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British government officials are currently debating the Intellectual Property Bill, with the Prime Minister's staff looking to crack down severely on repeat file sharers. The government wants to begin removing Internet access privileges to repeat offenders that are determined to be 'persistent offenders.' In fact, increasing the maximum penalty for copyright infringement up to 10 years is a current topic of discussion during the meeting.
"The discrepancy I mentioned is a source of great frustration," said Mike Weatherly, the Prime Minister's intellectual property MP, in a statement. "For example, the private prosecution by the Federation Against Copyright Theft of Anton Vickerman, who was making £50,000 a month from running a website (SurfTheChannel) that facilitated mass-scale copyright infringement, saw him convicted of conspiracy to defraud and sentenced to four years in prison."
A counter argument issued by Helen Goodman, UK MP, noted that it seems ignorant to distinguish between the teenager downloading music for a mobile device and organized copyright piracy groups.
National governments in North America and much of Europe are trying to combat online piracy and copyright infringement - with varying levels of success - and will continue to be a major issue in 2014.
With many parts of the world still waiting for 4G or even 3G coverage, the South Korean government is looking forward and beginning to invest into the infrastructure needed to bring 5G to the country by 2020. South Korea will invest $1.5 billion in the infrastructure build-out and will work with local firms to accomplish the task.
5G is expected to become much faster than most of the wired broadbad service in most of the world with speeds hitting limits up to 1000 times the current fastest 4G LTE bandwidth. This means that 5G users will be able to download a 1GB file in less than two seconds, or an entire Blu-ray ISO in less than a single minute. South Korea expects the network roll out to be completed by the end of the decade, and it expects handset technology to have caught up by then.
In the last few years, YouTube traffic has exploded thanks to faster internet connections and mobile device speeds increasing, and one of the biggest complaints is that YouTube seems to perform better on some ISPs than others. Today Google announced that it has released a performance report that outlines which ISPs perform better with YouTube.
At the moment, Google's video quality report only shows a series of slides that aim to educate the public on how YouTube videos are delivered to you via CDN servers, but ultimately will feature a list of ISPs and will rate them on how they perform with YouTube traffic. If viewers on a specific ISP are able to watch 90-percent of YouTube Videos at 720p resolution at consistent quality without buffering, then that ISP will be branded as "YouTube HD Certified."
"We wanted to give users a measure of performance that they can truly understand," Google's Shiva Rajaraman said in an interview. "The other side is we felt this would be beneficial for ISPs too, because now they can describe their service and the various product offerings and price points they might have to their customers in a way that they can truly understand: You can access YouTube in HD on my ISP, or not."
2013 was a big year for Netflix, and the service is expected to announce that its number of subscribers has risen to 33.1 million for the third quarter of 2013. That means that analyst expect that Netflix managed to pick up an additional 2.1 million subscribers in the past three months of the year.
With Netflix's stock more than tripping in 2013, investors will be happy to hear that subscriptions are continuing to grow and its expected to see the stock rise after the opening bell tomorrow morning. Even with stiff competition from Hulu, Amazon Prime, and even Google Play, Netflix continues to be somewhat of an unstoppable powerhouse in the media streaming world.
The Sacramento Kings from the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced it will become the first professional sports team to accept bitcoin as a form of payment. Until March 1, basketball fans can purchase game tickets and merchandise in a "faster and more" secure manner, according to the team.
"We are maniacally focused on creating the most seamless experience for our fans in all facets,"said Vivek Ranadive, majority team owner of the Kings, in a press statement. "With BitPay, we are able to implement a technology that allows our fans to make Kings-related purchases without physically reaching into their wallets. A major tenet of the NBA 3.0 philosophy is about utilizing technology for the betterment of the fan experience, and this is yet another step in that process."
While the Kings became the first major pro sports team to accept bitcoin payments, expect others to jump onboard as well. If nothing else, other organizations will patiently observe and learn from any technology growing pains that the Kings - and any major business - face when trying to accept bitcoin.
BitPay is processing bitcoin payments for the Kings Team Store. The company now supports bitcoin payments for 20,000 merchants, with an average of 1,000 new partner signing up each week.
We saw Spotify unleash free music streaming on the Internet yesterday, with today seeing Rdio do the same thing. Rdio has announced that customers can now listen to all of its music for nothing, as long as they don't mind ads.
These ads will include "new feature announcements, messages from partner brands, notifications about exclusive content and other helpful tips." If you don't want to sit through the ads, you can wipe them all away for $9.99 per month by opting into Rdio's Unlimited service.
Google led the U.S. search engine to end the year, collecting 67.3 percent of the search market, clearly ahead of Microsoft's search sites which collected 18.2 percent. Yahoo picked up 10.8 percent while Ask Network accounted for 2.5 percent, and AOL trailed with a meager 1.3 percent, according to research group comScore.
During the month of December, there were 18.3 billion core searches, and Google's collection of websites racked up 12.3 billion, while Microsoft sites had 3.3 billion searches, and Yahoo trailed with 2 billion.
Google's lead is clearly safe at this moment, but the Silicon Valley-based company needs to continue to be vigilant to ensure Microsoft and Yahoo don't continue to steal market share. As more users continue to go mobile with smartphones, tablets and other devices, Google Android and Microsoft Windows Phone have an advantage while Yahoo is left out in the cold.
Spotify only recently raised an impressive $250 million, but how would the streaming music company use all of that money? Well, they have just slashed all of its limited on streaming ad-supported music on the web.
The streaming music outfit now allows you to have a totally unlimited music frenzy online, which comes in at a perfect time: a week before the launch of Beats, which was set to compete with Spotify with a gigantic marketing campaign, and promotional deals with AT&T and Ellen DeGeneres. Beats will be offering up a 7-day trial, which will make it much harder for it to compete with Spotify now.
Not only Beats, but everyone else: Spotify has the music streaming business to itself for the time being - and maybe the future.
One of the biggest time consuming aspects of online purchases through PayPal is the need to be redirected to the official PayPal site to complete the authorization process, and is something loathed by many. Today PayPal announced that it has rolled out a new "in-context" checkout system that negates the need to be redirected to the PayPal website.
The new system is being rolled out to both online platforms such as desktops and laptops as well as mobile devices, and is expected to make checking out using your PayPal account much simpler as all of the redirects are now gone. This new system should allow users who were once frightened off by the redirects to now use the service with confidence and ease.
The entertainment business in the United States and across the world is a multi-billion dollar industry that is evolving to keep up with demand.
Two-thirds of U.S. adults have gone out to see a movie at least once in 2013, but 66 percent said they are seeing less movies at the theater. In addition to rising cost of movies, especially IMAX and 3D, rising competition from Redbox and online video services has also increased.
Consumers still tend to prefer watching DVDs and Blu-ray over streaming content, with Blu-ray movies collecting $416 million in sales leading up to Christmas. Home entertainment OEMs are developing 4K and 8K ultra-HDTVs, Blu-ray players, and Blu-ray discs - and interest in UHD will continue over the next 12 to 24 months, according to analysts.
Online piracy also remains a continued problem that movie studios and copyright holders fight vigorously to fight against. The fight over Internet 'piracy' even hit popular online adult website RedTube, with 30,000 visitors receiving threatening letters after viewing a specific video. Internet service providers (ISPs) are finding newer and more innovative manners to prevent piracy, with varying results.