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Microsoft unveils universal mobile keyboard, Xbox One with PC cable

09/16, 4:10pm

Keyboard works on iOS, Android, Windows, new wireless mice also on the way

Microsoft announced a slate of new accessories with wireless features today, one of which is ready for use with three of the major mobile operating systems. A universal keyboard, wireless mouse, Bluetooth mouse and a PC-ready Xbox One controller are expected to make their way to consumers, starting in the fall.

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U2 deal cost Apple in excess of $100 million, sources say

09/12, 10:50am

Company paying for band, Universal's marketing

Apple's giveaway of the latest U2 album cost it over $100 million, sources tell the New York Times. The company is said to have paid the band and its music label, Universal, a blanket royalty fee, and on top of that promised a marketing campaign worth up to $100 million. That includes a worldwide TV campaign, which kicked off with a commercial shown during Apple's livestream on Tuesday.

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Movie studios sign up for DCDC satellite distribution system

03/08, 6:33am

Theaters to use satellite, terrestrial service for digital film distribution

Five movie studios have signed an agreement with the Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition (DCDC) to distribute films through its satellite network. Disney, Warner Bros, Paramount, Universal, and Lionsgate will be using the network as a way to delivery movies and other content to theaters across North America.

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Comcast completely acquires GE's portion of NBCUniversal

02/12, 5:39pm

Deal expected to complete with little interference by end of 1Q

Comcast has announced today that it is acquiring GE's 49 percent common equity share of the NBCUniversal joint venture. The deal, worth $16.7 billion -- plus $1.4 billion for 30 Rockefeller Plaza and the CNBC headquarters -- will be funded with $11.4 billion in cash, $4 billion of unsecured notes, $2 billion in new debt, and $725 million of stock issued to GE as terms of the agreement.

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HBO deal extends Universal Pictures exclusivity deal to 2022

01/07, 9:27am

Agreement blocks Netflix from Universal content

HBO has signed a deal with Universal Studios that extends its exclusive rights to Universal Pictures' and Focus Features' films for another ten years. The extension prevents competing video-on-demand services such as Netflix from gaining access to content, keeping it on HBO's TV, mobile, and online services until the year 2022.

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No deal near for Apple music streaming service, sources say

12/05, 12:09pm

Apple terms leaving record labels 'cold'

Apple is nowhere close to completing a deal with the major record labels for a music streaming service, say music industry sources contacted by CNET. The people say that the terms Apple has been offering for the service, nicknamed "iRadio," have left the labels -- Sony, Warner, and Universal -- unsatisfied. It's believed that even if one side or the other changes its position, it could take a long time to complete agreements.

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Universal Music gets European approval to take over EMI

09/21, 11:05am

European Commission approves Universal/EMI deal but requires concessions

The European Commission approved Universal Music's takeover of EMI Music, though it required some concessions. Universal agreed to divest nearly one third of EMI assets, including its Parlophone flagship music label in Europe. There are other stipulations, such as agreeing to a set of market controls that dictate how Universal handles contracts with digital music services.

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Briefly: Lovefilm agreement, LA Mobile Arts, NFC Research

05/30, 3:57pm

Lovefilm to stream Universal Pictures films in the UK

Lovefilm has signed a multi-year agreement with NBC Universal to stream Universal Pictures films to its Lovefilm Instant users. The addition of Universal extends the roster of films that currently includes movies from Disney, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros, Entertainment One, and Studio Canal. The streaming agreement would help the Amazon-owned movie rental company fight off Netflix, which launched in the UK in January.

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Apple objects to showing files from Universal dispute

04/30, 4:15pm

Depositions by Steve Jobs, Eddy Cue at heart of controversy

Apple is fighting a discovery request in a class action lawsuit brought by musicians like Rick James and Rob Zombie against Universal Music, The Hollywood Reporter reports. Specifically the plaintiffs want access to trial exhibits, expert reports, depositions, and other material from a suit by FBT Productions against UMG subsidiary Aftermath, filed over money owed from music by rapper Eminem. During the case, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that FBT was right in saying that a contract between the parties should be read as treating digital music as "licenses" instead of "sales." The dispute is still set to go to trial in the near future.

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Hulu intros four new original shows

04/19, 7:45pm

Hulu steps up original video content

Hulu used its turn at upfronts for TV content to reveal that it was adding four original shows beyond those teased earlier in the year. The strategy would be headlined by The Awesomes, a superhero comedy show due in 2013 that would draw on Saturday Night Live actors Seth Meyers and Michael Shoemaker. A nearer-term committed show, the 2012 basketball series We Got Next, would have The Game's Hale Rothstein and Kenya Barris along with The Office's Danny Leiner.

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Sony alliance gets EU approval to buy EMI music publishing

04/19, 2:35pm

Sony to now publish much of EMI music

A group led by Sony on Thursday won its side of a joint bid on EMI assets. The alliance, which includes the Blackstone Group, David Geffen, Mubadala Development, and Raine Group, was cleared by the European Commission to buy EMI's publishing wing for $2.2 billion. The deal is contingent on Sony's group selling off catalog rights for Virgin's European, UK, and US divisions, along with Famous Music UK.

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Universal movies reach iTunes in the Cloud

04/07, 5:20pm

Apple gains a studio for cloud video downloads

Apple edged closer to having a complete iTunes in the Cloud on Saturday with previous holdout Universal adding support. Movies from the studio can now be re-downloaded on any device with an Apple ID, or streamed directly to an Apple TV. The expansion adds hundreds or more videos to those from existing supporters like Sony Pictures.

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UK commission looks into Netflix, LoveFilm as competition

03/14, 11:15am

Good news for BSkyB, deadline extended to July

UK satellite TV service BSkyB was given a reprieve as the Competition Commission pushed back its deadline on ruling that BSkyB's deals with six major Hollywood studios were uncompetitive, according to The Guardian. The government watchdog extended the date of its final ruling to July because it has added Netflix and LoveFilm to its investigation. Netflix launched in the UK and Ireland in January, while LoveFilm recently added a streaming service to its rent-by-mail service.

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HBO relents, lets movies sync via iCloud, other services

03/12, 12:20pm

Fox, Universal, WB tapped for initial deals

HBO is relaxing terms on streaming content to services like iCloud, according to a company spokesman. To attract viewers, the cable network regularly buys exclusive rights to movies; these windows usually start six months after a title's disc release, and persist for roughly a year. HBO's terms frequently prevent movies from being sold online or through video-on-demand services during a window.

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iTunes cloud lacks Fox, Universal movies; 3G app cap at 50MB

03/07, 5:00pm

iTunes in the Cloud and 3G App Store get new limit

A studio veteran divulged Wednesday that the iTunes in the Cloud access coming hand-in-hand with the new Apple TV and iTunes 10.6 doesn't include Fox and Universal. Either was tangled in HBO deals that gave the premium cable network brief exclusives that conflicted with the re-download rights, AllThingsD heard. HBO confirmed the issue but expected to find "common ground" that would clear full access.

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Redbox signs new deal with Universal Studios

03/01, 11:50am

Redbox deal with Universal lasts until mid-2014

While it recently ended its agreement with Warner Bros., budget DVD and Blu-ray rental kiosk operator Redbox has now signed a deal with Universal Studios. The deal extends until August 2014 and keeps the 28-day delay window Redbox had with Warner Bros following a home entertainment release. Redbox and Warner argued about the delay window, with the studio arguing 28 days is too early considering the $1.20 daily rental price for the movies.

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Over-eager YouTube filter outlined as Megaupload denied look

01/28, 2:10am

YouTube filter makes false positives

YouTube's anti-piracy screening has both come under fire and gotten some relief on Friday. The system is now known from an anecdote at Vice to generate false positives if enough of a song is improperly attributed to the wrong group. When Universal-backed group Yelawolf took a sample from an After the Smoke track and had its adaptation leaked, the Universal takedown claim not only brought down the Yelawolf leak but the original track the sample came from.

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Megaupload reported dropping Universal from lawsuit

01/21, 6:05pm

Megaupload may skip Universal for individuals

Megaupload's lawsuit opposing a takedown of a promo video may have taken an unusual turn. The company was claimed by a Hollywood Reporter source with access to the case to have dropped Universal, which orchestrated the takedown, from the suit. Only a number of unnamed people who had participated in the takedown remained.

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Megaupload end pushes Anonymous to hit DOJ, MPAA, Universal

01/19, 5:50pm

Anonymous carpet bombs Megaupload opponents

(Update: FBI too) The forced closure of Megaupload and accompanying arrests may have backfired on proponents after Anonymous launched one of its largest attacks ever in retaliation. Multiple statements from the hacking collective confirmed they were responsible for successful denial of service attacks against the websites of the Department of Justice, MPAA, RIAA, and likely arrest instigator Universal Music. All of the sites were partly or completely unresponsive as of early Thursday evening.

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Megaupload forced down, workers arrested

01/19, 2:45pm

Megaupload forced closed

Megaupload's troubles were magnified Thursday after word emerged that it has been shut down by Federal prosecutors in Alexandria. The site is currently inaccessible. Reports have also emerged that company staff have charged with violating piracy laws, allegedly contributing to $500 million of lost revenue.

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Court upholds DMCA safe harbors for Veoh, others

12/20, 7:05pm

Hosting services protected from liability

A federal appellate court today upheld a lower district court ruling that the safe harbors created by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) did protect video hosting site Veoh from copyright liability. The case originated in 2007 when the Universal Music Group sued Veoh for allegedly allowing the site's users to upload protected Universal music videos. Ironically, Veoh filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2010, in part due to the financial burden of defending itself against the charges.

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Sony, Warner piggyback on Universal's Grooveshark lawsuit

12/16, 12:45pm

Sony, Warner join in on Grooveshark lawsuit

Sony Music and Warner Music have now joined the copyright infringement lawsuit Universal Music started against online music service Grooveshark. The lawsuit was first filed in November and alleges that Grooveshark execs uploaded copies of songs to which they didn't have rights and thus broke the DMCA. The lawsuit was also amended with a detail that claims Grooveshark knew it needed a license for the material it offers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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Universal claims right to block video it doesn't own

12/16, 11:40am

Universal pulled video under private YouTube deal

The argument between Universal Music Group and Megaupload over a YouTube-hosted music video from earlier this week has raised some new issues. UMG now claims that it had the right to take down the video from YouTube not under the DMCA but rather thanks to a private contract with YouTube, Ars Technica revealed on Friday. If this holds up, it could bring a dangerous precedent, as the deal would effectively get around the DMCA's abuse protection.

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Sony plots Internet end-run past cable, joins Google Music

11/15, 7:30pm

Sony wants live Internet TV for PS3, TVs, players

Sony may be in an unintentional race with Apple to bypass the limits of traditional TV providers for its own live TV service, multiple sources might have disclosed on Tuesday night. The electronics giant is believed by the Wall Street Journal to be talking to media firms to get rights for streaming TV channels. The focus would be on Sony's own devices, ranging from Blu-ray players through to TVs and the PS3.

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Google's Nov. 16 music store intro may still lack big labels

11/11, 7:20pm

Google music store event may go minus Sony, Warner

Google's November 16 music event is still likely to see it go without some potentially critical deals. Follow-up details reportedly slipped to AllThingsD still had Sony and Warner holding out and unlikely to reach a deal in five days. EMI was the only certain prospect, and Universal was very likely, but not certain.

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Citigroup splits EMI in sales to Sony, Universal [U]

11/11, 7:55am

EMI publishing, music to be sold off separately

(Update: confirmed) Citigroup is splitting EMI in two for a sale that's about to be imminent, according to claims Friday. Pointing to sources, the Wall Street Journal's Dana Cimilluca said that the publishing wing, EMI Music Publishing, would be sold off to a Sony consortium for $2.2 billion. The pure music label would go to Universal for $1.9 billion.

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Google music store may go live this week, share over Google+

10/24, 8:25am

Google music shop may be days away

A handful of more details about Google's music store may have emerged on Monday. The service is now thought by unofficial WSJ sources to be going live within the next two weeks, and possibly this week. "At least two" major labels are unlikely to have signed on, however, with only EMI probably onboard and Universal in discussions that might not make the release date.

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Time Warner Cable tries on-demand movies same day as theater

10/14, 1:55pm

TWC defies theaters with same-day movies

Time Warner Cable's On Demand movie streaming service claimed a rarity Friday by offering movies the same day as they appeared in theaters. Both Trespass and Marginal Call are arriving on the same day as they appear in theaters, starting today for Trespass and a week later for its equivalent. A third movie, Lars Von Trier's Melancholia, is already available even though it won't be in US theaters until November 11.

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Theaters make Universal drop $60 same-day movie rentals

10/12, 6:25pm

Universal backs off of same-as-theater rental plan

Universal has quietly dropped its plans for $60 same-day-as-theaters movie rentals. The test, which would have started with the November 4 release of Tower Heist, was shelved after movie theater chains threatened to withdraw the regular movie. It would have had minimal impact with just Atlanta and Portland having the option.

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Studios test $60 movie rentals for same day as theaters

10/06, 8:10pm

Universal to trial $60 rental of Tower Heist

Comcast, the parent company of Universal Pictures, is testing a new premium home movie rental concept that will see customers being able to rent a film that is currently screening only in theaters. However, there will be a catch for the privilege – a $60 price tag. The test will center on the new Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller comedy Tower Heist that is due November 4.

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iTunes Replay studio deals still largely incomplete

08/08, 8:35am

iTunes Replay may be months off

Talk of iTunes Replay bringing cloud movie streaming might have come too soon. Insiders claimed Monday that Apple didn't have deals with at least four of six major movie studios. Any deal would be months off at best, CNET was told.

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Sony to roll Qriocity mobile service starting August 1

07/29, 9:30am

Qriocity coming to Xperia minis on Monday

Sony on Monday, August 1 will begin the phased roll-out of its Qriocity service for Xperia smartphones. At first, the Xperia mini and Xperia mini pro will get access. Available content to rent or buy will include movies and TV shows from NBC and its partner Universal, Paramount, Sony, Fox, and Warner Bros., in addition to local and more independent studios.

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Amazon lands deal for streaming Universal movies

07/28, 6:15pm

Offered free to Amazon Prime customers

Amazon has come to an agreement with NBCUniversal Domestic TV Distribution to stream movies to its customers. Under the terms of the digital video licensing agreement, Amazon will now have access to selected movies distributed by the entertainment giant. The online retailer will be offering its Amazon Prime members the streamed motion pictures at no additional cost through its Prime Instant Video service.

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Lawsuit accuses record labels of price fixing

07/20, 11:45pm

Judge approves class-action status

US District Jude Loretta Preska has allowed a class-action lawsuit against RIAA music labels to continue forward. The lawsuit, which accuses major labels of conspiring to fix prices for digital music distribution, will be pursued under the Sherman Act to explore potential antitrust violations of federal law. Similar antitrust actions under New York state law will also be investigated, as well as other claims related to consumer protection and unjust enrichment.

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Anonymous posts hacked Universal Music, Viacom data

06/29, 8:40am

Anonymous hacks Universal Music, Viacom

Anonymous is reported to have hacked into the Universal Music and Viacom servers. According to the Wall Street Journal [sub. req.], the group has released a cache of files that it claims represents the passwords and other user data stolen from a Universal Music affiliated site, as well as those from Viacom networks. The group is also thought to have absorbed members from the recently dissolved LulzSec, ‘Antisec’ group.

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Bloomberg files complaint with FCC on Comcast-NBC deal

06/15, 8:20am

Bloomberg complains against Comcast-NBC deal

News company Bloomberg has filed a complaint with the FCC regarding the deal Comcast made with NBC Universal. It argues the largest cable operator in the country violated terms of the deal by moving the financial news TV network to Siberia, which is far away from existing news networks such as MSNBC, CNBC and Fox. This mirrors earlier objections, which state that Comcast may use its power to favor its own channels instead of rivals, including Bloomberg TV.

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Spotify lands Universal deal, US launch close

06/10, 4:50pm

Spotify gets Universal and close to EMI

Spotify has landed what might be its most important deal for the US, sources claimed Friday. A deal was reportedly struck with Universal this week and left just Warner to come onboard. That deal was said by AllThingsD to be closer than before, although it wasn't expected to start anything until July at the earliest.

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All publishers onboard for iCloud after tug-of-war deal

06/04, 1:35pm

iCloud gets all publishers at last minute

Insiders said late Friday that Apple had managed to secure all its publisher deals just ahead of its iCloud music launch. Having already secured labels, it got the distributors after agreeing to give both major and indie publishers a 12 percent cut, higher than their usual 10 percent. The deal seen by Reuters should clear Apple to show the song-matching music streaming service knowing all its key rights are in place.

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Apple lands Universal for iCloud, gets 30% revenue cut again

06/02, 4:25pm

Apple gets last iCloud music deal with Universal

Insiders slipped word Thursday afternoon that Apple had completed the last of the major deals it needed to fully license iCloud. The deal would have all four major labels onboard. At least "some" of their publisher partners have signed on as well, CNET understood.

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Amazon's Lady Gaga promo cost $3.2m, gave it 38% album share

05/28, 3:30pm

Amazon took voluntary 3.2m loss on Lady Gaga MP3s

Amazon's two days of its 99-cent Lady Gaga album promo were costly but may have paid off in a market share battle with iTunes, both official and unofficial sources said Friday. Music industry contacts said that about 440,000 copies of the pop star's album sold in the two days of the promo, almost all of which were the less extensive but much cheaper sale version. Since Amazon was still paying Universal and Interscope the full $8.39 cut, Billboard estimated that Amazon MP3 took a loss of $3.2 million on all its sales.

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LimeWire pays $105 million to end lawsuit

05/12, 7:50pm

LimeWire ends lawsuit with 105m settlement

LimeWire on Thursday agreed to pay $105 million as part of its lawsuit settlement in what may be the last chapter in the company's history. The payout comes a quick week after a trial to determine the amount that should be paid to music label owners such as Sony, Vivendi, and Warner. The former peer-to-peer company said only that it was glad to be rid of the lawsuit.

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FCC commissioner to work for Comcast after approving merger

05/11, 9:10pm

Meredith Baker to lobby for Comcast-NBC

Comcast has announced that it has hired Meredith Attwell Baker, an FCC Commissioner. The Republican Commissioner will join the cable provider as Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for NBC Universal, a leadership position in the company's Washington DC-based lobbying division. The move has raised eyebrows, considering the Commissioners recent role in approving Comcast's acquisition of NBC Universal.

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YouTube may launch major movie service as soon as this week

04/25, 10:55pm

YouTube may intro major movie service

YouTube's largely public plans for a major studio movie service could be realized as soon as this week or next, studio executives purportedly said Monday. The service would initially work through a video-on-demand rental system, presumably streaming, rather than permanent sales. Some studios like Lionsgate, Sony, Warner, and Universal would be onboard, The Wrap heard, but Google has allegedly had trouble getting support and would have to forsake movies from Fox and Paramount for the initial unveiling.

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Warner Bros., Sony to offer $30 on-demand new releases

03/31, 7:55pm

Movies to be available two months after theaters

Movie studios Warner Brothers, Sony, Universal and 20th Century Fox have finally confirmed plans to launch a new video-on-demand (VoD) service that bridges the gap between theatrical releases and standard rentals. The service, which will be labeled Home Premiere, will allow users to rent new movies for $30 as early as two months after the titles first arrive in theaters.

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Universal, EMI look at publishing more albums as apps

03/30, 9:45am

iTunes LP format failing to catch on, say execs

Universal, EMI, and other entities in the music industry are looking at distributing more albums as iPad apps, according to the New York Times. Universal has already partnered with a company called Eagle Rock Entertainment to do iPad versions of movies about famous albums such as Nirvana's Nevermind, with added social networking; EMI recently published a $10 iPad version of Until One, a new album by the Swedish House Mafia. The app includes photos, documentary videos, and written comments by the band. Icelandic artist Bjork has announced that a project called Biophilia will involve "music, apps, Internet, installations and live shows."

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Rumor: MobileMe media locker $20 a year, Warner onboard

03/28, 7:15am

MobileMe media locker may cost 20 a month

An industry publication claimed in a previously unmentioned rumor this past week that Apple had been making progress on its rumored MobileMe media locker. The service purportedly wouldn't be free but would drop to $20 per year. The Music Void's "informed sources" said Apple had already landed a deal with Warner to let users store music from the label online, and both EMI and Universal were likely to cede relatively quickly.

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Supreme Court won't rule on Eminem's iTunes case

03/21, 12:55pm

Supreme Court upholds Eminem case by abstention

The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to rule on a Universal Music Group appeal of Eminem's digital royalty win. Its gesture upheld a Uinth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that said Eminem's contract with FBT Productions entitled him to a 50 percent cut of any digital sales, including iTunes and Amazon MP3. Universal had argued that it could give him the same 12 percent as with CD sales.

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Spotify reaches 1 million paying subscribers

03/08, 8:15pm

Milestone represents 15% of subscriber base

Following several reports suggesting music streaming service Spotify is nearing a US launch, the company has announced that it has surpassed a million paying subscribers. The number alone is significant, but when compared to the total number of active users, which has reached seven million, the achievement means that 15 percent of the subscriber base is now paying for access to the company's range of music content.

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LimeWire settles music publisher lawsuit

03/08, 2:00pm

LimeWire agrees to settle music publisher suit

LimeWire on Tuesday said it had reached a settlement deal with major music publishers that had sued it for alleged piracy in June of last year. The two sides reached a secret deal that would see the lawsuit dismissed without the possibility of its return. The publishers, including those representing EMI, Sony, and Universal, had wanted as much as $150,000 per song and would have made it impossible for LimeWire to pay them back.

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Spotify may clinch final US deal with Universal in weeks

02/23, 5:50pm

Spotify deal with Universal said weeks away

Spotify is near landing its most important and possibly last remaining deal before it can launch in the US, sources said Wednesday. The company is reportedly a "few weeks away" from a deal with Universal, the largest label and often considered the most important for the agreement. Its size would be enough that Reuters heard Spotify would be willing to forgo a deal with Warner.

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