Dish Chair Said to Approach DirecTV About Possible Merger

Insiders report that Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen recently contacted DirecTV CEO Mike White to discuss a potential merger of the two companies. DirecTV, the largest U.S. satellite TV operator, currently has about 20 million subscribers, while Dish, the No. 2 operator, has about 14 million. Ergen reportedly approached White in response to Comcast’s proposed $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable. However, White is said to be reluctant regarding formal talks out of concern that regulators would block a deal. Continue reading Dish Chair Said to Approach DirecTV About Possible Merger

Netflix CEO: Broadband Companies Should Interconnect for Free

In a blog post yesterday, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said that broadband providers should be required to connect their networks to major content providers (including Netflix) free of charge. Hastings issued a call for new rules that would prevent broadband providers like Comcast from charging content companies fees to connect directly to their networks (a practice referred to as “paid interconnection” or “paid peering”). Netflix recently struck such a deal with Comcast to improve its video service for subscribers. Continue reading Netflix CEO: Broadband Companies Should Interconnect for Free

Viacom and Google Resolve Copyright Litigation Over YouTube

The long-running legal battle between Viacom and Google over YouTube has been resolved. Viacom has been suing Google since 2007, arguing that the online video site violated copyrights. The two companies announced yesterday that they have settled out of court. Specific terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but people familiar with the matter suggest that both sides are now free to explore potential business partnerships, including the possibility of collaboration on advertising technology. Continue reading Viacom and Google Resolve Copyright Litigation Over YouTube

Judge Rules in Royalty Lawsuit Between Pandora and ASCAP

In somewhat anticlimactic fashion, the lengthy, dramatic battle regarding what digital music service Pandora should pay ASCAP ended Friday when U.S. District Judge Denise Cote ruled that Pandora should continue to pay the performing rights organization what it has been paying through 2015. Pandora had argued that it should pay less than the current 1.85 percent of revenue, while ASCAP had argued for an escalating rate structure that would require Pandora to pay 2.5 percent of revenue for 2013 and 3 percent in 2015. Continue reading Judge Rules in Royalty Lawsuit Between Pandora and ASCAP

TV Networks Battle Aereo, Gain Support of Justice Department

ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC filed a 59-page brief to the Supreme Court a few weeks ago that detailed how online video startup Aereo is stealing their programming and undermining the TV business model. The filing also noted that “a ruling against Aereo would pose no threat to innovative online-distribution services such as Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon,” since those services “pay for the right to use copyrighted content.” In a Supreme Court filing yesterday, the Justice Department backed the networks in their fight with Aereo. Continue reading TV Networks Battle Aereo, Gain Support of Justice Department

Comcast to Acquire Time Warner Cable in $45.2 Billion Deal

Comcast Corp. has agreed to purchase Time Warner Cable in an all-stock deal worth about $45.2 billion, in a move that will combine the top two U.S. cable operators. The boards of both companies have approved the proposed deal. The announcement likely marks the conclusion of an eight-month takeover battle waged by cable operator Charter Communications and its largest shareholder, Liberty Media. However, the proposed transaction is expected to face lengthy regulatory review. Continue reading Comcast to Acquire Time Warner Cable in $45.2 Billion Deal

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

NSA Creates Website and Games to Educate Young Children

In a mission to make government agencies more understandable to children, and the general public, the National Security Agency has created a website filled with interactive games, cartoon characters and puzzles. The goal is to educate children about spying, and spark an early interest in related career paths. The CryptoKids website for “future codemakers and codebreakers” is aimed to make these occupations seem cool, and even has a section entitled “How Can I Work for NSA?” Continue reading NSA Creates Website and Games to Educate Young Children

Two LA TV Stations Test Channel Sharing to Free Up Spectrum

KLCS and KJLA in Los Angeles will be the first television stations to participate in a pilot test to determine if sharing airwaves can be achieved effectively without reducing signal quality. Since the conversion to digital broadcasting, stations have been able to use their spectrum allotment of six megahertz more efficiently and broadcast multiple signals on a single band. The FCC hopes the experiment will encourage broadcasters to participate in spectrum auctions so that more airwaves can be used for wireless broadband. Continue reading Two LA TV Stations Test Channel Sharing to Free Up Spectrum

Some Question Stealth Marketing Approach for the Xbox One

While the distinction between paid advertising and editorial content online can sometimes seem blurred, it was recently suggested that Microsoft was paying Machinima partners to post videos featuring the Xbox One. Machinima’s UK community manager revealed in a tweet (that is now deleted) that video partners were receiving an additional $3 per thousand views for videos featuring the Xbox One. In a related story, Electronic Arts is said to be taking a similar approach with its Ronku program. Continue reading Some Question Stealth Marketing Approach for the Xbox One

FCC Scheduled to Begin Wireless Airwaves Auctions This Week

The Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to conduct its first major auction of wireless airwaves in six years today. Telecom analysts at New Street Research estimate that national wireless carriers AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile — along with satellite TV operator Dish Network — will spend at least $46 billion on spectrum over the next two years in a series of auctions. Next year, the government plans to sell coveted spectrum in the 600 megahertz band, used by TV stations, to be resold for wireless use. Continue reading FCC Scheduled to Begin Wireless Airwaves Auctions This Week

Tech Companies Hopeful for Change in NSA Disclosure Policy

President Barack Obama spoke about the National Security Agency last week at the Department of Justice in Washington. The President touched on allowing technology companies to disclose information to the public about the kinds of data the government requests from them. However, he did not address issues such as secret government taps on data centers located overseas and encryption standards, two issues of particular interest to technology and phone companies. Continue reading Tech Companies Hopeful for Change in NSA Disclosure Policy

Apple will Modify App Purchases with More Parental Control

The Federal Trade Commission announced on Wednesday that Apple has agreed to better enforce parental approval of purchases from the company’s App Store. Apple will also refund at least $32.5 million to parents whose children made purchases without their consent. Apple settled a related class-action lawsuit last year, but the FTC said that the problem continued after the settlement, so Apple has agreed to further modify its practices. Continue reading Apple will Modify App Purchases with More Parental Control

Verizon v. FCC: Federal Appeals Court Rules on Net Neutrality

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has struck down segments of the FCC’s Open Internet rules. Ruling on Verizon v. FCC yesterday, the court has determined that the Federal Communications Commission does not have the power to require Internet service providers to treat all traffic equally. And broadband providers are free to charge companies such as Netflix and Google higher fees to deliver content faster, a cost which would likely be passed on to consumers. Continue reading Verizon v. FCC: Federal Appeals Court Rules on Net Neutrality

Open Auto Alliance: Google Plans to Bring Android to Vehicles

Google announced on Monday a partnership with several automobile manufacturers and chipmaker NVIDIA to deliver the Android operating system to the connected car this year. The Open Auto Alliance (OAA), which includes General Motors, Audi, Honda and Hyundai, “is dedicated to a common platform that will drive innovation, and make technology in the car safer and more intuitive for everyone.” The group plans to develop an ecosystem that spans across vehicles and mobile devices. Continue reading Open Auto Alliance: Google Plans to Bring Android to Vehicles

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