Apple Quietly Acquires Startup BookLamp: Pandora for Books

Over the weekend news broke that Apple has acquired BookLamp to expand its ebook offerings and better compete with Amazon. The Boise, Idaho-based startup is best known for developing big data-style book analytics services, which could be used by Apple for new iBooks features. BookLamp’s e-reading recommendation service is sometimes referred to as the “Pandora for books.” According to one source, Apple is paying more than $10 million for the startup’s tech and employees. Continue reading Apple Quietly Acquires Startup BookLamp: Pandora for Books

Amazon Faces FTC Lawsuit Over Children’s In-App Purchases

The Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit against Amazon, accusing the online retailer of allowing children to make unauthorized purchases in its app store. The lawsuit comes after the company refused a proposed settlement that would have refunded customers and made changes to the app store. The FTC believes Amazon needs to require passwords for consumers to buy products, make purchase notices more prominent, and make refunds easier and simpler. Continue reading Amazon Faces FTC Lawsuit Over Children’s In-App Purchases

Supreme Court Allows Case Against Google’s Mapping Project

Google has been sued for violating federal wiretapping laws by collecting personal data as part of its Street View project. The Supreme Court rejected to hear Google’s appeal regarding the class action lawsuit for secretly collecting email, passwords, and other personal info for the mapping project. The case will go forward in the lower court as Google maintains its innocence. The case highlights a rising public push for protection of privacy over data usage for commercial gain. Continue reading Supreme Court Allows Case Against Google’s Mapping Project

Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo in Favor of Broadcasters

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of broadcasters in a decision that could have far-reaching implications for the media industry. The court found that online video startup Aereo violated copyright law by allowing its subscribers to watch and record over-the-air broadcasts from electronic devices via a system of miniature antennas. Broadcasters including ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC have been battling Aereo, arguing that the startup was accessing their programming without authorization. Continue reading Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo in Favor of Broadcasters

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

Streaming Delay Messages: Verizon Threatens to Sue Netflix

Last week it was reported that Netflix had begun posting on-screen messages blaming Verizon for congestion that was slowing video streams. While Netflix claims the message was simply one step in notifying customers about how an ISP can impact the viewing experience, Verizon described the move as “a PR stunt” and suggested the message “is not only inaccurate, it is deliberately misleading.” Later in the week, Verizon sent a cease and desist letter to Netflix. Continue reading Streaming Delay Messages: Verizon Threatens to Sue Netflix

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

Aereo Supreme Court Case Could Upend Cloud Computing

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the Aereo case that could cause legal implications for cloud computing businesses such as Dropbox and Google, especially if remote storage and data transmission are classified as “public performance.” Broadcasters accuse the Internet startup Aereo of violating copyright laws by using antennas to stream over-the-air broadcasts to paid subscribers. Justices will determine if Aereo’s service is “public performance” that requires permission. Continue reading Aereo Supreme Court Case Could Upend Cloud Computing

Labels File Copyright Suit Against Pandora Under State Law

Major record labels Sony, Universal and Warner Music, along with indie label ABKCO, filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan last week, claiming that streaming music service Pandora is violating New York’s common-law copyright protections by using songs recorded prior to 1972 without licenses. The suit acknowledges that older songs are not protected under federal copyright, but contends that Pandora needs permission to use them under state law. Continue reading Labels File Copyright Suit Against Pandora Under State Law

General Mills Reverses Change to Legal Terms After Backlash

General Mills expanded its privacy policy last week to require that all disputes be resolved through arbitration or informal negotiation. According to the change to its legal terms, consumers who engage in online interactions such as downloading coupons, liking the brand’s Facebook page, or entering a company-sponsored sweepstakes would give up their right to sue. Due to public outrage over the changes, General Mills announced over the weekend it was voiding those terms. Continue reading General Mills Reverses Change to Legal Terms After Backlash

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

Maker Studios Says Disney Offer Approved by Shareholders

Maker Studios announced that Disney’s offer to acquire the YouTube multichannel network (MCN) has been approved by a majority of its shareholders, despite Relativity Media throwing its hat in the ring with a surprise bid of $1.1 billion (mostly stock) on Sunday. Also, the Superior Court for the State of California in L.A. yesterday rejected a request by former Maker executives, including former CEO Danny Zappin, seeking to block the shareholder vote on the proposed Disney acquisition. Continue reading Maker Studios Says Disney Offer Approved by Shareholders

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

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