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On the Net

By CHRIS H. SIEROTY, UPI Technology News

UNIVERSAL CUTS ONLINE MUSIC DEAL

Universal Music Group has reached a wide-ranging deal with an independent online music company to offer thousands of songs on demand for a flat fee. It's the first time the world's largest record company has licensed its entire catalog for a subscription music service that it doesn't own. Along with its deal with Universal, Dallas-based Streamwaves also has licenses from EMI Recorded Music to offer unlimited access to an online jukebox for $17 a month. Universal also has made its songs available to subscribers of Pressplay, an online music venture it owns with Sony Music.

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REPORT: HORSE RACING BET'S ONLINE

Internet betting on live horse racing, which became legal in California in January, could lead to the sport's demise, Alan Landsburg, chairman of the state Horse Racing Board, told the Los Angeles Times. Landsburg told the newspaper that if allowing online betting goes wrong it could threaten the onsite audience for racing, which "could threaten the very existence of the sport." For example, he said on June 2 the attendance at Hollywood Park was about 9,000, compared to 30,000 or 35,000 in the past. In California, all types of track bets are available online, including exacta, pick 6 and daily double, as well as the traditional win, place or show. The races also can be watched live on streaming video. Bets are placed and paid off through credit card accounts.

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ONLINE MOVIE SITE CLOSED DOWN

Dutch authorities have closed online movie site Film88.com. The controversial Web site offered viewers an online movie theater showing hit films on demand for $1, but it did so without paying or obtaining permission from the studios. The site operated out of Iran, which doesn't recognize foreign copyrights. The founders of Film88.com had tried a similar venture, Movie88.com, using computers located in Taiwan. But authorities in Taiwan shut down the service and seized its computers in February in response to complaints from the studios. The investigations into Film88.com and Movie88.com are continuing. On its Web site, Film88.com said only that it was facing a "technical proxy/caching problem" and promised to be back online as soon as possible.

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FIFA WEB SITE ENJOYS HEAVY TRAFFIC

Internet audience measurement service Nielsen/NetRatings said Web surfers found their way to the official FIFA World Cup Web site the week ending June 2, sending its traffic soaring 420 percent. The site, fifaworldcup.yahoo.com, attracted more than 527,000 unique visitors, as compared to 101,000 the week before. Visitors to the World Cup site accounted for 22 percent of total audience to Yahoo! Sports during the past week. Overall, sports sites drew more than 9.3 million Web users this past week.

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FALWELL LOSES WEB DISPUTE

The World Intellectual Property Organization has ruled a Web site that makes fun of the Rev. Jerry Falwell and uses his name without his consent will be allowed to continue operating. Falwell had filed the complaint against Gary Cohn, owner of jerryfalwell.com. The Geneva, Switzerland-based arbiters' panel denied Falwell's claim he has a common-law trademark on his name. The panel has ruled that protection should be limited to personal names that have been commercially exploited. The decision said, "The complaint has failed to show that his name, well-known as it is, has been used in a trademark sense as a label of particular goods or services."

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CALIFORNIA HACKER A MYSTERY

The director of the California's data center responsible for the recent computer security lapse said were was a "high degree of certainty" that state employee information was not compromised. But Carlos Ramos, head of the Steven P. Teale Data Center, said investigators may never be sure data was untouched by hackers. "I don't think we will be 100 percent sure that the data has not been compromised," Ramos said. The April 5 breach at the data center may have exposed personal identity information -- including Social Security numbers -- of 265,000 state employees. Ramos said an investigation showed a hacker altered some computer files and turned off a messaging log. There was no evidence the hacker had downloaded, printed or otherwise gained access to state worker files.

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INTERNET ALLIANCE COMMENDS BUSH

The Internet Security Alliance called President Bush's plan to establish a new Department of Homeland Security a step in the right direction and urged increased information sharing between government and private industry. Dave McCurdy, ISA's executive director, said, "If we are going to adequately defend the critical infrastructure, including the Internet which has become a critical component of day-to-day business, we must ensure the operators of the infrastructure have adequate information to protect it from cyber threats posed by terrorists and other rouge actors." Based in Arlington, Va., the ISA provides vulnerability and threat information to its members.

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