Feb 1, 2017

Facebook ordered to pay $500M over Oculus technology

Facebook and its virtual reality company, Oculus, will have to pay $500 million to ZeniMax for using its technology, a Texas jury found on Wednesday.

Background: ZeniMax Media sued Facebook, alleging that Oculus, which the social network acquired in 2014 for $2 billion, stole part of its technology. According to ZeniMax, a former employee, John Carmack, shared the company's virtual reality technology with Luckey, who went on to found Oculus and later employed Carmack.

The breakdown: Of the total award, Oculus will pay $200 million for breaking the non-disclosure agreement and $50 million for copyright infringement. Oculus and co-founder Palmer Luckey will each pay $50 million for "false designation" (lying about the original maker of its product). Brendan Iribe, also a co-founder of Oculus, will pay $150 million for this as well, according to gaming news site Polygon.

Why it matters: This is sure to put a dent in Facebook and Oculus' reputations, which recently had to mitigate a controversy around Luckey's alleged support for Trump. And though Facebook will likely appeal the verdict or try to get the award decreased, investors are unlikely to be happy about the company having to pay millions of dollars for stealing technology—technology that was supposed to usher in the next generation of social networking.

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House passes bill to make lynching a federal hate crime

Photo: Aaron P. Bauer-Griffin/GC Images via Getty Images

The House voted 410-4 on Wednesday to pass legislation to designate lynching as a federal hate crime.

Why it matters: Congress has tried and failed for over 100 years to pass measures to make lynching a federal crime.

This year's census may be the toughest count yet

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Community leaders are concerned that historically hard-to-count residents will be even harder to count in this year's census, thanks to technological hurdles and increased distrust in government.

Why it matters: The census — which will count more than 330 million people this year — determines how $1.5 trillion in federal funding gets allocated across state and local governments. Inaccurate counts mean that communities don't get their fair share of those dollars.

Live updates: Coronavirus spreads to Latin America

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Brazil confirmed the first novel coronavirus case in Latin America Wednesday — a 61-year-old that tested positive after returning from a visit to northern Italy, the epicenter of Europe's outbreak.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

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