Jerry Rivers writes "The CRTC, Canada's communications regulator, has approved changes to the way cable companies bundle programming to allow the purchase of selected channels while dropping others they do not want. However, the customers won't necessarily be paying any less. 'The flipside is that the fewer channels that are subscribed to, the more expensive each will become, people familiar with the matter said, asking for anonymity because details of the decision are confidential. The decision is a small step toward an "à la carte" model long talked about by regulators — and longed for by consumers — but resisted by TV channel owners and distributors for fear of undermining the economics of cable television, which have come to rely on subscriber fees from those channels.'"
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Unless you've managed to not watch anything in the past three weeks, you're aware that Chris Nolan's final Batman movie is out. With Christian Bale as the low-talking caped crusader, The Dark Knight Rises is two hours and forty-five minutes of of fun. While it lacks a stand-out personal performance like Heath Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight, it is still a decent ending to this round of Batman movies. There are plenty of familiar faces, and a few new ones as well. Read below for my take on the movie, but be warned: there might be a few spoilers.
An anonymous reader writes "About 10 days after Viacom pulled 26 channels from DirecTV over a contract dispute, the two companies have finally come to an agreement that should have DirecTV fans in need of their MTV rejoicing. While precise details of the newly agreed upon contract weren't made public, Bloomberg is reporting that the new contract is for 7 years with Viacom set to receive more than $600 million a year from DirecTV. That represents a 20% payment increase from the previous contract and is slightly below the 30% increase, or $1 billion, Viacom was initially pushing for." The disturbing part of this dispute, to me, was how Viacom pulled its shows from the internet in addition to DirecTV. Advertising your side of the story is one thing, but going out of your way to directly frustrate viewers who are interested in your shows seems like bad business.
An anonymous reader writes "Last week, a Canadian Supreme Court decision attracted attention for reduced copyright fees for music and video. Michael Geist has a detailed analysis that concludes there are two bigger, long term effects. First, Canada has effectively now adopted fair use. Second, the Supreme Court has made technological neutrality a foundational principle of Canadian copyright. The technological neutrality principle could have an enormous long-term impact on Canadian copyright, posing a threat to some copyright collective tariff proposals and to the newly enacted digital lock rules."
zacharye writes "Oh, the irony. A musicians' rights group in the Netherlands was fined this week for stealing music from a client, using it without his permission and failing to pay royalties. Music royalty collection agency Buma/Stemra approached Dutch musician Melchior Rietveldt in 2006 and asked him to create a composition that would be used in an anti-piracy advertisement, which the group said would be shown exclusively at a local film festival. One year later, Rietveldt purchased a Harry Potter DVD only to find that his piece was being used on DVDs around the world without his permission..."
gollum123 writes "Peter Jackson wowed the crowd with 13 minutes of highly anticipated footage from the first of his two ultra-expensive Hobbit movies. But he also played it safe — very safe — by not so much as mentioning, much less demonstrating, the filmmaking wizardry at the heart of the project. That left big questions about the movie industry's future unanswered and added to a theme of this year's Comic-Con: Hollywood has come to fear this place. Mr. Jackson is shooting his two Hobbit movies, the first of which is to arrive in theaters in December, at an unusually fast 48 frames a second, twice the standard rate. But an estimated 6,500 fans did not have that experience when they gathered in Comic-Con's cavernous Hall H moments earlier to see the new footage. Still, Mr. Jackson, one of Hollywood's boldest directors, made the unexpectedly timid decision to present The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in a standard format here — it was not even in 3-D — because he feared an online outcry that could hurt box-office results."
An anonymous reader writes "How far would a Star Wars fan go to preserve a relic from the iconic film series? One devoted fan traveled to Tunisia to rescue Luke Skywalker's boyhood home, also known as The Lars Homestead, as seen in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. On a trip to Tunisia in 2010, Belgian traveler Mark Dermul came upon the modest dome-shaped hut that George Lucas built in the mid-1970s to serve as Luke Skywalker's home. The structure was falling apart when Dermul found it, so he hatched a scheme to restore it. After two years and a lot of cement and plaster, Luke's house is looking better than ever."
New submitter UtucXul points out that Richard Stallman has penned a lengthy response to NPR intern Emily White for her post on the organization's site about how she failed to pay for a significant amount of recorded music, acquiring it instead through Kazaa, friends, and CDs owned by the radio station at which she was employed. (We previously discussed musician David Lowery's response; quite different from RMS's, as you might expect.) Stallman wrote, "Copying and sharing recordings was not a mistake, let alone wrong, because sharing is good. It's good to share musical recordings with friends and family; it's good for a radio station to share recordings with the staff, and it's good when strangers share through peer-to-peer networks. The wrong is in the repressive laws that try to block or punish sharing. Sharing ought to be legalized; in the mean time, please do not act ashamed of having shared — that would validate those repressive laws that claim that it is wrong. You did make a mistake when you chose Kazaa as the method of sharing. Kazaa mistreated you (and all its users) by requiring you to run a non-free program on your computer. ... However, that was in the past. It's more important to consider what you're doing now, which includes other mistakes. You're not alone — many others make them too, and that adds up to a big problem for society. The root mistake is treating a marketing buzzword, 'the cloud,' as if it meant something concrete. That term refers to so many things (different ways of using the Internet) that it really has no meaning at all. Marketing uses that term to lead people's attention away from the important questions about any given use of the network, such as, 'What companies would I depend on if I did this, and how? What trouble could they cause me, if they wanted to shaft me, or simply thought that a change in policies would gain them more money?'"
CIStud writes "A U.S. District Court in Massachusetts has ruled that iPod, iPad and iPhone speakers docks do not infringe on a patent owned by Bose Corp. for digital audio conversion. The ruling in the case of Bose vs. small dock speaker makers SDI, DPI, Imation and others reportedly was a test case that would have set precedent for potential patent infringement by other manufacturers... and even Apple... according to the defendant's legal team. At issue: Is an iPhone, iPad or iPod a 'computer.' The judge says they aren't."
Comic-Con 2012 got underway yesterday, and some interesting bits of news have been filtering out. Digital comic sales boomed over the past year — something to be expected given the trend with ebooks and newspapers. But oddly, print comic sales are up as well, to the tune of 18%. At a Firefly panel, Joss Whedon spoke briefly about how the series would have ended if he could have done it on his own terms. "I don’t think I would have killed anybody," he said. TV shows are a strong theme this year, which much discussion around The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. All in all, about 80 television programs are represented at Comic-Con. The show is also highlighting the recent trend away from strict superhero stories. "Image Comics is indeed banking on 'superhero-ed out' readers, not only with Kirkman's The Walking Dead, (Kirkman has been called the 'unofficial mayor of Comic-Con') but with books like the spy-fi The Activity. The title's second issue, out next week, was co-plotted with actual Navy SEALs."
judgecorp writes "4G services could interfere with terrestrial TV in the UK, so the government plans to offer one free filter for every household affected by the issue. The analysis suggests that 2.3 million households could be affected, but many of those have cable or satellite TV, so the plan might only need a million filters (each household only gets one, even if they have many TVs)."
MrSeb writes "Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are busy working on a type of 3D display capable of presenting a 3D image without eye gear. What you've been presented with at your local cinema (with 3D glasses) or on your Nintendo 3DS console (with your naked eye) pales in comparison to what these guys and gals are trying to develop: a truly immersive 3D experience, not unlike a hologram, that changes perspective as you move around. The project is called High Rank 3D (HR3D). To begin with, HR3D involved a sandwich of two LCD displays, and advanced algorithms for generating top and bottom images that change with varying perspectives. With literally hundreds of perspectives needed to accommodate a moving viewer, maintaining a realistic 3D illusion would require a display with a 1,000Hz refresh rate. To get around this issue, the MIT team introduced a third LCD screen to the mix. This third layer brings the refresh rate requirement down to a much more manageable 360Hz — almost within range of commercially produced LCD panels."
An anonymous reader writes "Quick submission for all us Canadians: looks like the Supreme Court finally decided to rule on various copyright issues. No more fees to 'preview' a song. Another of these rule changes could save our schools a lot of money: no more fees required to photocopy material for students."
Reader Thom Stark (thomst) writes with a pointed review of this year's Americanized version of (awesome) Japanese TV show "Sasuke." "I've been a fan of the program the G4 channel calls "Ninja Warrior" since I first encountered it in mid-2005. For those who are unfamiliar with the show, it's a re-edited-for-American-TV version of a Japanese show called "Sasuke," with often-snarky English commentary and graphics overlaid on the Japanese original. "Ninja Warrior" is a fast-paced, wildly-entertaining program in which 100 contestants of varying skill levels pit themselves against a 4-stage obstacle course that grows ever more fiendishly difficult with each passing season. There've been 27 such seasons to date, and the most current incarnation has become so incredibly taxing that Batman himself would have trouble completing it. Now G4 has teamed up with its corporate parent, NBCUniversal, to bring the world's toughest obstacle course to America, and the resulting show, "American Ninja Warrior" turns out to be distinctly inferior to its Japanese progenitor. The final broadcast in a series that has run for six previous weekly installments appeared on July 9, with segments on both G4 and NBC, and I thought it was fitting that I mark the occasion with a critique of what I believe to be "American Ninja Warrior"'s fatal philosophical and production missteps, and contrast them with the original pitch-perfect product." (Read on below.)
bs0d3 writes "Aereo, a company that offers live broadcast TV via the internet to New York City residents, has won a preliminary injunction hearing. A federal judge has rejected a bid by major U.S. broadcasters to stop Aereo from rebroadcasting some of their programming over the Internet. District Judge Alison Nathan said that while the broadcasters have shown that they faced irreparable financial damage if the venture were allowed to continue, Aereo also showed it would face severe harm if the requested preliminary injunction were granted. The full injunction denial ruling can be found here."