarding the widely anticipated release of Apple OSX Tiger, the next update to the company’s proprietary operating system. Expected to hit stores before summer of 2005, Tiger is already being hailed as the next benchmark for operating systems.

Of course Microsoft is hoping that the new Longhorn update to XP will be the new benchmark, and both systems do offer an eerily similar range of applications and capabilities to users so it should be an interesting year for PR.

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