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Amazon, Google Cave To Apple, Drop In-App Buttons 307

CWmike writes "Amazon bowed on Monday to Apple's newest App Store rules, and removed a link in its iPhone and iPad Kindle apps that took customers directly to its online store. The move was required to comply with new rules designed to block developers from evading the 30% cut that Apple takes from in-app purchases. In February, Apple CEO Steve Jobs laid down the law. 'Our philosophy is simple — when Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30% share,' said Jobs in a statement released Feb. 15. 'When the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100% and Apple earns nothing.' Rhapsody updated its iPhone app last week to, among other things, remove the in-app subscribing link. Also on Monday, Google complied with Apple's new rules when it re-released Google Books — which had been yanked from the App Store — minus an in-app purchasing button."

Amazon's Cloud Player: We Don't Need a License 539

halfEvilTech writes "Amazon has launched Cloud Drive and Cloud Player without securing streaming licenses from the music industry. But does it need to? Amazon says 'No.' The music industry? 'Yes.'" Do I need a license to stream MP3s from system RAM to the MP3 player? From my hard drive to RAM? From my file server to my machine?

Carriers Delay Paying Japan's Texting Donations 235

Julie188 writes "As the fallout from the Japanese earthquake/tsunami/nuclear meltdown tragedy continues to unfold, Americans want to help. We learned from the Haiti disaster that the easiest thing to do is to text a donation to our favorite relief organization. But, unlike Haiti, Japan's text-to-give donations will take as long as three months to get to the relief agency. And the company handling these donations,, has not waived the transaction fees it charges relief agencies."

Online Behavior Could Influence Insurance Rates 141

storagedude writes "There seems to be no end to the ways your personal data and online behavior can be used against you. According to the Wall Street Journal, insurance companies are considering using online behavioral and social networking data to try to weed out insurance risks. What you read, what you buy, how much TV you watch, your credit, your fan pages... it could all be used to predict your longevity and insurance risk. The practice, which appears to be in the early stages, could raise concerns with the FTC and insurance regulators, but insurance and data mining companies say they just plan to use it to speed up the applications of people who appear to be good risks; others would have to go through more rigorous traditional screening."

Anti-Piracy Lawyers 'Knew Letters Hit Innocents' 240

nk497 writes "A UK legal watchdog has claimed lawyers who sent out letters demanding settlement payments from alleged file-sharers knew they would end up hitting innocent people. The Solicitors Regulators Authority said the two Davenport Lyons lawyers 'knew that in conducting generic campaigns against those identified as IP holders whose IP numeric had been used for downloading or uploading of material that they might in such generic campaigns be targeting people innocent of any copyright breach.' The SRA also said the two lawyers lost their independence because they convinced right holders to allow them to act on their behalf by waiving hourly fees and instead taking a cut of the settlements. The pair earned £150,000 of the £370,000 collected from alleged file-sharers. Because they were looking to recoup their own costs, the lawyers ignored clients' concerns about the negative publicity the letter campaign could — and eventually did — cause, the SRA claimed."

AT&T Wireless Data Still Growing At 1000% 137

jfruhlinger writes "AT&T's wireless network came under a microscope when it seemed unable to handle the massive data use boost that came when the iPhone arrived on the scene. The company has since put money into its infrastructure, and that growth rate has slowed somewhat, but it's still gone up 30 times over the past three years."

RIAA President Says Copyright Law "Isn't Working" 473

Kilrah_il writes "Apperantly not satisfied with the current scope of the DMCA, RIAA President Cary Sherman wants to broaden the scope of the law to have content providers such as YouTube and Rapidshare liable for illegal content found on their sites. 'The RIAA would strongly prefer informal agreements inked with intermediaries ... We're working on [discussions with broadband providers], and we'd like to extend that kind of relationship — not just to ISPs, but [also to] search engines, payment processors, advertisers ... [But], if legislation is an appropriate way to facilitate that kind of cooperation, fine.' Notice the update at the end of the article pointing out that Sherman is seeking for voluntary agreements with said partners and not to enact broader laws without their cooperation."

RIAA Wants 'Net Neutrality' To Include Filtering 212

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "The RIAA is now worried about the FCC's rulemaking concerning Net Neutrality. Specifically, they're worried that the rules might make it difficult for ISPs to filter out copyright infringement and child pornography, so they want to make sure that spying on and filtering internet traffic is okay, so long as it's being done for a good reason, even if it doesn't work correctly and blocks non-infringing content. Incidentally, the RIAA has some justification to lump child pornography and copyright infringement: after all, people might infringe upon the original cover art for the album 'Virgin Killer,' which featured a naked under-aged girl in a way that some consider pornographic. The copyright on it belongs to RCA Records."

Warner Bros. Accused of Pirating Anti-Pirating Tech 228

psycho12345 writes "German firm Medien Patent Verwaltung claims that in 2003, it revealed a new kind of anti-piracy technology to Warner Bros. that marks films with specific codes so pirated copies can be traced back to their theaters of origin. But like a great, hilariously ironic DRM Ouroborus, the company claims that Warner began using the system throughout Europe in 2004 but hasn't actually paid a dime for it."

Nero Files Antitrust Complaint Against MPEG-LA 247

hkmwbz writes "German technology company Nero AG has filed an antitrust complaint against the MPEG-LA, the company that manages the H.264 patent pool. Nero claims that the MPEG-LA has violated the law and achieved and abused 100% market share, by, among other things, using 'independent experts' that weren't independent after all, not weeding out non-essential patents from the pool (in fact, it has grown from the original 53 to more than 1,000), and retroactively changing previously-agreed-on license terms."

Stem Cell Patent Halts Hospital's Collection 223

eldavojohn writes "It's a classic case that comes up when dealing with patents. A hospital's research on the donated brains of deceased children has been in limbo for three years because of a challenge from a patent holder. The double-edged sword of patents that spurred investment into the field will also cause chilling effects on research like the case of the Children's Hospital of Orange County. They've now been forced to shift the money from the lab to lawyers in order to deal with this ongoing patent dispute over a technique that was developed to extract stem cells at the Salk Institute. Unfortunately the Salk Institute failed to patent the technology, so a company named StemCells happily had it approved. The real disheartening news is that CHOC's Dr. Philip H. Schwartz — the doctor collecting the cells — was one of the original researchers who helped developed this technique at the Salk Institute. Now he can't even use the technique he helped create. Schwartz has since been instructed not to publicly discuss the case further. Research interests are clashing with commercial interests in a classic case that causes one to wonder if patents surrounding medical techniques like this stretch too far. As for the people that donated their dead child's brain to research, those valuable stem cell cultures have been kept in storage instead of being disseminated to research labs (which desperately need them) across the country."

Amazon Surrenders To Macmillan On eBook Pricing 437

CuteSteveJobs writes with a followup to news we discussed on Saturday of a disagreement between Amazon and Macmillan Publishers over ebook pricing: "Amazon has thrown in the towel and announced it will now sell books at Macmillan's increased prices; up to $14.99 from $9.99. Said Amazon in a statement: 'We will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan's terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books.' Macmillan has sensed Apple's iBooks opens the way for higher prices. Perhaps the question should be: do we even need publishers like Macmillian? Publishers have long managed to keep their old business model chugging along nicely despite the Internet; Academics are still forced to give up copyright (PDF) of their work in exchange for publication. Textbook publishers have a history of unethical practices like frequent edition changes, unjustifiable price increases and bribing teachers. For that matter, why do the RIAA's members still control the music business? Why do these dinosaur publishing businesses still manage to thrive despite the Internet?"

Will Your Super Bowl Party Anger the Copyright Gods? 560

garg0yle writes "According to some folks, watching the Super Bowl on a television bigger than 55 inches is illegal. Is this true? Yes and no — long story short, if you're in a private residence you're probably okay, but if you're running a sports bar you may technically have to negotiate a license with the NFL. Just don't charge for food, or call it a 'Super Bowl' party, since the term itself is copyright."

Apple Seeks Patent On Operating System Advertising 342

patentpundit writes "On April 18, 2008, Apple Computer applied for a patent relating to an 'invention' that allows for showing advertisements within an operating system. The first named inventor on the patent application is none other than Steve Jobs. The patent application published and became available for public inspection on October 22, 2009. If implemented, the invention would make it possible for advertisements to be displayed on a variety of devices, including desktop computers, cell phones, PDAs, and more. In one alarming aspect, the device could be disabled while the advertisements run, thereby forcing users to let the advertisement run its course before the system would unlock and allow further use. In an even more invasive scenario, explained in the patent application, the user could be required to do something, such as click to continue, in order to verify that they are actively watching the advertisement and haven't simply walked away while the ad runs. Whether Apple would implement such an invention is unknown, but it is possible that they think there are others out there who might want to implement such invasive advertising. It is possible Apple wanted to get ahead of the curve and file this patent so that if any company is silly enough to engage in Big Brother advertising, then Apple will get a royalty. I sure hope this is not the future of advertising."

Machines take me by surprise with great frequency. - Alan Turing