Recording companies pushDualDisc with CD, DVD
SAN DIEGO -- Recording companies looking to wring more profits out of music sales are hoping to sell retailers on a new hybrid disc. On one side is standard CD audio; on the other, the enhanced sound, video and other media capabilities of a DVD.
The DualDisc was the focus of a rare united presentation by recording companies at a recent gathering of music retailers. It comes at a time when some in the music industry are speculating whether music fans devalue the 20-year-old CD in the face of the varied content available on DVDs.
Recording companies say the higher quality sound and multimedia data they can put on a DualDisc will produce better value for music fans.
While many labels have experimented with CD releases that included companion DVDs with concert footage, videos or other media, music executives tout the DualDisc as a more convenient and streamlined way to deliver both on a single disc that plays on standard CD and DVD players.
Several music labels tested the DualDiscs in two U.S. cities earlier this year. The labels say the DualDisc will be compatible with most devices, including game consoles and personal computers.
Several releases are planned nationwide beginning in October, including from David Bowie, Miles Davis, A Simple Plan, The Donnas and Nine Inch Nails. Executives wouldn't discuss pricing.
With online sci-fi games,real estate is virtual
DALLAS -- Bidders interested in their own 6,000-acre paradise may want to consider Treasure Island. It has prime beach front property, a castle and a volcano.
Just don't mind the assault robots.
Virtual property is indeed hot, and the online sci-fi game "Project Entropia" has begun accepting real cash bids for the island, part of the fictional planet Calypso.
The winning bidder gets the island along with the ability to tax players who want to hunt or mine on the property. The new owner also can sell 60 island lots worth about 300,000 Project Entropia Dollars -- $30,000 in real money.
Released last year by Sweden-based MindArk PE AB, "Project Entropia" encourages gamers to buy and sell virtual items for real cash. About 150,000 people have registered to play. It's technically free, but players can pay to gain status if they can't spend 80 hours playing it.
Another game, "Second Life," has offered private electronic land since January. Players have spent as much as $550 for an acre of premium "Second Life" real estate, but prices generally are in the $150 to $200 range, spokeswoman Robin Harper said.
Though the digital investments amount to bits and bytes, Harper said players have no trouble rationalizing their purchases.
"To a lot of these people it is real," she said. "They spend a lot of time in there."
Wildlife regulators issuepermits for Calif. species
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California wildlife regulators have issued 14 permits for genetically engineered species since the state became the only to require such licensing.
Their lone rejection was a proposal to market a fluorescent zebra fish -- the nation's first transgenic pet, now sold under the brand name GloFish everywhere except in California. Even there, the Fish and Game Commission reversed its earlier, outright rejection, voting in April to seek a new recommendation from experts.
Compliance with California's law has been "adequate," with only one known violation, according to the report prepared for a commission meeting this week.
A Sacramento aquarium store was found to be selling green fluorescent transgenic Japanese rice fish, also known as medaka, about a month after the regulations took effect in May 2003. Ipon being told of the new regulation, the report says, the manager allowed the fish to be destroyed.
Of the 14 permits approved by the commission, 13 were for biomedical research mostly at California universities or institutes. The last one went to a company that provides transgenic zebra fish and tilapia to research and pharmaceutical facilities.
In addition to those two fish, licenses have been issued to experiment with biotech African clawed frogs, Axolotyl salamanders, Japanese medaka, Dwarf Gourami, Gilthead sea bream, rainbow trout, African cichlids and Threespine stickleback.
Elsewhere, Washington state has a narrower ban also designed to protect wild fish such as endangered salmon from contamination or competition from biotech fish. The federal government regulates genetically altered salmon, but declined to regulate GloFish.
Associated Press
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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