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Europe Rejects Plan To Criminalize File-Sharing 291

Lineker points out a report that the European Parliament has rejected plans to criminalize file-sharing by private individuals. The amendment to remove the anti-piracy measures passed by a vote of 314-297. The decision is expected to influence how France, with its strict anti-piracy polices, approaches this issue when it assumes the EU presidency later this year. From InfoWorld: "France's so-called Oliviennes strategy to combat copyright abuse includes a 'three strikes and you are out' approach: Offenders lose the right to an Internet account after being caught sharing copyright-protected music over the Internet for a third time. The report is significant because it 'signifies resistance among MEPs to measures currently being implemented in France to disconnect suspected illicit filesharers,' the Open Rights Group said in a statement.

Book Publishers Abandoning DRM 218

tmalone writes "The New York Times is reporting that book publishers are beginning to phase out DRM-protected audio books. This month the world's largest publisher, Random House, started offering DRM-free mp3s; Penguin has announced that it will follow suit. Their logic? DRM just doesn't work. 'Publishers, like the music labels and movie studios, stuck to DRM out of fear that pirated copies would diminish revenue. Random House tested the justification for this fear when it introduced the DRM-less concept with eMusic last fall. It encoded those audio books with a digital watermark and monitored online file sharing networks, only to find that pirated copies of its audio books had been made from physical CDs or DRM-encoded digital downloads whose anticopying protections were overridden.'"

UK Commissioner Seeks To Ban Ultrasonic Anti-Teen Device 552

mikesd81 points out a Times Online article that discusses the legality of the Mosquito sound device, which is used to annoy and drive off younger people with sounds that are too high-pitched for most adults to hear. We discussed how annoying this device can be a couple years ago. From Times Online: "Sir Albert Aynsley-Green, the Children's Commissioner for England appointed to represent the views of the country's 11 million children, has set up a campaign — called Buzz Off — that is calling for the Mosquito to be banned on grounds that it infringes the rights of young people. 'These devices are indiscriminate and target all children and young people, including babies, regardless of whether they are behaving or misbehaving,' Sir Al told the BBC. 'The use of measures such as these are simply demonizing children and young people, creating a dangerous and widening divide between the young and the old.'"

UK Music Retailers Beg, Drop the DRM 219

thefickler notes that consumers aren't the only ones carrying "Death to DRM" placards. UK music retailers are telling the recording industry enough is enough — that the industry's obsession with copy protection is hurting, not helping, profit. Kim Bayley, director-general of the UK Entertainment Retailers Association, said that the anti-piracy technologies are not protecting industry revenue but instead "stifling growth and working against the consumer interest." The ERA hopes the industry will drop DRM in time for the holiday season. Good luck with that.

Warner Music CEO Says War With Consumers Was Wrong 258

l2718 writes "Edgar Bronfman, CEO of the Warner Music Group, has publicly framed the music industry's failure to accommodate file-sharing as an 'inadvertent' war on consumers. I'm left wondering how you can file a series of lawsuits inadvertently. 'We expected our business would remain blissfully unaffected even as the world of interactivity, constant connection and file sharing was exploding ... By ... moving at a glacial pace, we inadvertently went to war with consumers by denying them what they wanted and could otherwise find and as a result of course, consumers won.'"
The Courts

New Attorneys Fee Decision Against RIAA 144

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The RIAA has gotten slammed again, this time in Oregon, as the Magistrate Judge in Atlantic v. Andersen has ruled that Tanya Andersen's motion for attorneys fees should be granted. The Magistrate, in his 15-page decision, noted that, despite extensive pretrial discovery proceedings, 'when plaintiffs dismissed their claims in June 2007, they apparently had no more material evidence to support their claims than they did when they first contacted defendant in February 2005.....' and concluded that 'Copyright holders generally, and these plaintiffs specifically, should be deterred from prosecuting infringement claims as plaintiffs did in this case.' This is the same case in which (a) the RIAA insisted on interrogating Ms. Andersen's 10-year-old girl at a face-to-face deposition, (b) the defendant filed RICO counterclaims against the record companies, and (c) the defendant recently converted her RICO case into a class action"
The Courts

RIAA Complaint Dismissed as "Boilerplate" 197

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The decision many lawyers had been expecting — that the RIAA's 'boilerplate' complaint fails to state a claim for relief under the Copyright Act — has indeed come down, but from an unlikely source. While the legal community has been looking towards a Manhattan case (Elektra v. Barker) for guidance, the decision instead came from Senior District Court Judge Rudi M. Brewster of the US District Court for the Southern District of California. The decision handed down denied a default judgment (i.e. the defendant had not even appeared in the action). Judge Brewster not only denied the default judgment motion but dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim. Echoing the words of Judge Karas at the oral argument in Barker , Judge Brewster held (pdf) that 'Plaintiff here must present at least some facts to show the plausibility of their allegations of copyright infringement against the Defendant. However, other than the bare conclusory statement that on "information and belief" Defendant has downloaded, distributed and/or made available for distribution to the public copyrighted works, Plaintiffs have presented no facts that would indicate that this allegation is anything more than speculation.'"

AMD Releases 900+ Pages Of GPU Specs 325

An anonymous reader writes "Ending off the X Developer Summit this year, Matthew Tippett handed off ATI's GPU specifications to David Airlie on a CD. However, the specifications are also now available on the site. Right now there is the RV630 Register Reference Guide and M56 Register Reference Guide. Expect more documentation (and 3D specifications) to arrive shortly. The new open-source R500/600 driver will be released early next week."

SCO Loses 643

An anonymous reader writes "The one summary judgement that puts a stick into SCO's spokes has just come down. The judge in the epic SCO case has ruled that SCO doesn't own the Unix copyrights. With that one decision, a whole bunch of other decisions will fall like dominoes. As PJ says, 'That's Aaaaall, Folks! ... All right, all you Doubting Thomases. I double dog dare you to complain about the US court system now. I told you if you would just be patient, I had confidence in the system's ability to sort this out in the end. But we must say thank you to Novell and especially to its legal team for the incredible work they have done. I know it's not technically over and there will be more to slog through, but they won what matters most, and it's been a plum pleasin' pleasure watching you work. The entire FOSS community thanks you for your skill and all the hard work and thanks go to Novell for being willing to see this through."

Music DRM in Critical Condition? 377

ianare writes "Universal Music Group, the largest music company on the planet, has announced that the company is going to sell DRM-free music. The test will see UMG offering a portion of its catalog — primarily its most popular content — sold without DRM between August 21 and January 31 of next year. The format will be MP3, and songs will sell for 99 each, with the bitrate to be determined by the stores in question. RealNetwork's Rhapsody service will offer 256kbps tracks, the company said in a separate statement. January 31 is likely more of a fire escape than an end date. If UMG doesn't like what they're seeing, they'll pull the plug. UMG says that it wants to watch how DRM-free music affects piracy rates."

"Consider a spherical bear, in simple harmonic motion..." -- Professor in the UCB physics department