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Music

Study Suggests Music Industry Embrace Piracy 293

unassimilatible writes to tell us that according to the Financial Times, the music industry should embrace illegal file-sharing websites. A recent study of the recent Radiohead album release found that huge numbers of illegal downloads actually helped the band's popularity and, by extension, concert ticket sales. "Radiohead's release of In Rainbows on a pay-what-you-want basis last October generated enormous traffic to the band's own website and intense speculation about how much fans had paid. He urged record companies to study the outcome and accept that file-sharing sites were here to stay. 'It's time to stop swimming against the tide of what people want,' he said." Update 19:46 GMT by SM: Several readers (including the original author) have written in to mention that it isn't stressed enough that this study was engaged by the music industry itself, making the findings that much more interesting. Take that as you will.
Patents

Software Patent Sanity on the Way? 157

Ars Technica is reporting that the traditionally silent US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) may be starting to turn things around. It seems that in recent action the USPTO has started to make it much easier to invalidate software patents with some saying that the abolition of such patents may be in the distant future. "Duffy cites four recent cases that illustrate the Patent Office's growing hostility to the patenting of software and other abstract concepts. While the USPTO hasn't formally called for the abolition of software patents, the positions it took in these cases do suggest a growing skepticism. In the first two cases, decided last fall, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (which has jurisdiction over patent appeals) upheld patent rejections by the USPTO. They were not software patent cases, as such. In In Re Nuijten, the court considered a patent related to an algorithm for adding a watermark to a digital media file. The Federal Circuit did not invalidate the claims relating to the watermarking algorithm itself; everyone seemed to agree that the algorithm was patentable. Rather, the decision focused on whether a digital signal could be the subject of a patent claim. The court concluded that it could not. A victory for common sense, perhaps, but hardly a rejection of software patents."

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