According to a recent survey conducted by TechBargains.com (as reported by CED Magazine), 33 percent of cord cutters would not return to cable, even if the cost was drastically reduced. Cord cutters are consumers who have ditched traditional cable television viewing in favor of using online video services such as Netflix and Hulu.
Taking a break from offering DRM-free pay-what-you-want indie games, the folks behind the Humble Indie Bundle are trying out a new medium - music. Today they announced the Humble Music Bundle, offering six digital albums from the likes of Cristopher Tin, They Might Be Giants, Jonathan Coulton, MC Frontalot, and Hitoshi Sakimoto (who created the music for Valkyria Chronicles).
Families of victims and survivors of the deadly shooting at the Dark Knight Rises opening movie who might want to sue the film studio Warner Bros or other companies such as AMC theaters, but experts say that history shows these lawsuits don't tend to get very far because it's tough to prove a liability. The reason that such lawsuits usually fall flat is because companies are rarely held liable for "intentional crimes of non-employees" and the ruling in Brown v.
A case that was ultimately kicked into high gear over a licensing inquiry by THQ has put one songwriter on the warpath against World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), Michael Seitz (aka Michael 'P.S.' Hayes from the Fabulous Freebirds), and others. According to a lawsuit filed by songwriter James D. Papa the defendants in the case redirected royalty payments to several wrestling related songs he either wrote or co-wrote by securing the rights to music unlawfully.
Steven Davis dropped us a note informing us of a trailer that, he claims, he made for "some Hollywood producers" who asked him to make a movie trailer mock-up of Namco Bandai's classic arcade game Dig Dug. He calls the film "a fan made trailer" and lists all the materials he used to piece it together. The movie borrows scenes from such films as The Core, Tekken, Reign of Fire, 9, Monsters Vs.
A Superior Court judge ruled that No Doubt's lawsuit against Activision and its game Band Hero can move forward. Activision lawyers had asked the court to dismiss the case, but Superior Court Judge Ramona See denied the motion. No Doubt appeared in the game Band Hero as playable characters, but the group sued Activision in November 2009 because they claimed that they only gave permission for their likenesses to be used when playing their own songs.
Adriasang reports that Square Enix has launched a free streaming music service that you can access with PC and Android devices. Though the site is intended for those who reside in Japan, you can get at it directly from your PC by visiting the streaming music website. Most of the site is in Japanese but there is a small bit of English as well - enough for just about anyone to figure out how to navigate around the site.
London based dub-step duo Nero have launched a "Live Rig" on their official website, which gives fans a chance to listen to their music while playing an 8-bit game aptly titled "NERO." The game, an 8-bit homage to Final Fight or Streets of Rage, lets players beat up various street thugs while listening to one of the groups many tunes.
Here's the intro text from the game:
Video Games Live has typically been a "big city" event that fine folks in smaller cities and towns rarely ever get to experience. But the organizers of the video game music event want to change that by going "off the grid" to bring the show to some smaller venues.
A Manhattan judge has cleared the way for a video game maker to continue a $100 million lawsuit against singer Beyonce.
The suit, originally filed in April, had been on hold pending whether the case should be thrown out, but without explanation, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Charles Ramos ruled the case for breach of contract by Gate Five LLC could move forward.
The New York Times Media Decoder blog has an interesting story about Michael O’Leary the senior executive vice president for global policy and external affairs of the Motion Picture Association of America. While the story is about toning down SOPA to address "legitimate concerns," the real story is something that opponents knew all along: the MPAA and friends are basically the authors of the bill.
Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) and Sony Network Entertainment International announced that they will "fully restore" all Qriocity by day's end on June 9 in "all serviced territories, excluding Japan." That means that PlayStation Network and Qriocity services which were shut down on April 20 due to a massive security breach are available and working as they were prior to the incident.
SCE says that Video On Demand and Music Unlimited services powered by Qriocity are now "fully functional" on all compatible devices. PlayStation Network has been up for a few weeks in most territories, and last week SCE relaunched the PlayStation Store and gave users access to free games as a "thank you" for their patience.
An announcement related to the restoration of the remaining services on Qriocity in Japan will be made at a later date, said SCE.
The Associated Press is reporting that Tennessee lawmakers have passed a bill that makes it a crime to login into to another person's account to listen to songs or movies from services such as Netflix and Rhapsody. The law doesn't make a distinction between logging in with or without the account holder's permission either.
The bill only needs the governor's signature to become law. The AP reports that Gov. Bill Haslam is expected to sign the bill. As you can probably guess, the law was heavily pushed by the music industry in the state, looking for a new way to fight against illegal music sharing.
While the bill was supposedly meant to target hackers and those that sell passwords of such services online, the bill's sponsor admits that it could be used to target those who use a friend's or relative's subscription.
Lady Gaga and Zynga have inked a deal to transform the popular Facebook game FarmVille with various Gaga-isms. The deal is meant to promote the launch of Lady Gaga's latest album "Born this Way." Launching May 17, the promotion gives players the opportunity to unlock and listen to "little monsters" by playing GagaVille, a neighboring farm in FarmVille filled with unicorns, crystals and sheep on motorcycles. The full album also comes bundled as a free download with the purchase of a special Zynga $25 game card, available exclusively at Best Buy.
"I want to celebrate and share ‘Born This Way’ with my little monsters in a special way that’s never been done before," said Lady Gaga. "Zynga has created a magical place in FarmVille where my fans can come play, and be the first to listen to the album."
While the organizers of the Grammys might have eliminated well over 30 categories to streamline its awards this year, one category that remains is video games. Speaking to IndustryGamers, Bill Freimuth of The Recording Academy said that this is a first step in getting video games their own special category.
"I think this could be viewed as a first step in the direction of video games getting their own category," said Bill Freimuth of The Recording Academy to IndustryGamers. "Many people from the game community have been asking us to create a special category for games over the years, but the main reason we haven't is because we have received very few entries from game publishers."
Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka is auctioning off the guitar he used to write all the music for the game on in a bid to raise money for Play for Japan. According to eBay auction information, "the soul of Silent Hill" resides in the guitar, and there is a good chance that the "guitar is haunted." As silly as that sounds, the guitar is certainly an item worth owning because it is a piece of gaming history.
The complete lot consists of a Yamaha APX-15FM acoustic electric guitar, a Line 6 FB4, and a Line 6 POD. Yamaoka supposedly bought the guitar right before he started working on the first Silent Hill game and has used it for every game in the series since then. He also supposedly used it in a live performance of the Silent Hill music at the Video Games Live concerts.
Red Dead Redemption was the big winner at the Game Audio Network Guild (GANG) Awards at GDC in San Francisco last week, scooping up four awards in various categories including audio of the year, music of the year, best interactive score, and best dialogue. The game was nominated in ten different categories. The game also managed to sweep the GDC Awards last week.
Battlefield Bad Company 2 won Sound Design Of The Year and Best Use Of Multi-Channel Surround, while Bizarre Creations' last game, James Bond 007: Blood Stone, won Best Original Instrumental and Best Original Vocal.
A full list of all this year's winners are below:
The Los Angeles Times reports that Activision has lost its bid to get a lawsuit filed by ska-rockers No Doubt thrown out. A three-judge panel rejected the company's motion to throw out the 2009 lawsuit that alleged breach of contract.
The group contends that the breach occurred when Activision allowed players of Band Hero to use band members' avatars to "perform songs they did not write." The band said in its lawsuit that this "transformed No Doubt band members into a virtual karaoke circus act."
In its appeal of the suit, Activision said that it was simply a matter of "creative expression." The three-judge panel apparently disagreed.
No Doubt can now proceed with its lawsuit.
You can't make this kind of stuff up.. George "Geohot" Hotz has apparently created a rap about Sony trying to sue him for jailbreaking the PS3.
The sometimes explicit rap video appeared on his YouTube account explaining the lawsuit and challenging Sony (though I think that's all bluster for the sake of the rap, son).
Some of the lyrics are NSFW, but you can find them below, slightly edited for the sake of work and school safety :
You are probably aware of the fact that Activision said it plans to discontinue the Guitar Hero series of music games (and the latest True Crime game), and that it plans to cut 500 employees from its workforce as a result. The company also plans to close at least one studio, but won't publicly say which one is shutting down..
However, what you may not have known is that DLC for games such as DJ Hero and Guitar Hero will soon end as well.
According to a ShackNews report - citing an update to the "Guitar Hero Franchise Update FAQ" - the future of music game DLC is grim. In answer to the question "Are you still going to make new DLC for Guitar/DJ Hero?," the FAQ reads:
While details are paper thin at the moment, multiple media outlets (thanks ShackNews) are reporting that Harmonix has laid off 12 - 15 percent of its 250 strong staff. The company says that the downsizing is meant to bring the Rock Band maker in line with its current development plans.
Apparently those development plans don't involve a decent share of its full-time employees. The company is rumored to be working on a 3DS game, but other games being developed at the studio are unknown at this time.
Sources close to the company claim that these layoffs will not affect future projects or current downloadable content plans for Rock Band 3 or Dance Central.
This is troubling news, but not completely unexpected. Earlier this year the company regained its independence after being sold to a holding company for a mere $50.
More on this story as it becomes available.
Motley Crue co-founder and bassist Nikki Sixx is playing a not-so-secret Santa to children in North Carolina being treated for cancer. On December 10 a 45-year old man robbed the hospice of its console systems and games. When Sixx heard about it he decided that he needed to find a way to help. A radio host now, Sixx reached out to Sony, EA, Disney, Nintendo, and Microsoft to help the children. He also talked about it on his radio program.
Showing that they have souls, all of the companies donated games for the children and replacement consoles. While this might seem like a small thing to you or I, it's a big deal to children who need a distraction when going through the agonies of cancer treatment and recovery.
On a related note, Providence Division Police Department have captured the man that stole the items. The 45-year-old Charles Hinton was taken into custody for the crime on December 18th.
On the heels of a lawsuit by ex-Harmonix shareholders against Viacom, the media giant has unloaded the company on Harmonix-SBE Holdings LLC, an affiliate of investment firm Columbus Nova, LLC. The company had said in November that it planned to sell Harmonix. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed at press time.
Obviously, Harmonix-SBE Holdings LLC is a holding company of some sort, but details on who has an interest in the company besides the investment firm is unknown at this point. Some have reported that Harmonix holds the controlling interest, but that has not been confirmed beyond a vague statement below. A post by Harmonix's John Drake on Rockband.com would lead one to believe that the company has a controlling interest (emphasis ours, not theirs, in the statement below):
Norwegian author Anne B. Ragde is a staunch advocate of intellectual property rights. As an author, that stance is not very surprising, considering that she makes her living off people paying for the things she writes. She has made her share of strong statements about the subject of piracy too, as highlighted in this excellent story from The Escapist:
"Piracy scares the hell out of me. I do not know what to say. I lose sleep at night over it," she said in an interview with the Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv. "I have figured out that I've lost half a million kroner ($72,500) on piracy of my books, maybe more."
Trade groups including the Recording Industry Association of America, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the Motion Picture Association of America say that currently copyright law gives too many excuses to service providers to do nothing about copyright protection. The statement is part of a response to a Notice of Information on copyright policy issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce. A Notice of Information is a request for information from interested parties and anyone else that wants to make comments about a particular issue. That request garnered responses from nine trade groups.
Indie musician Dan Bull isn’t afraid to take on politicians, fellow musicians or difficult subjects (such as file sharing and copyright). His latest music video, set the to the strains of Jay-Z’s Death of Auto-Tune, is entitled Death of ACTA, referring, of course, to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.
Full lyrics to the song, featuring lines such as “I'm just a citizen that's teaching you a lesson,
for restricting my freedom of expression, Yes, and deep packet inspection? squeeze that up your rectum, If your postman did that to you you'd be having him sectioned,” can be viewed on TechDirt.