Digital Daily Dozen: 10/1/15

Legal War on Ad Blocking May Be a Loser, if Recent German Rulings Are Any Guide (Ad Age)

The ad industry is looking into whether it has potential legal remedies against ad blockers in the U.S., but the issue is already playing out in German courts — in favor of the blockers. The regional court in Cologne ruled in favor of Adblock Plus and Eyeo, the company that makes it, rejecting arguments by German publisher Axel Springer.     

NAB: FCC Second Channel Proposal Is Illegal (Broadcasting & Cable) 

The National Association of Broadcasters has told the FCC that setting aside the last available vacant channel in a market for unlicensed use, rather than for licensed TV stations (including low powers and translators) would be unwise, unsound, unwarranted, and illegal, and could deal a blow to diversity.   

Google to FCC: Set free box atop TVs (Arkansas Online) 

It’s an afterthought or even an object of scorn in some homes, and it costs TV viewers an estimated $232 per household each year. Now the FCC is considering breaking the grip cable- and satellite-TV companies have over the set-top box. Supporters of the idea say competition would lower costs and improve functionality of the devices. 

Tim Armstrong Says AOL Is in the ‘Best Position’ to Fight Ad Blocking (Ad Week) 

With the proliferation of ad blockers threatening to wipe out not only ads but also content from publishers’ sites, AOL chief Tim Armstrong has every reason to be concerned. But during an Advertising Week talk, he told a crowd of marketers that his company’s reliance on advertising actually puts it in a good position to fight ad blockers.  

Google, Microsoft Resolve Patent Fight Over Phones, Xbox (Bloomberg)

Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have agreed to end their long-running patent feud over smartphones and video game systems, dropping about 20 lawsuits in the U.S. and Germany. The two companies, which didn’t disclose financial terms, have been litigating over technology innovations for five years.  

Patent Trolls are Already Abusing the Apple v. Samsung Ruling (Inside Sources) 

Tech companies and patent experts have warned for months a recent ruling in the ongoing patent battle between Apple and Samsung could flood the courts with patent trolls. Now a case brewing in Texas’s Eastern District filed against both companies and a half-dozen major automobile manufacturers could prove them right. 

Don’t Look Now, but Your Facebook Profile Pic … It’s Moving (Recode) 

Facebook profile pictures are so 2014. The social network is redesigning user profiles beginning Wednesday, and perhaps the biggest change — or the one that promises to be the most entertaining or obnoxious depending on the friend — is that users can now upload a profile video instead of a static photo. 

CAN THE INTERNET HEAR ME NOW?  (Gigaom- Commentary)

For the past two decades, the web has been optimized for sight and touch. This is about to change in a big way. It’s an era of voice-controlled devices and service. Digital assistants all reveal the beginnings of a transformation within the Internet. We will increasingly interact with the web and all it contains primarily using our voice. 


Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks have donated millions of dollars over the years to charities and nonprofits. Now those groups are repaying that generosity by endorsing the cable companies’ massive three-way merger.   

How Many Websites Are There? (The Atlantic)

Most webpages die after a couple of months. The average lifespan is something like 100 days. That’s longer than it used to be. In the late 1990s, the typical webpage lasted for around 44 days. But quantifying pieces and pages of the web gets murky pretty quickly.  

House To Examine Federal Spectrum (The Hill) 

The Communications and Technology Subcommittee of House Energy and Commerce will hold a hearing on the federal government’s spectrum holdings on Oct. 7. It will particularly focus on a bill from Reps. Brett Guthrie and Doris Matsui aimed at giving the government incentives to give up its spectrum.   

Google Goes For 100% Ad Viewability (Media Post) 

Google will introduce 100% viewable ads in the next few months, bringing all campaigns bought on a CPM into view across the Google Display Network. The issue of viewability has long been a topic among advertisers and publishers. Google notes that around 56% of display ads never have a change to be viewed. 

Microsoft launches Skype Translator to break down language barriers. (USA Today) 

Skype users collectively make more than 3 billion video and voice calls on a daily basis. But Skyping isn’t very meaningful if you and the other person don’t speak the same language. On Thursday, Microsoft-owned Skype started rolling out Skype Translator for Windows to help break down the language barriers.