Wires Crossed #126 – August 5

Will Google Glasses be banned; actor has a crack and Sony investor; Apple brings in the big guns to overturn trade ban.

 

By Mike Wheeler

 

Google Glass Facing Ban?
Britain is looking at banning people from using Google Glasses when driving as authorities have put it in the same basket as a mobile phone – ie a distraction that could impact on driver safety. Google Glass has a navigation mode that allows wearers to use it like a GPS. Fans of the glasses might argue that the distraction value of the device is minimal when compared to a smartphone as the directions are not as comprehensive as a GPS, and therefore not the visual distraction a smartphone can be. Nothing is set in concrete yet, but we’re sure other government bodies in other countries – as well as Google – will look on with interest at the arguments for and against any legislation that it passed.

 

Obama’s Man Intervenes On Behalf Of Apple
It’s nice if you can get the backing of your government, especially when in a dispute with your main rival from another country. Apple was told it could no longer sell some of its iPads and iPhone products in the US after they were banned by the US International Trade Commission (ITC) over a patent dispute with Samsung. However, far from being contrite, Apple cried foul, and now US Trade Representative (ie, President Barack Obama’s man) vetoed the ITC’s decision because it would affect “the competitive conditions in the US economy and … [therefore] US consumers". In other words, people would no longer have a choice from the two biggest manufacturers of smartphones and tablets in the US.

 

Clooney Gives Serve Sony Investor
There is no doubt Sony has been doing it hard over the past few years. From its gaming business through to films, things have not exactly been rosy. However, an investor in the company has drawn the ire of Academy Award winning actor/writer/director George Clooney. Daniel Loeb, via his Third Point Capital hedge fund, owns seven percent of the company and wants more accountability from execs and also has mooted that the company should be split into various entities. All of which has drawn the ire of Clooney. The actor points out that somebody who runs a high-risk venture like a hedge fund shouldn’t be throwing stones in glass houses. It’s hard to argue with that considering what happened with the GFC in 2008, the effects of which are still being felt today.

 

EA Loses Against Athletes
This is something that could have ramifications down the road as Electronic Arts and other gaming publishers as an American Appeals Court says college athletes are free to sue the company over images it uses in it sports-orientated games. While the athletes are never named in the games, one such athlete, former Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller, alleges that they have copied his likeness without his permission. Two of the three judges agree and say the suit can go ahead.  In related litigation, former NFL player Jim Brown lost his case where he alleged that EA had used his image against his wishes on their Madden NFL game. The findings basically said that the way in which EA had used the image was protected under the United States first amendment.

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