close this bookVolume 1: No. 21
View the documentNews -- research funding; technology transfer
View the documentNews -- software industry
View the documentNews -- information industry
View the documentNews -- information services
View the documentNews -- AI in MIS
View the documentNews -- job opportunities
View the documentNews -- new journals; calls for papers

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a bill to apply criminal penalties for software copyright infringement. Penalties would be up to $250,000 and two years in prison for making 11 to 49 copies. The Software Publishers' Association claims that software piracy cost U.S. industry $2.9B in '88, $2.5B in '89, and $2.4B in '90. [Computerworld, 8/12.]

Sales of online information services were $9B last year, up 90% from 1986, according to SIMBA Information Inc. (Wilton, CN). Leading online services were up 15.3% over 1989, with paper-based services up only 10.5%. SIMBA's report predicts a $15B online- services industry by 1995. [CACM, 9/91.]

Boardwatch Magazine says that there are now 30,000 public- access electronic bulletin boards, versus about 14,000 last year. The hardware to set one up costs less than $600. [Christopher Lindquist, Computerworld, 8/12.]

Local phone companies are eagerly awaiting their chance to provide information services, much to the dismay of newspapers and other providers. (Judge Green has given them permission, but stayed his own order pending appeal. It should take about a year.) The baby bells are building their systems now, and have the resources to keep trying until they find services that people are willing to buy. Electronic Yellow Pages would allow you to set search/display criteria and to investigate selected listings in detail. Other possibilities are voice-mail delivery of custom news reports (or advertising?), store-and-forward fax, and Touch- Tone transaction processing for small businesses. PacTel also wants to use radio-phone networks for radio location of fleet [or stolen] vehicles. [Mike Langberg, SJ Mercury, 8/12.]

Frox Inc. (Sunnyvale, CA) doesn't have to wait, although their $10-25K information/entertainment systems have a limited market. The company has developed Froxvision, an enhancement for large- screen TVs. (Americans bought 351,000 projection TVs last year, according to the Electronic Industries Association. The market grew 30% in 1990, while color TV in general fell 2%.) Froxvision gives you a sharper picture, enhanced sound, on-screen controls, a one-button remote mouse, and software to control your VCR, CD player, home security system, etc. You could call up selected TV listings, for instance, then click on the ones you want to record. One analyst predicts sales of $35M next year. [Don Clark, SF Chronicle, 8/12.]