Sony Pictures Considered Purchasing BitTorrent Inc

Sony Pictures seriously considered the acquisition of BitTorrent Inc. according to leaked presentation slides procured from TorrentFreak. The documentation shows Sony Pictures added BitTorrent Inc. to a shortlist alongside Netflix, TiVo, Vongo and Starz to help diversify their business. This strategy was outlined in 2006 and set aside $2-4 billion to acquire the business and offer video content through streaming technology. The idea was to integrate streaming capabilities into set-top boxes and Televisions. Sony also received information about BitTorrent’s plans to create a video store, but this never came to fruition.

Eventually, Sony dismissed the investment opportunity and purchased Grouper and a 25% stake in Starz Media. While BitTorrent can be used for legal activities such as downloading Linux distributions, it’s widely adopted as a means to acquire copyrighted material. On another note, Sony must be kicking themselves for missing out on the potential of Netflix which is arguably the future of video content. However, Netflix was still in its infancy at the time and didn’t provide any major streaming services.

The course of events is quite intriguing and emphasizes how different modern media could be if decisions were changed a few years ago. Whatever the case, it seems BitTorrent usage is still rife, and Sony could only dream of matching the popularity of Netflix.

Thank you TorrentFreak for providing us with this information.

Chrome Beta on Android Helps Prevent Downloading Duplicates

Face it, we all have a downloads folder that dates back to the beginning of time. Most browsers will let you download unlimited amounts of the same file, cluttering up your storage and taking up valuable room. However, the Chrome development team have released a nifty new feature into their beta version of the popular web browser to solve the problem. Instead of all your files having a (1) or (2) appended to the file name, the browser will now offer to replace the existing file or create a new one before downloading it, helping you save valuable storage space, as well as preventing you from wasting bandwidth.

The change is very minor, yet very welcome addition on a platform where device space is like gold dust, especially so on mobile platforms. It’s very surprising that this functionality hasn’t come already to the browser, but it is nice to see the functionality added to the largely used application, after all, virtually all of us use internet browsers and download files.

The application has had over 1 Billion downloads off the Google Play store, and is responsible for over 30% of the market share. What browser do you use and do you think this feature will come in handy, or should be just be thinking before we click that download button, again.

Thom Yorke May Have Earned up to $20m From BitTorrent Downloads in 2014

Last year, Thom Yorke, lead singer of Radiohead, released his second solo album as a digital download through BitTorrent, and figures suggest he could have made up to $20 million from the endeavour.

Yorke released Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes as a BitTorrent Bundle, offering a digital download of the album for $6. The Bundle also contained an additional song and music video, both available for free, independent of the album. Reports say that there were 4.4 million downloads from the Bundle, but it is unclear as to whether that figure relates to album purchases or downloads of the free content.

If the in-excess of 4 million downloads were $6 album sales, that would equate to over $20 million in total. Regardless, Thom Yorke has earned the distinction of being the most downloaded artist of 2014.

Source: Techspot

The Wolf of Wall Street Was the Most Pirated Movie of 2014

‘The Wolf of Wall Street’. Yes, the Leonardo DiCaprio biopic was the most illegally downloaded movie with 30.035 million downloads. Still, the Oscar-nominated movie grossed $392 million despite all of those downloads.

Although the highest, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ was certainly not exceptional –  the close second, Disney’s ‘Frozen’, was downloaded a massive 29.919 million times. The equally close third – the 2014 remake of ‘Robocop’, was downloaded 29.879 million times last year.

What’s most interesting about this list, is how it compares to previous years. ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ was the most downaloded movie of 2013 with just 8.72 million downloads, suggesting that movie piracy is definitely on the increase. See the full list bellow.

  1. The Wolf of Wall Street: 30.035 million (Paramount, Dec. 25, 2013)
  2. Frozen: 29.919 million (Disney, Nov. 27, 2013)
  3. RoboCop*: 29.879 million (MGM, Feb. 12, 2014; and Orion, July 17, 1987)
  4. Gravity: 29.357 million (Warner Bros., Oct. 4, 2013)
  5. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: 27.627 million (Warner Bros., Dec. 13, 2013)
  6. Thor: The Dark World: 25.749 million (Disney/Marvel, Nov. 8, 2013)
  7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier: 25.628 million (Disney/Marvel, April 4, 2014)
  8. The Legend of Hercules: 25.137 million (Summit, Jan. 10, 2014)
  9. X-Men: Days of Future Past: 24.380 million (20th Century Fox, May 23, 2014)
  10. 12 Years a Slave: 23.653 million (Fox Searchlight, Oct. 18, 2013)
  11. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: 23.543 million (Lionsgate, Nov. 22, 2013)
  12. American Hustle: 23.143 million (Sony/Columbia, Dec. 13, 2013)
  13. 300: Rise of an Empire: 23.096 million (Warner Bros., March 7, 2014)
  14. Transformers: Age of Extinction: 21.65 million (Paramount, June 27, 2014)
  15. Godzilla: 20.956 million (Warner Bros., May 16, 2014)
  16. Noah: 20.334 million (Paramount, March 28, 2014)
  17. Divergent: 20.312 million (Lionsgate, March 21, 2014)
  18. Edge of Tomorrow: 20.299 million (Warner Bros., June 6, 2014)
  19. Captain Phillips: 19.817 million (Sony/Columbia, Oct. 11, 2013)
  20. Lone Survivor: 19.130 million (Universal, Dec. 25, 2013)

Source: The Verge

Facebook, Minecraft Lead iOS App Store 2014 Charts

Well isn’t this a surprise – Facebook Messenger and Minecraft pretty much lead the 2014 iOS App Store charts.

The top free iPhone app was Facebook Messenger while the top paid iPhone app was the game Heads Up!, with Minecraft: Pocket Edition in second place. The top iPad app was Minecraft: Pocket Edition with YouTube as the top free iPad app.

Free iPhone apps:

1. Facebook Messenger
2. Snapchat
3. YouTube
4. Facebook
5. Instagram
6. Pandora Radio
7. Google Maps
8. Flipagram
9. Spotify Music
10. 2048

Paid iPhone apps:

1. Heads Up!
2. Minecraft – Pocket Edition
3. Afterlight
4. Plague Inc.
5. Sleep Cycle alarm clock
6. Facetune
7. Cut the Rope 2
8. Bloons TD 5
9. A Dark Room
10. 7 Minute Workout Challenge

Free iPad apps:

1. YouTube
2. Netflix
3. Calculator for iPad Free
4. Skype for iPad
5. Microsoft Word
6. Facebook Messenger
7. Facebook
8. Candy Crush Saga
9. Chrome
10. Clash of Clans

Paid iPad apps:

1. Minecraft – Pocket Edition
2. Cut the Rope 2
3. Heads Up!
4. The Room Two
5. Survivalcraft
6. Notability
7. Terraria
8. Plants vs. Zombies HD
9. Hide N Seek : Mini Game With Worldwide Multiplayer
10. Card Wars – Adventure Time

Source: iTunes

The Best Oculus Rift Experiences You Can Enjoy Right Now

Introduction


Oculus Rift is easily one of the coolest pieces of technology that I’ve ever owned. I personally own their DK2 headset, which is certainly not ready for general consumer consumption, but that doesn’t mean to say it can’t still be a lot of fun. I’m not the only early adopter out there and I’m sure I won’t be the last, especially given that the consumer model could be another year away from release.

Oculus demos, games and other types of software are steadily streaming onto the internet, many of them completely free of charge. Most developers haven’t even had their DK2 headset any longer than I have, but many of them have already produced some truly stunning experiences.

This article is obviously best suited for those who already own an Oculus Rift, or at least those who have ordered one and are eagerly awaiting its delivery. If you would love to know more about the technology, then you can check out our featured review here, or our game review/DK2 setup guide here.

Apple Fighting to Prevent Release of Steve Jobs Deposition

The Associated Press, CNN and Bloomberg have filled a motion to have the video deposition of Steve Jobs released from the ongoing iPod lawsuit. The publications are in a battle against Apple’s lawyers who are actively seeking it stays confined to the courtroom.

Attorney Thomas Burke made the point that there would be no legal case to prevent its release, considering it was merely a “regular testimony” with a significant level of interest from the public. Apple’s lead attorney requested that the video should not be released. The video itself is 2 hours long, and features Steve Jobs discussing Apple, its competitors and iTunes, 6 months before his death in October of 2011. Subsequently, despite it having never been seen publicly, the deposition would not be the last known recorded footage of Jobs – that was his appearance before the Cupertino City Council in June 2011, concerning the new Apple campus.

The iPod lawsuit concerns the digital rights management of the devices between 2006 and 2009, when it’s alleged that the company acted unfairly by blocking users from installing content from competing music services on their iPods.

Source: CNET Via The Verge

Lawsuit Against iPod DRM Set to Collapse

The highly publicised trial against Apple this week, that accuses them of unfairly restricting competition by limiting iPods to use music only downloaded from the iTunes Store, is set to collapse according to the BBC.

Apparently, the plaintiffs in the case both purchased iPods after 2009, outside the 2006 – 2009 window that the case concerns. Apple’s lawyers made the discovery after checking the device’s serial numbers.

“I am concerned that I don’t have a plaintiff. That’s a problem,” Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said at the end of the trial’s third day of testimony in Oakland, California.”

The trial has been heavily covered in the news this week, most notably due to the allegation that Apple “removed music from people’s iPods” that was downloaded from rival services. Apple says that this was misconstrued, as the songs were only removed during software updates for security purposes. The company has also argued that the use of Digital Rights Management was a necessary evil, because it was the only way the music companies would give Apple their trust and was also seen as a way to hamper piracy.

If the trial is successful, Apple could have to pay up to $1 Billion in damages.

SourceL BBC News

BBC iPlayer Available for Xbox One

Finally after a year of being available, you can now access BBC iPlayer on your Xbox One.

The decision not to include a BBC iPlayer app with the Xbox One drew a great deal of criticism towards both Microsoft and the BBC. The PS4 came with the app from launch, leaving many British Xbox One owners wondering why their console missed out. Now that’s changed with a dedicated app that utilises Kinect features, allowing users to play and pause BBC programmes with their voice. The app is available now on the Xbox One App Store.

The app came alongside the announcement by the BBC that from this week, programmes will be available to download for 30 days, extending iPlayer’s download window from the previous 7 days.

Source: The Verge

 

 

Steve Jobs Still Delivering Sharp Opinions From the Grave

The other day we reported on the news that Steve Jobs was to appear in court over an iPod lawsuit via a video deposition recorded in 2011.

Well the trial began yesterday, and we have some of the first details of what was said in that video. According to Reuters, Jobs delivered a bit of a crushing blow to Real Networks, the company behind Real Player:

“During his 2011 deposition, Jobs displayed some of the edge he was known for, according to a transcript filed in court. Asked if he was familiar with Real Networks, Jobs replied: “Do they still exist?”

The video was shown alongside email exchanges between Jobs and other Apple executives. One of those emails from 2004, continued to add to the Real Networks bashing, with Jobs considering the release of a statement likening them to hackers:

“How’s this?” Jobs wrote. “‘We are stunned that Real is adopting the tactics and ethics of a hacker and breaking into the iPod.'”

Jobs said that Apple felt compelled to implement DRM on the iPod to make it more appealing to the music industry. At the time, illegal downloads had swarmed the internet, making iTunes something very difficult to get music executives to work with.

The trial continues, with current Apple SVPs Phil Schiller and Eddy Cue expected to make appearances.

Source: Reuters

UK Vinyl Record Sales Reach 1 Million

For the first time since 1996, 1 million vinyl records have been sold in the UK.

The Official Chart Company told the BBC that sales this year will reach £20 million – incredible for a technology that was practically “written off”.

“In an era when we’re all talking about digital music, the fact that these beautiful physical artefacts are still as popular as they are is fantastic,”.

The records don’t end there though either – earlier this month, Pink Floyd’s The Endless River became the fastest-selling vinyl release since 1997.

It has been suggested that this could well just be a niche thing, that probably wont go much further. In a world where digital music is king, it’s hard to see young One Direction fans popping down to HMV to buy their latest record. They’re more likely to go and download it (sometimes legally) or further still, stream it. One Direction celebrated 1 billion streams on Spotify just earlier this week.

It does however raise a point that many have been keen to discuss recently – are digital music sales and streaming making enough money for artists? Is this rise in vinyl a sign of struggling artists turning to more novel, material sales in an effort to generate a profit?

What do you think, is this just a fad for hipsters, or is it a sign of things to come for struggling musicians?

Source: BBC News

Expendables 3 Piracy Suspects Arrested

Two men from the UK have been arrested following the leak of The Expendables 3 before its scheduled release date.

The copy of the movie was viewed hundreds of thousands of times and reportedly lost Lionsgate, the film’s production company, $10 million.

Officers from the UK Intellectual Property Crime Unit (Pipcu) arrested the men, a 36-year-old and 33-year-old in Upton, Wirral, and Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. They were arrested on suspicion of taking the film from a private cloud server and uploading it to the web. They released the movie online back in July, just under a month before the film’s August release date. In a statement to the BBC, head of Pipcu, Det Ch Insp Danny Medlycott said that this was not “a victimless crime”.

“By downloading illegal music, film, TV and books, not only are you exposing your own computer to the risk of viruses and malware, but you are also putting hard-working people’s livelihoods at risk as piracy threatens the security of thousands of jobs in the UK’s creative industries.”

Source: BBC News

Beats Music to Be Included With iOS

The music streaming service Beats Music will be bundled with iOS starting next year, according to a report from the Financial Times.

The service comes from the company of the same name, which Apple acquired earlier this year for $3 billion. Beats is best known for its ‘Beats by Dr Dre’ headphones, but the company has reportedly spent a great deal of time researching and developing its music streaming service, one with an intense focus on content discovery. Beats Music, which is currently only available in the US, delivers carefully crafted playlists of music, collated by experts. This was supposedly one of the big reasons why Apple decided to buy the company. With its iTunes downloads business in decline, it’s no wonder Apple was interested in finding a sustainable alternative.

The report in the Financial Times says that the service will come bundled via a software update, but that it will no longer be referred to as Beats Music. They say that it will be rebranded to tie in more closely with iTunes.

Source: Reuters

Downloads Drop as Existing Apps Are Too Good

It seems apps are just too good at the moment as the numbers downloaded have dropped significantly.

It seems that downloading smartphone apps has reached saturation point apparently because the existing apps are just too good. Researchers say that 31% of smartphone users very rarely download apps at all, an increase from around 20% this time last year. This means that the average number of apps downloaded has fallen from 2.3 to 1.8 in the same period of time.

The maker of popular mobile game Candy Crush have already started to feel the pinch from the lack of downloads and have seen a revenue drop of 8% in just 3 months an King Digital Media which relies on 3 games to make the bulk of the money has seen its share price drop by more than 25%, resulting in value drop of almost £1bn.

According to researchers, people are happy with the apps that they have already downloaded and that they just don’t need to keep on getting new ones. People are playing the same game for longer or are stuck in their ways and are happy with all the apps they have.

It will be interesting to see what new ways app developers try and entice us to download their apps. Let’s just hope it’s not more micro-transactions or advertisements.

Thanks to Sky news for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of Iphone News

Anti-Piracy Campaign Set to Begin in UK

Oh no! Another anti piracy campaign that will change nobody’s opinion on piracy. Seriously, The UK government is starting a campaign next year that will involve sending people emails warning them that what they are doing is illegal. Example: I download loads of films and the UK government notices this, they’re not happy so they decide to inform me about something that I already know, they’ll inform me that I’m breaking the law by constantly downloading movies and shared files alike. Ok so what next you ask? Well i’ll tell you, nothing. Nothing will happen as a result of these emails, the purpose of the emails is to inform you that what you’re doing is illegal and that’s it. They’re not a threat, you’re not in trouble all it means is that you’re a pirate and the government know it.

As a citizen of the UK I will be under the influence of this campaign but I won’t change my opinion on piracy just because I might get an email in my inbox. The following video is what I think it will be like for pirates and UK ISPs.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TEvacFETvM[/youtube]

Pretty accurate right? Apart from the sharks, the result is the same, nobody is going to care, they’ll get the email and bin it as if it was junk mail (Which it basically is).

Now what I’ve said in this article are my views and opinions on piracy and this ludicrous campaign that won’t change anything. I would love to hear what you folks think about this whole campaign as well, leave a comment!

Thanks to BBC for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of BBC.

Study Reveals British Young People Want Online Content For Free

Around half of children and teenagers in the UK believe content should be available online for free, a report from YouGov claims.

As part of the survey from YouGov, 49 percent of residents from 8 to 15 agree or strongly agree “you should be able to download or access content you want for free from the Internet.”  It’s an alarming ideology that copyright holders must deal with appropriately to get them onboard with legal online content.

There is a technological change that has seen children ages 8 to 15 showing drastically different cultural views than any other generation – and with access to content anytime, anywhere – the norm will continue to develop.

Here is what YouGov said in a statement:

“The general consensus is that digital content should be free or at least cheaper than the physical equivalent.  File-sharing continues to be common amongst younger adults and children.  Cost, availability of content and convenience are all key motivators.  However, there is evidence of growing usage of legal alternatives to file sharing.  Younger adults show less concern and understanding about piracy and digital rights but are keen to see punitive action taken against providers and search engines.”

Consumer attitude, especially from younger demographics, gives companies, content providers, and copyright holders the chance to alter sales and marketing strategies.

Thank you to The Guardian for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Social Media Club

Freemium Apps Said to Generate 98% of Google Play’s Revenue in May

A study performed by App Annie is said to have revealed in a report that Google Play’s revenue in May was not made from paid applications. With over 1.5 million apps from the store platform, it appears that 98% of the revenue was generated from freemium applications.

The freemium applications, which are ‘free’ to download and play, but also provide ‘premium’ content which users can buy with real money, have proven to be the ‘gold mine’ for Google’s store platform. However, the reports also show that the majority of downloads from the store registered in May also indicated a decrease in freemium apps and an increase in free (no strings attached) applications.

App Annie apparently did not state the revenue spike from freemium apps in the given months, however downloads from previous months followed by content purchase later on might explain it since 90% of the revenue during the first quarter reportedly came from games.

The use of premium content inside games has been criticised for some time now, having gamers with more money be given an advantage over gamers who do not wish to invest in such applications. Nevertheless, data gathered by App Annie shows that while the jury decides whether or not freemium apps are unethical or not, the apps are currently deemed as commercially successful.

The study shows that the average application downloaded from Google Play earns roughly $1,150, while Apple’s App Store brings a figure of $4,000, followed by Microsoft’s Windows Phone Store bringing in only $625. Though there is a considerable gap between Apple and Google’s earnings, it is said that Google is quickly gaining some ground in markets from Asia, Russia, Mexico and Brazil.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Mashable