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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for Sept. 17, 2003

Motorola Advances in Set Top Boxes - Motorola, known primarily for its wireless handsets, has licensed technology from a French company for use in its set top boxes. The technology works with the DVi platform to handle digital cable, offer more channels, ability to handle pay-per view, and better user interface. The company seeks to offer the consumer broadband market ways to connect all home electronics into a single network.

Disposable DVDs Now Out - Buena Vista Home Entertainment has introduced its $7 “Ez-D” disposable DVDs in four test markets. Each disc features a major motion picture with all the extras, but once opened will begin to darken and become completely unplayable in 48 hours. The Disney company believes that low-cost disposable movies are a way around piracy. They expect to release 12 to 16 Ez-D DVDs every month and to sell them in drug stores, convenience and toy stores.

FCC Deregulated Station Ownership Temporarily Stopped - The U.S. Court of Appeals has temporarily halted any transfers of broadcasting stations - just one day before the more liberalized regulations were to start. The Senate earlier voted on legislation to restore the cap on the national TV audience to 35% instead of the 45% approved by the FCC. Going against many members of his own party, President Bush said he would veto any attempt to restore previous limits on ownership.

RIAA Spokesman Reveals Confusing Facts - At a panel earlier this year in Washington DC, BMG’s VP of Legal and Business Affairs Jim Cooperman stated “There is no fraud” (in making artist royalty statements) - “People just make mistakes.” RIAA statistics claim that their member labels distribute 90% of the music in the free world. Yet Cooperman revealed that only 20% of the releases last year were from the major labels. He also said that only 1% of all releases sold over the 500,000 copies mark. The RIAA’s allegation is that “only 5% of all releases turn a profit.” So for both statements to be true it would have to mean that the remaining 4% of albums turned a profit without selling high volume (which the RIAA claims is impossible to do) or it would have to mean the opposite - that 75% of albums that sell over 500,000 copies don’t often make a profit either.

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