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THE FUSE: NBCi Goes Broadband, Does Yahoo prefer RealNetworks?, and Streambox's Copyright Mess

NBCi Goes Broadband, Does Yahoo prefer RealNetworks?, and Streambox's Copyright Mess

by Tim LaTorre/EB Insider


>> With DSL Opening a New Frontier, NBCi Goes Broadband

(indieWIRE/1.3.2000) -- 2000 is shaping up to be the year of DSL. After an
important FCC ruling in November cleared the way for DSL providers to share
the phone lines owned by local carriers, more and more money is being
funneled into developing this new consumer market for high-speed Internet
access. Case in point, Telocity, a broadband Internet services company that
provides "self-installable, ultra-fast, low-cost Internet access exclusively
for the residential market", just closed a $127.5 million round of financing
that includes a significant investment of $70 million from NBC, the
interactive subsidiary of NBC. NBC's investment gives it a 20 percent stake
in Telocity in exchange for $37.5 million in cash and $33 million in the
form on-air promotions on NBC and its affiliates. Telocity, which currently
offers DSL services in Chicago and in states served by BellSouth, will use
the money to expand its nationwide efforts to 32 cities by the end of the
year. According to a press release, NBC's Snap.com portal and Telocity
will also launch a co-branded broadband service this year which will feature
"high-quality entertainment, shopping, games, communication applications,
search and community services and other utility services designed specifically
for broadband - spotlighting video, audio, and other media-rich content".


[For more information, visit: http://www.telocity.com, or contact Mary Lee Brewer, Telocity Inc., (408) 863-5977.]




>> Yahoo! and RealNetworks: Is There Still Love for Big Brother?

(indieWIRE/1.3.2000) -- After what was a horrible public relations year for
the company, Seattle-based RealNetworks Inc. has another important relationship
to resolve in the new year: its status as the "preferred" streaming media format
for Internet titan Yahoo!. The contract between the two companies was scheduled
to end with the chiming of the millennial bells on Friday, with no official
word from either side on whether the relationship would continue, be temporarily
extended, or end. According to a CNET News report, sources say that Yahoo
Broadcast has been seriously reevaluating the relationship and weighing at
least three scenarios that would result in a less glorified position for
RealNetworks: completely replacing Real's preferred status with Microsoft's
Windows Media, creating a Yahoo Broadcast branded player that would be powered
by Windows Media technology, or continuing the relationship in a limited
capacity. Although Real has maintained that the relationship with Yahoo
is good, its stock fell last week after speculation that things had turned sour.
Several radio stations that have partnerships with Yahoo Broadcast have also
reported that Yahoo sales representatives have suggested that RealAudio will
be replaced in favor of Windows Media. While Yahoo officially supports all
streaming media formats, changing its preferred format to Windows Media
would be a major victory for Microsoft, which has significantly trailed
RealNetworks in the player wars until recently.





>> Streambox Finds Itself in a Copyright Mess

(indieWIRE/1.3.2000) -- In a move that could set a precedent for the future of
Internet copyright enforcement, Redmond-based streaming media portal and search
engine Streambox Inc. found itself under the gun this week as RealNetworks obtained a temporary restraining order to get the company to stop developing, producing, and selling several of it software products. At issue are the
Streambox Ripper, which allows users to convert RealAudio encoded media files
to other formats including Microsoft's Windows Media, and the Streambox VCR, which enables users to intercept, record and play programming from Real's secure servers. The suit claims that the products have caused irreparable harm to
RealNetworks business by violating the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and
other copyright laws because they give users the ability to circumvent copyright
protections built into Real encoded media files. In a press release issued by
the company, Streambox CEO Robert Hildeman contended that his company provides, "innovative technologies [that] benefit both consumers and content providers with solutions that are needed within the streaming industry. If RealNetworks wins this law suit, it will be a sad day for consumers and content providers". In view of the serious impact of the restraining order on Streambox's business, the court ordered RealNetworks to post a $1-million bond to cover losses in case it finds that the suit was unfounded. A hearing will be held on January 7.


[For more information, visit: http://www.streambox.com, or contact Bob Hildeman, Streambox, (425) 702-9348.]





THE FUSE is a weekly news column from EB Insider, a new publication focused
exclusively on the developing Web-based film and video industry. To read
this week's feature "As Net Fever Takes Hollywood, Web-based Development
Sites Make Their Mark
," visit: http://www.ebinsider.com


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