German Court Rules That Amazon Dash Button Violates Law

A regional court in Munich recently ruled that Amazon’s click-to-purchase Dash buttons for Prime members violate German consumer protection legislation. Based on the contention that the thumb-sized, adhesive Dash buttons do not always provide the latest pricing information, the court ordered Amazon to halt taking purchase orders through the Wi-Fi-connected devices. The decision follows a case brought against Amazon by a German consumer protection watchdog group that says it took action after fielding complaints by consumers. Germany is Amazon’s second largest market. Continue reading German Court Rules That Amazon Dash Button Violates Law

Univision Outbids Ziff Davis, Buys Gawker in $135 Million Deal

TV network and digital publisher Univision will purchase Gawker Media for $135 million, a deal that includes all seven of the blog network’s sites, including Jezebel, Deadspin and Gawker.com. The only other bidder in the auction, Internet publisher Ziff Davis, originally offered $90 million. “I am pleased that our employees are protected and will continue their work under new ownership — disentangled from the legal campaign against the company,” said Gawker Media owner Nick Denton. “We could not have picked an acquirer more devoted to vibrant journalism.” Continue reading Univision Outbids Ziff Davis, Buys Gawker in $135 Million Deal

Fantasy Sports May Return to New York if Governor Signs Bill

The New York legislature passed a bill over the weekend that would legalize and regulate fantasy sports in the state. Last fall, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said daily fantasy sports are a violation of state gambling laws; courts then ruled to shut down DraftKings and FanDuel. The new decision could impact the industry’s ongoing efforts “to pass bills in statehouses that would validate its contention the practice isn’t gambling and shouldn’t be subject to state gambling bans or other restrictions,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “The industry has won passage of bills in Indiana, Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri and Colorado, but it has lost battles in several other states.” Continue reading Fantasy Sports May Return to New York if Governor Signs Bill

Appeals Court Rules for Vimeo in Copyright Infringement Case

In a blow to record companies — and a win for Internet service providers, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York yesterday ruled that Vimeo cannot be held liable for copyright infringement if the video-sharing site unknowingly hosts older music that was uploaded by users. In addition, the court ruled that it is not enough to prove Vimeo ignored infringement if company employees had watched videos containing copyrighted sound recordings. The case, which centered on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), was being watched closely by Silicon Valley. Continue reading Appeals Court Rules for Vimeo in Copyright Infringement Case

Judge Rules Against Netflix Bid to Offer Relativity Films Early

Netflix had been fighting to stream two movies produced by Relativity Media ahead of their planned theatrical releases, but a judge on Friday issued an order preventing Netflix from doing so. According to Judge Michael Wiles of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, an early release of the comedy “Masterminds” and horror film “The Disappointments Room” could be “devastating” for Relativity, the studio he recently released from chapter 11. Ruling in favor of Netflix “would threaten the bankruptcy process… with devastating consequences to the plan and distributions” to creditors, the judge said. Continue reading Judge Rules Against Netflix Bid to Offer Relativity Films Early

Broadcasters Offered Final Approval of Auction of Aereo Assets

Aereo, the controversial startup that captured over-the-air cable TV without paying licensing fees and allowed subscribers to watch the content on multiple devices, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November. A bankruptcy court in New York has approved the dismantling of the company, with its assets to be auctioned to the highest bidder. The auction is scheduled for February 24, and the broadcasters that initially complained about Aereo’s business model will have two weeks to decide whether they approve of any sales. Continue reading Broadcasters Offered Final Approval of Auction of Aereo Assets

Verizon Will Not Sue FCC Over Net Neutrality, Despite History

Verizon now says it will not sue the Federal Communications Commission over net neutrality rules as long as broadband providers are not reclassified as utilities. However, Verizon did sue the FCC (and won) the last time net neutrality rules were introduced, which is one reason the FCC is presently considering reclassifying broadband. “We are going to be sued,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler last week. In response, Verizon EVP Randal Milch e-mailed that Verizon would not sue if the FCC uses Section 706. Continue reading Verizon Will Not Sue FCC Over Net Neutrality, Despite History

Despite Blockades, The Pirate Bay’s Numbers Are Increasing

The Pirate Bay’s visitor count has doubled since 2011 despite repeated attempts to block the website. Courts around the world and entertainment industries have pushed for Internet providers to block subscriber access. Meanwhile, about 9 percent of the site’s users connect to it through a proxy, showing that some people are willing to bypass court-ordered blockades. The numbers do not prove that blockades are ineffective, however, since the increased traffic could be from different countries. Continue reading Despite Blockades, The Pirate Bay’s Numbers Are Increasing

Apple’s Settlement in E-Book Case Will Likely Pay Consumers

Apple has ended its civil class-action lawsuit over the price of e-books with a settlement that is worth an estimated $100-$300 million. Last year, a federal judge ruled that Apple broke antitrust laws by driving up the prices of e-books in cooperation with five major U.S. publishers. If Apple’s appeal of last year’s case is unsuccessful, the tech giant may be paying out millions to e-book customers. The terms of the settlement also cancel a damages trial set for July. Continue reading Apple’s Settlement in E-Book Case Will Likely Pay Consumers

NSA Turns to Web Images for Facial Recognition Programs

According to top-secret 2011 documents released by Edward Snowden, the NSA is collecting online images of people for its facial recognition programs. As estimated in the documents, the agency intercepts about 55,000 images that have facial-recognition quality. Civil liberties advocates are concerned that these technologies could result in an invasion of privacy. However, neither privacy nor surveillance laws protect against the government’s use of facial images. Continue reading NSA Turns to Web Images for Facial Recognition Programs

Apple Requests Order to Block Sale of Some Samsung Phones

In the wake of a recent jury verdict that Samsung had infringed upon three of its patents, Apple is now seeking a sales ban in the U.S. on some older models of Samsung’s smartphones. The move also follows an agreement between Apple and Google’s Motorola Mobility unit to dismiss patent litigation against each other. However, according to papers filed in a California court, Apple is not looking for such a resolution with Samsung, but has requested a retrial to increase the amount awarded earlier this month and impose a sales ban. Continue reading Apple Requests Order to Block Sale of Some Samsung Phones

Kaleidescape Settles 10-Year Legal Battle with the DVD CCA

DVD server manufacturer Kaleidescape has ended its lengthy legal battle with the DVD Copy Control Association (DVD CCA), the not-for-profit organization that governs copyright protection of DVDs. The organization sued Kaleidescape in 2004 for creating DVD servers that encourage users to illegally rip copyrighted movies. Shortly after a joint notice of settlement was filed, the Superior Court of California, Santa Clara, noted a “voluntary dismissal” of the case, and determined on Monday, “Case complete.” Continue reading Kaleidescape Settles 10-Year Legal Battle with the DVD CCA

Apple and Google End Patent Battle, Agree to Work on Reform

Apple and Google have agreed to drop all lawsuits between the two tech giants. According to a joint statement, there is no cross-licensing agreement as part of the truce, but the companies would work in “some areas of patent reform.” The announcement effectively ends about 20 lawsuits and covers Apple’s patent litigation with Google’s Motorola unit, which started four years ago and Google later inherited when it purchased Motorola Mobility. However, the deal does not affect Apple’s patent litigation against Samsung. Continue reading Apple and Google End Patent Battle, Agree to Work on Reform

Net Neutrality: FCC Votes in Favor of Advancing Web Proposal

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 yesterday in favor of moving forward with proposed rules that would allow broadband providers to charge individual companies extra for preferential handling of online traffic. The ongoing debate has divided tech companies regarding the best path to keeping the Internet open. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal would ban providers from blocking or slowing sites, but leaves open the possibility of deals for access to so-called “fast lanes.” Continue reading Net Neutrality: FCC Votes in Favor of Advancing Web Proposal

Samsung Ordered to Pay Apple $119.6 Million in Patent Case

Apple won a minor victory in its ongoing software patent dispute with Samsung Friday when a federal court jury decided that some Samsung devices infringed on two Apple patents. As a result, Samsung was ordered to pay Apple $119.6 million in damages. However, the jury also found that Samsung did not infringe on two other patents in question, and Apple would not receive the $2.2 billion it was seeking. The jury also awarded Samsung $158,400, the result of Apple infringing on a Samsung patent. Continue reading Samsung Ordered to Pay Apple $119.6 Million in Patent Case

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