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Submission + - Judge wipes out Safe Harbor provision in DMCA, makes Cox accomplice of piracy

SysKoll writes: The DMCA is well-known for giving exorbitant powers to copyright holders, such as taking down a page or a whole web site without a court order. Media companies buy services from vendors like Rightscorp, a shake-down outfit that issues thousands of robot-generated take-down notices and issues threats against ISPs and sites ignoring them.

Cox, like a lot of ISP, is inundated with abusive take-down notices, in particular from Rightscorp. Now, BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music are suing Cox for refusing to shut off the Internet access of subscribers that Rightscorp accused of downloading music via BitTorrent. Cox argues that as an ISP, they benefit from the Safe Harbor provision that shields access providers from subscribers' misbehavior.

Not so, says US District Judge Liam O'Grady. The judge sided with the media companies ahead of trial, saying Cox should have terminated the repeat offenders accused by Rightscorp. Cox's response is quite entertaining for a legal document: its description of Rightscorp includes the term "shady", "shake-down", and "pay no attention to the facts"

O'Grady also derided the Electronic Frontier Foundations's attempt to file an amicus brief supporting Cox, calling them hysterical crybabies.

This case will be closely watched and can be very damaging for the Internet industry.

Submission + - Yahoo denies ad-blocking users access to email (washingtonpost.com)

JoeyRox writes: Yahoo is running an A/B test (http://fortune.com/2015/11/23/yahoo-ad-block/) that blocks access to Yahoo email if the site detects that the user is running an Ad Blocker. Yahoo informed Engadget that this a trial rather than a new policy, effecting only a "small number" of users. Those lucky users are greeted with a message that reads "Please disable Ad Blocker to continue using Yahoo Mail." Regarding the legality of the move, "Yahoo is well within its rights to do so, said Ansel Halliburton an attorney at Kronenberger Rosenfeld who specializes in Internet law."

Submission + - Disney IT workers prepare to sue over foreign replacements (computerworld.com)

JustAnotherOldGuy writes: At least 23 former Disney IT workers have filed complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over the loss of their jobs to foreign replacements. This federal filing is a first step to filing a lawsuit alleging discrimination. These employees are arguing that they are victims of national origin discrimination, a complaint increasingly raised by U.S. workers who have lost their jobs to foreign workers on H-1B and other temporary visas. Disney's layoff last January followed agreements with IT services contractors that use foreign labor, mostly from India. Some former Disney workers have begun to go public over the displacement process

Submission + - 20 Years of GIMP (gimp.org)

jones_supa writes: Back in 1995, University of California students Peter Mattis and Kimball Spencer were members of the eXperimental Computing Facility, a Berkeley campus organization. In June of that year, the two hinted at their intentions to write a free graphical image manipulation program as a means of giving back to the free software community. On November 21st, 20 years ago today, Peter Mattis announced the availability of the "General Image Manipulation Program" on Usenet (later "GNU Image Manipulation Program"). Over the years, GIMP amassed a huge amount of new features designed for all kinds of users and practical applications: general image editing, retouching and color grading, digital painting, graphic design, science imaging, and so on. To celebrate the 20th anniversary, there is an update of the current stable branch of GIMP. The newly released version 2.8.16 features support for layer groups in OpenRaster files, fixes for layer groups support in PSD, various user interface improvements, OSX build system fixes, translation updates, and more.

Submission + - Anonymous Reportedly "RickRolling" Isis (dazeddigital.com)

retroworks writes: According to a recent tweet from the #OpParis account, Anonymous are delivering on their threat to hack Isis [slashdot http://slashdot.org/?fhfilter=..., and are now flooding all pro-Isis hastags with the grandfather of all 2007 memes — Rick Aston's "Never Gonna Give You Up" (1987) music video, aka “Rick Roll” meme. Whenever a targeted Isis account tries to spread a message, the topic will instead be flooded with countless videos of Rick Astley circa 1987.

Not all are praising Anonymous methods, however. While Metro UK reports that the attacks have been successful, finding and shutting down 5,500 Twitter accounts, the article also indicates that professional security agencies have seen sources they monitor shut down. Rick Aston drowns out intelligence as well as recruitment. http://metro.co.uk/2015/11/22/...

Submission + - How Close Are We To a Mission on Mars? (thenewstack.io)

destinyland writes: "NASA is developing the capabilities needed to send humans to an asteroid by 2025 and Mars in the 2030s," reads the official NASA web site. But National Geographic points out that "the details haven't been announced, in large part because such a massive, long-term spending project would require the unlikely support of several successive U.S. presidents." And yet on November 4th, NASA put out a call for astronaut applications "in anticipation of returning human spaceflight launches to American soil, and in preparation for the agency’s journey to Mars," and they're currently experimenting with growing food in space. And this week they not only ordered the first commercial mission to the International Space Station, but also quietly announced that they've now partnered with 22 private space companies.

Submission + - George Lucas: 'I'm Done With Star Wars'

HughPickens.com writes: Entertainment Weekly reports that George Lucas has compared his retirement from Star Wars to a break-up – a mutual one, maybe, but one that nonetheless comes with hard feelings and although Lucas came up with story treatments for a new trilogy, those materials, to put it bluntly, were discarded. “They decided they didn’t want to use those stories, they decided they were gonna go do their own thing,” says Lucas. “They weren’t that keen to have me involved anyway. But at the same time, I said if I get in there I’m just going to cause trouble. Because they’re not going to do what I want them to do. And I don’t have the control to do that anymore. All I would do is muck everything up. So I said, ‘Okay, I will go my way, and I’ll let them go their way.’” Lucas says he was going to tell a story about the grandchildren of figures from the original trilogy. “The issue was, ultimately, they looked at the stories and they said, ‘We want to make something for the fans,’” says Lucas. “So, I said, all I want to do is tell a story of what happened – it started here and went there. It’s all about generations, and issues of fathers and sons and grandfathers. It’s a family soap opera.”

Although the team behind The Force Awakens acknowledges they’re taking the story in a different direction from what Lucas intended, they maintain affection for his original creations and the man himself. “Before I showed up, it was already something that Disney had decided they wanted to go a different way with,” says J. J. Abrams. “But the spirit of what he wrote, both in those pages and prior, is everything that this movie is built upon.” Some fans question why there was no “Based on” credit for Lucas in the poster for The Force Awakens. “I don’t know why it isn’t on the poster, but it’s a valid point. I’m sure that that will be a credit in the film,” says Abrams. “We are standing on the shoulders of Episodes I through VI.”

Submission + - Computerworld: Fury and fear in Ohio as IT jobs go to India (computerworld.com)

ErichTheRed writes: A company called Cengage Learning now joins the Toys 'R Us, Disney and Southern California Edison IT offshoring club. Apparently, even IT workers in low-cost parts of the country are too expensive and their work is being sent to Cognizant, one of the largest H-1B visa users. As a final insult, the article describes a pretty humiliating termination process was used. Is it time to think about a professional organization before IT goes the way of manufacturing?

Submission + - Judge Orders NSA to Stop Collecting American's Phone Records Immediately (vice.com)

citadrianne writes: The judge who called the NSA’s collection of all phone records “almost Orwellian” and likely unconstitutional just ordered the controversial surveillance program to be shut down immediately.

US District Court Judge Richard Leon ordered the NSA on Monday to stop collecting American phone records, as the program’s continued existence for “even one day is a significant harm” to Americans’ privacy.

“This court simply cannot, and will not, allow the government to trump the Constitution merely because it suits the exigencies of the moment,’ ’Leon wrote in his decision.

Make it right before you make it faster.