Ooyala boosts viewer engagement 4X with new, personalized, video discovery tools

If you’ve been by the websites of big names like ESPN, Rolling Stone or Victoria’s Secret (not guilty) then you’ve probably watched video powered by Ooyala’s white label service. Today the company is rolling out a new set of tools that personalizes that experience for each user, an update the company says has boosted engagement four fold among its beta testers.

Spotify’s new Play button brings millions of tracks beyond Facebook to the open web

Spotify continues to push the boundaries of streaming music. This morning it released the “Play” button, a widget that lets people embed songs from Spotify on any website. You need at least a free Spotify account to listen, which will no doubt help to grow the company’s user base. It also means there is now a simple, legal way to bring millions of music tracks to any site.

Google, Facebook and the MPAA take sides in a copyright case over the DMCA safe harbor

Big dogs like Google, Facebook, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and now the Motion Picture Association of America have all filed briefs in an obscure copyright case currently being heard by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. At stake: what does a service have to do when a takedown notice is filed, and should that site have an additional burden to block repeat offenders?

Everything you need to know about getting into digital comic books

I have about 16 long boxes filled with comic books that are trapped with in plastic covered sleeves that haven’t been touched in well over five years now. Every time I move, I contemplate selling them off or donating them to an organization that wouldn’t just throw them away. I no longer even use the custom comic book boxes, nor do I protect them in shiny plastic with cardboard backings. I do, however, enjoy reading comics, which is why I’ve never been able to give them up. So, the thought of getting my comic books digitally was very appealing to me.

Kony 2012: Part II debuts in a defense against internet critics

The Kony 2012 video, a slick production whose aim is to use the internet to stop an African military leader with a host of human rights violations, took off like wildfire on social media after it debuted on March 5. The video generated more than 100 million views on YouTube and Vimeo, and it started a huge social media campaign to put an end to the reign of leader Joseph Kony, head of the Lord’s Resistance Army that operates in four African nations.

Forget Hollywood — U.S. startups are in dire need of copyright protection

The recent debate over SOPA, PIPA, and OPEN has left a bitter taste among those who think the tech industry is in desperate need of intellectual property reform. Add to it the recent shutdown of Megaupload and big-time patent disputes, and it’s easy to see how IP enforcement has become a weapon that threatens technological innovation in a way like never before. Despite the mess, a recent trend has left many startups crying out for greater copyright/IP protection: the rise of copycat kings like Rocket Internet in Germany, Fast Lane Ventures in Russia, and others in China, who are quick to “clone” successful U.S. businesses like Pinterest, Fab.com, Airbnb, Groupon, and Zappos in overseas markets. And I’m not just talking about taking an idea and tweaking it; this is about copying a site’s entire design, layout, and logo almost pixel for pixel and coming up with some uninspired derivative name (e.g., “Pinspire” instead of Pinterest, “Zolando” instead of Zappos) that reeks of being a cheap knock-off.