Motorola handsets, cell phone ringtones, BP propane, Sony VAIO laptops, and the hormone replacement medication Estratest: if you purchased any of these items, you could be eligible for some recently settled class actions. Are you? Well, there’s only one way to find out.
One of the weirder strategies by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) recently has been to claim that every time a ringtone played, a royalty should be paid. ASCAP sued AT&T earlier this year over the claim, but a federal judge has ruled that your phone ringing does not constitute a public performance.
By the time you get around to purchasing an electric car, the New York Times writes, you may be able choose a fake engine sound for it the way you customize your phone with ringtones. Safety experts worry that the nearly silent operation of upcoming cars mean pedestrians won’t hear them sneaking up, so they’re adding artificial engine noises—and some manufacturers are considering letting owners customize the sounds.
Not content to let the RIAA get all the recent publicity for stupid lawsuits, ASCAP has sued AT&T over sales of ringtones, saying each time a ringtone plays it’s a public performance and royalties should be paid. Luckily (?) for consumers, ASCAP wants AT&T, not individuals, to pay—although we wonder what they’ll say when you take a track from your own library and make a ringtone out of it.
A T-Mobile customer in Oregon purchased a Modest Mouse ringtone from T-Mobile, but she says what was sent to her phone instead was a pornographic picture of what appeared to be a child. Everyone can calm down, though—T-Mobile assured her that they wouldn’t charge her for it.
An innocent-looking IQ test on Facebook is really a test of your privacy savvy. And ability to read tiny, tiny print.
We’ve known how “free” ringtones and other “free” cellphone content comeons are often lures to get you signed up on a hidden monthly subscription, and now there’s a class action lawsuit settlement to punish MobileMessenger, one of their purveyors. The settlement covers customers from every cellphone provider who bought content from January 1, 2005 to August 13, 2008. If you paid for your kids cellphone plan during that time, chances are they ordered some. You can check your bills for any the “short codes” (listed inside) or call 1-800-416-6129. The deadline for filing a claim is January 30, 2009. More information about Gray v. Mobile Messenger at cellphonedownloads.class-action-admin.com.
“Condom!” is a free ringtone for your phone. It’s being promoted in India as part of a campaign to normalize condom use, but there’s no reason you can’t put it on your own phone to impress and amaze fellow diners, bus riders, church goers, etc. It’s also catchy! [Crave]
AT&T Mobility Agrees To Refund Money To Florida Customers & Pay $2.5 Million To State's CyberFraud Task Force
Florida’s Attorney General scored a victory for consumers last week, when AT&T Mobility agreed to refund fees that third-party vendors snuck onto thousands of accounts under the guise of “free” ringtones, wallpapers, and text content. They also agreed to hand over $2.5 million to help fund the state’s recently-created CyberFraud Task Force, to spend $500,000 for “consumer education on safe Internet use,” and to start policing third-party vendors better and make sure all billed items are clearly described.
In today’s Circuits column, tech columnist David Pogue asks an important question about the $5 billion ringtone industry for mobile phones: why does it exist at all? Apple’s latest moneymaker for itself and the labels is the ability for you to re-purchase certain songs you’ve already purchased, so that you can load them onto your phone as ringtones. But before you marvel at Apple’s chutzpah, they’re actually charging less per ringtone than major carriers like T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon.
Starting next month, you can get your fill of ringles in major stores like Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy. Brainstormed by Sony, the ringle is a sort of souped-up CD single—”one hit and maybe one remix and an older track—and one ringtone, on a CD with a slip-sleeve cover.” Sony BMG will release 50 titles in October and November, while Universal will release 10 to 20. Each ringle will cost between $5.98 and $6.98. (Wanna bet which price point the labels will go for?)
I downloaded a single ring tone for my new phone, and paid $2.50 for it.
Save money and have fun by making your own ringtone. We’ve not tried this yet, but we’ll probably give it a shot later this evening. We’ve always wanted the theme to Romancing The Stone. Yes, we are lame. —MEGHANN MARCO
According to our tipster, this is the ringtone Cingular was forced to remove due to its racist overtones.
Ring ring! Who’s there? Cultural insensitivity, that’s who.
Now that Verizon has defined the list of prohibited ring tone terms for their network, everyone who wants a ringtone of someone screaming “Sit on my face with your teabagging ruby red bag!” is going to have to learn to make their own. Jamster can no longer supply.