Beatles Jump On Video Game Bandwagon

Apple Corps, MTV Games and game developer Harmonix announced an upcoming video game featuring The Beatles.

The move marks the first time music by the Fab Four will be released in any format other than traditional media.

Harmonix is the developer for the ultra-popular “Rock Band” video game series published by MTV Games. However, the upcoming Beatles game will not carry the “Rock Band” moniker.

While not giving any details, the future game is described as the first time The Beatles will appear in an interactive gaming format. It was conceived with input from Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison. Giles Martin, co-producer of The Beatles LOVE project, serves as music producer.

“It gives me great pleasure to be part of the Beatles / Apple and Harmonix / Rock Band partnership,” Starr said. “The Beatles continue to evolve with the passing of time and how wonderful that The Beatles’ legacy will find its natural progression into the 21st century through the computerized world we live in. Let the games commence.”


Google, Book Publishers Reach Agreement

A major copyright battle between Google and the publishing industry was recently settled. Although it does not involve music, the announcement shows that technology companies and content owners can reach an agreement satisfying all sides involved.

The conflict started three years ago when Google introduced its Print Library Project, giving users the ability to search books online for specific words or phrases. The project was made possible when the University of Michigan’s library, as well as several others, began digitizing books.

While hailed as a great research tool by scholars, the publishing industry quickly cried infringement, setting the stage for a class-action lawsuit.

First to seek shelter from the courts was the Authors Guild, claiming Google was “engaging in massive copyright infringement.” Publishers stepped up to the plate one year later, charging the search company was responsible for “continuing, irreparable and imminent harm publishers are suffering … due to Google’s willful (copyright) infringement to further its own commercial purposes.”

But that’s all water under the digital bridge, as Google and the publishing industry found a middle ground.

For Google, the agreement means it can expand the amount of text to be scanned, and specifies libraries where the text can be accessed for free online. The agreement also calls for making the text available in the form of subscriptions at colleges and universities. What’s more, readers will be able to pay for full access to copyrighted text.

The agreement also calls for Google to cough up $125 million, $34.5 million of which will be used for a nonprofit Books Rights Registry tasked with storing copyright information and facilitating payments.

Also included in that $125 million is money for books already scanned. Google will pay $60 per complete work to the copyright holders. Google will also pick up the legal fees the Authors Guild and publishing association.

Finally, any revenue – such as that derived from sales, subscription and advertising revenue that occurs through the search program – will be divided between copyright holders and Google, with the content owners receiving 63 percent compared with Google’s 37 percent share.

But it’s not a done deal. That is, not until the U.S. District Court in Manhattan approves of the settlement. But with both sides acting extremely happy about the outcome, the agreement shouldn’t face any major opposition from the court, which is expected to rule next summer.

“This is an extraordinary accomplishment,” said University of Michigan librarian Paul Courant. “It will now be possible, even easy, for anyone to access these great collections from anywhere in the United States.”


Hendrix, Raconteurs Join ‘Guitar Hero World Tour’

Just how many artists and bands can fit on the video game that turns you and your friends into world-touring guitar heroes?
Apparently the answer lies in just how many past and present rockers Activision can sign up.

The latest performers joining the faux-band video game are The Raconteurs and Jimi Hendrix.

That’s one of the marketing beauties of the current line of musical video games. The “Guitar Hero” series, along with the “Rock Band” series, not only includes music in the original game package but continues to offer more music in the form of downloads after the games are released.

The Hendrix contributions to “Guitar Hero World Tour” are “Little Wing,” “If 6 Was 9″ and a live version of “Fire.” The Hendrix download will be available starting Nov. 13.

The Raconteurs are providing three tracks from their second album, Consolers Of The Lonely – “Salute Your Solution” and “Hold Up” as well as the CD’s title track. The tracks will be released online Nov. 20.

Both Hendrix and The Raconteurs join an ever-growing lineup that already features choice cuts from 311, The Allman Brothers Band, Beastie Boys, The Cult, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Michael Jackson and Nirvana.


Web Sheriff Rides Again

The Web Sheriff is riding the range, looking to right Internet wrongs in the form of copyright violations, links to P2P sites and unauthorized music downloads on Bryan Adams fan sites.

Web Sheriff first came to the public’s eye last year when Prince employed the Internet investigation outfit to root out infringing clips on YouTube and contacting sites thought to be distributing unauthorized materials.

In the case of Bryan Adams, Web Sheriff is contacting European fan site operators thought to be hosting questionable material and links on the same pages dedicated to the Canadian rocker, according to United Kingdom tech tabloid The Register, which also reports that some of the objectionable content includes unauthorized photographs and links to BitTorrent sites.

Because Web Sheriff is a private company and does not have any legal enforcement capabilities, the outfit tries to convince Web site operators to see the artist-perceived errors of their ways. For Bryan Adams fan-site operators, this can result in mutual agreements between the artist and webmasters regarding Web site content.

“There is nothing sinister about this at all,” Web Sheriff’s John Giacobbi told The Register. “It’s just that some of the fans [running sites] are guilty of over-exuberance about the artist … They’re doing what fans do and being enthusiastic but they sometimes take things too far by including links to pirate sites and using unofficial material.”