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Books

Amazon Pulls Purchased E-Book Copies of 1984 and Animal Farm 645

Oracle Goddess writes "In a story just dripping with irony, Amazon Kindle owners awoke this morning to discover that 1984 and Animal Farm had mysteriously disappeared from their e-book readers. These were books that they had bought and paid for, and thought they owned. Apparently the publisher changed its mind about offering an electronic edition, and apparently Amazon, whose business lives and dies by publisher happiness, caved. It electronically deleted all books by George Orwell from people's Kindles and credited their accounts for the price. Amazon customer service may or may not have responded to queries by stating, 'We've always been at war with Eastasia.'"
Media

Remote Kill Flags Surface In Kindle 630

PL/SQL Guy writes "The Kindle has a number of 'remote kill' flags built in to the hardware that, among other things, allow the text-to-speech function to be disabled at any time on a book-by-book basis. 'Beginning yesterday, Random House Publishers began to disable text-to-speech remotely. The TTS function has apparently been remotely disabled in over 40 works so far.' But what no one at Amazon will discuss is what other flags are lurking in the Kindle format: is there a 'read only once' flag? A 'no turning the pages backwards' flag?"
Books

Lose Your Amazon Account and Your Kindle Dies 419

Mike writes "If you buy a Kindle and some Kindle ebooks from Amazon, be careful of returning items. Amazon decided that one person had returned too many things, so they suspended his Amazon account, which meant that he could no longer buy any Kindle books, and any Kindle subscriptions he's paid for stop working. After some phone calls, Amazon granted him a one-time exception and reactivated his account again." Take this with as much salt as you'd like.
Censorship

Australia To Block BitTorrent 674

Kevin 7Kbps writes "Censorship Minister Stephen Conroy announced today that the Australian Internet Filters will be extended to block peer-to-peer traffic, saying, 'Technology that filters peer-to-peer and BitTorrent traffic does exist and it is anticipated that the effectiveness of this will be tested in the live pilot trial.' This dashes hopes that Conroy's Labor party had realised filtering could be politically costly at the next election and were about to back down. The filters were supposed to begin live trials on Christmas Eve, but two ISPs who volunteered have still not been contacted by Conroy's office, who advised, 'The department is still evaluating applications that were put forward for participation in that pilot.' Three days hardly seems enough time to reconfigure a national network."
Encryption

BD+ Successfully Resealed 443

IamTheRealMike writes "A month on from the story that BD+ had been completely broken, it appears a new generation of BD+ programs has re-secured the system. A SlySoft developer now estimates February 2009 until support is available. There's a list of unrippable movies on the SlySoft forums; currently there are 16. Meanwhile, one of the open source VM developers seems to have given up on direct emulation attacks, and is now attempting to break the RSA algorithm itself. Back in March SlySoft confidently proclaimed BD+ was finished and said the worst case scenario was 3 months' work: apparently they underestimated the BD+ developers."
Sony

LittleBigPlanet Creations Raising Copyright Questions 66

Joystiq's Law of the Game column uses the recently released LittleBigPlanet to address the question of intellectual property rights for user-created content within and for games. At this point, Sony's ToS claims a great deal of control over users' work, unlike Second Life's, which is much more permissive. GiantBomb has a related story pointing out creations within LittleBigPlanet that are copies of other games, and how they could lead to legal troubles for Sony if they aren't quick about taking them down.
Security

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.'"
Businesses

E3 Coming Back Big In 2009 35

Newsweek reports that next year's E3 will be expanding its attendance cap to 40,000 in an attempt to return as the premiere large-scale gaming expo. E3 scaled back its operations over the last few years, leading some to speculate that it was outliving its usefulness. This year, according to E3's organizers, we can "expect a boat load of press conferences on Monday during the day and on Tuesday morning." Newsweek also claims E3 will be opening to the public for the first time, allowing fans inside for the last two days of the event. However, G4's coverage says that while the vetting process for attendees will be eased, the event still won't be open to the public. An official announcement will be made tomorrow by the Entertainment Software Association.
Games

The State of Piracy and DRM In PC Gaming 387

VideoGamer sat down with Randy Stude, president of the PC Gaming Alliance, to talk about the state of piracy and DRM in today's gaming industry. He suggests that many game studios have themselves to blame for leaks and pre-launch piracy by not integrating their protection measures earlier in the development process. He mentions that some companies, such as Blizzard and Valve, have worked out anti-piracy schemes that generate much less of a backlash than occurred for Spore . Stude also has harsh words for companies who decline to create PC versions of their games, LucasArts in particular, saying, "LucasArts hasn't made a good PC game in a long time. That's my opinion. ... It's ridiculous to say that there's not enough audience for that game ... and that it falls into this enthusiast extreme category when ported over to the PC. That's an uneducated response." Finally, Stude discusses what the PCGA would like to see out of Vista and the next version of Windows.
Games

Dead Space Wants To Scare You 195

Kotaku recently ran a story questioning whether the survival-horror genre still exists, and how Dead Space may or may not fit into it. With reviews for the game starting to come in, Ars Technica reports that the game is, indeed, both scary and good. Gamespy wrote up a Dead Space survival guide, and Gamasutra has a lengthy interview with the game's senior producer. In the production of the game, the developers studied things like car wrecks and war scenes to increase the level of realism. They also want the game's sounds to terrify players, including appropriately timed silence. The launch trailer is also available, though it does contain spoilers.
Games

Review: Spore 605

The hype leading up to Spore was excessive. But then, so is the scope of the game; following the growth of a species from the cellular level to galactic domination was an ambitious goal, to say the least. Bringing evolution into the realm of entertainment was something Will Wright hoped and gambled he could do after the success of the Sim franchise. But rather than evolution, Spore became more about creation — creation that allows a single-player game to include the community, as well. It ties the various parts of the game together to make Spore very entertaining as a whole. Read on for my thoughts.
Movies

Ghostbusters Is First Film Released On USB Key 448

arcticstoat writes "Are you the USB keymaster? You could be soon if you pick up PNY's new 2GB USB flashdrive, which comes pre-loaded with Ghostbusters. A spokesperson for PNY explained that it comes with a form of DRM that prevents you from copying the movie. 'They have DRM protection,' explained the spokesperson, 'so customers can download the movie onto their laptop or PC if they wish, but they have to have the USB drive plugged in to watch the movie, as the DRM is locked in the USB drive.' The music industry has been playing around with USB flash drives for a few years now, but it hasn't been a massive success yet; will USB movies fare any better?"
Windows

Black Screens For Unauthorized Copies of Windows 762

arcticstoat writes "In a bid to deter people from using pirate versions of Windows XP, Microsoft is now updating its Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) tool to introduce a few uncomfortable niggles for users of pirated versions of Windows. These include replacing the desktop wallpaper with a black screen every 60 minutes, although you can still replace it with your wallpaper of choice in the intervening period. As well as this, copies of Windows deemed to not be genuine will also have a translucent watermark above the system tray, which Microsoft calls a 'persistent desktop notification.'"
Apple

Apple's IPhone 3G Firmware Update Bombs 423

JagsLive writes "After lots of complaints about iPhone 3G connection issues, Apple released a firmware update Monday with hopes it would fix the issues. But early reports suggest it didn't work as planned. Complaints have included dropped calls, abrupt network switches, poor reception, and service interruptions. Apple declined to offer details about its iPhone 2.0.1 update, other than saying it included 'bug fixes.' However, comments in Apple's support forum say plenty about the latest attempt to rectify poor user experiences. In fact, the update seems to be causing new issues, apparently interfering with the GPS function, among others."
Portables (Apple)

Apple Can Remotely Disable iPhone Apps 550

mikesd81 writes "Engadget reports Apple has readied a blacklisting system which allows the company to remotely disable applications on your device. It seems the new 2.x firmware contains a URL which points to a page containing a list of 'unauthorized' apps — a move which suggests that the device makes occasional contact with Apple's servers to see if anything is amiss on your phone. Jonathan Zdziarski, the man who discovered this, explains, 'This suggests that the iPhone calls home once in a while to find out what applications it should turn off. At the moment, no apps have been blacklisted, but by all appearances, this has been added to disable applications that the user has already downloaded and paid for, if Apple so chooses to shut them down. I discovered this doing a forensic examination of an iPhone 3G. It appears to be tucked away in a configuration file deep inside CoreLocation.'" Update: 08/11 13:07 GMT by T : Reader gadgetopia writes with a small story at IT Wire, citing an interview in the Wall Street Journal, in which this remote kill-switch is "confirmed by Steve Jobs himself."

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