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

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

Olympics: NBC Shooting Select Events in 4K for Demo Purposes

In addition to its Winter Olympics coverage across television, Web and mobile, NBC is also capturing some of the action from Sochi in 4K resolution. However, since the distribution infrastructure is not in place for Ultra HD broadcasts and only a small number of consumers own UHD TVs, the network is shooting limited 4K content for demonstration purposes only. NBCUniversal’s parent Comcast has scheduled invitation-only viewing parties in Washington DC, San Francisco and Philadelphia. Continue reading Olympics: NBC Shooting Select Events in 4K for Demo Purposes

Amazon to Introduce Kindle Checkout System for Retail Stores

Amazon plans to offer brick-and-mortar retailers a new checkout system using its Kindle tablets, expected to be available as early as this summer. The development stems from Amazon’s acquisition last year of certain tech and engineers from GoPago, a startup known for its cloud-based mobile payment platform. The move could provide Amazon with a significant growth opportunity. However, it also faces numerous competitors in the checkout system space.  Continue reading Amazon to Introduce Kindle Checkout System for Retail Stores

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

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

Darcy Antonellis Named CEO of Vubiquity, Exits Warner Bros.

Darcy Antonellis, president and chief technology officer of Warner Bros. Entertainment, will leave her post to become CEO of Vubiquity in January. Virginia-based Vubiquity, formerly Avail-TVN, is a global provider of multiplatform video services. Antonellis, winner of three technical Emmys, has been with Warner Bros. for 15 years, and has held her current position since 2008. She will replace Ramu Potarazu, who stepped down as CEO in March. Continue reading Darcy Antonellis Named CEO of Vubiquity, Exits Warner Bros.

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?

Schmidt: Solution to Government Surveillance is Encryption

According to Eric Schmidt, executive chairman and former CEO of Google, we may be close to a new “network age” in which Internet traffic will be protected with code, allowing users to communicate and organize socially without the fear of government censorship. Schmidt believes that Internet users will communicate via private channels that are shielded by encryption, scrambling data that can be decoded with a special digital key. Continue reading Schmidt: Solution to Government Surveillance is Encryption

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

Vint Cerf at FTC Event: “Privacy May Actually Be an Anomaly”

Vint Cerf, chief Internet evangelist for Google and co-creator of the Internet’s key networking technology, delivered the keynote address at the Federal Trade Commission’s Internet of Things workshop this week in Washington, DC. Cerf suggested that privacy is a relatively new development that may not be sustainable. “Privacy may actually be an anomaly,” he said while taking questions, noting that privacy was not even guaranteed just a few decades ago. Continue reading Vint Cerf at FTC Event: “Privacy May Actually Be an Anomaly”

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

CEA Launches New Campaign to Promote Car Gadget Safety

The Consumer Electronics Association launched a promotional campaign called “Innovating Safety” last week to emphasize that CE devices and automobiles can work together safely. The campaign is designed to inform consumers and lawmakers about the many devices that support driver safety, such as Bluetooth kits and teen tracking. The campaign launched during a policy forum in Washington, D.C. that addressed distracted driving. Continue reading CEA Launches New Campaign to Promote Car Gadget Safety

Clear Channel-Warner Deal Underlines Digital Licensing Issues

Clear Channel Communications announced a deal late last week with the Warner Music Group through which Warner’s acts will collect royalties when their songs are played on Clear Channel’s 850 stations. This will mark the first time that the music label and its acts — which include Bruno Mars, CeeLo Green, Coldplay and Green Day — will collect payments from Clear Channel. In exchange for the deal and promotion for its acts, Clear Channel will receive a favorable rate for online streaming. Continue reading Clear Channel-Warner Deal Underlines Digital Licensing Issues

FilmOn: Broadcasters Score Big Against TV Streaming Service

Television broadcasters including Fox, NBCU, Disney/ABC, Allbritton Communications and Telemundo filed a copyright infringement suit in May against Alki David’s TV digital streaming service FilmOn X (formerly called BarryDriller), which works similarly to the controversial Aereo service, backed by Barry Diller’s IAC. On Thursday, a federal judge in Washington ruled in favor of the broadcasters, issuing a near-nationwide preliminary injunction against FilmOn X. Continue reading FilmOn: Broadcasters Score Big Against TV Streaming Service