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The Courts

Dutch Court Punishes Theft of Virtual Property 276

tsa writes "Last week, the Dutch court subjected two kids of ages 15 and 14 to 160 hours of unpaid work or 80 days in jail, because they stole virtual property from a 13-year-old boy. The boy was kicked and beaten and threatened with a knife while forced to log into Runescape and giving his assets to the two perpetrators. This ruling is the first of its kind for the Netherlands. Ars Technica has some more background information." In Japan, meanwhile, a woman has been arrested for "illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data" after (virtually) killing her (virtual) husband.

First Mars-Goers Should Prepare For a One-Way Trip 528

Luminary Crush writes with this excerpt from PhysOrg about the permanance of leaving Earth for Mars, at least for early travelers: "The first astronauts sent to Mars should be prepared to spend the rest of their lives there, in the same way that European pioneers headed to America knowing they would not return home, says moonwalker Buzz Aldrin. '[the distance and difficulty is why you should] send people there permanently,' Aldrin said. 'If we are not willing to do that, then I don't think we should just go once and have the expense of doing that and then stop.'" On the other hand, maybe they'll catch a ride back with Carrie-Anne Moss.

Open-Source DRM Ready To Take On Big Guns 520

Barence writes "An open-source digital rights management (DRM) scheme says it's ready to supplant Apple and Microsoft as the world's leading copy protection solution. Marlin, which is backed by companies such as Sony and Samsung, has just announced a new partner program that aims to drive the DRM system into more consumer devices. 'It works in a way that doesn't hold consumers hostage,' Talal Shamoon told PC Pro. 'It allows you to protect and share content in the home, in a way that people own the content, not the devices.' When asked about the biggest problem of DRM — that customers hate it — he argued that 'the biggest problem with DRM is people have implemented it badly. Make DRM invisible and people will use it.'"

Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982