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Archive for Sunday, October 1, 2000

Business Briefcase

October 1, 2000

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Internet piracy to pillage music, publishing profits

Record companies and book publishers can expect to lose about $4.6 billion during the next five years due to Internet piracy, according to a survey of 50 entertainment companies conducted by Internet research firm Forrester Research Inc. of Cambridge, Mass.

The primary reason for losses, Forrester explains, is that consumers want to download entertainment using the Internet and that legal means to do so are not extensively available.

"Regardless of whether they consider Napster right or wrong, traditional publishers must focus on beating Napster at its own game," says Forrester analyst Eric Scheirer, referring to the popular digital file-sharing software. "They must create compelling services with the content consumers want, in formats they want, using the business models they want."

Movie studios and video game makers will not face the immediate piracy pressures faced by book publishers and record companies "as long as they make video-on-demand services available in the next few years," Scheirer predicts.

Technology

A signature is a signature, whether on paper or online

Beginning this week, digital signatures submitted to Web sites based in the United States will be considered as legally binding as signatures in ink.

But trouble is, many businesses Internet companies included do not know what a digital signature is.

More than 16 percent of small and medium-sized dot-coms and about 44 percent of traditional businesses nationwide could not describe correctly how digital signatures work, according to a telephone survey.

Ten percent of Web-based companies said a digital signature was an electronic signature pad and 6.5 percent said it was a scanned image of a signature, according to the survey by Internet research firm Ronin Corp. of Princeton, N.J. for Office.com.

Both of those answers are wrong.

More than two-thirds of Internet companies correctly identified a digital signature as a "string of uniquely assigned numbers," Office.com reported.

Dot-coms were about twice as likely as traditional businesses to say they would accept digital signatures in the future.

The Motley Fool

Name that company

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