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January 2018
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Consumer Frustration With OTT Experience Will Drive Important 2018 Changes, Ooyala Report Finds

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Rising Smartphone Penetration, Improved Connectivity, Convenience Contribute to Significantly Increased Mobile Viewing and Traditional TV Disruption. State of the Broadcast Industry 2018 Report Highlights: Mobile video consumption is an estimated 28 minutes a day, up 25% from 2016, per Zenith Media Live, linear OTT viewing will surpass traditional broadcast TV viewing by 2020, per Unisphere […]The post Consumer Frustration With OTT Experience Will Drive Important 2018 Changes, Ooyala Report Finds appeared first on Adotas.

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posted at: 12:02am on 04-Jan-2018
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Understanding the Benefits of Instagram's New Branded Content Tool

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Instagram is offering new tools to bring transparency and consistency to Branded Content on Instagram. They say “the tools consist of a tag to help creators disclose when a post is the result of a partnership and insights to help businesses access the performance of their branded content campaigns. Ultimately, these tools bring transparency around […]The post Understanding the Benefits of Instagram’s New Branded Content Tool appeared first on Adotas.

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Revealed: Vietnam's 10,000-Strong Internet Monitoring Force, Tasked With Stamping Out 'Wrongful Views'

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Over the years, Techdirt has published quite a few stories about Vietnam's moves to stifle dissent online. On Christmas Day, Colonel General Nguyen Trong Nghia, deputy chairman of the General Political Department of the People's Army of Vietnam, revealed that the country had secretly created a massive Internet monitoring unit called "Force 47":

Nghia said the special force tasked with combating wrongful information and anti-state propaganda is called the Force 47, named after Directive No. 47 that governs its foundation.The team currently has more than 10,000 members, who are "the core fighters" in cyberspace.The three-star general underlined that members of this team are "red and competent," implying that they have both technology expertise and good political ideals in addition to personality.
As Tuoi Tre News reports, Force 47 is tasked with fighting "wrongful views". Bloomberg points out some recent moves by the Vietnamese authorities to police the online world:
Facebook this year removed 159 accounts at Vietnam's behest, while YouTube took down 4,500 videos, or 90 percent of what the government requested, according to VietnamNet news, which cited Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan last week. The National Assembly is debating a cybersecurity bill that would require technology companies to store certain data on servers in the country.
The Wall Street Journal notes that heavy sentences have been imposed on people for using the Internet to spread some of those "wrongful views":
In recent months, the country has increased the penalties for anyone using Facebook as a platform to attack the government. In November, a young blogger was given a seven-year prison sentence for "spreading propaganda against the state," while a well-known environmentalist, Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, was handed a 10-year sentence on the same charges in June.
Vietnam is hardly alone in wanting to censor online content on a massive scale. As well as the obvious example of China, Germany, too, now requires Internet companies to delete "hate speech". In addition, the UK is threatening to impose tax penalties on companies that don't take down "extremist" material. In order to meet these global demands for rapid and even pre-emptive removal of material, the leading online companies are taking on thousands of people as in-house censors. Both Google and Facebook have promised to increase their "safety" teams to 20,000 people. Against that background, it's hard for the West to condemn Vietnam's latest moves without appearing hypocritical.Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+

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posted at: 12:02am on 04-Jan-2018
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Confused Judge Says Video Game Play Has No Copyright, Because The Work Is Not 'Fixed'

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Just last month we joked about how confused the creator of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, Brendan Greene, was when he claimed that there was no intellectual property for video games. That's completely wrong, and there are many, many cases to show that it's wrong. Yet... now there's a case that bizarrely, argues that video games don't get copyright (hat tip to Rick Sanders and Owen Barcala for flagging this one). The case is one that's been dragging through the courts for years, bouncing around, concerning publicity rights of former professional football players when used in EA games like Madden NFL.The latest issue involves EA asking for the latest iteration of the case to be dismissed based on another ruling concerning NCAA basketball players and their publicity rights. In that ruling from April of this year, the 9th Circuit ruled (among other things) that federal copyright preempted state-based publicity rights claims. I don't want to dig too deeply into what all of that means, but suffice it to say that under the 1976 Copyright Act, the law says that federal copyright law now trumps all state copyright or copyright-like laws, and you can't hide behind some state law when federal law should apply. Here, the court said that the state-based publicity rights claims were blocked because of that, as the only issue should be covered under federal copyright law, where they would fail.So, EA asked for this other case, filed by Michael Davis, to be dismissed, citing that ruling about preemption of publicity rights claims. But the district court judge, Richard Seeborg, has denied the motion, claiming that the ruling in that earlier case does not apply here. And he does so for... the most bizarre of reasons. Basically, he claims that large parts of video games don't get copyright... because they're interactive.

Here, game play in the Madden games is dynamic, interactive, variable, and in the hands of the consumer. Plaintiffs contend the avatars allegedly representing their likenesses even have performance characteristics representing plaintiffs' own capabilities in their time as active NFL players. While recordings of actual football games are subject to copyright notwithstanding the independent actions of players during the course of the games, such recordings satisfy the requirement of copyright that the work be fixed in a tangible medium of expression. See Dryer v. Nat'l Football League, 814 F.3d 938, 942 (8th Cir. 2016) (Although courts have recognized that the initial performance of a game is an 'athletic event' outside the subject matter of copyright . . . the Copyright Act specifically includes within its purview fixed recordings of such live performances.); 17 U.S.C. § 101. The Madden games, in contrast, allow game play that is not fixed in a tangible medium of expression, and part of plaintiffs' claims is that their identities are reflected in that game play.
So... while there's something compelling about this particular reasoning for those of us who believe copyright has been stretched way too far, I'm pretty sure this is simply... wrong. The term "fixed in a tangible medium" generally just means that the work is somehow "recorded" on some form of media. It's basically saying that ephemeral things do not get copyright, but something that is recorded on paper, film, tape or a digital hard drive or whatever is "fixed." And thus, I'm pretty sure that Judge Seeborg... is just wrong here.There is, potentially, a different argument that might be interesting if the works are created by artificial intelligence -- at which point we'd have to remember Naruto and the fact that non-humans don't get copyright. However, assuming that the actual artistic elements in the game were created by people working for EA, and are "fixed" within the game, it's difficult to see how the judge's ruling would hold up.The fact that the game is dynamic when playing doesn't change the fact that the elements of the game itself are fixed in a tangible medium. I wouldn't necessarily mind it if copyright did, in fact, determine that individual game play elements were not fixed, but I can't see how under the law today that's actually the case. I would imagine that EA will appeal this particular ruling, and lots of copyright holders may weigh in on problems with the ruling itself.

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