Grooveshark is no stranger to lawsuits having been sued countless times. But the latest lawsuit, even though it's from a familiar foe, seems to be a bit different. Universal Media group on Friday filed a fresh lawsuit against the online music streaming service, accusing it of running a massive music uploading effort internally. Hit the jump for more.
What's good for the goose is good for the record labels, who have been ordered to pay Canadian artists $45 million for illegally using copyrighted tracks on compilation CDs, TorrentFreak reports. TorrentFreak says this sort of thing happens more frequently than you think.
"Over the years the labels have made a habit of using songs from a wide variety of artists for compilation CDs without securing the rights," TorrentFreak writes. "They simply use the recording and make note of it on a 'pending list' so they can deal with it later."
It's been going on since the 1980s, TorrentFreak says, with the list of unpaid tracks surpassing 300,000 just in Canada. That didn't sit well with a group of artists and composers waiting to get paid, so they filed a class action suit in 2008. The original suit sought $6 billion in damages from Warner Music, Sony BMG Music, EMI Music, and Universal Music.
In the end, both sides settled on $45 million, which represents "a compromise of disputed claims and is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing by the record labels."
Having trouble playing Blu-ray flicks from Universal and Warner Brothers on your Samsung player? If it's any consolation, so are scores of other users.
Here's the deal. Something funky in Samsung's latest firmware -- version 2.09 -- for its line of BD-Px600 Blu-ray players is preventing the unit from playing movies like "The Hangover" and "The Book of Eli," two must-see movies, by the way, in case you haven't watched them already.
As is predictably the case, the SNAFU deals with copy protection, and once again, it's the paying consumer who pays the price. While software pirates are merrily clogging up their ISP's pipes downloading movies from BitTorrent sites, several Samsung Blu-ray player owners are forced to sit back and wait for a fix. The good news is a fix is on the way, but not until September, the company said.
Does that mean early September or closer to the end? Nobody knows. Samsung BD-Px600 owners may be able to watch their legally purchased/rented Blu-ray movies next week, or maybe several weeks from now. And if we sound particularly critical about the whole situation, consider that this isn't the first time something like this has happened. Earlier this year, Samsung BD-UP5000 and BD-P1400 Blu-ray players coughed up a hairball when owners tried to watch "Avatar" on Blu-ray. Samsung did fix the issue, but is this really the future of HD movies on the home front?
It might be a little late in the game, but hoping to cash in on a few stragglers who have yet to upgrade their home theater to Blu-ray but plan on doing so, Universal continues to experiment with dual-format 'Flipper" discs.
"Consumers now have the ability to watch their favorite romantic classic, thriller, or action flick on Blu-ray, DVD, and PlayStation 3 players on one disc," Universal said. "With complete utility in one convenient package, each side of these Universal favorites includes the entire movie as well as all available bonus features, with the Blu-ray side featuring exciting exclusives such as BD-Live."
In other words, a single disc combines a 9GB DVD on one side and a 50GB Blu-ray on the other. Most Blu-ray players sport backwards compatibility with standard DVDs, but we can see this being popular with folks on the verge of upgrading. This will, of course, depend on how the pricing shakes out, and that's not something Universal has yet announced. We'd also like to see some current blockbuster titles make the list. This is actually the second wave of Flipper discs from Universal, which includes The Jackal, Traffic, and Out of Africa 25th Anniversary Edition.
So what do you think, will dual-format Flipper discs finally catch on?
The major music labels hope Vevo will do for music videos what Hulu has done for movies and TV shows. In other words, become wildly popular.
Vevo will be a website for music videos and has the backing of co-owners Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment (Abu Dhabi Media Company also owns a stake). On Monday, Vevo announced it had signed up EMI as a video provider, which leaves Warner Music as the only holdout among the four biggest music labels.
"It will be a higher-quality experience around music and videos than anything else that's currently out there," Rio Caraeff, Vevo's chief executive, said in an interview.
Caraeff went on to say that Vevo would host 30,000 music videos by the end of the year, which will include original programs by artists for their fans.
On the technical side, videos will be hosted and streamed by YouTube. Vevo also plans to syndicate videos to a bunch of other sites, a la Hulu.
Everyone wants a piece of the direct-download pie. With apologies to our gaming columnist for inching onto his beat just a tad, I think that some intrepid gamer - or, better, an intrepid gamer-businessman - needs to put his finger in the swelling dike of direct download services before it bursts all over the Web and ruins us all.
Dramatic? Perhaps. The description is no less dramatic than my growing frustration at the inability to manage my downloads, multiplayer experience, and cash across the many platforms that exist on the modern-day "Gamer's Internet." In a perfect world, the various game publishers would band together and come up with a common solution-a universal iTunes, if you will-by which all could contribute core content, extras, add-ons, and share the costs of bandwidth, UI development, and communal matchmaking.
Through a partnership with Universal, Virgin Media said it plans to launch an unlimited music download subscription service. The well timed announcement comes just one day before a British report hits the public eye detailing how the creative and telecom industries should go about bumping up digital sales to cope with lost revenue due to online piracy.
"We listened to our customers, our fans, and our artists and we think that this is an opportunity to bring music to a wider audience," said Lucian Grainge, Universal Music chairman and CEO.
According to Reuters, people familiar with the service said it would cost around $16 to $24 per month. Both sides are describing the service as a world first, which would allow Virgin Media broadband customers to both listen to streaming tracks and download however many tracks and albums they want.
Unlike other unlimited subscription services, the downloadable MP3s won't come with any DRM shackles, which means the tracks can be transferred to and played from any MP3-capable device.
"This is really high stakes, if this can't work then what will," commented Mark Mulligan, an analyst with Jupiter.
ESPN's "Ultimate Remote" looks nothing like the one Adam Sandler wielded in the move Click, nor can it manipulate time. It can't mute your girlfriend, and no matter what combination of buttons you push, you won't be able to call an audible and change the outcome of the SuperBowl. So can it still live up to its moniker and be the last remote you'll ever buy?
To learn what nifty tricks the Ultimate Remote can do, click through the jump.