Fwd: Communications-related Headlines for 12/15/98

Gary Handman (ghandman@library.berkeley.edu)
Tue, 15 Dec 1998 08:58:45 -0800 (PST)

>====================
>INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
>====================
>
>RECORD COMPANIES FORM A COALITION TO COMBAT MUSIC PRIVACY VIA THE WEB
>Issue: Intellectual Property
>The recording industry has plans to announce the formation of a new
>coalition to help prevent musical piracy on the Web. The introduction of MP3
>technology, which allows people to send music via the Internet, has resulted
>in a outbreak of digital piracy. Representatives from the world's largest
>record companies will work together in trying to curtail the problem. The
>industry coalition plans to develop a technological standard that allows
>them to take advantage of the Web, while protecting their products.
>[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal (B12), AUTHOR: Eben Shapiro]
><http://www.wsj.com/>
>
THE TV COLUMN: APOLOGY OF THE HOUR: FALSE REPORT AIRED ON '60 MINUTES'
Issue: Television
Admitting CBS's "60 Minutes" ran a bogus story on Colombia heroin smuggling,
Executive Producer Don Hewitt will make his first appearance on a regular
edition of the program to apologize. The story said that the Cali drug
cartel had developed new trafficking routes to London and was based on
information in a documentary prepared for British television network ITV.
Hewitt says "60 Minutes" interviewed the producer before airing the footage
and "asked the Drug Enforcement Agency to confirm it…and they did." In a
separate action, the Fox network has admitted that the footage of an alien
autopsy that it aired in 1995 was a hoax. The network informed news media
this week that it discovered an actor who admitted taking part in the hoax.
Fox intends formally to expose the hoax in a December 28 special. [Are we
surprised?]
[SOURCE: Washington Post (D1), AUTHOR: Lisa de Moraes]
<http://www.washingtonpost.com>

=================
TELECOM ACT OF 96
=================

SPEECH: ACCOMPLISHING THE OBJECTIVES OF THE 1996 ACT
Issue: Telecom Act of 1996
Remarks by Larry Irving at the Practicing Law Institute (PLI)
Telecommunications Policy and Regulation Conference: "...let's remember that
the principles of open markets and competition should always be among our
goals. These are the principles that have promoted new services, better
technologies, and the buildout of our infrastructure. These are the
principles that have built America into a great nation. Let's make sure, as
we review any action or inaction, that these principles endure."
[SOURCE: NTIA]
<http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/speeches/pli121098.htm>
TIME WARNER AND CBS IN DIGITAL TV DEAL
Issue: DTV/Cable
Time Warner, the nation's second largest cable operator, has signed an
agreement with CBS to carry the digital signals of the network's 14 owned
and operated television stations. As of now, only four CBS owned stations
are transmitting digitally. CBS hopes that this agreement will ensure
carriage during transition, and also serve as a model for agreements between
Time Warner and other CBS affiliated stations. Many cable operators claim
that they do not have enough bandwidth to carry both the analog and digital
signals of local broadcasters without crowding out cable networks. Time
Warner, however, has upgraded the capacity of most of its systems and will
have no trouble finding space for the new digital channels. The Federal
Communications Commission is hoping that broadcasters and cable operators
will independently reach digital carriage agreements, avoiding the need for
federal regulation.
[SOURCE: New York Times (C2), AUTHOR: Lawrie Mifflin]
<http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/98/12/biztech/articles/09digi.html>
See also:
TIME WARNER INC. AGREES TO CARRY CBS'S DIGITAL TV
[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal (B6), AUTHOR: Leslie Cauley]
<http://www.wsj.com/>

TV Hopes Millennium Captures Spirit of '76
TV HOPES MILLENNIUM CAPTURES SPIRIT OF '76
Issue: Television Economics
Well, there's at least one network television executive who isn't
disheartened by poor ratings. David Poltrack, executive vice president of
planning and research at CBS believes the arrival of the 21st Century will
stimulate the market in 1999 and into 2000. That ad boost will be followed
by the 2000 Olympic Games and a presidential election which also
historically stimulate ad spending. Baby Boomers will be turning 50 and
marketers will be trying to turn their homes into "electronic playgrounds."
Total television advertising spending is expected to rise 7% this year, but
only 4% in 1999. Cable will see an increase of 13% this year and ad spending
is expected to rise 12% on cable next year.
[SOURCE: Chicago Tribune (Sec3, p.1), AUTHOR: Tim Jones]
<http://chicagotribune.com/textversion/article/0,1492,SAV-9812080309,00.html>

MICROSOFT'S DIGITAL-TV GAMBITS SHORT-CIRCUIT
Issue: Television
Bank writes, "Microsoft Corp.'s expensive effort to establish a stronghold
in digital television has been thwarted by a suspicious TV industry, the
emergency of powerful competitors and the company's own missteps."
Microsoft has been pushing for interactive services and integration with the
Internet in new digital TVs. At stake is the opportunity to target
advertising and sell merchandise to tens of millions via the television.
The cable TV industry has largely accepted Microsoft's vision but has
rebuffed Microsoft's attempt to capture the market. Microsoft's offer to
help subsidize the required investment in the technology for integration was
not accepted. The one company which accepted Microsoft technology for its
set-top boxes, Tele-Communications Inc., has since backed away from that
agreement and has specified Sun's Java technology be used in the future. On
Wednesday at a cable show in Anaheim (CA) Microsoft offered a less ambitious
approach to cable operators that would allow cable companies to pick and
choose from their software for use in set-top boxes and cable backend systems.
[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal (B6), AUTHOR: David Bank]
<http://www.wsj.com/>

WHEN ARTISTS BUILD THEIR OWN BROWSERS
Issue: Arts
Some artists aim to change the way we see the world not by what they show
us, but how. A number of artists are now exploring "the raw digital
materials that lurk behind the browser window, the extensive handiwork that
goes into shaping them for human consumption, and the arbitrariness of the
conventions for Web page display," Mirapaul reports. "It's more fun --
sneakier -- to work from inside the system and create a completely
unexpected aesthetic within a familiar context," said one such artist. "I
think of the Web as a public place, and I like to think of my artwork as
public art; it's a seamless part of the Web environment." Check out these
sites: Shedder <http://www.potatoland.org/shredder/>, funksolegrind
<http://www.channel.org.uk/sHrd/> and jodi.org <http://www.jodi.org/100/>.
[SOURCE: New York Times (CyberTimes), AUTHOR: Matthew Mirapaul
<mirapaul@nytimes.com>]
<http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/98/12/cyber/artsatlarge/03artsatlarge.html>

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? THE PRICE.
Issue: Digital TV
Josh Bernoff's report for Forrester Research Inc. says high-definition
television will be a bust. The report, to be released today, says HDTV sets
will take a decade to fall from $7000 to approximately $3500 and consumers
will not pay the price. He points out that only five percent of US consumers
now spend more than $1500 on televisions. They will not pay the extra money
for HDTV receivers. Bernoff says the consumer decisions will relegate HDTV
to "a footnote in the history of television." Margita White, president of
the Association for Maximum Service Television, disagrees and says the "Wow!
factor" will drive the market. That association estimates 30 percent of all
homes will have HDTV by 2006.
[SOURCE: Washington Post (F20), AUTHOR: Robert O'Harrow Jr.]
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/1998-12/07/032l-120798-idx.html>

AIRWAVE AVARICE
Issue: Digital TV
[Commentary] In 1996 Congress essentially gave each television broadcaster
frequency space for digital broadcasting in return for some new public
interest obligations. The so-called Gore Commission assigned the job of
determining the new obligations is circulating the proposed final draft of
its report. It will be a national scandal. The report's drafters chose to
not even ask that broadcasters use their new channels to provide some free
air time to political candidates. Such a requirement would go a long way
toward eliminating the legalized bribery that's at the heart of corruption
in American politics. The Gore report, far from requiring free air time,
actually has the gall to say the FCC should eliminate rules requiring
broadcasters to charge political candidates their "lowest unit rate" for
campaign ads. Broadcasters could offset the higher prices, says the report,
by agreeing to provide "some free time" of their own choosing to
candidates-say, two minutes after 3 a.m. The report fails to stand up for
the public in numerous other ways. If broadcasters are unwilling to give
something back to society in return for using the public airwaves, then the
Clinton administration and Congress should take those airwaves back and do
what they should have done in 1996: auction them off and use the money for
the public good.
[SOURCE: Los Angeles Times (Special to Headlines Today), AUTHOR: Editorial
Staff of the Los Angeles Times]
<http://www.latimes.com/HOME/NEWS/COMMENT/t000111686.html>

Gary Handman
Director
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
510-643-8566
ghandman@library.berkeley.edu
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC

"You are looking into the mind of home video. It is innocent, it is aimless,
it is determined, it is real" --Don DeLillo, Underworld