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This week's IP news round up

13 June 2005

Welcome to this week's Own It intellectual property round-up.  Firstly, Own It would like to highlight the usefulness of a new trend that is sweeping the internet (well, that's what it says here). Podcasting involves uploading audio files to websites which enable other people to download them. The clever bit is in utilising "always-on" broadband so that the large files can be downloaded when the downloader is asleep or not using his or her computer. The podcasting software then automatically transfers the MP3 files onto the downloader's iPod (or any other MP3 player). The technology is a fantastic way to broadcast creative output to the world at large. Whole radio shows can be made available for people to download and an entire concert or performance of a play can be podcast. Or you can just make silly noises into a microphone. The possibilities are almost endless. Read more from the BBC.

Meanwhile over in the US, the long-running patent dispute over the Blackberry mobile e-mail device entered a new phase. The legal battle, regarding Research in Motion (the makers of Blackberry) allegedly infringing patents held by NTP seemed to have been resolved in March when a $450 million settlement was agreed. However, last week the case looked set to be re-opened amid allegations that NTP was refusing to honour its commitments. Own It suspects a failure in communication. The BBC has the inside scoop.

And finally a cool, impartial voice in the often-heated "Net music downloading is the end of the universe/best thing since sliced bread" debate is due to make itself heard this week. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report on digital music will dispel some of the myths regarding the impact of the Internet on the music industry and take a more measured view of the benefits and drawbacks of file-sharing. One conclusion bound to get up the noses of the big record labels is an assessment of the wider benefits of mass Internet use (even if driven by illegal file-sharing) to the telecom and IT industries. The considerable profitability of paid-for downloads to the record industry is also weighed up. The report is due out this week but Own It has found a pre-release copy available on this Harvard blog.

Happy reading and see you all this time next week.

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