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Media

YouTube Videos From Some High-Profile Channels Have Disappeared (venturebeat.com) 72

Late last week, YouTube videos from several high-profile channels began to mysteriously disappear, puzzling both the owners of those channels and viewers. Some of these channels include MIT Open Courseware, Blender Foundation, Jamendo Music, India's Press Information Bureau, soccer club Sparta Praha, and England Rugby. In a statement, MIT Open Courseware said, "You may have noticed that we are having some trouble with our videos! Please stand by. The elves are working around the clock to fix the issue. There is still a ton of content you can use on MIT OCW's website that doesn't have video. Hang in there folks!" Ton Roosendaal, the chairman of Blender Foundation, has been tweeting his frustration at YouTube. The issue, which per Roosendaal YouTube is aware of, is yet to be resolved at the time of publication.

TorrentFreak, a news website which covers piracy and copyright issues, speculates that YouTube's piracy filters could be the bottleneck here.

YouTube has addressed the issue, says it is working to bring the videos back online.
KDE

KDE Plasma 5.13 Released (kde.org) 94

jrepin writes: KDE unveils the final release of Plasma 5.13, the free and open-source desktop environment. Members of the Plasma team have focused on optimizing startup and minimizing memory usage. Plasma Browser Integration is a suite of new features which make Firefox, Chrome and Chromium-based browsers work with your desktop. For example, downloads are now displayed in the Plasma notification popup, and the Media Controls Plasmoid can mute and skip videos and music playing from within the browser. Browser tabs can be opened directly using KRunner via the Alt-Space keyboard shortcut. System Settings design has been improved further. Window manager gained much-improved effects for blur and desktop switching. Wayland work continued, with the return of window rules, and initial support for screencasts and desktop sharing. You can view the changelog here.
DRM

Lawrence Lessig Criticizes Proposed 140-Year Copyright Protections (techcrunch.com) 174

EqualCitizens.US reports on growing opposition to the CLASSICS Act proposed by the U.S. Congress, which grants blanket copyright protection to all audio works created before 1972, leaving some of them copyrighted until 2067. Importantly, the Act doesn't require artists or the rights holder to register for the copyright. Rather, any and all pre-1972 sound recordings would be copyrighted, greatly limiting the public's access to these works. Various organizations and scholars have responded. Equal Citizens along with a coalition of internet freedom and democracy reform organizations, is sending this letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee to urge its members to reject this Act in its entirety, or at a minimum, at least require registration of pre-1972 works. Otherwise, if the Act passes as is, famous artists and wealthy corporations will benefit greatly while the public will get absolutely nothing in return, as Professor Lawrence Lessig notes in Wired....

This act will limit access to past works and stifle creativity for new works. It would effectively remove many existing works, including some popular documentaries, podcasts, etc., from the public arena. The Coalition recommends adding a registration requirement to secure the extended copyright term, such that works that nobody claimed could be allowed to enter the public domain. As this TechCrunch report on the coalition letter explains:

By having artists and rights owners register, it solves the problem for everyone. Anyone who wants to have their pre-1972 works brought into the new scheme can easily achieve that, but orphan works will enter the public domain as they ought to.

"Either way," Lessig writes, "it is finally clear that the Supreme Court's prediction that the copyright owners would be satisfied with the copyright protection provided by the Sonny Bono Act turns out not to be true."
Java

Survey: JavaScript is the Most-Used Language, But Java is the Most Popular (sdtimes.com) 136

An anonymous reader quotes SD Times Java remains the most popular primary programming language, but JavaScript is the most used programming language overall. That is according to a recently released report from JetBrains on the State of the Developer Ecosystem in 2018. The report surveyed more than 6,000 developers from 17 countries to reveal the trends driving the world of coding this year... According to the report, Java, JavaScript and Python are the top three programming languages this year, and Go is the most promising language. Twenty percent of developers use multiple versions of Go at the same time, and 26 percent set up their GOPATH per project. The top Go frameworks include Gin, Beego, Echo and Buffalo.

While 38 percent of developers have no plans to adopt any new languages this year, the top languages respondents have started to learn in the last year include Python, JavaScript, Java, Go, TypeScript and Kotlin... Eighty-two percent of respondents use IDEs while 69 percent use editors. Of those using IDEs and editors, only 12 percent cited that they don't customize their IDE/editors. In addition, 77 percent use the dark theme for their editor or IDE... Some fun facts about developers include 77 percent listen to music while they are coding; the top music to listen to includes electronic, pop and rock; 53 percent sleep seven to eight hours a night; 85 percent code on the weekends; and 57 percent prefer coffee over tea.

Piracy

'Pirates' Tend To Be the Biggest Buyers of Legal Content, Study Shows (vice.com) 108

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: According to a paywalled survey of 1,000 UK residents by anti-piracy outfit MUSO first spotted by Torrent Freak, 60 percent of those surveyed admitted that they had illegally streamed or downloaded music, film, or TV shows sometime in the past. But the study also showed that 83 percent of those questioned try to find the content they are looking for through above board services before trying anything else. And while the study found that 86 percent of survey takers subscribe to a streaming subscription service like Netflix, that total jumped to 91 percent among those that admit to piracy. The survey found that the top reason that users pirate is the content they were looking for wasn't legally available (34 percent) was too cumbersome or difficult to access (34 percent), or wasn't affordable (35 percent). "The entertainment industry tends to envisage piracy audiences as a criminal element, and writes them off as money lost -- but they are wrong to do so," MUSO executive Paul Briley said of the study's findings. "The reality is that the majority of people who have gone through the effort of finding and accessing such unlicensed content are, first and foremost, fans -- fans who are more often than not trying to get content legally if they can," Briley added.
Music

Dolby Looking To Monopolize Consumer Audio By Restricting Its Codec (audioholics.com) 158

Audiofan writes from a report via Audioholics, written by Gene DellaSala: Variety is said to be the spice of life. Why only eat cherry Starbursts when you can sample orange, watermelon, lemon, etc? The same applies to multi-channel surround sound upmixers. But the folks at Dolby apparently want you to eat only one flavor. Their flavor. Dolby recently issued a mandate to all of their Atmos licensee partners to restrict usage of third-party upmixers with any Dolby signals including 5.1/7.1 DD, DD+, TrueHD and Atmos. That means if you're running a DTS Soundbar, it won't process a Dolby signal, or no dice if you want to use the Auro-Matic Upmixer for a native Dolby signal. Is Dolby doing this to protect their IP or to monopolize consumer audio like they tried to do with their patented Atmos-enabled speaker? The copy of the mandate that was sent to all of Dolby's licensee partners has the following guidelines: Native Dolby Atmos content shall NOT be up-mixed, surround or height virtualized by any 3rd party competitor upmixer (ie. DTS or Auro-3D); Channel-Based DD/DD+, Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and 7.1 codecs shall not be height virtualized by any 3rd party upmixer (ie. DTS). (This implies height virtualization without height speakers. DTS has this capability but Auro-3D does not).

Audioholics notes the company will however "permit third party upmixing and/or surround virtualization of channel-based codecs that support Dolby Atmos rendering as long as the third party doesn't license their own upmixing technologies to third parties."

As for why Dolby is issuing this mandate to its licensees, it may come down to two reasons: control quality of content so that their upmixer is only used with their software; put an end to Auro-3D and strike a blow to DTS.
Transportation

A Tesla on Autopilot Crashed Into a Parked Police Car (fortune.com) 265

An anonymous reader quotes Fortune: A Tesla vehicle in Autopilot mode collided with a parked police cruiser in California, authorities said. The Tesla sedan was driving outbound when it struck a parked Laguna Beach police car, the Laguna Beach police department said Tuesday. According to police, the driver in the Tesla sustained minor injuries. The police cruiser was empty of officers at the time of the crash. Laguna Polic1e Sgt. Jim Cota told the Los Angeles Times the police car "is totaled."
The police sergeant also told the Times that it was the same area where a Tesla crashed into a semi-truck last year, adding "Why do these vehicles keep doing that? We're just lucky that people aren't getting injured."

"Tesla has always been clear that Autopilot doesn't make the car impervious to all accidents," Tesla responded in a statement, "and before a driver can use Autopilot, they must accept a dialogue box which states that 'Autopilot is designed for use on highways that have a center divider and clear lane markings.'"

Record producer Zedd also responded to the news by sharing on Twitter what he calls "the other side": I once fell asleep driving home late at night on the highway (w/ autopilot on) and got woken up by it beeping + turning off music to wake me up. Would have prob been dead without it... I didn't touch the steering wheel for a couple minutes and then it turned off the music and started beeping. Elon Musk responded to the tweet, "Glad you're ok!"
Classic Games (Games)

Atari Launches Linux Gaming Box Starting at $199 (linux.com) 75

An anonymous reader quotes Linux.com: Attempts to establish Linux as a gaming platform have failed time and time again, with Valve's SteamOS being the latest high-profile casualty. Yet, Linux has emerged as a significant platform in the much smaller niche of retro gaming, especially on the Raspberry Pi. Atari has now re-emerged from the fog of gaming history with an Ubuntu-based Atari VCS gaming and media streaming console aimed at retro gamers. In addition to games, the Atari VCS will also offer Internet access and optional voice control. With a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, the system can be used as a standard Linux computer.

The catch is that the already delayed systems won't ship until July 2019... By the launch date, Atari plans to have "new and exclusive" games for download or streaming, including "reimagined classic titles from Atari and other top developers," as well as multi-player games. The Atari VCS Store will also offer video, music and other content... The hardware is not open source, and the games will be protected with HDCP. However, the Ubuntu Linux stack based on Linux kernel 4.10 is open source, and includes a "customizable Linux UX." A Linux "sandbox" will be available for developing or porting games and apps. Developers can build games using any Linux compatible gaming engine, including Unity, Unreal Engine, and Gamemaker. Atari also says that "Linux-based games from Steam and other platforms that meet Atari VCS hardware specifications should work."

Atari boasts this will be their first device offering online multi-player experiences, and the device will also come pre-loaded with over 100 classic Atari games.

An Indiegogo campaign this week seeking $100,000 in pre-orders has already raised over $2.2 million from 8808 backers.
IOS

AirPlay 2 Brings HomePod Stereo Pairs and Multi-Room Audio To iOS 11.4 (betanews.com) 109

Today sees the release of iOS 11.4 and with it Apple is adding AirPlay 2. From a report: This brings some important changes to HomePod, including the stereo pairing option that was missing at launch. AirPlay 2 also adds multi-room audio to HomePod, bringing Apple's smartspeaker in line with Amazon Echo and Google Home. Other new features of iOS 11.4 include the ability to access iMessages via iCloud on any Apple device. The lack of stereo pairing and multi-room audio was seen by many as a failing of HomePod, but Apple has now addressed this. The company says that when two speakers are paired, they are capable of "delivering room-filling sound that is more spacious than a traditional stereo pair."
Businesses

Pandora Launches Unlimited Premium Family Plan For $15 Per Month (betanews.com) 44

Mark Wycislik-Wilson, writing for BetaNews: Looking to better compete with the likes of Apple Music and Spotify, Pandora has launched a new Premium Family package. The new package offers unlimited access to all of Pandora's premium features for up to six people. The price is just $15 per month, but there's a 60-day free trial available so you can try it out for size first. Pandora explains that the new package offers "all of the features of Pandora Premium to up to six unique Pandora accounts simultaneously" and costs $14.99 USD monthly or $164.89 annually. As noted by Phone Arena, there are no limits on the number of tracks that can be streamed, there are no ads, and subscribers are free to download music for offline listening.
Music

Increasing Similarity of Billboard Songs 169

It's not just you, others have also noticed that popular songs on the Billboard charts sound similar. But what you may not realize is that in the recent days, they're sounding even more similar. Andrew Thompson and Matt Daniels for The Pudding make the case: From 2010-2014, the top ten producers (by number of hits) wrote about 40% of songs that achieved #1 - #5 ranking on the Billboard Hot 100. In the late-80s, the top ten producers were credited with half as many hits, about 19%. In other words, more songs have been produced by fewer and fewer topline songwriters, who oversee the combinations of all the separately created sounds. Take a less personal production process and execute that process by a shrinking number of people and everything starts to sound more or less the same.
Youtube

Two 18-Year-Olds Charged With Hacking YouTube's Most Popular Videos (variety.com) 39

An anonymous reader quotes Variety: Two 18-year-old French citizens have been arrested in Paris and charged with crimes related to the hack of Vevo's YouTube accounts last month that resulted in pro-Palestine messages being posted on several popular videos, according to prosecutors... Authorities allege the duo gained access to the YouTube account maintained by Vevo, to alter the content of multiple music videos, including Luis Fonsi's "Despacito" -- the most-viewed music video on YouTube in 2017, which recently surpassed 5 billion views.

The hackers also targeted videos by Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Chris Brown and Shakira, replacing their thumbnail images, video titles and descriptions. Vevo has since removed all changes the hackers made on its YouTube videos... Paris prosecutors charged Gabriel K.A.B. and with five criminal counts and Nassim B. with six counts, including "fraudulently modifying data contained in an automated data processing system."

Last month Fortune published quotes from a Twitter user who claimed responsibility for the attacks.

"Its just for fun i just use script 'youtube-change-title-video' and i write 'hacked' don t judge me i love youtube."
Youtube

Vevo To Shut Down Site, Giving In To YouTube Empire (rollingstone.com) 92

Vevo, the video-hosting service founded in 2009 as a joint venture between the big three record companies, is shutting down. The company announced in a blog post Thursday that it is shuttering its mobile apps and website, and that "going forward, Vevo will remain focused on engaging the biggest audiences and pursuing growth opportunities." Vevo is almost entirely succumbing to YouTube. Rolling Stone reports: The major record labels set up Vevo -- an abbreviation for "video evolution" -- in 2009 as a designated streaming service for music videos that would ideally bring in greater revenue from more high-end advertisers. Via a distribution deal with YouTube, it received a cut of revenue from putting its music videos on the Google-owned site. But YouTube's might has grown: The video-streaming service recently took Vevo's branding off its music videos, while also securing permission under a new licensing deal to sell Vevo's clips directly to advertisers, cutting out the smaller company's sales force. Though Vevo has been trying to peel away from its dependence on YouTube by touting its own suite of apps and offerings for years, it seems those efforts haven't been met with much success. "Our catalog of premium music videos and original content will continue to reach a growing audience on YouTube and we are exploring ways to work with additional platforms to further expand access to Vevo's content," the company said in its blog post. Vevo users on its website and Android, iOS and Windows Mobile apps will receive a tool to migrate their playlists to YouTube.
Sony

Sony In $2.3 Billion Deal For EMI, Becomes World's Biggest Music Publisher 28

Sony said on Tuesday it would pay about $2.3 billion to gain control of EMI, becoming the world's largest music publisher in an industry that has found new life on the back of streaming services. Reuters reports: The acquisition is the biggest strategic move yet by new CEO Kenichiro Yoshida and gives Sony a catalogue of more than 2 million songs from artists such as Kanye West, Sam Smith and Sia. The deal is part of Yoshida's mission to make revenue streams more stable with rights to entertainment content -- a strategy that follows a major revamp by his predecessor which shifted Sony's focus away from low-margin consumer electronics.

The spread of the internet led to a shrinking of the music market from around 1999 to 2014, Yoshida said, but added that has turned around with the growth of fixed-price music streaming services. The deal values EMI Music Publishing at $4.75 billion including debt, more than double the $2.2 billion value given in 2011 when a consortium led by Sony won bidding rights for the company. EMI currently commands 15 percent of the music publishing industry which combined with its Sony ATV business would make the Japanese giant the industry leader with market share of 26 percent, a company spokesman said.
Youtube

Google Launches YouTube Music Service With Creepy AI To Predict Listening Habits (audioholics.com) 87

Audiofan writes: Will the new YouTube Music streaming service provide the soundtrack to your life? Google believes that its ability to harness the power of artificial intelligence will help the new service catch up to its rivals in the music streaming business. Google's latest attempt to compete with Spotify and Apple Music may finally have what it takes if it doesn't creep users out in the process. While the service officially rolls out on Tuesday, May 22nd, only some users will be able to use it at launch. What separates YouTube's music streaming service from the competition is its catalog of remixes, live versions, and covers of official versions of songs. It also uses the Google Assistant to make music recommendations based on everything it knows (and can learn) about you and your listening habits. "When you arrive at the gym, for example, YouTube Music will offer up a playlist of hard-hitting pump-up jams (if that's your thing)," reports Audioholics. "Late at night, softer tunes will set a more relaxing mood."

YouTube Music is free with ads, but will cost $9.99 for ad-free listening. There is also YouTube Premium, which will cost $11.99 per month, and will include both the ad-free music service and the exclusive video content from the now-defunct YouTube Red.
Businesses

3D Headphone Startup 'Ossic' Closes Abruptly, Leaving Crowdfunders Hanging (npr.org) 168

An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: Ossic raised more than $3.2 million in crowdfunding for its Ossic X, which it touted as the "first 3D audio headphones calibrated to you." But after delivering devices to only about 80 investors who'd paid at least $999 to for the "Developer/Innovator" rewards level on Kickstarter, Ossic announced Saturday it had run out of money -- leaving the more than 10,000 other backers with nothing but lighter wallets.

Ossic, which The San Diego Union-Tribune notes was founded by former Logitech engineers Jason Riggs and Joy Lyons, had excited gamers, audiophiles and other sound consumers by creating headphones that used advanced 3D audio algorithms, head-tracking technology and individual anatomy calibration to "deliver incredibly accurate 3D sound to your ears," according to its funding campaign on Kickstarter. In less than two months in 2016, it was able to raise $2.7 million from more than 10,000 backers on Kickstarter. It raised another $515,970 on Indiegogo.
"This was obviously not our desired outcome," the company said in a statement. "To fail at the five-yard line is a tragedy. We are extremely sorry that we cannot deliver your product and want you to know that the team has done everything possible including investing our own savings and working without salary to exhaust all possibilities."
Sony

Sony Is Done Working For Peanuts in the Hardware Business, New CEO To Detail Shift Away From Gadgets (bloomberg.com) 132

Kenichiro Yoshida, who took over as chief executive officer in April, is set to unveil a three-year plan on Tuesday that embraces Sony's growing reliance on income from gaming subscriptions and entertainment. From a report: The transition is already happening: even though the company sold fewer hardware products such as televisions, digital cameras, smartphones and PlayStation consoles in the year through March, it was able to post record operating profit. It's a tectonic shift for a company built on manufacturing prowess. Sony popularized transistor radios, gave the world portable music with the Walkman and its TVs were considered top-of-the-line for decades. With the rise of Chinese manufacturing, making and selling gadgets has become a business with razor-thin profit margins. Investors have applauded the transformation that's been under way since Kazuo Hirai took over as CEO in 2012, with the shares climbing more than five-fold amid a turnaround.
Music

'Yanny vs. Laurel' Reveals Flaws In How We Listen To Audio (theproaudiofiles.com) 236

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few days, you've probably heard about the controversy over "Yanny" and "Laurel." The internet has been abuzz over an audio clip in which the name being said depends on the listener. Some hear "Laurel" while others hear "Yanny." Ian Vargo, an audio enthusiast who spends most of his working hours of the day listening to and editing audio, helps explain why we hear the name that we do: Human speech is actually composed of many frequencies, in part because we have a resonant chest cavity which creates lower frequencies, and the throat and mouth which creates higher frequencies. The word "laurel" contains a combination of both which are therefore present in the original recording at vocabulary.com, but the clip that you most likely heard has accentuated higher frequencies due to imperfections in the audio that were created by data compression. To make it worse, the playback device that many people first heard the audio clip playing out of was probably a speaker system built into a cellular phone, which is too small to accurately recreate low frequencies.

This helpful interactive tool from The New York Times allows you to use a slider to more clearly hear one or the other. Pitch shifting the audio clip up seems to accentuate "laurel" whereas shifting it down accentuates "yanny." In summary, this perfect storm of the human voice creating both low and high frequencies, the audio clip having been subject to data compression used to create smaller, more convenient files, and our tendency to listen out of devices with subpar playback components lead to an apparent near-even split of the population hearing "laurel" or "yanny."

Music

YouTube Unveils New Streaming Service 'YouTube Music,' Rebrands YouTube Red (gizmodo.com) 107

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: YouTube Music, a streaming music platform designed to compete with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music, officially has a launch date: May 22nd. Its existence will also shift around YouTube and Google's overall media strategy, which has thus far been quite the mess. YouTube Music will borrow the Spotify model and offer a free, ad-supported tier as well as a premium version. The paid tier, which will be called YouTube Music Premium, will be available for $9.99 per month. It will debut in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and South Korea before expanding to 14 other countries.

One of the selling points for YouTube Music will be the ability to harness the endless amount of information Google knows about you, which it will use to try to create customized listening experiences. Pitchfork reported that the app, with the help of Google Assistant, will make listening recommendations based on the time of day, location, and listening patterns. It will also apparently offer "an audio experience and a video experience," suggesting perhaps an emphasis on music videos and other visual content. From here, Google seems to be focused on making its streaming strategy a little less wacky. Google Play Music, the company's previous music streaming service that is still inexplicably up and running despite teetering on the brink of extinction for years, will slowly be phased out according to USA Today.
Meanwhile, the paid streaming subscription service, known as YouTube Red, is being rebranded to YouTube Premium and will cost $11.99 per month instead of $9.99. (Pitchfork notes that existing YouTube Red subscribers will be able to keep their $9.99 rate.) YouTube Premium will include access to YouTube Music Premium. Here's a handy-dandy chart that helps show what is/isn't included in the two plans.
Music

Tidal Is Reportedly Months Behind On Royalty Payments To Labels (theverge.com) 40

According to a report from Dagens Naeringsliv, streaming service Tidal is "behind with payments directly to the three major international record companies." The claim is backed up by two executives from a label and its Sony-owned distributor. They say they have not seen royalty payments in over six months. The Verge reports: According to a translation by Music Business Worldwide, Sveinung Rindal, CEO of distribution company Phonofile (a Sony subsidiary), told the Norwegian paper, "It is correct that there are delays in payments from Tidal," while Frithjof Boye Hungnes, CEO of Propeller Recordings, confirmed, "We have not been paid since October ... People are talking about withdrawing [their music from Tidal]; I think there is a pretty upset mood." Last December, a separate report from the same newspaper said that Tidal was running out of money, suggesting that it only had about six months of working capital left. The news comes shortly after the service was accused of faking the streaming numbers for Kanye West and Beyonce. Tidal is denying any such wrongdoings, saying: "We have experienced negative stories about Tidal since its inception and we have done nothing but grow the business each year."

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