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  1. Hoping to find out more about the secret Internet censorship plans Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood was pushing, Google is now taking the MPAA to court. After several subpoenas remained largely unanswered, the search giant is now asking a New York federal court to ensure that the MPAA other parties hand over the requested information. Helped by the MPAA, Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood launched a secret campaign to revive SOPA-like censorship efforts in the United States. The MPAA and Hood want Internet services to bring website blocking and search engine filtering back to the table after the controversial law failed to pass. In response to the looming threat Google filed a complaint against Hood last December, asking the court to prevent Hood from enforcing a subpoena that addresses Google’s failure to take down or block access to illegal content, including pirate sites. This resulted in a victory for Google with District Court Judge Henry Wingate putting the subpoena on hold. At the same time Google requested additional details from the Attorney General and various other parties involved in the scheme, including the MPAA. Thus far, however, these requests haven’t proven fruitful. In a motion to compel directed at the MPAA (pdf), Google explains that the movie industry group and other petitioned parties have yet to hand over the requested information. “To date, the subpoenaed parties have produced nothing,†Google’s lawyers inform the court. “They have inexplicably delayed producing the few documents they agreed to turn over, and have objected that many of their documents, including internal notes or summaries of meetings with AG Hood, are irrelevant or protected by some unsubstantiated privilege.†In addition to the MPAA, Google has also filed similar motions against the MPAA’s law firm Jenner & Block, Digital Citizens Alliance, 21st Century Fox, NBC Universal and Viacom. All parties thus far have refused to hand over the requested information, which includes communication with and prepared for the Attorney General, as well as emails referencing Google. According to the MPAA this information is “irrelevant†or privileged, but Google disagrees. “The relevance objections are meritless. As Judge Wingate has already held, there is substantial evidence that the Attorney General’s actions against Google were undertaken in bad faith and for a retaliatory purpose,†the motion reads. According to Google’s legal team the documents will shine a light on how the MPAA and others encouraged and helped the Attorney General to push for Internet censorship. “Google expects the documents will show that the Attorney General, the Subpoenaed Parties, and their lobbyists understood that his actions invaded the exclusive province of federal law,†the motion reads. “More fundamentally, the documents are likely to show that the Attorney General’s investigation was intended not to uncover supposed violations of Mississippi law, but instead to coerce Google into silencing speech that Viacom, Fox, and NBC do not like…†District Court Judge James Boasberg has referred the case to a magistrate judge (pdf), who will discuss the matter in an upcoming hearing. Considering the stakes at hand, the players involved will leave no resource untapped to defend their positions. https://torrentfreak.com/google-takes-mpaa-to-court-over-secret-censorship-plans-150603/
  2. California-based Netflix is preparing a bold step by absorbing a former arch rival into its service. In a deal reported to be worth $11.5 million, Netflix and Popcorn Time talent will combine to re-market the latter as a Spotify-like 'free tier' enhancement to the full premium Netflix service. Over the past year the rise to fame of Popcorn Time has become one of the video entertainment industry’s hottest topics, with various iterations of the project becoming huge successes in their own right. Of course, this fame has put the Popcorn Time brand on a collision course with content creators and distributors, with numerous threats of legal action regularly making the headlines. However, behind the scenes a different end game has been in the planning for some time. Popcorn Time has become almost universally known as the ‘Netflix for Pirates’, a moniker that eventually led the California-based streaming service to refer to Popcorn Time as a competitor earlier this year. The admission was the first time that the company had noted synergies with its pirate counterpart and one that signaled the arrival of today’s announcement. TorrentFreak can now reveal that Netflix has struck a surprise deal with the people behind PopcornTime.io, one of the leading Popcorn Time forks. It marks the end of litigation threats and a move towards cooperative development. While the price tag is relatively modest at just $11.5m, Netflix has big plans for Popcorn Time that have already been tried and tested in the music industry. Noting that Spotify now has 60 million users operating on its free tier and more and more choosing to upgrade every month, Netflix intends to leverage the ‘cool’ reputation enjoyed by Popcorn Time to attract paying users to its premium service. popcorn“Today we’re here to announce that Popcorn Time has been acquired by Netflix for $11.5 million. While to many of you that may come as a surprise, and worry that Popcorn Time will change because of this, you don’t need to worry,†the Popcorn Time team said in a statement. “Popcorn Time itself won’t change to the users, it will still be the same app you’ve all come to love over the last year. However, working with Netflix means we can develop updates and fixes faster and bring you new features more regularly.†While its understood that Netflix designers and engineers will have both creative and technical input into the development of Popcorn Time moving forward, the current team will continue to work on the project to ensure users’ needs are met. “The current team will continue to work on Popcorn Time as always. Our goal has always been about bringing you the latest content at home as quickly as possible with all the great features you’ve come to love,†the team say. While the deal appears to have been sealed in the past few days, TF sources say that the whole thing was close to collapse only last month. In an eleventh hour move, Netflix negotiators demanded that the open source PopcornTime.io project become closed source in all future releases. An outraged team reportedly threatened to pull out, rejecting the $50m offer that had originally been on the table. Eventually a compromise was reached but it resulted in a near $40m reduction in Netflix’s offer, “a price worth paying†according to the team who insist that open source principles come first. All money received from Netflix will be returned to the project over the next several years. Various new names have been tabled for the project including current front-runner Popflix, but it’s understood that Popcorn Time will be maintained as a separate brand for the foreseeable future. https://torrentfreak.com/netflix-plans-free-tier-after-absorbing-popcorn-time-150401/
  3. Australians' interest in VPN services has skyrocketed after local ISPs announced plans for a three-strikes anti-piracy system. With potential lawsuits against consumers on the table, many subscribers are now planning ahead to stay on the safe side. Australia has been called out as the world’s piracy capital for several years, a claim that eventually captured the attention of the local Government. After negotiations between ISPs and entertainment companies bore no fruit, authorities demanded voluntary anti-piracy measures from Internet providers. If that failed, the Government threatened to tighten the law. Faced with an ultimatum the telecoms body Communications Alliance published a draft proposal on behalf of the ISPs, outlining a three-strikes notification system. Titled ‘Copyright Notice Scheme Industry Code‘, the proposal suggests that ISPs start to forward infringement notices to their subscribers. After the initial notice subscribers are warned that copyright holders may go to court to obtain their identities. Several groups have voiced their concerns in response. Australia’s leading consumer group Choice, for example, warns over the potential for lawsuits and potentially limitless fines. These threats haven’t gone unnoticed by the general public either. While the proposals have not yet been implemented, many Australians are already taking countermeasures. Over the past two weeks many file-sharers have been seeking tools to hide their IP-addresses and bypass the proposed monitoring system. By using VPN services or BitTorrent proxies their sharing activities can no longer be linked to their ISP account, rendering the three-strikes system useless. Data from Google trends reveals that interest in anonymizing services has surged, with searches for “VPN†nearly doubling in recent days. This effect, shown in the graph below, is limited to Australia and appears to be a direct result of the ISPs proposals. Google searches for VPN in Australia TF spoke to several VPN providers who noticed an increase in both traffic and sales from down under. TorGuard, a VPN and BitTorrent proxy provider, saw the number of Australian visitors and subscribers increase significantly, as seen in the traffic graph below. “TorGuard has seen a steady increase in Australian subscribers and this new surge of users shows no signs of slowing. To keep up with the demand from this region we have recently added many new VPN servers in Australia, New Zealand, and Los Angeles,†TorGuard Aussie traffic increase Another VPN service, which preferred not to be named, also witnessed a similar spike in interest from Australians. “We are seeing a peak in traffic and sales from Australia. In the past two weeks we saw an 88% traffic increase,†the VPN provider informed us. These changes have to be seen in perspective of course. It’s still only a fraction of Aussie file-sharers who have taken countermeasures. However, it’s a clear signal that warnings are not the silver bullet to stop piracy. The Aussie case is not the first time that anti-piracy measures have turned people to anonymizing tools. The same happened when the US Copyright Alert System launched, and earlier this year there was also a spike in Canada when ISPs began forwarding piracy notices. https://torrentfreak.com/aussie-anti-piracy-plans-boost-demand-vpns-150308/
  4. Confirms solo films for The Flash and Wonder Woman Warner has unveiled some huge plans for its DC universe, confirming solo movies for The Flash and Wonder Woman, casting Ezra Miller in the former, and announcing that Zack Snyder will direct two Justice League movies. In a glut of headline-making revelations, the studio outlined a whole raft of future plans, with Suicide Squad confirmed as the first DC movie to followBatman V Superman, set to arrive in 2017 with David Ayer directing. That will be followed by a Wonder Woman solo movie later that year, before Zack Snyder takes the helm of the first Justice League movie, with the second pencilled in for 2019. Sandwiched in between those two films in 2018 will be The Flash, headed up by Ezra Miller in the title role, and Aquaman, starring Jason Momoa. 2019 will see the arrival of the Dwayne Johnson-starring Shazam, before the final entries on the DC slate land in 2020, in the form of a Cyborgmovie and a Green Lantern reboot. And is if all that wasn't enough, the studio also confirmed that both Batman and Superman will also be getting solo films at some point down the track. In other Warner Bros news, it was also confirmed that there would be three LEGO movies between now and 2018, with The LEGO Movie 2following The LEGO Batman Movie and Ninjago. Plus, Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them will be at least a trilogy of films. The first part, directed by Potter's David Yates, opens in 2016. A huge amount to process then, but quite the statement of intent from a studio that had seemingly been struggling to match Marvel’s forward planning. Over to you, Feige… Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  5. Fergie 'definitely' wants another baby. The 39-year-old singer is mother to one-year-old son Axl with husband Josh Duhamel. And Fergie says she is keen to expand her family further. 'We can definitely see it happening,' said Fergie when asked by In Touch Weekly about the prospect of having another child. 'Motherhood is an amazing journey - each day it gets more thrilling.' However, one thing Fergie is having to learn as she goes is how to balance her personal and professional lives. And the star knows if she has another baby, maintaining that balance will become even more difficult. But Fergie insists her family will always be her priority. 'I'll just have to learn as I go. But I do know that my focus will always be on my family. That goes without saying,' she said. Fergie's admission comes after Josh opened up about being a father. And speaking to People, Josh admitted he can't believe how much his son has grown already 'He's already swimming around in the pool, and I was like, 'What the hell happened to my baby?' He's walking all over the place, talking. He's a toddler now!' he said. 'It happens quick. Next thing you know, they're going off to college. So that's one thing I've really taken to heart, trying to be there as much as I can.' With two famous parents, it comes as no surprise that the toddler is already showing a creative side. Josh, 41, revealed Axl is musical and loves one particular musician other than his mother: Bob Marley. The couple read him the children's picture book Every Little Thing by the late performer's daughter, Cedella, and sing along to the lyrics. 'He loves that book,' he said. 'It's the one book we can get him to sit down and actually listen to.' Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  6. A leaked draft prepared for government submission has revealed Hollywood's Australian anti-piracy strategy. Among other things, the paper says that providers should be held liable for infringing customers even when they only "reasonably suspect" that infringement is taking place. As the discussions over the future of anti-piracy legislation in Australia continue, a draft submission has revealed the wish-list of local movie groups and their Hollywood paymasters. The draft, a response to a request by Attorney-General George Brandis and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull for submissions on current anti-piracy proposals, shows a desire to apply extreme pressure to local ISPs. The authors of the draft (obtained by Crikey, subscription, ) are headed up by the Australia Screen Association, the anti-piracy group previously known as AFACT. While local company Village Roadshow is placed front and center, members including the Motion Picture Association, Disney, Paramount, Sony, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal and Warner make for a more familiar read. Australian citizens – the world’s worst pirates The companies begin with scathing criticism of the Australian public, branding them the world’s worst pirates, despite the ‘fact’ that content providers “have ensured the ready availability of online digital platforms and education of consumers on where they can acquire legitimate digital content.†It’s a bold claim that will anger many Australians, who even today feel like second-class consumers who have to wait longer and pay more for their content. So what can be done about the piracy problem? The draft makes it clear – litigation against individuals isn’t going to work and neither is legal action against “predominantly overseas†sites. The answer, Hollywood says, can be found in tighter control of what happens on the Internet. Increased ISP liability In a nutshell, the studios are still stinging over their loss to ISP iiNet in 2012. So now, with the help of the government, they hope to introduce amendments to copyright law in order to remove service providers’ safe harbor if they even suspect infringement is taking place on their networks but fail to take action. “A new provision would deem authorization [of infringement] to occur where an ISP fails to take reasonable steps – which are also defined inclusively to include compliance with a Code or Regulations – in response to infringements of copyright it knows or reasonably suspects are taking place on its network,†the draft reads. “A provision in this form would provide great clarity around the steps that an ISP would be required to take to avoid a finding of authorization and provide the very kind of incentive for the ISP to cooperate in the development of a Code.†With “incentives†in place for them to take “reasonable stepsâ€, ISPs would be expected to agree to various measures (outlined by a ‘Code’ or legislation) to “discourage or reduce†online copyright infringement in order to maintain their safe harbor. It will come as no surprise that subscriber warnings are on the table. ‘Voluntary’ Graduated Response “These schemes, known as ‘graduated response schemes’, are based on a clear allocation of liability to ISPs that do not (by complying with the scheme) take steps to address copyright infringement by their users,†the studios explain. “While this allocation of liability does not receive significant attention in most discussions of graduated response schemes, common sense dictates that the schemes would be unlikely to exist (much less be complied with by ISPs) in the absence of this basic incentive structure.†While pointing out that such schemes are in place in eight countries worldwide, the movie and TV companies say that a number of them contain weaknesses, a trap that Australia must avoid. “There are flaws in a number of these models, predominantly around the allocation of costs and lack of effective mitigation measures which, if mirrored in Australia, would make such a scheme ineffective and unlikely to be used,†the paper reads. It appears that the studios believe that the US model, the Copyright Alerts System (CAS), is what Australia should aim for since it has “effective mitigation measures†and they don’t have to foot the entire bill. “Copyright owners would pay their own costs of identifying the infringements and notifying these to the ISP, while ISPs would bear the costs of matching the IP addresses in the infringement notices to subscribers, issuing the notices and taking any necessary technical mitigation measures,†they explain. In common with the CAS in the United States, providers would be allowed discretion on mitigation measures for persistent infringers. However, the studios also imply that ISPs’ ‘power to prevent’ piracy should extend to the use of customer contracts. “[Power] to prevent piracy would include both direct and indirect power and definitions around the nature of the relationship which would recognize the significance of contractual relationships and the power that they provide to prevent or avoid online piracy,†they write. Voluntary agreements, required by law, one way or another The key is to make ISPs liable first, the studios argue, then negotiations on a “voluntary†scheme should fall into place. “Once the authorization liability scheme is amended to make clear that ISPs will be liable for infringements of copyright by their subscribers which they know about but do not take reasonable steps to prevent or avoid, an industry code prescribing the content of those ‘reasonable steps’ is likely to be agreed between rightsholders and ISPs without excessively protracted negotiations.†However, any failure by the ISPs to come to the table voluntarily should be met by legislative change. “In the absence of any current intention of and incentive for ISPs in Australia to support such a scheme (and the strong opposition from some ISPs) legislative recognition of the reasonable steps involved in such a scheme is necessary,†they write. Site blocking Due to “weakness†in current Australian law in respect of ISP liability, site blocking has proved problematic. What the studios want is a “no-fault†injunction (similar to the model in Ireland) which requires ISPs to block sites like The Pirate Bay without having to target the ISPs themselves. “Not being the target of a finding against it, an ISP is unlikely to oppose the injunction – as long as the procedural requirements for the injunction are met. Once made, a blocking injunction would immediately prevent Australian internet users from being tempted to or accessing the blocked sites,†the studios explain. Despite The Pirate Bay doubling its traffic in the face of extensive blocking across Europe, the movie companies believe that not blocking in Australia is part of the problem. “The absence of a no-fault procedure may explain the very high rates of film and TV piracy in Australia when compared with European countries that have such a procedure,†they write. Unsurprisingly, the studios want to keep the bar low when it comes to such injunctions. “The extended injunctive relief provision should not require the Court to be satisfied that the dominant purpose of the website is to infringe copyright,†they urge. “Raising the level of proof in this way would severely compromise the effectiveness of the new provision in that it would become significantly more difficult for rightsholders to obtain an injunction under the scheme: allegedly non-infringing content would be pointed to in each case, not for reasons of freedom of access to information on the internet, but purely as a basis to defeat the order.†The studios also want the ISPs to pick up the bill on site-blocking. “[Courts in Europe] have ordered the costs of site blocking injunctions be borne by the ISP. The Australian Film/TV Bodies submit that the same position should be adopted in Australia, especially as it is not likely that the evidence would be any different on a similar application here,†they add. Conclusion If the studios get everything they’ve asked for in Australia, the ensuing framework could become the benchmark for models of the future. There’s a still a long way to go, however, and some ISPs – iiNet in particular – won’t be an easy nut to crack. http://torrentfreak.com/leaked-draft-reveals-hollywoods-anti-piracy-plans-140828/
  7. Russia's lower house of parliament is currently considering amendments to the country's controversial anti-piracy law. The changes, which include tougher penalties for both sites and individuals plus protection for products other than just movies, could be in place as early as December. In an effort to crack down on rampant online piracy, last August Russia introduced a brand new anti-piracy law. The legislation provides a mechanism for sites to be blocked should they not comply with rightsholder takedown requests within 72 hours. The ultimate sanction was applied in a limited number of cases during the first year leaving rightsholders with many complaints, not least that the law only applies to movies and TV shows. For months the authorities have been investigated ways to boost the legislation and in early July a set of amendments were passed following their second reading. They are currently being considered by the lower house of parliament, the State Duma. According to Deputy Duma Speaker Sergei Zhelezniak, it is likely they will return for a further reading during the fall, this time containing provisions for the protection of music, books and software. “Most likely, we will table amendments at the beginning of the autumn session,†Zhelezniak told a meeting of the copyright protection working group. Zhelezniak says that legislators have carefully studied the proposals of the executive authorities and generally agreed that there should be tightened penalties for owners of Internet sites which intentionally engage in piracy. These sites will be blocked by court order and placed in a “special registerâ€. Ministry of Culture State Secretary Grigory Ivliev says that the government wants to increase the level of fines levied against those who engage in the piracy of music, books and software. For businesses fines could be increased to around one million rubles ($26,600) while individuals could face fines up to 300,000 rubles ($8,300) If all goes to plan, the new amendments could in force as early as this December. http://torrentfreak.com/russian-govt-plans-tougher-anti-piracy-legislation-140823/
  8. With browsers Chrome, Firefox, and Safari on the rise today, some would believe that Internet Explorer (or IE as it’s called nowadays) would be on the way out. Not true, according to an “Ask Me Anything†(AMA) session on Reddit recently. Microsoft engineers made the case that they can change the public’s perception of Internet Explorer and that they feel this obligation weighing upon themselves: “Often times the decision to not use Internet Explorer is largely based on experiences from a decade ago, and a much different IE. That being said, and we know that it’s our job to change the public perception, and to win the hearts of users everywhere. Each [person] who opens IE, and downloads another browser, is another person we’ll be working even harder tomorrow to win back.†While this Microsoft engineer may have meant what he said about bad experiences from a decade ago, there are a number of IE users we meet everyday across the World Wide Web that are using IE now and still find it repulsive as compared to Mozilla’s FireFox and Google’s Chrome web browsers. This goes to show that not everyone has a 10-year-old perception of IE that’s preventing him or her from embracing Microsoft’s web browser. Some individuals still find IE to be terrible at the mobile experience. Last but not least, Google’s Chrome browser has become something that works for mobile in general, whether using a laptop PC, desktop PC, or smartphone or tablet. Chrome also syncs with your content on other devices so that you can always get back to that page you were reading from earlier, without fail. Internet Explorer has had its share of bugs and viruses (as have other web browsers), but IE seems as though it’s still stuck in the era when desktop PCs were the face of mobile. This has been one of the complaints we’ve heard from current Windows users as to why they despise Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1. Many a Windows user has stated that they’d rather hang on to Windows 7 than try to navigate the desktop/mobile mess that’s become Windows 8, and Internet Explorer seems to be part of the problem rather than the solution. And yet, at the same time, even if Internet Explorer does change its name from IE 12 to something else (we don’t know what they’d call it), we still don’t see this freeing Microsoft’s web browser from its past. Safari, Firefox, Chrome, and other web browsers have had their share of problems in the past, but they’ve made efforts to overcome their problems and push forward to give readers a better experience. Some aren’t willing to give IE a chance because of its past, but some aren’t willing to try IE simply because what they currently have provided as good of an option as they can get. What we’d rather see is IE get to a place where it pays attention to what customers want and improves the experience of IE. Improvement may not help the web browser reach its former glory, but it may help IE regain some respect in the eyes of current (and former) customers.
  9. We reported earlier this week that Apple may, in fact, bring T-Mobile JUMP, Verizon EDGE, and AT&T Next plans to local retail stores across the US. Well, you may have a new reason to head back to T-Mobile retail stores instead. Just yesterday, T-Mobile CEO John Legere decided to make one more move that would put T-Mobile ever closer to be the country’s true UNCarrier (in every sense). The latest move for T-Mobile involves slicing AT&T’s Family Plan prices to an even more affordable one: whereas AT&T will give a family of four 10GB of shared data plus unlimited calling and texting for $160 a month, T-Mobile’s new plans will provide the same thing for $100 a month. That’s $60 less a month for families on T-Mobile’s plan, as compared to AT&T’s “Best Ever Pricing Plan.†Keep in mind as well that after your family plan consumes 10GB of data, T-Mobile will throttle your data (but not stop it), while AT&T will tack on charges beyond the 10GB of shared data. A family of four members will have 2.5GB of 4G LTE individually to share (if you divide the shared data equally). Legere took some time when writing his post to mock AT&T, a never-ending mission for T-Mobile’s most outspoken CEO yet: “It infuriates me that they’re selling this [AT&T Best Ever Pricing Plan] to hardworking families who could use that money for more important things. And they have the nerve to call it ‘Best Ever Pricing.’ I just couldn’t stand by without speaking up and calling them on their BS.†These are quite colorful words for the Magenta Pink CEO, but they’re typical Legere. And yet, T-Mobile’s offer isn’t quite the “Best Ever Pricing†plan either, for it comes with a few conditions. First, the plan is only good from now through September. The bottom of Legere’s announcement contains some important fine print that says, “Offer ends 9/30/14. Pricing for 4 lines only 2.5GB data per line/month until 1/2/16, then 1GB data per line.â€
  10. It’s been said time and time again that Tim Cook’s not an innovator like Steve Jobs. As of last summer, some tech analysts were calling for Tim Cook’s resignation as CEO because he didn’t possess the engineering nature of Apple’s former late CEO. At the same time, however, Tim Cook is Steve Job’s handpicked successor for the Apple throne – and, whatever the reason, Steve Jobs chose him. One reason Cook was Jobs’s choice may have something to do with his skill in retail operations. Cook’s been on the hunt to bring Apple customers back to Apple retail stores across the United States, particularly because US customers have a tendency to shop for new iPhones at their local retail stores. Most contract-minded individuals looking for a new iPhone rely on their carrier (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint), while off-contract customers who desire a T-Mobile or AT&T prepaid agreement buy their devices from either T-Mobile or AT&T retail stores. Some buy their devices from local Apple retail stores so that they can also pick up an accessory or two – but the majority of customers buy from wireless carriers. Tim Cook wants to change this wireless carrier mindset of American iPhone customers who think of the Apple Store as the last place they’d turn to for their iPhone purchase. With this goal in mind, one new rumor churning out of the mill suggests that Apple may offer early upgrade plans to its customers sometime soon (perhaps this Fall with the arrival of the iPhone 6). Now, T-Mobile iPhones can be purchased at Apple stores for off-contract agreements, but T-Mobile customers must pay full price for an unlocked iPhone 5s (for example), which comes in at around $692, or get on a two-year agreement with carriers AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint. The new early upgrade plans would take the original T-Mobile price at an Apple Store (full price for an iPhone 6) and allow T-Mobile customers, with a credit check, to purchase the device for a certain amount down with a certain amount added to the customer’s T-Mobile bill each month. As with Verizon’s EDGE plans and AT&T’s Next plans, Apple Store customers would get to sign agreements with Apple stores but get the new iPhone 6 for $0 down with a certain amount due each month. After paying off about 50% of the iPhone 6 price with 6 months of the agreement completed, iPhone 6 users would be eligible to upgrade from a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 to the 5.5-inch iPhone 6. Apple only has one iPhone announcement each year, so six-month upgrades will leave iPhone customers with nowhere to go. Of course, if an iPhone user wants to upgrade from a 16GB to a 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB model, however, the customer can make that decision as well. With Apple’s decision to bring iPhone 6 early upgrade plans to its American retail stores, the company’s sending the message that it really wants to win its customers back in retail. Apple’s first move to win back numbers in retail stores involved granting T-Mobile customers access to iPhones that were specifically intended for T-Mobile’s network (AWS-enabled iPhones, as opposed to typical unlocked iPhones that were once incompatible with T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network and only ran on 3G wireless).
  11. The EU Commission will next week announce new strategies for dealing with online piracy and counterfeiting. These non-legislative measures will include an EU action plan aimed at fighting IP infringement, plus a strategy to protect and enforce IP rights in third countries. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the aim is to "follow the money". While much of the last decade-and-a-half’s fight against piracy has taken place on the national level, the attempted introduction of ACTA and similar legislation showed that broader approaches are increasingly under consideration. In an announcement timetabled for July 1, the EU Commission will reveal the adoption of two sets of measures designed to promote “greater respect†for intellectual property rights in the European Union and beyond. Firstly, the EU will announce the adoption of an action plan to fight infringement of intellectual property rights across Europe. The second will see the adoption of a strategy for the protection and enforcement of the same in third countries. The EU action plan will comprise ten specific mechanisms which will provide new “policy enforcement tools†to counter intellectual property infringement being carried out on a commercial scale. This suggests a targeting of sites and services, rather than their users. According to the Commission, commercial activities represent a major challenge for the EU due to the harm they cause, including the undermining of both investment in innovation and the creation of jobs. Rather than going down the complex and expensive legal route to tighter enforcement, the EU says its new tools will be “non-legislative†in nature and will seek to “follow the money†in order to deprive commercial offenders of income. The announcement in respect of third countries will outline plans to strengthen cooperation between the authorities, including customs authorities in the EU and those elsewhere. Common objectives will include preventing the spread of infringing content and the stimulation of investment, growth and employment through debate and awareness. The “follow the money†approach is definitely the anti-piracy strategy that has been met with the least opposition over the last couple of years. The work with brands and their advertisers plus payment processors such as Visa and Mastercard to stop doing business with pirate sites has been well received by industry and appears to be gaining traction. Progress is being reported in the United States and more recently the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit detailed its own successes. The full details of the new action plans will be made available by the EU in a little over a week’s time.
  12. The EU Commission will next week announce new strategies for dealing with online piracy and counterfeiting. These non-legislative measures will include an EU action plan aimed at fighting IP infringement, plus a strategy to protect and enforce IP rights in third countries. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the aim is to "follow the money". europe-flagWhile much of the last decade-and-a-half’s fight against piracy has taken place on the national level, the attempted introduction of ACTA and similar legislation showed that broader approaches are increasingly under consideration. In an announcement timetabled for July 1, the EU Commission will reveal the adoption of two sets of measures designed to promote “greater respect†for intellectual property rights in the European Union and beyond. Firstly, the EU will announce the adoption of an action plan to fight infringement of intellectual property rights across Europe. The second will see the adoption of a strategy for the protection and enforcement of the same in third countries. The EU action plan will comprise ten specific mechanisms which will provide new “policy enforcement tools†to counter intellectual property infringement being carried out on a commercial scale. This suggests a targeting of sites and services, rather than their users. According to the Commission, commercial activities represent a major challenge for the EU due to the harm they cause, including the undermining of both investment in innovation and the creation of jobs. Rather than going down the complex and expensive legal route to tighter enforcement, the EU says its new tools will be “non-legislative†in nature and will seek to “follow the money†in order to deprive commercial offenders of income. The announcement in respect of third countries will outline plans to strengthen cooperation between the authorities, including customs authorities in the EU and those elsewhere. Common objectives will include preventing the spread of infringing content and the stimulation of investment, growth and employment through debate and awareness. The “follow the money†approach is definitely the anti-piracy strategy that has been met with the least opposition over the last couple of years. The work with brands and their advertisers plus payment processors such as Visa and Mastercard to stop doing business with pirate sites has been well received by industry and appears to be gaining traction. Progress is being reported in the United States and more recently the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit detailed its own successes. The full details of the new action plans will be made available by the EU in a little over a week’s time.
  13. An ISP that won a prolonged legal battle against a Hollywood-affiliated anti-piracy group has rejected plans to introduce three strikes and site blocking. Today, ISP iiNet is also urging citizens to pressure the government and fight back against the "foreign interests" attempting to dictate Australian policy. Last month Australia’s Attorney-General George Brandis labeled his citizens the worst pirates on the planet and vowed to help content holders turn that position around. But Brandis’ industry-leaning position soon became clear as he repeatedly refused to answer questions as to whether he’d properly consulted with consumer groups. Brandis has, however, consulted deeply with the entertainment industries. His proposals for solving the piracy issue are straight out of the MPAA and RIAA cookbook – three strikes and account terminations for errant Internet users plus ISP blockades of torrent and similar sites. The reason why the debate over these measures has dragged on so long is down to the defeat of the studios in their legal battle against ISP iiNet. That case failed to render the ISP responsible for the actions of its subscribers and ever since iiNet has provided the most vocal opposition to tough anti-piracy proposals. Today, iiNet Chief Regulatory Officer Steve Dalby underlined that stance with a call for consumers to fight back against “foreign interests.†“The Hollywood Studios have been relentlessly lobbying the Australian Government on a range of heavy-handed solutions, from a ‘three strikes’ proposal, through to website filtering – none of which take consumers’ interests into account,†Dalby explains. On three strikes, Dalby notes that even though customers will be expected to pick up the bill for its introduction, there’s no evidence that these schemes have curtailed piracy or increased sales in any other country. “This leaves us asking why Hollywood might think this approach would work in Australia when it doesn’t even work in their own patch,†he says. While Dalby believes that the studios’ imposition of ‘three-strikes’ will do little to solve the problem, his opposition to overseas interference is perhaps most visible in his attitudes towards site blocking. “Why would the Australian government let a foreign company dictate which websites our citizens can access? Are our legislators captured by foreign interests? Should we allow American commercial interest to dictate Australian national policy?†he questions. Perhaps inevitably, Dalby says that piracy has only blossomed in Australia due to a failure to serve the market, and the studios must address that first. “Copyright holders have shown us that they’re not interested in new models for Australians, despite the success of services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu in the USA,†he explains. “The pattern of US traffic Internet now depends on what content is made available via legitimate distribution channels like Netflix, rather than on the Pirate Bay. Giving your competitor a ten-year head start distributing a ‘free’ alternative is pretty stupid. No wonder the content industry is uncompetitive, with that attitude.†Demand for legal content exists, Dalby says, but only if consumers aren’t subjected to release delays and uncompetitive pricing. “And that’s the fundamental difference between iiNet and the rights holders. They want to tackle how customers are pirating content. We want them to look at why, and then move forward, addressing the cause, not the symptom,†he says. Alongside calls for Australians to lobby their MPs, Dalby says he hopes that Hollywood and the government decide to take a more positive approach to solving the problem. “Until that time, we’ll continue to push for a better future for Australian content users, one removed from the constraints being discussed in Canberra,†he concludes. Dalby’s attack on the proposals currently on the table shows that a voluntary agreement between iiNet and rightsholders is as far away as ever, an indication that the years-long battle is far from over. http://torrentfreak.com/rise-up-against-govt-anti-piracy-plans-isp-urges-140610/