Friday Five: EE network blocks music piracy sites

1. EE network blocks music piracy sites

Mobile network EE will become the first of its kind to block music piracy sites and apps in the UK. In 2012, the British Phonographic Institute (BPI) petitioned the courts to block torrent site The Pirate Bay. The High Court then commanded home-broadband providers, including EE, to forbid 70 more sites that allow access to pirated music content, which EE plan to extend to its mobile network.

2. New smartphone lights up the market

UK-based tech start-up Nothing has launched its debut smartphone, Phone 1, in the hope to “make tech fun again”, according to its founder, Carl Pei. Manufactured in China and India, the iPhone-resembling handset features a slim body, curved corners, and a translucent back with hundreds of LED lights that correspond to the phone’s functions, such as notifications.

3. BMW launches heated seat subscription in UK

BMW has gated a suite of its cars’ features behind a paywall. The luxury vehicle manufacturer is offering an online subscription to use heated front seats in its cars in the UK for £15 per month — with longer subscriptions discounted at £150 for a year, £250 for three years or £350 for keeps.

4. BNPL boosts sales for UK retailers

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) scheme drives sales for two-thirds of UK retailers. A new report by RFI Global revealed that 69% of British retailers report growth in at least one area of their business sales and performance metrics from offering BNPL. The research showed BNPL predominantly pushing sales conversions, with 61% of retailers improving their access to new-to-business customers, resulting in revenue growth for 52% of retailers.

5. Passing of Online Safety Bill postponed

The Online Safety Bill has been postponed until a new prime minister is in place this Autumn. The bill aims to lay down internet safety laws about how platforms manage harmful material, such as hate crimes, racist abuse, and terrorist content. Ofcom would have the authority to regulate online platforms and fine companies up to 10% of their annual global turnover upon failing to comply with online advertising regulations.

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