Ex Modern Warfare devs sue Activision for $500 million

Nearly 40 former employees of Infinity Ward, the development team behind the mega-successful Modern Warfare franchise, have brought a $500 million lawsuit against publishing house Activision. The employees are claiming for half a billion dollars in unpaid royalties and bonuses,…

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Gerald LynchEx Modern Warfare devs sue Activision for $500 million

Last.fm wades into YouTube music video row

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In our discussion yesterday about the barney that’s erupted between YouTube and the Performing Rights Society(which collects cash for songwriters), I mentioned Pandora’s exit from the UK market due to hefty PRS fees.

Well, now Last.fm has weighed into the debate with its own take on things. Founder Martin Stiksel says that both sides need to find a resolution – and quick – before less-than-legal alternatives take hold. Stiksel wants cheaper and “less complicated” licenses as a result:

“It is a fundamental problem that we have been facing in that online music licensing is getting more complicated and more expensive. We pay each time one users listens to a song or watches a clip and, while that is more accurate because it makes sure the more popular songs get paid more, it is also very expensive. Terrestial radio pays a fixed minimum and that works out a lot cheaper – we have to find commercially workable rates otherwise illegal services will win and take over.”

Last.fm currently relies heavily on YouTube for its video content, so it has a vested interest in keeping the service going. The service has Last.tv in the works for the future, though, as a way of serving personalized music television to people. That could be interesting when it happens.

PRS and Google are due to meet over the next few days to see if they can find a resolution to the crisis.

Last.fm (via BBC)

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Duncan GeereLast.fm wades into YouTube music video row

Slicethepie.com updates website, still awesome

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Quick recap for those of you not familiar with Slicethepie: it’s a site where you can invest in bands. Artists upload tracks, reviewers get paid to review them, and the highest-rated artists go through to a ‘showcase’ where anyone can ‘invest’ in the band.

When the investment reaches a certain level, the band go to a studio and make an album. In return for investing in an artist, you get free tracks, as well as a share of their album’s commercial success. It’s a simple concept, and a great alternative to the traditional ‘try and get signed’ approach for bands.

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Duncan GeereSlicethepie.com updates website, still awesome

UPDATE: Stroppy Apple threatens to close iTunes in MASSIVE SULK over royalty payments

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There are two very important financial rulings being voted on today. One is something to do with banks and mortgages and the world not ending, which we couldn’t care less about and certainly don’t intend trying to understand.

The other is to do with Apple and the amount of royalties it pays to record labels in return for selling their music on iTunes. Three Copyright Royalty Board judges are meeting in Washington today, to decide if Apple should be forced to boost its royalty payments from 9 cents a song to 15 cents a song for each track sold via iTunes – a 66% increase.

Apple has, incredibly, threatened to CLOSE iTunes…

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Gary CutlackUPDATE: Stroppy Apple threatens to close iTunes in MASSIVE SULK over royalty payments

British man invented iPod in 1979. 3.5 minute storage capacity failed to impress. Apple stole idea

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That poor bloke there invented the concept of iPod back in 1979. He’s British, although his alarmingly American-sounding name – Kane Kramer – suggests otherwise. Kane lives in Hitchin.

Mr Kramer came up with the idea of a portable music player, called the IXI, when he was 23. However, technology wasn’t ready for this in 1979. Kramer’s player could only store 3.5 minutes of music on its memory chip…

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Gary CutlackBritish man invented iPod in 1979. 3.5 minute storage capacity failed to impress. Apple stole idea