The best of J@pan Inc's newsletters: Gadget Watch, Wireless Watch and Music Watch

Back to Contents of Issue: June 2002

* MORPHEUS MMO Japan Ordered to Suspend Service
The Tokyo District Court on April 9 ordered MMO Japan to suspend its MP3 file-sharing service, File Rogue. This marks the first court order in Japan seeking suspension of a P2P service provider. The court order came unusually quickly, especially for Japanese courts. Only two months had elapsed since a group of record companies applied for a provisional injunction against MMO Japan with the Tokyo District Court, seeking suspension of the file-sharing service.

On January 29 a total of 19 Japanese record companies and distributors as well as the Japan Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) applied for a provisional injunction against MMO Japan with the Tokyo District Court, seeking suspension of information provision that illegally promotes MP3 file exchanging. The 19 record companies alleged that MMO Japan's service infringed the copyright neighboring rights (the right of making content transmittable) and JASRAC insisted that the service infringed the copyrights (the right of public transmission under the Copyright Law).

Source: Asia BizTech, April 11

* Celine Dion Can Freeze Your PC
Sony Music Entertainment, owner of the label that released the recent copy-protected version of Celine Dion's new album "A New Day Has Come," reported that users who play the new CDs in a PC or Mac may find that it crashes their computers. The discs are protected against digital copying using Key2Audio technology developed by the Sony DADC unit and come with a label warning users against trying to play the discs in a PC.

Source:, April 4

* Sony SDR-4X Robot
Looking even cuter than the last of the company's bipedal robots, the SDR-4X stands only 58cm high and weighs 6.5kg. Movement is more sophisticated than ever, with 38 joints, which are controlled by a stunningly smart 'Real-Time Integrated Adaptive Control System' so that the little guy constantly makes tiny adjustments as he toddles along and can thereby handle all manner of irregular surfaces. The SDR-4X is a clever little robot too, recognizing all manner of sounds and even its owner's face by way of seven embedded microphones and a couple of CCD cameras for eyes. But OK, the thing can walk on surfaces that vary by up to 10mm (hmmm, not that impressive) and can handle inclines of up to 10 degrees. It can sing and dance and even has distinct short- and long-term memories. But at the end of the day, it's just a little tin guy moving around a bit like your 90-year-old grand pappy does and it doesn't actually do anything. By design. So, given that Sony anticipates the selling price of the SDR-4X to be "about the same as a small luxury car" and, in spite of all the wizard technology it doesn't actually do anything useful, it's hard to see many people going for it.

* Sony DCR-TRV950 Digital Video Camera
Looking quite blocky, but with a compact, rectangular body housing an impressively large 3.5in LCD viewfinder monitor, Sony's new digital camcorder is a great synthesis of size and function. The 1,070,000 pixel, three CCD system devotes a CCD each to red, green and blue (RGB) light and uses a 14 bit DXP (processor) for the analog/digital conversion. The upshot of the three CCD camera system is that the digicam produces 690,000x3 effective pixels for moving images and 1,000,000x3 effective pixels for still photography. And being megapixel, you should get 1,152x864 dot still photos out of the JPY260,000 camera.

The 3.5in TFT LCD monitor is a touch panel, on which the user can control spot focusing and, with the aid of the supplied stylus, can write and send emails via its easy-to-use Bluetooth-compatible networking functionality.

* Sotec PC Station G4170
It's been a while since we mentioned the pioneering (in terms of price tag, which is a very lovely form of pioneering) PC supplier Sotec, but with its new PC Station G4170 at just a touch over JPY100,000 available directly from the company's hotline, it's time to blow the value-for-money trumpet again.

Loaded up with a hot, new Pentium 4 CPU, the G4170 desktop PC comes in 12 varieties, topping out with a 1.6GHz processor, 128Mb of RAM, a 40Gb hard disk, internal CD-RW drive and Windows XP driving all the fun. There's even a GeForce 2 MX400 video card thrown in and, something we've always liked about Sotec machines, a whole bunch of connection options, including three USB sockets, two Firewire (IEEE 1394), a Type II PC card slot and a 100Base-TX Ethernet interface. And if you're looking to impress, it's only JPY136,600 to pick up the G4170 with a 17in TFT LCD display so your pad looks like some kind of space station.

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