Google to Acquire Part of HTC Mobile Division for $1.1 Billion

Google will spend $1.1 billion to purchase part of HTC’s smartphone operations. The Internet giant plans to use HTC’s engineering and design teams to help ramp up its nascent hardware efforts to complement its expanding portfolio of software products and grow its revenue beyond Android and search ads. The deal, which is expected to bring about 2,000 HTC employees to Google, also includes a non-exclusive licensing agreement for HTC intellectual property. While HTC has shown growth potential in VR with its Vive headset, its mobile business has been struggling. Continue reading Google to Acquire Part of HTC Mobile Division for $1.1 Billion

Facebook Uses Mapping Tech in Effort to Connect the World

Facebook developed mapping technology that has allowed it to create a data map of the human population in 23 countries so far. The map can zero in on any man-made structure as close as five meters, in any country on earth. Facebook says it is using the data to understand how humans are distributed around the planet, and thus be able to determine the best way to provide them with Internet access, via land, air or space. The goal is to create a “multi-pronged” Internet network to serve under-connected populations. Continue reading Facebook Uses Mapping Tech in Effort to Connect the World

Google Submits New Plan to Comply with EU Antitrust Order

In June, the European Union fined Google €2.4 billion ($2.9 billion) over the practice of favoring its own services through Google Search results. Now, the tech behemoth has said it has complied, submitting details of how it will end its anti-competitive practices. The European Commission gave Google until September 28 to stop the practices, after which the company would be fined as much as 5 percent of Alphabet’s average daily worldwide turnover, estimated at about $12 million per day, based on its 2016 turnover of $90.3 billion. Continue reading Google Submits New Plan to Comply with EU Antitrust Order

China Set to Toughen IP Laws in Pursuit of Tech Dominance

China wants to become the most dominant nation in artificial intelligence, and it’s got three advantages that might help that become a reality. In addition to strong government support, which includes a willingness to share data about its citizens, China also has an immense number of engineers to write software and 751 million Internet users who can test out the work they do. As China seeks to gain market share, President Xi Jinping seeks to strengthen intellectual property laws to give its startups an advantage. Continue reading China Set to Toughen IP Laws in Pursuit of Tech Dominance

Netflix Expands its IP, Buys Comic-Book Publisher Millarworld

Netflix just made its first acquisition, purchasing Millarworld, a comic-book publisher known for “Kick-Ass” and “Old Man Logan,” among other stories. The company won’t disclose what it paid for Millarworld, but sources put the purchase price at between $50 million and $100 million. Netflix, which has a $78 billion market capitalization and $1.9 billion in cash, has grown from licensing TV shows and movies to funding its own original productions and, now, owning intellectual property and production. Continue reading Netflix Expands its IP, Buys Comic-Book Publisher Millarworld

TV Networks Double Down on Branded Content via Facebook

Research firm ListenFirst Media reports that the number of branded posts across the Facebook pages of broadcast and cable TV networks and shows increased 115 percent from October 2016 to June of this year. Turner’s Adult Swim (“Rick and Morty”), Turner’s truTV (“Impractical Jokers”) and Fox (“Empire”) were the top networks during Q2 in terms of user engagement. According to Variety, “Dan Riess, Turner’s EVP of content partnerships and co-head of Turner Ignite, said a few years ago the company might have simply distributed a marketer’s content on social media ‘as a favor’ — a value-added extension of a TV ad deal. Now, Turner is selling branded content separately for digital.” Continue reading TV Networks Double Down on Branded Content via Facebook

Facebook Buys Source3 to Strengthen Rights Management

Facebook just purchased the technology of startup Source3, which can detect intellectual property that has been shared on the Internet without permission.  No financial details were revealed, but Crunchbase reported that Source3 recently raised $4 million in venture capital funding, led by a 2015 seed round by Contour Venture Partners. Two years ago, Facebook released so-called Rights Manager technology to combat the posting of video clips by unauthorized users. YouTube uses Content ID, a similar but more advanced technology. Continue reading Facebook Buys Source3 to Strengthen Rights Management

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. Continue reading News Media Unite for Collective Bargaining with Tech Titans

Hollywood Fights ‘Legal’ Software to Stream Pirated Content

CorkyTV pitches its service as “Free TV For Life!” The easy-to-use software, offered by Corky Stanton for sale on Amazon Fire sticks and other streaming devices costing up to $300, lets users stream TV shows and movies from dubious websites. Stanton claims the software is completely legal, placing the responsibility on the user. He represents a new kind of entrepreneur that is raising concern in Hollywood as the entertainment industry continues to battle piracy and copyright infringement. Continue reading Hollywood Fights ‘Legal’ Software to Stream Pirated Content

Ad Trade Group Launches New Tool to Blacklist Piracy Apps

Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), an advertising industry alliance, has introduced a tool that will track apps promoting piracy, to alert advertisers not to run ads on such apps. The blacklist, which currently lists 8,000 violators, will be continuously updated with mobile apps that enable dissemination of pirated content, including music, movies, TV shows and games. TAG members and other organizations will help with the continual update. The MPAA and the Recording Industry Association of America both support TAG’s effort. Continue reading Ad Trade Group Launches New Tool to Blacklist Piracy Apps

Uber CEO Considers Investor Concerns and Resigns Position

Travis Kalanick stepped down from his chief exec position of ride-hailing service Uber yesterday. Kalanick helped found the company in 2009, but months of scrutiny regarding charges of harassment and discrimination, followed by a recent shareholder revolt resulted in his departure. “Five of Uber’s major investors demanded that [he] resign immediately,” according to The New York Times. “The investors included one of Uber’s biggest shareholders, the venture capital firm Benchmark, which has one of its partners, Bill Gurley, on Uber’s board.” The company will seek new leadership, although Kalanick will remain on Uber’s board of directors. Continue reading Uber CEO Considers Investor Concerns and Resigns Position

European Court Rules Against BitTorrent Site The Pirate Bay

After a seven year legal battle, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that popular BitTorrent site The Pirate Bay is directly infringing copyright. The site, which was founded in Sweden in 2003, has been previously blocked, its offices raided and its three founders fined and jailed. The Pirate Bay claimed it differed from Napster in that it didn’t host or link to copyright infringing files, but rather hosts so-called trackers, which are files that lead to individual BitTorrent apps to download large files. Continue reading European Court Rules Against BitTorrent Site The Pirate Bay

Screening Room Files Eight Anti-Piracy Patent Applications

Napster co-founder Sean Parker has been working on Screening Room, a controversial project that would bring Hollywood blockbusters into homes on the day of their release, for $50 per movie. J.J. Abrams, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg are shareholders, but industry skeptics are worried that Screening Room will provide pirates with easy pickings. But now Parker’s Screening Room Media has submitted eight patent applications addressing piracy, including a so-called P2P polluter. Continue reading Screening Room Files Eight Anti-Piracy Patent Applications

Supreme Court Ruling Is Likely to Suppress Patent Troll Suits

In a unanimous ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court tightened rules on where patent lawsuits may be filed. The consequences, say the experts, will make it much more difficult for patent trolls to seek out friendly courts that are likely to rule in their favor. Patent trolls are companies that buy patents solely to demand royalties and sue for damages. Currently, more than 40 percent of all patent lawsuits are filed in a federal court in East Texas, with a single judge there overseeing 25 percent of all nationwide patent cases. Continue reading Supreme Court Ruling Is Likely to Suppress Patent Troll Suits

Facebook’s Open-Source Telecom Project Challenges Telcos

Voyager, Facebook’s telecom infrastructure effort, is a side project, but it’s still rattling the telecom industry, which worries that revenues from its specialized products are at risk. Facebook and European telecom company Telia tested Voyager over the latter’s thousand-kilometer-telecom network, and German-based ADVA Optical Networking, which is manufacturing the device, has nine potential customers trying it out. Also testing Voyager is Paris-based Orange, working with Equinix and African telecom company MTN. Continue reading Facebook’s Open-Source Telecom Project Challenges Telcos

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