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    “We’re not ‘gatekeepers,’” Apple and Microsoft tell European Union / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 5 September - 13:47

Apple and Microsoft have argued with Brussels that some of their services are insufficiently popular to be designated as “gatekeepers” under new landmark EU legislation designed to curb the power of Big Tech.

Brussels’ battle with the two US companies over Apple’s iMessage chat app and Microsoft’s Bing search engine comes ahead of Wednesday’s publication of the first list of services to be regulated by the Digital Markets Act.

The legislation imposes new responsibilities on tech companies, including sharing data, linking to competitors, and making their services interoperable with rival apps.

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    Microsoft plans mobile games app store to rival Apple and Google / ArsTechnica · Monday, 20 March, 2023 - 13:30

Microsoft plans mobile games app store to rival Apple and Google


Microsoft is preparing to launch a new app store for games on iPhones and Android smartphones as soon as next year if its $75 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard is cleared by regulators, according to the head of its Xbox business.

New rules requiring Apple and Google to open up their mobile platforms to app stores owned and operated by other companies are expected to come into force from March 2024 under the EU’s Digital Markets Act.

“We want to be in a position to offer Xbox and content from both us and our third-party partners across any screen where somebody would want to play,” said Phil Spencer, chief executive of Microsoft Gaming, in an interview ahead of this week’s annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

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    EU set to launch formal probe into Nvidia’s $54 billion takeover of Arm / ArsTechnica · Friday, 27 August, 2021 - 14:47

EU set to launch formal probe into Nvidia’s $54 billion takeover of Arm

Enlarge (credit: Arm)

Brussels is set to launch a formal competition probe early next month into Nvidia’s planned $54 billion takeover of British chip designer Arm, after months of informal discussions between regulators and the US chip company.

The investigation is likely to begin after Nvidia officially notifies the European Commission of its plan to acquire Arm, with the US chipmaker planning to make its submission in the week starting September 6, according to two people with direct knowledge of the process. They added that the date might yet change, however.

Brussels’ investigation would come after the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority said its initial assessment of the deal suggested there were “serious competition concerns” and that a set of remedies suggested by Nvidia would not be sufficient to address them.

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    AstraZeneca’s troubled vaccine not renewed in EU; Pfizer gets big, new deal / ArsTechnica · Monday, 10 May, 2021 - 17:16

Vials with COVID-19 Vaccine labels showing logos of pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNTech.

Enlarge / Vials with COVID-19 Vaccine labels showing logos of pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNTech. (credit: Getty | Photonews )

The European Union has declined to renew orders for AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, an EU official said Sunday. The decision comes after a series of production and safety troubles with AstraZeneca’s vaccine—and news on Saturday that the EU signed a deal to have Pfizer and BioNTech provide up to 1.8 billion doses of their vaccine between 2021 and 2023.

Last month, the EU took legal action against AstraZeneca, alleging that the company had failed to live up to its contract to supply the bloc with doses. The contract ends in June.

"We did not renew the order after June,” European Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said in a Sunday French radio interview, which was reported by Reuters . “We’ll see what happens," he added, leaving open the possibility of future orders.

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    EU Parliament Wants Pirated Sports Streams Taken Down Within 30 Minutes / TorrentFreak · Friday, 9 April, 2021 - 15:02 · 2 minutes

ball old In recent years the European Commission has proposed and adopted various legislative changes to help combat online piracy.

This includes the Copyright Directive which passed last year as well as the Digital Services Act , which was officially unveiled last December.

These laws will have a significant effect on how online services respond to copyright infringement complaints. However, according to some, upload filters and other broad enforcement tools don’t go nearly far enough.

Next week, the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament will vote on a draft resolution that goes a step further. The proposal in question is superficially tailored to deal with pirated live sports streaming, which is a thorn in the side of major sports leagues.

30-Minute takedown Window

According to the draft, prepared by rapporteur Angel Dzhambazki, sports event organizers face significant challenges in the digital environment due to piracy. To help combat this problem, online services should remove infringing content as soon as possible, within minutes of an event beginning.

Specifically, this means that current legislation should be updated to “specify that the removal of the illegal content should take place immediately after reception of the notice and no later than 30 minutes after the event started.”

According to some EU lawmakers, this proposal doesn’t go far enough and several compromise amendments have been negotiated to make the language even stronger. This includes the use of “trusted flaggers,” who may act on behalf of copyright holders.

These takedowns could be sent to streaming services such as YouTube, but they may also be targeted at hosting providers. A similar system is already in play in the UK, where sports streams can be taken down in real-time, with proper court approval.

No Court Order Needed

The EU proposal doesn’t necessarily require judicial oversight and will involve more parties. This is something sports organizers will welcome, but it opens the door to overblocking as well, which occasionally happens in the UK too.

The proposed resolution is not welcomed by all Members of Parliament. Patrick Breyer , MEP for the Pirate Party, says that he and his fellow members of the Greens/EFA Group will vote against it.

“This text reads as if it had been dictated by lobbyists in the rights holders industry, it threatens fundamental digital rights,” Breyer says.

Shorter Takedown Window Than Terrorist Content

According to Breyer, the Digital Services Act should be sufficient to deal with online copyright infringement issues. The new proposal is overbroad and excessively burdensome to online services, he adds.

“A 30-minute deletion requirement would be shorter than is foreseen for terrorist content, and outside of business hours it would be much too short, especially for small and non-commercial providers.

“Allowing private interest groups with self-interest to have content removed without review by a court would foreseeably lead to an excessive blocking of legal content as well,” Breyer adds.

Breyer informs TorrentFreak that he had submitted an amendment that called for the deletion of the new legislation. That would be the best solution in his view.

“There is no need for the specific legislation on sports streams the resolution calls for. The existing means and instruments are more than sufficient,” Breyer says.

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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    Epic takes its fight with Apple across the sea with new EU complaint / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 17 February, 2021 - 17:51

<em>Fortnite</em> on an iPhone... back when that was a thing.

Enlarge / Fortnite on an iPhone... back when that was a thing. (credit: Savusia Konstantin | Getty Images )

Epic Games, maker of Fortnite , is loading up a new map in its ongoing fight against Apple as it files an antitrust complaint against the mobile phone maker in the European Union.

Epic alleges in its complaint that Apple uses its sole control over iOS apps to block competitors and benefit itself at developers' expense in violation of European competition law, the company said today.

"What’s at stake here is the very future of mobile platforms," Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said in a written statement. "We will not stand idly by and allow Apple to use its platform dominance to control what should be a level digital playing field. It’s bad for consumers, who are paying inflated prices due to the complete lack of competition among stores and in-app payment processing. And it’s bad for developers, whose very livelihoods often hinge on Apple’s complete discretion as to who to allow on the iOS platform, and on which terms."

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    EU Study Proposes New &#8216;Anti-Piracy Act&#8217; to Effectively Tackle Online Piracy / TorrentFreak · Sunday, 27 December, 2020 - 11:44 · 4 minutes

EU Copyright In recent years the European Commission has proposed and adopted various legislative changes to help combat online piracy.

This includes the Copyright Directive which passed last year as well as the Digital Services Act , which was officially unveiled last week.

New EU Study Piracy of Sports Events

These laws aim to help copyright holders enforce their rights. However, according to a new report from the European Parliamentary Research Service, more changes are needed. Especially to protect the rights of sports event organizers.

The new study, released by the research service’s European Added Value Unit, suggests implementing new policies, including an “EU Anti-Piracy Act”. This is needed to deal with the increasing losses to copyright holders and the tax coffers of EU countries.

Relying on earlier research, the study estimates that there were 7.6 million subscriptions to illegal IPTV services in 2019. This generated €522 million in revenues and resulted in €113.5 million in missed annual VAT payments.

“If the same number of subscriptions were made legally, legal broadcasters’ revenues could increase by €3.4 billion each year,” the study estimates

“In addition to these revenue losses, legal broadcasters also suffer impacts on employment due to online piracy. The most cautious estimate suggests that each year up to 16,000 potential new jobs are lost as a result of online piracy of broadcasts of sports events.”

Policy Changes are Required

The EU study proposes several changes that could help to better tackle the streaming piracy problem. This is needed, it argues, because current enforcement tools are inefficient and differ from country to country.

One policy option could be to provide a new neighboring right over sports events. An even better option, according to the study, would be to grant a right of communication to the public to the producers of audiovisual works, including sports events.

The ‘communication to the public right,’ paired with the right of sports organizers to sue ‘infringers’ without the involvement of licensees, would be most effective.

EU-wide Blocking Injunctions

On top of this proposal, the study also suggests making dynamic blocking injunctions available in all EU countries and to allow rightsholders to instantly disrupt piracy when needed.

“A possible solution would be to implement a system of fast, dynamic and live blocking orders, harmonized at EU level through the use of ‘dynamic blocking orders’ and ‘live injunctions’.

“Along with the latter, it is necessary to adopt a legal provision granting sports events organizers (and any other producers of ‘premium’ content) the right to remove illicit content directly – through technological means – from any streaming server used by pirates.”

From Voluntary Agreements to a New Anti-Piracy Act

While there is no shortage of enforcement options and proposals, implementing these can be a challenge. The researchers have thought about this as well and give four future scenarios.

One could be to do nothing and rely on existing legal tools. However, the study concludes that this isn’t really an option, as piracy will remain a massive problem.

The first real option, according to the report, is to tackle the problems with voluntary agreements and private partnerships. For example, hosting providers could agree to shut down pirated content when asked, and ISPs could help to block sites and services.

“This solution, indeed, would have a high impact on the system, allowing a coordinated real-time take-down of pirated content, without causing further burden to courts and administrative authorities and alleviating costs and timing of public enforcement.

“The chances, however, to develop a network of code of conducts harmonized and available throughout the entire EU territory does not seem to be significant.”

anti-piracy options

The second option would be to update current laws, such as the E-Commerce Directive and the InfoSoc Directive, to ensure that the much-needed extra enforcement options can be implemented.

These changes are possible, the study notes, but the implementation into local laws may result in fragmentation and differences between EU Member States, something the researchers want to rule out.

New Anti-Piracy Act Most Efficient

The preferred option, therefore, is to adopt a new EU Anti-Piracy Act that includes all proposed changes.

“The most impacting proposition – Option 3 – would consist in the adoption of an ‘EU Antipiracy Act’, in the form of a newly adopted EU Regulation, providing for all those legal tools necessary to deploy an efficient digital enforcement against piracy,” the study concludes.

This new law wouldn’t change existing legislation but would be tailored specifically to piracy of sports events and other premium copyrighted content. That also includes music, films, and games.

The proposals are far-reaching and will be welcomed by copyright holders. However, the study also stresses that the feasibility is low, as implementing new EU legislation isn’t straightforward.

For now, this means that the EU Anti-Piracy Act is just another idea.

A copy of the European Parliamentary Research Service study titled “Challenges facing sports event organisers in the digital environment” is available here (pdf)

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more. We have some good VPN deals here for the holidays.