Cloud Music Services Continue to Face Legal Questions

  • The legal debate continues regarding the divergent approaches to cloud-based music lockers proposed by Amazon, Google and Apple.
  • The 2008 Cablevision decision in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals allowed for a remote DVR feature (when done at the direction of users and separate copies were stored for each user as would be done for an in-home DVR). The decision is the strongest legal case for a music locker service.
  • EMI’s current suit against will also impact the situation. EMI asserts that music locker services must remove material if they become “aware of facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent.”
  • While Apple has signed agreements with the major labels, it has not yet done so with smaller labels.
  • According to Ars Technica: “Either Apple wasted millions of dollars on licenses it doesn’t need, or Amazon and Google are vulnerable to massive copyright lawsuits.”
  • Google and Amazon will assert their rights under DMCA Safe Harbor and the Cablevision case. In addition, they may have some protection under rights they have to sell music through their online stores.

Hacker Group Anonymous Targets Apple Online Data

  • Apple has joined Sony and Fox News in the growing list of companies experiencing recent security breaches.
  • In what appears to be a warning salvo, 27 user names and encrypted passwords from an Apple website were reportedly posted online over the weekend along with a warning of future attacks from hacker group Anonymous.
  • The hacker group posted a list of data supposedly taken from an Apple Business Intelligence website. Apple has not commented on this.
  • Anonymous hacker group, which linked to this leak in a Twitter post, threatens that Apple could be a target of its attacks.
  • Anonymous is running “antisec,” an operation that threatens government, law enforcement and corporations.

MoviePass Unlimited Admission Beta Hits a Roadblock

  • Last week ETCentric reported that a new service called MoviePass plans to offer unlimited movie viewing in participating theaters for a fee of $50/month. The initial beta was scheduled for the holiday weekend in San Francisco.
  • The planned beta test hit a roadblock when a number of San Francisco theaters decided not to participate since they did not consent to the admission price of the proposed model.
  • Interestingly, the theaters would still have been paid full admission.
  • From the AMC press release: “As MoviePass was created without AMC’s input and testing, we cannot confidently say the guest experience would be positive for our guests and specifically our AMC Stubs members.”

Google Misses Out on Nortel Patent Portfolio

  • Google missed out on the $4.5 billion auction for Nortel’s patents, losing to a consortium made up of Apple, Microsoft, EMC, Ericsson, RIM, and Sony.
  • Google’s loss of the patent portfolio puts its Android platform at a disadvantage, and the company will not have access to over 6,000 patents covering a range of technologies.
  • It has been reported that Google may respond with a Restraint of Trade suit in an attempt to force the consortium to license some or all of the patents.
  • The consortium’s participants will likely take key patents for their own use. For example, Apple’s $2 billion may give it ownership of Nortel’s LTE (4G) patents.

New Book on Tablet Impact: iPad in the Enterprise

  • In his new book, iPad in the Enterprise (available this August), Nathan Clevenger examines how the Apple iPad has started to transform the way enterprise IT departments are operating. Some interesting excerpts from the book are listed below.
  • “The day the iPad was introduced we had some discussions about adding them into our environment; 24 hours later, we had 500 devices accessing e-mails,” said Frank Modruson, the CIO of Accenture. “CIOs who resist will eventually be forced to change.”
  • “As we move forward into a world where cloud enabled networks are the norm,” says Art Glasgow, the CTO at Ingenix, “CIOs have to accept the fact that the world has changed. Any device at any time on the network will be the norm and it will have to be done without sacrificing security and manageability. Cool matters and usability rules the day so devices like the iPad have to be not just accounted for, but designed for. The good news is that devices like the iPad aren’t just cool. They are flexible, multifunction tools that are changing the way we work and create and in that sense may very well be not just an innovation themselves, but a catalyst to innovations.”

Senior RIM Exec Submits Open Letter to BlackBerry Management

  • An open letter to Research In Motion senior management reportedly written by a “high-level RIM employee” gives a frank description of what’s wrong and makes startling recommendations.
  • The letter starts with: “I have lost confidence.”
  • It suggests there is a need to focus on the end user instead of strategic alignments, partner requests or legal advice.
  • It also recommends focusing on a few projects as Apple had to do when Jobs returned — and calls for a “new, fresh thinking, experienced CEO.”
  • Developers, not carriers will “make or break us.” Also, reach out and get input from the employees.

Plizy: Cloud-Based Video Discovery and Recommendation Platform

  • Plizy is a new cloud-based discovery and recommendation platform for Internet video.
  • The company currently offers an iPad app and will soon roll out to other devices.
  • The app makes recommendations from 300 Web “channels” based on an individual’s video habits, interests and social graph.
  • It downloads content for later viewing where they have agreements with owners.
  • The company is signing deals with content owners for quality content.
  • “You can enjoy TED, YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, Facebook at the same place. And we are adding something new in the coming days, which is the ability to download some content, so you will be able to download TED videos [for example] and watch them on the plane or the bus or in a train. So we’re trying to push the experience, the discovery, and the access to the best content,” explains Jonathan Benassaya, founder and CEO of Plizy.

Video Gamers May Be the New Stars of Live Streaming

  • Videogaming events today attract hundreds of thousands of simultaneous streaming video viewers.
  • A recent “League of Legends” competition drew more than 200,000 simultaneous viewers, according to game provider (the Austria-based company has more than four million unique viewers per month).
  • 95 percent of the viewers watch in HD.
  • Early numbers suggest this is a global trend (only 15-18 percent are U.S. viewers).
  • Others are getting on board; live streaming provider created TwitchTV to offer e-sports as a live sporting event.

Yahoo Study: More People Watching Online Video During Primetime

  • According to a new study by Yahoo, people are watching more and longer videos during primetime.
  • Back in 2009, online viewing declined as more people watched video on their TVs.
  • More consumers are watching Netflix and Hulu during primetime, but short clips still comprise 74 percent of video viewed.
  • Viewers are more likely (57 percent) to watch video when presented with a related article.

Amazon Launches Ad Network in Partnership with Triggit

  • Amazon announced it is now selling ads using data it has collected from its shoppers.
  • “The e-commerce giant has started what is effectively an ad network where it buys Web advertising inventory and resells it to marketers at a premium.”
  • Amazon is using Demand Side Platform (DSP) technology from San Francisco-based ad tech company Triggit.
  • Its partnership with Triggit enables Amazon to track users with cookies and feed them a custom ad.
  • The approach has the potential to track the ad from the user to an actual purchase on Amazon.

UK Consortium Plans to Conduct White Space Radio Trial

  • A consortium in the United Kingdom that includes Microsoft, BT and the BBC will test a white space radio service in Cambridge to determine effectiveness and any possible interference with TV transmission.
  • White space radio has been proposed to complete the UK’s broadband coverage.
  • Data rates range from 10kbps to 16Mbps depending on distance from the base station.
  • UK could be covered with 6,000 base stations on existing cell towers and provide low bandwidth services.

Yahoo! Connected TV Claims 8 Million Devices and 140 Apps

  • Yahoo! Connected TV has over 140 apps and will be introducing the Y! Connected TV Store to sell apps on a 70/30 percent revenue sharing model.
  • Yahoo! made a widget development kit available that provides publishers the opportunity to build new apps.
  • The company is rolling out broadcast interactivity that tailors ads based on viewer interests.
  • Device control technology allows television interactivity with smartphones and tablets.
  • Watch in 2012 for the platform to appear in new TVs by Sony, Samsung, Toshiba, LG and Vizio.

WSJ Speaks with Bruce McConnell about Cybersecurity

  • Bruce McConnell is a senior cybersecurity official with the Department of Homeland Security.
  • He recently discussed how companies have a new focus on protecting their communications networks and databases – and what role the government should play in the effort to combat the theft of intellectual property.
  • Department of Homeland Security helps companies protect themselves.
  • It is providing defense companies with the same security as military networks.
  • Legislation is being proposed to require cybersecurity planning for critical-infrastructure companies.