YouTube Fights Infringement With Advertising

YouTube, as we mentioned this morning, was sued yet again on Wednesday, this time by Italian television company Mediaset over copyright concerns. The lawsuit, filed in Rome, charges the video-sharing site with “illegal distribution and commercial use of audio and video files,” and asks for at least $779 million.

The Google-owned company’s response to requests for comment about the lawsuit seemed to come with a sigh: “There is no need for legal action and all the associated costs.” Meanwhile a YouTube spokesperson said in a phone conversation Wednesday that the site has had increasing success with its own method of fighting copyright infringement, called Video ID.

With Video ID, YouTube asks content owners to submit an index of everything they want to protect, and checks fresh uploads to make sure they don’t match. If they do, YouTube will either pull the clip or place advertising against it.

An important measure of success, said the spokesperson, was that content owners are now choosing in 90 percent of cases of identified infringing content to place ads against the video rather than take it down. (This stat was to some extent previously reported by the L.A. Times, but it wasn’t clearly described.) Further, some partners, like Lionsgate, are actually encouraging fans to upload versions of their content.

YouTube does not disclose a list of names of its partners, and to be sure, content owners who aren’t friendly to the site aren’t going to hand it a disk with all their precious movies and TV shows. But this is an interesting benchmark for this new cooperative way of fighting infringement, which seems to be becoming a standard as independents — like the startup we wrote about yesterday, Anvato — adopt it as well.

Judge Orders YouTube to Give User Data to Viacom

If you wanted to keep your obsession with hyperactive YouTube phenomeon “Fred” a secret, you’re in for some bad news. A federal judge yesterday ordered that records of every video watched on YouTube be handed over to Viacom as part of its ongoing $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against Google.

According to the ruling:

The motion to compel production of all data from the Logging database concerning each time a YouTube video has been viewed on the YouTube website or through embedding on a third-party website is granted.

In case you were wondering::

Defendants’ “Logging” database contains, for each instance a video is watched, the unique “login ID” of the user who watched it, the time when the user started to watch the video, the internet protocol address other devices connected to the internet use to identify the user’s computer (“IP address”), and the identifier for the video.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is up in arms over the ruling and has a breakdown of how this decision may actually violate federal law.

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T-Mobile Sues Starbucks Over Free Wifi

What do they say – one man’s meat is another man’s poison. Looks like that was for T-Mobile USA that has filed a lawsuit against Starbucks, which had recently switched over from T-Mobile to AT&T.

AT&T offering free WiFi at Starbucks locations is putting the hurt on T-Mobile’s WiFi business, prompted the lawsuit. (Hey Ma Bell, thanks for listening to our suggestion about free Wifi. ) At the time of the original WiFi announcement all three parties – Starbucks, T-Mobile and AT&T – made polite noises about getting along and impacting each other’s business.

Even though, only two markets (San Antonio, TX & Bakersfield, Calif.) have switched to AT&T, T-Mobile is chagrined that Starbucks & AT&T are offering a free WiFi promotion. ( Rest of the Starbucks’ stores still use the T-Mobile network. As a result the free offer breaches most of the agreements put in place between the three parties.

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Google Says Viacom “Threatens” Expression

In papers filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan late Friday, YouTube owner Google said Viacom’s $1 billion copyright lawsuit threatens the very way hundreds of millions of people exchange information over the Internet.

According to the Associated Press, Google said that YouTube “goes far beyond its legal obligations in assisting content owners to protect their works.” Google went on to say that Viacom’s seeking to hold carriers and hosting providers liable for online communications “threatens the way hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange information, news, entertainment and political and artistic expression.”

Google’s latest filing was in response to Viacom’s rewritten lawsuit filed last month. Viacom claims it has found 150,000 unauthorized clips of its content that have been viewed 1.5 billion times.

The two sides have upped the war of words lately. Earlier this month they traded barbs as Sumner Redstone singled out YouTube during a speech on piracy, and Google lawyers said they were ready to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

Tesla’s Other Lawsuit: Transmission Troubles

While Tesla Motors v. Fisker Automotive is a juicy story of alleged automotive espionage, we came across another lawsuit involving the Roadster maker as we were digging through the online records of the San Mateo Superior Court: Magna Powertrain Inc. USA v. Tesla Motors. And in this one Tesla is the defendant, not the plaintiff.

The suit, filed by Magna on Feb. 22 , accuses Tesla Motors of two counts of breach of contract for allegedly failing to pay Magna for transmission work. Magna was contracted in March 2007 to design a two-speed transmission for Tesla’s Roadster, then code-named “Dark Star.” Magna is seeking $5.6 million from Tesla, or about 56 new Roadsters.

This is just the latest twist in the saga of Tesla’s elusive transmission, which has caused major production delays and will require the company to retrofit the first vehicles later on with a new and simpler single-speed transmission. And Magna actually says in its suit that back September of 2006, when it started talking with Tesla, it originally suggested a one-speed transmission:

TESLA wants MPT to design, develop, test and produce a production-ready dual speed transmission for the Dark Star by September 2007. MPT informed TESLA that designing, developing, testing and producing a two speed transmission for the Dark Star by September 2007 would be very challenging and that TESLA should consider a single speed rather than dual speed transmission.

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Still good deals at the Lenovo outlet store

Reader Melvyn emailed me today that he just ordered a Lenovo x61 notebook PC from the Lenovo outlet store and his deal was so good I want to pass it on.  Melvyn’s x61 is loaded to the gills:

Core 2 Duo- 2.2 GHz
XP Pro
3 GB of RAM
1 GB Intel Turbo Memory
200 GB hard drive- 7200 rpm
Dual Layer DVD drive
High-capacity 8 cell battery

Original price- $3,331
Outlet price- $1,375.79

If you’re looking for a deal this sounds like the one and the x61 is a very nice notebook PC.

WSJ: Larger Monitors Make You More Productive

huge monitorAccording to the Wall Street Journal, workers who have larger monitors complete tasks much faster.  We’ve debated this in the past, and now researchers at the University of Utah tested how quickly computer users completed tasks and found that for users on 24-inch monitors vs. those on 18-inch monitors; those using the larger monitors completed their tasks 52% faster.

The study went on to say that someone using a larger monitor could save in upwards of 2.5 hours a day.  However, it should be pointed out that the sponsor of the study was NEC, a computer monitor company.

(photo credit: flickr user Abron)

iTunes Offers Front Row Ticket to Baseball’s Best Games

I’m a baseball fan, a Mac fan, and an iTunes fan. So it’s no surprise when all three of these glorious things intersected, I was one of the first in line to partake in their combined offering.

For the same $1.99 price iTunes charges you for a typical 30-minute or 60-minute television episode, Apple is offering some of the greatest games in baseball history, be they 2 1/2 hours or 3 1/2 hours long. While full-length feature films of the same duration can go for $9.99 or $12.99, less than 2 bucks can bring the game to your computer, or in concert with AppleTV, to your big screen.

Though a diehard A’s fan still suffering scars from the 1988 World Series loss to the Dodgers, I put down $1.99 to relive Kirk Gibson’s walk-off home run against Dennis Eckersley. I paid $1.99 to see the great Nolan Ryan pitch the last of his record 7 no-hitters. And I paid $1.99 to see the Curse of Babe Ruth extended one more year as Aaron Boone sent the Yankees to the World Series, ending the Red Sox season in gut-wrenching fashion.

See thumbnails from the games below. Click any of the three to enlarge.

itunes_mlb1_125itunes_mlb2_125itunes_mlb3_125’s Baseball’s Best offers 11 different classic games for download, dating all the way back to 1952’s World Series which saw the Yankees prevail over the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Prefer more recent games? also offers the American League Game of the Week and National League Game of the Week. Each game is the same $1.99, and you could subscribe to the entire season for $19.99.

With baseball offering more than a century’s worth of highlights and thrills, there’s no doubt this is just the tip of the iceberg, and iTunes has made it incredibly easy to take the ballgame home. You’re responsible for the popcorn, peanuts and Cracker Jacks, at additional charge.

MobileTracker’s new mobile phones round-up

With all the phones coming out every second day, I am delighted to point you to a special report compiled by my pal Jon Gales who runs, (and incidentally designed GigaOM). This is a one stop read on the very latest in cell phones – Motorola A630, Motorola MPx, Motorola MPx220, Motorola V220, Motorola V551, Motorola V710, NEC 535, Nokia 6620, Nokia 6230, Nokia 7610, Nokia N-Gage Treo 610, Sony Ericsson K700 / K700i, and Sidekick 2.