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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 9 declined, 2 accepted (11 total, 18.18% accepted)

Privacy

+ - MPAA: Plagarism good, Piracy bad? 1

Submitted by BillGatesLoveChild
BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) writes "The MPAA is fast to complain about their Intellectual Property being violated, but have no qualms about violating the Intellectual Property of others. The SMH reports another case of a Hollywood Studio plagarizing a film as their own. Adam Sandler's I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007) is a tale of two firemen who pretend to be gay to get domestic partner benefits. Curiously Paul Hogan's Strange Bedfellows (2004) made three years earlier, is also a tale of two firemen who pretend to be gay to get domestic partner benefits. Universal Studios issued a statement claiming "the similarities are purely coincidental". The producers of "Strange Bedfellows" are amused but not convinced.

This isn't the first time, with similar accusations being made against Spielberg's Julie Newmar (1995) vs Priscilla (1994) and Eddie Murphy's "Coming to America" which the courts found was stolen from writer Art Buchwald. Add to that "Hollywood Accounting" fleecing artists (The Forest Gump movie didn't pay the author a cent in royalties), the Record Industry doing the same and the MPAA itself caught yet unrepentant for pirating movies. Before The Senate rushes off to do their bidding, shouldn't the MPAA and RIAA be ordered to clean up their own houses?"
Robotics

+ - R2D2: Skype-enabled and iPod compatible?

Submitted by BillGatesLoveChild
BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) writes "Ever wondered what R2D2's technical specs are? Look closely, and you'll see he has a USB Port. Look closer, and you'll also see he has a memory card reader, an MP3 player, an iPod docking bay, and a DVD player connected to a XGA wall projector: "Help me Slashdotter, you're my only hope." The Japan Times reports that the Nikko Group is now selling R2D2 as a home robot. The Home Entertainment R2D2 features all of the above, and is controlled with a Millennium Falcon-shaped remote control. The price is a cool US$3,195. And no self-respecting fan boy would be caught dead with an iPhone when he could have this: The Home Communications R2D2 is Skype-enabled, with a webcam and light sabre for the handset. The Nikko Group links are in Japanese, but don't worry. While you may not be able to read Japanese, Geek is the universal language."
Privacy

+ - How to Stop Pirates: Ask Nicely

Submitted by BillGatesLoveChild
BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) writes "When Trey Harrison found his music lighting software 'Salvation' had been pirated, he was taken aback. Being an Independent Software Developer, there wasn't much he could do. So he contacted the Warez Group and asked them nicely. They wrote back and said sorry, that they at least hoped more people got to see it and that in accordance with his wishes, they wouldn't release it again.

But what of the Anti-Piracy tool "Armadillo Software Passport" that was supposed to have protected Trey's Software? Unlike the Pirates who responded straight away, Trey says he never heard a peep back from Armadillo. Seems the Pirates have better "customer support" than the Anti-piracy agents!

Of course, "Ask Nicely" may not work for the RIAA who as Orson Scott Card's famous essay pointed out have perhaps irreversible ill-will due to their history of ripping off artists and consumers and buying off Congressmen. But for smaller companies and independents, perhaps it's worth a try? There's even hope for the industry heavies. Mark Ishikawa of Anti-P2P Company BayTSP says 85% of people he sends a gentle warning on behalf of the MPAA "do not come back, with no headlines and no public relations blowups."

Could a softly-softly approach work better for IP owners that heavy-handed threats and lawyers?"
Privacy

+ - YouTube Takedowns: Any 15-year old can do it

Submitted by BillGatesLoveChild
BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) writes "Recently Slashdotters wondered how easy it would be to take down YouTube videos. Wonder no longer:

A 15-year old Australian Boy with nothing more than a HotMail account emailed YouTube saying he was the "Australian Broadcasting Corporation" and under the DMCA ordered YouTube to take down hundreds of videos. They did without immediately and without question. YouTube did not try and call the ABC back, nor ask why the email came from Hotmail. Given Cringely's recent report which lead to Slashdotters asking the question, YouTube seem remarkably slow to learn. How many more DMCA attacks will there be before they get the message?

Many of the Video's were from the ABC's The Chaser, including one where a prankster rolling a cigar asked Senator Hillary Clinton if he could be her new intern. The Chaser Staff were impressed with the youngster, "I don't think we should prosecute him — we should probably hire him.""
The Almighty Buck

+ - VeriSign Increases Domain Name Pricing

Submitted by BillGatesLoveChild
BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) writes "CNET reports VeriSign has made its move, increasing domain name prices by 7%. From October 15 2007, .com domains will now cost $6.42 (up from $6) and .net domains $3.85 per annum. ICANN had previously voted to support the increase. Despite annual income of $323.4M from .com domain names alone, VeriSign claims it needs the increase to provide "a high level of security and reliability for .com".

This increase comes in the face of complaints by customers, registrars and senators alike that VeriSign is abusing its ICANN monopoly. Yet the furrowed brows and promises of senators of investigations have come to nothing, even though the only people seemingly in favor of the monopoly are ICANN and VeriSign. With complaints about the pair running back to 2002, what can we the public do to get our elected representatives to take the great domain name ripoff seriously?"
Privacy

+ - DMCA: Takedown Anyone's YouTube videos

Submitted by BillGatesLoveChild
BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) writes "Bob Cringely reports that an interview potentially embarrassing to Steve Jobs was taken off YouTube. The interview was from Cringely's 1990s show Triumph of the Nerds. YouTube said it responded to a DMCA complaint made by NBD Television Ltd in London. Trouble is, NBD is not the copyright holder. They have nothing at all to do with the show and don't even sell it.

PBS who made and holds the copyright said they knew nothing of the complaint. Cringely tried to contact NBD Television Ltd who wouldn't respond. Neither would Youtube, who only speaks by form letter. Why did NBD Television make the complaint? Why did YouTube blindly enforce it? Is Steve Jobs behind this, or is it just another media company misusing the DMCA, at that, not even with their own copyrighted material? Why should a London-based company be able to issue DMCA takedowns, yet not be liable when they abuse the law?"
Microsoft

+ - Leaked: Microsoft Secret Dossier on Reporter

Submitted by BillGatesLoveChild
BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) writes "Microsoft's PR Agency accidentally send Wired Reporter Fred Vogelstein its secret dossier on him. The dossier shows how much effort Microsoft goes to in stage managing articles. Vogelstein said he felt downright weird reading it: It was "strange to see just how many resources are aligned against me when I write a story about Microsoft". The dossier is here with updates here and here.

Asher Moses of SMH.com.au points out the dossier doesn't bode well for Wired either, since it shows how much influence Microsoft has over its reporting. (Wired chose to run the piece, albeit underneath a Microsoft-Friendly one proclaiming "How Blogs Opened Up Microsoft".) Given the recent Press releases-cum-news on the X360 Elite ("We do not comment on rumors or speculation.. that's E-L-I-T-E") and the misleading Vista sales announcement, might we just as well be getting our news straight off Microsoft?"
Enlightenment

+ - Narcissist Technology: Did Mamma Lie?

Submitted by BillGatesLoveChild
BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) writes "You've got your iPod. People watch you on YouTube and read your Blog. You have a thousand MySpace friends. You're special! Or are you?

The L.A. times and MSNBC report that the Childhood Self-esteem movement of the 1980s has backfired in a big way. UCSD Psychology Researcher Jean Twenge in her paper "Egos Inflating Over Time" (cached) compared studies of 16,000 college students taken over 25 years, and found that almost two-thirds of recent college students had narcissism scores above the 1982 level. The study says Narcissists tend to lack empathy, react aggressively to criticism and favor self-promotion over helping others. They "are more likely to have romantic relationships that are short-lived, at risk for infidelity, lack emotional warmth, and to exhibit game-playing, dishonesty, and over-controlling and violent behaviors."

It began with Nursery schools teaching children the song: "I am special, I am special. Look at me." But "Current technology fuels the increase in narcissism," Twenge says, "By its very name, MySpace encourages attention-seeking, as does YouTube." Sociology Major Laura Rantala reflects "We all have our own cellphone and iPod with which we're doing our own thing in our own little world". It's become cool not to care. Is this you?

Can the current trend in Narcissistic Technology be reversed? Are we going to become a world of self-absorbed, self-promoting shopaholics who care about nothing but themselves? With the Internet pervasive in our everyday life, has it become unstoppable?"
Television

+ - CSI Victim of Drive-by DRM

Submitted by BillGatesLoveChild
BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) writes "The Sydney Morning Herald reports Australian viewers have been plagued by their new Digital TVs mysteriously locking up. Strangely most of the lockups occurred on one TV station and one program in particular: CSI.

Although the TV station involved refused to confirm or deny it, it now appears to be because they were altering the digital TV transmission to prevent viewers from exercising their Fair Use Rights to copy it. The problem was initially reported with LG Brand TV sets, other Digital TV owners are reporting similar problems.

If a TV stations zealtory for enforcing DRM prevents viewers from watching their programs, isn't it time to set back and ask if the whole DRM crusade is completely broken? So far no one has suggested that affected viewers can download CSI ad-free off Bit Torrent anyway."
Windows

+ - Vista: The Honeymoon is Over

Submitted by BillGatesLoveChild
BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) writes "The Sydney Morning Herald reports the Vista backlash has begun, and is spreading to the popular press: "Utterly unimaginative, internally discordant and woefully out of tune".

You have to hand it to Microsoft. Despite the negative reviews of Microsoft's New Vista Operating System in the trade press, very little of that has filtered through to the general public. Friends and relatives have told me how eager they are to upgrade to it, for no other apparent reason than "It's New!" Warnings about draconian DRM, incompatability and poor performance as highlighted in ComputerWorld and in Peter Gutman's famous paper (apparently only famous to geeks) are lost on them.

But the Sydney Morning Herald Reports that as the general public experiences these first hand, the bad word is finally starting to spread. Customers have been reinstalling XP and advising others to wait. No one ever asked for Vista. Microsoft hoisted it upon us. Has Microsoft finally gone a Bridge to Far?"
Handhelds

+ - Apple threatens lookalike iPhone skins

Submitted by BillGatesLoveChild
BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) writes "It's happening again! Tremendous excitement amongst the public seems to have followed Steve Job's announcement of the new Apple iPhone. People can't wait to get their hands on one, literally, so they've been turning to lookalike "iPhone skins" for their Palm and Windows PDAs. Apple isn't happy about this, and has threatened developers with violating their look and feel. Apple even threatened journalists who have printed pictures of the screens, warning them "the icons and screenshot displayed on your website are copyrighted by Apple."

What happened to "fair use"? Has Apple learnt nothing from their failed Look and Feel Law Suit against Microsoft? Is Apple risking it's cool image by repeatedly legally threatening anyone who looks sideways at them?"

Man must shape his tools lest they shape him. -- Arthur R. Miller

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