A hacking group named LulzSec made headlines recently for attacking high visibility targets, including Sony and the U.S. government. LulzSec announced earlier this week that it was stopping its operations, and rumor has it many of the members joined up with Anonymous’ “AntiSec” hacking group. Now that group is making its own headlines. On Tuesday AntiSec claimed responsibility for attacks against Universal and Viacom. According to The Wall Street Journal, the hackers released personal data, including passwords, from the Universal Music Website. It also obtained and leaked information about Viacom’s network. It’s unclear how many users were affected by the security breach, although we hope to hear an official word from both firms in the near future. More →
Apple has completed a cloud-music streaming deal with record label EMI, according to a report filed by CNET. Citing multiple industry sources, the publication notes that Apple, Sony Music Entertainment and the Universal Music Group are working on agreements as well; a previous report claims that Warner Music Group and Apple already signed a cloud service agreement sometime last month. “Apple will finish behind Google and Amazon in the race to the cloud, but Apple now has the freedom to offer a range of features that rivals are prevented from rolling out because of the licensing restrictions,” continues the article. Rumors state that Apple will use a technology acquired from Lala called “scan and match.” Instead of uploading a subscribers music library to Apple’s cloud-music service, the company would scan a music collection and provide access to the master track it has a license to. Apple and the music labels in question declined to comment on the report when contacted by CNET. More →
According to a report filed by The Wall Street Journal, peer-to-peer networking site LimeWire and several major record labels may be working on an out-of-court settlement in a copyright infringement case from 2006. “Lawyers for several major record labels have held at least three settlement conferences with representatives of a file-sharing service that they sued for copyright infringement, according to a federal court docket entry, indicating that the two sides may reach an agreement on a financial penalty instead of waiting for a jury award,” reads the report. LimeWire was found guilty of allowing users to upload and share unlicensed, copyrighted materials over its network. Arista Records, Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, and EMI Group are all named plaintiffs — LimeWire and its founder, Mark Gorton, are named as defendants. Representatives from the two camps did not respond to the WSJ’s request for comment. More →
A report on Wednesday claims European streaming music extraordinaire Spotify is “a few weeks away” from signing a new deal with Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company. Reuters cites people familiar with the talks in reporting the deal, which will give Spotify access to Universal’s massive catalog of music in the U.S. Spotify has already inked a deal with Sony and the company is thought to be getting close to a U.S. launch. Despite the company’s progress, however, the report suggests Spotify is considering a launch without having signed a deal with Warner Music Group, the world’s third largest music label. Spotify currently offers a streaming music service in Europe and has been making considerable efforts of late to launch in the U.S. The service allows subscribers to listen to songs on demand and stream customized Internet radio stations to computers, cell phones and other devices. More →
If we know one thing about Apple it is this: they like control… and this latest rumor seems to reaffirm that creed. Blog GigaOM is reporting that Apple is planning to release an iPhone with an integrated SIM that can be used on any wireless carrier — partnered with Apple — in the EU. A universal iPhone if you will. As the report explains:
Sources inside European carriers have reported that Apple has been working with SIM-card manufacturer Gemalto to create a special SIM card that would allow consumers in Europe to buy a phone via the web or at the Apple Store and get the phones working using Apple’s App Store.
This special SIM would have an upgradeable flash component as well as a ROM component. The article goes on to explain:
The ROM area contains data provided by Gemalto with everything related to IT and network security, except for the carrier-related information. The flash component will receive the carrier related data via a local connection which could be the PC or a dedicated device, so it can be activated on the network. Gemalto will provide the back-end infrastructure that allows service and number provisioning on the carrier network.
This would be yet another way that Apple can control the end-user experience — and potentially the distribution — of its popular smartphone device. For us, one of the benefits of using a SIM-based device is having the luxury of popping the little plastic card into virtually any compatible, GSM device you choose. What do you think? More →
Earlier today, Google posted a quick update on the status of their soon-to-be-released Google TV home entertainment product. The company noted “overwhelming” interest by content providers while announcing several of the viewing modules that will be available when Google TV launches. Google announced that Turner Broadcasting, NBC Universal, HBO, the NBA, Amazon, Pandora, Napster, Netflix, The New York Times, and USA Today will all have content that is optimized for viewing via Google’s internet connected set-top box. Like all streaming services currently offered, providers will not make all of their programming available via Google TV… but it is a start. Hit the jump to check out a quick video of just what Google TV will look like. More →
The internet is abuzz this morning with the rumor that a new clamshell smartphone is coming soon from HTC. Evidence of the handset, codenamed LEO, is said to have been found within a TouchFLO 3D 2.5 “Manilla” ROM. Its purported specs include a full-QWERTY keypad, external QVGA display, internal 16:9 WVGA display, support for OpenGL 2.0 and a Snapdragon processor. Mmm, Snapdragon. This rumor is pretty messy though, because there is every possibility that the Leo is actually the Omni — a device long rumored to be the successor of the HTC Universal, a Pocket PC that made its retail debut in late 2005. After all, when one thinks about it, the thought of HTC dropping a device it was rumored to be working on very early in 2007 just seems, well, so un-HTC.
Hulu may be getting a healthy dose of new programming content courtesy of Disney. According to sources close to the situation, Hulu and Disney are in serious negotiations to bring Disney programming to the online video portal. The talks reportedly focus on ABC programming content which include the popular TV series Desperate Housewives and LOST, but may include programming from other Disney assets as well. In exchange for providing content, Disney is requesting an equity stake in Hulu on par with NBC Universal and News Corp and possibly performance incentives. With the relationship between Hulu and CBS souring, Hulu could use a high profile deal to boost its position in the increasingly competitive online video marketplace.