Aereo Not Opposing Broadcasters’ Pursuit of Judicial Review

In the ongoing battle against broadcasters, Chet Kanojia, head of cloud-based DVR company Aereo said in a statement the company would “not oppose the broadcasters’ petition for certiorari before the United States Supreme Court.” If the Court decides to hear the case in 2014, Aereo could possibly benefit from freed-up resources to expand nationwide. As is, broadcasters’ stand on cloud-based services by Google, Amazon and Apple could threaten those services’ very existence. Continue reading Aereo Not Opposing Broadcasters’ Pursuit of Judicial Review

Wireless Telcos Adhere to FCC’s Request to Unlock Phones

Wireless telcos Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular have agreed to the FCC’s demands to unlock subscribers’ phones. The Commission’s chairman Tom Wheeler gave the providers the ultimatum to unlock phones or face regulation, and now they — along with CTIA – The Wireless Association — have complied, agreeing to meet requirements within a year. They’re recommending the policies be incorporated in the association’s Consumer Code for Wireless Service. Continue reading Wireless Telcos Adhere to FCC’s Request to Unlock Phones

IHS Says More Than 70 Percent of U.S. Homes Have Broadband

According to a new Broadband Media Intelligence report by IHS, 86.1 million U.S. households had broadband Internet access at the middle of 2013. That figure represents a 70.2 percent penetration of American households. IHS estimates a 71.3 percent penetration by the end of the year, up from 69.6 percent the previous year. IHS also forecasts coverage will reach 74.1 percent by 2017 (about 94.7 million homes). Cable is currently the leading mode of access. Continue reading IHS Says More Than 70 Percent of U.S. Homes Have Broadband

Tech Firms Step Up Efforts on Digital Counter Surveillance

The “Snowden Effect” has caused a ripple among major tech companies trying to assure consumers that their personal information is secure and protected in data centers. Following the surveillance revelations by Edward Snowden, the question on everyone’s mind is whether their private and confidential data has been secured from prying eyes online. A number of companies, concerned by the National Security Agency’s actions, are working to protect their customers’ data.

Continue reading Tech Firms Step Up Efforts on Digital Counter Surveillance

House Passes Innovation Act: Enough to Save Patent System?

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Innovation Act yesterday, a bill that intends to help reform the troubled American patent system. The bill, which passed by a vote of 325-91 with bipartisan support, will now go to the Senate (where it expects to pass), and then to the White House. Supporters hope the bill will save the current patent system plagued by low-quality patents and trolls, while others suggest it is merely a small solution for a much bigger problem. Continue reading House Passes Innovation Act: Enough to Save Patent System?

Settlement: Hotfile to Pay $80 Million and Cease Operations

Prominent file-sharing cyberlocker Hotfile has agreed to shut down and pay $80 million in a settlement with the Motion Picture Association of America. The move follows an August decision by a federal judge in Florida who agreed with the MPAA that Hotfile did not qualify for safe harbor protection under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. The settlement was initiated in order to avoid a jury trial that was scheduled to begin this week. Continue reading Settlement: Hotfile to Pay $80 Million and Cease Operations

Hollywood Executives Discuss Piracy with President Obama

Entertainment media execs met with President Obama this week to discuss including copyright protections in new trade agreements and help in facilitating improved relations between Hollywood and Silicon Valley. During the meeting, the president offered his administration’s assistance in bridging the divide between the two industries. A priority in Hollywood is to stop search engines from linking to websites that stream pirated content. Continue reading Hollywood Executives Discuss Piracy with President Obama

Patent Battle: Samsung to Pay Apple $930 Million in Damages

A 15-month smartphone patent dispute between Apple and Samsung came to an end when a federal jury in California ordered Samsung to pay Apple $290 million in damages for infringing on five of Apple’s patents with 13 of its own devices. The ruling was part of a retrial of the patent dispute. In addition to the $640 million already owed by Samsung to Apple from the original award, the company now owes a total of $930 million. Continue reading Patent Battle: Samsung to Pay Apple $930 Million in Damages

Barry Diller Predicts Increase in Number of Aereo Subscribers

Aereo-backer Barry Diller has stated that the online service may grow to the point that 35 percent of U.S. households subscribe. However, this is largely contingent upon the service’s ability to overcome the legal challenges it currently faces from broadcasters. Individuals in their mid- to late-twenties aren’t highly inclined to pay $100 per month for TV cable packages, rendering Aereo’s $8 package highly attractive, according to Diller. Continue reading Barry Diller Predicts Increase in Number of Aereo Subscribers

NFL and MLB: If Aereo Not Challenged, Sports May Go to Cable

The National Football League and Major League Baseball are trying to convince the Supreme Court to grant broadcasters’ petition to challenge Aereo, a startup that enables unauthorized streaming of local broadcast signals. The NFL and MLB filed an amicus brief that suggests that if Aereo is not challenged, sports programming will likely switch over to cable. Broadcasters assert that Aereo undermines their ability to collect retransmission fees. Continue reading NFL and MLB: If Aereo Not Challenged, Sports May Go to Cable

Notorious Markets List: MPAA Points Out Global Piracy Sites

Following last month’s report by major Hollywood studios stating that 82 percent of infringing URLS that point to pirate sites and torrent files come from Google’s search engine, the Motion Picture Association of America has released a list of major worldwide torrenting sites, cyberblockers, and brick-and-mortar marketplaces. The MPAA is not creating this list to facilitate piracy, but rather to raise awareness in an effort to combat it. Continue reading Notorious Markets List: MPAA Points Out Global Piracy Sites

Cable Companies Consider Aereo-Like Services to Bypass Fees

In response to the ongoing legal battles involving startup Aereo and the potential disruption regarding pay TV, companies including DirecTV, Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications are reportedly considering the idea of capturing free broadcast TV signals to avoid paying significant retransmission fees, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. Major broadcasters have also stated they would consider a conversion to cable if Aereo stays in business. Continue reading Cable Companies Consider Aereo-Like Services to Bypass Fees

The Debate Over Mass NSA Surveillance Comes to Hollywood

The debate over National Security Agency surveillance tactics has come to Hollywood. Industry heavyweights such as Oliver Stone, Maggie Gyllenhaal and John Cusack appear in a new video alongside Representative John Conyers Jr. (D-Michigan), Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig, military analyst Daniel Ellsberg, advocates and government whistle-blowers. The video addresses civil liberties, the right to privacy, and calls for bringing an end to mass NSA surveillance. Continue reading The Debate Over Mass NSA Surveillance Comes to Hollywood

Victory for Hollywood Studios: Court Rules Against isoHunt

The Motion Picture Association of America announced that the file sharing search engine isoHunt is shutting down and will pay movie studios 110 million dollars in damages. The search engine has been fighting with studios since 2006, but is finally reaching its demise due to a court ruling that says it enables users to pirate copyrighted works. The site enables users to find files on peer-to-peer networks utilizing BitTorrent file sharing software.

Continue reading Victory for Hollywood Studios: Court Rules Against isoHunt

Microsoft’s Mundie Sees DRM as Protection for Personal Data

Craig Mundie, senior advisor to Microsoft’s CEO, is proposing that a form of digital rights management can be used to secure personal data. He believes it is vital, since people do not currently have a method to ensure that the data they share will not be misused. However, DRM has been ineffective at preventing some illegal copying of media files. And many companies may oppose the idea as they require access to personal data for their businesses. Continue reading Microsoft’s Mundie Sees DRM as Protection for Personal Data

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