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Supremes Quietly Change Piracy Debate

Bloomberg, in its coverage of the news yesterday, gave a rundown of the RIAA's legal trail so far. "The Recording Industry Association of America is trying to stop Internet users from swapping copyrighted music for free on peer-to-peer networks such as Kazaa and Grokster instead of paying for it through online music stores such as Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes. The industry has filed more than 5,400 lawsuits against online users swapping copyrighted music for free since September 2003."

Recall that just last week entertainment industry trade groups filed a plea to the Supreme Court to overturn a separate lower court ruling and decide if "peer-to-peer" networks are liable for illegal swaps made by customers. They said lawsuits can't compensate for the "multibillion-harm" caused by infringement by P2P sites Grokster and StreamCast. The Supreme Court has yet to decide on the request.

_____Filter Archive_____
Opening the Living Room Windows (washingtonpost.com, Oct 12, 2004)
Downloading Justice (washingtonpost.com, Oct 11, 2004)
Google Books It to the Finish Line (washingtonpost.com, Oct 8, 2004)
Star-Power Surge for Satellite Radio (washingtonpost.com, Oct 7, 2004)
School House Shock (washingtonpost.com, Oct 6, 2004)
More Past Issues

But buried in its story covering yesterday's action, Dow Jones Newswires said: "The Supreme Court's decision to leave the lower court ruling untouched could impact other pending copyright litigation efforts by the music industry."
Dow Jones Newswires via the Wall Street Journal: Supreme Court Rejects Music Industry's Appeal (Subscription required)

Yahoo: Whoo-Hoo!

Yahoo is on a winning streak, and that's good news for the tech sector. The company reported solid third-quarter earnings yesterday with a massive spike in revenue and profit.

The company's quarterly profit "nearly quadrupled, reflecting a continued boom in online advertising," the Associated Press said. Its $253.3 million quarterly profit "included a $191 million pretax windfall that Yahoo reaped by selling part of its stake in Internet search engine rival Google Inc., which completed a closely followed initial public offering in August. If not for the Google gain and a tax benefit, Yahoo said it would have earned 9 cents per share, matching the mean estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call."
The Associated Press via The Washington Post: Yahoo's 3Q Profit Nearly Quadruples (Registration required)

The Washington Post had more on what fuels Yahoo's balance sheet. "Most computer users access Yahoo for its e-mail and online search services for free, leaving the company to seek profit from ads. The surge in quarterly ad revenue came from two sources: an increase in ads placed directly on Yahoo and a surge in search ads that accompany the results Internet users see on their computer screens as they hunt for information through Yahoo," the paper said. From the San Jose Mercury News: "Yahoo has continued to lure an ever-widening circle of advertisers, from automakers and financial-services companies to large retailers such as Circuit City. Smith Barney analyst Lanny Baker said this week that he foresees Internet companies going into the fourth quarter with 'strong revenue momentum' driven by a 'growing influx of marketing dollars to the medium.'"

Analysts are gushing like it's 1999 again, "When push comes to shove, Yahoo has been, is and will continue to be driven by the advertising that's done on its site," Derek Brown, a Pacific Crest Securities analyst, told the Los Angeles Times. "For right now, that business is a very good place to be, and Yahoo is doing a phenomenal job capitalizing on that."
The Washington Post: Yahoo Profit Surges On Sales of Ads, Google Stock (Registration required)
San Jose Mercury News: Ad-Revenue Growth Propels Profit At Yahoo (Registration required)
Los Angeles Times: Yahoo Lifts Forecast As Sales, Profit Soar (Registration required)

Good Numbers, Bad Reaction

Another tech bellwether, chipmaker Intel, didn't get as rosy of a reception to its earnings report yesterday, despite a climb in sales and profit.

"Intel Corp. posted a 15% rise in third-quarter profit, but the big chip maker continued to be dogged by lackluster demand for personal computers and by inventory issues. The company said it experienced slower sales than expected for its microprocessors, which provide calculating power for most PCs. Intel, whose pronouncements are considered a proxy for the health of the computing sector, also said its profit margins were lower than it predicted in early September, in part because it wrote down the value of some chip inventory and because it slowed production," the Wall Street Journal reported.
The Wall Street Journal: Intel's 3rd-Quarter Profit Rose 15% (Subscription required)

From The Washington Post: "Because of its dominant role as the world's largest chipmaker, Intel is a bellwether in the semiconductor industry. Its prospects sometimes help drive up share prices for other companies or help send them tumbling. Intel's share price has been declining all year, as have stock prices in most of the semiconductor industry. But many analysts say Intel's biggest headache, its excess inventory, is specific to the company. Ashok Kumar, analyst at Raymond James & Associates Inc., thinks it won't be easy to get the inventory problem under control before well into next year."

The San Francisco Chronicle and the Financial Times also reported on Intel's latest numbers.
The Washington Post: Intel Posts Higher Profit, Sales (Registration required)
San Francisco Chronicle: Intel's Quarter Profit Up 15%
Financial Times: Intel's Profit Margins Squeezed

A Political Diet for Beltway Bandits

Washington Technology has a special report in its latest issue on government IT contractors and contributions they made to political campaigns. The report, which analyzed contributions recorded by the Federal Election Commission, found that 62 percent of the DC areas Top 100 contractors (as ranked by the publication) total contributions went to the Republican party.

Washington Technology is owned by PostNewsweek Tech Media, a unit of The Washington Post Co.

From the cover story: "As of Sept. 13, the Top 100 contractors had given Republicans $13.8 million and Democrats $8.4 million for the contribution cycle that began Jan. 1, 2003. 'It's typical of corporate donations, because ideologically they prefer Republican policies, and Republicans have a majority' in Congress, said Anthony Corrado, a visiting fellow and campaign finance expert at the Brookings Institution, a liberal think tank in Washington. The chief executives of these companies are even more emphatic in their support for Republican candidates, giving 79 percent to Republicans and just 21 percent to the Democrats. This includes donations by CEO spouses."
The Money Trail: Contractors Lean To the Right
Chart of contributions
Top 10 CEO contributors
Split Ticket on IT Issues

Filter is designed for hard-core techies, news junkies and technology professionals alike. Have suggestions, cool links or interesting tales to share? Send your tips and feedback to cindyDOTwebbATwashingtonpost.com. (Yes, those spammers have been having a lot of fun with my e-mail address lately.)

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