Legal Briefs: MPAA and Real Networks Battle Over DVD Copying

copyright realdvd suitsTuesday, the Motion Picture Association of America and Real Networks went at it head on, taking each other to court in separate lawsuits.  There may have been an effort at behind the scenes diplomacy but there was no shot across the bow, no public warning.  The fight came quick and fast with preemptive and counter strikes. 

The battleground is Real Networks newly released realDVD software, a software program designed to copy DVDs.  The question is whether it’s legal and how copyright law should be applied to its use.

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Hollywood Connection: EA signs Snyder

metue convergence gamesWhen Warner Brothers released the 300 in 2007, the views of critics and fans varied widely.  Some, like Richard Roeper, loved it.  He went so far as to call it "the "’Citizen Kane’ of graphic novels.’  Others like the Wall Street Journal’s Joe Morgenstern, or the New York Time’s A.O Scott, found the film almost utterly unredeeming; too violent and undeveloped.  The common ground, amongst a majority of views, was the visual effects.   That point wasn’t lost on the gaming industry.

In July, Ubisoft acquired Hybride Technologies, the special effects shop behind the film (and also Sin City).  Now, EA is tapping the 300’s director  Zack Snyder with a three game development deal.

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Applevine Report: Legal Troubles Averted, New iPhone Model?

applevine metueFriday, while the market was digesting more bad financial news, and tech watchers were processing the market’s overwhelming lack of confidence in RIM’s near term “land grab” spending plan , three news kernels hit the Applevine.  Two, both positive, concerned the removal of minor legal obstacles from the Apple’s path.  The third piece, while only rumor, concerned iPhone production volume and the prospect of a new model.

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RIMs Rollercoaster

RIMResearch in Motion (RIM) is expected to launch three new phones in the coming months: the Blackberry Bold (new to the US, already available internationally), a clamshell phone called the Pearl Flip, and a touch screen device expected to be called “The Storm (pics).”  Unfortunately, new product launches – between component parts, subsidized pricing and promotional costs – can be expensive.  As a result, the company warned late Thursday that gross margins and profit will suffer in the third quarter.

Co-CEO Jim Balsillie characterized the situation as a “land grab” and justified the increase in near term expense as, essentially, an opportunity.  It’s similar to the story pitched in June when the company showed sales and marketing expense up heavily.  But the market didn’t treat that first glimpse as foreshadowing,  and they weren’t convinced with the re-itteration.  The market also wasn’t completely satisfied with the rest of RIM’s earnings news.

By midday Friday, the stock was trading near $70 a share, well below its fifty week low of $80.20.  From Thursday’s market close of $97.53, it was down more than 25%.

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Meet MySpace Music

myspace music liveMySpace controls 67.5% of the social networking marketplace in the U.S. (Hitwise).  Thursday, the News Corp owned company moved to strengthen its position with the launch of a sweeping new music service.

First announced in April, the service is a joint venture built with the participation of all four of the major music labels (Sony BMG, Universal, Warner Music and late entry to the partnership, EMI).  It offers free, on-demand, ad-supported streamed songs from a massive musical catalog.   Listeners are able to pick and choose what they want to hear, when they want to hear it.   To encourage sharing and interaction, they can also create and share an unlimited number of playlists, each compiled with up to one hundred songs.  The service is live now.

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Poor Disclosure Gets EA in PR Mess over Spore DRM

sporeDigital Rights Management (“DRM”), and the assorted encryption techniques that fall under its moniker, has become industries’ primary preventative weapon for thwarting rampant content piracy.  It’s been their canon, their go-to machine.  Unfortunately, like any weapon if improperly used it has the ability to blow up in its user’s face.  Sony learned that lesson the hard way in 2005.   Now, the use of a different Sony developed technology called SecuROM, along with a questionable disclosure policy, has put video game publisher Electronic Arts (EA) in the crosshairs. A lawsuit’s already been filed.

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Google Phone Revealed: G1 versus the iPhone?

g1The rumors circulated, the news was deemed imminent, and now it’s official.  This morning, Google, together with T-Mobile and HTC, officially revealed the hyped “Dream” phone, the first mobile phone to be built around Google’s Open Handset Alliance Android operating system.

Bloggers, press and even Google’s founding team of Sergey and Larry were on hand for the Manhattan launch event.

Rebranded from the Dream to the G1, an obvious nod to Google, the phone will be available on October 22nd at T- Mobile stores in twenty one cities.  It will sell for $179 (with a two year contract), plus a $25 or $35 a month data plan subscription.

From the start, the phone will provide Google with gateway access to consumer’s mobile experience. Click to Read More

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