Last week, a Joint hearing of the Subcommittees on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations and Asia and the Pacific (part of the House International Relations Committee) of the U.S. Congress was held on the involvement of U.S. firms (including Yahoo! and Google, as has been discussed in earlier posts) in upholding China’s oppressive regulation of the Internet in that country. The hearings are interesting not only for the particular points raised, but for the question it raises on who is responsible for putting pressure on oppressive regimes: private sector firms or the governments that represent them? (more…)

Macworld has a short news update reporting that Apple’s iTunes store now sells 3m songs per day, and is approaching the 1 billionth sale mark.

An interesting counterpoint to a story in the same publication 27 months previously, which linked to a blog post by Dave Fester, general manager of Microsoft’s Windows Digital Media Division.

My favourite excerpt from that post is:

iTunes captured some early media interest with their store on the Mac, but I think the Windows platform will be a significant challenge for them. Unless Apple decides to make radical changes to their service model, a Windows-based version of iTunes will still remain a closed system, where iPod owners cannot access content from other services. Additionally, users of iTunes are limited to music from Apple’s Music Store. As I mentioned earlier, this is a drawback for Windows users, who expect choice in music services, choice in devices, and choice in music from a wide-variety of music services to burn to a CD or put on a portable device. Lastly, if you use Apple’s music store along with iTunes, you don’t have the ability of using the over 40 different Windows Media-compatible portable music devices. When I’m paying for music, I want to know that I have choices today and in the future.

As Homer would say, “mmm, retrospection”.

Another Internet company has been accused of cozying up to the Chinese government. The other week, it was Google, which has decided to filter its Google.cn search results, according to categories set by the Chinese government. This time, it seems that Yahoo! may have cooperated with the Chinese government in its arrest of a political dissident (and this may not have been the first time). (more…)

Gosh, too much IP/Tech news is just never enough, right? There’s heaps going on right now. I’ve commented on the whole patent injunction issue (Blackberry, and eBay v MercExchange) below. But there’s so much more going on, I’ll just post a couple of pointers to more info. Over the fold, more on the many Google stories hitting the news, as well as Ed Felten on DRM. In addition, I note that the Kazaa contempt case (over Kazaa’s decision to block Australian access, rather than alter its software) was listed, as I understood, for hearing in Sydney yesterday. Does anyone know what happened? (more…)

It is far too hot and sticky this morning in Melbourne to spend vast amounts of time blogging. (hmmm, theory, how does weather affect blogging? More blogging if colder and stuck inside..?).

Four interesting stories today though, on the continuing Copyright and Politics saga in Canada, on the take-down of Wikipedia Germany, on Google Subpoenas and on the question of who owns the news in the US? More over the fold. (more…)

No, copying your CDs isn’t legal (yet). But Sony has come to the party, announcing that it will make its catalogue available through Apple’s Australian iTunes music store. Good news indeed.

And in other iPod news: (more…)

The Register has a short story based on a survey conducted by XTN data, which found that while 25% of people admit to downloading music from file-sharing services, only 7% of iPod owners admit doing so.

If true, this, again, seems to prove Steve Jobs correct: give people a reasonably-priced legal means of downloading music, and they will not violate copyright.

I’m more an IP person than a contract person, but in teaching IT law, you do often come up against that question – just how far can warranties go in excluding corporate liability?

The SMH reports that the ACCC has taken legal action in the Federal Court against LG Electronics for telling customers who bought its mobile phones that it offered only a limited and voluntary one-year warranty. (more…)

The New York Times is reporting that Elliott Spizer’s office has served subpoenas on Universal Music, Sony, EMI and Warner Music as part of an investigation into whether the “four record companies that dominate the industry have violated antitrust laws in the pricing of songs that are sold by Internet music services”. (more…)

I found this while seeing if I could find stats about the results of Harvey Danger’s experiment in allowing their latest album to be downloaded for free (apologies for those who find it monotonous, as I’ve posted about it twice already in the last couple of months, but I find it a great way to try to find hard data behind all the press spin about music and the net). (more…)

Following a previous posting on downloadable TV episodes, the New York Times is reporting that NBC is getting in on the act of selling TV Shows for viewing on iPods. (more…)

Well, it’s true. iTunes have apparently launched in Australia.

In the third quarter of the 2005 financial year (July-September), Google earned US$381 million (US$1.32 per share). (At the close of business on 21 October, Google was selling at over US$339 a share—that’s a record high.) That’s seven times more than Google’s earnings of US$52 million (19 cents a share), during the same period in 2004, although last year’s results reflected the cost of settling a patent dispute with Yahoo. (more…)

iTunes? In Australia? I just can’t get my hopes up again…I couldn’t stand the disappointment…

I have infrequently used two online shopping services, both of which are very good. One (call it Site A) bought the other (call it Site B) some time ago, but has kept them up as separate operations, at least for consumer-facing aspects.

One interesting result is that this division seems to include the mailouts – you get one from Site A, and then shortly afterwards one from Site B. Sometimes the other way around, but usually within an hour of each other. The announcements are usually similar – discounts and hot specials, product recalls, and the like. Really, as one might expect, given they are probably working off the same raw data and inventory. (more…)

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