EA Faces Two More SecuROM Lawsuits

spore suitsIn early September, EA began selling the hotly anticipated PC game title, Spore, around the globe.  The ambition was huge, the hype enormous.  Spore was to be a “sure thing” hit.  So far, it’s lived up to that expectation.  The game is a top seller in Amazon’s PC and Mac games categories (#1 in PC and Mac simulation games, #6 in PC games overall) and according to EA, near two million copies sold in the first three weeks of sales.  Unfortunately, with the sales and  high visibility have come another less desirable achievement: Spore has become a lightning rod for complaints over the SecuROM embedded digital rights management system EA is using to thwart piracy. 

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Applevine Rumors: Sony DRM Free Music?

sony drmIn 2006 and 2007, Apple was one of the torch-bearers in the movement to push record labels to license downloadable copies of their music without digital rights management encryption (DRM) but when the fruits of that effort were eventually harvested, when the labels decided to go DRM-Free, the rewards largely passed Apple by. 

At the time, iTunes was already the leading distributor of digital music. There wasn’t a competitor even close.  The record labels, in an effort to level the field and try to shift the balance of distribution power to a less monopolistic scenario,  allocated DRM-Free licenses only to Apple’s rivals; stores like Amazon and Walmart.   It’s a strategy they’ve yet to reconsider.

To date,  EMI remains the only representative of the Big 4 (the world’s four largest record companies) that allows Apple to sell DRM-Free tracks.  Rumor has it, however, that may soon start to change.

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Poll: Beatles Song Requests for the New Video Game?

vote beatlesHave a favorite Beatles song? Is it something you’d like to play along with in a video game?

In response to MTV Games’ (Harmonix) announcement last week that they’re working to create a new game built entirely around the band’s history and songbook, we’re testing out a poll on Metue to offer fans a chance to vote their favorite songs.

If you’re a fan, take a minute and share your perspective. You can only vote once but you can pick more than one song.

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Antitrust Breaks Up Search Pact: Google and Yahoo Part Ways

yhoo-goog-done.jpgIn June, in the wake of Microsoft’s bid for the company, Yahoo’s management team stepped into the lion’s den and made an alternate deal with Google.   The agreement, which focused on the lucrative search advertising market that Google dominates but both Microsoft and Yahoo participate in, provided terms for the placement of Google-sold advertisements next to Yahoo’s search results.

Yahoo’s president Sue Decker said at the time that the non-exclusive “agreement [would provide] a source of funds to both deliver financial value to stockholders from search monetization and to invest in our broader strategy.”  Based on then current monetization rates, Yahoo expected the partnership could mean near $800m in annual revenue opportunity or incremental cash flow in the range of $250m to $400m.

The one obstacle was the approval of anti-trust regulators.  It turned out to be too big a mountain to climb.

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Google and Harvard Disagree on Book Search Settlement

digital-library-1.jpgLast week, Google announced they’d reached agreement with publishers and authors to settle a three year old copyright battle over their book scanning practices.  Both sides expressed great satisfaction with the result.  In public statements the deal, which still must be approved by the court, was lauded as a “landmark” and “a win for everyone.”  Turns out, however, not everyone affected by the deal was that pleased.

The Harvard University newspaper, the Crimson, reported a few days after the announcement that the University will not, at this time, participate fully in Google Book Search.   Copyrighted works in the Harvard collection will be sequestered from Google scanners.

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Applevine: iMac Refresh and iPhone Production Rumors

Fresh off recent upgrades to Macbooks last month and with no iTunes chatter to replicate Harmonix’ Beatles’ conquest, the Applevine  (aka Apple Rumors and Speculation) surprisingly came to life to start this week with a couple new speculative suggestions.

On the Mac front: Apple watching website MacNN is reporting their sources say upgrades to the Mac Mini and iMac computers could be announced on November 10th.  

Given the timing would create an opportunity to capitalize on holiday sales, the rumor falls into the category of plausible but clouding the prospect of its accuracy: Click to Read More

Say You Want A Revolution: Beatles and Harmonix in Game Pact

gh-beatles-ndering-2-sm.jpgIt’s been the ungettable get, the top of the wish list, the digital archive that every vendor has wanted but nobody could have.  iTunes was rumored close, more than once.  Members of the band suggested it would happen this year (it hasn’t).   Activision’s Guitar Hero was the subject of more whispers but nobody could seem to get the complex mix of license holders to reach a joint agreement.  Somehow, over the course of seventeen months, Viacom’s Harmonix found a way.   Ahead of Apple and Activision, the pioneers behind Rock Band and Guitar Hero, will launch a video game built entirely around the catalog of The Beatles.

Because the game is in development, details have largely been held back but here’s what we know:

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