What Else? HMV Crumbling, Sandoval Quits, Gershwin’s Ghost, Swartz Fallout, Negre, BMG Rights Management…

Looks like the end is nearing for HMV, a longtime holdout in the long-crumbling physical retail space.  The chain is now falling into administration (essentially Brit-speak for bankruptcy), with Deloitte managing the process. “The board regrets to announce that it has been unable to reach a position where it feels able to continue to trade outside of insolvency protection,” a Monday statement read.  HMV currently employs more than 4,000 people across nearly 240 stores, though Deloitte is aiming to find a soft landing through a distressed sale.

Here’s another reason to start your own publication.  C|Net senior writer Greg Sandoval has just resigned to protest an editorial demand from owner CBS Corporation, specifically over converage of Dish Network’s Hopper with Sling featuring Auto Hop.  The updated Hopper, presented at CES, enables users to deftly skip ads across multiple screen platforms, something CBS feels trespasses legal boundaries.  So, long story short: CBS forced the pulldown, Sandoval quit over it.

Not again: the estate of George Gershwin is the latest to sue Warner Music Group, on a litany of accused abuses.  Most seem to surround complicated schemes to short royalties, something James Taylor knows a little something about.

And the very messy fallout continues following the suicide of coder, technologist and ‘hactivist’ Aaron Swartz.  One recurring complaint is that the Justice Department pushed a depressed Swartz towards suicide with a relentless prosecution, one that may not have fit the crime of hacking into an MIT database of scholarly work (JSTOR).  The broader repercussions could involve a shift in the way the government pursues computer crimes; MIT is also on the defensive over its handling of the case.  “Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy,” a statement from the Swartz family read. “Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts US Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death.”

And the shuffling continues at Universal Music Group, where EMI continues to be… digested.  Among the latest moves, Paris-based Pascal Negre will assume the role of Global Head of New Business, adding to existing responsibilities as head of Universal Music France, Italy, Middle East and Africa.  Negre will report into Lucian Grainge.

Elsewhere, BMG Rights Management has tapped Robert Stegmüller as Vice President of Copyright, a key role involving administrative services to writers and artists.


2 Responses

  1. earbits

    The comments on Aaron Swartz are not accurate. He used MIT’s network for faster access to JSTOR, which is not just a library of scholarly work, but more specifically a library of publicly-funded academic papers that Swartz and most people believe should be publicly available, since it’s paid for by tax payers. He also started DemandProgress.org and a number of other organizations dedicated to government transparency and sharing of scientific research. Had he trespassed on private property and stolen such papers it would be considered political protest and carry a light sentence. Because it was done with computers, he was prosecuted under computer crimes laws and was looking at 35+ years in prison and a lifetime label as felon.

  2. danwriter

    Greg Sandoval is one of the best writers on tech out there. He showed a tremendous amount of integrity in calling out both CBS for its arrogance and C/NET for its timidity. I doubt he’ll miss a mortgage payment — he’s so good he’ll get picked up elsewhere quickly enough. But his move still showed some fortitude lately lacking in the press.