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News Corp, owner of the FOX network, has threatened to start charging for the network (i.e. take it to cable-only) if Aereo prevails in its current lawsuit. News Corp, along with numerous different TV networks, sued Aereo over their renting of Internet-connected TV antennas.
The networks allege that this is an unlawful rebroadcasting of their content. The courts, however, ruled that it was legal because Aereo uses one antenna per viewer. News Corp's COO Chase Carey has threatened to move FOX to a subscription model if Aereo wins in court:
We need to be able to be fairly compensated for our content. This is not an ideal path we look to pursue, but we can't sit idly by and let an entity steal our signal. We will move to a subscription model if that's our only recourse.
Virginia Lam, a spokeswoman for Aereo, e-mailed the following statement:
It's disappointing to hear that Fox believes that consumers should not be permitted to use an antenna to access free-to-air broadcast television.
The Consumerist, a website dedicated to customers fighting back against companies, hosts a yearly competition to pick the worst company in America. The tournament is ran much like the March Madness basketball tournament with two companies being placed head-to-head and voted on for worst company in America.
64 companies started and we're down to the final two: Electronic Arts and Bank of America. Interestingly, this is the same way the tournament ended last year. EA garnered 64 percent of the popular last year and could end up winning the Golden Poo award again this year.
We've covered the failed SimCity launch in detail, so if you feel EA deserves the title "Worst Company in America," you can head over to the Consumerist's website and cast a ballot up until 9p.m. PT tonight.
Apple has been trying to trademark the iPad Mini name since the product's inception, but up until now the US Patent and Trade office has been denying the request. This morning 9to5mac is reporting that the USPTO has agreed to grant the request on one condition.
If Apple would like to trademark the iPad Mini name, they must add fine-print to the application stating that Apple is not claiming exclusive rights to the term "Mini." This could be the turning point for the US PTO in how it reviews trademark applications. We're hoping that this move by the Patent office is an attempt to punish Apple for what it sees as a useless application.
In a statement the US PTO said:
"The document also holds firm on the requirement that Apple add a disclaimer to its application noting that it only seeks to protect the term "mini" when used as part of the "iPad mini" name. The disclaimer would allow other companies to use the "mini" term in their own product names."
Reuters is jumping out of the gate, with fresh news that former News Corp president, Peter Chernin, who now runs The Chernin Group, has made a $500 million bid to buy Hulu. We heard that Hulu jammed a 'For Sale' sign into their front garden a few weeks ago, but this news is now much more official.
The Chernin Group owns stakes in Pandora Media Inc and the related production company Chernin Entertainment, who has produced films and TV shows such as New Girl, Terra Nova and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Hulu is currently jointly owned by News Corp and Walt Disney Co. Peter Chernin actually had some word in building Hulu back in 2007 when he sat on the website's board.
Reuters has reported that the owners of Hulu "reached out to potential buyers in March [of 2013] after initially contemplating a deal in which one [News Corp. or Disney] would buy out the other. It is not clear whether that transaction is still being contemplated."
The on-going war between Samsung and Apple has hit an interesting point, with Apple looking to jump out in the lead once again. Judge Thomas Pender from the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) has ruled that Samsung devices infringe on a text selection patent owned by Apple.
This is a feature that is available on the iPhone and iPad, with another claim from Apple that is seeking an injunction against Samsung's use of a patented technology for detecting microphones when they are inserted into the headphone jack, which has been rejected. The first claim, of which can be appealed, could see Samsung slapped with a sales ban in the US for most of their smartphones and tablets.
The final decision should arrive in August, but we don't know if Samsung could avoid the import ban through a software update - something that could easily be done between now and then.
If the latest rumors are correct, Google is looking at acquiring WhatsApp in a deal that could be worth around $1 billion. The deal reportedly started out four or five weeks ago, where Digital Trends' source said that WhatsApp is "playing hardball" and are pushing for a higher acquisition price. This price is being pushed "close to" $1 billion right now.
With WhatsApp's immense popularity, and Google's soon big push into a possible unified messaging system - acquiring WhatsApp might be yet another smart billion-dollar acquisition by Google. We should hear more about this in the coming weeks.
It looks as though the Austin, Texas could be getting Google Fiber. Google and the City of Austin have an announcement planned for this Tuesday, April 9. Sources in the city seem to think that the announcement relates to broadband, most likely meaning Austin will be getting Google Fiber.
You are a leader here in Austin. Every day, your work and contributions help make our community better and stronger. That's why we want you to be one of the first to hear about something new coming to Austin. Please join Google and the City of Austin for an announcement on Tuesday.
There are definitely other explanations than Google Fiber. Google could be planning to test out same-day delivery, open a new office, or any number of things. But Google Fiber is somewhat likely. Austin did fairly well in the original contest for Google Fiber and Google has contemplated expanding outside of Kansas City.
We'll know more April 9 and will let you know the full details.
Every now and then a story comes along that makes you laugh out loud. For me, this is certainly one of those stories. Google has started receiving takedown requests of pages that contain a copyright holder's original takedown request. These robotically-generated requests are submitted because the original takedown request features the URL that was originally taken down.
It's rather hilarious and also ironic. In the picture above, you can see one of the takedown requests submitted by Fox asking for a ChillingEffects.org link to be removed. That link points to a previous Fox takedown request.
The system is clearly broken. Google is now handling over 20 million takedown requests per month and it shows no sign of slowing down. But just how we fix the DMCA isn't clear. Both Google and the movie studios have their own ideas and they are, of course, mostly contrary to each other.
An International Trade Commission judge has ruled that Samsung infringes upon a key part of an Apple patent that deals with text-selection on smartphones and tablets. The ITC judge also ruled that Samsung did not infringe upon parts of a second patent owned by Apple dealing with detecting if a microphone is plugged into the microphone jack.
Now that a ruling has been issued, the full ITC commission will convene and decide whether or not to uphold the judge's ruling. We are told to expect the final decision sometime in August. If the decision is upheld, it will not work out well for Samsung. The ITC can decide to bar importation of any device found to be infringing on the patent.
Four of the tech industries largest companies are in Washington today to appeal to the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice in an effort to put a stop to patent trolling from firms like Lodsys and Intellectual Ventures.
Patent trolling has become a sort of industry all of its own in the last few years with firms headed up by lawyers buying up tech patents from failing companies or sell-offs. These firms have no original IP of their own and only exist to extort exorbitant licensing fees and lawsuit wins over everything from individual app developers to giants, such as Google.
The "patent assertion industry" has gotten so big that in 2012 it ate up roughly $30 billion in funds from large tech companies. Google has teamed up with BlackBerry, EarthLink and Red Hat and compiled a 22-page report explaining how Patent Assertion Entities have slowed innovation, decreased jobs, and overall hurt the US economy in the last decade.
The report noted that since 2007, these so called PAE lawsuits have made up over 65-percent of all patent lawsuits in the country.