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New E-commerce fulfilment survey finds evidence of retailer growing pains

Business is booming for online retailers but only half are happy with their fulfilment operationsLondon – 19 June 2017: Business is booming for e-commerce retailers according to a new global* market study announced today by Peoplevox, a leading expert e-commerce Warehouse Management System (WMS) provider.Peoplevoxrsquo;s “The 2017 E-Commerce Fulfilment Reportrdquo; found sales of 82% of the e-commerce and multichannel businesses taking part had increased in 2016, with only 6% reporting a decrease in orders. While... Source: RealWire

Viacom wants to leave sports in the dust with future $20...

How many people really want cable TV with no live sports?

UNICOM Systems Announces New Release of Multichannel Bank Transformation Toolkit acquired...

Application modernization software now supports Docker containers for easier cloud and on-premises deploymentsMISSION HILLS, CA – March 22, 2017 – UNICOM Systems, Inc. has today announced a new release of the UNICOM® Multichannel Bank Transformation Toolkit, which was acquired from IBM Corporation in March 2016. New features have been added to enhance performance and usability, as well as support for Docker Containers to allow faster, easier deployment of applications both in cloud environments and on... Source: RealWire

Trump team reportedly wants to strip FCC of consumer protection powers

Enlarge / President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York City.Getty Images | Drew Angerer reader comments 13 Share this story President-elect Donald Trump's transition team is reportedly pushing a proposal to strip the Federal Communications Commission of its role in overseeing competition and consumer protection. Multichannel News has what it calls an exclusive report that says the incoming Trump administration has "signed off on an approach to remaking the Federal Communications Commission." The plan, offered by transition team members appointed by Trump, "squares with the deregulatory philosophies of FCC Republicans Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly," who will take a 2-1 majority after Trump's inauguration on Friday, the report said. Besides restructuring FCC bureaus, the majority of the transition team wants to "eventually move functions deemed 'duplicative,' like, say, competition and consumer protection, to other agencies, particularly the Federal Trade Commission," Multichannel news reported.

The story cites "sources familiar" with a recent meeting involving Trump officials and FCC transition team members.

The Trump team has not made any on-the-record statements about specific plans for the FCC. Pai and O'Rielly have already promised to take a deregulatory approach to broadband and telecom industries, and it's within their power to do so.

But that doesn't mean the Trump administration could unilaterally reduce the FCC's authority in such a way that the changes last beyond Trump's presidency. Congress would have to be involved in a permanent reduction of FCC authority, though that isn't inconceivable as Congressional Republicans have previously said they'd like to overhaul the Communications Act that gives the FCC its authority. The FCC transition team appointed by Trump has six people including three individuals affiliated with the conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI), namely Roslyn Layton, Jeffrey Eisenach, and Mark Jamison.

The majority plan offered by the transition team "was said to dovetail with comments from Eisenach and Layton to Congress in 2014," which said FCC "functions are largely duplicative of those of other agencies," Multichannel News reported. Bedrock principles are under assault, advocate says Harold Feld, senior VP of consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge, called this plan "a declaration of war on the most basic principles of universal service, consumer protection, competition, and public safety that have been the bipartisan core of the Communications Act for the last 80+ years." Feld argued that this proposal would "poison the well for any serious effort to update the Communications Act." Feld also worries about the impact on rural areas, which are given special protections in the Communications Act, he told Ars today. Feld said that the FCC itself has "considerable latitude" to limit its own enforcement actions "and to use rulemakings and forbearances to strip itself of authority," but it still has to meet the requirements of the federal Administrative Procedures Act. Moreover, the proposal to shift FCC competition and consumer protection authority to agencies such as the FTC would require the writing of extremely complicated legislation in Congress, he said. "This level of radical restructuring makes the 1996 [Communications Act update] look trivial," Feld said. The Trump team isn't unanimously on board with the plan described by Multichannel News.

A minority plan was offered by transition team member David Morken to "preserv[e] network neutrality rules [and] mak[e] the FCC a cabinet-level agency with increased funding," the news site said. Morken, the founder of Bandwidth.com and Republic Wireless, recently told The Wall Street Journal that "traditional Republican telecom policy has favored incumbents who are heavily engaged in regulatory capture over innovators like us." We'll find out more about the FCC's future direction sometime after the inauguration, but for now it seems clear that the agency will take a sharp turn away from the regulatory approach of Democratic Chairman Tom Wheeler, who will leave the agency this week.

Consumer advocacy groups and Democratic members of Congress can be expected to oppose attempts to weaken FCC authority and repeal or replace network neutrality rules.

But they will face a difficult fight with Republicans in control of the presidency, Congress, and the FCC. The FCC normally has five members, but it will get by with just three (Pai, O'Rielly, and Democrat Mignon Clyburn) until there are long-term replacements for Wheeler and Jessica Rosenworcel, another Democrat whose term recently expired. Republicans will have a 3-2 majority once new appointments are made.

Computop and AsiaPay Partner to Enable Retailers to Safely and Effectively...

Bamberg and Hong Kong – December 15, 2016 – Computop, a leading payment service provider, and AsiaPay, one of Asia-Pacific’s most distinguished payment service providers, today announced their new strategic partnership.

The relationship enables retailers to securely process payments in Asia-Pacific through Computop’s Paygate payment gateway using the payment methods that consumers in the region prefer and trust, helping to positively impact sales and the overall customer experience.A recent e-Marketer report noted that Asia-Pacific will remain the world’s largest retail e-commerce market, with sales expected to top $1 trillion in 2016 and more than double to $2.725 trillion by 2020.

Findings also noted that the region will see the fastest rise in retail e-commerce sales, increasing 31.5% this year.
In addition, according to a study by Kantar TNS, Asia-Pacific is leading the world in mobile payment with over half (53%) of connected consumers using their mobile phones to pay for goods or services at the point-of-sale via apps.

As such, the Computop and AsiaPay partnership enables retailers to capitalize on the growth opportunity that Asia-Pacific presents. “Expanding business into foreign markets may seem daunting, but working with companies that have a strong foothold in those regions and that understand the payment behaviors and preferences of consumers in those countries is key to retailer success,” said Ralf Gladis, CEO of Computop. “Through our partnership with AsiaPay, Computop is able to provide merchant customers with the opportunity to take advantage of Asia-Pacific consumers’ appetite for e-commerce. With Computop Paygate integrated with AsiaPay, retailers benefit from the secure payment options that southeast Asian consumers expect and trust.” “We are very honoured to be a strategic partner of Computop,” said Joseph Chan, CEO of AsiaPay. “Our company has more than 16 years of experience in credit card processing and international business service, giving us a solid position as a premier e-Payment player in the region.

Furthermore, we have a keen understanding of merchants’ payment requirements in the fast-paced e-commerce business environment. We believe that a strategic cooperation with Computop can help merchants improve their processing efficiency, thereby contributing to their business growth as well as support their global endeavor,” he added. Founded in 2000, AsiaPay offers secure and cost-effective electronic payment processing solutions and services to banks and e-businesses globally.

The company offers a variety of card payments, online bank transfers, e- wallets and cash payments across over 16 countries, including Hong Kong, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
It is a certified international 3-D secure vendor for VISA, MasterCard, American Express and JCB. Computop Paygate is a PCI-certified omnichannel payment platform that provides retailers with secure payment solutions and efficient fraud prevention for international markets.

Computop integrated AsiaPay into Paygate to offer merchants a wide range of payment methods in the Asia-Pacific region to support their cross-border and global commerce efforts. Payment methods available on Paygate include Alipay, American Express, JCB, Tenpay and WeChat, along with many other widely-accepted payment options that consumers in these countries use. About ComputopComputop is a leading global payment service provider (PSP) that provides compliant and secure solutions in the fields of e-commerce, POS, m-commerce and Mail Order and Telephone Order (MOTO).

The company, founded in 1997, is headquartered in Bamberg, Germany, with additional independent offices in China, the UK and the U.S.

Computop processes transactions totalling $24 billion per year for its client network of over 14,000 mid-size and large international merchants and global marketplace partners in industries such as retail, travel and gaming.

Global customers include C&A, Fossil, Metro Cash & Carry, Rakuten, Samsung and Swarovski.

Following the recent asset deal with the Otto Group, Computop is now processing payments for merchants that previously used EOS Payment, including all 100 Otto retail brands.
In cooperation with its network of financial and technology partners, which it has expanded over many years, Computop offers a comprehensive multichannel solution that is geared to the needs of today's market and provides merchants with seamlessly integrated payment processes. For further information, please visit www.computop.com. About AsiaPayFounded in 2000, AsiaPay, a premier electronic payment solution and technology vendor and payment service provider, strives to bring advanced, secure, integrated and cost-effective electronic payment processing solutions and services to banks, corporate and e-Businesses in the worldwide market, covering international credit card, China UnionPay (CUP) card, debit card and other prepaid card payments. AsiaPay is an accredited payment processor and payment gateway solution vendor for banks, certified IPSP for merchants, certified international 3-D Secure vendor for Visa, MasterCard, American Express and JCB.

AsiaPay offers its variety of award-winning payment solutions that are multi-currency, multi-lingual, multi-card and multi-channel, together with its advanced fraud detection and management solutions. Headquartered in Hong Kong, AsiaPay offers its professional e-Payment solution consultancy and quality local service support across its other 12 offices in Asia including: Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Mainland China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia and India.

For more information, please visit www.asiapay.com and www.paydollar.com. ### For further information, please contact:Jessica MularczykAscendant Communications, for Computop in the U.S.Tel: 508-498-9300E-mail: jmularczyk@ascendcomms.net Charlotte HansonAscendant Communications, for Computop in the UKTel: +44 (0) 208 334 8041E-mail: chanson@ascendcomms.net Valerie SanchezSenior Channel ManagerAsiaPayTel: (632) 887-2288E-mail: valerie.sanchez@asiapay.com Alvin ChanAssociate Director, Sales & MarketingAsiaPayTel: +852-2538 8278E-mail: alvin.chan@asiapay.com

FCC Chair Tom Wheeler won’t resign, for now, as FCC enters...

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.FCC reader comments 12 Share this story It looks like Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler will be staying on the FCC a bit longer, but his fellow Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel is on her way out. Wheeler last week said he was willing to step down immediately if the US Senate reconfirmed Rosenworcel to another five-year term.

But the Republican-controlled Senate took no action on Rosenworcel, who must leave the FCC at the end of December if she doesn't get another term. "The Senate wrapped up its business for the year shortly before 7am Saturday, leaving FCC Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel out of its end-of-year deal to advance some pending nominees," Politico reported.

The Senate could theoretically still reconfirm Rosenworcel by unanimous consent, but that isn't likely, Multichannel News explained. Republicans previously said they would not reconfirm Rosenworcel unless Wheeler resigned, because one Democrat must exit the FCC to let President-elect Donald Trump appoint a new Republican and give his party a 3-2 majority.

But by the time Wheeler promised to do so, Republicans had other ideas.

There wasn't enough time left in the Senate's session to handle Rosenworcel's confirmation, Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) said. Other Republicans supported taking no action on Rosenworcel because they hope both she and Wheeler will leave and give Republicans an immediate 2-1 majority. With Rosenworcel out, the commission would shift from a 3-2 Democratic majority to a 2-2 deadlock at the beginning of January.

The commission has already halted major rulemakings for the remainder of Obama's presidency at the request of Republicans in Congress. Wheeler now faces a choice of whether to remain on the commission after Trump's inauguration on January 20.

Trump can immediately appoint one of the commission's two Republicans to serve as interim chairman, but Wheeler doesn't have to leave the commission entirely. When contacted by Ars, a spokesperson for Wheeler declined comment on whether he will stay on the commission after the inauguration.

A spokesperson for Rosenworcel has not replied to Ars this morning. Commission chairs generally don't stay long after a new president takes office.

But Wheeler's term doesn't expire until 2018, and Rosenworcel's departure increases the likelihood that he will remain for part of Trump's presidency in order to preserve a 2-2 tie between Republicans and Democrats and delay the potential undoing of net neutrality rules and other major rulemakings passed under his chairmanship. But it's inevitable that Wheeler will find himself in the minority party after Trump appoints a third Republican commissioner.

A Senate confirmation could take several months, but Republicans in Congress will be eager to make it happen. Even if Wheeler stays on past the inauguration to temporarily preserve the 2-2 tie, he wouldn't necessarily remain on the commission through all of 2017. Once Republicans have their majority, they may be willing to vote on a new Democratic nominee to replace Wheeler as a minority party commissioner. Rosenworcel was criticized by some Democrats after holding up a proposal that would have required cable TV operators to make free TV applications that could replace rented set-top boxes.

But she was praised yesterday by House Commerce Committee ranking member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), who said that "Senate Republicans turned their backs on consumers by failing to reconfirm FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel for a second term." Citing Rosenworcel's advocacy for ending the "homework gap" that leaves poor schoolchildren without vital technology, Pallone said, "Her tireless efforts to protect consumers and lift up those in need exemplifies the type of first-rate public servant that Americans deserve.”

Computop Study Finds 62 Percent of Consumers Don’t Plan to Shop...

Security of Personal Data Online Remains High Concern for U.S. and UK Respondents as Newer Security Technologies are not Trusted

New York - November 9, 2016 - Computop, a leading payment service provider (PSP), today released the findings from a recent study of consumers and their expected shopping behaviors this holiday season as well as their online security concerns.
In a survey of over 1,900 consumers crossing the U.S. and UK, Computop found an overwhelming majority, 76 percent, planned to shop online this holiday season; however, 62 percent of those respondents overall don’t plan to shop on Cyber Monday, noting it doesn’t offer the deals it used to previously.

For the overall holiday shopping season this year, 55 percent of respondents said that they plan to spend the same amount online as last year, with 19 percent planning to spend more. With regards to Cyber Monday, it was an even split in the U.S., with 50 percent noting they plan to shop online then, and 50 percent saying they won’t.

The difference was much greater in the UK, with 77 percent of respondents saying they won’t shop online on Cyber Monday.

When asked about purchasing products online from retailers outside of their own country this holiday season, 50 percent of respondents said they were not interested in doing this as they have enough options domestically.

An additional 22 percent noted that they were concerned about the security of their payment data beyond their borders.

The statistics above may point to a broader uncertainty about the safety and security of consumers’ payment information online.

Following are additional findings from Computop’s study that also looked at consumers’ payment preferences and their thoughts on the security of their data when shopping online:

Security Concerns

  • When asked whether they are concerned about security when disclosing their credit card and bank information online, 74 percent of respondents overall agreed, with 45 percent of those strongly agreeing.
  • When shopping online, 71 percent of consumers confirmed that they check if the site has certificates like eTrust and SSL Certificate from Verisign, with 42 percent strongly agreeing that they do this.
  • In addition, 61 percent of shoppers confirmed that they have checked the liability policy of their preferred payment method provider or bank in the case of fraud.
  • When it comes to shopping at retailers that have recently experienced a data breach, more than half of respondents, 57 percent in total, agree that they would not shop with them, with almost a third, 31 percent, stating that they strongly agree that they would avoid that retailer.
  • While consumers have these security concerns, they aren’t necessarily interested in changing their behaviors to protect themselves.

    For example, when shopping online, consumers can opt to use retailers that offer in-store payments so they don’t have to disclose their financial information.

    Despite this, 41 percent of respondents indicated that they prefer not to.

    Also, when respondents were asked if they prefer to browse online and purchase in-store, again avoiding the need to submit financial details, 38 percent did not agree with doing this.
  • In addition, 51 percent of respondents confirmed that they did not have an insurance epolicy protecting them from liability in the case of credit card and/or banking fraud.

Payment Preferences

  • Trusted payment methods differed slightly between U.S. and UK respondents with regards to shopping online.
    In the U.S., 59 percent trust their credit card most, with 35 percent opting for PayPal and 27 percent choosing their debit card.
  • UK consumers trust PayPal more, with 50 percent selecting this option, followed by credit card (38 percent) and debit card (33 percent).

Security Authentication

  • When asked which security authentication features respondents would consider setting up for online purchases in the next 12 months, 35 percent said they would set up fingerprint IDs, 12 percent selected retina scans, 7 percent chose voice recognition and 2 percent noted pay-by-selfie -- but 41 percent of total respondents said they wouldn’t choose any of the above.
  • 26 percent of respondents are concerned that their biometric data could be spoofed, and 11 percent do not trust biometric data for payment authentication.
  • 30 percent prefer their banking PIN and TAN to authenticate their payments.
  • Only 19 percent of consumers surveyed felt that the benefits far outweigh the security risks when it comes to sharing their biometric data for payment authentication.

“It’s not surprising to see the online shopping trend expected to continue this holiday season,” said Ralf Gladis, CEO of Computop. “What was particularly interesting is that despite the sustained interest in purchasing online, consumers continue to have significant concerns about the security of their personal information. However, they are not necessarily interested in taking extra steps to protect themselves - and in the case of the newer authentication technologies we agree.

Before moving forward with features like these, it’s critical as an industry that we are able to ensure this data is stored securely before we potentially open up a possible new area for identify theft.”

For a copy of Computop’s report detailing the findings of this survey further, visit https://www.computop.com/uk/holiday-shopping-2016/

Note to Editors
Computop’s research was conducted online in October 2016 and included 1,036 U.S. respondents and 898 UK participants.

About Computop
Computop is a leading global payment service provider (PSP) that provides compliant and secure solutions in the fields of e-commerce, POS, m-commerce and Mail Order and Telephone Order (MOTO).

The company, founded in 1997, is headquartered in Bamberg, Germany, with additional independent offices in China, the UK and the U.S.

Computop processes transactions totalling $24 billion per year for its client network of over 14,000 mid-size and large international merchants and global marketplace partners in industries such as retail, travel and gaming.

Global customers include C&A, Fossil, Metro Cash & Carry, Rakuten, Samsung and Swarovski.

Following the recent asset deal with the Otto Group, Computop is now processing payments for merchants that previously used EOS Payment, including all 100 Otto retail brands.
In cooperation with its network of financial and technology partners, which it has expanded over many years, Computop offers a comprehensive multichannel solution that is geared to the needs of today's market and provides merchants with seamlessly integrated payment processes.

For further information, please visit www.computop.com.

###

For further information please contact:
Jessica Mularczyk
Ascendant Communications, for Computop in the U.S.
Tel: 508-498-9300
E-mail: jmularczyk@ascendcomms.net

Charlotte Hanson
Ascendant Communications, for Computop in the UK
Tel: +44 (0) 208 334 8041
E-mail: chanson@ascendcomms.net

AT&T/Time Warner deal could be approved without any FCC merger review

Mike Mozartreader comments 41 Share this story Advocacy groups are urging US regulators to consider blocking AT&T's purchase of Time Warner Inc., but AT&T may be able to avoid any review by the Federal Communications Commission. The merger will be analyzed by the Department of Justice, but AT&T has said the FCC will be involved only if any FCC licenses are transferred to AT&T.

A TV station is an example of something that requires an FCC license, but AT&T said that it and Time Warner are still "determining which FCC licenses, if any, will be transferred to AT&T in connection with the transaction." The reason for this uncertainty is that "despite its big media footprint, Time Warner has only one FCC-regulated broadcast station, WPCH-TV in Atlanta," Reuters reported. "Time Warner could sell the license to try to avoid a formal FCC review, several analysts said." (Time Warner Inc. is completely separate from Time Warner Cable, which was sold to Charter this year after an FCC review.) WPCH-TV, which is unaffiliated with any major network, is a small station that broadcasts re-runs and old movies, and it's likely worth very little relative to the $85.4 billion AT&T/Time Warner deal, Bloomberg reported. "Companies use sales, transfers, and spinoffs around larger deals in order to face friendlier regulatory review 'all the time,' Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Geetha Ranganathan said in an interview," Bloomberg wrote. Transfer of a license to a third party would still require FCC review, but it would be separate from the AT&T/Time Warner transaction. Multichannel News raised the possibility that there might be other FCC licenses involved, but acknowledged that it isn't clear. "Some analysts, and one veteran communications attorney, thought there might be some satellite uplink licenses, but an FCC source said they did not know of any," the news site reported. We've asked AT&T if the WPCH-TV license is the only one that would potentially be transferred, but haven't heard back yet. We've also sought comment from Time Warner and the FCC. Antitrust and the public interest AT&T has frequently clashed with the FCC over net neutrality rules and other regulations, so it wouldn't be surprising if AT&T wants to avoid review by the agency.

AT&T has said one of the benefits of owning Time Warner is that the company is less heavily regulated than AT&T's existing businesses. The DOJ and FCC follow very different processes when reviewing mergers.

The FCC can block a merger if it doesn't serve the public interest, and the burden is on the merging parties to prove that Americans will benefit. The DOJ can block mergers by suing in federal court, but the federal agency faces the burden of proof and must convince a court that the merger would violate antitrust laws.

The DOJ and FCC coordinate on merger reviews when they're both involved, and their combined influence was enough to sink Comcast's attempt to purchase Time Warner Cable in 2015 and AT&T's attempt to purchase T-Mobile USA in 2011. With AT&T/Time Warner, the DOJ could be going it alone. The FCC says that its own decisions on mergers "must be based on the public record" developed through the public comment process.

By contrast, the DOJ's antitrust authorities "conduct a confidential investigation, and if they believe that consummation of the merger would violate the antitrust laws, they must go to court to stop the merger or get approval for a settlement that will prevent any competitive harms." Still, the DOJ by itself could either try to block the merger or allow it to proceed only if AT&T signs a consent decree with conditions designed to prevent competitive harm, similar to the decree signed by Comcast when it bought NBCUniversal.

Consumer advocates, AT&T's competitors, and lawmakers may try to influence the DOJ by speaking out against the deal. Potential harm to competitors Consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge argued that the merger raises many competitive concerns.

As Public Knowledge Senior Counsel John Bergmayer said: Vertical integration between programming and distribution in particular raises a number of issues. [AT&T-owned] DirecTV, for instance, might favor Time Warner content, crowding out or refusing to carry alternative and independent programming that viewers might prefer.

AT&T might also make it more expensive or difficult for competitors to DirecTV or to its streaming service to access Time Warner programming, hoping to drive customers to its own platforms.

AT&T could also give preferential treatment to its own programming and services on its broadband networks—indeed, it has already announced that it plans to zero-rate its upcoming online video service.
Increased vertical integration could also increase AT&T's opportunities for data collection, which has relevance to FCC privacy initiatives.
Similar sorts of self-dealing and discrimination issues have been at the center of the review of similar deals in the past, such as Comcast's acquisition of NBCUniversal. Bergmayer said the merger highlights the importance of the FCC's proposal to impose new privacy rules on ISPs, which would require ISPs to get opt-in consent from consumers before sharing Web browsing data and other private information with advertisers and other third parties. Opposition to AT&T/Time Warner may also come from the American Cable Association, which represents small- and medium-sized cable companies that compete against AT&T's home Internet and TV services. "As the FCC has found in past mergers, combining valuable content with pay-TV distribution causes harm to consumers and competition in the pay-TV market," the group's CEO, Matthew Polka, said. "If an AT&T/Time Warner deal is forged as reported, the vertical integration of the merged company must be an issue that regulators closely examine." US Sen.

Al Franken (D-Minn.) pledged to scrutinize the deal, saying that he's "skeptical of huge media mergers because they can lead to higher costs, fewer choices, and even worse service for consumers." Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), leaders of the antitrust subcommittee, said that "an acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T would potentially raise significant antitrust issues, which the subcommittee would carefully examine.” Sen.

Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) urged regulators to block the merger. Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump said his administration would block the AT&T/Time Warner merger "because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few." A spokesperson for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton said she "certainly thinks regulators should look at it." AT&T argues that customers will benefit from the merger by receiving "enhanced access to premium content on all their devices, new choices for mobile and streaming video services, and a stronger competitive alternative to cable TV companies." With AT&T's wireless network and Time Warner's programming, "the combined company will strive to become the first US mobile provider to compete nationwide with cable companies in the provision of bundled mobile broadband and video," AT&T said. "And it will deliver more innovation with new forms of original content built for mobile and social, which builds on Time Warner’s HBO Now and the upcoming launch of AT&T’s [online streaming] offering DirecTV Now." AT&T says it expects to close the Time Warner merger by the end of 2017.

US Copyright Office sides with cable companies against FCC’s set-top rules

Iain Watsonreader comments 67 Share this story The United States Copyright Office has sided with cable companies in their fight against a Federal Communications Commission plan to boost competition in the TV set-top box market. The FCC proposal would force pay-TV providers to make channels and on-demand content available to third parties, who could then build their own devices and apps that could replace rented set-top boxes. Comcast and other cable companies complain that this will open the door to copyright violations, and US Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante agrees with them.

The Copyright Office provided advice to the FCC at the FCC's request, and Pallante yesterday detailed the concerns her office raised in a letter to members of Congress who asked her to weigh in. "In its most basic form, the rule contemplated by the FCC would seem to take a valuable good—bundled video programming created through private effort and agreement under the protections of the Copyright Act—and deliver it to third parties who are not in privity with the copyright owners, but who may nevertheless exploit the content for profit," Pallante wrote. "Under the Proposed Rule, this would be accomplished without compensation to the creators or licensees of the copyrighted programming, and without requiring the third party to adhere to agreed-upon license terms." There are already "third-party set-top box devices, mainly produced overseas, that are used to view pirated content delivered over the Internet," and the FCC's plan could expand the market to include devices "designed to exploit the more readily available [cable TV] programming streams without adhering to the prescribed security measures," Pallante wrote. Consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge, a supporter of the FCC's original set-top box plan, criticized the Copyright Office's analysis, saying it ignores the interests of consumers and contains various inaccuracies. "This letter is another example of how the Copyright Office has become dedicated to the interests of some copyright holders—as opposed to providing an accurate interpretation of copyright law," Public Knowledge Senior Staff Attorney John Bergmayer wrote. The proposal doesn't require "delivery of content to third parties," it simply lets consumers watch the video they subscribe to on the devices of their choice, he argued. It's not like CableCard, Copyright Office says The Copyright Office, which processes registrations of copyright for books, music, movies, software, and other works, says that under the FCC plan, third parties "would have no way of knowing all of the requirements and limitations" imposed by licensing agreements between programmers and pay-TV providers.

Among other things, such requirements can be related to the types of devices that video may be viewed on, limitations on advertising, and channel lineups, the letter said.

For third-party devices such as the Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and Apple TV, contracts can also include "requirements to exclude applications used for the consumption of pirated works" before allowing pay-TV content on the device. While the existing CableCard system already allows access to pay-TV content on third-party devices, the Copyright Office argues that this is not equivalent because the CableCard regime is administered by the CableLabs cable industry consortium, "which licenses the CableCARD technology to third-party device manufacturers in written agreements" and can thus "impose and maintain appropriate standards for the delivery of content to consumers." By contrast, Pallante wrote, the FCC proposal would require pay-TV operators to support content protection systems that are administered by an independent entity that isn't controlled by the cable industry. The Copyright Office provides some examples of how contracts between programmers and cable companies could be violated, such as: The Proposed Rule requires MVPDs [multichannel video programming distributors] to make licensed programming feeds available to third-party device or software manufacturers free of charge and without “discrimination,” thus potentially undermining copyright owners’ ability to enforce exclusivity agreements, including “windowing” or “tiering” agreements that make content available on certain platforms before others. ... Even if third-party devices and applications did not replace the advertising that appears in the programming itself, the Proposed Rule would appear to allow them to add additional advertising as part of the programming stream, e.g., advertising spots before or after an on-demand video, or banner advertising next to or overlaid on top of a program, without any requirement that resulting advertising revenues be shared with either the MVPD or the content creator. Public Knowledge argued that "While two parties are free to negotiate amongst themselves, they cannot bargain away the rights of third parties. What the Copyright Office advocates is encouraging distributors to negotiate away their consumers’ rights without those consumers’ consent." More specifically, "While your cable provider can agree not to build DVR features into its equipment, that cannot and does not make it illegal for consumers to record their favorite shows at home," Public Knowledge wrote. FCC finalizing proposal FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has insisted that third parties will have to respect copyright under his proposal, but fellow Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has expressed concerns about copyright. Rosenworcel's statements raise the possibility that the plan could be changed significantly before a final version is approved.
In the meantime, FCC officials are reviewing an alternative proposal from the pay-TV industry that would require cable companies to deploy video applications for third-party set-top boxes using open standards. After today's FCC meeting, Wheeler promised that his final proposal will simplify the implementation while protecting "copyright and contract enforcement of copyright" and providing choices to consumers "that they so long have been denied."

Computop Delivers Game Changing Payment Services for Bigpoint

…Computop’s secure Paygate platform enables reliable and secure international and domestic payment processing for audiences in key global markets…London, United Kingdom – 08 June 2016 – Computop, the leading payment service provider (PSP), today announced it is helping Bigpoint, the online game developer and publisher, maximise monetisation for its gaming products in international markets.
Serving 385 million registered users in 200 countries, Bigpoint offers its global audience 180+ payment methods and manages over 1 billion commerce transactions daily on its gaming platform. Founded in 2002, Bigpoint’s free-to-play online distribution model enables consumers to play and enjoy its games on multiple devices to suit their gaming needs. Users can elect to pay absolutely nothing and still enjoy the game, or customise their experience by purchasing items through micro transactions during the game.

The Computop Paygate platform underpins the payment processing for Bigpoint in a variety of regions around the world including Europe, Eastern Europe, as well as South and North America. The relationship with Computop has seen Bigpoint expand the boundaries of its free-to-play games to a variety of global territories. With an international footprint, and deep local market domestic knowledge, Computop is able to facilitate the right payment mix for the user communities Bigpoint serves. “Providing the right payment mix has a direct impact on our conversion rates,” confirms Nils Plohmann, Lead Payment Manager at Bigpoint GmbH. “In Brazil, for example, Computop has enabled us to team up with PagBrasil, a specialist provider of local online payment methods popular with Brazilian consumers.

Following the switchover to payment using PagBrasil, our online transaction conversion rates experienced a major increase.” The extensive range of acquiring banks connected to the Computop Paygate platform also gives Bigpoint the flexibility to switch with ease to providers offering the domestic payment methods it needs to generate increased conversion and acceptance rates.

For example, this facility recently enabled Bigpoint to initiate a test run with Chase Paymentech in the US. “With Computop’s assistance we’ve been able to evaluate if migrating to Chase Paymentech would deliver more appealing payment options for US players.

The results were impressive, generating a 20-30% jump in conversion rates in what is one of our Top Five global markets,” said Plohmann. “Our deep understanding of relevant international and domestic payment methods that increase conversion has helped Bigpoint to expand into new markets and acquire new customers,” comments Ralf Gladis, CEO of Computop. “In contrast to our competitors, Computop doesn't sell financial services.

Customers like Bigpoint can therefore take advantage of a vast choice of local experts worldwide and pick the best financial partner for each geography in order to maximise success rates in local territories.” ENDS About BigpointBigpoint is a leading global online game developer and publisher. Headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, Bigpoint designs high-quality games for all gamer segments for browser, client and mobile.

They are published on bigpoint.com, as well as by more than 1,000 international distribution partners and media companies. Employees from 35 countries use state-of-the-art technology to transform the industry with innovative gaming concepts, while setting international standards to fulfill the expectations of more than 350 million gamers in over 200 countries.

Every one of the 40 online games in Bigpoint´s portfolio is free-to-play and includes a customized micropayment system for each game to allow users to make micropayments to speed up their game progression. Many of the titles have won various international prizes and audience awards, such as the German Developer Award 2014 and the Game Connection Award 2015 for Shards of War. In addition to its headquarters in Hamburg, Bigpoint holds a development hub in Berlin, a mobile game studio in Lyon and maintains presences throughout Europe, the USA and Asia for distribution purposes. For more information and press material, please visit the press area at www.bigpoint.net. About ComputopComputop is a leading global payment service provider (PSP) that provides compliant and secure solutions in the fields of e-commerce, POS, m-commerce and Mail Order and Telephone Order (MOTO).

The company, founded in 1997, is headquartered in Bamberg, Germany, with additional independent offices in China, the UK and the US.

Computop processes transactions totalling US$ 17 billion per year for its client network of over 10,000 mid-size and large international merchants and global marketplace partners in industries such as retail, travel and gaming.

Global customers include C&A, Fossil, Metro Cash & Carry, Rakuten, Samsung and Swarovski.

Following the recent asset deal with the Otto Group, Computop is now processing payments for merchants that previously used EOS Payment, including all 100 Otto retail brands.
In cooperation with its network of financial and technology partners, which it has expanded over many years, Computop offers a comprehensive multichannel solution that is geared to the needs of today’s market and provides merchants with seamlessly integrated payment processes.

For further information, please visit www.computop.com. Computop media inquiries in the UKAscendant Communications, for ComputopCharlotte Hanson, +44 (0) 208 334 8041chanson@ascendcomms.net Computop media inquiries in the U.S.Ascendant Communications, for ComputopJessica Mularczyk, +1-508-498-9300jmularczyk@ascendcomms.net