Archive for Sunday, October 1, 2000

Business Briefcase

October 1, 2000


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.


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

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," 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

My roots go back to 1865, when Fredrik Idestam, a Finnish mining engineer, established a wood-pulp mill in southern Finland. I later morphed into a conglomerate involved in manufacturing things from paper to chemicals to rubber galoshes to televisions, before finally evolving in the last decade into a major digital communications company. I'm the world's leading supplier of colorful portable talking and listening devices and my slogan is "Connecting People." I employ more than 60,000 people, a third of them in research and development. I raked in nearly $20 billion in sales in 1999, up 48 percent from 1998. Who am I?

For last week's answer and more Motley Fool, please see page 3E.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.