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Monday, June 30, 2003

Boxing Fans

Check out Jimmy Kimmel tonight because Lennox Lewis is a guest. Don King is also co-host for the week.

Dean Breaks $7m

Dean has now topped $7m in contributions for the quarter, nearly $700k today. This thing is snowballing, and as Dean looks stronger over time, more people like me will start believing he can win and get on board. Could be the start of something big here--we'll see what tomorrow's papers say about it.

Comments and Links

I now have added a comments feature to the blog--the comments on the post below this are just tests. Feel free to chime in. I am using the SquawkBox.tv comments program (note their icon at bottom of page). I have added links to my four favorite sites as well below the archives on the upper right of the page. More upgrades to the blog forthcoming...

Music Files on Your Computer?

WSJ.com has an FAQ column about the RIAA's crackdown on online music sharing:

"What are your chances of getting caught, and what will get you caught? If you're caught, what will happen to you -- fines, jail time?

"The odds are slim. On any given day, millions of people upload files; the RIAA says it will initiate hundreds of lawsuits starting in August, with more to follow. And if the RIAA's announcement scared you straight, you won't be sued; the RIAA began collecting evidence on Thursday, a day after announcing the action. 'If nothing else, it was a last opportunity for people to stop,' says Matt Oppenheim, the trade group's senior vice president for business and legal affairs. If you're swapping from overseas, you're unaffected by U.S. copyright law, and the RIAA says it has no plans to pursue online pirates in other countries under different copyright codes. 'The efforts on the international side are focused on education,' Mr. Oppenheim says.

"Also, your risk is lower if you are sharing only a couple of files, and zero if you're the kind of music swapper who only downloads, not uploads -- 'people who are just takers but not givers,' says Raymond James analyst Phil Leigh.

"Yet the record labels' methodology could theoretically snare unsophisticated file sharers. For instance, people who sign up for the P2P networks and have lots of music files on their computer but no intention of sharing them could be caught if they didn't think to change the settings when registering -- the default is to turn sharing on, and if you don't change that, other users can download even when you're not actively using the program. (Pleading ignorance probably isn't a valid legal defense; the RIAA says it will address such instances on a case-by-case basis.) Also, more technologically adept file-sharers could either mask their IP addresses -- though 'only your top 0.001% maybe could do it,' according to MediaDefender's Randy Saaf -- or switch to one of the fast-growing alternative services that are tougher for investigators to crack.

"If you're caught and sued, you'd face legal penalties of between $750 to $150,000 per song downloaded, but most analysts expect the RIAA to settle with most defendants for much less. Four university students who were sued in April by recording companies for running file-sharing services agreed to each pay between $12,000 and $17,500. You won't get jail time unless the government separately decides to prosecute, which most observers say is unlikely."

Full link is here, although it's probably only available for subscribers (hence the long excerpt I provided).

He's in the Money

Howard Dean is raising a boatload of cash online to end the second quarter. His campaign blog is triumphantly touting the achievement, as it should. The story just led Inside Politics on CNN, and it looks like the media are taking him seriously given the attention he's received in the past week.

The major debate now seems to be whether Dean can make this last or if he's based entirely on anger, as critics charge, and will flame out. I could link to articles on this, though you'll find one anywhere you go these days. I haven't fully made up my mind on him. I thought Dean could be the guy to challenge Bush, but then I saw him on Meet the Press last Sunday and doubted him anew (though the appearance seems to have inexplicably helped his fundraising).
Miami-ACC story

Here is the espn.com coverage of Miami bolting the Big East. Apparently the Big East's future as part of the BCS in college football is uncertain. Dick Vitale has an article saying basketball will be fine.

There is some sense to having the Virginia-Virginia Tech and Miami-Florida State rivalries within the same conference. What I and many others dislike about this story is the appearance that money is leading conferences to try to steal one another's members without regard for any of the other athletic programs involved. Ivan Maisel writes on ESPN that money did not, in the end, drive Donna Shalala's decision for Miami. I don't know how true that is, though I certainly dislike the precedent this sets for college sports and the position Big East football now finds itself in.

Where has the NCAA been through all of this? Miles Brand and his people need to step in and set some guidelines for conference membership switches in the future, even if only to keep prominent leagues from developing grudges against one another and generating so much bad press.
Bad News for Big East

Miami has officially accepted the invitation to join the ACC, which may be the beginning of the end for my favorite college sports conference. More info and complaining as details emerge...
Telecom Bubble, Part Two?

Articles in this week's Economist and today's Boston Globe make almost exactly the same argument about a bubble for WiFi, a technology allowing wireless Internet access in public places (the largest WiFi deal to date is between T-Mobile and Starbucks). It seems companies are investing heavily in infrastructure without any solid base of potential subscribers to the service. Could they really be so dumb as to repeat the mistakes from the last few years? That is hard to believe, so maybe these articles will prove to be not entirely accurate (or at least maybe they will scare off investors now, rather than later).

This will be the new location for my blog; earlier entries are posted here. I am a recent college graduate from Massachusetts, and I will be posting opinions and links on politics, the economy and sports mostly. You can reach me any time by emailing dimmykarras@yahoo.com.