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iTunes under lawsuit fire: A Jerry Garcia collaborator has charged Apple with copyright violation. Bluegrass musician David Grisman, who heads up Dawg Music with his business partner Craig Miller, claims that the iTunes Store sells his songs without adequately compensating him. Grisman's suit implicates music labels Universal Music Group and Warner Music as well as Apple and the labels' other retail partners.
But as Infinite Loop blogger Jacqui Chen points out, Grisman isn't likely to get much out of Apple since "Apple deals with the labels when negotiating deals for iTunes, not the artists, and probably assumes that the artists are in good standing with their labels."
Of course, if it can get the lawsuit monkey off its back, iTunes stands to keep growing - as long as the music industry can figure out how to go with the digital flow. With sales of digital tracks up 288 million from 242 million last year, and sales of physical CDs in decline, it's a good time to be in the digital music biz. On the other hand, music industry watchers blame "a lack of creativity and 'lazy' executives" for the fact that few large labels are getting with the digital program.
More MacBook Pro chatter: Joining the chorus proclaiming that Apple will announce a new MacBook Pro at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, Apple's biggest booster, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, is proclaiming a MacBook Pro announcement a "near certainty." We're looking forward to it. And even though we'd never buy one because it presumably runs Windows, we're nevertheless intrigued by the idea of an Intel-developed 0.7-inch-thick notebook that "looks like jewelry." Thin is in apparently, but that doesn't just mean small: AppleInsider is predicting the Mac mini's utter demise.
How Leopard could better handle windows: (That's windows with a lowercase "w," of course.) Watching Apple provides a wish list for the way Leopard will handle windows - mostly involving ways to control window behavior with keyboard commands. But if you can't get excited about windows (or Windows, for that matter), how about Leopard's treatment of widgets?
Madison Avenue says hi to 'hello' (again): Apple started it 23 years ago when it released the Mac commercially, shown with the word "hello" in cursive on the screen. It seems that advertisers are on a new "hi," using some form of that greeting in campaigns for everything from makeup to financial products. Perhaps the best line in the New York Times article (free registration required) is a quote from Lee Clow, chairman and chief creative officer at the TBWA Worldwide unit of the Omnicom Group, who blithely admits that advertising is an "annoying, interruptive medium."
More good sales news: AppleInsider reports NPD figures stating that Mac sales grew 62 percent year-over-year for the month of April – and notebook sales spiked 94 percent.
And finally: In the Strange But True Department, Hollywood film studios may agree to let buyers of movies on HD DVD and Blu-ray make one backup copy of each titles. Uncle Sam wants to tax your Internet use. "Assisted" GPS could be included in the second-generation iPhone. And in case your spouse (or your mom) doesn't nag you enough about your health (or lack thereof), you can buy a mouse that will.