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Music listener rasta

Pandora investor: Sell this company sooner rather than later

A major investor in Pandora wants the company to sell out while it can. Hedge fund Corvex Partners has revealed that it owns 10 per cent of the veteran streaming music company – and that selling out to a larger company is preferable to pursuing a "costly and uncertain business plan." In a US Securities and Exchange Commission …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 May 2016
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YouTube Red comes to Australia

Google has flicked the switch on the Australian version of “YouTube Red”, the twelve bucks a month version of the service that features no ads and allows online viewing. If you pony up you also get access to a clutch of YouTube Originals that extend the output of popular YouTubers and look to be aimed squarely at the youth …
Team Register, 18 May 2016

Adpocalypse 'will wipe out display ad growth' by 2020

Ad-blocking threatens to snuff out growth in the digital display advertising market, reckons Optimal, a startup with an interest in talking up the Adpocalypse. According to Optimal’s trackers, 11.7 per cent of online display ads were blocked last year, which when married to a prediction on adblock growth, will see $12bn worth …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 May 2016

When the reach-around goes wrong. Or is that right?

Silicon Valley, HBO's satire on the eponymous tech haven, is at its best when it takes the brilliance and idealism of engineers and contorts them to fit the barmy business end of the industry. And so it was with the latest episode. As predicted, the show rebounded from a drab third episode to dive straight back into the …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 May 2016
trollstation

Art heist 'pranksters' sent down for six months

Four men that staged two art gallery thefts and a kidnapping as part of a "prank" for their YouTube channel have been jailed by a judge in the UK. The group, operating under the name Trollstation, staged faked thefts at the National Portrait Gallery and Tate Britain art museum in London this summer, causing panic among …
Iain Thomson, 16 May 2016
GCHQ is following you on Twitter, Faceboo, email...

GCHQ's Twitter move: Wants to be 'accessible', people to 'understand'

GCHQ has belatedly joined Twitter. The UK government spy agency’s first message to the global micro-blogging platform on Monday morning was the brief “Hello, world”, something that GCHQ probably hopes will resonate with computer programmers worldwide.1 Simple and in keeping with the banal first entries of many Twitter users …
John Leyden, 16 May 2016

Motion Picture Ass. of America to guard online henhouse

The Motion Picture Ass. of America will be given a direct line to kill domain names that it says contain pirated information. Under an agreement signed [PDF] with Radix Registry, the MPAA will be a "trusted notifier" across the whole range of Radix registries that include .website, .tech, .online, .space and .host. If the …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 May 2016
 Sample news website on digital tablet. Copyright: Kaspars Grinvalds/shutterstock.com

Blocking ads? Smaller digital publishers are smacked the hardest

Analyst firm Juniper Research has stared into its crystal ball and predicted that digital publishers stand to lose over $27bn (£18bn) by 2020 due to ad-blocking. Developer activity is set to increase over the next five years making ad-blockers more sophisticated and difficult to overcome, according to the research. The …
Kat Hall, 11 May 2016
Peter Capaldi as Dr Who. Credit: BBC

At the BBC, Agile means 'making it up as we go along'

A £75m “Agile” BBC IT project has evaded scrutiny because managers could make up the benefits as they went along, according to the spending watchdog the National Audit Office. Any likelihood of the project achieving savings is now officially rated as “in doubt” by the BBC’s own project monitoring. Since the costly failure of …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 May 2016

Falling flat: Silicon Valley satire is a no show

Recap Trouble lies ahead for the plucky nerds of HBO's Silicon Valley and not only within the show itself. Last season, it took until the eighth episode of the 10-slot run for the show to fall flat on its face (a trip from which it swiftly recovered). This time around it has happened - literally - in episode three. Last time, we …

Did Spotify hire Alan Partridge to run its Netflix-style video push?

Competition Spotify’s strange lurch into creating TV shows grows even stranger. Amongst the highlights of original content is a lurid series on how music stars died. “From the PCP-fueled cannibalism of rapper Big Lurch to the murder-for-hire plot hatched by the singer of metal band As I Lay Dying, we’ll get the full story of how some of …
Collage of neon lights, street signs and advertisements at Times Square in New York City on June 23, 2013. Times Square holds the annual New Year's Eve ball drop. Photo by Allen G/Shutterstock for editorial use only

Can ad biz’s LEAN avert ADPOCALYPSE?

Do you trust the ad industry to clean up its act? It certain has an incentive to do so, with adblocking on the rise. Six months ago the ad biz trade association the IAB launched the LEAN initiative to define a basemark “acceptable ad”. The IAB's LEAN principles are “Light, Encrypted, AdChoices-supporting, and Non-invasive”. …

Hey, YouTube: Pay your 'workers' properly and get with the times

Analysis The latest record industry middleman takes more than ever from the mouths of musicians, at least compared with the old record industry middleman. Head of the recording industry trade group BPI Geoff Taylor says that video music consumption doubled, but revenue only rose by 0.5 per cent. Taylor contrasted this with a 70 per …

FCC urged to pause its fight against America's $20bn cable-box rip-off

Sixty US congressman have sent a letter [PDF] to Tom Wheeler – chairman of America's internet mall cop, the FCC – urging him to "press pause" on plans to open the cable box market to competition. In it, the elected representatives argue that the proposal to force large telco companies to allow third parties to produce set-top …
U2 on your iStuffs

'Apple ate my music!' Streaming jukebox wipes 122GB – including muso's original tracks

Apple Music users are being warned after one fella says the streaming service deleted more than 100GB of files from his computer. Studio director James Pinkstone said Apple's subscription-based service stripped approximately 122GB worth of music, including his own original compositions, from his machine seemingly without …
Shaun Nichols, 5 May 2016
Burning copyright symbol. Photo by: Martin Fisch http://www.flickr.com/photos/marfis75/ on flickr"

Clixta: A copyright-friendly way to share your family photos

“Imagine if a Facebook rival emerged that didn’t require users to surrender their rights, and that rewarded them for their creativity with real dosh. Who’d want to stick around with the old Facebook that doesn’t do either?” we mused last year. Well, although it isn’t pretending to be a Facebook rival, or pay you, something …

US telly stations fling malware-tipped web ads at unsuspecting surfers

A rogue advertiser abused the Taggify self-serve ad platform to inject malware-installing code into browsers visiting the websites of two US TV stations. It was a textbook malvertising attack: to infect victims' PCs, the dodgy ads used the Angler Exploit Kit, which is a grab bag of code that exploits weaknesses in Adobe Flash …
John Leyden, 4 May 2016
Julia Reda MEP, Pirate Party. Pic: Joachim S. Müller

The Lonely Pirate MEP's Holocaust copyright stunt backfires

Comment A tasteless attempt to recruit Holocaust victim Anne Frank to the case of weakening European copyright protection has backfired on the EU's only Pirate Party MP, Julia Reda. On WIPO’s World IP Day last week, copyfighter Reda tweeted that she was “trying to read Anne Frank’s Diary” but couldn’t because of copyright terms. …

Legal fight against USA Today's news app info-flogging OK'd by court

A US judicial panel has greenlighted a lawsuit over the way mobile apps handle people's private information. The US First Circuit Court of Appeals overturned an earlier ruling throwing out a lawsuit filed by Alexander Yershov against newspaper publisher Gannett alleging misuse of personally identifiable information. In doing …
Shaun Nichols, 2 May 2016

Getting shafted the Silicon Valley way

Recap If there was one standout moment from the latest episode of tech satire Silicon Valley it would have to be when our eponymous hero finds out he is being shafted by his new CEO while in the background a thoroughbred horse is literally shafted by a white stallion. Subtle? No. Hilarious? Yes. And so our favorite valley TV show …

Your mother has a smooth forehead, Klingon language lovers roar at Paramount

The Language Creation Society is very unhappy about an effort by movie studio Paramount to copyright the language of bumpy-headed Star Trek aliens, the Klingons. In an amicus curiae brief filed with an LA court, the society claims that Klingon is a "living language" and cannot be owned. "The greater whole is a living …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Apr 2016

UC Davis chancellor suspended after headlines like this one undo $175,000 online name-scrubbing efforts

Linda Katehi, the chancellor of the University of California, Davis, has been suspended pending an investigation into the decision to spent hundreds of thousand of dollars improving Google search results for her name, amid a range of other questionable activities. The decision to put Katehi on paid administrative leave was …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Apr 2016
Man on laptop has ethical dilemma (represted by angel and demon on either shoulder). Photo by Shutterstock

The case for ethical ad-blocking

When is ad-blocking ethical? How about when the adtech industry is behaving so unethically it destroys people’s livelihoods? Musician and music rights campaigner David Lowery last year made the incendiary suggestion that musicians should encourage their fans to block the advertising running on music-streaming sites – even …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Apr 2016

It's World IP Day! Celebrate by making money from a dead teenager

It's World Intellectual Property day! So it's time again to think about the plight of IP lawyers, tens of thousands of whom are forced to undergo the daily indignity of people shaking their heads at them as they try to explain why everything in the world, including your own thoughts, are owned by someone else and you should pay …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 Apr 2016
Don Draper is Sad

Ad-blocker blocking websites face legal peril at hands of privacy bods

Websites that detect ad-blockers to stop their users from reading webpages could be illegal under European law. Alexander Hanff, a privacy campaigner and programmer, says he has received a letter from the European Commission confirming that browser-side web scripts that pick out advert blockers access people's personal data ( …
Iain Thomson, 23 Apr 2016
Toshiba 47-inch 47L7453DB

Will Comcast's set-box killer murder your data caps? The truth revealed

Earlier this week, Comcast announced the Xfinity Partner Program, a service that will pipe TV directly into a subscriber's smart TV or streaming box without the need for a cable set-top box. The service would run through an app built on HTML5. This led some readers to question whether the TV content would be counted against …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Apr 2016
Great Hall of the People, seat of Communist party government in Beijing, China. Photo by Shutterstock

China leaves Apple books, movies on the cutting room floor

Apple has reportedly been banned from offering movies and books through its iTunes and iBooks portals in China. The New York Times cited anonymous sources in reporting that Beijing has decided that the Cupertino giant will no longer be able to offer the movie and book download services on the mainland. The reason for the …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Apr 2016
'Broken Copyright' StockMonkeys.com

Jaron Lanier: Big Tech is worse than Big Oil

Intellectual property isn't just vital to human dignity. It might be the only thing that can save your kids having a job, thanks to today's robber barons, like Google. So says virtual-reality pioneer and musician Jaron Lanier, who's come out swinging harder than ever at the Silicon Valley. Big Tech is seriously worse than Big …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Apr 2016

Ten years in the clink, file-sharing monsters! (If UK govt gets its way)

Analysis The UK government will insist on jail sentences of up to 10 years for illegal file sharing, despite its own public consultation saying the opposite. In an act of almost unparalleled Whitehall hubris, the decision was announced in the foreword to a report [PDF] that revealed only two per cent of respondents agreed with the …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Apr 2016
Doom

The web is DOOM'd: Average page now as big as id's DOS classic

The average web page is now roughly the same size as the full install image for the classic DOS game Doom, apparently. This is according to Ronan Cremin, a lead engineer with Afilias Technologies and dotMobi's representative for the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium). Cremin points to data from the HTTP Archive showing that, at …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Apr 2016
Prince in concert at Coachella 2008. Photo by Scott Penner, licensed under CC-by-SA-2.0

RIP Prince: You were the soundtrack of my youth

The shock death yesterday of Prince at the age of 57 prompted immediate worldwide reaction which bore witness both to the man's undeniable talent and influence, and the internet age's obsession with celebrity. The newsgasmic blanket coverage... BBC website featuring blanket Prince coverage The Guadian's website showing …
Lester Haines, 22 Apr 2016

Big Cable threatens to sue FCC: You can't stop us ripping off customers

The US National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) has threatened to sue the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) if it pushes ahead with plans to open up cable boxes. Speaking at a press conference Thursday, the NCTA's president – and former FCC chair – Michael Powell said that the plan to force cable companies …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Apr 2016
Poster for the movie Cable Guy. Copyright:  Columbia Pictures Corporation,

Comcast stabs set-top boxes in the back, pipes directly into smart TVs

Comcast appears to be suddenly in the mood for murdering set-top boxes. Dubbed the Xfinity TV Partner Program, the campaign allows Comcast to offer its regular cable service through an app that runs on smart TVs or connected devices such as streaming video players. The app streams Comcast TV service, including broadcasts, …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Apr 2016

Blighty ranks 38th in World Press Freedom Index

The UK has ranked 38th in the 2016 World Press Freedom Index - a league table of "the degree of freedom available to journalists in 180 countries". Topping the Reporters Without Borders (aka Reporters sans frontières, or RSF) index is Finland, followed by The Netherlands, Norway, Denmark and New Zealand. China, Syria, …
Lester Haines, 21 Apr 2016
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Sneaky Google KOs 'right to be forgotten' from search results

Google has never liked privacy laws, and it really hated Europe’s “Right to be Forgotten” ruling in 2014. The RTBF ruling gave private citizens the right to ask for the removal of search entries that contained personal information that was old and irrelevant, for which there was no public interest. It was a privilege …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Apr 2016

Europe's digi-boss tells YouTube to cough up proper music royalties

The European Union's digital chief has told YouTube that it needs to start compensating copyright owners properly. Andrus Ansip is currently updating Europe's copyright rules and spoke publicly about how the Google-owned video site was providing far less to copyright owners than competing services such as Spotify. "This is …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Apr 2016
Books and laptop

Google's 'fair use' mass slurping of books can continue – US Supremes snub writers' pleas

American authors have failed to persuade the US Supreme Court to hear issues raised by the Google book-scanning case. Described as humanity's "last library," Google's 25 million book archive was almost entirely obtained without permissions from authors and publishers, leading to an epic 11-year legal battle. The decision …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Apr 2016

Daft Punk: Snowden goes electronica

It is a seemingly unlikely career change, bored Moscovite Edward Snowden has agreed to provide vocals for a track on Jean Michel Jarre's forthcoming album. "I've always appreciated electronic music. The melodies that I remember with most fondness are actually from video games where they generate 8-bit music, and those kinds of …
Iain Thomson, 15 Apr 2016

AMC sobers up, apologizes for silly cinema texting plan

Chalk one up for the grumpy old complainers as AMC Theaters says it will not let people text during movies after all. The theater chain said on Friday morning that it was not going to make good on CEO Adam Aron's suggestion that the theater chain could allow people to text during film showings. Aron made the comments while …
Shaun Nichols, 15 Apr 2016
Gromit as HMV dog Little Nipper

Vinyl LPs to top 3 million sales in Blighty this year

Last month Sainsbury’s began stocking vinyl for the for first time in almost 30 years. The BPI today predicted estimates for vinyl sales will likely top 3m in the UK, and perhaps 3.5m. 2m vinyl LPs were sold in 2015, the highest for 21 years, and only broke back through the million mark in 2014. It’s an astonishing recovery, …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Apr 2016
Week #25 - Pet Peeves SMS by https://www.flickr.com/photos/rwdave/  cc 2.0 attribution noderivs https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Cinema boss gives up making kids turn off phones: 'That's not how they live their life'

The CEO of AMC Theaters says his company will consider allowing people to text during movies. In an interview with showbiz mag Variety, Adam Aron said that it wasn't tablets and streaming video services that were keeping millennials out of movie theaters (or for our younger readers, "the place where your parents go to watch …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Apr 2016

This headline will, in part, cost pepper-spraying University of California, Davis $175k

The University of California, Davis has spent $175,000 on search engine optimization (SEO) and online reputation management – to hide an embarrassing incident in which students were pepper-sprayed on campus. The massive bill has come to light this week after the Sacramento Bee filed information requests on the university's …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Apr 2016