Tag Archives: Techdirt

Netflix Keeps Losing Mainstream Movies, Informs Users They Should Be Ok With That Because Of…

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Netflix also has to walk the minefield of explaining all of this to consumers who just want the latest and greatest content and options and don’t care about the details. For example, Amazon recently announced it would be letting users download content for streaming at a later date (albeit via Amazon’s heavily DRM’d system). That’s an appealing solution for usage-capped customers, but Netflix last week stated it wouldn’t be following suit, claiming that offline downloads would prove too confusing for customers […] Of course that’s crap: letting people store a local copy of a film isn’t remotely complex. What’s complex is explaining to consumers why such functionality would likely cost Netflix significantly more in copyright licensing fees and layers of mandated DRM deployment. – Karl Bode, Techdirt

Carl Malamud Asks YouTube To Institute Three Strikes Policy For Those Who Abuse Takedowns

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Last week, [TechDirt] wrote about Boston public television station WGBH issuing a bogus takedown on some public domain (government created) video that Carl Malamud had uploaded to YouTube. That doesn’t look like an automated takedown, but rather someone working for WGBH’s legal team who just decided that anything with “American Experience” in a title must be infringing. Malamud has now published the letter that he sent YouTube, about the whole situation. It includes some more details concerning the insulting manner in which WGBH’s legal team, Susan Kantrowitz and Eric Brass, handled the situation, including Brass telling Malamud that this wasn’t a big deal because deleting this “particular film” was not that important. – Mike Masnick, Techdirt

FCC May Finally Act To Ease The Pain Of Stupid Cable TV Content Negotiation Blackouts

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For the consumer, these fights usually go something like this: you’re bombarded with on-screen tickers and ads from both your cable operator and the broadcaster telling you the other guy is being a greedy villain during a contract standoff. After the programming contract expires, content you’re paying for gets blacked out (which you’re of course never given a refund for) by one side or the other in the hopes of pushing negotiations along. After a month or two the two sides then ultimately strike a confidential new programming deal. A few weeks later your cable bill sees a price hike — potentially your second of the year. It’s kind of a lose-lose scenario for consumers, who get used as public relations pinatas (call your cable operator to complain!), lose access to content they’re paying for, and then get accosted with an endless series of rate hikes. – Karl Bode, Techdirt

Vimeo Should Take Some Of The Blame For Simply Accepting Massive Bogus DMCA Takedown Over The…

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[O]bviously, much of the blame for this ridiculous set of circumstances should fall on Entura International for being terrible at its own job in issuing bogus takedowns. And some of the blame should fall on Columbia Pictures for hiring Entura — a company that clearly has no business sending out DMCA takedowns. But, also, much of it should fall on Vimeo for simply giving in and accepting the obviously bogus takedown requests. Just recently, we noted that Automattic (the company that makes WordPress.com) had published in its transparency report that it had rejected 43% of the DMCA takedown notices it had received — and we suggested other companies start paying attention. Google also is known for rejecting bad DMCA takedowns. – Mike Masnick, Techdirt

US Pushing To Kill Any Future Aereo With TPP

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[A] court rule in favor of FilmOn, an Aereo-clone, arguing that contrary to what was found in the Aereo case, FilmOn’s internet streaming of network TV should be seen as the equivalent of a cable channel. That’s important, because it means that the company can just pay Section 111 compulsory fees to the Copyright Office, and then it’s free to stream broadcast (network) TV over the internet. The TV networks are, not surprisingly, appealing this ruling, but they have a friend in the USTR, which is apparently looking to negotiate away this very possibility in the TPP. – Mike Masnick, Techdirt

Dear Tom Wheeler: I’m Sorry I Thought You Were A Mindless Cable Shill

Since coming into office, Wheeler has raised the base definition of broadband to 25 Mbps to aggressively highlight how three-quarters of the country lack more than one competitive option at that speed. He’s started threatening wireless ISPs for using throttling and congestion as bogeymen to make an extra buck. Wheeler also surprised everyone by reclassifying ISPs as common carriers and pushing tougher net neutrality rules. More importantly (I believe), he’s spearheaded an effort to kill ISP-crafted, state protectionist laws designed specifically to hinder broadband competition, an issue the FCC had spent the last fifteen years ignoring. Then, last week, Wheeler played the starring role in killing an ugly Comcast merger most sector analysts originally believed would see little regulatory resistance. – Karl Bode, Techdirt 

The Cartoonist Has No Idea How Net Neutrality Works

All of these cartoons are pretending that the new rules insert the FCC between you and the internet. And all of them pretend that the FCC is going to do what the broadband providers themselves have said they want to do — which these rules are designed to prevent. So, yes, the cartoonist has no idea how net neutrality works. – Mike Masnick, Techdirt   (Full Story: http://ift.tt/1CK1jsx )

Despite A Year To Prepare, Wireless Carriers Struggle To Adhere To Weak And Voluntary Cell Phone Unlocking Guidelines

Interestingly it’s Verizon Wireless and AT&T, arguably the worst of the major carriers when it comes to attempts to stifle openness over the years, that come out ahead in adhering to all six guidelines (though your mileage may vary, and since the rules don’t require much, this may not mean much). For Verizon, that’s in part thanks to the Carterfone conditions placed on its 700 MHz spectrum, though that hasn’t stopped the company from fighting openness in general tooth and nail in other ways. As I’ve noted previously the conditions have plenty of loopholes — and anti-competitive behavior is allowed just as long as companies ambiguously insist that what they’re doing (like blocking Google Wallet, or locking bootloaders) is for the “safety and security of the network.” – Karl Bode, Techdirt
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The Cable Industry’s Latest Lame Argument: We’re Burying Sneaky Fees In Your Bill As Part Of An Effort To Be More Transparent

In addition to soaring cable modem fees, the last year has seen a spike in two new sneaky fees: a “broadcast TV surcharge” and the addition of new sports programming fees. In both instances, companies are taking the cost of doing business (programming costs) and burying it below the line so they can misleadingly advertise a lower price. It’s false advertising, and it’s sleazy, yet the industry’s latest defense of this practice is — amazingly enough — that they’re just interested in being transparent for the benefit of the consumer[.] – Karl Bode, Techdirt
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Amazon Fire TV Firmware Update Bricks Rooted Devices, Prevents Rollback To Previous Firmware Versions

You can buy it but you can’t own it. Digital goods remind us of this fact all the time. But physical goods? Those should be ours. But somehow, they often aren’t, especially if the company behind the product is trying oh so hard to lock customers into a closed ecosystem. […] Techdirt reader techflaws sends in this link to Amazon’s Fire TV firmware updates, hosted at AFTVnews, a site dedicated to (and run by) Fire TV aficionados. Alongside the expected bug fixes and features list is the following warning:

“Self destruct” eFuse added to kernel which gets triggered if an older bootloader is used. This means Fire TVs that update to stock 51.1.4.1_user_514013920 can never be downgraded, even if a method to root them is discovered.

So, while there are workarounds available now (as well as custom firmware developed by the enthusiasts at XDA Forums), there’s been nothing official released by Amazon. The message is clear: play within the walls of our garden or GTFO. – Tim Cushing,Techdirt

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