The Copyright Royalty Board of the U.S. Library of Congress—which determines the licensing fees paid by streaming services to artists (and their publishers)—has reportedly increased the royalty rate from 10.5% to 15.1% of total revenues for the five-year period from 2018 to 2022. Streaming services rely on the compulsory license established under U.S. law rather than negotiate directly with publishers. For comparison, Netflix and Amazon must negotiate with studios for the use of programs, which is why their catalogs are not "all-inclusive" in the way that music streaming services are. Read More
Netflix added download support for a large chunk of its library late last year, which is great. It was long overdue, but still a much appreciated addition. However, Netflix's downloading functionality comes with a nasty catch that many people have just recently started running into: some content can only be downloaded a certain number of times. The worst part is Netflix doesn't tell you about that until you're almost out of downloads. Read More
Editor's note: the first three paragraphs of this story are a brief primer on fair use in US copyright law and the complications created by the DMCA. Skip down if you're already familiar with this stuff.
The United States copyright system has a series of protections for citizens who want to use video, audio, text quotes, and other copyrighted material in legitimate ways. These are generally called fair use exemptions: they're why Saturday Night Live can make a parody of Jeopardy or The Big Bang Theory without the fear of CBS suing them for copyright infringement, or why a movie reviewer can use clips of the movie in his video critique. Read More
While it was once a pretty popular service both for their web interface and Android app, Grooveshark is calling it quits. This isn't a big surprise since their claim to fame was basically just disregarding the legal need to get the rights to music that users streamed and uploaded. Most recently in the news for having their app's Chromecast support revoked, Grooveshark hasn't been in the Play Store since 2012. Those were about that whole failure to license problem too, which was Grooveshark's ultimate undoing.
In terms of their Android presence, the ban from the Play Store was the beginning of the end. Different versions floated around, many of them unofficial. Read More
Popular app SeriesGuide was pulled from the Play Store without warning yesterday, but it's already back today. As expected, the problem was the use of (technically) copyrighted content in the screenshots. The developers have rectified this by making the screenshots incredibly boring.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act has a lot of issues, and one of them is the almost instantaneous way in which content can be removed from the web if a copyright holder thinks it's in violation - it's a pretty classic example of "guilty until proven innocent." That double-edged sword is swinging back at Qualcomm today: the company issued an apology to developers after forcing popular code repository GitHub to remove over 100 repos for violation of copyright.
Cyveillance is authorized to act on behalf of QUALCOMM Incorporated and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (collectively, “Qualcomm”) in requesting removal of its copyrighted works from Internet sites.
You might have noticed something missing from the Play Store in the last few days. One-click theming app Themer Beta by MyColorScreen was pulled from Google Play late on February 2nd due to a copyright complaint from Apple. When it will return is not clear, but it's probably not going to be immediate.
Quick, what's the most hated company in mobile gaming today? If you answered EA, Zynga, or Gamevil, well, you might be right. But the answer I was looking for was "King," creator of Candy Crush Saga and two of the most ridiculous copyright stories in recent memory. After the company trademarked the word "Candy" in all applications for video games and apparel, a few cheeky developers decided to risk the wrath of King's lawyers and release candy-themed apps on iOS and Android. Intern Saga: Trademark Lawyer takes a (slightly) more subtle approach to its parody.
Intern Saga comes from The Men Who Wear Many Hats, creators of the equally quirky Organ Trail. Read More
In October of 2012, the Library of Congress elected not to renew DMCA exemptions that explicitly allow end users to unlock their cell phones at will, thus ending a six year tradition. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move. The quest to do something about it began almost immediately. And by "almost immediately" I mean "nearly three months later and at almost the very last minute."
Still, regardless of when the outrage gained steam, the fact is it did. Quite a bit of steam, in fact. Despite the White House raising the bar for online petitions to 100,000 signatures (after the previous bar of 25,000 resulted in an entertaining, if frivolous response about why the President won't build a Death Star), you did it! Read More
On Monday of this week, Apollo - the default music player in Cyanogenmod - was released to the Play Store in both free and paid variants. As of yesterday, just four days after its release, both versions of the app have been pulled due to alleged copyright infringement.
Andrew Neal, the app's creator, took to his Google+ page to let users know what happened:
Hey, just to let those of you who noticed that Apollo and Apollo+ are no longer in the Play Store know, MusixMatch filed a complaint and had them removed for alleged copyright infringement due to the way that Apollo fetches lyrics.