First, music geeks. Then, the world. Apple's iCloud and Google Music Beta helped catapult cloud-based storage into the mainstream lexicon last year, allowing users to store downloaded tracks online and access them on myriad devices. That's only the beginning, says Gartner.
Sales of music CDs have fallen precipitously over the past decade. Pushed to the brink by online file-sharing, piracy and, one may argue, a matching drop-off in quality artists, even customers who wanted to continue buying CDs found their efforts thwarted: record stores around the U.S. closed as their cash registers dried up. The NPD Group claims the tide is turning, with growth reported within both physical and digital sectors last year.
U.S. authorities have taken the next step in their effort to bring MegaUpload founder and accused copyright infringer Kim Dotcom to justice, filing an official extradition request with a New Zealand court this weekend.
Where do you go to buy music and movies? Chances are, not to a brick-and-mortar shop. Not anymore, anyway. Not when the Internet offers all those discs at better prices, minus that judgmental employee who smirks at your every purchase. But despite the digital entertainment revolution, some people still love hitting the local shops, touching the merchandise and, of course, putting that obnoxious worker in his place. And in 2011, they did. Trans World Entertainment, which continues to operate more than 400 For Your Entertainment (F.Y.E.) and Suncoast locations, posted net income boosts last year.
Nobody wanted the anti-piracy SOPA and PROTECT IP bills to pass more than the Recording Industry Association of America. Well, beside the MPAA. The music organization's CEO Cary Sherman on Thursday blamed a purposeful misinformation campaign for lawmakers' failure to pass both.
A UK court sided on Monday with Sony Music, EMI and several other major record companies in a case against six major Internet service providers which could push The Pirate Bay further onto the fringes of the Internet. The London High Court's Justice Arnold stated that he believes the infamous Swedish torrent site actively engages in wide-scale copyright infringement.
iTunes Match seems like a fantastic idea. Pay $25 a year, get all of your tracks up in the cloud either by having them recognized or by uploading them, and then you are free to download them to your iPhone at a moments notice. It seems the service isn't exactly perfect with a frustrating glitch being discovered that converts explicit versions of songs to clean versions.
The Pirate Bay took a drastic step this week and switched domains. Rather than its usual .org TLD, the torrent site is now flying its skull and crossbones under Sweden's .se country code. The swap shouldn't be seen as a sign of weakness, said the site's admins, but a message: they aren't going anywhere.
The Recording Industry Association of America believes the death of Megaupload could lead to a jump in legal purchases as customers turn to iTunes and others for their digital music needs.
Ditching the illegal but keeping the free, infamous Swedish torrent depot The Pirate Bay announced on Monday an initiative dubbed "The Promo Bay" to help new and struggling musicians and filmmakers. The ongoing contest will offer the site's own home page to lucky winners.
The Motion Picture Association of America criticized this week the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN), calling it a "distraction" to legitimate anti-piracy legislation. Introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa and backed by Sen. Ron Wyden, the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN) was designed as an alternative to PROTECT IP and SOPA, which many fear could lead to online censorship and the unfair targeting of legitimate sites.
Mark L. Shurtleff is no fan of Internet piracy. In an editorial for The Salt Lake Tribune last week, Shurtleff called online counterfeiters and rogue foreign sites a threat to safety, innovation and the local economy. His solution? The Senate should pass PROTECT IP, and the House should pass SOPA.
Spain has stepped up and added itself to the growing list of countries that are experimenting with new techniques to clamp down on piracy and counterfeiting. The country's ruling administration, Partido Popular, has pushed through an anti-piracy measure that will make it quicker and easier for copyright holders to shut down infringing websites.
E-retailers raked in the dough in what was one of the busiest online shopping seasons in recent years. According to research firm comScore, cyber shoppers in the U.S. spent over $35 billion from November 1 to Christmas Day - a 15 percent increase over last year's figures.
Skrillex wants you to dance to his music, even if you didn't pay for it. The electronica musician issued a bold statement to his fans over the holiday weekend, telling them he doesn't mind if they pirate his work.
Chairman of the non-profit Internet Systems Consortium Paul Vixie is far from sold on H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act. On the contrary, the web guru believes the anti-piracy bill and its Senate-based sibling PROTECT IP will do little to prevent consumers from illegally downloading content. If someone is determined to pirate a new movie or album, said Vixie, they're going to find a way to do it.

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