Sun, Jul 11, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs


■ Internet
Movie piracy widespread

About one-fourth of Internet users in an eight-country survey admit to illegally downloading movies, but the percentage is more that twice as high in South Korea, according to an industry survey. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) said its survey released this week found an average of 24 percent of Web users in the eight countries have downloaded at least one movie. But the percentage in South Korea was 58 percent. South Korea is believed to have the highest percentage of Internet users on high-speed connections -- between 60 and 70 percent as of late last year, according to the International Telecoms Union. Because high-speed connections make it possible to download a full-length movie in a matter of minutes, the MPAA is concerned that piracy will grow as more users boost their speed.

■ Computers

Hacker hired by Microsoft

A man accused of hacking into search engine company AltaVista's computer systems about two years ago is now employed by Microsoft Corp, reportedly working on search technology. Laurent Chavet, 29, was arrested by FBI agents a week ago in Redmond, Washington, acting on a warrant issued in San Francisco. Federal prosecutors allege that Chavet hacked into AltaVista's computer system to obtain software blueprints called source code and recklessly caused damage to AltaVista's computers. Microsoft spokeswoman Tami Begasse said Friday that Chavet, who lives in suburban Kirkland, is an employee of Microsoft. She declined further comment on the nature of Chavet's employment or when he started at the company, citing Microsoft policy on not discussing personnel matters. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, citing anonymous sources, reported that Chavet had been working on Microsoft's MSN Search effort.

■ Trade

India, Singapore ink deal

India and Singapore will be signing a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement soon, the two countries announced yesterday. In a joint statement issued at the end of a three-day official visit by Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong to India, the two countries also decided to boost defence cooperation by holding joint military exercises and collaborating in defense technology research. The joint statement also called for international cooperation and efforts to fight terrorism and deny sanctuaries to terrorist organizations.

■ Scandals

Adelphia mistrial declared

A mistrial was declared Friday in the case against Michael Rigas, the former Adelphia Communications executive, after jurors said they were deadlocked on charges that remained against him. Richard Owens, an assistant US attorney, immediately asked the presiding judge, Leonard Sand, to schedule a new trial of Rigas, the former executive vice president for operations, whose father and brother were convicted of fraud charges on Thursday. But that move was procedural and it is not clear whether the government will continue to pursue Rigas after winning convictions of both John Rigas, his father and the founder of Adelphia, and Timothy Rigas, his brother and the company's former chief financial officer. In addition, it appears that the 12-member jury in US District Court in Manhattan was leaning heavily toward an acquittal of Michael Rigas. Three jurors, who all spoke on the condition that they not be identified, said that most of the panel wanted to acquit him. "We wanted to let him go," one of them said.

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