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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 8

UK movie theater calls police on kids due to iPhone piracy risk

Movie theater patrons in the UK, a group of 12-year-old girls, faced a major headache when theater management called police over suspected piracy concerns. The children brought their Apple iPhones and iPads into the theater while seeing "The Hunger Games," despite not recording any data, the police were called.


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A few members of the group were accused of recording parts of the movie, and the police searched the devices for recordings, but were unable to find anything. The theater allowed them to return to their seats, but they instead decided to wait for their parents to pick them up.


Here is what a mother of one of the girls said following the incident: "Our girls were falsely accused, had the police called on them and then just left in tears. It's outrageous. If they have done this to our children they will do it again."

Continue reading 'UK movie theater calls police on kids due to iPhone piracy risk' (full post)

Sony Pictures announces 'The Interview' will have limited release

Sony Pictures will release "The Interview" in any theater willing to show it, starting on Christmas Day, reversing its decision to pull the movie. The company also plans to release the movie digitally, but Sony hasn't offered additional details on how interested viewers will be able to watch the film.


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"We have never given up on releasing 'The Interview' and we're excited our movie will be in a number of theaters on Christmas Day," said Michael Lynton, Sony Pictures CEO, in a press statement. "At the same time, we are continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theaters so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience."


Here is what Seth Rogen said (via Twitter): "The people have spoken! Freedom has prevailed! Sony didn't give up! The Interview will be shown at theaters willing to play it on Xmas day!"

Continue reading 'Sony Pictures announces 'The Interview' will have limited release' (full post)

Apple hits back at BBC report disclosing poor working conditions

Apple executives have lashed out at the BBC Panorama report that revealed ongoing poor working conditions for employees at an Apple manufacturing facility in China. The report indicated employees were found to work up to 16 hours per shift, working many consecutive days, and living in harsh environments in their dormitories.


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Apple CEO Tim Cook noted educational programs for workers in China, along with improving working conditions, in an open letter to Apple employees working in the UK.


"As you know, Apple is dedicated to the advancement of human rights and equality around the world. We are honest about the challenges we face and we work hard to make sure that people who make our products are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve."

Continue reading 'Apple hits back at BBC report disclosing poor working conditions' (full post)

Sony removes 'The Interview' Twitter and Facebook accounts

Sony is currently removing any trace of The Interview from social networks, with The Interview's Facebook page gone, and the Twitter account isn't far behind that. There were 1800+ tweets on The Interview Twitter account, all of which have been deleted.


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This comes after North Korea being blamed as the source of the hack by the US government, but not long after the country asked if the US government would join a joint operation to find out who exactly did this. The FBI and the Obama administration have yet to have replied to North Korea's offer, but I'm sure that can't be too far away now.

Xiaomi raising $1 billion in new funding according to latest reports

It looks like Xiaomi is raising more funds, with the Chinese smartphone giant reportedly raising over $1 billion in a fresh round of funding that could be finalized on Monday.


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The latest injection of cash is reportedly led by All-Stars Investment, which is run by a former analyst of Morgan Stanley, Richard Ji. The Wall Street Journal has its usual unnamed sources who claim "Other participants in the round include Russian investment firm DST Global and Singapore sovereign-wealth fund GIC, which are both already shareholders of Xiaomi."

Instagram is now worth $35 billion, after Facebook paid $1 billion

Most thought that Facebook was a bit crazy when it purchased image sharing service Instagram for $1 billion, but now the company is worth upwards of $35 billion according to a new valuation estimate.


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Citigroup has performed the valuation, with the previous valuation pegging Instagram at being worth a still-impressive $19 billion. The increased value is coming off of the news that Instagram now features over 300 million active monthly users, and is growing much faster than most have anticipated.


The $35 billion valuation is still quite speculative, withi Citigroup's own analysts weary of it, as it depends on multiple factors, but they're still optimistic that the service is undermonetized. Citigroup believes that Instagram could provide Facebook with around $2 billion in annual revenue eventually.

BlackBerry's revenue drops 34%, ending the year on a bad note

BlackBerry's revenue dropped 34 percent during its fiscal third quarter, posting a net loss of $148 million, ending Q3 with $3.1 billion in cash. It may seem like a major financial loss, but the Canadian smartphone maker lost $4.4 billion during Q3 last year, and was a slightly smaller loss than reported during Q2.


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The company expects it to take a "couple of quarters" before sales begin to increase, as BlackBerry still struggles to compete against the Apple iPhone - and smartphones from Samsung and other manufacturers using Google Android.


Here is what Chen said during the financial call: "Things are happening. I'm encouraged that they are happening, but I wouldn't say that all things are well. I mean we still need a lot of work and a lot of attention and working well together and that's what I'm spending most of my time on."

Bitcoin advocate Charlie Shrem given two-year prison sentence

Bitcoin supporter Charlie Shrem, 25, was given a two-year prison sentence for his role in sending $1 million in bitcoins to Silk Road. He pled guilty earlier in the year for aiding and abetting an unlicensed money transmitting business. Shrem was a former vice chairman for the Bitcoin Foundation, and must also forfeit $950,000 for his role in the operation.


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Shrem was described as someone who "excitedly" participated in the "very innovativeness" of drug trafficking, according to U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff. The bitcoin supporter faced up to five years in prison, while the court wanted a 57-month term - as Shrem's BitInstant company knowingly processed bitcoins that were used to sell and purchase drugs via Silk Road.


Shrem offered the following statement via Twitter: "I've been sentenced to 2 years, to self surrender in 90 days. Considering I was facing 30 years, justice has been served. #Bitcoin."

T-Mobile was busted and will pay $90 million for cramming behavior

T-Mobile will have to fork over $90 million in refunds, fines and penalties for its longstanding "cramming" behavior, hitting its subscribers with unauthorized charges - and refusing to issue refunds when some subscribers found the charges.


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"This is a major settlement that will put tens of millions of dollars back into the pockets of consumers," said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a statement. "This case is about a core principle, that no business should bill a consumer for charges they did not authorize, period."


Cramming behavior seems to be quite popular among wireless carriers, and the most common type of cramming is premium Short Messaging Service (PSMS), normally focused on gossip and jokes of the day. AT&T and T-Mobile have already settled cramming cases, while Sprint is just beginning to face its own problems.

Uber puts the brakes on its cars in Portland, but it's only temporary

After the City of Portland sued Uber for not adhering its transportation rules, the company is moving toward somewhat of a solution with Portland.


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Uber has since taken its cars off the roads of Portland as of December 21, while officials work around the clock on new regulations. The City of Portland has said that if the new rules aren't set within the next three months, Uber will be allowed back onto the roads, picking customers up once again.

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