Thursday, May 31, 2007

Trial to Begin June 04, 2007

The information below was taken from the Copyright Royalty Board website. It concerns the royalty payments that XM and Sirius will have to pay:

Adjustment of Rates and Terms for Preexisting Subscription and Satellite Digital Audio Radio Services

(Docket 2006-1, CRB DSTRA)

Hearing Information
The trial to determine the reasonable rates and terms for preexisting subscription services and satellite digital audio radio services will begin on Monday, June 4, 2007, and will be held in Room LM-408 in the James Madison Memorial Building of the Library of Congress, 101 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C.

After the parties give their opening statements, the Services (Sirius Satellite Radio, Inc., XM Satellite Radio, Inc., and Music Choice) will present their direct cases first, starting with XM Satellite Radio. Upon conclusion of the Services’ direct cases, the copyright owners, represented by SoundExchange, will present their direct case.

The following is the current schedule for the proceeding:

June 4: Arguments on motions filed under protective order (not open to the public)

Witnesses for XM Satellite Radio:

Beginning Week of June 4: Gary Parsons, Eric Logan, Mark Vendetti, Stephen Cook, and Anthony Masiello

Witnesses for Sirius Satellite Radio: (to begin upon conclusion of XM’s testimony):

Mel Karmazin, Terrence Smith, John Douglas Wilsterman, Robert Law, Michael J. Moore, Jeremy M. Coleman, Steve Cohen, Steven Blatter, Christine Heye, and David J. Frear

The witnesses for Music Choice and SoundExchange will be posted once their witnesses lists have been filed with the Board.

Upon completion of the direct cases, there will be a break in the trial while the parties prepare their rebuttal cases. Rebuttal hearings are scheduled to take place August 15 through August 30, 2007.

The trial begins each day at 9:30 a.m. and is open to the public. Please note, however, that on June 4, the Copyright Royalty Judges will be hearing arguments on pending motions which were filed under Protective Order. The parties have requested that such arguments be held in closed session. The Judges granted that request and therefore the hearing on these arguments on June 4 are not open to the public. The trial will be open to the public once arguments on the motions are concluded.

Further refinements to the schedule will be announced during the trial and issued as orders to the parties in the proceeding. The website will be updated as needed. However, anyone with questions regarding changes in the schedule should contact the Copyright Royalty Board at 202-707-7658.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The trial to determine the royalty rates for satellite radio broadcast over satellite TV channels will begin July 9, 2007. The hearing is described below:

The trial to determine the reasonable rates and terms for a new type of subscription service that performs sound recordings on digital audio channels programmed by the licensee for transmission by a satellite television distribution service to its residential customers where the audio channels are bundled with television channels as part of a “basic” package of service and not for a separate fee is scheduled to begin on July 9. Parties will present their direct cases from July 9 through July 12. Rebuttal hearings are scheduled to take place September 10 through September 12, 2007. Closing arguments are scheduled for October 17, 2007. More detailed information will be posted closer to the start of the trial.










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XM Patent Application to Improve Bandwidth Efficiency

XM had the following patent application published today that purports to increase the bandwidth efficiency. It is the continuation of another patent application previously disclosed.


United States Patent Application 20070124794

Kind Code A1

Marko; Paul D. ; et al.

May 31, 2007

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR EMPLOYING STORED CONTENT AT RECEIVERS TO IMPROVE EFFICIENCY OF BROADCAST SYSTEM BANDWIDTH USE

Abstract
The invention relates generally to a receiver unit in a digital broadcast system for receiving a broadcast signal comprising content segments and control data, and generating an output signal using the content segments and previously stored content segments. The previously stored content segments are retrieved from a local memory device using the control data and inserted among the received content segments.

Inventors:
Marko; Paul D.; (Pembroke Pines, FL) ; Wadin; Craig P.; (Sunrise, FL)

Correspondence Name and Address:
Stacey J. Longanecker;Roylance, Abrams, Berdo & Goodman, L.L.P.
Suite 600
1300 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036 US

Serial No.: 553398
Series Code: 11
Filed: October 26, 2006
U.S. Current Class: 725/135; 725/115; 725/116; 725/138; 725/32
U.S. Class at Publication: 725/135; 725/138; 725/116; 725/115; 725/032
Intern'l Class: H04N 7/16 20060101 H04N007/16; H04N 7/173 20060101 H04N007/173; H04N 7/025 20060101 H04N007/025; H04N 7/10 20060101 H04N007/10

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

WIFE Urges the FCC to Approve the Merger of Sirius and XM

Women Involved in Farm Economics (WIFE) have filed its comments urging the FCC to approved the merger of XM and Sirius.

WIFE believes the merger will:

* Ensure the continued availability of crucial information services
* Lead to lower prices
* Greater choices for rural consumers

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

In the Eyes of the Beholder

Delphi had a patent application published today for post processing of compressed digital video in automobiles. The technology is intended to enhance features more noticeable to humans, such as the eyes. It allows for higher compression of the other video less noticeable to the human eye. It is a way of tricking the viewer to perceive the video content as being of a higher quality. Both XM and Sirius apply similar "tricks" with the audio.


United States Patent Application 20070113242
Kind Code A1
Fetkovich; John E. May 17, 2007

Selective post-processing of compressed digital video

Abstract

The primary issue regarding the transmission of digital video to automobiles is limited bandwidth. To help combat bandwidth issues, compression techniques have been developed to reduce the high bit rate required for transmission and storage. However, methods for improving the perceived quality of digital imagery, particularly at low bit rates, are critical. The present invention discloses a technique that will improve the perceived quality of digital imagery to the viewer by using selective post-processing of decompressed digital video. The human visual system (HVS) is very sensitive to human eyes and faces. Regions of interest (ROI), such as human eyes or faces, are selectively post-processed in appropriate video frames prior to being displayed to the viewer. If a subject's eyes are sharp, the viewer will perceive good image quality, despite poor rendition elsewhere. If the subject's eyes are blurry or poorly rendered, the frame will appear poor to the viewer, despite sharpness elsewhere.


Inventors: Fetkovich; John E.; (Kokomo, IN)
Correspondence Name and Address:
    DELPHI TECHNOLOGIES, INC.
M/C 480-410-202
PO BOX 5052
TROY
MI
48007
US
Serial No.: 280907
Series Code: 11
Filed: November 16, 2005

U.S. Current Class: 725/19; 382/118; 725/135
U.S. Class at Publication: 725/019; 725/135; 382/118
Intern'l Class: H04H 9/00 20060101 H04H009/00; H04N 7/16 20060101 H04N007/16; G06K 9/00 20060101 G06K009/00



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XM Receives Grant of Authority to Operate Very Low Powered Repeaters

XM received a 180 grant of authority today from the FCC to operate very low repeaters as events at indefinite locations such as "automobile dealer promotional events, press events, and trade shows". Each event will be for a week or less. XM expects to operate at no more than 3 events per month, using no more than 8 repeaters and 6 signal boosters total at any given time.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sirius Granted Authority to Operate Signal Boosters at Annual Stockholders Meeting

Sirius was granted authority to operate a very low powered repeater at its annual stockholders meeting from May 21-24, 2007.

Earlier in the day, the FCC granted XM's recent application to operate a repeater at PGA events, once the current STA expires. Once they realized that they no longer expeditiously grant authorities to satellite radio, they withdrew the grant and issued an administrative update. The Coalition must have given them a call.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

XM and Sirius Express Concerns

On April 23, 2007, Satellite Radio TechWorld reported that Horizon Wi-Com had applied for an experimental license to test out-of-band emissions on the satellite radio band. The FCC has not yet granted this license, no doubt due to the concerns filed jointly with the FCC by XM and Sirius.

XM and Sirius understandably want to know more and are seeking more information from Horizon. According to the pair, the proposed limits of testing are 37 dB above the Commissions limits for OOBE for fixed WCS equipment in the satellite radio band. They ask the FCC to refrain from granting the application until they are able to gather more information.

This approach is quite different from the WCS Coalition's scorched earth approach. XM and Sirius at least give the impression that they will be cooperative, if the test can be conducted in such a way that it doesn't interfere with satellite radio.

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League of United Latin American Citizens Endorses Merger


Last Friday, the League of United Latin American Citizens endorsed the merger between XM and Sirius, citing satellite radio as a "critical medium for Hispanic Americans." By eliminating duplicative programming, the group feels that there will be increased "programming opportunities."

According to the Satellite Standard Group, The Latino Coalition has also endorsed the merger.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sirius Wins Dismissal Against AGT

We stumbled across some old news here. On October 20, 2006, AGT filed a complaint against Sirius alleging that Sirius interfered with its business relationship with Ki Ryung.

AGT was spun off from US Electronics and manufactures satellite radios for XM. Ki Ryung manufacturers satellite radios for Sirius. AGT was in the process of entering into a deal with Ki Ryung to manufacturer HD radios, a completely different business. Sirius stepped in and caused Ki Ryung to terminate the business deal because AGT was a competitor to Ki Ryung who manufactures many of Sirius' radios. Sirius sought dismissal of the complaint and on March 08, 2007 the NY court dismissed the complaint against Sirius.

As you might recall, US Electronics has a similar suit filed against Sirius claiming that Sirius interfered with its business. They would do well to read the order of the court.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

CRTC Denies Canadian Satellite Radio and Sirius Canada Request to How Canandian Talent Development is Funded

Both XM and Sirius requested changes to how they would meeting the Canadian Talent Development funding required by their licenses in Canada. The proposal would have increased funding in the early years at the expense of the later years. The CRTC, the Canadian equivalent of the FCC, denied the request of XM and Sirius today.



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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Snapster Vs. Napster

Rasprodz responded to Napster's opposition to Rasprodz registration of the the Snapster trademark. Rasprodz agreed with a large part of Napster's opposition. However, they did disagree on the following points:

They requested proof of the continuous use of the Napster marks. We are not sure what planet they are from.

They also argued that their customers were not the same as those for Napster, their customers being Radio or TV stations, not the general public.

In addition, Rasprodz argued that both the -ster suffix and the Nap or Span suffix are common terms. We learned something. Nap is a term used in horse racing for the predicting and forecasting of results. Snap relates to a well known card game, obviously not too well known to the author. We are not quite sure what this has to do with anything.

Other than the customer base, the Rasprodz answer seems to be rather lame.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Opps! AT&T Files Application to Correct Technical Parameters for Antenna

The WCS Coalition has been highly critical of XM's and Sirius' corrections to the technical parameters regarding their repeaters, often referring to the repeaters as "illegal" or "unlawful". It now appears that AT&T, the ring leader of the WCS Coalition, has made some technical corrections to an antenna for which it is responsible. Apparently, it is also guilty of operating an "unlawful" transmitter. It just goes to show that those that live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

The Coalition has even been critical of the satellite radio providers for giving coordinates that were off by 50 or 100 feet and antenna angles off by a few degrees. How do these "unlaw" conditions stack up against AT&T violations? They can't even get the frequency band correct. It was classed as a C-band antenna when it was actually a Ku band. It has operated as a Ku band antenna since 1993. Regardless whether the original fault lies with AT&T, they have been operating an "illegal" antenna for the Air Force for quite a while. The antenna location and height were also different from the original application. Even the government makes mistakes.

Perhaps now the WCS Coalition will see the minor violations voluntarily reported by XM and Sirius in a different light. Doubtful, but at least this gives the satellite radio providers some ammunition.

Seems that these technical corrections can happen to the best of them. Let's see if the FCC treats them any differently. This will be an excellent test case to see if the FCC is discriminating against satellite radio due the the pressure applied by the likes of AT&T.

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XM Applies for Authority to Operate Repeater at PGA Events

Yesterday, XM applied for a 180 day authority to operate a low repeater (<= 2,000W EIRP) at PGA Tour events. The FCC granted authority for a similar application this past February. The following events are to be covered by this STA: xm

























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XM Applies for 30 Authority to Operate Very Low Powered Repeaters and Signal Boosters

Yesterday, XM requested a 30 day authority from the FCC to operate up to three very low powered repeaters or signal boosters. XM was granted a similar 180 authority in February. This one is to operate at the following events:

Acura Parts and Service, Las Vegas, May 13-15
Telematics Update, Novi, MI, May 21-23
XM Shareholders Meeting, Washington, DC, May 24-25
ITS Expo, Palm Spings, CA, June 01-06
Subaru Delear Meeting, Las Vegas, NV, June 10-13



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Monday, May 07, 2007

US Electronics Opposes Merger

US Electronics, the distributors for the XAct satellite radios for Sirius, has notified the FCC that it opposes the merger.

US Electronics has a $48 million lawsuit against Sirius alleging that Sirius interfered with its customers.

Do they fear that they would lose business if there is a merger, or do they just want to play the spoiler? Ostensibly, they intervening on behalf of the consumer.

It has been said that US Electronics is also the parent company of AGT, who makes a couple of satellite radios for XM. This information has not been verified.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

i-Sirius

Has anyone ever heard of i-Sirius? They are brand new on the scene of cell phone applicants. They seemed to be cloaked in secrecy. We don't know if there is any relationship, but we are keeping an eye on this one. The dot over the "i" seems to signify a satellite.










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Thursday, May 03, 2007

DEI Patent Application for Versatile Docking Station for Portable Electronic Devices

DEI had a patent application disclosed today for a Versatile Docking Station for Portable Electronic Devices. It is intended for satellite radios, music players, video players, and the like.


United States Patent Application 20070101039
Kind Code A1
Rutledge; Mark E. ; et al. May 3, 2007

Versatile docking station for portable electronic devices

Abstract

A docking station provides supporting functions for multiple portable devices, such as music players, satellite radio receivers, games, and video players. The supporting functions may include providing power, audio amplifier, speakers, and video screen. To couple to a variety of portable devices, the docking station uses various adaptive cradles. In a typical configuration, a portable device is plugged into a cradle, which in turn is plugged into the docking station. The docking station recognizes the type of portable device plugged into the station, and adjust the power supply voltage to power the device through a connector. The docking station may further configure itself to accommodate the requirements of the portable device. Such configuring may include varying input impedance of the docking station's internal audio amplifier to match the portable device. In this way, the station can be used with a variety of portable devices, including devices from different manufacturers.


Inventors: Rutledge; Mark E.; (Murietta, CA) ; Durbin; John; (San Diego, CA)
Correspondence Name and Address:
    Directed Electronics
One Viper way
Vista
CA
92081
US
Assignee Name and Adress: DEI HEADQUARTERS, INC.

Serial No.: 265331
Series Code: 11
Filed: November 2, 2005

U.S. Current Class: 710/303
U.S. Class at Publication: 710/303
Intern'l Class: G06F 13/00 20060101 G06F013/00



















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IBM Patent Application for Receiving Personalized Streaming Content by Satellite Radio

This is an interesting patenting application disclosed today for streaming satellite radio content. It is not the first such patent application by IBM:


United States Patent Application 20070097893
Kind Code A1
Rodriguez; Herman ; et al. May 3, 2007

Method of delivering personalized streaming content via satellite radio

Abstract

A method is disclosed for delivering personalized content from a content provider system to a satellite communication receiver user. The user selects content from the content provider system and specifies Internet or satellite delivery. If the user specifies Internet delivery, then the content provider system transmits the selected content to the user via the Internet. However, if the user specifies satellite delivery, then the content provider system acquires the user's satellite communication receiver ID code from the user. The content provider system then transfers the selected content and the user's ID code to a satellite transmitter of a satellite radio provider system. The satellite transmitter transmits the selected content and ID code via a satellite to the user's satellite communication receiver. If the ID code received by the user's satellite communication receiver matches the ID code of this satellite communication receiver, then the satellite communication receiver stores, and allows to the user to access, the selected content.


Inventors: Rodriguez; Herman; (Austin, TX) ; Smith; Newton James JR.; (Austin, TX) ; Spinac; Clifford Jay; (Austin, TX)
Correspondence Name and Address:
    MARK P. KAHLER
8101 VAILVIEW COVE
AUSTIN
TX
78750
US
Assignee Name and Adress: International Business Machines Corporation
Austin
TX

Serial No.: 266667
Series Code: 11
Filed: November 3, 2005

U.S. Current Class: 370/310; 370/352
U.S. Class at Publication: 370/310; 370/352
Intern'l Class: H04B 7/00 20060101 H04B007/00



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XM Patent Application for Smart Card Access

Today, XM had a patent application disclosed that uses a smart card to access music and data.


United States Patent Application 20070098159
Kind Code A1
Ma; Hien D. ; et al. May 3, 2007

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PROVIDING PREPAID MUSIC CARD FOR DECIPHERING RECORDED BROADCAST AUDIO SIGNALS

Abstract

An apparatus and method are provided for deciphering recorded digital audio signals and using a smart card to pay for deciphering. Encrypted digital audio signals are recorded onto a recording medium, such as a compact disc or the like. When the user desires to listen to the recording, the encrypted recording is inserted into a player/recorder and a prepaid smart card is inserted into a smart card reader connected to the player/recorder. The smart card reader deducts a predetermined value from the card before allowing the player/recorder to decipher the encrypted recording, and record the deciphered audio onto a recording medium for playback.


Inventors: Ma; Hien D.; (Delray Beach, FL) ; Petros; Argy; (Parkland, FL) ; Patsiokas; Stelios; (Coral Springs, FL) ; Marko; Paul D.; (Pembroke Pines, FL) ; Lerner; Kenneth; (Boca Raton, FL) ; Falcone; Frank; (Loxahatchee, FL)
Correspondence Name and Address:
    ROYLANCE, ABRAMS, BERDO & GOODMAN, L.L.P.
1300 19TH STREET, N.W.
SUITE 600
WASHINGTON,
DC
20036
US
Serial No.: 379040
Series Code: 11
Filed: April 17, 2006

U.S. Current Class: 380/37; 380/274
U.S. Class at Publication: 380/037; 380/274
Intern'l Class: H04K 1/06 20060101 H04K001/06; H04K 1/00 20060101 H04K001/00; H04K 1/04 20060101 H04K001/04



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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Sirius Files Supplemental Information for 11 Repeaters Shutdown

Sirius filed supplemental information for the 11 repeaters that it is shutdown last October, providing populations served and maps and the technical parameters for which the repeaters will operate. The following cities are served by the repeaters that were shut down:

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Wilmington, Delaware
Orlando, Florida
Detroit, Michigan
Atlanta, Georgia
Monterey, California
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Greensboro, North Carolina
Akron, Ohio
Knoxville, Tennessee
Pebble Beach, California

Sirius is seeking authority to return these repeaters to operation.

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OT: Sea Launch Back in Business

It appears that Sea Launch is back in business or will soon be. It filed for the obligatory experimental licenses to test the Thuraya D3 satellite prior to encapsulation and before sailing to the launch site. The tests will be conducted between July 01, 2007 and January 01, 2008. The satellite is manufactured by Space Systems Loral.

Sea Launch launched all four of XM's satellites. Sea Launch experienced an "anomaly" during the launch of the NSS-8 on January 30, 2007, the next launch after launching XM's last satellite. Put another less delicate way, the Sea Launch Zenit-3SL vehicle blew up on the platform. Sea Launch is now in a recovery mode.

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FCC Grants XM Extension to Drift XM-1 Satellite in Position

Today, the FCC granted XM authority to extend the time to drift the XM-1 satellite into position after commencing operation of XM-4. The extension was needed to avoid drifting the satellite during the eclipse season (February 26 to April 13). The current grant expires on May 08, 2007. Due to the late approval, it is unknown what XM decided to do. They may have been forced to drift the satellite during the eclipse season, endangering other satellites. Perhaps they took a chance and delayed the drift in hopes that they would eventually receive the grant. Such as to what the approval process has come to for satellite radio.

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Coalition Urges FCC to Make Sirius' Backseat Video Take a Backseat to WCS Operations

Satellite radio's arch nemesis, the WCS Coalition, responded to Sirius' answers on backseat video. The following statement sums up their response:

'Thus, if the Commission finds on the record before it that Sirius Backseat TV is a permitted “ancillary service,” the Commission must do as it has done in similar situations and condition Sirius’ operating authority consistent with Section 4.4 of the ITU Radio Regulations, making any video offerings by Sirius secondary to WCS operations.'

The Coalition seems to resign itself to the fact that Sirius will offer backseat video, but if there is a problem, Sirius must remedy the situation or turn it off. There would seem to be little chance of it interfering any more than the audio signal.



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