The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, named after the late entertainer-turned-congressman, extends exclusive rights to thousands of books, movies, and songs, including the beloved Gone With the Wind and early images of Mickey Mouse. A contrary ruling would have cost the entertainment giants hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties by releasing the works into the public domain.
Fiddle-dee-dee! And we were so ready to give our Elvis the Jester mouse ears and little red shorts, too.
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- Microsoft Shows Its Parts
- Quote of Note
- Intel's Chip Shot
- Discussion Board of the Day: Intel
- Big Books Mean Big Bucks
- Shameless Plug: 60-Second Savings
- Quick Takes: Continental Airlines, Bank of America, Fannie Mae, more
- And Finally...
Through an initiative called the Government Security Program (GSP), the company will give governments and governmental agencies controlled access to Windows' underlying code. For a company that has always zealously guarded its intellectual property, this is significant. Microsoft has opened up its code in the past, to some extent, but this program goes even farther.
The software giant will allow governments to review and judge Windows' security for themselves. Access will be free, and participants will actually make changes to the code, if necessary. Most of the changes are expected to be security-related and will vary from agency to agency. In addition, Microsoft will reveal technical documents and provide other support for the program.
Why is Microsoft doing this? Simple: competition. (And who said monopolies don't compete?) Some government agencies in Japan, France, and even the U.S., for example, are considering switches to cheaper, less buggy, more secure software, such as Linux. Some have already jumped ship: IBM
Microsoft wants to prove its software is trustworthy, since that's obviously a top priority for governments. It's a top priority for the company, too, as Windows routinely comes under fire for security flaws. Microsoft has focused more on improving security and the perceptions of its security over the last year.
This move is the company's most extreme yet, and will likely garner the response it wants. Already, Russia and NATO have signed GSP agreements with Microsoft. The company says it's discussing the program with more than 20 other governments, and it has a list of 60 with which it would consider signing agreements.
By opening up, Microsoft may just end up locking down the governmental software market.
"Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible." -- Frank Zappa (1940-1993), musician
The chip giant scored on its favorite play -- the end around. Three months ago, fourth-quarter targets fell just short of last year's $7.0 billion in revenue. The bottom line was pegged at $0.14 a share.
But a sidestep here, a juke move there, and Intel produced a pretty good run this time, posting $7.2 billion in revenue on a $0.16-a-share showing. A strong close to the period on the strength of the company's high-end chips and gains in Asia helped introduce much-needed good news to a roughed-up sector.
But not every chip ship will rise in the ocean. The company also revealed it will slash capital spending from last year's $4.7 billion. That's grim news for chip equipment makers such as Applied Materials
If companies commit to upgrading their equipment and consumers start stocking up on new desktops and laptops, Intel will indeed be that elusive running back -- its goal well within sight. Let's just hope it doesn't drop the ball this time.
Is the two-year microprocessor drought finally over? With Intel upbeat heading into a seasonally slow first quarter, can 2003 really be the year of the chip stock? All this and more -- in the Intel discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
"The hottest day of the summer so far was drawing to a close and a drowsy silence lay over the large, square houses of Privet Drive. ... The only person left outside was a teenage boy who was lying flat on his back in a flowerbed outside number four."
So begins a most eagerly anticipated new book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, slated for a June release. J.K. Rowling just delivered the fifth installment in her stupendously successful fantasy series after a long delay caused by... writer's block? Adjusting to massive success and wealth? Marriage and pregnancy? Does it really matter?
The first four books were published in the summers of 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000. So this book, estimated to weigh in at around 900 pages (a third longer than the last one), has clearly been cooking for a while. So far, an estimated 192 million copies of the four books have been sold worldwide, in at least 55 languages and more than 200 countries.
Between installments four and five, two successful movies were released based on installments one and two -- with more on the way. Rowling, who recently surpassed both Madonna and the Queen to become England's wealthiest woman, has long said she plans for the series to consist of seven books.
What does this mean for investors? Well, it's good news for Scholastic
It may also be good for the book industry in general, fueling an interest in reading by both children and adults. Some worry the fifth book's delay has dampened enthusiasm for the series. That may be true, but then each year brings a new crop of readers old enough to begin reading the books. And sometimes absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Sixty seconds can take you farther than you think. None of us has enough time to do everything we want, and, unfortunately, we put off too many financial decisions. Have you wanted to open up a brokerage account, sock away some money in a CD, start an IRA, or just get out of debt, but not had the time to figure out what to do? Don't be daunted. You can take on all these and many more (are you looking for a mortgage?) quicker than you think. Our 60-Second Guides are here to make it easy, so stop procrastinating.
Give Continental Airlines
It was a good day for banks, led by the fourth-quarter results of Bank of America
In local news, the patent for Josh Rayburn's combination toilet plunger/milking machine expired yesterday. It doesn't matter, however, since his attempts to simultaneously serve the plumbing and dairy markets resulted in only one sale over the past 14 years.
Today on Fool.com:
- First, shareholders were "victims." Now, they're "the rich." Bill Mann says, "Washington, make up your mind!"
- The Rule Maker charts a few investing prospects among large-cap stocks.
- Dupont dials down its Q4 earnings projection.
- Looking for an irreverent and revealing take on the fund industry? Check out FundAlarm.com.
- In Fool's School, preparing for your death -- it's a depressing but important financial reality.
Bob Bobala, Robert Brokamp, Jeff Fischer, Tom Jacobs, LouAnn Lofton, Bill Mann, Selena Maranjian, Rex Moore, Rick Munarriz, Matt Richey, Jackie Ross, Reggie Santiago, Dayana Yochim