Napster Offers Labels $1 Billion To Settle

Napster today offered the recording industry $1
billion to drop legal action aimed at shutting down the song-swapping service and put forth a two-tiered pricing plan for users. Napster said it would pay $150 million per year for five years
to the major recording companies for non-exclusive licensing, and $50 million annually for independent labels. And that money - not chump change by a long shot - has to come from somewhere.

Starting this summer, users will pay a monthly fee ranging from
$2.95 to $4.95 for a limited number of songs, or $5.95 to $9.95
for unlimited downloads, the company said on its Web site tonight.

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Harman Kardon DMC 100 Brings Entertainment Options Together

Home entertainment systems maker Harman Kardon and ZapMedia Inc., a convergence technology company, are showing off a new interactive device that enables consumers to watch video, listen to music access the Internet using one box. The Harman Kardon DMC 100 Digital Media Center is one of a new class of home entertainment convergence devices visible at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Convergence is a popular buzzword that describes creating a new product that combines the functions of two or more previously separate devices.

The DMC 100 has a built-in DVD player that shows prerecorded video from
DVD and CD, plus it has a 30-gigabyte hard drive that can store up 10,000
songs or 30 hours of video in MP3 or Windows Mediaformat. The DMC 100
connects to home entertainment systems and television sets.

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We Knew About The Hacker All Along - Microsoft

A hacker had access to its computer system for 12 days, according to a statement by Microsoft Corp. on Sunday, refuting earlier reports that the intruder had gained access to the company over a period of five weeks. The software giant also reportedly said it had monitored the illegal activity the entire time, though it did not inform federal law officers until Oct. 26. An Associated Press report said the company continued to insist that while no major corporate secrets were stolen, at least one security expert believes the 12-day period was plenty of time for a hacker to do damage that may not have yet been detected.

AP cited Microsoft spokesman Rick Miller as saying Sunday that beginning Oct. 14 a hacker gained access to high-level secrets and that at some point over the next 12 days viewed blueprints, or source code, for software still in development. Miller explained that the company was alerted to the break-in by the creation of new accounts allowing access to various parts of Microsoft's computer network. AP quotes him as saying, "We start seeing these new accounts being created, but that could be an anomaly of the system. After a day or two, we realized it was someone hacking into the system." He added that the activity did not corrupt or modify any source codes.

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Lawsuit-Fighting Scour Lays Off 52 Staffers

Multimedia file search company Scour Inc., which is currently fighting a lawsuit launched by movie studios and record companies, says its legal troubles have forced it to lay off most of its workforce. In a brief press release issued late on Friday, the company said it has trimmed its staff by 52 workers because the high-profile legal case has frightened away potential investors.

The Beverly Hills, Calif., company, which counts Hollywood agent and former Disney executive Michael Ovitz as its largest shareholder, was targeted by the movie business and the record industry for its role in connecting Internet users who swap digital music and videos through its Napster-like Scour Exchange service.

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AOL-TW Suit 'A Stretch,' Admits MP3Board Lawyer

An attorney for MP3Board, an online search engine that helps Web users find MP3 music files for free download, acknowledged today that the company's lawsuit against America Online and Time Warner, is perhaps a bit of a legal stretch. filed a so-called third-party complaint against AOL and Time Warner in New York's Southern District US Court late Monday as part of an ongoing dispute between MP3Board, the Recording Industry Association of America and 14 major music labels. The suit provoked a counter-complaint from the company against the music industry.

This newest MP3Board complaint states that if MP3Board is to be found guilty of copyright infringement by the music industry for directing people to MP3 files by way of automated hyperlinks, then so too must AOL and Time Warner be found guilty. The prospective merger mates, MP3Board insists, are responsible for creating one of MP3Board's primary link destinations - the peer-to-peer file-swapping service Gnutella.

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Network Solutions/CNET To Cross-Promote

Internet address registrar Network Solutions Inc.
[NASDAQ: NSOL] and computer news and shopping Website CNET Inc.
[NASDAQ: CNET], announced today an agreement to cross promote
each other's online services to consumers.

Under the terms of the agreement, Network Solutions will promote
CNET's services on its "dot com registry" of Internet domain names,
while CNET will serve as another "portal" through which customers
can register domain names with Network Solutions.

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Y2K Rattles Nuclear Activists, State Department

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has not taken
enough steps to make sure that the nation's 103 operating nuclear
power plants are ready to handle the Year 2000 date change, and
as a result should be shut down over the New Year's weekend, said
the Y2K World Atomic Safety Holiday, a coalition of 50 public
interest groups.

Meanwhile, State Department officials at a Monday briefing said that
it will shut down both immigrant and non-immigrant visa processing
at many of its embassies during the New Year's weekend, but only so
that more hands can pitch in on deck in case of any Year 2000-
related problems.

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Red Hat Announces Asia Assault Plans

Linux distributor Red Hat plans to open an Asia Pacific headquarters and make major inroads into the region's consumer market in the New Year.

Mark White, the new general manager for Linux distributor Red Hat Asia Pacific said that the firm has yet to decide upon a location for its regional headquarters, which will oversee operations in Greater China, Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Korea and India.

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A Y2K Patent Fortune Pending?

     By Rajiv Chandrasekaran, The Washington Post

Bruce Dickens says the idea popped into his head one February morning in 1995 while driving to work in his pickup truck, a few days after his boss asked him to ferret out Y2K "bugs" from a 20,000-line computer program.

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