Companies could potentially pull older music to avoid paying
A new lawsuit has targeted Google, Rdio, Sony, and Apple (including Beats Music) over the music royalties associated with pre-1972 recordings, new reports say. Zenbu Magazines, which owns copyrights on many pre-1972 songs, says that the companies have been making money streaming recordings without paying their copyright holders. Within US copyright law, compositions have been protected since 1831, but sound recordings were only added in 1972, meaning that while owners of pre-1972 compositions have been paid for public performances, people holding equally-aged recording rights typically haven't.
Free games, subscription time, compensation offered to US PlayStation owners
Sony is providing compensation to PlayStation Network users in the United States affected by a major breach in April 2011, half a year after agreeing to a settlement stemming from a class action lawsuit. The original attack, resulting in the closure of the online service and Qriocity for close to a month, risked the personal data and payment details of more than 77 million accounts.
Claims company knowingly infringed on two 3D UI patents from 1996
Apple has been named in a new lawsuit filed in San Francisco on Wednesday by patent non-practicing entity (NPE, often nicknamed "patent troll") TriDim Innovations. The NPE accuses the iPhone maker of knowingly infringing on a pair of patents from 1996 that covers a 3D workspace user interface, and claims that the company's Cover Flow technology, bought from Steel Skies in 2006, violates the two patents. Time Machine and Mobile Safari in iOS 7 and 8 also use the technology.
Fox unable to use Aereo ruling to shut down Dish Network features
Back in 2012, Fox brought a lawsuit against Dish Network over DVR technology that allows users to view content on a device other than a television connected to a set-top box. Fox's position has been that it did not consent to allow the "rebroadcasting" of its content to mobile devices. On Wednesday, US District Court Judge Dolly Gee ruled that time- and place-shifting of paid-for content does not infringe the copyrights of broadcasters.
Sondra Arquiett getting paid $134K for use of her likeness without permission
A New York state resident has settled with the US government and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) over a suit involving the law enforcement agency impersonating her on Facebook without her permission. Sondra Arquiett has accepted a $134,000 settlement from the US government, with the agency not admitting to having done anything outside a "legitimate law enforcement purpose."
Likely a third will go to legal fees; plaintiffs may see $4,000 each
More specifics have been revealed in the second proposed settlement offer from Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe in a lawsuit stemming from the companies' informal "no poaching" agreement. The new proposal has the four companies willing to pay a combined $415 million, up from the previous settlement's $324.5 million, to end the anti-trust lawsuit. US Federal District Court Judge Lucy Koh will need to approve the proposal before it can be finalized.
Negotiations fruitless for two years, telecom firm says
In response to an Apple lawsuit over LTE patents, Ericsson has filed one of its own, according to Reuters. The Swedish firm notes that a license agreement between the companies has expired for some time, and that two years of negotiations have yielded no results. It's asking the court to determine whether a tendered license offer is fair.
New compensation amount likely to be higher than previous offer
A new settlement offer has been tendered in what's come to be known as the "anti-poaching" lawsuit against four of Silicon Valley's biggest tech companies. Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe were among those originally involved in a "gentlemen's agreement" that the companies would not actively try to recruit or poach employees from each other -- however once the conspiracy came to light, employees complained that the agreement limited opportunities and suppressed wages.
Sensor supplier gave Apple 'sweetheart deal' that hurt profits, suit charges
A new lawsuit filed against gyroscope and accelerometer supplier for Apple, InvenSense, accuses the company of failing to tell investors about the concessions it made to secure a recent deal. InvenSense parts are used in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Executives should have warned investors, the suit alleges, that Apple was given a "sweetheart deal" that would hurt profits. "Instead of revealing the true condition of the company and its prospects, defendants hid those facts from investors and chose to issue strong guidance and paint a picture of a bright future with a new mega-customer," the complaint reads. More seriously, the suit charges that investors were led to buy stock at inflated prices, while insiders sold off $5.3 million in shares.
Forces company to claim 'common carrier' status to avoid FTC jurisdiction
In order to nullify a lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over charges that the carrier was still throttling users on unlimited plans even when there was no network congestion, AT&T is claiming for the purposes of the lawsuit that it qualifies as a Title II "common carrier." This is the opposite of what it has told the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with regards to possible actual Title II regulation of broadband.
Separate suit over 2011-era graphic card issues ongoing
US District Court Judge William Alsup has dismissed a lawsuit against Apple filed in San Francisco that alleged the company made, sold and knew about defective logic boards for its MacBook line of computers from mid-2010 onwards, but did nothing to correct the issue. The judge said that the plaintiffs had failed to prove that Apple misrepresented the equipment, and noted that in both of the two men's complaints about the failed motherboards that they had been able to use their computers normally for up to two years.
Original manufacturing, design partner claims Beats mislead on contract severance
Electronics company Monster, known for its high-priced HDMI cables and car audio gear, has filed suit against now-Apple-owned Beats and its founders, Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, as well as former Beats partner HTC, claiming that Beats and HTC misled the company when it bought back enough shares of itself through the HTC investment to sever its contract for headphone partnership with Monster. The lawsuit does not directly involve Apple, but does revolve around the possibility that Beats knew when it left Monster that it was going to be acquired.
Company trying to push iCloud subscriptions, plaintiffs suggest
A new lawsuit, filed in a federal court in California on Tuesday, accuses Apple of failing to inform people how much space iOS 8 will consume on a device, while simultaneously prompting them to buy online storage via iCloud. Specifically the suit claims that iOS 8 can occupy as much as 23.1 percent of device memory, but that not many people realize this when making a purchase. The plaintiffs are seeking damages, as well as changes by Apple to comply with state law. The case is being pursued as a class action.
Refunds to T-Mobile customers affected by cramming charges incoming
T-Mobile has settled a lawsuit with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over complaints the carrier allowed third-party companies to place unauthorized charges to customer bills. As part of the "cramming" settlement, T-Mobile has agreed to pay out at least $90 million in fines and refunds, as well as altering its third-party billing practices.
Judge concerned about 'speculative nature of the damages'
US District Judge Beth L. Freeman ruled on Thursday that she requires the plaintiffs, Gary Feitelson and Daniel McKee, in a lawsuit against Google to submit more details. The two consumers allege that Android-based smartphone prices are being negatively impacted because manufacturers must agree to pre-load apps like the Google search app by default, instead of making deals with, for instance, Bing. The judge has said she would most likely dismiss the lawsuit as it stands, but is giving the plaintiffs a chance to revise it with additional evidence.
Judge agreed video was witness testimony rather than evidence
As a postscript to Apple's unanimous win in a lawsuit brought by audio software company Real, Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers on Wednesday turned down media requests to make public a videotaped deposition from Steve Jobs, in one of his final filmed appearances, that was presented during the trial. Jobs, who was quite ill at the time and just months from his resignation from Apple and later death, was videotaped answering questions about the case. Yesterday, a jury exonerated the iPhone maker from charges it had conspired to lock out competitors.
Federal judge rejects move to dismiss
This week Hartz Mountain, a maker of pet toys, requested a federal judge dismiss a lawsuit by Seattle artist Juli Adams regarding the sale of her intellectual property without her permission or knowledge. The case is notable because Adams' designs were the basis of the characters now universally known as "Angry Birds," a name originally suggested by Adams and since used widely by Rovio and Hartz to market both the video game sensation and ancillary merchandise. The judge has refused to dismiss the matter.
Decision reached in less than 24 hours
The jury for the iPod/iTunes DRM lawsuit has ruled that Apple didn't violate antitrust laws by blocking music from rival storefronts in iTunes software updates, Reuters reports. The verdict was rendered in less than a day, following closing arguments on Monday. Had the jury swung in favor of the plaintiffs, the company could have owed some $350 million in penalties.
Claims Apple was taking on 'predatory pricing' by Amazon
At least one, and possibly two, of the three judges overseeing the appeal of the e-book antitrust verdict against Apple, have expressed strong doubt about the entire basis of the case against the iPhone maker - with Dennis Jacobs, was "openly hostile to the [US] government's case" on the first day of proceedings, says Agence France-Presse. Apple is accused of conspiring with book publishers to artificially inflate the costs of e-books, with a particular aim at undermining Amazon. Jacobs today argued, however that Apple was a "new entrant" into an established e-book world, "breaking the hold of a market by a monopolist who is maintaining its hold by what is arguably predatory pricing."
Faulty soldering once again blamed
A second class action lawsuit has been filed against Apple over the 2011 MacBook Pro. The new case originates in Canada, specifically from a Montreal-based lawfirm, Lex Group Attorneys. Like the original US case, the new suit states that Apple shipped MacBooks with bad soldering of an AMD graphics chip to the logic board, and that this led to a variety of graphics problems. To get it fixed, some customers were forced to pay out-of-warranty repair costs that could scale up to $600, despite Apple apparently being at fault.
Attorneys argue that video was entered as witness testimony, not evidence
Apple is opposing a media request to the court hearing the lawsuit between audio software maker Real and Apple that seeks to release a video deposition made by Steve Jobs, near the end of his life, on behalf of the case. The iPhone maker is opposing the request, saying that the video was part of witness testimony and not entered into evidence, and therefore can't be released as that would constitute a recording of a portion of the trial, which has not allowed cameras or video.
Scheme providing public Wi-Fi from customer homes is security risk, increases costs, claims lawsuit
Comcast is being sued by subscribers of its Internet service for hosting a public hotspot within their home. Joycelin Harris and Toyer Grear filed with the US District Court of Northern California over the company's decision to allow home routers to open up the routers of its own customers to other users, something the suit claims was performed without authorization and is a potential risk to systems on the home network.
Former ice dancer bought an iPod nano in 2006, making her eligible
A 10-year-old lawsuit between audio software maker Real and Apple, that was nearly derailed when both plaintiffs were found to have been mistaken about when and how they bought their iPods, is back on track following the discovery of an eligible person -- a 65-year-old ice dancer who bought an iPod nano in 2006. The case, which could have been dismissed if a qualified plaintiff wasn't found quickly, told the court that she had used iPods to help her practice ice-skating maneuvers. The judge, however, still noted that Apple now has "an appealable issue" should it lose the case.
Uber hit by multiple legal, regulatory issues over the last few days
Uber is continuing to have a turbulent week, with issues in a number of different cities and countries within the last few days. The driving service has been banned in Spain, Thailand, and India, with Vietnam also taking a close look at the company's practices, while the city of Portland, Oregon has filed a lawsuit to shutter the service within days of launch.
Attorneys search for new lead plaintiff in class action
As anticipated, US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has disqualified the final plaintiff in the iPod DRM lawsuit, Marianna Rosen. The Associated Press writes that Rogers sided with Apple, which pointed out that iPods bought by Rosen were either from outside the eligible time window or on a credit card associated with her husband's business. The judge says she is "troubled" by "the failure of plaintiffs' counsel themselves to investigate sufficiently," but notes that the case will continue if another lead plaintiff can be found, since she has a duty to the "millions of absent class members."
Real hunts for new plaintiffs in 10-year-old case
Judge Gonzales Rogers has ruled against an Apple request to dismiss the 10-year-long lawsuit by audio software maker Real, but has not denied that the case may soon be without a valid plaintiff. Following the dropout of the first of two women named in the original case, more evidence was presented in court today that the remaining plaintiff, Marianna Rosen, is also not qualified by virtue of not having directly bought an iPod in the relevant time window with her own funds.
Mysterious dispute resulted in Bose products taken off store shelves
A French enthusiast site has reported, citing anonymous sources, that Apple will soon return Bose products back to the shelves of the iPhone maker's brick-and-mortar Apple Stores following a two-month fallout in which Bose products were removed. The move was originally thought to be in response to a lawsuit Bose filed against Beats, its rival in headphones, or possibly a unilateral move by Apple to reduce competing products in its stores now that it owns Beats, but the truth of the matter has yet to emerge.
Purchase dates may still put whole case at risk
Following the revelation that the two plaintiffs in the ongoing iPod DRM lawsuit may have bought their iPods too late or too early, one of them has withdrawn, reports the New York Times. Melanie Tucker bought one iPod in 2005, and an iPod touch in 2010. The suit only addresses iPods bought between September 12, 2006 and March 31, 2009.
Plaintiffs discovered to have bought iPods after DRM software removed
A 10-year-long lawsuit between Apple and Real in which the latter accuses the iPhone maker of deliberately altering its software solely to block Real's hack of Apple's FairPlay DRM software might be terminated over a previously-undiscovered legal issue found by Apple attorneys. Apple has informed the court that neither of the two women who represent the class of affected plaintiffs were, in fact, affected by the accused software change -- as they bought their iPods either before or after the software in question was in force.
Lawyers say $930M award overblown compared to actual damages
The lower court -- and the jury -- "made a mistake" when it said that Samsung infringed design and trade dress patents with its smartphones, lawyers for the Galaxy maker argued during the first day of appealing Apple's $930 million trial win. One attorney, Kathleen Sullivan of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, noted that that the targeted Samsung phones didn't carry Apple logos, didn't have Home buttons similar to an iPhone, and also had speaker slots in different locations than Apple products. "Apple was awarded Samsung's total profits on those phones, which was absurd," she added, though Samsung's claims on "total profits" from the phones is considered highly suspect.
Both sides call on experts, supporters
Samsung's appeal of a 2013 US patent trial verdict - which, after more legal wrangling, finally awarded Apple $930 million -- is going to court today. Lawyers for Samsung are arguing that those damages were excessive, and that most or all of them should be tossed out, contrary to the jury's carefully-considered determination. A brief has been filed by 27 law professors in support of the company's position.
Operations head played a 'hands-on' role in sapphire deal
A committee of bondholders and unsecured creditors for GT Advanced have asked for Apple's senior VP of Operations, Jeff Williams, to be made available for a "short, half-day deposition," according to the Wall Street Journal. The request was made through a Monday filing with the US Bankruptcy Court in New Hampshire. The committee states that "it is clear that Williams played an important, substantial and hands-on role in managing the relationship between GTAT and Apple in connection with the matters that are directly relevant to the Apple settlement motion."
Jobs testimony calls Real 'hackers' in 2004, surprised that Real existed in 2011
In the first day of testimony in the anti-trust Apple versus Real Networks trial, the promised pre-recorded testimony from Steve Jobs was trotted out by both the plaintiff's and defendant's attorneys. When queried about the threat from Real, and what Apple's response should be in 2004, Jobs said that the statement should say that "we are stunned that Real is adopting the tactics and ethics of a hacker and breaking into the iPod." At stake in the trial is $350 million, as well as other antitrust actions that could possibly be applied against the Cupertino manufacturer.
Exec admits tactics pushed prices up
In a new interview with Fortune, Apple's senior VP for Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue defends his company and his own actions as they relate to the ongoing e-book price-fixing scandal. Apple is hoping to overturn a bench-trial verdict that found it guilty of conspiring with publishers to drive up prices; if it fails to win the appeal, the company will owe $450 million in damages and legal fees. Cue insists that the company is continuing to fight the verdict on principle. "We feel we have to fight for the truth," he says.
Emails show Apple CEO wanted to keep other services off iPod
Evidence from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is likely to be central in an antitrust case against the company set to go to trial tomorrow, notes the New York Times. The plaintiffs charge that Apple's now-defunct DRM restrictions on iPods -- which limited people from copying purchased tracks to unauthorized devices, but had the side effect of limiting options music bought on the iTunes Store, obtained elsewhere in a DRM-free format, or ripped from a CD -- represented anti-competitive behavior, in turn leading to higher prices. Jobs recorded a video deposition prior to his death in 2011, which the plaintiffs' lawyers intend to use, alongside emails written by the CEO.
Apple not given what it wanted; Samsung appeals, Apple filing shortly
Judge Lucy Koh, overseeing the myriad Apple versus Samsung smartphone patent trials, has partially granted a motion by Apple. The ruling would allow the Cupertino manufacturer to collect post-judgement royalties on ongoing sales of some Samsung devices -- but the amount received will be less than Apple wanted. The motion, filed for the second Apple versus Samsung trial, covers two patents -- data detectors and "slide to unlock" -- and specifically covers 10 products and other devices that infringe on the patent or are not "demonstrably different" than the infringing products.
Software company turns to court over unfulfilled Freedom of Information Act request
Microsoft filed a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Monday, seeking information relating to the agency's probe into the software giant's tax records. The suit, filed with the US District Court for the District of Columbia, accuses the IRS of "unlawfully" withholding information that was requested through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
News from the video game industry for the week of November 16
Every Sunday, Electronista and MacNN offer up a one-stop article for some of the happenings in the video game industry over the past week. In this week's edition of Weekly Game Replay, we look at Double Fine layoffs, Call of Duty reaching $10 billion in sales for the franchise, World of Warcraft recapturing 10 million active subscriptions, Sweden considering a sexism label for video games, Activision settling its shareholder lawsuit, and more.
Latest move by Samsung mirrors earlier Nvidia action
Samsung has racheted up its legal battles with Nvidia, bringing US regulators into the battle. Yesterday, the Korean manufacturer filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC), attempting to block GPUs manufactured by Nvidia from being imported and sold in the US market. The complaint mirrors one that Nvidia filed against Samsung earlier this year, with Nvidia calling it "a predictable tactic."
Judge Denise Cote approves 'unusual' settlement offer
[Updated with additional background information, details on "escape clause"] Federal court Judge Denise Cote has approved Apple's $450 million e-book suit settlement offer with US states. The agreement, proposed in June, will settle allegations made in 33 states and territories, with $400 million potentially reaching customers affected by the "price fixing conspiracy." The agreements only settles the states' complaints, with the publishers' settlements remaining discrete. However, Apple may have an ace up its sleeve on the deal -- in the form of a "vindication" clause.
Settlement should cover other companies such as Time Warner, Suddenlink
Cisco is said to be preparing to pay a $188 million pre-tax charge to settle a lawsuit brought against it by Rockstar, the Apple-led patent holding firm born out of the remains of Nortel Networks. The company recent mentioned a $188 million payout in an earnings call. The connection to the settlement can be made, as Cisco has asked the judge in the lawsuit to stay litigation because it has signed a "term sheet" with Rockstar.
Second pager-related suit in two months
Apple has been ordered to pay a Texas firm, Mobile Telecommunications Technologies, $23.6 million for illegally using pager patents in its products. A federal jury in Marshall, Texas has ruled that six patents owned by MTel are still valid, and were infringed by products including the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and the AirPort router line. The patents were originally issued in the mid- to late-1990s, and are either recently expired or set to expire soon.
Computer builder 'caught off guard,' believes fallout will affect employees, community
Custom computer builder Velocity Micro is stuck in a legal battle between two computing powerhouses after Samsung lumped the company in with Nvidia over a patent dispute. The Virginia-based company issued an open letter today admitting it is confused by the whole situation, adding that it intends to fight the suit that will drain company resources.
Nvidia responds to benchmark criticism with multi-benchmark graph
Samsung has filed a lawsuit against chip producer Nvidia, accusing it of infringing its patents and faking benchmark results for its processors. Nvidia has since spoken up about the suit, filed last week, claiming Samsung's accusations of benchmark deception is false, by comparing its Tegra K1-powered Shield Tablet against Samsung's Galaxy Note 4 and its Exynos 5433 processor.
Company didn't warn people about obstructions
Apple will have to face a lawsuit charging that it didn't warn people they would lose text messages if they switched away from the iPhone, US District Judge Lucy Koh has ordered. The plaintiff in the case, Adrienne Moore, says that iOS' poor handling of text messages interfered with her contract with Verizon, which she kept after switching from an iPhone 4 to a Samsung Galaxy S5 in April. Koh argues that Moore has the right to show that Apple disrupted the contract and broke California's unfair competition law, and that she doesn't have to claim an "absolute right to receive every text message." The judge has, however, dismissed some claims linked to another state consumer protection law.
Suit alleged HP, Intel colluded to artificially increase benchmarks
A class-action suit alleging that Intel and HP colluded in producing processors and computers with known poor-performing first-generation Pentium 4 chips has reached a settlement. Consumers who bought a new PC with the processor between November 20, 2000 and December 31, 2001 are entitled to a $15 refund after opting into the class.
India's iVoice Enterprises blames Apple for collapse of early phone deal
In a case somewhat similar to the Mexican lawsuit that successfully argued that an earlier "iFone" trademark superseded Apple's mark, a company called iVoice Enterprises is India is challenging Apple's iPhone trademark. The company was at work on a low-cost mobile phone for India that was dubbed the "India phone" or "iFon," but never came to market as partners backed out and the deal collapsed shortly after Apple announced the iPhone in January 2007.
Sonos asks Denon to stop copying its wireless speaker system
Sonos is suing Denon for patent infringement over a set of wireless speakers it released earlier this summer. The Denon Heos range is apparently violating four patents owned by Sonos relating to wireless audio products, prompting Sonos to file a lawsuit in its incorporation state, Delaware, against Denon's parent company D&M Holdings.
Company's desire for secrecy could result in another tangle with the DOJ
This Wednesday, the court handling the bankruptcy proceeding for GT Advanced Technology will hear arguments from Apple that its objections to GT's bankruptcy filing should be sealed so as to protect sensitive information, including product plans, research finds and business dealings. The request could bring the iPhone maker into another dispute with the US Department of Justice, which is acting as the US trustee in the case, and the state of New Hampshire -- both of whom want the filings to be public.
In light of judge's rejection, plaintiffs now believe agreed-upon settlement too low
In a strange turn of events, the plaintiffs in a lawsuit accusing many of Silicon Valley's top tech companies of suppressing wages by engaging in a "gentlemen's agreement" not to poach employees from each other have now said that Judge Lucy Koh, who is hearing the case, should formally reject a previously agreed-to settlement offer. Following Judge Koh's initial rejection of the $324.5 million settlement -- signed off on by the representatives of the plaintiffs and the companies involved -- the plaintiffs have now agreed with the judge that the sum is a bit too low.