The original version of Aereo struck out at the Supreme Court, but the company still might be able to reinvent itself -- with some help from the Federal Communications Commission. The online video startup recently went to the FCC and asked to be considered a "multichannel video programming distributor." If Aereo succeeds, it will have a better chance of qualifying for a compulsory cable license -- which would enable it to resume service, providing it pays retransmission fees to the broadcast networks.
Yesterday, HBO shook up the cable industry by announcing a new standalone Internet service. Today, CBS rolled out its own new streaming service. The impact of those new services remains to be seen, but both could deal a blow to cable companies by encouraging people to cancel pricey cable video subscriptions.
Broadcasters today told U.S. District Court Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan that online video distributor Aereo should be prohibited from offering its real-time streams as well as its remote DVR service. They argue that they face "irreparable harm" if cord-cutting companies like Aereo can siphon viewers away from cable, which pays hefty retransmission fees. Not surprisingly, Aereo asked Nathan to allow the company to continue to offer both services.
Aereo and TV broadcasters are expected to face off in New York tomorrow morning, when a federal judge could decide whether to officially prohibit the online streaming company from operating.
Aereo is officially urging regulators to redefine the term "multichannel video program distributors" to include services such as its streaming video offering. It also asked a federal judge in New York to rule that it's entitled to a cable license. U.S. District Court Judge Alison Nathan is expected to hold a hearing on the matter on Wednesday morning.
In May, the European Union's Court of Justice ruled that individuals have the right to be "forgotten" by search engines. The ruling paved the way for people to ask Google (and other search companies) to purge links to embarrassing news articles or other information they want hidden from view. Google doesn't have to automatically honor those requests; instead, the company is expected to weigh people's rights to privacy against the public interest in the information.
Last year, CenturyLink complained to the National Advertising Division about ads by the rival Internet service provider Comcast. The NAD, a self-regulatory unit administered by the Better Business Bureau, responded by telling Comcast to revise ads touting its "triple-play" broadband-TV-phone service. But the battle between the two companies didn't end there. Comcast also filed its own complaint with the NAD about ads by CenturyLink. Now, the NAD is siding with Comcast, and directing CenturyLink to revise ads boasting that its service is significantly faster than Comcast's.
For the better part of the last decade, law enforcement authorities have waged a battle against companies that entice mobile users with offers for "free" products -- like ringtones or horoscopes -- obtain users' phone numbers, and then enroll them in paid subscription programs.
Earlier this year the U.S. government settled a lawsuit brought by six Web companies by allowing them to publish some aggregate information about the number of requests they receive for data about consumers. The tech companies -- Apple, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook and LinkedIn -- agreed that they wouldn't state the precise number of government requests. Instead, they agreed to disclose only broad ranges of numbers, within bands of 1,000. But not all of the big service companies agreed to those terms. Most notably, Twitter was absent from the list of tech companies to settle with the government. Today, the …
Yelp recently mounted an anti-astroturfing initiative by suing the owner of AdBlaze, a company that allegedly sold fake reviews to businesses looking to boost their reputations. Last week, Yelp won its case -- at least technically. U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick in the Northern District of California ruled on Wednesday that AdBlaze's owner, Florida resident Timothy Catron, infringed Yelp's trademark. Orrick entered an injunction prohibiting him from using Yelp's name in ads, or incorporating it in Web site names, in the future.