PirateBox offline file-sharing solution puts pirates out of authorities’ reach [video]

By on March 12, 2012 at 12:05 PM.

PirateBox offline file-sharing solution puts pirates out of authorities’ reach [video]

The recent ordeal surrounding the now defeated SOPA and PIPA proposals followed by the shuttering of file-sharing giant Megaupload has put online piracy back in the spotlight. Despite studies showing Megaupload’s closure had no impact on online piracy whatsoever, copyright owners continue to pressure authorities in an effort to go after more services similar to Megaupload. The new wave of attention these file-sharing services are attracting is driving some illegal downloaders to seek out new means of sharing copyrighted materials, and decentralized torrent network Tribler emerged as one option. Another interesting solution created by a New York University professor takes things a step further, however, completely removing the Internet from the file-sharing equation and therefore putting pirates out of authorities’ reach. More →

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Police reportedly plan to raid The Pirate Bay

By on March 9, 2012 at 9:30 AM.

Police reportedly plan to raid The Pirate Bay

Swedish authorities have reportedly secured warrants and are planning to raid The Pirate Bay. Unnamed Pirate Bay team members speaking with TorrentFreak claim to have learned that the raid is currently being planned by Swedish police, and they expect the operation to target Pirate Bay servers and the site’s new .se domain. Law enforcement officials in Sweden first raided The Pirate Bay in 2006, and the company’s founders were eventually sentenced to jail and forced to pay millions in fines. The service remained online, however, and it is still operational today. “The Swedish district attorney Fredrik Ingblad initiated a new investigation into The Pirate Bay back in 2010. Information has been leaked to us every now and then by multiple sources, almost on a regular basis. It’s an interesting read,” The Pirate Bay said on its blog. “We can certainly understand why WikiLeaks wished to be hosted in Sweden, since so much data leaks there. The reason that we get the leaks is usually that the whistleblowers do not agree with what is going on. Something that the governments should have in mind – even your own people do not agree.” More →

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Apple to launch subscription TV service by Christmas, content talks going downhill

By on March 2, 2012 at 8:30 AM.

Apple to launch subscription TV service by Christmas, content talks going downhill

Apple has plans to launch a subscription television service by Christmas this year, according to a recent report from the New York Post. The paper states that Apple wants the service to treat channels like apps, allowing the user to purchase subscriptions for either individual channels or groups of channels a la carte. Apple has long been rumored to be pitching the service to top media executives, but according to the Post, the negotiations are not going well. Eddie Cue is reportedly leading the talks and content providers have seemingly not been partial to his propositions. Apple’s pitch can be summed up as “we decide the price, we decide what content,” one of the Post’s sources said. “They want everything for nothing,” said another. Apple apparently plans to launch some form of its TV service by the end of the year with or without full cooperation from the networks, and the service is expected to be available on Apple TV as well as the new iOS-powered HDTV Apple will reportedly launch later this year. More →

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Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom: ‘I’m no piracy king’

By on March 1, 2012 at 6:00 PM.

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom: ‘I’m no piracy king’

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom on Thursday questioned his accusers’ motives while speaking to The Guardian. “I’m no piracy king,” Dotcom told the paper. “I offered online storage and bandwidth to users and that’s it.” Dotcom was arrested in his New Zealand mansion on January 20th after his notorious Megaupload service was shuttered earlier that week as part of a multi-agency sting across several countries. He was released on bail and it currently awaiting trial, having been accused of money laundering, violating piracy laws and a number of other crimes. “It’s kind of like weapon of mass destructions in Iraq, you know?” Dotcom said during an interview with The Guardian. “If you want to go after someone and you have a political goal you will say whatever it takes.” Read on for more. More →

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Google Music said to be floundering as user count declines each week

By on March 1, 2012 at 2:05 PM.

Google Music said to be floundering as user count declines each week

Google’s answer to iTunes, Spotify, Pandora and other popular digital music services may be in serious trouble. Reports surfaced last week suggesting Google Music wasn’t living up to expectations and now, according to music industry insider Wayne Rosso, the service may be in deeper trouble than initially thought. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” an unnamed digital music executive told Rosso. “It’s astounding. It’s hard to believe that with an install base of over 200 million Android handsets they’re actually losing customers.” The well-placed source explained to Rosso that Google Music is losing customers on a weekly basis, and that it has gotten to the point where record label executives are worried Google may discontinue the service. First launched this past November, Google Music is a music store and cloud-based digital locker combination that allows users to purchase or upload music, and then stream songs to any computer or Android-powered device. More →

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Authorities take down another popular file-sharing site, arrest founder for piracy

By on February 22, 2012 at 10:25 AM.

Authorities take down another popular file-sharing site, arrest founder for piracy

Authorities in Germany recently executed a raid that resulted in at least two arrests and the takedown of another popular file-sharing service. German-language news site Heise Online reported earlier this week that German police arrested two men with alleged ties to file-sharing service Skyload.net, which was subsequently taken offline. The service’s owner, identified as 28-year-old Maik P., was taken into custody along with 25-year-old Marcel E., owner of Skyload.net’s Web hosting service. Both men have been charged with violating copyright laws and Maik P. is allegedly personally responsible for uploading and sharing more than 10,000 copyrighted films. The Skyload.net takedown follows the closure of one of the most popular file-sharing services in the world, Megaupload, which was taken offline last month as its founder and a number of other men with ties to the service were arrested in a raid. While shuttering Megaupload appears to have done nothing to slow digital piracy, authorities around the world continue to battle alongside copyright holders to shut down file-hosting services that allow users to share copyrighted content illegally. More →

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Apple may launch revamped iTunes Store, App Store later this year

By on February 20, 2012 at 7:15 PM.

Apple may launch revamped iTunes Store, App Store later this year

Apple may be working on an overhaul of its iTunes Store and App Store, according to 9to5Mac. Due to growing competition from music streaming services like Spotify and the growing popularity of Amazon’s online music store, the redesign of the iTunes Store is considered “a top priority for Apple.” The Cupertino-based company is looking to simplify the service and deliver a more user-friendly interface than the one afforded by its current design. The redesign will reportedly simplify content discovery, and it will “make the iTunes Store a much more engaging experience.” The revamped stores are reportedly scheduled to launch later this year. More →

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HTC rumored to be working on a streaming music service

By on February 15, 2012 at 9:15 AM.

HTC rumored to be working on a streaming music service

HTC has fallen from Android grace due to heavy competition from Motorola and Samsung, and the Taiwanese company promised to change by soon offering devices with thinner form factors and better battery life. Now, HTC and Jimmy Iovine of Beats Audio are rumored to be developing a streaming music service exclusively for HTC phones and tablets, according to GigaOM. The music service could launch at this month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and it may help make HTC devices more appealing to consumers. The company is still working on pricing plans, however, and other details for the new service. BGR exclusively reported this past November that HTC will unveil the Ville at MWC along side the company’s quad-core flagship HTC Endeavor. More →

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Megaupload shutdown did nothing to slow piracy, study finds

By on February 9, 2012 at 2:25 PM.

Megaupload shutdown did nothing to slow piracy, study finds

The recent federal takedown of notorious file-sharing service Megaupload was initially seen as a huge victory for owners of copyrighted music and movies, but new research shows this may not be the case. Federal prosecutors successfully shuttered the service last month and arrested seven men associated with Megaupload including site founder Kim Dotcom, who is said to have earned $42 million from the site in 2010 alone. What was initially thought to be a victory for movie studios and record labels is turning out to be an empty win, however, as Megaupload’s closure has had almost no impact on file-sharing. Read on for more. More →

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Pictures of iPod nano with camera re-emerge

By on February 1, 2012 at 6:05 PM.

Pictures of iPod nano with camera re-emerge

Last year a number of leaks and photos suggested that Apple had a redesigned iPod nano with an integrated camera in the works. The new device wasn’t released last time Apple refreshed its iPod family, but now another round of pictures has surfaced that lends credence to the possibility that such a device may launch in the near future. The images show a camera-equipped iPod nano complete with its signature clip design, and the device appears to be the same size as the current-generation iPod nano. It remains unclear if Apple will ever release an iPod nano with a camera but the source, Apple.pro, has published early details surrounding Apple hardware in the past that ended up panning out. Another report published Wednesday by MIC Gadget suggests that the device pictured is actually a prototype from several months ago that did not pass Apple’s tests. The site says some problems have been ironed out however, and that the new nano could become available in the coming months. Several additional pictures follow after the break. More →

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Spotify surpasses 3 million paid subscribers

By on January 26, 2012 at 6:30 PM.

Spotify surpasses 3 million paid subscribers

Spotify said Thursday that it now serves more than 3 million active paid subscribers per month, up from the 2.5 million subscribers it was serving in November. More than 20% of its active users pay for premium monthly access, the Financial Times said, which allows users to listen to an unlimited songs without ads or use Spotify on a smartphone. “We have achieved some pretty great results in terms of the ratio of paid users,” Spotify’s chief content officer and US managing director, Ken Parks said in an interview with the Financial Times. “We have an enormous internal effort to drive conversion and engagement with the service. We are very focused on growing in our existing 12 markets as well as expanding in other markets.” Parks also said that the company’s free-trial offer has helped convert users to paid accounts more rapidly. Spotify recently introduced “apps” for its service, which allows anyone, such as Rolling Stone or Billboard, to create playlists or add custom features. More →

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Megaupload.com shut down, founder charged with violating piracy laws

By on January 19, 2012 at 3:00 PM.

Megaupload.com shut down, founder charged with violating piracy laws

Federal prosecutors in Virginia have shut down notorious file-sharing site Megaupload.com and charged the service’s founders with violating piracy laws. The Associated Press broke the story on Thursday, reporting that the indictment accuses Megaupload.com’s owner with costing copyright holders including record labels and movie studios more than $500 million in lost revenue. Seven people tied to Megaupload.com have been charged and four are already in custody, including the site’s founder Kim Dotcom. Dotcom earned $42 million from the the site in 2010 according to the indictment. Megaupload.com allowed users to upload and share content without any measures in place to ensure files being hosted on the site’s servers were not protected by copyright. The company claims that it responded to copyright complaints as they were received. According to court documents made available on Thursday, Megaupload.com was at one point the 13th most trafficked website in the world. More →

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Album sales jump in U.S. for the first time since 2004

By on January 5, 2012 at 8:15 PM.

Album sales jump in U.S. for the first time since 2004

Album sales in the United States jumped 3% during 2011 according to one report. That may seem like minor growth, but it is actually the first time album sales have increased since 2004. Nielsen SoundScan said Adele’s album “21” sold 5.8 million copies, and total sales came in at 458 million albums for the year. Make no mistake, however, CD sales are still on the decline. Sales of full digital albums climbed 20% to 103 million units but CD sales dropped 6% to 225 million units. Nielsen’s senior vice president of analytics Dave Bakula said the addition of Google’s music store in the Android Market also helped serve as a catalyst for digital music sales growth. “It shows there’s still a lot of growth potential in digital,” Bakula said. “That’s something I don’t see falling down.” More →

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