- UK - BBC online review launched +/-
(BBC) An official review of the BBC's online services will be conducted by former Trinity Mirror chief executive Philip Graf, the British government has announced. The review will weigh up whether the BBC has stuck to its original plans - approved by the government in 1998 - and what impact it has had on the commercial sector.
- UK - BSkyB chief launches attack on licence fee +/-
(Guardian) The chief executive of BSkyB will fire a powerful missile at the vulnerable underbelly of the BBC, with a claim that most viewers oppose the licence fee and a call to raise a 'red flag' over the corporation's 'expansionary ambitions'. Tony Ball, one of Rupert Murdoch's key lieutenants in Britain, will unveil a survey showing that 51% of viewers believe the £116 annual fee does not represent good value for money. It is the first time that an opinion poll has shown such dissatisfaction with the BBC, and will fuel the debate about the corporation's method of funding in the run-up to the renewal of its charter, which sets its remit and method of funding.
- UK - Filesharers turn tables on music industry +/-
(Guardian) Grokster, the US music-swapping network that came to prominence in the wake of Napster's collapse, has turned the tables on the major music labels by reporting them to the Office of Fair Trading. The site, which allows users to swap music tracks on a huge global network, claims record companies are guilty of 'unfair business practices and restraint of trade' by refusing to discuss ways in which they could legalise its service.
- US - FCC to Allow Video on AOL Messenger +/-
(Washington Post) The Federal Communications Commission has agreed to allow America Online to transmit video entertainment over its popular Instant Messenger system, ending a restriction imposed when it approved the merger of the online company with media giant Time Warner Communications in early 2001.
- EU - Economists criticise Software Patentability +/-
(GrepLaw) Some of the leading economists studying innovation have written an Open Letter to the European Parliament saying the proposed EU Directive on software patents 'will have serious detrimental effects on European innovation, growth, and competitiveness.' see proposal for a Directive on the Patentability of Computer-Implemented Inventions COM(2002) 92. Legislative history. see also Rapporteur's Explanatory Statement, Critique and The patentability of computer programs Study commissioned by the European Parliament. Reinier B. Bakels & P. Bernt Hugenholtz.
- US - Lone file-swapper takes on recording industry +/-
(CNET News.com) An anonymous California computer user went to court to challenge the recording industry's file-trading subpoenas, charging that they are unconstitutional and violate her right to privacy. The legal motion, filed in Washington, D.C., federal court by a 'Jane Doe' Internet service subscriber, is the first from an individual whose personal information has been subpoenaed by the Recording Industry Association of America in recent months.
- The quiet war over open-source +/-
(Washington Post) Open-source software has been embraced by some companies but it is the bane of others, including Microsoft. The software maker is lobbying in state, national and international capitals against laws that would promote the consideration or use of open-source software. So Microsoft sprang into high gear after an official of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which promotes intellectual-property rights and standards, welcomed the idea of a meeting devoted to open source. The proposal for the meeting had come in a letter from nearly 60 technologists, economists and academics. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office said that open-source software runs counter to the mission of WIPO to promote intellectual-property rights, that the WIPO official who embraced the meeting had done so without proper consultation with the member states, and that WIPO's budget already is strained and cannot accommodate another meeting next year. WIPO has now said it no longer has plans for an open-source gathering.
- US - Media groups appeal P2P ruling +/-
(CNET News.com) Record labels and movie studios have appealed a federal court ruling that held for the first time that some file-swapping software was legal. That ruling came as a sharp blow to copyright holders' strategy of suing peer-to-peer network operators and software developers in order to curb the explosive growth of file trading. Beginning with a ruling against Napster, all court rulings had been in favor of the record companies and movie studios.