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Apple Negotiates For Unlimited iTunes Downloads 133

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Bloomberg reports that Apple is in talks with record companies including Vivendi SA (VIV)'s Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group Corp. (WMG) and EMI Group Ltd. to give iTunes music buyers easier access to their songs on multiple devices. The deal would provide iTunes customers with a permanent backup of music purchases if the originals are damaged or lost and would allow downloads to iPad, iPod and iPhone devices linked to the same iTunes account. The negotiations come as iTunes is facing competition from new Web-based services such as Spotify Ltd., Rdio Inc. and MOG Inc. that focus on letting customers listen to songs from anywhere with an online connection, instead of downloading tracks to a hard drive. 'Long-time iTunes users know that one of the more obnoxious differences between music and app downloads on the iTunes Store is the fact that apps can be re-downloaded a seemingly infinite number of times,' writes Jacqui Cheng. 'In contrast, users can only download music tracks once — if you find yourself without backups and your music disappears, you must beseech the iTunes gods to let you re-download all your music—a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, should they hear your prayers.""

New Plan Lets Top HS Students Graduate 2 Years Early 425

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that education commissioners in Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont have pledged to sign up 10 to 20 schools each for a pilot project that would allow 10th graders who pass a battery of tests to get a diploma two years early and immediately enroll in community college. The new system of high school coursework with the accompanying board examinations is modeled largely on systems in high-performing nations including Denmark, England, Finland, France and Singapore. 'We've looked at schools all over the world, and if you walk into a high school in the countries that use these board exams, you'll see kids working hard, whether they want to be a carpenter or a brain surgeon.' says Marc S. Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy. Kentucky's commissioner of education, Terry Holliday, says high school graduation requirements have long been based on having students accumulate enough course credits to graduate. 'We've been tied to seat time for 100 years. This would allow an approach based on subject mastery — a system based around move-on-when-ready,' says Holliday. However some school officials are concerned about the social and emotional implications of 16-year-olds going off to college. 'That's far too young to be thrown into an environment with college students who are about 18 to 23 years old. ... Most of them are just not mature enough to handle that,' says Mary Anderson, headmaster of Pinkerton Academy."

Canadian Phone Company Selling Porn 342

westcoaster004 writes "Telus, Canada's second-largest telecommunications carrier has started selling pornography to its cellular subscribers. The service allows subscribers with mobile browsers to purchase both photographic and video adult-oriented content from Telus, at an average of CD$4 per download. Telus decided to introduce the service after noticing that there existed a certain 'segment of the population that is interested in that content' from review of the mobile Web browsing habits of their subscribers 'on an aggregate level.' They are the first telecommunications company in Canada to offer such content. A Telus spokesman said: 'We're fairly certain that if our competitors in Canada haven't launched it, they will soon. Same in the US.'"

Music Companies Mull Ditching DRM 318

PoliTech writes to mention an International Herald Tribue article that is reporting the unthinkable: Record companies are considering ditching DRM for their mp3 albums. For the first time, flagging sales of online music tracks are beginning to make the big recording companies consider the wisdom of selling music without 'rights management' technologies attached. The article notes that this is a step the recording industry vowed 'never to take'. From the article: "Most independent record labels already sell tracks digitally compressed in MP3 format, which can be downloaded, e-mailed or copied to computers, cellphones, portable music players and compact discs without limit. Partially, the independents see providing songs in MP3 as a way of generating publicity that could lead to future sales. Should one of the big four take that route, however, it would be a capitulation to the power of the Internet, which has destroyed their monopoly over the worldwide distribution of music in the past decade and allowed file-sharing to take its place."

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