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Andrew Orlowski

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Government's 'Google Review' copyright rules become law

The dog-ends of the “Google Review” of copyright sailed through the Lords yesterday and will become law on 1 October – creating work for the courts and quite possible, legal headaches for the government. Having given itself the power, last year, to make sweeping changes to copyright by the back door – through secondary …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Jul 2014

Indie ISP to Netflix: Give it a rest about 'net neutrality' – and get your checkbook out

A pioneering American community ISP is telling customers that Netflix should spend more time improving its technology, more money on its network – and less energy on lobbying in Washington DC. BSD developer and author Brett Glass founded Lariat.net in Wyoming in 1992, making it one of the first ISPs in the world. He told The …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Jul 2014

Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold

The Ministry of Fun says it isn't going to put the Digital Economy Act's anti-piracy measures into use – and will instead leave it to the creative industry's newer, kinder and gentler awareness campaign, Creative Content UK, to school digital pirates. Creative Content UK (CCUK) works by emailing copyright-infringing downloaders …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Jul 2014
Comparison of BlackBerry Passport with rectangular phones

BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now

BlackBerry has given users another reason to throw out their BlackBerry servers – by putting BES10 into the cloud as a hosted service. It's a long-overdue move, allowing existing BlackBerry sites to set up and manage the first-rate MDM and secure communications services offered BlackBerry via the web, rather than maintaining in- …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Jul 2014

YouTube radio stream boss 'quits Google' amid outcry from indie labels

The manager for Google's controversial and yet-to-launch YouTube music streaming service is leaving, the Wall Street Journal claims. Chris LaRosa is the second boss to quit the streaming subscription project in a year, the paper suggests. Assuming the report is correct, he's joining a startup. YouTube sealed deals with major …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Jul 2014

Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov

The government's fourth IP minister* in less than two years took office at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills last week, but her predecessor has left a few undetonated hand grenades in her in-tray. One of them concerns using other people's copyrighted works for free – whether they like it or not. They're all …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Jul 2014

Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530

Microsoft's ex-Nokia phones unit has produced the successor to the Lumia 520, its best-selling Windows Phone by miles, topping the charts in the UK's Crimbo sales. The Lumia 530 is priced at €85 (£67) before taxes or subsidies, or an initial street price of €100, around £79. It's clearly designed to sit in the £70 sweet spot …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Jul 2014
Microsoft Nokia logo

Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months

When Microsoft swallowed half of Europe's biggest tech company, it was only a matter of time before it spat something out. And so it has, ending Nokia's thirty-year roller-coaster ride. However, the decision will make tens of million of its customers take a look at Android – surely the last thing Microsoft wanted to happen. …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Jul 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

So whither Microsoft? If Nadella knows, he is keeping it well hidden

After Microsoft’s mega jobs bloodbath, we’re still not much wiser about what Microsoft will look like in five years' time. Steve Ballmer turned the focus from PCs to devices and services – manufacturing its own devices, and promoting its own services regardless of the platform. Satya Nadella was supposed to bring further clarity …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Jul 2014
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition

Microsoft's Xbox TV studio OBLITERATED

Microsoft's Xbox chief Phil Spencer has confirmed his firm will shutter its ambitious Xbox TV studio, Xbox Entertainment Studios, after only two years. Among the casualties is a remake of the BBC's cardboard-prop classic, Blake's 7. However, two scripted live-action productions based on the Halo game, to be produced by Stephen …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Jul 2014

Move up, Siri and Cortana: BlackBerry's new... 'Assistant' is here

BlackBerry has unveiled a voice-powered assistant due to appear on its BB10 devices later this year. Imaginatively named er, "BlackBerry Assistant", the speech software hooks into web searches, social media and basic phone functions, like Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana, and Google Now. We tried Assistant on a very early leak …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Jul 2014

X marks the chop: Microsoft takes axe to Nokia's Android venture

Microsoft's Android phones are the latest casualty of the company's axe. The X range was only launched in February this year, before the acquisition of Nokia's devices unit had been completed, but the mutant 'droids will soon be phased out, says CEO Satya Nadella. Microsoft is getting rid of up to 18,000 jobs as it digests the …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Jul 2014

OK, EU chiefs, 3 years of copyright wrangling - let's get it sorted. Now this white paper... DOH!

Europe’s copyright reform process has stalled after a dispute between European commissioners – and reportedly some intense pressure from Silicon Valley’s “Third Senator”, European Commissioner Neelie Kroes. The current reform process got going in May 2011 with a “blueprint” for IP rights reform, kicking off a long and cautious …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Jul 2014
glovephone

EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers

Industry sources have confirmed to The Reg that the European Commission is once again prodding Google's Android contracts with phone makers. Preliminary letters, sent out a month ago, merely ask the phone makers if they find anything in Google's contracts restrictive. We understand the Commission is particularly interested in …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Jul 2014
Nokia Lumia 930

PICS: Nokia Lumia 930 – We reveal its ONE unique selling point

The Lumia 930 is the first upmarket phone in eight months from Nokia's former mobile phone division – now owned by Microsoft. The "Microkia" offering is a solid but quite unspectacular upgrade for Windows Phone users. However, there's nothing really new here. If you're looking for a phone with something distinctive, a bit of a …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Jul 2014
Satya Nadella

Mobile, cloud, social? Data? Nadella strings sexy words together

"We're keeping Xbox and we're going to make cuts." There, in under 10 words, is the substance of what Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella took 3,300 words to say in a message to investors, staff and the media last week. If you are a Microsoft salesman keen to answer key questions from customers such as: "What will you be doing …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Jul 2014
Google_skull

What's your game, Google? Giant collared by UK civil lib minister on 'right to be forgotten'

Lib Dem civil liberties minister Simon Hughes told Westminster today the British public had got the misleadingly named "Right to be Forgotten" ruling badly wrong – and queried why a report from the BBC's Robert Peston was "top of the pile" when Google began deleting entries from its search results. Google has since restored the …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Jul 2014
Broken record

Google YouTube U-turn: Indie music doomsday 'postponed'

Google has postponed its plan to block independent music companies who wouldn't agree to the terms of its proposed deal, the FT reports - but it isn’t clear for how long. Small independent companies are refusing to sign new pro forma deals with Google, which has publicly said it will block their music videos from YouTube – an …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Jul 2014

Google de-listing of BBC article 'broke UK and Euro public interest laws' - So WHY do it?

Google's publicity stunt this week, in which it de-linked selected mass media articles and posts from its search results and informed the journalists in question it had done so, appears to have been illegal. The gigantic advertising company now faces the prospect of having to re-link to articles it has de-linked in the UK in …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Jul 2014

When PR backfires: Google 'forgets' BBC TV man's banker blog post

On Wednesday, Google emailed the BBC to say it had removed from its search results a blog post written by TV journalist Robert Peston about Merrill Lynch boss Stan O'Neal. Was this a PR stunt to highlight the "unfairness" of the EU ruling on the right to be forgotten? We don't know – but whether it was or not, it has backfired …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Jul 2014
Kindle Big Brother

Google buys shagadelic playlist biz Songza

Google has acquired music streaming biz Songza for its data-harvesting capabilities. The Pandora-like website creates "mood music" playlists for specific contexts, so it will suggest a playlist of songs for when you're about to, say, have a shower - or have sex. Songza's CEO rather gave the game away when he told CNET: There …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Jul 2014

Keith McMahon, tech analyst, dies at 50

We're very shocked to hear of the death of one of the telcomms industry's wisest and best-loved experts, Keith McMahon, aged just 50. Born in Salford, Keith was widely known as a witty and shrewd analyst of the media and telecomms industries for STL Partners, where his presentations were the highlight of its Telco 2.0 …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Jul 2014

Amazon offers Blighty's publishing industry 'assisted suicide'

Amazon wants to dictate book prices, and even print copies of publishers' books itself, a report in trade mag Bookseller suggests. UK publishers are, we're told, none too happy. Over in the US, Amazon is already locked in battle with Hachette, the first publisher whose terms with Amazon are coming up for renegotiation: Amazon …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Jun 2014

Indie labels: 5 reasons why we're hauling YouTube before Euro antitrust watchdog

Independent music association Impala has disclosed to The Register a little more detail about its complaint to the EU competition authorities on YouTube's new music contracts. The trade group outlined five areas where it believes Google, which owns YouTube, breaches Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Jun 2014
Frodo and the One Ring

BBC: Bumpkins, hobbits need fairer coverage

The strange Hobbit-like creatures rumoured to populate the barren wasteland between Islington and the Cotswolds must be reported better by the BBC, a report for the BBC Trust has concluded. The report recommends the restoration of the post of a Rural Affairs Editor to find and interview the creatures, to discover how on earth …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Jun 2014
LG G3 Android smartphone

LG drops G3 quad HD Android mobe with FRIGGIN' LASER camera

LG is releasing its new G3 smartphone today. It’s a large device made slim and comfortable by clever design, and is distinguished by a mind-boggling screen, and a superb camera. It’s let down only by hardware buttons, which can be a challenge to locate with accuracy, and the software execution, which hasn’t really tamed Android …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Jun 2014

Aereo has to pay TV show creators? Yes. This isn't rocket science

As widely expected, the US Supreme Court has ruled that TV show creators should be paid by video streaming biz Aereo for the distribution of their work. The TV rebroadcaster, backed by media mogul Barry Diller, was found to have exploited a loophole in American law's definition of "performance" by six of nine justices in an …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Jun 2014

BlackBerry's Passport will be the WEIRDEST mobe of 2014

BlackBerry teased one the year's most whacky smartphone designs at its shareholder AGM yesterday, but it still isn't ready to disclose any more details. The firm then posted - and deleted - a statement about the BlackBerry Passport. BlackBerry's Passport is striking for a couple of reasons. It has a physical QWERTY keyboard that …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Jun 2014

Unexpected Termination Error at Year of Code: Chief dumps venture for other UK.gov riches

The head of the government-backed Year of Code caper has quit, just four months into her new job. Chief executive Lottie Dexter will become a special advisor to Matthew Hancock, a Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Business Department responsible for education and training. That's also a taxpayer-funded job, sharp-eyed readers …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Jun 2014

REVEALED: Google's proposed indie music-killing contract terms

A leaked version of one of YouTube's controversial secret contracts with independent record labels has been published for the first time - and it appears to be stuffed with clauses that could land Google in trouble. Google wants to launch a new Spotify-style streaming service under its YouTube brand, and so requires music labels …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Jun 2014
European Union Flag

EU copyright chief: We could SMASH these infinite copyright contracts... just wait

Europe's competition authority could open up an examination of unfair copyright contracts, according to the region's copyright chief. Speaking at a Westminster Forum seminar, Maria Martin-Prat, EC Head of the Copyright Unit for the Internal Market Directorate General (DG MARKT), said the Commission should look at whether …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Jun 2014

David Cameron wants mobe network roaming INSIDE the UK

Silly Season has started early. The Times reports that the Prime Minister is backing a plan to force operators to UK customers to roam between networks in the UK. This means that network subscribers who lose their signal while in the boondocks could piggyback onto the signal of another network. Supposing there is one. The …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Jun 2014
BlackBerry logo

BlackBerry bottoms out: Vows to wow with new Berries

BlackBerry is staying in the handset market by the skin of its teeth by confirming two new models will arrive this year. The two new devices will be called BlackBerry Passport, a full touch device, and BlackBerry Classic, a QWERTY model designed to alleviate the awkwardness of BB10. The Passport and Classic will be released in …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Jun 2014
Google Chocolate Factory

Canada to Google: You can't have your borderless cake and eat it too

Google-watchers young and old will savour the latest twist in the corporation's attempts to avoid laws it doesn't like. It's a landmark judgment in Canada that's unusual in several ways - not least for the argument that Google advanced. The case – Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack, presided over by Justice Lauri-Ann Fenlon – was …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Jun 2014

London Tech Week: All for the luvvies and the joke's on you, taxpayers

Yesterday morning I was on a stage listening to the Deputy Mayor of London and trying very hard not to look out of the window. I was the 39th floor of One Canada Square (you know, the building everyone always calls “Canary Wharf”), which had a great view over North London. If only I could sneak a peek, I was sure I'd be able to …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Jun 2014

YouTube will nuke indie music videos in DAYS, says Google exec

Google will nuke its bridges with independent record labels and pull their music videos from YouTube, the advertising giant has told its favourite newspaper – the Financial Times. The dispute is over royalty terms for Google's forthcoming and as-yet unannounced music-streaming service, believed to be a Spotify clone. Two weeks …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Jun 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

'Cortana-gate' ruins Satya Nadella's Microsoft honeymoon

It looks like Satya Nadella's honeymoon as Microsoft CEO is over, and it happened during what's already being called "Cortana-gate" by Redmond's own commentards. Smart and decisive, Nadella has enjoyed good press and huge support within Microsoft. But his instant response to the many strategic issues bedevilling Microsoft - …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Jun 2014
Google_skull

Slippery Google greases up, aims to squirm out of EU privacy grasp

Google is wriggling desperately to escape new European privacy rules that could force it to take some responsibility for what information it republishes in response to a given search – in particular a search of someone's name. The European Parliament voted in favour of data protection reforms in March, which the EU's press …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Jun 2014
TalkTalk YouView set top box launch

YouView loses YourView trademark fight, may have to pick new name

The £100m BT and TalkTalk-backed set-top box venture YouView™ may be forced to change its name after losing a trademark scrap today against Cheltenham-based telecomms provider Total. The latter had registered the trademark Your View™ for its billing platform – which it advertises here – before BT and TalkTalk had registered the …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Jun 2014
Photo by Thore Siebrands Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Supermodel Lily Cole: 'I got a little bit upset by that Register article'

Millionaire supermodel Lily Cole has told a national newspaper how upset she was by The Register's coverage of her taxpayer-funded wishing well, Impossible.com. Youtube video of Cole talking about impossible.com Using Freedom of Information laws, we attempted to discover how the wealthy socialite and globetrotter was awarded £ …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Jun 2014
Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump waxwork. Pic: Shawn Perez

Tom Hanks NICKED my COPYRIGHTED PIC, claims Brit photog

Hollywood film actor Tom Hanks' WhoSay page is attributing copyright of a photograph to the millionaire rather than to the British photographer from Cornwall to whom it actually belongs - and the plucky Brit is now fighting for the recognition he deserves. The photo was taken by snapper Tim Martindale last year, and features his …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Jun 2014

LEAKED: Redmond not allowed to sell 'Nokia' smartphones after 2015

Microsoft has 18 months left to use the Nokia brand name on its smartphones and mutant Androids, according to leaked notes prepared for internal marketing guidance. Microsoft bought Nokia's phones business in April. Ironically, Redmond can continue using the Nokia brand longest for the part of Nokia it bought but didn't really …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Jun 2014

Amazon Prime Music opens – but where's the streaming music?

Amazon has rolled out a new streaming music service in the US for its Prime club members, but there’s lots of music missing. The Prime Music service replaces the MP3 Store and Cloud Player apps. However, it doesn’t include any tracks newer than six months old, and there’s reportedly nothing from Universal Music Group, the world’ …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Jun 2014

Huawei Ascend P7: We review the PANORAMIC SELFIE smartphone

Last year Huawei crept into the No 3 spot for smartphone sales worldwide without anyone really noticing. At least not here, where Chinese giant is known (if it’s known for anything) for its networking equipment. But with the Ascend P7, it raises its game in two ways. It’s Huawei’s first 4G phone, and it's by far the most …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Jun 2014

Debunking Jimbo: Slippery Google tries to evade European privacy

Google’s latest celebrity recruit, Wikipedia cofounder Jimmy Wales, recently gave an extraordinary performance on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show. We want to share with you what he said – verbatim – with expert commentary. It’s about the decision of a top European court that Google cannot be exempt from the Continent's privacy and …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Jun 2014
warwick slate1

'CAPTAIN CYBORG': The wild-eyed prof behind 'machines have become human' claims

For 14 years, The Register has been chronicling the publicity stunts of Kevin Warwick, an attention-seeking academic with a sideline in self-mutilation*. In fact, Warwick has been making improbable claims to the press for much longer than that: over twenty years. But the world has continued to relay Warwick's stunts and …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Jun 2014

UK govt preps World War 2 energy rationing to keep the lights on

The UK government will today set out Second World War-style measures to keep the lights on and avert power cuts as a "last resort". The price to Britons will be high. Factories will be asked to "voluntarily" shut down to save energy at peak times for homes, while others will be paid to provide their own backup power should they …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Jun 2014

EU privacy A-Team tells Google: Get a grip and obey OUR laws

The EU's advisory panel on privacy and data protection has warned Google to comply with Europe's laws in an unusually strongly worded statement. The Article 29 Working Party vowed to investigate if Google refused to abide by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling – Google Spain v Gonzalez et al – that decreed Google was not …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Jun 2014

Freeview's rumoured '£100m YouView killer' is real – and it's yet another digital TV thing

A new UK TV platform dubbed Freeview Connect has been officially announced after many months of rumour within the industry. It will provide catch-up and other on-demand services for terrestrial UK broadcasters – much as YouView does today. The move leaves Freeview shareholder Sky, which has its own telly platform, out in the …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Jun 2014

Euro judges: Copyright has NOT changed, you WON'T get sued for browsing the web

The highest European Court today confirmed that the internet can carry on working just like it has for 20 years. In doing so, it was batting away a strange request for "clarification" on copyright from the UK's Supreme Court. For the internet to function, it was established very early on that certain devices - such as routers, …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Jun 2014