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Tuesday News: Amazon buys Twitch, Superman sells for $3.2 million, hilarious author satire, and a chocolate bathroom

Tuesday News: Amazon buys Twitch, Superman sells for $3.2 million, hilarious...

Amazon is clearly very keen to get into gaming. It created its in-house gaming studio back in 2012 and has made a few lightweight Facebook and mobile games since then. It signaled it was getting more serious with the acquisition of Killer Instinct developer Double Helix Games and hiring of Kim Swift, the designer behind the classic Portal game. The company’s new Fire TV offered a selection of games created by Amazon’s in-house team and even has a Amazon joystick you can buy separately, hinting at aspirations to compete with consoles like the Xbox and PlayStation. The company already sells everything under the sun, so it only makes sense for them to add games to the books, films, and TV shows they offer, but getting the love and respect of that community is tough. Twitch has gamer support in spades. According to a source familiar with the deal, Amazon is the biggest digital distributor of games after Valve’s Steam store, and it believes Twitch could help it to capture even more of that market. –The Verge

“This was a record auction for eBay as it was the most expensive comic book ever sold on our marketplace,” Gene Cook, general manager of emerging verticals for eBay Marketplaces, said in a statement. “The sale of Action Comics No. 1 is a prime example of how eBay plays a role in popular culture by connecting shoppers to must-have merchandise, including rare and valuable collectibles. This was an extraordinary opportunity to bring a comic — one that has captured the attention of passionate collectors and casual fans alike.” –CNET

You could unfollow Todd Manly-Krauss, and perhaps you really should. It would be better for your mental health and your blood pressure. But somewhere along the way (and this is what kills you) his posts have convinced you that he’s areally important writer. That this is someone you want and need to be friends with, because he’s a powerful taste-maker, one of the great minds of our generation. You know it isn’t true—his work is good but not your favorite—and yet it’s like he’s brainwashed you. –Ploughshares Literary Magazine

Because who hasn’t dreamed of dropping off some of their own fudge bars in a melting chocolate crapper, UK chocolatiers Choccywoccydoodah and Bathrooms.com teamed up to make a toilet, bidet, sink and bathtub entirely out of Belgian chocolate. All the fixtures together contain about 9.4-million calories and cost $133,000. For reference, that’s $133,000 outside of my chocolate bathroom budget. –Geekologie

Thursday News: SCOTUS rules against Aereo, unanswered questions from the Aereo ruling, SCOTUS may hear Marvel case, and the In Death books may finally come to film

Thursday News: SCOTUS rules against Aereo, unanswered questions from the Aereo...

Aereo Loses at Supreme Court, in Victory for TV Broadcasters – So I don’t know how many of you were surprised by the Supreme Court’s ruling against Aereo, but I do hope the ruling encourages more debate and discussion around how to “enable choice and freedom” in media presentation. Aereo was founded on that ideal, and in an environment where cable and satellite television dominate the market (in the US, at least), we *need* more breadth and diversity.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer, writing for the majority, said the service was “not simply an equipment provider,” but acted like a cable system in that it transmitted copyrighted content. “Insofar as there are differences,” he wrote, “those differences concern not the nature of the service that Aereo provides so much as the technological manner in which it provides the service.”

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At the hearing in April, the justices had expressed concern that a ruling against Aereo would stifle technological innovation — a concern echoed throughout the tech industry. Justice Breyer took pains on Wednesday to say the decision was limited to Aereo’s service. “We believe that resolution of questions about cloud computing, remote storage DVRs and other novel matters not now before us should await a case in which they are clearly presented,” he said in announcing the decision from the bench. –New York Times

Four Unanswered Questions From Aereo’s Supreme Court Loss – This is a really nice piece that attempts a preliminary answer to four questions in the wake of the Aereo ruling, from the one below, to the legality of DVR and streaming services, and the major concern with the effect this ruling will have on innovation. Not only is there some great legal context here, there is also a pretty nice explanation of the issues and the significance of the ruling for those who are not necessarily familiar with the case.

1) Who took the legally significant action? It’s one of the most fundamental, yet unresolved, questions of Internet law: if online content is infringing, who bears legal responsibility? Is it the uploader, the downloader, one or more intermediaries helping move the content from uploader to downloader, all of the above, none of the above, or some subset of these parties? This “whodunit” question online has vexed courts for more than 20 years, and this ruling will likely exacerbate the confusion. –Forbes

Hollywood Guilds Want Supreme Court to Hear Marvel Characters Dispute – According to the Hollywood Guild, which represents artistic creators, a 2013 ruling by the 2nd Circuit “jeopardizes the statutory termination rights that many Guild members may possess in works they created.” The issue is related to a perceived trade-off within the lengthened copyright period, such that creators who have sold their rights to studios and other corporations can terminate those rights in the later years (reversion). Jack Kirby’s estate is heading the charge here, and their objection to the idea that Kirby’s creations are merely works for hire and therefore not eligible for termination and reversion of rights is getting a good deal of support and momentum toward the high court. Should SCOTUS reverse the appeals court ruling, the implications for other licensed works could be substantial.

Now that the high court might potentially review working agreements in Hollywood, SAG-AFTRA, the DGA and the WGA are weighing in on what they say is a “critically important case.” Lest anyone think that the ability to reclaim rights from studios is something merely for comic book artists, the guilds say the 2nd Circuit’s 2013 ruling “jeopardizes the statutory termination rights that many Guild members may possess in works they created.”

Similar to the amicus briefs already filed, the guilds argue that works made for hire are the product of traditional employment relationships, and that to extend the interpretation broadly to commissioned works as well would be a consequential power shift in the entertainment industry. –Hollywood Reporter

Let’s All Take A Deep Breath – So there seems to be some movement in the seemingly never-ending saga of turning the In Death books into film(s). I’ll likely be in the camp that will be critical of anyone/everyone cast in the main roles, because, over the course of 30-something books, the characters have taken on a pretty defined shape in my head. I long ago accepted that I am likely not a member of the audience for this particular film project. Although I can’t say that I was surprised at the vehemence of some of the reactions.

Yesterday we announced on the JD Robb Facebook page that Amber Entertainment has optioned the In Death books. And the comment section exploded. Reactions ranged from excitement and delight to abject despair and even anger–with every possible emotion that falls between. Casting suggestions (and demands) flew like grapeshot.

I’m going to take this opportunity to address some of those concerns, suggestions, demands. –Fall Into The Story