Judge rules 'battle between the economists' needs a jury
The new judge on the Apple versus Real anti-trust case has declared that there is enough evidence to go to trial, after nine years of litigation and a judge's retirement during the process. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has ordered a trial, after an earlier pre-trial conference finding that Real attorneys have presented enough evidence to show that Apple created a monopoly with its FairPlay DRM, which then allowed the Cupertino manufacturer to overcharge customers.
Traces back to Apple attempt to break Real Harmony
People who bought an iPod classic, shuffle, touch, or nano between September 12th, 2006 and March 31st, 2009 are being notified that they could participate in a pending class action lawsuit, reports say. Emails are being sent out this week referring people to ipodlawsuit.com, for extra details, even though there has been no settlement or ruling. The suit was originally filed by Thomas Slattery in 2005, based on an incident in 2004, when RealNetworks released software called Harmony.
Court says cracking DRM OK if purpose is legal
A new court ruling on Friday could set a legal precedent that allows bypassing digital rights management (DRM) for fair use purposes. New Orleans circuit Judge Emilio Garza found that GE hadn't violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by using hacked security dongles to repair uninterruptible power supplies from MGE UPS Systems as the goal itself was legal. While a jury fined GE $4.6 million for breaking copyright and misusing trade secrets, Judge Garza determined the DMCA hadn't been broken, as using hacked items by itself didn't constitute violating protection at the same time.
Rhapsody cuts price to stay relevant
Rhapsody today slashed the price of a subscription from $15 per month to $10. The immediate cut still provides the same features, which includes unlimited music downloads as well as streaming and in some cases local caching. Permanent MP3 downloads are still an option and usually cost $10 per album with songs ranging between 79 cents and $1.29.
Threat to iTunes?
A forthcoming version of Real's Rhapsody iPhone app should support offline listening, a designer of the software says. Although Rhapsody mobile service is priced at $15 a month, iPhone and iPod users can currently only stream music, whether through Wi-Fi or 3G. Offline listening would likely allow the storage of tracks for the duration of a subscription, making the app more practical in areas with bad or inconsistent connections.
RealPlayer SP update
Real has announced an update to its media player, RealPlayer SP, which adds a variety of new functions for sharing content or transferring videos to portable devices. Users can download videos from the Internet, and then select their particular mobile device from a drop-down list.
MCS sues MS, Yahoo, Real
MCS Music America has filed a lawsuit against Real Networks, Yahoo and Microsoft over alleged music copyright infringements earlier this week. The copyright administration company claims the defendants breached copyright on several pieces of music and their artists. MCS represents a large number of other plaintiffs and says streaming music services such as Rhapsody, Zune and Yahoo Music allow users to retain the copyrighted tracks for an extended period of time, saying the defendants are required to obtain the rights for such a form of distribution.
REAL Server 2009 shipping
REALbasic creator REAL Software has launched REAL Server 2009 Release 1, featuring improved scalability and performance. The SQLite database server is geared toward developers who need to expand a single-user application into a multi-user platform. The release provides eight major new features, including a new architecture that is scalable to support over 10,000 concurrent connections. The software now utilizes multi-core processing and improved RAM usage to increase the speed of queries, with platform-specific optimizations to maximize performance.
Nokia 7205 Intrigue at VZW
Verizon today made the rare addition of a Nokia phone to its stable in the 7205 Intrigue. The clamshell is a stylized music phone with a stealth external display and controls, a seamless back and a gradient-effect keypad. Functionally, it brings a 2-megapixel camera with a dedicated capture button and flash, a media player with support for Real Rhapsody music, and a microSDHC slot that supports up to 8GB of storage. Stereo Bluetooth allows wireless headphones.
Haier ibiza touch and mini
Haier tonight added two more players to the Rhapsody ibiza line that both share direct parallels to Apple players. The ibiza Touch (pictured above) appears a higher-end counterpart to the ibiza Theatre that adds a sharper, 2.8-inch 400x240 touchscreen and Wi-Fi, which lets it browse the web, download podcasts and Real Rhapsody subscriptions, and tune Internet radio. It shares the Theatre's Bluetooth for pairing wireless headphones. Battery life drops accordingly and sees the Touch run for just 15 hours of AAC, Audible, MP3, Rhapsody or WMA audio but a relatively long 6 hours of DivX, H.264, MPEG-4, VC-1 or WMA video.
Haier ibiza Rhapsody Sport
Haier on Thursday has quietly released the second generation of its Internet-capable portable media players. The ibiza Rhapsody Sport is ruggedized compared to the original player and has both a more easily gripped, rounded body as well as a weather-resistant covering that partly protects against rain or snow. The player continues to center on an 802.11g Wi-Fi link that lets it download podcasts, download unlimited songs over Real's Rhapsody to Go service, stream videos from AOL and check specific news feeds.
Kid Rock picks Rhapsody
Popular rap-rocker Kid Rock has chosen Rhapsody as the exclusive online sales venue for his music, the owner of latter party has announced. Real notes that Kid Rock's albums have not been available online in any legal manner in the past, whether for download or streaming; as of today, the artist's entire collection should be available for purchase or streaming through the subscription version of Rhapsody.
Studios to Sue Real
Several major studios plan to sue RealNetworks for what they believe is inherent copyright infringement in the company's RealDVD ripping software, according to a tip sent to the AP. Disney, Fox, Paramount, Sony, Universal and Warner are all said to believe that the software is deliberately bypassing the CSS encryption on DVD movies and so violating their copyrights. They also plan a temporary injunction on just-begun sales of the app, the unnamed source indicates.
Real early on Monday introduced a potentially controversial app that could affect the legality of media transcoding. RealDVD would be one of the first DVD ripping programs from a major developer but claims to dodge the legal setbacks that have shut down earlier apps: the software preserves Macrovision's CSS encryption and limits sending copies to a maximum of five authorized PCs. The solution would let notebook owners or a whole home play a DVD movie from anywhere, Real claims.
Real has fixed four "highly critical" security issues spread across the Mac, Windows and Linux versions of RealPlayer, according to a Secunia report. While two of the vulnerabilities are Windows-only, in that they relate to ActiveX controls, at least one is known to be universal. In this a design flaw is said to exist within the handling of frames in Shockwave Flash files, which in an unpatched copy of the software, could be used to create a heap-based buffer overflow.
Moto V750 Adventure at VZW
Verizon this morning quietly introduced the Motorola Adventure V750, the carrier's first-ever phone based on Motorola's push-to-talk network. The handset uses EVDO Revision A-based cellular data to provide the same kind of instant talk as Sprint's iDEN service (which moves to the similar QChat format) but with the theoretically improved quality of the 3G network. The clamshell design is also ruggedized with US military-grade protection against dust, drops and other shocks, temperature, and water splashes.
Verizon VCast MP3
Following on the heels of Real's Rhapsody MP3 store, Verizon today expanded its VCast Music store to include both MP3s and the Rhapsody subscription service. The former lets users of Verizon's PC software as well as any MP3-supporting cellphone on the company's 3G network download unprotected songs that can be used as the customer likes; that includes loading content on to phones that wouldn't otherwise support VCast songs or to outside software and devices, including iPods.
Real Rhapsody MP3 Store
Real this morning opened a test version of the Rhapsody MP3 Store, its first store to go without copy protected files. The MTV co-owned outlet is web-based and, unlike the company's subscription service, promises to work with any computer or device, including iPods; a Mac download manager is available to let users download all their songs as a complete package, Real says. The company has also successfully secured the catalogs of all four major music labels.
Nokia E71 Pre Review
Nokia's E71 today has received a review ahead of its official release date that suggests it may be the cellphone maker's best device yet. BGR notes that the QWERTY keyboard smartphone is more polished and slimmer than the E61i it replaces without sacrificing features; confirming earlier leaks, the device sports 3G for North American HSDPA networks as well as GPS and Wi-Fi. It also brings a large-capacity battery that lasts through more than a whole day despite "heavy" usage, according to informal tests.
Yahoo Switches to Rhapsody
Yahoo today tilted the balance of digital music by announcing that Yahoo Music would switch to RealNetworks' Rhapsody for its on-demand music, replacing the Yahoo Music Unlimited service for subscription services. The move will see existing Yahoo subscribers transition over to Rhapsody accounts over the next several months, beginning mid-year, and will make Yahoo's music services accessible from devices which were previously limited to the Real service; devices such as Logitech's Squeezebox media streaming hub and TiVo recorders will now have access to Yahoo's services. Both companies also plan to collaborate on a la carte downloads in the future.