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Viacom tries to revive lawsuit to get damages from YouTube

Viacom Inc., the owner of MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, is trying to revive a federal lawsuit that seeks more than $1 billion in damages from YouTube for showing tens of thousands of pirated video clips from its shows.

The challenge filed Friday in a federal appeals court in New York had been expected since a June ruling rebuffed Viacom’s copyright infringement lawsuit against YouTube and its owner, Google Inc.

The case revolves around the premise that YouTube became the world’s leading online video channel after its 2005 inception by turning a blind eye to the rampant piracy on its site.

Viacom argued that YouTube’s founders realized the copyright-protected clips from shows such as Viacom’s “The Daily Show” attracted far more viewers than the amateur video of cute kittens and angst-ridden teenagers.


Inspector general’s office sees errors in awarding airport cash

The Federal Aviation Administration didn’t follow rules or made errors two years ago when awarding an estimated $161 million to airports for improvement projects, a government watchdog said Friday.

The FAA failed to document spending in some cases, while in others money was awarded to projects ineligible for funding, said a report by the Transportation Department’s inspector general’s office. In a few cases, duplicate or overpayments payments were made, the report said

The inspector general reviewed a sample of 26 grants made in the 16 months ending Sept. 30, 2008. Based on the sample, the report estimated that 5 percent of $3.2 billion in electronic payments were awarded improperly.

FAA officials have told the inspector general their analysis shows improper awards could have been as low as $47 million.

The FAA said steps have already been taken to improve the program’s record-keeping and documentation.


One-time file-swapping enabler LimeWire announces shutdown

Lime Group, whose LimeWire software was barred from letting people share copyright-protected files over the Internet, will shutter the rest of its operations on Dec. 31, the company said Friday.

LimeWire, which enabled people to share copyright-protected songs and other files, received a federal injunction in October. The company said then that it would continue developing a new, legal service that would include a desktop player, mobile apps and a catalog of music from which people could stream and download songs.

“As a result of our current legal situation, we have no choice but to wind down LimeWire Store operations,” spokeswoman Tiffany Guarnaccia said Friday. “Given our current situation, plans to bring our separate, legal music service to market, have been canceled.”


Amazon invests $175 million in coupon service LivingSocial

Amazon.com Inc. late Thursday said it invested $175 million in social coupon service LivingSocial — the latest sign that the online retailer is delving into promising new methods of e-commerce.

Similar to popular online coupon site Groupon, LivingSocial lets users sign up for daily discounts that are generally for 50 to 70 percent off at local businesses, such as pizzerias and hair salons. People who refer three friends who end up buying the same deal get the deal free.

The investment comes as published reports say Google Inc. may be close to buying Groupon, which launched in late 2008 and kick-started the market for group discounts online, in a deal worth as much as $6 billion.

Neither company has commented on the reports.

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