Broadcast Networks Hope to Stop Aereokiller DC Expansion

Fox, NBC, ABC and Allbritton Communications have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington against Aereokiller, to block the streaming startup from expanding its service to the nation’s capital. Founded by FilmOn’s Alki David, Aereokiller gets its name from Barry Diller-backed Aereo. Last week we reported that David agreed to change his company name in order to settle a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by Aereo. Continue reading Broadcast Networks Hope to Stop Aereokiller DC Expansion

Phone Companies Begin Selling Customer Data to Marketers

Major phone companies have begun selling data related to their subscribers’ locations, travels, interests and Web browsing habits. The availability of such data provides a long-anticipated and powerful tool for marketers, but not surprisingly raises a number of privacy concerns. Mining data for profit marks a shift in the relationship between carriers and subscribers, similar to what is typically expected today with services such as Google and Facebook. Continue reading Phone Companies Begin Selling Customer Data to Marketers

Kindle Worlds: Amazon Debuts Fan Fiction Publishing Platform

Amazon announced Kindle Worlds yesterday, a digital publishing platform that enables fan fiction authors to publish under official licenses and receive royalties. The current deal is limited to “Gossip Girl,” “Pretty Little Liars” and “The Vampire Diaries” from Warner Bros. Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment, but Amazon promises licenses for more Worlds in the future. Stories will be made available via Amazon.com, Kindle devices, iOS, Android and Kindle Free Reading apps. Continue reading Kindle Worlds: Amazon Debuts Fan Fiction Publishing Platform

Napster Documentary: The Music, the Battle, the Revolution

“Downloaded” is a new documentary that examines the rise and fall of music file-sharing service Napster. The film tells the story of Napster co-founders Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker while providing details of the service’s launch in 1998 through its eventual 2011 acquisition by Rhapsody. It examines the downloading generation, resulting changes to the music industry, piracy and legal arguments, and the impact of services such as Spotify and iTunes. Continue reading Napster Documentary: The Music, the Battle, the Revolution

Aereo Rival Agrees to Name Change Following Court Ruling

Alki David, founder of online video streamer Aereokiller, agreed yesterday to change his company name in order to settle a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by rival Aereo. Following a permanent injunction issued by U.S. District Court Judge Audrey Collins in California, David is prohibited from using the names Aero, Aero.tv, Aereokiller or “any other confusingly similar terms.” Aereo had successfully argued that the name was misleading. Continue reading Aereo Rival Agrees to Name Change Following Court Ruling

Aereo Launches in Boston Area, Streamlines Pricing Plans

Live TV streaming service Aereo launches in Boston today, with plans to launch in the Atlanta area next month. The controversial service, which started in New York City, is scheduled to expand to 22 markets by the end of this year. The Atlanta launch will reach 55 counties across Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina. Additionally, Aereo has announced a simplified pricing structure that eliminates the previous $1 daily and $80 annual plans. Continue reading Aereo Launches in Boston Area, Streamlines Pricing Plans

Justice Department Obtains AP Phone Records in Leak Probe

The Associated Press revealed this week that the Justice Department secretly gathered two months worth of telephone records from its reporters and editors. AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt described the move as a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into its news gathering operation. The seizure of records is reportedly part of a year-long investigation regarding possible leaks of classified materials about a failed al-Qaeda terror plot last year. Continue reading Justice Department Obtains AP Phone Records in Leak Probe

Will Proposed DRM Framework Keep the Web Relevant?

The World Wide Web Consortium published a working draft last week for Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), which is a proposed framework that enables delivery of DRM-protected media content via browsers without using plugins such as Flash or Silverlight. While the announcement has met with sharp criticism from groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Free Software Foundation, Ars Technica suggests the framework will help keep the Web relevant. Continue reading Will Proposed DRM Framework Keep the Web Relevant?

BitTorrent Bundle Provides New Options for Content Creators

BitTorrent announced the BitTorrent Bundle earlier this week, a new format that provides access to free content in addition to a gateway to other material. It offers content creators a new means of distributing and monetizing their work outside the confines of traditional methods. BitTorrent continues its efforts to transform the file-sharing software into a legitimate platform for movies and music. Continue reading BitTorrent Bundle Provides New Options for Content Creators

FTC Issues Warnings to Firms that Share Consumer Info

The Federal Trade Commission sent warning letters earlier this week to 10 data brokerage firms. The agency warned the firms that the gathering and selling of consumer information could be in violation of federal privacy laws. The new letters follow last month’s action by the FTC when it issued similar warnings to six companies who offered to share tenants’ rental histories with landlords. Continue reading FTC Issues Warnings to Firms that Share Consumer Info

Aereo Files Complaint Against CBS Prior to Boston Launch

Aereo filed a complaint against CBS yesterday as a preemptive strike to stop the network from filing additional lawsuits. The move marks the latest chapter of what has become a tug-and-war between broadcasters and Aereo, the Barry Diller-backed startup that provides access to over-the-air TV broadcasts via the Web. Broadcasters see the model as infringing on copyright, since the programming is redistributed without permission. Continue reading Aereo Files Complaint Against CBS Prior to Boston Launch

Ultimate Poker: Real Money Online Gambling Returns to U.S.

Real money online poker has been reintroduced in the U.S. with the launch of UltimatePoker.com, the country’s first legal online gambling portal since regulators shut down gambling sites in 2011. The site is operated by Ultimate Gaming, a subsidiary of Fertitta Interactive that also runs the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Currently, only users in Nevada will have access, since Ultimate Gaming plans to track IP addresses in order to keep the site secure. Continue reading Ultimate Poker: Real Money Online Gambling Returns to U.S.

Developer Conducts P2P Experiment: Piracy or Entrapment?

Greenheart Games pulled a switch on gamers this week by providing a crippled version of a game on BitTorrent. The illegal version of “Game Dev Tycoon” will stop at a certain point, indicating that the product has been pirated. While this strategy was initiated as an experiment to draw attention to software piracy, and not to seek out and prosecute offenders, it has raised some interesting and complex legal issues. Continue reading Developer Conducts P2P Experiment: Piracy or Entrapment?

Controversial TV Streamer Aereo Announces Boston Launch

Streaming TV startup Aereo, which currently delivers over-the-air broadcast television to Internet-connected devices via its antenna/DVR technology in the New York City area, announced that it plans to launch in the Boston metropolitan area on May 15. Despite legal battles with broadcasters regarding copyright infringement, Aereo raised $38 million earlier this year from investors including Barry Diller as part of a plan to expand into 22 U.S. markets. Continue reading Controversial TV Streamer Aereo Announces Boston Launch

E-Commerce: Internet Sales Tax Proposal Moves Forward

The proposed Marketplace Fairness Act — legislation designed to help states force online retailers to collect sales taxes — made it past its first procedural obstacle Monday evening when the Senate voted 74-20 to consider the proposal for debate and amendment. Some anti-tax activists have described the bill as a tax grab, potential bureaucratic nightmare and infringement on states’ rights, while others view it as a necessary step to save brick-and-mortar retailers. Continue reading E-Commerce: Internet Sales Tax Proposal Moves Forward

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