Weekend News Round-up: is Hollywood killing itself, Samsung V Apple jurors speak out

27 Aug 2012

In our trawl through some of the top tech reportage internationally over the weekend we look at whether Hollywood ‘gets’ the streaming revolution; how jurors came to their decision in the Samsung V Apple patents trial; and will Sequoia include Europe in a major new international fund worth close to US$1bn?

How Hollywood Is Encouraging Online Piracy

Scientific American had a very interesting article about how Hollywood may be ushering in its own demise.

According to the article the streaming industry is booming and the logic is the more movies people rent the more money the movie industry can make. Right?

Wrong. Apparently this hasn’t occurred to the movie moguls yet.

“The people want movies. None of Hollywood’s baffling legal constructs will stop the demand. The studios are trying to prevent a dam from bursting by putting up a picket fence. And if you don’t make your product available legally, guess what? The people will get it illegally,” Scientific American warns.

Samsung V Apple jurors speak out

On Friday night/Saturday morning the world learnt of the decisions made by the jury in the Samsung/Apple case in San Jose, resulting in a deluge of coverage and analysis.

One of the more interesting stories to come out of the case in the hours to follow was a report by CNET where it reports how one of the jury members, a San Jose resident who had undergone the process of securing a patent on an invention, played an integral role in guiding the other eight jury members towards their decision. Others worked for telecoms companies and one was an electrical engineer.

Ultimately, it appears, a jury in a place like San Jose are quite a cut above the rest and you can imagine that in the spiritual home of Silicon Valley it is quite likely that a jury is likely to include an inventor or two – with the upshot that there is a reverend respect for intellectual property.

“We found for Apple because of the evidence they presented,” juror Manuel Ilagan said in an interview with CNET. “It was clear there was infringement.”

In another report carried by the San Jose Mercury News, jury foreman Velvin Hogan said: “It became clear Samsung in some cases chose to ignore when it knew or should have known what they were doing in their products was infringing on” Apple’s intellectual property rights, Hogan said. “They had time internally to make some changes to avoid the (legal problems). In our way of thinking, they took a calculated risk.”

Samsung V Apple – a verdict that may alter an industry

The New York Times in its editorial on the verdict in the Samsung V Apple case said on Saturday that it is a verdict that will alter an entire industry.

“For Samsung, which lost on almost every count in the closely watched trial in San Jose, Calif., and was ordered to pay more than $1 billion in damages, the implications are more obvious. It will have to be cautious in how it designs products to avoid being accused of imitating Apple.

Other makers may become more cautious, too. Google, which makes the Android software that runs at the core of Samsung phones, will clearly feel an impact through its hardware-making partner. Microsoft however, which is attempting to enter the market with new software, will feel less of an effect, industry experts said.”

Has Sequoia overlooked Europe with US$975m uber-fund?

Influential Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital has raised a US$975m venture capital fund focused on international investments and plans to invest in China, Israel and the US, according to TechCrunch.

Okay, so what’s wrong with this picture?

Where is Europe in all of this? Europe has been home to major tech success stories of recent years from Skype to Rovio and Spotify and many others. Surely Sequoia couldn’t overlook Europe?

Hopefully the dust will settle and Sequoia will have a fund for Europe in the works. According to TechCrunch: “We’ve heard that the firm has raised three separate funds for U.S., China and Israeli investments. Our sources say that Sequoia has already raised $450 million for a U.S. venture fund, $325 million for a China venture fund, and $200 million for a fund for Israel-based venture investments. While the amount has already been raised, the funds will be closed in the next month, we hear.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years