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Tech Talk

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 28, 2000

Napster among Web's top 50 sites

NEW YORK -- Amid its legal turmoil last month, Napster Inc. broke into the top 50 most-visited Web sites as measured by Media Metrix Inc. The embattled music file-swapping company's site had 5.4-million visitors in July, making it the 47th-most-visited site. Napster has been sued by the recording industry, which accused it of facilitating the exchange of copyrighted music. A San Francisco federal court granted an injunction to shut down the service, but the order was stayed on appeal. The number of visitors to Napster's Web site is not a measure of how many people share music files; Napster says 20-million people have used its service. Visitors must download a free program at Napster's Web site to trade music but need not visit the site once they've installed the software. The most-visited sites on the Web are owned by America Online Inc., which had 80-million visitors, Media Metrix said. Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. were next with 63-million and 50-million visitors, respectively.

Indianapolis video arcade law draws lawsuit

INDIANAPOLIS -- Two video game industry groups have filed a lawsuit claiming a new Indianapolis city law banning minors from playing violent and sexually explicit video games is unconstitutional. The law requires coin-operated games featuring graphic violence or strong sexual content to have warning labels and be kept at least 10 feet from nonviolent game machines. The machines also must be separated by a curtain or wall so minors cannot see them. The law bars people under age 18 from such games unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. The American Amusement Machine Association and the Amusement and Music Operators Association hope to obtain a temporary restraining order to keep the law from taking effect Friday. They say they support the city's desire to curb juvenile violence but think the ordinance violates First Amendment rights.

ZDTV renaming itself Techtv, revamping shows

OAKLAND, Calif. -- ZDTV, sold to Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures investment company last year, is shedding the last vestiges of its Ziff-Davis heritage and going mainstream. The San Francisco cable channel, founded in 1998 as part of the media empire of Ziff-Davis Inc. of Framingham, Mass., said it is renaming itself Techtv. In addition to the name change, the channel is positioning its programs for a wider audience looking to live the "digital lifestyle." To prove that it's not just for dweebs anymore, Techtv will add shows such as Cybercrime (a techie version of the Cops television show), Internet Tonight (featuring Entertainment Tonight-style programming), AudioFile (for digital music lovers) and Money Machine (how to invest in technology stocks). About 19-million households have access to Techtv through cable or satellite television. It also is broadcast over the Internet.

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