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Submission + - CBS, others sued for copyright infringement over "Soft Kitty" in Big Bang Theory (

UnknowingFool writes: In the popular sitcom, The Big Bang Theory, Penny has sung "Soft Kitty" to the difficult Sheldon Cooper on numerous occasions as a lullaby and to comfort him. These scenes are such fan favorites that the song lyrics are sold on merchandise. The daughters of poet Edith Newlin are suing CBS, Warner Bros, and others claiming copyright infringement for her poem, "Warm Kitty".

The situation is not a simple copyright infringement case of Warner Brothers not obtaining any permission. The poem was created in the 1930s by Newlin, but she granted permission to Willis Music to be used as lyrics in their songbook Songs for the Nursery School. Warner Brothers obtained permission from Willis Music in 2007 for the song to be used in the show. Willis Music is also named as a defendant.

The legal question I see is whether Warner Brothers got permission as they licensed a derivative work (the song) but not the original work (the poem). My non-lawyer opinion is that the show and CBS are probably okay because they licensed the song. The merchandise is another matter and that will need a license.

Submission + - Extruders, Nozels, and Metal Medium - 3D Printers of CES ( 1

szczys writes: It's that time of year again, the Consumer Electronics Show leaks out of every media crevice. Although we've passed peak 3D Printing hype for the general public, the 3D Printer offerings being shown are notable in one way or another. Makerbot continues to flounder with questionable extruders, Lulzbot continues to excel with dual extrusion and by supporting a wide range of print materials, 3D Systems has an uber-expensive direct metal printer, but the entry level printer price floor keeps falling.

Submission + - New York Begins Public Gigabit Wi-Fi Rollout (

An anonymous reader writes: Workers in New York City have begun installing the city's first LinkNYC kiosks. The kiosks are free, public Wi-Fi access points, which are taking the spots formerly occupied by phone booths. 500 more of these hubs will be installed by mid-July, and the full network will include over 7,500 of them. "Once completed, the hubs will also include USB device charging ports, touchscreen web browsing, and two 55-inch advertising displays." The displays are expected to bring the city $500 million in revenue over the next 12 years.

Submission + - Paramount, CBS File Lawsuit Against Crowd-funded, Indie Star Trek Movie (

An anonymous reader writes: Back in August, an Indiegogo campaign raised $566,023 to produce Axanar, a Star Trek movie in development by an independent group of fans, who also happened to be film professional. Now, unfortunately but predictably, Paramount and CBS have filed a lawsuit in California federal court claiming their intellectual property is being infringed upon. They are "demanding an injunction as well as damages for direct, contributory and vicarious copyright infringement." The guy running the crowd-funded film is a lawyer, and he said, "We've certainly been prepared for this and we certainly will defend this lawsuit. There are a lot of issues surrounding a fan film. These fan films have been around for 30 years, and others have raised a lot of money." He said CBS/Paramount weren't willing to provide guidelines on what types of fan productions would be tolerated (unlike Lucasfilm with Star Wars), because they worry about setting precedent.

Submission + - Your Employer Can't Stop You From Recording Conversations At Work (

schwit1 writes: If you're looking to catch your boss breaking labor law, that smartphone in your pocket might be your best friend, thanks to a new ruling from federal officials.

On Thursday, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that upscale grocer Whole Foods cannot forbid employees from recording conversations or taking photographs at work without a supervisor's permission. (Local laws, however, could still come into play in certain situations, as several states require the consent of two parties in order for a conversation to be recorded legally.)

At the center of the case were stipulations in Whole Foods' "General Information Guide," an employee manual laying out worker do's and don'ts. The guide prohibited workers from taking photos or recording conversations inside a store "unless prior approval is received" from a manager or executive, or "unless all parties to the conversation give their consent."

Submission + - Human Brain Still Beats Computers at Finding Messages and Meaning within Noise (

szczys writes: One thing the human brain still does a lot better than computers is to recognize patterns within noise. That's why CAPCHA uses distorted images to prove you're human, and random number generators are often inspected by visual representation. There is a technology that leverages this human knack for signal processing to make us part of the machine. Hellschreiber is a communications device where the machine has no idea whatsoever what the message actually is. It transfers a signal from one unit to the next which is assembled into an image. A human looking at the image will see words, much like CAPTCHA. But even if the signal isn't perfect, our brains can often pick out the order within the madness, much like inspecting a PRNG for uniform distribution.

Submission + - Budget bill includes super-CISA (

An anonymous reader writes: "Last night's budget bill wasn't all about avoiding a government shutdown. Packed inside the 2,000-page bill announced by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) is the full text of the controversial Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) of 2015. If you'll recall, the measure passed the Senate back in October, leaving it up to the House to approve the bill that encourages businesses to share details of security breaches and cyber attacks.

Despite being labeled as cybersecurity legislation, critics of CISA argue that it's a surveillance bill that would allow companies to share user info with the US government and other businesses. As TechDirt points out, this version of the bill stripped important protections that would've prevented directly sharing details with the NSA and required any personally identifying details to be removed before being shared. It also removes restrictions on how the government can use the data."

Submission + - CISA surveillance bill hidden inside last night's budget bill (

An anonymous reader writes: CISA was sold as an anti-hacker cybersecurity bill, but in reality it did nothing to protect the internet from criminal and foreign threats. What is worse this bill has now passed with all its privacy protections removed as part of last nights budget bill. Companies are now free to share your personal information with the NSA, Homeland Security, DEA, FBI, and other policing organizations. Goodbye Fourth Amendment. It was nice knowing you while it lasted.

Submission + - Web-Based LibreOffice Takes On Google Docs, Office 365

snydeq writes: Collabora Productivity has released a distribution of LibreOffice Online as part of a joint venture with ownCloud, makers of an open source file hosting and sharing system a la Dropbox, InfoWorld reports. The Web edition of the open source productivity suite still has a minimal feature set, but documents are editable in the desktop version LibreOffice. 'A preview build of the product more closely resembles Google Docs than LibreOffice. Despite the editor being a little sluggish and the feature set minimal, the product did allow for basic creation and editing of word processing documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. "This initial version allows basic editing," the Collabora press release stated. "Collaborative and rich editing are on the roadmap."'

Submission + - "Upgrade to Windows 10" prompt no longer has a "No" option (

LichtSpektren writes: True to their word, Microsoft has now aggressively resumed pushing Windows 10 to users of Win7 and 8.1. In fact, the "Get Windows 10" (GWX) program no longer offers a "No" button: only "Upgrade now" and "Start download, upgrade later" (of course, Windows already silently downloaded the files [see here: ], so the question is superfluous).

Submission + - FBI: Just don't call them backdoors (

sandbagger writes: The FBI still wants backdoors into encrypted communications, it just doesn’t want to call them backdoors and it doesn’t want to dictate what they should look like. Tech companies "need" to change their business models – by selling only communications gear that enables law enforcement to access communications in unencrypted form, he says, rather than products that only the parties participating in the communication can decrypt. He also says tech companies should just accept that they would be selling less secure products.

Submission + - Scientists grow working vocal cord tissue in the lab (

sciencehabit writes: For the first time, scientists have created vocal cord tissue starting with cells from human vocal cords. When tested in the lab, the bioengineered tissue vibrated—and even sounded—similar to the natural thing. The development could one day help those with severely damaged vocal cords regain their lost voices.

Submission + - We can't let governments use Paris attacks to excuse increased surveillance (

Mark Wilson writes: The tragic events in France have, almost inevitably, led to renewed calls for increased surveillance of the internet. This cannot be allowed to happen; terrorism cannot be used as an excuse to infringe upon the privacy of millions of innocent internet users.

We have groups such as Anonymous taking a vigilante stance in a bid to drive ISIS from the internet, but governments have leapt on the massacres as a justification for additional snooping powers. This smacks very much of being a knee jerk reaction, and there is a very real danger that rushed legislation will cause greater harm than good.

Mass online surveillance is never right. We have already seen the NSA and GCHQ sucking up more information than they are able to process. It's a sign of governmental panic that rather than trying to come up with a meaningful, workable solution to terrorism (like, oh I don’t know... maybe not bombing people perhaps) those in power would rather chuck a load of money at projects that indiscriminately gather data in the blind hope that something useful will turn up.

Submission + - New Star Trek TV Series Coming In 2017 ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: Star Trek is returning to television. In January, 2017, a new series will begin. The first episode will air on CBS, and subsequent episodes will appear on CBS's online platform, "All Access." "The new Star Trek will introduce new characters seeking imaginative new worlds and new civilizations, while exploring the dramatic contemporary themes that have been a signature of the franchise since its inception in 1966." The show will be produced by Alex Kurtzman, who produced the two recent Star Trek films in 2009 and 2013. No details have been released regarding what the show will be about, or who will star in it. CBS is currently looking for a writer to helm the show.

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A method of solution is perfect if we can forsee from the start, and even prove, that following that method we shall attain our aim. -- Leibnitz