OFF AGAIN, ON AGAIN: Mid-May, Napster CEO Konrad Hilbers quit because Napster rejected an offer to be bought by Bertelsmann (the same company that bailed them out when the major labels brought the song-swapping service to court). He was followed shortly by the company's co-founder Shawn Fanning. Less than three days later, Bertelsmann came up with an offer they couldn't refuse: to the tune of $8 million. In addition to resuming his role as CEO, Hilbers will also chair Napster's board of directors. Two weeks later, Napster filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with the U.S. Bankruptcy court in Delaware. So, off again.
TO DMCA, OR NOT DMCA: According to James Rogan, the Commerce Department's undersecretary for intellectual property and adviser to President Bush on copyright matters (he also runs the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office), the Bush administration is not too keen on plans to embed copy-protection technology in software and consumer electronics. In a speech in late April, Rogan said that “the DMCA carefully balances the interests of all stakeholders to ensure that content owners would enjoy the protection they need to put their works on the Internet, and to ensure that appropriate fair use is maintained for consumers, scientists and educators.” The House will soon see amendments to the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) from Senate Commerce chairman Fritz Hollings, D-S.C., whose Standards and Certification Acts require manufacturers to embed a digital watermark, and Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., who would rather have the RIAA place labels on protected CDs.
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