Supreme Court Passes on Chance to Examine Music Downloading – The first music-downloading copyright appeal to go to trial reached the high court of the U.S. after the music industry sought to stifle what they claim is rampant illegal file-sharing which costs companies and artists billions of dollars. A young Texas woman was targeted by the RIAA (Recording Industry of America) with supposedly illegal downloading of music on her home computer when she was between 14 and 16. She liked to share the music with her teenage friends – thereby becoming the face of unresolved legal issues over “innocent infringers.” About 40,000 people have been sued or threatened with legal action for taking the music off their shared peer-to-peer IP networks. The justices’ refusal to intervene is a setback for these thousands of music downloaders (and accused downloaders who may not have been) – leaving them liable for thousands of dollars in damages which the music industry is demanding.
The woman’s name is Whitney Harper and the RIAA says she used the file-sharing program Kazaa to download and share 544 digital audio files, of which 37 were copyrighted songs. They are suing both her and her family as well as “innocent” infringers for up to $200 per file, and “non-innocent” infringers for up to $150,000 per file. Most of the so-far settled cases have been concluded for a few thousand dollars. One of the Supreme Court judges did say that there is a “strong argument” that federal law protections do not apply to downloading of digital music files, and he would have personally accepted the Harper appeal for review. (Thank you, Justice Alito!) He also said that while lower courts have been unanimous in rulings for the music industry, the issue is one the high court should now address.
New iPod Dock Uses aptX for Bluetooth Wireless – British designer-brand maker of high-end audio products Conran has joined the growing number of iPod speaker dock makers by offering CSR’s aptX compatible high-quality stereo Bluetooth audio connectivity in their units. Discerning buyer of wireless speaker dock products are increasingly looking for CD-quality sound in their wireless connections as they can have in wired connections. The Conran Audio Dock, which goes on sale next month, can handle wire audio from physically-docked iPods and iPhones, and can also play wireless audio streamed remotely from Bluetooth A2DP-enabled portable media players, smartphones, laptops and iPads. It is also compatible with aptX, facilitating CD-quality full-bandwidth stereo audio over Bluetooth. The dock has two-way speakers powered by 15 watt amps, with a frequency response of 75Hz to 20kHz. It has six audio EQ settings via its remote control, and iPod or iPhone devices can be positioned in either vertical or horizontal modes. Bear in mind you can get a free app for your iPhone or iPod which will allow you to also listen to all the Internet stations and Pandora thru any iPod dock.
Microsoft Technology Dumped by HP – Hewlett-Packard has been loyal partner of Microsoft over the years, being both the largest maker of Windows PCs and automatically defaulting to Microsoft’s MediaSmart option on its earlier mobile, server and tablet products. Now it uses webOS for phones and plans to use it for printers and other devices. HP’s move leaves Microsoft without Windows Home Server’s most important supporter.