Google Book Settlement Getting Further Review?

The settlement of a long standing lawsuit over Google’s practices of scanning and displaying books at Google Book Search was announced in October and expected to be finalized between May and June.  Two weeks ago, in late April,  the judge overseeing the case extended the dates until September and October to allow concerned parties more time to digest the complex agreement.  Chief among those looking for more time was authors but reports also suggested the Department of Justice was taking a look too.

Now it appears that the Attorney General’s of several states are also interested in taking a gander.  According to a Reuters report published Friday, the AG’s held a one hour conference call earlier this week to discuss the settlement.

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Activision Details Upcoming Guitar Hero Editions

Guitar Hero Van Halen Metue RenderGuitar Hero has been a goldmine for Activision Blizzard.  The popular music game franchise has generated more than $2b in sales and pushed out 34 million song downloads.   Looking to build on the brand’s strength while expanding the franchise’s demographic reach, the company has confirmed a number of details about future installments.

First, three titles will debut this fall.  Guitar Hero 5 will expand on the prior offerings with a classic rock base and music choices aimed at the game’s core audience. 

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Net Video Studio 60 Frames Calls Cut?

60-frames-cut.jpgFor a while before the economy turned south, digital film production specifically tailored for internet distribution was all the rage.  Turn back the clock a year or a year and half ago and Deca, 60 Frames, Next New Networks, and a handful of others all clamored for position in what they hoped would become a solid market.   Even Microsoft was in the act with its own Digital Upfront.   But things are different now: with ad markets weak and competition for consumer attention also large (Hulu, YouTube, Network TV etc), the revenue stream many of these startups counted on has yet to find a solid foundation.

60  Frames, which was started in 2007 with $3.5m in outside funding and incubated with the support of talent agency UTA and ad agency Spot Runner, appears to be a casualty.

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Widescreen Kindle DX Debut

dx kindleIt’s now official.  A day after receiving a design patent for the look of the Kindle, Amazon revealed a widescreen model of its eBook platform called the Kindle DX.

The new model, with a 9.7 inch diagonal screen is two and half times larger than the second generation model revealed in February.  Overall, its size nears the scale of a standard sheet of paper. 

The storage on the device jumps to 3.3GB, enough to store 3,500 books, the company says.   The DX model also features native PDF support and an auto-rotation feature similar to the iPhone that reorients the display to portrait or landscape mode depending on the way the device is held.

Confirming earlier rumors of newspaper involvement – three papers, the New York Times, The Boston Globe (also owned by the New York Times Company), and the Washington post will offer Click to Read More

CBS to Combine Radio Websites and in New Unit

last-fm-cbs.jpgCBS has been working to make a more integrated part of its digital porfolio. In late March, announced its streaming music service would no longer be free in some international markets.  Tuesday,CBS said it will bring the more than 100 websites in the CBS Radio portfolio and together into a single new unit to be called the CBS Interactive Music Group.

David Goodman who joined CBS Radio in 2002 will lead the new combined unit.  Goodman became President of Marketing in 2005 and President, Digital Media and Integrated Marketing in 2007.  Before CBS, he spent six years at the Warner Music Group.   Goodman will report to Neil Ashe, the president of CBS Interactive.

The combined group will reach more than 40m people, the company said. 

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Entertainent Earnings: Marvel and Disney, Quick Looks

Leading a busy week of entertainment industry earnings reports that also includes News Corp and CBS, both Marvel Entertainment and Disney reported today. The quick facts, by the numbers:

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New Kindle for News Distribution? Wednesday Event Scheduled

kindle 3 eventIf printed newspapers are slowly dying, are eBook readers the phoenix to rise from their ashes?  Is the answer to next-generation media delivery really portable devices tailor-made for reading periodicals and daily news?

With competition between smartphones, netbooks, laptops   - not to mention the fact that delivery technology doesn’t directly address the cost issues associated with news generation, and reporting – the answer is debatable but plenty are taking a close look at the prospect, or even wagering a bet.  News Corp., for one, has expressed interest in the exploration.  Hearst is expected to launch its own product this year (and is also invested in display maker E ink).   And then, the companies behind USA Today (Gannett) and the Financial Times (Pearson Plc) have also jumped, working with Plastic Logic.

Whenever the products come out, though, they may be playing catch up.  Amazon beat them all to the punch with its Kindle, and now, it appears, some new variation on the theme more narrowly aimed at news media may be revealed this week.

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