An anonymous reader writes "Legendary sci-fi writer Marc Zicree (Star Trek, Babylon 5, Sliders) and special effects wizard Doug Drexler (Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica) are behind the fastest funded film project on Kickstarter. They're using crowd-funding website kickstarter to directly communicate with and enlist the support of fans for their latest project Space Command. Maybe with direct communication, sci-fi fans can rest easy and not have to worry about their favorite shows being cancelled like FireFly."
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joshgnosis writes "In the wake of an Australian Federal Court ruling last month that free-to-air TV recording app Optus TV Now was infringing on the copyright of some of the country's biggest sports broadcasts, two other services — Beem and MyTVR have also been forced to suspend their services. Beem lashed out at the ruling, telling customers that their rights had been 'diminished' by the judgment and rights owners were 'scared' of cloud-based TV recording services in the same way they once were of VCRs."
therealobsideus writes "Dish recently announced Auto Hop, giving its customers with the Hopper DVR the ability to 'hop' past commercial break on recordings. In response, Fox has filed suit against Dish in U.S. District Court, seeking to block the technology." The L.A. Times has coverage, too. Fox claims that giving viewers the ability to skip commercials on recorded television shows demonstrates the "clear goal of violating copyrights and destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem."
frank_adrian314159 writes "David Lowery, musician (Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven), producer (Sparklehorse, Counting Crows), recording engineer (Archers of Loaf, Lamb of God), and geek (programmer, packet radio operator, ex-CBOT quant) talks about the economics of the music business and how the 'old boss' — the record labels — have been replaced by the new boss — file downloading services, song streaming, and commercial online music stores. His take? Although the old boss was often unfair to artists, artists are making even less money under the new boss. Backed with fairly persuasive data, he shows that, under the new distribution model, artists — even small independent ones — are exposed to more risk while making less money. In addition, the old boss was investing in the creation of new music, while the new boss doesn't. This article is lengthy, but worth the attention of anyone interested in the future of music or music distribution."
Bob the Super Hamste writes "The BBC has an opinion piece from science fiction writer Elizabeth Moon who believes that everyone should be chipped or barcoded at birth. Her reasoning is that it would prevent identification mistakes and even allow soldiers to identify combatants from non-combatants. Her comments came as part of a discussion on future wars hosted by the BBC World Service."
derekmead writes "Last week at Camp David, President Obama met up with fellow NATO leaders to discuss the road ahead in Afghanistan. Although no one there used the language of defeat, the implicit message was clear: the war has gone nowhere in the past few years and it's time to start packing up. Meanwhile, what raked in $25.5 million at the box office? Battleship. And who provided director Peter Berg with the war technology that beats the aliens? The U.S. military. He's not the only one: the past few years have seen an explosion of high-profile cooperation between the armed forces and the movie industry. If the most powerful armed force in history isn't winning in reality, it certainly is on the big screen. And like so many problematic aspects of late capitalism, the military-Hollywood complex has a grimly understandable logic."
An anonymous reader writes "Yes, kids, you used to have to walk across the room to change the TV channel. That changed with the introduction of the 'Flash-Matic,' a revolutionary device that was 'Absolutely harmless to humans!' and could 'even shut off annoying commercials while the picture remains on the screen.' Eugene Polley, inventor of the now ubiquitous TV remote-control died Sunday of natural causes at age 96. In 1996 Polley received an Emmy for his invention, but during his 47-year career, he was awarded numerous patents and worked on projects ranging from advances in radar to push-button car radios."
quantr writes "The Supreme Court has declined to hear Joel Tenenbaum's appeal. A jury in 2009 ordered Tenenbaum, of Providence, R.I., to pay $675,000 for illegally downloading and sharing 30 songs. A federal judge called the penalty constitutionally excessive, but the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated it at the request of the Recording Industry Association of America. Tenenbaum's attorney, Harvard law professor Charles Nesson, said he's disappointed the high court won't hear the case. But he said the 1st Circuit instructed a judge to consider reducing the award without deciding any constitutional challenge. Nesson said 'Tenenbaum is just entering the job market and can't pay the penalty.'"
TheGift73 writes "In a few hours a new episode of Game of Thrones will appear on BitTorrent, and a few days later between 3 and 4 million people will download this unofficial release. Statistics gathered by TorrentFreak reveal that more people are downloading the show compared to last year, when it came in as the second most downloaded TV-show of 2011. The number of weekly downloads worldwide is about equal to the estimated viewers on HBO in the U.S., but why? One of the prime reasons for the popularity among pirates is the international delay in airing. In Australia, for example, fans of the show have to wait a week before they can see the latest episode. So it's hardly a surprise that some people are turning to BitTorrent instead. And indeed, if we look at the top countries where Game of Thrones is downloaded, Australia comes out on top with 10.1% of all downloads (based on one episode). But delays are just part of the problem. The fact that the show is only available to those who pay for an HBO subscription doesn't help either."
theodp writes "Q. What do you get when you surround the image of Men in Black star Will Smith trying on sunglasses with a pitch for 'MIB Bill Smith Dark Shades'? A. U.S. Patent No. 8,180,688. 'Many people consume broadcast media such as television shows and movies for many hours a week,' Amazon explained to the USPTO in its patent application for a Computer-Readable Medium, System, and Method for Item Recommendations Based on Media Consumption. 'The consumed broadcast media may depict a variety of items during the course of the transmission, such as clothing, books, movies, accessories, electronics, and/or any other type of item.' So, does Amazon's spin on As Seen on TV advertising deserve a patent?"
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Joel Tenenbaum has filed a reply brief in support of his petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court, in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, trying to get the Court to take on the thorny issue of copyright statutory damages in the age of mp3 files and micropayments."
gollum123 writes "As with past technological threats, network executives are closing ranks against a Dish Network device that undermines the broadcast business model. The disruptive technology at hand is an ad-eraser, embedded in new digital video recorders sold by Charles W. Ergen's Dish Network, one of the nation's top distributors of TV programming. Turn it on, and all the ads recorded on most prime-time network shows are automatically skipped, no channel-flipping or fast-forwarding necessary. Some reviewers have already called the feature, called the Auto Hop, a dream come true for consumers. But for broadcasters and advertisers, it is an attack on an entrenched television business model, and it must be strangled, lest it spread elsewhere."
Fluffeh writes "In Australia, we have the right to record TV and play it back at a later date; we also have the right to transcode from one format to another, so anyone with a media server can legally back up their entire DVD collection and watch it without all those annoying warnings and unskippable content — as long as we don't break encryption (please stop laughing!). Optus, Australia's second largest Telco, has been raising ire though with the new TV Now service they are offering and Big Media is having a hissy fit. The service does the recording on behalf of the customer. Seems like a no-brainer right? Let the customer do what they are allowed to legally do at home, but charge them for it. Everybody wins! Not according to Sports Broadcasters, who made this statement when Optus said they would appeal their recent loss in an Australian Court to the highest court in the land: 'They are a disgusting organization who is acting reprehensibly again and now putting more uncertainty into sports and broadcast rights going forward I'm really disappointed and disgusted in the comments of their CEO overnight.' Is this yet another case of Big Media clutching at an outdated business model, or should consumers be content with just doing their own work?"
An anonymous reader writes "Apple may soon begin production of a full-blown HDTV, dubbed iTV by Apple watchers, according to the Terry Gou, CEO of Apple's main hardware supplier Foxconn, in a brief interview with the newspaper China Daily. The newspaper reports that the device will feature 'aluminum construction, Siri, and FaceTime video calling' and will be manufactured by a 50-50 joint venture between Foxconn and the Japanese manufacturer Sharp; other details, including the schedule, were notably absent. Apple's spokesperson has declined comment. So it's not clear how solid this 'scoop' is."
Sasayaki writes "Hugh Howey's Wool, the self-published sci-fi story that's made him the best selling Indie sci-fi author of 2012 and currently the best selling sci-fi author on Amazon.com, has found its way into the hands of Ridley Scott (director of Alien, Prometheus and others)... who loved it. Rumor is the Hollywood movie will be coming to cinemas in 2013 or 2014. With Fifty Shades of Grey and now Wool getting the attention of Hollywood, it's clear the self-publishing revolution is here to stay."