There exists no such thing as "good" lawyers, to be sure. But surely there is a "lesser of two evils" which is prudent to root for, in these cases.
Michael Manoochehri writes "Reuters reports that a "federal appeals court has denied a petition by U.S. Internet radio stations seeking to delay a royalty rate hike due July 15 they say could kill the fledgling industry." This royalty rate hike, put forth by the US Copyright Royalty Board, will increase royalty rates for webcast music tremendously, in some cases to more per year than many webcasters bring in from revenue. Save Net Radio, a coalition of webcasters, is telling listeners that "We are appealing to the millions of Internet radio listeners out there, the webcasters they support and the artists and labels we treasure to rise up and make your voices heard again before this vibrant medium is silenced.""
Nate writes to mention the news that Jack Thompson has issued a cease and desist for the new Mortal Kombat:Armageddon title. Says Mr. Thompson: "It has today come to my attention that the newly recently Mortal Kombat: Armageddon contains an unauthorized commercial exploitation of my name, photograph, image, and likeness within the game." Thompson's likeness has appeared on websites in the game over the last few days as a result of his construction in the 'build-a-fighter' mode. His image is not actually a selectable character in the game, a fact he's chosen to skirt in his demands to Midway. If that's not enough Jack Thompson news for today, Game|Life has the video and commentary on Thompson's dressing down by the judge in the Bully case. Video courtesy of the Destructoid site.
fantomas writes, "The BBC is reporting that the current US-EU talks over data collected from people flying to the USA collapsed last night. US Customs and Border Protection is insisting on access to the airlines' records and 34 pieces of data to be collected from each passenger. This data has been gathered since 2004, but only as a temporary measure. The European Court of Justice threw out the temporary agreement and set a deadline of Sept. 30 to arrive at a new one. Airlines that refuse to hand over information to US authorities may be fined up to $6,000 per passenger, and the passengers themselves held up in immigration for hours. Good for the EU on protecting the privacy of their citizens? Or are they hindering the War on Terror?" An EU official said that the EU wanted to give away less data, while the US wanted more.
narramissic writes "A U.S. House of Representatives Committee has approved the Electronic Modernization Surveillance Act, a controversial bill that would broaden the U.S. government's ability to conduct electronic surveillance on U.S. residents by making it easier for federal law enforcement officials to get court-issued warrants. The full House is expected to vote on the bill by the end of the month." From the article: "Republicans praised the bill, saying it will help the U.S. government fight terrorism. The bill will provide the U.S. intelligence agencies 'greater agility and flexibility as they try to thwart our determined and dangerous terrorist enemies,' Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican, said in a statement. The full House is expected to vote on the bill by the end of the month. The committee's action comes after U.S. President George Bush called on Congress to approve a controversial electronic surveillance program conducted by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). "
An anonymous reader writes "Producers of networking hardware such as Motorola, Corning, and Tyco have come out against Net Neutrality. They support the current senate communications bill, and urge immediate action. 'Don't be confused by these spurious complaints about Net neutrality,' Tim Regan, a vice president with fiber optic cable manufacturer Corning Inc., said. 'Net neutrality is a solution in search of a problem.'" From the article: "Supporters say the Senate measure, which was approved by a committee vote in June but has since gotten hung up chiefly over Net neutrality, is crucial because it would make it easier for new video service providers--such as telephone companies hoping to roll out IPTV--to enter the market, increase competition for cable, and thus spur lower prices. Among other benefits, they say, it would also permit municipalities to offer their own broadband services."
I*Love*Green*Olives writes to tell us the Toledo Blade is reporting that State officials have rubber-stamped a "civil-registry" that would allow accused sex offenders to be tracked with the sex offender registry even if they have never been convicted of a crime. From the article: "A recently enacted law allows county prosecutors, the state attorney general, or, as a last resort, alleged victims to ask judges to civilly declare someone to be a sex offender even when there has been no criminal verdict or successful lawsuit. The rules spell out how the untried process would work. It would largely treat a person placed on the civil registry the same way a convicted sex offender is treated under Ohio's so-called Megan's Law."
Budenny writes "The Register has a story in its ongoing coverage of the UK ID Card story. This one suggests, with links to a weekend news story, that the Prime Minister in waiting has bought the idea that all electronic transactions in the UK should be linked to a central government/police database. Every cash withdrawal, every credit card purchase, ever loyalty card use ... And that data should flow back from the police database to (eg) a loyalty card use. So, for example, not only would the government know what books you were buying, but the bookstore would also know if you had an outstanding speeding ticket!"
Krishna Dagli writes to mention a C|Net story covering a House of Representatives vote on restricting access to social sites on public terminals. The bill, which passed the House in a 410-15 vote, would bar users from accessing sites like Amazon, MySpace, or Slashdot from terminals in libraries and schools. Adults would be able to 'ask permission' to access such sites. From the article: "'Social networking sites, best known by the popular examples of MySpace, Friendster and Facebook, have literally exploded in popularity in just a few short years,' said Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican and one of DOPA's original sponsors. Now, he added, those Web sites 'have become a haven for online sexual predators who have made these corners of the Web their own virtual hunting ground.'"
Krishna Dagli writes "The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a bill that would make it a federal felony for Webmasters to use innocent words like "Barbie" or "Furby" but actually feature sexual content on their sites. Anyone who includes misleading "words" or "images" intended to confuse a minor into viewing a possibly harmful Web site could be imprisoned for up to 20 years and fined, the bill says." Terrible news for the Barbie/Furbie fetishists out there, to say nothing about being completely impossible to enforce globally.
BalanceOfJudgement writes "A major victory by the federal government was won today when a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit against AT&T for providing phone records to the federal government. From the article: 'The court is persuaded that requiring AT&T to confirm or deny whether it has disclosed large quantities of telephone records to the federal government could give adversaries of this country valuable insight into the government's intelligence activities'" Not to be confused with the EFF case, this case was filed by the ACLU on behalf of author Studs Terkel and other activists who argued that their constitutional rights had been violated by the actions of AT&T and the NSA.
Kranfer writes "Reuters is covering the newest offering from Google: real-time traffic mapping on your cell phone. Now you can check how the traffic is ahead of you, of course as long as you don't cause the traffic incident yourself by checking the local issues on your cell phone while driving. Point your cell phone browser to http://google.com/gmm to get your local traffic maps if you live within one of the 30 U.S. cities where this is available."
Gamespot has the news that Blizzard will be allowing 'crossover' classes with the new races promised for the Burning Crusade expansion. The Paladin class, up until now an Alliance class, will be allowed for the Horde race of Blood Elves. Likewise, the Alliance Draenei will be able to choose the Horde Shaman class. From the article: "According to Blizzard, Horde paladins and Alliance shamans will have many of the same talents of their traditional counterparts, though they "will also enjoy some unique abilities to themselves, similar to the priest class' racial specialties." Since this new feature will fundamentally change the asymmetry between the game's two factions, it will presumably have a significant impact on the way the game is played, especially in competitive player-versus-player combat." It's also likely to somewhat balance the preference between the two factions. A pretty race for the Horde, and what is considered (by some) a very powerful class for the Alliance.
Tyler Too writes "The NSA wiretap lawsuit filed by the EFF will apparently be moving forward. A federal judge has denied the government's request that the EFF's lawsuit against AT&T be dismissed. Among other things, the judge ruled that 'if the government has been truthful in its disclosures, divulging information on AT&T's role in the scandal should not cause any harm to national security.' The case will now move forward, pending a government appeal."
ukhackster writes "The UK government has proposed that suspected cybercriminals could be banned from the Internet or have their PCs seized, even if they've not been convicted. These so-called Asbos have typically been used against teenage hoodlums or small-time crooks, but now they're gunning for organised criminals." From the article: "Asbos give the courts almost unlimited powers when imposing conditions on the person receiving the order. Under the Home Office proposals, the courts would have almost unlimited discretion to impose the order if they believe it probable that a suspect had 'acted in a way which facilitated or was likely to facilitate the commissioning of serious crime.' In a civil court, hearsay is admissible evidence, and the burden of proof is lighter than criminal courts."