Carriers and Smartphone Makers Commit to Anti-Theft Tech

Last week, the five largest U.S. cellular carriers and leading smartphone makers announced a voluntary commitment to add new anti-theft tech to devices being released next year. Supporting companies include Apple, Google, HTC, Huawei, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia and Samsung. The commitment means that devices sold after July 2015 will have the ability to allow users to wipe data remotely, and prevent the device from being reactivated without permission from the owner. Continue reading Carriers and Smartphone Makers Commit to Anti-Theft Tech

Plans For Future Google Contact Lenses Include Micro Camera

Google has invented a new camera component to integrate into its future Google Glass-related smart contact lenses. These sophisticated lenses will allow users to control a tiny camera using the owner’s blinking patterns. The embedded camera will be able to capture and process an image to perform local functions in the contact lenses or on a remote device. This new technology may also be able to provide on-the-spot facial recognition or help blind people see. Continue reading Plans For Future Google Contact Lenses Include Micro Camera

TV Networks Consider Plan B Options if Court Sides with Aereo

Television broadcasters, which are suing for an injunction to shut down Aereo, are also said to be considering back-up plans in case the Supreme Court rules in favor of the video startup. Options being considered range from lobbying Congress for legislative solutions to possibly transitioning from broadcast to cable transmission. Broadcasters such as ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC contend that Aereo is violating copyright law by capturing over-the-air signals and streaming them via the Web to paying customers. Continue reading TV Networks Consider Plan B Options if Court Sides with Aereo

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

Poll Suggests Consumers More Cautious Online Post Snowden

According to a new survey from Harris Interactive, a significant number of consumers are being more careful with online activities in the year since Edward Snowden revealed information about NSA phone and Internet surveillance. Among the poll’s findings, Harris learned that 33 percent of those 18 to 34 said they were doing less online shopping, 29 percent of people in the same age group said they had reduced online banking activity, and 24 percent of overall respondents explained they were “less inclined to use email.”

Continue reading Poll Suggests Consumers More Cautious Online Post Snowden

FCC Rejects Netflix Plea for Expanded Net Neutrality Rules

The Federal Communications Commission explained that it does not plan to support the request made by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to expand net neutrality rules in order to regulate how companies connect across the infrastructure of the Internet. Hastings had asked the FCC to consider an approach that would not require companies like Netflix to pay additional fees to service providers such as Comcast for special connections that help ensure customers can access video without problems. Continue reading FCC Rejects Netflix Plea for Expanded Net Neutrality Rules

CreativeFuture: Coalition Looks at Solutions to Online Piracy

Independent film executive Ruth Vitale — who has held positions at New Line Cinema, Paramount Classics and First Look Studios — was recently named executive director of CreativeFuture, a coalition of movie and television producers, unions and companies that is aiming to steer Hollywood’s digital future. After tech giants convinced Congress that proposed antipiracy laws were too restrictive of online freedom, the film and television industries remain threatened by online piracy. CreativeFuture hopes to change that. Continue reading CreativeFuture: Coalition Looks at Solutions to Online Piracy

Will Networks Consider Cable or OTT Service to Combat Aereo?

CBS Chief Executive Officer Les Moonves said the network would consider launching its own over-the-top streaming TV service with other leading television networks if the Supreme Court rules that New York-based startup Aereo is allowed to continue reselling broadcast programming over the Internet without permission. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the Aereo case later this year. “We are going to win either way,” Moonves said. Continue reading Will Networks Consider Cable or OTT Service to Combat Aereo?

AT&T Will Lower Internet Prices if FCC Ends Net Neutrality

At the FCC’s “Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet” proceeding on Friday, AT&T said it will lower its Internet prices if the FCC allows Internet service providers to charge websites such as Netflix for faster delivery of content. In the wake of a court decision vacating the FCC’s net neutrality rules against charging for preferential treatment, the Commission opened a proceeding with hopes of writing new rules that achieve similar goals. AT&T is asking for rules that explicitly allow ISPs to charge for special access.

Continue reading AT&T Will Lower Internet Prices if FCC Ends Net Neutrality

Billy Chasen Shutters Turntable.fm, Launches New Social App

Turntable.fm founder Billy Chasen announced that the service is officially closing, “ending one of the most compelling experiments in music discovery to ever hit the Web,” suggests The Verge. Chasen attempted to play by the rules, paying every time a song was streamed, which eventually proved to be too expensive. He believes that the music industry is stifling innovation and digital startups. For his next venture, Chasen is going social with Ketchup, a free app he launched last month. Continue reading Billy Chasen Shutters Turntable.fm, Launches New Social App

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

President Appears on Funny or Die Web Show to Mixed Reviews

President Obama’s appearance on Zach Galifianakis’s Web series “Between Two Ferns” has sparked some controversy. Obama’s plan was to inform young adults about the Affordable Care Act. The video received over 3 million views within the first few hours after going live, and HealthCare.gov generated a 40 percent increase in visitors. However, some are unimpressed by the president’s appearance on unconventional media, and believe he should spend his time doing more important things. Continue reading President Appears on Funny or Die Web Show to Mixed Reviews

Aereo: Internet TV Service on Hold in Denver and Salt Lake City

TV startup Aereo has temporarily shut down its service in Denver and Salt Lake City. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit refused to overturn a preliminary injunction granted by a Utah District Court judge that prohibits Aereo from operating in Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming. Aereo is issuing full refunds for this month to customers in the two cities. Despite the setback, Aereo continues its expansion with a recent launch in Austin, Texas one week before the SXSW conference. Continue reading Aereo: Internet TV Service on Hold in Denver and Salt Lake City

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

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