Songwriters, Music Publishers Get More in Streaming Royalties

The National Music Publishers’ Association raised music streaming royalties for songwriters and music publishers by more than 40 percent in an attempt to resolve a conflict between them and the streaming services, including those from Amazon, Apple, Google, Pandora and Spotify. The Copyright Royalty Board now requires those services to pay the aggrieved parties 15.1 percent of their revenue, up from a previous 10.5 percent. Songwriters and music publishers will now receive $1 for every $3.82 the recording labels receive. Continue reading Songwriters, Music Publishers Get More in Streaming Royalties

Facebook, Google and Twitter Talk About Russian Interference

Facebook, Google and Twitter faced Congress in the past weeks to answer questions about how Russian companies and troll farms spread deceptions and inaccuracies before and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The digital tech companies were also asked if there was evidence of collusion between the Russian actors and the Trump campaign, and Google was asked specifically about its commercial dealings with a Russian broadcaster that, say federal intelligence agencies, is a Kremlin propaganda outlet. Continue reading Facebook, Google and Twitter Talk About Russian Interference

AT&T Chief Exec Calls for Creation of an Internet Bill of Rights

AT&T, one of the winners in the recent end of net neutrality rules, is clarifying its stance. In an open letter that was published nationwide, including in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, chief executive Randall Stephenson called on Congress to establish an Internet Bill of Rights that would apply to all Internet companies and guarantee “neutrality, transparency, openness, non-discrimination and privacy protection for all Internet users.” Continue reading AT&T Chief Exec Calls for Creation of an Internet Bill of Rights

Big Tech Firms Batten Down the Hatches for Midterm Elections

As the midterm elections approach, some tech companies are making changes to minimize harm and build credibility. Facebook plans to let users rank news sources they see as most trustworthy, as a means of prioritizing high-quality news. Twitter, which is still cleaning house from the presidential election, reports it has discovered 1,062 more accounts linked to an official Russian propaganda unit. Google and YouTube chief executives have promised to examine videos and other content more closely to ferret out misleading news. Continue reading Big Tech Firms Batten Down the Hatches for Midterm Elections

FCC: End of Net Neutrality Advances Broadband Deployment

The Federal Communications Commission, which had considered lowering the threshold for broadband announced that it has pulled back from that idea and will continue to define home broadband as speeds of 25 megabits per second (Mbps). The FCC also created a new standard of a 10Mbps connection for mobile broadband, and won’t define mobile Internet service as a replacement for home broadband, an idea it considered last year. The decisions are good news for those concerned about the digital divide. Continue reading FCC: End of Net Neutrality Advances Broadband Deployment

Facebook News Feed Algorithm Tweak Favors Family, Friends

Facebook has again tweaked its News Feed, this time in a major way. The social media giant will now prioritize what a member’s friends and family share and comment on, rather than content from publishers and brands. The change, meant to maximize what chief executive Mark Zuckerberg calls “meaningful interaction,” will take place over the next few weeks. Likewise, Facebook wants to diminish “passive content,” which is defined as that which requires nothing of the viewer than to sit back and watch or read. Continue reading Facebook News Feed Algorithm Tweak Favors Family, Friends

Policymakers Debate the Internet Economy and Net Neutrality

Regardless of your opinion on the end of net neutrality, the topic is of huge importance not simply to consumers but to policymakers in Washington. A CES 2018 panel of such policymakers examined how to best protect the Internet economy. “It’s a tough time for the Internet economy,” said Center for Democracy & Technology president/chief executive Nuala O’Connor. “People are concerned about the intrusion of technology into their daily lives, and some of the conversation in DC is about what the role of technology is in democracy.” Continue reading Policymakers Debate the Internet Economy and Net Neutrality

CTA’s Shapiro Speaks With FTC’s Ohlhausen, Ajit Pai Absent

The FCC chair traditionally appears on the first day of CES to discuss the issues relevant to the CTA crowd. For the first time in memory, this year was different, as FCC’s Ajit Pai canceled his appearance due reportedly to death threats. Security was still tight, with bag searches and metal detectors, and police and dogs at the ready. Once the conversation started, however, it became obvious that the security was overkill; FTC acting chair Maureen Ohlhausen covered controversial topics, but didn’t add fuel to the fire. Continue reading CTA’s Shapiro Speaks With FTC’s Ohlhausen, Ajit Pai Absent

Under Senate Grilling, Equifax Says It Owns Consumer Data

Members of the Senate Commerce Committee interrogated Equifax interim chief executive Paulino do Rego Barros, but not about the widely reported hack that compromised the personal data of more than 145 million U.S. consumers. The committee wanted to know why Equifax was storing the information to begin with, challenging Equifax’s right to profit from such personal information. The highlight of the meetings thus far has been Barros’ assertion that Equifax, not consumers, own the data collected about them and that people cannot remove themselves from the company files. Continue reading Under Senate Grilling, Equifax Says It Owns Consumer Data

Facebook, Google and Twitter Execs Testify Before Congress

Facing the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Facebook, Google and Twitter executives responded to questions on why they didn’t recognize Russian-linked accounts earlier. In response, the rueful executives said their companies were working on ways to curb the activity of foreign governments, terrorists and criminals and prevent them from exploiting social media. On the other hand, however, those same Silicon Valley companies face a public that is far from united over whether they should curb free speech. Continue reading Facebook, Google and Twitter Execs Testify Before Congress

Facebook Debates Self-Regulation to Combat Misinformation

Facebook is facing many challenges, none more pressing than the posts and memes covertly created by Russian government-led organizations whose goal was to influence the 2016 U.S. election. Inside Facebook, say a dozen current and former employees, the debate rages over how to deal with the issue. One side, supporting free speech, believes that nothing should be censored; the other side is worried about the problems created by this laissez-faire approach. Meanwhile, the company is reportedly in full-on defense mode. Continue reading Facebook Debates Self-Regulation to Combat Misinformation

FCC Reveals Plan to Roll Back Local Media Ownership Rules

The FCC plans to change rules regarding local media ownership, claiming the 42-year old rules are now outdated. FCC chair Ajit Pai revealed yesterday during a congressional hearing that there will be a vote next month to loosen current rules that prevent companies from owning a newspaper and a broadcast station within the same market. The rules originally intended to guarantee diversity of expression while aiming to curb undue influence over public opinion by an individual or single company. Democratic lawmakers voiced opposition during the hearing, but Pai defended the proposed plan and other recent deregulatory moves. Continue reading FCC Reveals Plan to Roll Back Local Media Ownership Rules

Google Earmarks $1 Billion for Tech Education via Nonprofits

Google just set aside $1 billion for a new program dubbed “Grow with Google,” which will fund education and professional training nonprofits to help prepare Americans for technology jobs. The program will offer a website that will help people looking for jobs to get training and professional certificates, and for businesses to improve their online presences. Google says the goal is to allow anyone with an Internet connection to become tech-proficient and eligible for jobs from app development to IT support. Continue reading Google Earmarks $1 Billion for Tech Education via Nonprofits

Clicking Flash Update on the Equifax Site Results in Adware

In the wake of May’s Equifax website breach that reportedly involved personal data of 145.5 million U.S. consumers, the credit reporting service’s site was manipulated again this week. On Wednesday, and again on Thursday, fraudulent Adobe Flash updates appeared that infected computers with adware when clicked. Only three of 65 antivirus providers detected the adware. Security analyst Randy Abrams discovered the issue while investigating false information that had appeared on his credit report. Meanwhile. federal legislators have introduced a new cybersecurity bill to help protect consumers. Continue reading Clicking Flash Update on the Equifax Site Results in Adware

States Are Battling Sales Tax Loopholes for Amazon Vendors

Starting December 1, shoppers on Amazon will most likely have to pay sales taxes on goods purchased from third-party merchants, in addition to paying tax on those bought directly from Amazon. That’s because, on that date, at least some vendors will begin collecting taxes to receive partial amnesty from back taxes in almost half of the U.S. states, including Florida, New Jersey and Texas. The deadline for the partial amnesty deal is October 17, so it is not yet clear how many merchants will take it. Continue reading States Are Battling Sales Tax Loopholes for Amazon Vendors

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