Amazon has launched Watch Party. This is a new feature that lets you watch movies and TV shows with family and friends online. Amazon describes Watch Parties as “a fun new way to enjoy your favorite shows with your favorite people, wherever you are.”
Helping People Carry on Watching TV Together
With much of the world having spent the last few months locked down due to COVID-19, streaming services have had to react. First, they lowered bitrates to conserve bandwidth. Then, in an effort to help people socialize from home, some have launched new features.
Netflix has Netflix Party, Plex has Watch Together, and now Amazon has Watch Party. Which, as the name suggests, lets you watch movies and TV shows together online with up to 100 friends. You can even chat about what you’re watching together.
How to Host a Watch Party on Amazon Prime Video
To host a Watch Party on Prime Video, first, sign into Amazon on a desktop browser and head to the Prime Video section of the website. Then, find the movie or (individual episode of a) TV show you want to watch and click the Watch Party icon.
Next, enter the name you would like to use in the chat, and click Create Watch Party. Copy the link to your Watch Party and share it with family and friends. Then, once everyone has joined, start your Watch Party. NB: Only the host can control playback.
How to Fix Amazon Prime Video If It Isn’t Working
Watch Parties are currently only available in the US, with no plans to launch the feature elsewhere. As well as being in the US you’ll need to be an Amazon Prime member. Watch Parties are also only available on desktop browsers, with no mobile support.
If you run into any trouble while hosting (or participating in) a Watch Party, here’s how to fix Amazon Prime Video when it isn’t working. We can’t guarantee to fix the problem, but our troubleshooting guide should at least point you in the right direction.
Read the full article: You Can Now Host Watch Parties on Amazon Prime Video
In those cases, Amazon is always on the offensive but in a lawsuit filed in a New York court, the company itself is being targeted for distributing copyrighted works for which it doesn’t hold a license.
The complaint was filed by Ralf Hartmann (RH), who previously acted as CEO for German film investor CP Medien. Around ten years ago, when CP Medien was being wound up, it was reported that Hartmann would continue working in the film industry through the CP Medien subsidiary Capella Films.
How that venture panned out isn’t clear but according to the lawsuit, Capella Films “assigned, transferred and sold” all of its interests in several films to Hartmann. The rights acquired by Hartmann included copyrights and exclusive reproduction and distribution rights. It’s alleged that these rights have been breached by Amazon after the company distributed copies of several movies to the public via its streaming service.
Amazon Streamed Unlicensed Movies in the US and Overseas
“Beginning in July 2017, Defendants, without obtaining either license or authorization from RH, made the motion pictures “Commander Hamilton” and “After the Rain” available for digital distribution either via streaming on demand, and/or for rent or sale on its Prime Video service in the United States,” the complaint reads.
It’s alleged that these two titles were rented and/or purchased at least hundreds of times by Prime Video subscribers.
Noting the worldwide reach of Amazon’s streaming service, the lawsuit claims that from July 2017, Amazon made the movies After the Rain, Commander Hamilton, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, and Drop Dead Gorgeous available for digital distribution (either via streaming and/or rent from Prime Video) in overseas countries including the UK, Germany and Australia. These are estimated to have been sold or streamed “thousands of times”.
Hartmann says that since these titles were stored on Amazon’s servers in the United States and streamed to both local and overseas customers without a proper license, this constitutes breaches of the US Copyright Act. There appears to be a lack of clarity when it comes to the scale of the alleged infringement so Hartmann hopes to learn the scale of the alleged infringement through discovery.
Direct and Contributory Infringement in the United States
Alleging direct infringement in the United States, the lawsuit claims that “Commander Hamilton” and “After the Rain” were distributed willfully and intentionally in the country and as a result, Hartmann is entitled to statutory damages of $150,000 per infringed work or actual damages and Amazon’s profits from infringement to be determined at trial.
Claiming acts of contributory copyright infringement in the United States, the lawsuit says that by “facilitating, managing or directing unauthorized distributions” of these two unlicensed movies, Amazon materially contributed to copyright infringements carried out by Prime Video subscribers via the Amazon.com website or the company’s streaming app.
“Each unlawful distribution of the Motion Pictures Commander Hamilton and After the Rain — whether by on demand stream, rental and/or sale — constitutes a separate act of contributory infringement for which Plaintiff is entitled to actual damages,” the lawsuit adds, noting that for each work it can claim maximum statutory damages of $150,000.
Infringement in the United States and Overseas
Hartmann’s third claim details alleged contributory copyright infringement in respect of movies streamed to foreign users from Amazon’s servers in the United States, for which $150,000 per work infringed is again claimed.
“Because copies of these four Motion Pictures – Commander Hamilton, After the Rain, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery and Drop Dead Gorgeous – were without RH’s license or authorization, hosted on Defendants’ servers based in the United States and then distributed from these servers to Prime Video subscribers in Foreign Countries, each such distribution…was a violation of the Copyright Act,” the claims states.
Vicarious Infringement in the US and Infringement Overseas
Claim four asserts that by failing to control the conduct of Amazon Digital, Amazon is vicariously liable for the direct copyright infringement of Amazon Digital by streaming the two movies in the US via the Prime Video service.
Noting that all of the movies listed in the third claim were hosted in the United States and streamed to customers overseas, Hartmann says he is also entitled to damages under the copyright laws of foreign countries.
Request For Judgment Against Amazon.com and Amazon Digital
In conclusion, the lawsuit seeks an order from the court that the defendants infringed the plaintiff’s copyrights and that since that infringement was willful, damages should be “increased and trebled”. Amazon is yet to file its response.
The complaint and can be found here (pdf)
From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.
John Ruskin, one of the most famous art critics of Victorian England, once said that there is no such thing as bad weather; only different kinds of good weather. Unfortunately, if you’re stuck waiting for a bus that’s half an hour late on a wet and cold December morning, you’ll probably disagree.
Thankfully, weather forecasting has improved quite a bit over the last 20 years. So whether you’re a first-time weather app user or a fully-fledged weather addict, keep reading. We’ll introduce you to the best weather apps on Android so you’ll never be caught without an umbrella again.
1Weather is one of the most popular weather apps for Android. It offers 12-week extended forecasts, 48-hour detailed forecasts, hyper-local severe weather warnings, and other useful information such as the UV index, dew point, humidity, pressure, and visibility.
The app also includes 10 fully customizable widgets, Creative Commons background imagery, and access to live local radar with more than 25 layers. The app is ad-supported but you can pay a few dollars to remove them.
Download: 1Weather (Free, premium version available)
Like Accuweather, WeatherBug is a long-time favorite of Android users. It was one of the first full-featured weather apps available for the platform.
One of its best features is a lightning alert that tells you exactly how far away a storm is and if you or your property is in danger of getting hit. It also has a home energy meter that calculates how much your heating or air conditioning bill is likely to be, which helps keep you comfortable during extreme conditions.
You also have access to a layered map that lets let you add information such as radar, humidity, pressure, wind speed, high/low forecast, and satellite imaging. Rounding out its feature set is access to traffic cameras that give you an immediate view of real-time weather in any given location.
Download: WeatherBug (Free, in-app purchases available)
Accuweather is another of the best weather apps on Android. Although most people only associate the brand with the smartphone app and website, the company has actually been in existence since 1962 when it started out offering weather forecasting services to private companies.
All the features you’d expect are present. You can get local and global weather forecasts, minute-by-minute live weather updates, and severe weather warnings.
Make sure you also check out the app’s real-feel feature. It analyzes several contributing factors to tell you what the temperature feels like outside, even if that’s different from the thermometer reading.
Download: Accuweather (Free, in-app purchases available)
4. The Weather Channel
Unsurprisingly, The Weather Channel app is a popular source for Android weather. It’s the official offering from the US weather TV network of the same name.
The app offers the standard fare of hourly, 36-hour, and 10-day forecasts, along with the temperature, humidity, dew points, sunrise and sunset times, wind speeds, UV indexes, visibility, and barometric pressures. It really comes into its own, however, with some of the additional features.
They include pollen indexes, a “running index” so you know whether it’s a good time to go for a jog, a hurricane hub, rain alerts, and a full-featured radar.
Download: The Weather Channel (Free, in-app purchases available)
5. Yahoo Weather
Yahoo Weather is one of the few Android weather apps that doesn’t offer in-app purchases to unlock all its features—it is completely free to use.
It offers 10-day and 24-hour temperature forecasts, interactive live radars, satellite maps, wind maps, heat maps, the UV index, pressure readings, and severe weather alerts.
Along with 1Weather, Yahoo Weather has some of the best Android weather widgets; they’re great for people who like to monitor the weather conditions directly from their device’s home screen.
Another popular feature is the awesome photos that appear throughout the app. They match your location, time of day, and current weather.
Download: Yahoo Weather (Free)
6. Hurricane Tracker
Hurricanes are an annual reality for a large amount of the world’s population. And sadly, those who live in cities such as Tampa, Miami, Houston, and New Orleans are some of the most at-risk people on the planet.
Hurricane Tracker is the best hurricane-focused app in the Google Play Store. It offers real-time updates from the National Hurricane Center during major storms, impact potential maps, access to more than 65 tracking tools and radar overlays, satellite images, and written articles from the company’s team of hurricane experts.
The app only covers hurricanes in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific basins. If you live in Asia or Australia, you’ll need to use other resources.
Download: Hurricane Tracker ($3.99, in-app purchases available)
7. Today Weather
If you’re a weather affocionado, chances are that you’be heard about the demise of the once-popular Dark Sky weather app on Android. In mid-2020, Apple bought it; the app was subsequently delisted from the Google Play Store.
What’s perhaps less well-known is that a lot of weather apps rely on Dark Sky’s API for their forecasts. The API will stop working in mid-2021, and its shuttering threatens to shake up the market.
If you want to future-proof yourself, check out Today Weather. Not only is the app packed with useful features, but it draws on more than 10 APIs for its data, including the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, National Weather Service, Accuweather, and Open Weather Map.
Dark Sky is still currently one of the 10. But all the backups mean you won’t notice a difference when Apple eventually turns off the API.
Download: Today Weather (Free, in-app purchases available)
Thermometer, obviously, doesn’t function as an actual thermometer. But it is the only Android weather app that pinpoints your exact location and delivers a temperature reading accurate to the nearest tenth degree. These temperature readings aren’t cached and they aren’t hours old—they’re current at the time you see them.
If all you care about is the temperature, Thermometer is the perfect app for you. The in-app purchases let you remove ads, provide faster readings, offer more themes, and give access to customer support.
Download: Thermometer (Free, in-app purchases available)
9. Rainy Days
Rainy Days is different from most Android weather apps in that it focuses specifically on the radar map. It doesn’t interpret the data for you or lay out forecasts and predictions. Instead, it shows you as much accurate radar data as it can, then lets you interpret it for yourself.
It pulls data from multiple sources and combines the data with Google Maps, providing you with a powerful system for navigating and interacting with the radar data. The app only supports Europe, the US, Africa, and Australia.
Download: Rainy Days (Free, in-app purchases available)
Does Weather Have to Be So Serious?
While all the apps we’ve recommended are feature-rich and well-presented, they are all fairly analogous. They have far more similarities than differences.
If you’d like to try something different, why not check out some of the best funny weather apps? They make even the worst weather forecast seem far more entertaining.
Read the full article: The 9 Best Weather Apps for Android