Top Stories

News Media Unite for Collective Bargaining with Tech Titans

The difficult relationship between Google and Facebook and traditional journalism outlets is based on the fact that the former has control over digital advertising and distribution, disempowering the latter. Now, the News Media Alliance, that industry’s main trade group, is working to win collective bargaining rights with the digital titans they are forced to depend on, asking Congress for a limited antitrust exemption to do so. Experts give the effort long-shot odds, but news media industry is determined to proceed. Read more

Apple iTunes Losing Market Share for Movie Rentals, Sales

Apple’s iTunes Store continues to lose market share for video viewers. In 2012, say sources, the company was responsible for well over 50 percent of movie rentals and sales; that figure has now decreased to between 20 percent and 35 percent. The figures are uncertain because no trade group or company tracks market share of digital movies, but several Hollywood studios have reported a decline in the amount of business with iTunes. An Apple spokeswoman said the company is targeting subscription services, an area experiencing significant growth. Read more

Sony Music Reaches New Licensing Agreement with Spotify

Sony Music Entertainment has agreed to a new licensing deal with Spotify, which should be finalized in the coming weeks. “The agreement helps to clear the way for Spotify’s long-anticipated public offering, which is expected later this year or early next year,” reports Variety. An inside source suggests the deal is similar to the current Spotify agreements with Universal Music Group and digital rights agency Merlin. A major component of the deal is a windowing option, “whereby artists can withhold their releases from its free, ad-supported service for up to two weeks.” Read more

W3C Approves the EME Standard for DRM-Protected Video

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which oversees standards for the web, approved a new system for handling DRM-protected video. Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) work by letting DRM systems connect directly to the user’s browser. EME lets streaming video services protect their content without forcing users to install plugins that can be insecure. But not everyone is happy. Some researchers and advocates of the open Internet believe EME will give browser developers and content providers too much power. Read more

Internet Firms Rally Users to Oppose the End of Net Neutrality

Internet companies, large and small, will begin to rally their users to join a “day of action” online protest against the demise of net neutrality. Many of these same Internet companies fought hard for these same net neutrality rules, instituted in 2015. FCC chairman Ajit Pai has said he supports an open Internet but that the Obama-era rules are too “heavy handed.” Net neutrality prevents large service providers from slowing down the Internet offerings, including media such as movies and music, of their rivals. Read more

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