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Hollywood studios sue the operator behind Popcorn Time in US Court

Hollywood studios sue the operator behind Popcorn Time in US Court

Popcorn Time operator sued in US Court by movie companies

Popcorn Time, the popular multi-platform, free software BitTorrent client that is often compared to Netflix for its ease of use, took the internet by storm five years ago. Despite increased popularity, the program was abruptly taken down by its original developers in March 2014 due to pressure from the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America).

However, the shutdown did not stop other developers from forking the application over and over. While many of these forks were shut down, there were still some which continued to operate.

Popcorn-Time.to, originally operating from Popcorn-Time.se, is one of the longest standing forks that is operational since 2014 until today.

For those unaware, Popcorn Time software is in itself legal, but if the app is used to share copyrighted content that they don’t own rights to, it becomes illegal. As a result, content creators including Hollywood studios have been threatening such apps, their distributors, as well as users with legal consequences for quite some time now.

Venice PI, Millennium Funding, and Bodyguard Productions, which own the rights to prominent film titles such as “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” “London Has Fallen,” and “Once Upon a Time in Venice” are working hard to shut down Popcorn-Time.to through a federal court in Hawaii.

Although the movie companies had filed a case against Popcorn-Time.to over a year ago, the alleged mastermind behind the Popcorn Time fork was revealed in an amended complaint filed only a few days ago, reports TorrentFreak.

Stanislav Amelychyts, a Ukrainian resident, whose name was obtained by the filmmakers through a former hosting provider, BlackHOST, has been identified as the brain behind the operation. BlackHOST had served the Popcorn-Time.to website last year.

“Plaintiffs bring this action to stop the massive piracy of their motion pictures brought on by the BitTorrent protocol software application Popcorn Time,” the movie companies write in their complaint.

“Defendant STANISLAV AMELYCHYTS distributes copies of Popcorn time and promotes it for the infringing purpose of ‘watch torrent movies instantly’, including Plaintiffs’ copyright protected Works, via various distribution channels.”

The defendant has been accused of running the entire operation including distributing copies of the software through the Google Play store and the uptodown.com website. Popcorn Time was also advertised as a ‘pirate’ tool on the latter’s site.

“Here, once again Defendant makes no secret of Popcorn Time’s illegitimate purpose – infringing Copyright protected content by stating ‘Popcorn Time is an app that enables you to watch tons of streaming movies – from classics to new releases…’,” the movie companies write.

The movie companies also found out that the Windows and Android versions of Uptodown.com – another popular source – were downloaded more than 4 million and 12 million times respectively.

While the lawsuit originally started as a case against several anonymous BitTorrent pirates, all but one has been dismissed now. Clinton Bovee, a Hawaiian resident is the remaining ‘user’ who is accused of using Popcorn Time and downloading several movies without permission.

The movie companies have blamed Bovee of direct copyright infringement and the Ukranian mastermind behind Popcorn Time of contributory copyright infringement.

They have also demanded damages, which can go up to $150,000 per pirated film, in the lawsuit. Additionally, the companies have requested an injunction to shut down Popcorn-Time.to and have the domain transferred to an account under their control. The Court has yet to provide a ruling on the request.

Although the lawsuit gives a detailed explanation of the allegations against Popcorn Time, the only information related to the Ukranian defendant comes from hosting company BlackHOST, which can be accurate. However, this information could also be inaccurate, since ‘pirate’ operations mostly depend on fake account details.

The Popcorn Time team has yet to comment on the allegations.

In the past, the attorney representing the movie studios has filed similar actions against other alleged pirates and pirate services, including Showbox and Dragon Box.

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Apple sued for lying about screen size and pixel count in its iPhone X series

Apple accused for lying about screen size and pixel count in its iPhone X series

Apple sued for falsely advertising size and resolution of iPhone X, XS & XS Max

Two Apple users on Friday jointly filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern Districting of California accusing Apple for making fraudulent claims regarding the screen sizes and pixel counts of the displays in its new iPhone X series (iPhone X, XS, and XS Max) smartphones.

Also Read- Apple restarts iPhone X production over poor iPhone XS, XS Max sales

“The pixel deception is rooted in the misrepresentation of the Products’ screens, which do not use true screen pixels,” law offices of David A. Makman representing plaintiffs Christian Sponchiado and Courtney Davis wrote in the 55-page complaint.

“Defendant’s nominal screen pixel resolution counts misleadingly count false pixels as if they were true pixels. This is in contrast to every other iPhone — phones whose screens Defendant directly compares to the iPhone X screen in its effort to mislead consumers into believing that the iPhone X has more pixels (and better screen resolution) than it really does.”

The lawsuit also alleges that Apple made false claims about the true screen size of the iPhone X, which is advertised to be 5.8 inches but is “only about 5.6875 inches” when measured. Apparently, Apple pretended “that the screen does not have rounded corners” or a sensor cutout.

Apple Lawsuit by on Scribd

Further, iPhone X has a lower screen resolution as opposed to the advertised screen resolution of 2436×1125 pixels, says the lawsuit.

“Defendant’s marketing of its Products falsely inflates their screens’ supposed pixel counts, resolutions, and sizes to make the Products seem more appealing to consumers,” the complaint said. “Defendant does so because screen resolution is an important factor to consumers when evaluating smartphones.”

Additionally, Apple has been accused of using deceptive marketing, especially wallpapers to disguise notch on newer iPhones leading potential customers to believe the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max come without notches.

“Images that disguise the missing pixels on the products’ screens are prominent on the Defendant’s website, as well as in the advertisements of retailers who sell the products. These images were relied on by Plaintiff DAVIS, who believed that the iPhone XS and XS Max would not have a notch at the top of the phone,” the complaint reads.

The plaintiffs are now demanding class-action status for the lawsuit, as well as seeking damages for anyone participating in the class action.

There is no guarantee whether the lawsuit will make it to the court given that class-action lawsuits usually take years to progress. Apple has yet to comment on the issue.

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Torrent Tracker ‘Leechers Paradise’ Calls It Quit After 12 Years

Leechers Paradise shuts down

Leechers Paradise shuts down after 12 years of torrent tracking

Leechers Paradise, one of the world’s oldest and most vital open BitTorrent trackers, has shut down for good over upcoming ‘Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market’ proposed by European Union (EU), reports TorrentFreak.

For those unaware, Leechers Paradise is an open torrent sharing service that does not host any ads or torrent files. Basically, torrent tracking co-ordinates the torrent sharing process. It helps in peers finding each other. When the peer sends a message to the tracker to register its interest in a torrent, the tracker responds with a list of other peers who have expressed interest in the past. Then, the peer connects directly to each of the peers it received from the tracker.

Bidding goodbye on its website, Leechers Paradise operator ‘Eddie’ wrote, “Sadly after 12 years, I am calling it quits. Article 13 of the new EU copyright law requires that all uploads are screened. This is impossible which would make this site illegal.

“This coupled with my ISP kindly asking to move my site out of there [sic] datacenter. Means no more: leechers-paradise.”

Article 13 states that “online content sharing service providers and right holders shall cooperate in good faith in order to ensure that unauthorized protected works or other subject matter are not available on their services.”

This means if the Directive on Copyright is approved, social platforms (such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter) would be responsible for any type of content that users upload and would be responsible for taking down that content if it infringes on copyright.

Since it is impossible for websites and online services such as Leechers Paradise to do the screening process. Hence, Eddie decided to pull down curtains on Leechers Paradise, as he felt that the risk of continuing was not worth the gains.

While it is unclear when the finalized Article 13 text will be applicable to torrent-tracking services, looks like Eddie has his own strong reasons to shut down the service.

As we can see from the image above, the tracker was servicing 132.3 million peers at the end of July. Further, according to figures published in August, the tracker was serving just over six million torrents using IPV4 and just over 54,000 using IPV6.

Both the figures above clearly indicate how important the tracking service had been to torrent users around the world and the shutting down news is definitely a big blow for the world of torrent sharing.

Source: TorrentFreak

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12,564 Sites Blocked To Stop Movie 2.0 leaks In India

12,564 Sites Blocked To Stop Movie 2.0 leaks In India

2.0 Movie: Madras High Court orders blocking of over 12,000+ websites to prevent piracy of the most expensive movie made in India

In the age of piracy, viewers nowadays are able to watch a new movie online or download it at the comfort of their home even before it is released in theatres.

While more and more countries are looking to adopt the site-blocking movement to stop piracy, some critics claim the process is too aggressive and can lead to collateral damage, reports TorrentFreak.

In a move to stop piracy, Madras High Court in India on Wednesday ordered 37 ISPs (internet service providers) across the country to stop torrent downloads of the sci-fi movie ‘2.0’ through 12,564 possible URLs (uniform resource locators) ahead of its release on Friday, 29 November 2018.

The pre-emptive interim order that was passed by Justice M Sundar on a civil suit filed by the producer of the film, Lyca Productions Private Limited, is being considered as one of the most aggressive site-blocking orders granted anywhere in the world.

Lyca’s counsel Vijayan Subramanian had produced a list of 12,564 illegal websites that were a threat to online piracy and asked the court to block them.

The producers and counsel, in particular, asked the Madras HC to prevent infamous movie website, TamilRockers from releasing the pirated version of the movie online.

Apparently, the list of illegal websites includes 2,000 websites that operated by TamilRockers, who is known for uploading pirated versions of various movies on the day of its release. The counsel sought an injunction against all such websites.

According to them, when the TamilRockers website is blocked, it immediately creates mirror websites by modifying a non-significant part of the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) or any other extension, which allows them to restore the copyrighted material with minimal effort.

Despite the order, 2.0 movie was leaked on the Internet within hours of its release yesterday by TamilRockers and was available for download. Several fans took to Twitter to report about the leak and urged the producers to take action.

Following the leak, producers of the movie took to Twitter urging audiences to not ‘spoil the experience’ considering the hard work, time, money and manpower that went into creating the ‘visual spectacle’. They also advised their fans to say ‘no to piracy’ and send all pirated links to [email protected] to ‘help Tamil cinema shine’.

Apparently, the website links or URLs have been blocked. The link of the pirated version of ‘2.0’ movie that was circulating on Twitter now shows ‘Web page blocked’.

The movie 2.0, which is one of the most expensive films made in India so far, has been made on a budget of Rs 543 crores.

The film stars southern megastar Rajinikanth, Akshay Kumar, and Amy Jackson and is directed by S Shankar. The movie has been released in around 14 languages, including Mandarin in China.

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UK Parliament Seizes Facebook’s Internal Documents

UK Parliament Seizes Facebook’s Internal Documents

Facebook’s internal documents seized by the UK Parliament to investigate privacy practices

As a part of an investigation into the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the UK Parliament has used its legal powers to seize a cache of internal Facebook documents, according to The Observer, which first reported the story.

It is alleged that the documents contain significant revelations about Facebook decisions on data and privacy controls that caused the Cambridge Analytica scandal, including correspondence between Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and company executives.

Damian Collins, chairman of the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee used a rare parliamentary mechanism and compelled Ted Kramer, the founder of Six4Three, a US app software company, to hand over the documents who was on a business trip in London last week.

Kramer was given a final warning and a two-hour deadline to comply with the order sent along with a serjeant at arms.

When Kramer failed to produce these documents within the prescribed two-hour deadline, he was escorted to Parliament warned that he could face possible fines or imprisonment.

“We are in uncharted territory. This is an unprecedented move but it’s an unprecedented situation. We’ve failed to get answers from Facebook and we believe the documents contain information of very high public interest,” Collins said.

“We have very serious questions for Facebook. It misled us about Russian involvement on the platform. And it has not answered our questions about who knew what, when with regards to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

“We have followed this court case in America and we believed these documents contained answers to some of the questions we have been seeking about the use of data, especially by external developers.”

Apparently, the company Six4Three is involved in a legal case against Facebook in the U.S., where the documents were obtained through legal procedures. The company had invested $250,000 in Facebook and claims that the media giant exploited its privacy policy.

The social networking giant has asked the DCMS committee to refrain from reviewing those documents, as they are subject to a protective order in the U.S.

“The materials obtained by the DCMS committee are subject to a protective order of the San Mateo Superior Court restricting their disclosure,” Facebook told the Observer.

“We have asked the DCMS committee to refrain from reviewing them and to return them to counsel or to Facebook. We have no further comment.”

Apparently, since the files are subject to an order of the California superior court, they cannot be made public in the U.S.

However, since the summons was issued in the UK, where Parliament has superiority, the Six4Three founder was obliged to hand over the documents. It is believed that the founder has informed both Facebook and the Californian court in the US.

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Is WatchAsap displaying a seizure banner by the feds?

WatchAsap shows a seizure banner on its website

WatchAsap shows a seizure banner on its website

Earlier this year, 123movies, also known as 123movieshub and GoMovies, had officially announced that they would be shutting down its service.

But before it closed down, the administrators of the 123movies website encouraged their millions of users to migrate to a paid streaming site called WatchAsap.com.

However, this website is now suddenly displaying a familiar seizure banner, which says that the domain name was seized by the feds as part of an ongoing criminal case, reports TorrentFreak.

Apparently, 123movies, the popular and largest movie pirating website that received millions of visitors per day, prompted the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to label it “the most popular illegal site in the world.”

However, it was later learned that the site had decided to close down in response to a criminal investigation carried out by the authorities of Vietnam, where the site’s owners were allegedly based.

Several people were of the opinion that both sites were closely connected, as WatchAsap continued to remain online when 123movies decided to shut down.

“An important development in 2018 was the shuttering of a ring of piracy services that had operated under the names 123movies, 123movieshub, gostream, and gomovies following the launch of a criminal investigation in Vietnam and significant industry engagement,” the MPAA explained.

WatchAsap’s homepage changed considerably this month after remaining online for several months. Users are now greeted by a warning seizure banner instead of paid access to HD streams.

“This domain name associated with the website WatchAsap.com has been seized pursuant to an order issued by the U.S. District Court,” it reads, adding that a federal grand jury charged several individuals for related crimes.

In the past, such kind of banners have been used for criminal investigations. Other than the name of the website, the banner displayed at Megaupload.com in the past was actually identical.

Currently, it is unclear if the seizure banner on the site is due to any criminal case as no announcement about a related accusation has been made so far. Further, the domain “WHOIS” hasn’t been updated to indicate a seizure of the portal. Also, the site is still using Cloudflare’s nameservers, which is unusual in these cases when compared to previous seizures. Additionally, the WatchAsap team has not provided any public announcement for the seizure.

As a result, the mystery surrounding the seizure of WatchAsap still continues….

Keep watching this space for more, as this is a developing story!

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OneMov Operator’s Home Raided By Cyber police in Ukraine

OneMov Operator's Home Raided By Cyber police in Ukraine

Cyber police in Ukraine raids pirate site for infringing Universal’s copyrights

The Ukrainian cyber police recently raided the home of an alleged operator of a pirate streaming portal for infringing Universal’s copyrights, reports TorrentFreak.

The accused in question is a 24-year-old pirate website operator who is reportedly behind OneMov and 10 other pirate websites. The Ministry says that officers from the Kiev Department of Cyber policies, along with investigators from the Vasylkivsky police department, have executed a warrant in the south-eastern city of Zaporizhzhia.

Also Read- 15 Best Free Movie Download Websites

According to the authorities, the individual “reproduced and distributed audiovisual works” belonging to Universal City Studios LLLP, which is represented locally by the Ukrainian Anti-Piracy Association.

OneMov gained an international following that caught Universal City Studios’ attention. Police carried out an “authorized search” that led them to discover items relating the accused to the platform.

“In his apartment, the system unit of a personal computer containing an electronic control panel of the site was removed. In addition, a router was found that was used to administer the specified web resource and bank cards, which included funds from advertising on the specified site,” The Ministry of Affairs revealed in an official statement.

Authorities believe that the arrested man is not only linked to OneMov but could also be handling 10 other pirate websites including MovDB, OneStream and more.

The arrested man is being investigated for offenses under Part 3, Article 176 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (Infringement of Copyright and Related Rights) and may face up to 6 years in prison.

Ukraine, which is known for its high piracy rates, has often been criticized for not cracking down on online and offline piracy. Authorities have often failed to take action against local pirate and gray-area hosting platforms that has helped website like OneMov remain active in Ukraine for years.

However, after legal complaints were filed by Universal City Studios and many other popular entertainment companies, the cyber police was forced to take action against OneMov.

Earlier this year, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) kept Ukraine on its Priority Watch List (pdf), blaming government agencies of using pirated software and a “failure to implement an effective means to combat the widespread online infringement of copyright in Ukraine.”

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Greek ISPs Ordered To Block The Pirate Bay, 1337x, YTS And Other Domains

Greek ISPs Ordered To Block The Pirate Bay, 1337x, YTS And Other Domains

Court Orders Greek ISPs To Block 38 Domains, Including The Pirate Bay, YTS and 1337x

Greek ISPs (Internet Service Providers) have been ordered by a special Government-affiliated commission to block 38 domains, including The Pirate Bay (TPB), 1337x, and YTS, following a request from a local anti-piracy group, reports TorrentFreak.

The local anti-piracy group, Society for the Protection of Audiovisual Works (EPOE), which represents the interests of major Greek copyright holders, had filed a blocking request in spring.

Also Read– The Pirate Bay is Down- 10 Best Torrent Sites To Download Free Movie

The group filed an application with the IPPC, a special commission that falls under the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports, which decided that ISPs must block a total of 38 domain names.

The targeted sites include The Pirate Bay, 1337x, YTS, as well as several popular local sites, such as Xrysoi, Gamatotv, and Tainiomania. With Subztv.club, Subtitles.gr, and others, subtitle sites are included in the list of blocked domains as well.

The blocking request was finally approved, as the Government-affiliated commission felt that all the targeted sites are involved in large-scale copyright infringement.

ALSO READ: How To Unblock Torrent Sites

The commission has set a tight deadline of 48 hours for Greek ISPs to comply with the order. In the event of non-compliance, Greek ISPs will face a fine of 850 euros per day, reports Lawspot. The order stands for three years and it explicitly excludes offenses committed by end users.

Below is the complete list of the domain names that are to be blocked by the Greek decision:

  1. https://xrysoi.online
    2. xrysoi.se
    3. xrysoi.eu
    4. http://gamatotv.me
    5. thegmtv.org,
    6. gamatotv.to
    7. https: //onlinemoviestar.xyz
    8. onlinemoviestar.com
    9. tainies.online
    10. tenies.online
    11. https://tenies-online.com
    12. teniesonline.ucoz.com
    13. https: // oipeirates .online
    14. oipeirates.eu
    15. oipeirates.se
    16. http://tainio-mania.com
    17. tainiomania.ucoz.com
    18. https: // liomen oi.com
    19. moviecinema.gr
    20. moviecinematv.online
    21. http://tainiesonline.tv
    22. https://magico.info
    23. http://www.subs4free.com
    24. small-industry.com
    25. rnedium-industry.com
    26. https://subztv.club
    27. http: // www .greeksubtitles.info
    28. htt : // www.subtitles.gr
    29. https://thepiratebay.org
    30. thepiratebay.se
    31. thepiratebay.me
    32. thepiratebay3.org
    33. https://yts.am
    34. https: //www.1337x.to
    35. 1337x.st
    36. 1337x.ws
    37. 1337x.eu
    38. 1337x.se

The Pirate Bay has become one of the main targets of the anti-piracy groups. The site has been blocked in approximately two-dozen countries already, mostly in Europe.

Also Read

Earlier this week, we reported that local ISPs in Romania were ordered to block access to The Pirate Bay following a court order obtained by several Hollywood studios including Twentieth Century Fox, Disney, Sony, Paramount, Universal, and Columbia.

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Roku devices to be back on sale in Mexico following court ruling

Roku devices to be back on sale in Mexico following court ruling

Roku to resume sales in Mexico after court ruling

A favorable ruling from the 11th Collegiate Court in Mexico City will now allow the popular streaming device, Roku, to resume sales of its set-top boxes in Mexico in the coming weeks.

Roku devices were prohibited for sale in Mexico back in July 2017 due to a piracy lawsuit filed by TV company Cablevision, the cable TV operator owned by Mexican media giant Televisa. Cablevision took Roku to court alleging that the devices manufactured by Roku were being hacked to allow users to watch pirated channels. However, this ruling has now been overturned and Roku has been declared legal that allows it to enter the streaming market in Mexico once again.

Roku General Counsel Stephen Kay says, “Today’s decision is an important victory for Roku and its Mexican distributor, Latamel Distribuidora, S. de R.L. de C.V. and Mexican retailers in the legal battle against an improper ban on sales of its popular streaming players in Mexico. We are pleased with the Collegiate Court’s decision and look forward to continuing to build Roku’s TV streaming business in Mexico.”

Also, Roku CMO Matthew Anderson after the latest ruling said, “Streaming is the future of TV. It offers a great opportunity for consumers in Mexico by providing more entertainment choices, the ability to watch TV on their schedules and more value for money. We are grateful for our customers in Mexico who, despite the sales ban, continued to stream more and more hours; and for our retail partners and content providers who supported us throughout this past year. We look forward to launching the latest Roku devices in Mexico soon and giving customers an even richer streaming experience.”

However, Cablevision also issued a statement warning Roku that it would take further legal action if it found pirate channels appearing on Roku devices in the future. “In the event they fail to take due care about carrying unauthorized content, we will continue with legal action such as the dozens of actions that the Mexican Intellectual Property Institute (IMPI) and various judicial, local and federal governments have taken to block pirated sites on Roku,” said Cablevision.

Roku devices are expected to become available for sale via distributors including Amazon, Best Buy, Office Depot, Radio Shack, Sears, and Walmart in the coming weeks.

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Google will start charging licensing fee for its Android apps in Europe

Google will start charging licensing fee for its Android apps in Europe

Google to charge device makers in Europe for Android apps in response to EU fine

Google will start charging a licensing fee for Android device makers who want to pre-install apps like Gmail, Google Maps and YouTube on handsets sold in Europe. The announcement made by Google comes in response to a record $5 billion EU antitrust fine.

For those unaware, the EU Commission in July this year had imposed on Google a record $5 billion (4.34 billion euros) fine for illegally abusing the dominance of its Android operating system. Back then, EU said that the U.S. tech giant has been unlawfully using Android’s near-monopoly since 2011 to improve usage of its own search engine and browser and to strengthen its dominant position in general Internet search.

Google argued that “Android has created more choice, not less”. It also said that pre-installation of Google Search and Chrome together with other apps helped it fund the development and free distribution of Android. Hence, earlier this month, Google challenged the $5 billion fine imposed by EU antitrust regulators and filed an appeal at the General Court of the European Union.

While the appeal is still pending, Google is working on to comply with EU’s decision. The search giant will change how it bundles its apps on Android phones and also end restrictions on phone makers selling modified or “forked” versions of the mobile operating system.

“First, we’re updating the compatibility agreements with mobile device makers that set out how Android is used to develop smartphones and tablets. Going forward, Android partners wishing to distribute Google apps may also build non-compatible, or forked, smartphones and tablets for the European Economic Area (EEA), said the company in a blog post.

“Second, device manufacturers will be able to license the Google mobile application suite separately from the Google Search App or the Chrome browser. Since the pre-installation of Google Search and Chrome together with our other apps helped us fund the development and free distribution of Android, we will introduce a new paid licensing agreement for smartphones and tablets shipped into the EEA. Android will remain free and open source.

“Third, we will offer separate licenses to the Google Search app and to Chrome.”

The company also added, “We’ll also offer new commercial agreements to partners for the non-exclusive pre-installation and placement of Google Search and Chrome. As before, competing apps may be pre-installed alongside ours.”

The new licensing options could work in favor of device makers, as they will no longer require to accept all Google apps as a bundle. However, on the downside, the device makers will have to bear additional cost for installation of preferred apps, which they will eventually pass on to consumers by slightly increasing prices of the devices they sell.

Also ReadGoogle Play Store Alternatives to Download Paid Apps For Free

The new changes are expected to come in effect from October 29, 2018, for all new smartphones and tablets launched in the EEA. While Google has not announced what the fee structure will be, it will only apply for devices that are intended for sale in the 31 member countries of the EEA.

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