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2023-09-19 22:15:34| Engadget

As part of a $520 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, Epic Games will be forced to provide refunds to Fortnite players who were allegedly tricked into making unintended purchases on the platform. About $245 million has been specifically earmarked for these refunds. The regulator has started notifying more than 37 million people via email if they are for compensation.The entire process may take one month to complete and the FTC says customers who believe they were impacted will have until January 17, 2024, to submit a claim where you can simply apply for a refund directly on the FTCs website. The FTC notes that this is one of the largest refunds in a gaming-related case to happen to date.The FTC previously claimed that Epic Games used deceptive tactics to get Fortnite players to make unintended in-game purchases. As part of a complaint first announced by the FTC in December of last year, the agency says the video game-making company made it easy for underage players to rack up charges without parental consent and also locked the accounts of consumers that disputed unauthorized charges. Because Epic Games violated the Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act or COPPA, it was ordered to pay $275 million in addition to the consumer refunds.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/ftc-starts-claims-process-for-fortnite-players-tricked-into-making-unwanted-purchases-201534338.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising


2023-09-19 22:00:58| Engadget

US Representative Deborah Ross (D-NC) has introduced an updated version of the Protect Musicians Act in an attempt to change the way independent artists bargain with major streaming platforms. Created in collaboration with The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) and The Artists Rights Alliance (ARA), the updated bill aims to "level the playing field" for artists in the digital age and the world of AI-generated music."This legislation will help give small, independent music creators a level playing field, empowering them to stand together for fairer compensation and giving them a voice in important negotiations that will determine the future of the music industry, Ross said.As it stands, current laws leave many artists, whether signed to a major label or independently working, unprotected and at the mercy of major streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube. And these companies don't always provide fair compensation to artists when their music is uploaded and streamed on the platforms. Independent artists are often forced to accept whenever rates are being offered without being able to collectively negotiate for better terms. Additionally, there is no real protection for artists against having their voice or music manipulated by AI without consent.If passed, the Protect Working Musicians Act would allow working artists and independent musicians to come together and negotiate with dominant streaming platforms and artificial intelligence developers. It would also grant working artists and independent musicians the ability to collectively refuse to license their music to online music distribution platforms that refuse to pay fair market value.It could be argued that many artists have always gotten a raw deal for decades when it comes to the sales and distribution of their music. Back in the day of album downloads and CD purchases, this money was usually split in many ways, leaving only a small amount for the artist. Unfortunately, unfair compensation being offered by streaming platforms is just a modern spin on a longstanding problem. And it's not just musicians that are being affected. For years, streaming giants like Netflix have been offering low wages to its writers, which has contributed to the strike of members of the Writers Guild of America.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/revised-protect-musicians-act-could-empower-artists-against-streaming-platforms-200058922.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising


2023-09-19 20:43:36| Engadget

DIY repair gurus iFixit just issued a hearty rebuke at Apple, dinging the companys self-proclaimed commitment to the right-to-repair movement. Additionally, the organization has retroactively lowered the repairability score for the iPhone 14, after originally being quite impressed by the phones easily-accessible hardware components.The iPhone 14s score shot down from a respectable 7 out of 10 to a do-not-recommend 4 out of 10. In other words, iFixit says the phones no longer a viable option for DIYers, even with Apple selling replacement parts via the companys Self Service Repair program. This is because self-repair is more than just parts. Theres software involved and iFixit says Apples code purposefully limits repair options for most tasks.The company derides Apple for creating a labyrinthine maze of obstacles for both consumers and third-party repair technicians. It all boils down to software that requires and checks for parts bought directly from Apple. Otherwise, youll lose functionality and receive endless warnings during use, as the system wont successfully pair aftermarket parts.The repair also must be validated by a proprietary chat system that requires personal information from the customer. Third-party technicians havent relished the prospect of handing out their customers private information just to replace a battery. Additionally, consumers and technicians alike typically rely on used or third-party parts, and Apples system dissuades both options in favor of purchasing pricey branded components.A blog post on the matter by iFixit stated that its heard from several repair pros who have excited the business entirely rather than deal with Apples constant hurdles. The company also noted that community pushback began almost immediately after the iPhone 14 received its original repairability score.iFixit still lauds Apple for making an improvement over the status quo by selling replacement parts, but says that the hoops a consumer or technician must jump through to replace a part makes the iPhone 14 literally not repairable. The site hasnt issued a repairability score for any of the just-announced iPhone 15 models, but they should start coming in the next couple of weeks.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/ifixit-dings-apples-right-to-repair-commitment-and-drops-iphone-14s-repairability-score-184336316.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising


2023-09-19 20:30:25| Engadget

Logitech is updating its line of desktop microphones and lighting today with the Yeti GX microphone, Yeti Orb microphone and the G Litra Beam LX light. The products mark a break from the Blue brand, which Logitech acquired in 2018, as it drops the old naming and incorporates more gamer-focused RGB lighting into the series.The $150 Logitech G Yeti GX is the companys latest take on a premium, broadcast-style gaming microphone somewhat reminiscent of the Yeti Blue X. The GX uses a supercardioid pickup pattern, which focuses on sound in front of the microphone while reducing ambient noises from the sides and behind. It includes RGB lighting, customizable with the companys LightSync, which synchronizes color and lighting across devices. It also has a scroll wheel for one-handed volume control; pressing it activates Smart Audio Lock, which the company says prevents clipping and reduces background noise.Logitech G Yeti GXLogitechThe Yeti GX is a USB-C to USB-A plug-and-play mic and is compatible with the Blue Compass boom arm and a (not yet available) updated Logitech Compass arm the company teased.Meanwhile, the $60 Logitech G Yeti Orb is a ball-shaped mic similar to the companys Snowball Ice model. The company pitches it as an entry-level microphone (designed for gamers new to streaming); its built with a custom condenser capsule and uses a cardioid pickup pattern. Like the more expensive Yeti GX, the Orb is compatible with the companys Blue Voice software, which can apply voice filters and let you tweak levels.LogitechFinally, the $150 Logitech G Litra Beam LX is a new desktop light similar to the companys Litra Beam. The new model still includes TrueSoft adjustable LED lighting (ranging from warm candlelight to cool blue) for streaming / video calls but also adds RGB lighting to the mix in sticking with the days theme.All three models are available for pre-order today from Logitechs website and Amazon, which lists them as available as soon as September 21.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/logitechs-latest-yeti-mics-are-all-in-on-rgb-183025435.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising


2023-09-19 20:15:07| Engadget

Google has prototyped an Augmented Reality Microscope, (ARM) in conjunction with the Department of Defense, which incorporates artificial intelligence enhancements to overlay visual indicators, like heatmaps or object boundaries, in real-time. The AI additions allegedly make it easier to classify samples and identify the presence of cancer cells or pathogens.The ARM was first teased publicly in 2018 and has not been used to diagnose patients yet. Currently, 13 prototypes of the ARM exist, with significant testing still needed before it can assist everyday clinicians. However, the intention is to create a system that can be "retrofitted into existing light microscopes found in hospitals and clinics," according to Google. ARM-equipped microscopes can then provide a variety of visual feedback, including text, arrows, contours, heat maps, or animations, each tailored to unique assessment goals.The Department of Defense's Defense Innovation Unit has reportedly negotiated agreements with Google that will enable ARM distribution through the military, according to CNBC, with the hope that it could be available to some government users sometime this fall. ARM is expected to cost between $90,000 and $100,000 likely well beyond the means of local health providers. We've asked Google for more information on the progress of the program and potential timeline of availability and will update if we hear back.This is not the first time Google Health has dipped its toes in investing in AI-powered tools that not only improve the accuracy of diagnostics but also help fill gaps in medicine where there is limited availability of healthcare personnel. The tech giant has made it a point to partner with startups that invest in AI to improve healthcare and is projected to have invested upwards of $200 billion on AI investments in the past decade, according to Reuters. This is especially noteworthy considering the World Health Organization predicts a shortfall of 15 million health care workers worldwide by 2030.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-is-developing-an-ai-powered-microscope-to-help-doctors-spot-cancer-181507943.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising


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