Studios and Music Labels File Lawsuits Against Megaupload

Major film studios — including 20th Century Fox, Disney, Paramount, Universal, Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros. — have filed a civil lawsuit against the now defunct entertainment website Megaupload and its founder, Kim Dotcom. The studios claim that visitors to the Hong Kong-based site illegally downloaded thousands of copyrighted works. Damages could reach a maximum of $150,000 for each infringement. In addition, four music labels filed a similar lawsuit yesterday. Continue reading Studios and Music Labels File Lawsuits Against Megaupload

Piracy Makes its Way to Smartphones, Industry Fights Back

Many smartphone owners use file-sharing apps or online storage sites to store their free music downloads and listen on their phones. According to a new study from researcher NPD Group, 21 million people in the United States downloaded at least one unauthorized song in the past year. Apps have made it even easier for people to access music for free, even though most of them provide users with the same free music that would be found through an Internet search. Continue reading Piracy Makes its Way to Smartphones, Industry Fights Back

QuizUp Social Trivia App Draws More Than Twelve Million Users

Icelandic startup Plain Vanilla Games announced that the recently released Android version of its QuizUp trivia app drew one million downloads in the week after its launch, and is now averaging about 100,000 new registered users per day. The iOS version launched four months earlier and has attracted more than 10 million users. QuizUp pits users against friends and strangers worldwide, testing general knowledge across topics such as sports, TV, movies, music, books, science, geography and history. Continue reading QuizUp Social Trivia App Draws More Than Twelve Million Users

Sony Plans Original TV Series for PlayStation Gaming Console

Sony has plans to offer original series through its PlayStation gaming console, in an effort to expand its media offerings beyond video games. The move is separate from the company’s planned online pay TV service, and part of a larger push to broaden the appeal of the device in the living room. PlayStation users already have access to streaming services and digital downloads of TV shows and movies. The first original will be a one-hour supernatural drama series called “Powers,” produced by Sony Pictures Television. Continue reading Sony Plans Original TV Series for PlayStation Gaming Console

Amazon STB Expected to Be a Dongle That Also Streams Games

The long-rumored Amazon set-top box, an expected rival to Roku and Apple TV, is reportedly going to be produced by Lab126 and take the form of a dongle or stick similar to Google’s Chromecast. Amazon’s device could also compete with game consoles such as the Xbox and PlayStation, as it is expected to support streaming for full PC game titles. Streaming games could provide Amazon with a competitive advantage over rivals in the STB space and, if bundled as an Amazon Prime member benefit, could help justify its subscription cost increase. Continue reading Amazon STB Expected to Be a Dongle That Also Streams Games

Amazon Prime Bumped to $99, Retailer Considers Music Service

Insiders say that Amazon is hoping to introduce an on-demand music-streaming service for its growing number of Amazon Prime customers. While the company has negotiated with record companies and music publishers in regards to licensing, financial terms are said to remain an obstacle. The music service is expected to be one of several new possible features the company may bundle with Prime as it raises the annual membership fee from $79 to as much as $119. Amazon already announced a $20 increase to take effect in April. Continue reading Amazon Prime Bumped to $99, Retailer Considers Music Service

SXSW: Neil Young Launches Kickstarter Campaign for PonoMusic

Legendary musician Neil Young, the featured speaker on the eve of South by Southwest Music, introduced PonoMusic, his new high resolution audio ecosystem, to a capacity crowd in Austin, Texas. Only four hours earlier, he launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, which raised more than 50 percent of its fundraising goal before he appeared onstage. The mission of PonoMusic is to bring the highest-quality music to discerning consumers who want to experience music the way the artists intended. Continue reading SXSW: Neil Young Launches Kickstarter Campaign for PonoMusic

CeBIT 2014: Germany and Britain Plan to Develop 5G Broadband

Great Britain struck a major deal with Germany at the CeBIT 2014 trade fair to co-develop a 5G Internet service fast enough to download a movie in less than a second. German and British universities will work together on the project. Speaking at the tech summit in Hannover, Germany, British Prime Minister David Cameron said that his country risks being left behind if it does not develop ultra-fast broadband. He also announced a major investment in a grant fund and research and development for the Internet of Things. Continue reading CeBIT 2014: Germany and Britain Plan to Develop 5G Broadband

Digital Video Content Not a Replacement for TV Programming

According to a new Consumer Electronics Association study, 79 percent of online U.S. adults obtain the video content they watch from traditional TV providers, although a significant number of viewers are turning to other sources. Online video streaming is most common with consumers ages 18-34. However, traditional TV viewing remains consistent for most age groups, suggesting that online services are being used as a supplement rather than a replacement of traditional programming. Continue reading Digital Video Content Not a Replacement for TV Programming

Google Takes On Broadband Giants with Fiber Expansion Plans

Google is looking to expand its fiber network to compete with cable operators that currently dominate the broadband market. Google is in talks with 34 cities in nine areas, such as Atlanta, Nashville, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and Portland, Oregon. Google’s new network is currently offered in Kansas City and Provo, and is expanding into the Austin, Texas area. Google Fiber provides download speeds of up to 1 GB per second for $70 per month. Continue reading Google Takes On Broadband Giants with Fiber Expansion Plans

LTE Advanced: Qualcomm Demos Blazing Download Speeds

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, Qualcomm demonstrated the next generation of 4G LTE, called LTE Advanced Category 6, which produces download speeds of 300Mpbs. This technology will be integrated into Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 805 processor, which will be used in next-gen Android tablets. The technology is already being used for networks in South Korea, mainly due to interest from broadcasters who want to use it for delivering 4K TV. Continue reading LTE Advanced: Qualcomm Demos Blazing Download Speeds

UFC Discusses Its Big-Data Strategy at the HPA Tech Retreat

The HPA Tech Retreat was in full swing on Tuesday, and one of the most intriguing presentations was a case study in the use of Big Data, given by Christy King, VP digital technology and R&D at the Ultimate Fighting Championship. King, co-presenting with journalist Deborah McAdams of TV Technology outlined the methods that UFC employs to collect and analyze data about its fans and viewers, including how they use that data to make decisions about marketing and expansion. Continue reading UFC Discusses Its Big-Data Strategy at the HPA Tech Retreat

Android: Justice Department Fight Against Piracy Goes Mobile

For the first time, federal prosecutors are targeting people who have illegally distributed pirated versions of apps for Google’s Android operating system. Numerous individuals are currently under investigation, and four men from Oregon and Florida have been charged with copyright crimes. The Justice Department is pursuing criminal charges, rather than going the traditional route with cease-and-desist letters from copyright holders or civil suits, in order to send a strong message to deter piracy. Continue reading Android: Justice Department Fight Against Piracy Goes Mobile

Gartner Predicts Future of Mobile Apps, Cognizant Computing

In a few years’ time, apps will become one of the most popular tools among consumers around the world for computing. Research group Gartner predicts that by 2017, mobile apps will be downloaded more than 268 billion times and that each individual user will provide data to more than 100 apps daily. This usage is estimated to generate about $77 billion in global revenue. And by 2015, cognizant computing will be key to enabling smart home functions. Continue reading Gartner Predicts Future of Mobile Apps, Cognizant Computing

BitTorrent Offers Hollywood Bundle Options for Promo Content

BitTorrent is making efforts to appeal to Hollywood — and help generate legitimate revenue — by offering studios and artists the opportunity to sell and distribute their material in Bundles as a way to entice customers to buy the full content on iTunes or other similar services. BitTorrent Bundles has already teamed up with Lady Gaga, Madonna and Vice Media to launch promotional content including photos, trailers, videos, songs and other extras. Continue reading BitTorrent Offers Hollywood Bundle Options for Promo Content