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Category — New Business Models

Netflix Sues Blockbuster to Shut Online Service

Categories: CasesNew Business ModelsPatents

- Text of Netflix’s Complaint (including patents)
- Netflix’s New Patent 7,024,381 (’381′) (April 4, 2006)
- Netflix’s Patent 6,584,450 (’450′) (June 24, 2003)
On the heals of being granted its new “Approach for Renting Items to Customers” business model patent ’381, Netflix has sued rival Blockbuster for patent infringement, seeking to shut down Blockbuster’s 18-month-old online rental service and award Netflix damages. The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, alleges that Blockbuster infringed Netflix’s ’381 patent by “copying Netflix’s patented business method, including but not limited to copying Netflix’s dynamic queue; copying Netflix’s method of sending DVDs to subscribers based on ranked order of titles in their queue; and copying Netflix’s method of allowing subscribers to update and reorder their queue”. Netflix alleges that Blockbuster knew of the pending patent application, but “willfully and deliberately” launched an infringing service anyway.

The ’381 patent is a continuation of, and claims benefits of, the Netflix’s earlier patent ’450. The abstracts for each of the (i) new ‘Approach for Renting Items to Customers” patent ’381′ and (ii) ‘Method and Apparatus for Renting Items’ patent ’450, granted earlier on June 24, 2003; are the same, and both read as follows:

According to a computer-implemented approach for renting items to customers, customers specify what items to rent using item selection criteria separate from deciding when to receive the specified items. According to the approach, customers provide item selection criteria to a provider provides the items indicated by the item selection criteria to customer over a delivery channel. The provider may be either centralized or distributed depending upon the requirements of a particular application. A “Max Out” approach allows up to a specified number of items to be rented simultaneously to customers. A “Max Turns” approach allows up to a specified number of item exchanges to occur during a specified period of time. The “Max Out” and “Max Turns” approaches may be used together or separately with a variety of subscription methodologies.

And, FYI, here is the abstract of Netflix’s earlier “Mailing and Response Envelope” patent no. 6,966,484 granted on November 22, 2005:

A mailing and response envelope for conveying an item from a sender to a recipient and back is disclosed. The envelope comprises a base panel, a sender address panel, and a recipient address panel. The sender address panel is affixed to the base panel by an adhesive region. The sender address panel and adhesive region define a pocket sized to accept an item. The adhesive region extends laterally on the base panel in an amount selected to ensure that a postal cancellation is not applied to an area overlying the item. The recipient address panel is joined to the base panel by a detachable joint. In this configuration, a fragile item may be conveyed from the sender to the recipient and from the recipient back to the sender without damage to the item.

Sources: CNet | ars technica | MSNBC | Reuters | CNN | Red Herring | Hollywood Reporter | CNN Money | Chron | USA Today | San Jose Mercury News | SF Engadget | SF Examiner | SF Gate | Business Week | Blockbuster Press Release

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Russia-based AllofMP3 Launches DRM-free allTunes

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersDRM-Free ServicesNew Business ModelsPiracy

Russian-based AllofMP3.com has released a beta of its latest desktop music library and download tool allTunes. Although the name is an obvious play on iTunes, those familiar with AllofMP3 will know that they are infamous for extremely cheap, high quality and quasi-legal, DRM-free music downloads in MP3 format on the web.

Sources: Tech Crunch | ars technica | All About Symbian

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French Law Could Open Up iTunes to Any Device

Categories: DRM AnalysisDRM as Market LockInternational Legal ReformiVOD/iTVNew Business ModelsPolicy Analysis

A law being proposed in France would force companies like Apple to open up content downloaded from, say, the iTunes Music Store to be used on non-Apple devices. If they don’t comply, customers would be allowed to break the DRM.

Sources: PC Magazine | engadget | Yahoo! News | Inquirer | Reuters | Boston Globe | ars technica | Globe & Mail | MobileMag | Playfuls | Silicon.com | Business Week | Red Herring | PC Pro

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Feds Query Labels About Online Music Prices

Categories: AntitrustInvestigationsNew Business Models

The U.S. Justice Department said Thursday it has launched an inquiry into possible price fixing in the burgeoning online music industry.
Sources: MSNBC | BBC | L.A. Times | Forbes | CNet | Reuters | ZDNet | CNN | MacWorld | ABC News | China Post | New York Times | Engadget | Red Herring

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Yahoo! Exec Says Labels Should Sell Music Without DRM

Categories: DRM AnalysisNew Business Models

Yahoo Music chief Dave Goldberg raised eyebrows Thursday at the Music 2.0 conference in Los Angeles with a proposal rarely heard from executives at large digital music services: Record labels should try selling music online without copy protection.

[Update: February 13, 2007] Techcrunch and Valleywag have confirmed that as of February 13, 2007 Dave Goldberg, and Bob Roback have resigned from Yahoo! Music.

Sources: CNet | PC Pro | webpronews | Michael Geist | eHomeUpgrade | MP3.com | ars technica | technewsworld | CD Freaks

Dale's Comment: Here Here!

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Mark Cuban Response to Simultaneous Theatrical, DVD, Broadcast Film Release Criticism

Categories: BigMedia v NewTechNew Business Models

Going to a restaurant. Going to a sporting event. Going shopping. Cabin Fever is alive and well. Wanting to get away from your parents, your kids, your job, your apartment, your house, your problems will never, ever go out of style. For the next thousand years the question will be asked. What do you want to do tonight ? For the next thousand years, people will want to get the heck out of the house. The question is where to and why.

Source: Mark Cuban’s Blog

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First Simultaneous Theatrical, DVD, Broadcast Film Release … a New Era Begins ?

Categories: BigMedia v NewTechMilestonesNew Business Models

The movie is Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh's "Bubble." But the persistent buzz around its release has less to do with the film's artistic merits than with the fact that it will be broadcast on the high-definition network HDNet the night of its full theatrical release, Jan. 27, and also made available on DVD just four days later.

Sources: CNet | RealTechNews | Spokesman Reveiw | USA Today | ars technica | The Ledger

Note: This is not unprecedented. Mark Cuban-produced "Good Night and Good Luck" was also released on Cuban's HDNet simultaneously with it theatrical release.

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Elliot Spitzer to Investigate Online Music Price Fixing

Categories: AntitrustInvestigationsNew Business Models

New York’s attorney general is investigating whether the four record companies that dominate the industry have violated antitrust laws in the pricing of songs sold online, according to people involved in the inquiry.

Sources: CNET | CNN | L.A. Times | MSN Money | MSNBC | Chicago Tribune | BBC | Techtree

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Cable’s à la Carte About-face

Categories: Big Media Makes ProgressMilestonesNew Business Models

The cable industry’s tough stance against à la carte pricing is crumbling rapidly as more operators say they will support a version of à la carte pricing for families concerned about their children’s access to adult programming.

Red Herring  |  Red Herring (Related Nov. 30 Article)  |  CNet  |  ZDNet  |  Salon.com  |  Business Week  |  Washington Post  |  Reuters  |  Waco Tribune Herold

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Canadian XM & Sirius Satellite Radio Receivers Won’t be Locked Down as earlier Reported

Categories: Big Media Makes ProgressBigMedia v NewTechNew Business ModelsRegion CodingSatellite Radio

Contrary to earlier reports XM & Sirius digital satellite receivers bought in the U.S. will not be locked down in Canada.

Digital Home Canada

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The New Music Download Battle

Categories: AgreementsNew Business Models

After finally discovering that money (lots of it) can be made from music downloads, the RIAA and some of its members are rethinking the entire concept, and the iTunes deal in particular. At least a few RIAA members think that Apple is double-dipping, because it makes most of its money selling the iPod and, well, that’s not fair! So the music companies are rethinking—uh, complaining about—the whole downloading model.
Source: John C. Dvorak

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Would you Pay 5 Cents for a Song?

Categories: Big Media v InternetNew Business ModelsPolicy Analysis

A McGill academic and former Clash producer, Sandy Pearlman, proposes a 5 cent per downloadable song solution.

Sources: Blogcritics.org + Globe & Mail Article | Irish Eyes | Londonist | Zero Paid | Mac Observer

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No-Guilt Downloads: Free Books, Music, and Movies

Categories: Artists Against DRMNew Business Models

A few brave musicians similarly post free copies of their albums online and allow people to record and distribute their concerts for free. In most cases, the creators retain copyright to the books or recordings, but they permit fans to make copies for their own use. Many other works–books, music, and even films–are in the public domain. This means that you can download them, upload them, package and sell them–whatever. They’re free, period.
Source: PCWorld

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FCC ignores MPAA, NFL; OK’s new TiVoGuard

Categories: BigMedia v NewTechBroadcast FlagDigital TVFCCNew Business Models

In a 5-0 vote, the commission said TiVoGuard and the other copyright control technologies approved Wednesday adhere to the “broadcast flag” copyright protection regulations the FCC approved last year.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

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