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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for September 25, 2002

Latest on the "Copyright Crisis" - A federal judge blocked the sale of Napster to BMG so the original file-swapping site is supposedly dead. But wait - one of the Net's leading adult material purveyors has offered to purchase Napster's trademark and domain name. The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) continues its war on music piracy with a suite against a site called MP3Board.com, claiming they link to both authorized and unauthorized MP3 files. The AudioGalaxy site, sued earlier by the RIAA, is for all intent now out of business. And according to networking firm Sandvine, the file-sharing currently going on with the Napster replacements Kazaa and Gnutella may account for between 40% and 60% of the bandwidth useage of the Internet as a whole! No wonder even with DSL or cable connections seem so slow lately.

New Air-To-Web Broadcast Technology - Decisionmark, a company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has patented Air-To-Web Broadcast Replication technology which permits terrestrial radio stations to simulcast their FM signal on the Internet - but only within the geographic boundaries of their on-air signal. Thus the station's listenership on the Web would be similar to those hearing it via an antenna and there would be no infringing on copyright laws by streaming to an international audience, which the RIAA feels requires payment of additional copyright fees. A test program has begun with WRAL-FM in Raleigh, North Carolina. The software ensures that off-air and web broadcast coverage is always geographically identical. Therefore the performance fee of .07 centers per song required by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act - the first payment of which is due next month - would not be required. The terrestrial stations who had been netcasting and discontinued due to the copyright crisis reduced their numbers by 31%. If the new technology is successful and the RIAA is suitably pacified, most of these stations could return to the Net in a win win situation for all concerned. However, this development will have no impact on the many web-only music casters - some of which have begun to charge a subscription fee to cover the unexpected expenses. And those listeners who moved away from a favorite hometown radio station will no longer be able to enjoy that station's news and music from a distance.

Unexpected Statistic - According to the October issue of Sound & Vision, standard CDs still constitute over 94% of the market, cassettes about 5%, and vinyl LPs easily outselling both new hi-res format discs during the first half of this year - 661,000 sold versus only 92,000!

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