TIME Media

Verizon Is Making it Easier to Pay for Only the Channels You Actually Want

New bundles let customers pick and choose channels

Verizon is trying to upend the traditional pay-TV model by letting its customers have more control over exactly which channels they purchase.

The telco giant, which serves about 5 million pay-TV customers through its FiOS fiber-optic service, will begin selling a slimmed-down channel package on Sunday. Customers start with a basic package of channels like ABC, Fox, CNN and more. They can then add genre-specific “channel packs,” including a sports pack featuring ESPN, a kids pack featuring Nickelodeon and an entertainment pack featuring TNT, among others.

The basic plan will cost $55 for the mandatory channels (about 35 total) and two channel packs. Additional packs will cost $10 each and can be switched monthly. Verizon will also continue to offer various TV bundles that include Internet access or phone service.

The move comes as competitors like Dish Network are already offering cheaper, slimmed-down cable bundles. Sling TV and HBO are offering content without the need for a cable subscription at all. Apple is also rumored to be working on a smaller cable bundle that would stream channels over the Internet and cost $30 to $40 per month.

 

TIME movies

Tom Hardy Used ‘Sesame Street’ To Prepare for ‘Child 44’

BRITAIN-ENTERTAINMENT-CINEMA-CHILD 44
Justin Tallis—AFP/Getty Images British actor Tom Hardy poses for photographers on the red carpet ahead of the UK premiere of "Child 44" in central London on April 16, 2015.

Tom Hardy used unlikely inspiration for his new role

Tom Hardy tapped an unlikely source to get ready to play a Russian secret agent: the Count from Sesame Street.

The British actor stars as a Russian agent on the trail of serial killer murdering small boys during the end of the Stalin era of the Soviet Union in Child 44. At the film’s London premiere, Hardy quipped that he watched Sesame Street to prepare for the role. “The Count speaks just like it,” he said.

Some reviewers have criticized the overwrought Russian accents in the thriller, which stars mostly British and American actors. The movie was banned from Russian movie theaters this week because the country’s culture ministry deemed it “historically inaccurate.”

[Variety]

TIME apps

Google Has a New Handwriting Keyboard and It Actually Works

Google Handwriting
Google Google Handwriting

New app works in languages as varied as English, Chinese and Hindi

If you’re tired of pecking at minuscule letters on virtual keyboards, Google has the app for you.

The company has unveiled a new handwriting keyboard for Android devices that will convert your chicken-scratch into typed-out words. The app, called Google Handwriting Input, can replace your device’s stock keyboard and be used for texting, web browsing and other basic phone features.

A brief hands-on showed that the app was surprisingly good at recognizing a variety of different handwriting styles in English, even if the script was sloppy and the last few letters in a word were bunched at the edge of the screen. Adding punctuation marks is also easy, and you can even recreate many emojis by scribbling them out as old-fashioned emoticons.

The only area where the app seemed to struggle was cursive—print seems to be the way to go for the greatest level of accuracy. The app has earned 4.7 out of 5 stars on the Google Play store, indicating that most users are finding the app highly functional.

Google says the new keyboard supports 82 languages and believes it will be most useful for ideographic languages like Chinese, which are often constrained to a single dialect on traditional keyboards.

TIME Smartphones

You Can Now Find Your Lost Phone by Googling It

Inside A Samsung Electronics Co. Digital Store Ahead Of Fourth-Quarter Results
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images A visitor tries out a Samsung Electronics Co. Galaxy Note 4 smartphone at the company's d'light flagship store in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015.

It only works for Android users

Next time you lose your phone, a simple Google search may be able to find it.

Google announced Wednesday a new phone-finding feature for Android users tied to its search engine. Simply type “find my phone” into the Google search bar, and the results will show a map with the last known location of your phone. You can also choose to ring the phone from this page to make it easier to find — say, if it’s lost under the couch.

The feature works on the desktop and with the Google search app. Just make sure you’re signed into the same Google account on your phone and on your desktop to enable the option.

Read next: Google Has a New Handwriting Keyboard and It Actually Works

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TIME Television

Netflix Makes Daredevil Accessible to the Blind After Complaints

Netflix Marvel's Daredevil

Show about blind lawyer was initially difficult for blind to enjoy

Netflix is planning to make its shows more accessible to the blind following complaints from customers. The issue came to a head because Daredevil, a new Netflix show about a blind lawyer with superpowers, didn’t initially include audio descriptions, which are spoken explanations for actions occurring onscreen.

On Tuesday Netflix changed course, writing in a blog post that it plans to add audio descriptions to Daredevil and other Netflix original series like Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards. Other shows and movies that are not original to Netflix will get the feature later.

Robert Kingett, who leads a group calling for improved accessibility features on Netflix, told The Washington Post that he’d like to see the streaming service include the audio descriptions already available on the DVD version of movies and TV shows in the future.

[Washington Post]

 

TIME legal

What to Know About Google’s Fight With Europe

Google and European Union logos are seen in Sarajevo, in this April 15, 2015 photo illustration.
Dado Ruvic—Reuters Google and European Union logos are seen in Sarajevo, in this April 15, 2015 photo illustration.

The search giant faces charges of anticompetitive behavior in Europe

A new antitrust complaint filed against Google by the European Union Wednesday could force the company to pay huge fines and change the way its search engine operates in Europe.

In the complaint, EU regulators say Google has abused its dominance in online search to stifle competition. If the charges stick, Google could face a cascade of antitrust allegations over a variety of its other services as well.

Here’s a quick explainer of why European officials are targeting Google and how the search giant has responded so far.

What is the European Union saying Google did wrong?

The formal accusation is tied to the way Google displays its shopping comparison product, Google Shopping, in search results. Items from Google Shopping are displayed at the top of the search results page when users search for many basic products, like “kites” or “dog food.” According to the EU, automatically placing Google’s own service in this prized digital real estate could “artificially divert traffic from rival comparison shopping services and hinder their ability to compete, to the detriment of consumers, as well as stifling innovation.”

Why does it matter whether Google promotes its rivals equally?

Google controls more than 90% of the search engine market share in most European countries, compared to about 65% market share in the U.S. According to Google’s rivals, such as Yelp and Microsoft, that control over search gives Google incredible influence over the viability of other companies that rely on search results to drive web traffic and generate business.

What is Google’s counterargument?

In a blog post Wednesday, Amit Singhal, Google’s senior vice president for Search, points out that traffic to Google Shopping is still dwarfed by sites like Amazon and eBay in European countries and does not significantly outpace other competitors. He also cited the successful IPO of German shopping site Zalando as proof that competition was not being stifled by Google Search.

“Any economist would say that you typically do not see a ton of innovation, new entrants or investment in sectors where competition is stagnating — or dominated by one player,” he wrote. “Yet that is exactly what’s happening in our world.”

How long has the European investigation been going on?

Officials began a general investigation into Google’s search practices in November of 2010. After years of back and forth, Google reached a tentative settlement with the European Commission in February 2014 in which the company agreed to place competitors’ search results at the top of the results page along with results from Google’s services. However, the settlement was ultimately rejected later in the year. Now the EU has a new antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, who has taken a harder line against Google.

What punishments could Google face?

The European Union can collect fines as large as 10% of annual sales for violation of antitrust law. In Google’s case, that would amount to more than $6 billion, though it isn’t clear if a final fee would go that high. The company could also be forced to change the way its search engine works — in its charges, the European Commission says Google should treat its own comparison shopping service the same as that of its rivals by showing whatever results are most relevant based on a user’s search query.

Google will have ten weeks to respond to the EU’s allegations in hopes of avoiding a big fine.

Is this only about Google Shopping?

No. The European Commission also announced that it’s opening an antitrust investigation into Android, Google’s mobile operating system. The Commission will consider whether Google pressured manufacturers who use Android on their devices to pre-install Google’s own apps. It will also seek to learn if Google prevented manufacturers from developing modified versions of Android in a manner that runs afoul of antitrust law.

For its part, Google argues Android has helped spur mobile innovation and that its practices are not out of line with the way Apple and Microsoft control their mobile ecosystems.

The Commission is also continuing to investigate how Google prioritizes its own specialized results in other specific fields, such as flights, and the kinds of restrictions the company places on advertisers.

Could Google face similar scrutiny in the U.S.?

It’s doubtful. The Federal Trade Commission launched an antitrust investigation into Google in 2011 but ultimately filed no legal charges against the search giant. A recently disclosed internal report, however, revealed the FTC was closer than initially believed to filing charges against Google.

Has this ever happened before?

American tech giant Microsoft long sparred with European regulators over antitrust concerns regarding the Windows operating system and Internet browsers. Microsoft initially got away without a fine by agreeing to offer new Windows users in Europe a wider choice of browsers. However, Microsoft was fined $732 million in 2013 when it was found not to be complying with that deal (Microsoft blamed technical errors). Some commentators argue Microsoft’s dealings with European regulators changed the company’s culture in profound ways.

Read next: How Google Perfected the Silicon Valley Acquisition

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TIME Silicon Valley

How Google Perfected the Silicon Valley Acquisition

Signage outside the Google Inc. headquarters in Mountain View, California on Oct. 13, 2010.
Tony Avelar—Bloomberg/Getty Images Signage outside the Google Inc. headquarters in Mountain View, California on Oct. 13, 2010.

As tech's largest firms grow in scope and age, acquisitions have become an increasingly important maneuver

Correction appended, April 21

In late October John Hanke and several of his co-workers met for a reunion of sorts at Fiesta Del Mar, a Mexican restaurant near Google’s Mountain View headquarters. Hanke, a 10-year Google employee who led initial development of Maps, was once the founder of a small geodata startup called Keyhole that Google acquired in 2004. The fact that the one-time entrepreneur has stayed with the search giant for more than a decade makes him and his colleagues oddities in Silicon Valley. “There are quite a large number of [us] who are still at Google, and I have to say I don’t think anyone expected that when we first came in,” he says.

Google has used acquisitions to expand its workforce and launch new products since before it was a household name. Recently that strategy has become the modus operandi for technology firms in Silicon Valley. Facebook is using its fast-growing cash hoard to take control over sectors both adjacent to its core product (WhatsApp for $22 billion) and far-flung from social networking (Oculus VR for $2 billion). Microsoft, Yahoo and Amazon are doing the same, making big-ticket bets by buying Minecraft developer Mojang ($2.5 billion), Tumblr ($1.1 billion) and video game streaming site Twitch ($970 million), respectively. Even Apple, which long eschewed splashy acquisitions in favor of much smaller, less public buys, says it bought at least 30 companies during the last fiscal year, including the $3 billion purchase of Beats.

Overall spending on tech acquisitions topped $170 billion in 2014, up 54% from the previous year and more than double the amount spent in 2010, according to PrivCo, a research firm that tracks investments in private businesses. As the core of dominant technology companies get larger, they have come to depend on acquisitions not only to broaden their businesses but also to sustain the pace of innovation. “Companies are buying innovation,” explains Peter Levine, a general partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. “As large companies need to be competitive and want to increase their footprints in a variety of different areas, one of the best ways to do that is through acquisition.”

The deals are a boon for startups as well. Venture capital is abundant, and companies can rely on investment rather than revenue to keep growing. If it’s not clear how a startup will eventually convert users into revenue, a buyout from a large firm can render that problem irrelevant—or at least less urgent. While investors and founders insist that launching a thriving self-supporting company is still the end-goal in Silicon Valley, “exiting” via a sale rather than an initial public offering can still net a lucrative payout. “It’s almost a goal for some of these companies as they start, to have that exit event,” says George Geis, a business professor at UCLA whose upcoming book, Semi-Organic Growth, analyzes Google’s acquisition strategy over the years.

But while snapping up a startup is now easy, holding onto its key employees is more difficult. Startup founders, who often think of themselves as entrepreneurs before engineers, are notoriously difficult to keep at large firms long. Partly, this is cultural: striking out on one’s own, idea in hand, is a fundamental part of the Silicon Valley ethos. The widespread availability of funding doesn’t hurt, either. That has left firms struggling to keep the expertise they may have spent millions acquiring. “When a firm is making a tech acquisition, they’re buying the talent as much as they’re buying the technology,” says Brian JM Quinn, a law professor specializing in mergers and acquisitions at Boston College.

A TIME analysis of startup founders’ LinkedIn profiles found that about two-thirds of the startup founders that accepted jobs at Google between 2006 and 2014 are still with the company. Amazon has retained about 55% of its founders over that time period, while Microsoft’s rate is below 45%. Facebook, with a 75% retention rate for founders, is beating its older competitors, but the company only began acquiring companies in significant numbers around 2010 or so. Yahoo and Apple, which have both gone on acquisition sprees under new CEOs Marissa Mayer and Tim Cook in the last two years, now have a similar retention rate to Google.

Google stands out among this cohort in large part because of the massive number of acquisitions it’s conducted. Overall at least 221 startup founders joined Google’s ranks between 2006 and 2014. Yahoo, the next closest competitor, added at least 110 founders to its employee roster in that time. Google’s internal calculation of its overall retention rate for startup founders through its history is similar to TIME’s, according to data provided by the company. Apple, Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft declined to share any information on the retention of founders; Amazon did not respond to a request for data.

An examination of the ways Google tries to retain employees provides a window into the increasingly ferocious battle among the tech sector’s giants to expand through conquest. “Google,” says Geis, “has done a pretty good job—among the best in Silicon Valley.”

‘The toothbrush test’

Even when Google was small, it wasn’t shy about spending. The company’s first startup acquisition, the 2003 purchase of Pyra Labs, forms the backbone of what is today Blogger, an online publishing platform. Since then, many of Google’s most well-known products, including Android, YouTube, Maps, Docs and Analytics, have originated from acquisitions. “M&A has obviously been a huge part of Google—and, I think, Google’s success—for a long time,” says Don Harrison, Google’s vice president for corporate development, who oversees the company’s acquisitions.

Before any deal is finalized, it has to pass what CEO Larry Page calls “the toothbrush test”: is the product something you use daily and would make your life better? “If anything matches the toothbrush test and relates to technology, then Larry has an interest in it,” explains Harrison.

Typically, Google buys occur in sectors where the company has already been experimenting itself. Harrison points to YouTube as a prime example. Google already had a video sharing service called Google Video in the mid-2000’s, but YouTube’s fast-growing user base convinced the firm to offer a then-eye-popping $1.65 billion for the startup, even though it was barely a year old and earned no revenue. Today, YouTube brings in billions of dollars of revenue per year and is the third most-visited website in the world, according to Web analytics firm Alexa.

But the return on investment on an acquisition isn’t only measured monetarily. It’s important to Google and other tech giants that the founders behind ideas worth paying for stick around as well. Harrison says founder retention is one of the significant factors Google measures as part of the “scorecarding” it does to evaluate its purchases. “We hold ourselves accountable to make sure that the founders are able to be successful within Google,” Harrison says. “It’s something that we’re not only working on at the time we buy the company but we work on for years after as well.”

Cash alone can’t convince the top startup founders to join Google. 2014 was the most active year for IPOs in the U.S. since the year 2000, according to IPO tracker Renaissance Capital, and Chinese online retailer Alibaba had the biggest public debut in world history, raising $25 billion in September. “As aggressive as we’re willing to be, we probably can’t match public company premiums right now,” Harrison admits.

So Google tries to find other ways to lure key talent.

‘A True CEO’

For Tony Fadell, the CEO of smart home company Nest, the decision of whether or not be acquired by Google was really a question of how he wanted to spend his time.

Google had begun courting Nest almost from the company’s inception, ever since Fadell showed Google founder Sergey Brin a prototype of the Nest Thermostat at a TED conference in 2011. At the time, Fadell wasn’t interested in a buyout. “I wanted to keep it as a startup as long as possible,” he says.

But as Nest grew, so did Fadell’s logistical headaches. By 2013, he says he was spending 90% of his time on what he calls “back-of-house stuff”: managing finances, talking to investors, wrestling with taxes and fending off patent lawsuits. “There was a lot of selling to multiple entities that we were doing the right thing,” he says.

When Google came knocking again, offering a big payday and the chance to keep Nest’s name brand intact—a key requirement for Fadell—an acquisition seemed more appealing. Now Fadell says he spends 95% of his time focused on product development and key relationships. Nest, meanwhile, has gotten access to resources that would have taken much longer to accrue independently. The company launched in five new countries in 2014, but Fadell thinks they would have only reached two without Google’s help.

In many ways, the Nest acquisition is the ideal scenario startup founders envision when they agree to be swallowed by a larger company. Harrison, Google’s M&A head, calls Fadell a “true CEO” and says Google execs serve more as a board of directors for Nest instead of supervisors. Fadell says he hasn’t had to get formal approval for anything from Google, though he reports directly to Larry Page and meets with the Google CEO a few times per month. “He’s like, ‘Call me when you need me, but this is for you to run,’” Fadell says of his relationship with Page. “He gives us the freedom, so I run with that. Only when it’s really major decisions do I really touch base with him.”

Some founders who don’t quite have Fadell’s free rein are still granted a certain level of autonomy. Skybox Imaging, a satellite manufacturer that Google acquired for $500 million last summer, reports to the company’s vice president of engineering for geo products but maintains separate offices from Google in Mountain View. “We kind of get a little bit of the best of both worlds,” says Ching-Yu Hu, one of the four Skybox founders that now works at Google. “We’re all Googlers now so we have access to all the infrastructure there, but at the same time we’re semi-autonomous.”

The company has experimented with more direct incentives to maintain an entrepreneurial spirit. For a few years in the mid-2000’s Google handed out Founders Awards valued at as much as $12 million in stock to teams that developed successful new products like Gmail and Google Maps. Today awards are a little less explicit, in the form of more traditional of raises or promotions. Google works closely with founders in their first 90 days on the job to insure they’re getting acclimated well, but check-ins on founders’ progress can continue for years, depending on the acquisition.

At the core of Google’s pitch to founders is the opportunity for bountiful resources. Sure, those can be scratched and clawed for independently, but going it alone requires a lot more time, money and luck than hitching your wagon to one of the richest companies on Earth. “It was a pretty compelling pitch,” Hanke recalls of his own deliberations about whether to sell Keyhole to Google. “We could achieve a lot more standing on the shoulders of all that was going on at Google versus trying to do it on our own as startup.”

When Founders Leave

Still, even Harrison admits that not every acquisition goes smoothly. Because California is an at-will employment state, workers can generally be fired or choose to leave at any time. Tech companies try to ensure founders stick around for a while by offering a stay bonus or using “golden handcuffs,” which often meter out the payday for a big acquisition in company shares that vest over several years. Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp, for instance, includes $3 billion in restricted stock for WhatsApp employees, but they can’t fully tap into those funds unless they stay at the company for four years.

In some cases, golden handcuffs aren’t enough to keep founders on board. Kosta Eleftheriou joined Google in October 2010 through the acquisition of his keyboard app BlindType, but life at the massive company wasn’t what he envisioned. Eleftheriou says he was relegated to maintaining Google’s stock Android keyboard rather than envisioning ways to improve the product. He left after one month, leaving half of his compensation package for the acquisition on the table (he says the total acquisition price was in the seven figures). Now he’s a founder again, with a new keyboard app called Fleksy that has been downloaded 4 million times.

“It was a mismatch between what I was expecting and what happened,” Eleftheriou says. “I think that was partly due to maybe some unrealistic expectations on my side on how much creative freedom I would have. I was hoping to be part of a bigger picture than just some engineer working on something by themselves.”

As the founder of a small company that didn’t make huge headlines when it was acquired, Eleftheriou’s experience isn’t uncommon in the Valley. “Unless they’re sufficiently large, very few acquisitions continue to run independently,” says Justin Kan, a partner at the venture capital firm Y Combinator and cofounder of Twitch. “Oftentimes founders are rolled up inside another group inside of the company. They can’t make decisions as freely as when they were entrepreneurs. That affects people’s willingness to stick around.”

Sometimes founders simply crave the excitement of starting something new. Uri Levine was the only one of Waze’s three founders who chose not to join Google when the traffic app was acquired for $1 billion in June 2013. Instead he launched a new startup—his sixth—called FeeX, which aims to help people reduce investment fees in their retirement accounts. “Entrepreneurs, they are driven by a passion for change,” Levine says. “As soon as you become part of a large organization, you cannot change anymore.”

Google’s also had some more high-profile misfires. When it made its largest acquisition ever, the $12.5 billion purchase of handset maker Motorola Mobility, Page hailed it as an opportunity to “supercharge the Android ecosystem.” But Motorola’s phones failed to gain traction, the subsidiary racked up $1.4 billion in losses for Google, and the company offloaded the handset division to Lenovo for $2.9 billion in 2014. Harrison defends the deal as a smart acquisition because of the patent portfolio that Google acquired, helping the company defend itself from lawsuits by Apple and Microsoft (Geis, who has studied the transaction closely, called it “a wash” for Google).

The Spree Continues

At Google, at least, there are opportunities for change for some founders who join the company. Hanke, the former Keyhole CEO, spent several years heading up Google’s geo services, but now he’s in charge of Niantic Labs, a separately branded unit that Google bills as an “internal startup.” Hanke’s team develops apps that increase the opportunity for digital interaction in real-world environments, like InGress, a mobile game that requires players to visit physical locations to gain power ups. Android founder Andy Rubin also took on a role far removed from smartphones when he became the head of Google’s robotics division in 2013. (Rubin eventually left Google in October after nine years at the company).

Google is constantly making these kinds of bets on the future, and it needs new blood with fresh ideas to sustain them. The company is currently wrestling with multiple threats to its core business, search, including a declining share of desktop searches and a mobile market where Amazon is stealing product search queries and Facebook is taking ad dollars. If Google is to maintain its steady growth, it will eventually have to tap into a new revenue source somewhere, and that may well stem from an acquisition. The company may view Nest as the key purchase that ensures its future dominance, given Fadell’s perch. “Founders and everyone else at these startups, they want to be businesspeople,” he explains.

And the big businesses themselves? They want to ensure they don’t miss out on the next big thing. “The ability to move quickly in rapidly changing markets is one of the major drivers,” says Geis of the acquisition spree. “If you want to effectively compete and innovate continually, it can’t all be from within.”

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly described George Geis. He is a business professor at UCLA.

TIME apps

How Your iPhone’s Music App Is About to Change

536992281
Cultura/Matt Dutile—Getty Images Portrait of young woman listening to headphones at beach, Coney Island, New York, USA

Changes could be paving the way for new streaming service

Apple is planning a big redesign for the Music app on your iPhone and iPad.

The new version featured in a preview version of an upcoming update is based heavily on the current design of iTunes for the Mac, according to a hands-on preview by 9to5Mac. Like iTunes, the new Music app is putting a big emphasis on visuals, with album art taking up half the screen on the player user interface. A mini-player also sticks to the bottom of the UI throughout the app, meaning users can always easily pause a song currently playing.

The overhaul also brings other useful updates, such as the ability to add songs to a play queue and a robust search feature that can trawl a user’s library as well as iTunes Radio.

The new features may signal that Apple is indeed preparing to roll out a new on-demand streaming service under the iTunes brand, as has been rumored for several months. The service could be unveiled at Apple’s developers conference, which starts June 8.

YouTube user DetroitBERG has a video walkthrough of the new app:

Read next: How to Save Stories To Read Later On Your Phone

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TIME Media

Why Musicians Want Radio Stations to Start Paying Them

The decline in record sales means artists are looking for new revenue streams

Music sales’ continued decline has forced performing artists and their record labels to look to radio as a potential new source of revenue — and they want Congress to help make it happen.

Monday morning, a group of politicians, musicians and music industry executives are expected to unveil a new bill that would force terrestrial radio stations to pay royalties to performing artists and record labels when playing their songs. Performing artists currently don’t get paid for traditional radio play, which has long been thought of as a promotional tool to drive music purchases rather than as a revenue stream itself. New digital music platforms such as Spotify and Pandora, however, are already paying royalties to performing artists. (Songwriters, who can’t make money through avenues such as touring and merchandising, are paid for radio play.)

In addition to targeting terrestrial radio, the new bill, sponsored by House Democrat Jerrold Nadler and dubbed the “Fair Play Fair Pay Act,” would also force Internet and satellite radio companies like Pandora and Sirius XM to pay royalties to performing artists on songs recorded before 1972, which are currently not protected by federal copyright law. It would additionally raise the royalty rates paid by satellite radio platforms like Sirius XM to be more in line with rates paid by Internet radio services such as Pandora.

“The bill is a comprehensive piece of legislation that attempts to address several inequities that exist in the copyright world today,” says Michael Huppe, CEO of SoundExchange, a non-profit established by the record labels to administer digital royalty payouts. “The overriding theme is leveling the playing field, treating everyone equally and making sure all creators are paid fair market value for their work whenever it’s used.”

Record industry revenue has been more than halved since its CD-era peak, dropping from $14.6 billion in 1999 to less than $7 billion in 2014, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. An increasing amount of the money that remains is coming from streaming services rather than purchases of individual songs and albums. Those factors could increase pressure on radio broadcasters to pay performers whose revenue is coming from fans accessing their music across myriad platforms rather than buying it outright.

“It seems to be inconsistent that the same recording rewards performers when it’s on the Internet but doesn’t when it’s on AM/FM radio,” says E. Michael Harrington, chair of the music business program at SAE Institute Nashville. “That inconsistency is really foolish.”

Despite the onslaught of new ways to listen to music, AM/FM radio still wields incredible clout, with 243 million Americans tuning in weekly. That massive audience means the medium is still the best way by far for artists to debut and promote new music, radio station advocates argue.

The National Association of Broadcasters, a powerful lobbying group for radio and television stations nationwide, has already expressed its disdain for the new legislation, rallying 147 representatives and 11 senators to oppose the new bill. “We think it would be potentially devastating to the economies of a lot of local radio, kill jobs and actually hurt artists in the long run because if you have fewer financial resources, you have less ability to expose new artists,” says Dennis Wharton, NAB’s executive vice president for communications.

Previous legislation aimed at forcing radio stations to pay performers, like the 2009 Performance Rights Act, went nowhere. Moreover, the fact that the new bill simultaneously burdens terrestrial radio, Pandora and Sirius XM through its different provisions could lead to widespread opposition from a variety of stakeholders. “I can’t see the whole thing working because of the divided interests,” says Harrington. SoundExchange’s Huppe, meanwhile, argues the bill isn’t overly ambitious, pointing to a recent U.S. Copyright Office report advocating performing artist royalties for terrestrial radio and for pre-1972 songs on Internet radio.

Sirius XM declined to comment on the bill. Dave Grimaldi, Pandora’s director of public affairs, said in a statement: “We welcome a thoughtful conversation regarding ideas that promote robust music ecosystem for all music-makers, as well as consumers.”

Even if this bill dies, changes are certainly coming to the way performing artists are compensated for their music in the future. Sirius XM has been found liable for copyright infringement in various states for its use of pre-1972 recordings by the band The Turtles. Meanwhile, broadcast radio giants like Clear Channel have been quietly brokering deals to pay performing artists royalties at individual record labels such as Big Machine, which represents Taylor Swift.

“It’s all about the listen, the stream, the hitting of the eardrum instead of the buying of the CD,” says Huppe. “That makes these issues even more critical because they’re now such a big part of the revenue stream.”

TIME legal

This Country Just Banned Revenge Porn

TIME.com stock photos Computer Keyboard Typing Hack
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

New U.K. law cracks down on many kinds of online abuse

The United Kingdom is cracking down on people who share nude photos of their exes without their consent, a practice known as revenge porn.

Under the U.K.’s new Criminal Justice and Courts Act enacted Monday, anyone who discloses private sexual photographs of another person with the intent to cause distress could be prosecuted. Violating the new law carries a punishment of up to two years in prison, a fine or both. The law applies to photos shared both online and offline, according to The Telegraph.

The new law marks the U.K.’s first time revenge porn has been listed as a specific crime.

The U.K. is also cracking down on Internet trolls through the new act. Punishment for abusive messages that have the “intention of causing distress or anxiety” will be punishable by up to two years in prison, up from a six-month maximum under previous rules.

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