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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for June 20, 2001


EU Probing Overpriced DVDs in Europe - The European Commission of the European Union has opened an investigation of major U.S. Distributors of DVDs in Europe. The inquiry focuses on whether the distributors are using the regional copyright coding to artificially charge higher prices for DVDs in Europe. If a European consumer owns a player that only will play DVDs with the European regional code, the cheaper DVDs they might order from the U.S. will refuse to play, though more universal players are becoming available. (The price differences listed appear to be only approx. $2 U.S., which doesn't seem of serious concern when compared to the huge markup of music CDs sold in Europe!)

Bright Future for Short Films - Speaking of video, the distribution possibilities for short films are expanding greatly and the whole genre could have a rebirth. In addition to sites such as atomfilms.com, shorts are showing up many others places besides the Net - on airlines, TiVo personal video hard drives, Greyhound buses and some handheld devices. They will soon be seen along with theatrical feature films just like in the old days of movie-going, and they have begun to appear among the "extras" on DVDs. Some shorts are financed by car makers and other corporations but many are non-commercial high-creativity/low-budget productions. Many beginning filmmakers are seriously considering the shorts market.

Annual Jazz Awards - The Jazz Journalists Association has announced their annual awards for 2001, based on votes cast by their 400 international members. Saxist Joe Lovano was named Musician of the Year and his "52nd St. Themes" CD was Album of the Year, Pianist/Composer John Lewis received the Lifetime Achievement in Jazz award, The Columbia Legacy set of Louis Armstrong's original Hot 5s and 7s won Reissue of the Year, Sonny Rollins was Tenor Saxist of the Year, and Composer of the Year was Andrew Hill. The complete list as well as past lists is found at www.jazzhouse.org

FTC Complaint Against Two Audio Manufacturers - A complaint has been filed by a Dallas high end dealer - The Audio Consortium - with the Federal Trade Commission. It accuses two of the lines they stock - Cary Audio Design and Naim Audio North America - of price fixing and anti-mail order policies. The dealer claims that such practices are carried out by many high end manufacturers to keep prices artificially high and to limit availability. One of the manufacturers said this is a snob appeal business and the pricing should therefore remain high. The dealer feels the industry needs markets to be opened up for consumers and for high end gear to be made more accessible.

- John Sunier

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