Assembly probes impact of piracy
on recording industry
SACRAMENTO — A global music industry claiming to be under siege from widespread and growing online piracy took its case for new laws to curb free file sharing to the California Assembly on Thursday.
Former music stars, emerging acts, songwriters and record industry executives spoke of a business increasingly reeling from a practice that’s become part of world Internet culture: downloading music without paying for it.
“We must start by calling unauthorized ’file sharing’ what it is: illegal,” said Cary Sherman, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Recording Industry Association of America.
Sherman and others, testifying before the Assembly Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media, cited reports of 2.6 billion illegal downloads a month and 130 million software downloads of KaZaA, a leading file sharer with 500 million files available.
Steve Jobs resigns from Gap’s board
SAN FRANCISCO — Gap Inc. on Thursday disclosed that Silicon Valley pioneer Steve Jobs resigned from its board of directors, just days after the struggling retailer switched chief executive officers.
Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple Computer Inc., had been a Gap director since 1999 — the same year that Gap’s longtime leader, Millard “Mickey” Drexler, joined the personal computer maker’s board.
Drexler retired as Gap’s CEO last week when the San Francisco-based company hired Paul Pressler to lead its efforts to reverse a 28-month sales slide. Pressler, hired away from Walt Disney Co., is expected to join Gap’s board.
Jobs had served on Gap’s corporate governance committee — a watchdog position that has become more important amid a wave of business accounting scandals that have rattled investors.
Gap said Jobs stepped down “to focus on other priorities.” Besides his duties at Cupertino-based Apple, Jobs also is CEO of Pixar Animation Studios, the maker of “Monsters Inc.” and several other hit movies.
Jobs missed one-third of Gap’s board meetings last year, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Jobs and stock brokerage magnate Charles Schwab were the only Gap directors who didn’t attend at least 75 percent of the company’s board meetings last year, the SEC documents said.
Gap pays its non-employee directors $36,000 annually, plus attendance bonuses. Jobs waived his Gap compensation last year.
Gap filled the board opening created by Jobs’ departure with Penny Hughes, a former Coca-Cola Co. executive in Europe.
Pressler and the Gap’s board are under pressure to heal the company’s ailing stock. The company’s shares fell 79 cents Thursday to close at $9.17 — down 34 percent so far this year and well below its record high of $53.75, reached before Gap’s sales slump began in May 2000.
Analysts cited Wall Street’s demands for more vigilant directors for a recent change in Apple’s board of directors, too. Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison, a close friend of Jobs, resigned from Apple’s board last month to focus on other interests.
Ellison never attended more than 75 percent of Apple’s board meetings during his any of his five years as a director. Apple hasn’t replaced Ellison on its board.
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