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Film Executives Form Alliance in Effort to Combat Online Piracy

Five film companies are forming an antipiracy coalition called the Internet Security Task Force with plans to mobilize small businesses in the gaming, music, software, film and TV industries against online theft of intellectual property. The alliance — comprised of Bloom, FilmNation Entertainment, Millennium, Sierra/Affinity and Voltage Pictures — is considering a range of initiatives, including the launch of a media campaign, more political lobbying efforts, and placing pressure on companies that advertise on pirate websites. Read more

HBO Sends Warnings to Torrent Users Sharing ‘Game of Thrones’

The first four episodes of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” fifth season were leaked online before the season’s premiere. Reportedly leaked from a review screener, the episodes have since been downloaded from public torrent sites millions of times. In response, HBO has distributed thousands of warnings to those Internet subscribers whose connections were determined to share leaked episodes. There are no legal ramifications for the subscribers, but HBO hopes that the warnings will prevent some of them from downloading future episodes. Read more

Survey Says Viewers Won’t Pay More Than $10 to Stream Movie

A survey by RBC Capital Markets found that consumers are not willing to pay any more than they already do to stream a movie on opening weekend. Eighty-seven percent of consumers will not pay more than $10 to stream a movie on the same day it is released in theaters. That’s bad news for Hollywood studios that are trying to make more money with same-day video-on-demand releases. Most of the survey respondents also said that a VOD release would have no effect on their choice to go to theaters. Read more

Initial Projections Suggest Apple Watch is Beating Expectations

Apple Watch may have surpassed global pre-orders of 2.3 million units last week, according to unofficial figures from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The most popular model is the Apple Watch Sport says Kuo, who has an impressive record of predicting sales of Apple devices. If the figures are accurate, they almost double the 1.25-1.5 million in sales projected for the first weekend. Meanwhile, Apple is introducing workshops called ‘Apple Watch Basics’ at its Apple Store locations to show consumers how to use the new wearable. Read more

WhatsApp Continues its Momentum, Now at 800 Million Users

Jan Koum, CEO and co-founder of WhatsApp, announced on Friday that the popular mobile messaging app now has 800 million monthly active users. Acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $22 billion, WhatsApp has the potential to reach one billion users this year. Since last August, the app has added 100 million active users about every four months. It now has more users than Facebook Messenger and competing apps. For many global users, the app has become an alternative to text messaging, and it recently added a feature for taking calls. Read more

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