Stocks open higher: Market keeps drifting higher, though without much conviction. Earnings results are mixed. The Dow is up about 50 points.
SOPA, PIPA votes postponed: A scheduled procedural vote on the anti-piracy legislation has been put off by both chambers. (Politico)
Hollywood hoping to cut deal: The movie industry's chief lobbyist, Chris Dodd, said he would welcome a summit meeting between Internet companies and content companies. From the NYT:
The startlingly speedy collapse of the antipiracy campaign by some of Washington's savviest players -- not just the motion picture association, but also the United States Chamber of Commerce and the Recording Industry Association of America -- signaled deep changes in antipiracy lobbying in the future. By Mr. Dodd's account, no Washington player can safely assume that a well-wired, heavily financed legislative program is safe from a sudden burst of Web-driven populism. "This is altogether a new effect," Mr. Dodd said, comparing the online movement to the Arab Spring. He could not remember seeing "an effort that was moving with this degree of support change this dramatically" in the last four decades, he added.
Feds shut down Megaupload: Seven people were charged with running an enterprise that engaged in Internet piracy. In response, hackers attacked Justice Department websites. From the NYT:
Megaupload, one of the most popular so-called locker services on the Internet, allowed users to transfer large files like movies and music anonymously. Media companies have long accused it of abetting copyright infringement on a vast scale. In a grand jury indictment, Megaupload is accused of causing $500 million in damages to copyright owners and of making $175 million by selling ads and premium subscriptions.
Socal venture funding increases: Fourth-quarter investment totaled $738.3 million, a nearly 40 percent jump from a year earlier and a 13.2 percent increase from the previous three months. San Diego had a bit more funding than OC or L.A. From SocalTech:
The biggest deals during Q4 in Southern California were Fisker Automotive, which raised $108.25M, San Diego's Razer USA, with $50M raised, and Orange County's AcuFocus, with a $41.869M round. The biggest Los Angeles deal was a funding for SolarReserve, for $27.0M.
Former GE lending unit under investigation: The feds are looking into possible fraud at WMC Mortgage Corp. in Burbank, what had been the company's subprime mortgage operation. From the LAT:
The government is asking whether WMC used falsified paperwork, overstated income and other tactics to push through questionable loans, two of the people said. They said the probe appears to be focusing on whether senior managers condoned improper practices that enabled fraudulent loans to be sold to investors. "It's mostly about: Did they knowingly sell mortgages into the secondary market that they knew were fraudulent?" said one person with direct knowledge of the investigation.
Villaraigosa eying China for transit help: With Congress in near gridlock, the mayor is looking at China Investment Corp. as a possible funding source for his plan to build a dozen mass-transit projects in 10 years instead of 30. It's very preliminary. (LAT)