redletterdave writes about more movies being made available on Youtube's rental service. From the article: "Google announced a new deal with Paramount Pictures on Tuesday, which will make more than 500 movie titles available for rental on YouTube and the new Google Play platform. The deal was made even though Google is still embroiled in a four-year-old legal battle over copyrights with Paramount's parent company, Viacom. The latest deal means Google has rental deals with five of the six major Hollywood studios, including Paramount, Warner Bros., Disney, Universal Pictures, and Sony Pictures. The lone exception is 20th Century Fox, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Google will only make these titles available for rent; the search giant has not yet made a decision to sell any movies it licenses, despite pressure from major Hollywood studios looking to compensate for poor DVD sales."
New submitter Hentes writes "France has one of the strictest anti-piracy laws. After 17 months of operation, Hadopi has released a report, claiming that illegal P2P downloads have been reduced significantly in the country: the studies they cite measured 43% and 66% decrease in copyright infringement. But that huge amount of 'lost revenue' doesn't seem to show up in the French recording industry, as the overall recorded music market has decreased by 3.9% in 2011. Even more interesting is that digital music sales have skyrocketed in France. Could it be that it's not piracy killing the traditional recording industry but digital distribution?"
An anonymous reader writes "Variety is reporting that Ashton Kutcher – who you likely recognize from That 70s Show, Punked, and Two and a Half Men – has been tapped to play Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in an indie film titled 'Jobs', based on a script from Matt Whiteley. The film will chronicle Steve Jobs from wayward hippie to co-founder of Apple, where he became one of the most revered creative entrepreneurs of our time."
New submitter reovirus1 writes "Mike Smith, the character Bubbles on the Canadian TV show Trailer Park Boys, is leading the Race for Space contest that will send one lucky reader into space. 'Throughout the series, Bubbles often talks about his love for space and his lifelong desire to become a spaceman someday, but his poor eyesight has always prevented him from even owning a driver's license. It's a fictional show obviously, but Bubble's desire to go to space on the show was actually born out of my love of space and rocketry. It has been a hobby of mine since I was 5 years old. If I win this chance to go to space, I intend to shoot a documentary of the entire process leading up to the flight, in hopes of inspiring a new generation of young people to become involved in space exploration,' he writes."
kodiaktau writes "An interesting article from the BBC News Magazine explores the reasons why most fantasy worlds use British as their primary accent. Citing specific examples from recent and upcoming shows and movies like Lord of The Rings, The Hobbit and Game of Thrones, the article concludes British accents are 'sufficiently exotic,' 'comprehensible' and have a 'splash of otherness.' It would be odd to think of a fantasy world having a New Jersey accent, or even a Mid-West accent, which tends to be the default for TV and movies in the U.S., but how do UK viewers feel about having British as a default? More specifically, what about the range of UK accents, like Scottish, Welsh, Cockney? The International Dialects of English Archive shows at least nine regional sounds, with dozens of sub-regional pronunciations in England alone. In the U.S., there have always been many regional accents that might be used in interesting ways. Filmmakers should consider looking at speech accents from other areas of the world to create more interesting dialects."
McGruber writes "The NY Times ('Cookies Set to Cleared, Captain!') is reporting that CBS is blocking fan-generated internet series 'Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II' from making an episode using an unproduced script from the original series. In a statement, CBS said, 'We fully appreciate and respect the passion and creativity of the "Star Trek" fan and creative communities. This is simply a case of protecting our copyrighted material and the situation has been amicably resolved.'" The original writer of the episode, sci-fi author Norman Spinrad, was enthusiastic about the production, and planned to direct it himself.
Fluffeh writes with a piece of good news on the privacy front: "Two rulings in related cases this week have dealt a serious blow to the plaintiffs and their dodgy legal strategy. Ordinarily, copyright law is handled by the federal courts, but Florida plaintiffs have begun using an obscure provision of state law called a 'pure bill of discovery' to attempt to force ISPs to reveal the identity of suspected file-sharers. The rulings, one on Monday and one on Wednesday, saw two different judges siding with the objecting ISPs. 'These back-to-back rulings against the plaintiffs suggest that they're likely to lose any time ISPs raise objections to fishing expeditions against their customers.'"
New submitter SchroedingersCat writes "New York educators banned references to 'dinosaurs,' 'birthdays,' 'Halloween' and dozens of other topics on city-issued tests. That is because they fear such topics 'could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students.' Dinosaurs, for example, call to mind evolution, which might upset fundamentalists; birthdays are not celebrated by Jehovah's Witnesses; and Halloween suggests paganism. Homes with swimming pools and home computers are also unmentionables — because of economic sensitivities. The city asks test companies to exclude 'creatures from outer space' as well — for unspecified reasons."
New submitter Volanin writes "The e-book versions of the Harry Potter series are being released through Pottermore, and J.K. Rowling has chosen to do a number of interesting things with them, including releasing them without DRM restrictions. 'One of the encouraging things about the Pottermore launch is that the books will be available on virtually every platform simultaneously, including the Sony Reader, the Nook, the Kindle and Google's e-book service. ... even Amazon has bowed to the power of the series and done what would previously have seemed unthinkable: it sends users who come to the titles on Amazon to Pottermore to finish the transaction.'"
tekgoblin writes something not quite worth rejoicing over. From the article: "Comcast Internet subscribers can rejoice. Comcast has recently announced that they will not be counting content streamed via their Comcast Xfinity App on the Xbox 360 against their bandwidth caps. Comcast claims that since the data is only traversing their internal Comcast network that it will not count towards your 250 GB limit a month." Comcast is claiming this does not violate net neutrality laws (and it very well may not); a number of folks are not very happy about it. I've always been perplexed by the large media interests of most U.S. last-mile providers.
Fluffeh writes "In a recent story that is beating around the nets, Kim Dotcom has fired back at studios with emails that make for some interesting reading: 'A Disney executive e-mailed Megaupload in 2008. He said he was interested in having Megaupload host Disney content, but said he would need Megaupload to tweak its terms of service to make it clear Disney retained ownership of files uploaded to the site. He sent Megaupload a proposed alternative to the standard Megaupload TOS. Fox emailed "Please let me know if you have some time to chat this week about how we can work together to better monetize your inventory," in an attempt to promote their newly launched ad network. And finally, this gem: a Warner Brothers executive e-mailed Megaupload seeking to expedite the process of uploading Warner content to Megaupload. "I would like to know if your site can take a Media RSS feed for our syndications," he wrote. "We would like to upload our content all at once instead of one video at a time."' Pot calling the kettle black anyone?" Torrentfreak is running the full interview with Kim Dotcom.
Presto Vivace writes "Neil Chenoweth, of the Australian Financial Review, reports that the BBC program Panorama is making new allegations against News Corp of serious misconduct. This time it involves the NDS division of News Corp, which makes conditional access cards for pay TV. It seems that NDS also ran a sabotage operation, hiring pirates to crack the cards of rival companies and posting the code on The House of Ill Compute (thoic.com), a web site hosted by NDS. 'ITV Digital collapsed in March 2002 with losses of more than £1 billion, overwhelmed by mass piracy, as well as technical restrictions and expensive sports contracts. Its collapse left Murdoch-controlled BSkyB the dominant pay TV provider in the UK.' Chenoweth reports that James Murdoch has been an advocate for tougher penalties for pirates, 'These are property rights, these are basic property rights,' he said. 'There is no difference from going into a store and stealing a packet of Pringles or a handbag, and stealing something online. Right?'"
Alfred Poor's website is called HDTV Almanac. That's where he talks about the latest HDTV industry news and changes. He also writes about HDTVs and monitors for a variety of industry publications and does some marketing consulting for manufacturers in the field. In this 17 minute video, Alfred tells us what features we should look for in our next TV buy and which ones aren't worth spending extra money on. He also says that for a variety of non-technical reasons, you might want to consider buying your next TV between now and June -- and says you should think about getting a 3D TV even if there aren't many 3D TV shows you want to watch right now.
bLanark writes "The BBC have a piece about illusionist Marco Tempest who uses technology to generate magical illusions. As he says in the interview unlike most magicians and illusionists he shares his techniques in an act that he calls 'open sorcery.' The techniques include using iPhone apps, and high-speed digital cameras. There is a growing band of people using and contributing to the field."