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Censorship

+ - China censors 5000 porn sites, 5000 arrested->

Submitted by lothos
lothos (10657) writes "China has shut down more than 60,000 pornographic websites this year and arrested 5,000 people as it steps up a campaign against obscene material. Beijing has run a highly publicized drive against lewd online content which it claims is overwhelming the country’s internet and mobile phones and threatening the emotional health of children. Critics have accused the Chinese government of deepening the crackdown, launched last December, and said censorship had blocked many sites with politically sensitive or even user-generated content."
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The Almighty Buck

+ - Study on Endowment Effects in IP Transactions->

Submitted by Wrath0fb0b
Wrath0fb0b (302444) writes "[Disclosure: I'm not involved in any way in this research or Cornell, nor do I know any of the researchers or papers cited. ]

The endowment effect is a long-studied cognitive bias in which owners of property consistently assign it a higher value for sale (WTA, willing to accept) than non-owners for purchase (WTP, willing to pay). This effect is occurs even if the property is assigned randomly, meaning it is independent of the fact that we acquire things we consider valuable or have experienced as valuable. A brief overview of the evidence for the effect, and a number of possible psychological bases for this bias, are discussed in the paper.

This studyis the first to test the extent and manner in which this effect applies to transactions involving IP — that is, non-rivalrous goods. Subjects (undergrads) were divided into three groups based on their order of scheduling: the first third became Authors; the middle third became Bidders; and the final third became Owners. The authors were told to write a poem for entry into a contest, in which the winner would be awarded $50. They were then asked at what price they would be willing to sell their chance of winning — their WTA for the work. Each bidder was assigned a single poem and asked at what price they would be willing to buy that poems chance of winning. Finally, each owner was assigned a single poem, told that they already "owned it", and asked for a WTA for that work's chance of winning.

The results were in line with what one might expect from Endowment Effect literature — Authors and Owners both valued the poems at nearly twice as high as bidders, which is even more interesting because what was being "sold" here was only partial alienation of the property — the author would continue to have the poem for personal use but sold only the winnings from the contest. Even more interestingly, the results do not change much if you allow all the subjects to read all the poems entered into the contest before writing their bids/sells. Nor do they change if you inform the subjects that the winning poem will be selected by lottery instead of by subjective judgment. The conclusions for the rational structuring of IP law are broad and generally point towards a "liability rules" (what we would call compulsory-licensing) over the extant "property rules" (what we would call the current system in which the owner retains the unlimited power to refuse to sell). As the authors put it more verbosely:

Our findings suggest that private transactions in creative goods may face significant transaction costs arising from cognitive biases. These biases in turn drive the price that creators and owners of IP are likely to demand considerably higher than buyers will, on average, be willing to pay. This discovery does not mean, of course, that transactions in IP will not take place — we see such transactions happening every day. Our research suggests, however, both that IP transactions may occur at a frequency that is significantly suboptimal and that the baleful effect of cognitive and affective biases is likely to be more serious for transactions in works of relatively low commercial value or for which no well-established custom or pattern helps to inform valuation. These results have considerable implications for the structuring of IP rights, IP formalities, IP licensing, and fair use.

Most broadly, we believe that our results should inform the ongoing debate over whether IP law is best structured around property rules or liability rules. Additionally, we argue that our results point toward the advisability of copyright re-formalization, which is best achieved via reformulation of copyright as remedies provisions to limit owners of works that are unregistered (and therefore presumptively of low commercial value) to the effective equivalent of a liability rule. Finally, our findings should inform copyright'(TM)s fair use doctrine. Many courts considering the fair use defense already base their analysis, in part, on the presence of significant transaction costs that lower the likelihood that the parties would have negotiated a license and therefore make fair use more appropriate. In light of our findings, courts should consider whether a license for the use at issue in a particular case would likely be subject to significant endowment effects. If so, it is less likely that the parties would have struck a deal as an alternative to the defendant'(TM)s unauthorized use, therefore making a finding of fair use more appropriate.

"

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+ - Twitter Appears to Censor Wikileaks-Related Trends->

Submitted by Sheep
Sheep (250395) writes "This past week I found it weird that none of the words #wikileaks, #cablegate, #cables, #Assange, etc. were actually "trending" on Twitter. Today, my fears of some secret censorship going on, are slowly coming true. It appears that Twitter is censoring all these keywords, essentially trying to minimize the effect Wikileaks can have on the world through Twitter's democratized popularization of information. It's ironic that last year Twitter suspended their own scheduled server maintenance in order to not interrupt its users from tweeting on Iran's revolution, and now it appears to censor, and manipulate public opinion as it sees fit!"
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Technology

+ - Magicjack releases Magictalk in beta->

Submitted by JayRott
JayRott (1524587) writes "When I plugged in my Magicjack this evening a pop up officially announced Magictalk service is in beta. For those who have not heard, Magictalk allows users to make free calls using VOIP. The company plans on making money by billing the phone company on the receiving end of the call, which I expect will cause some companies to block the service. If you want to try it out, just head to http://magictalk.com/. The software works with either PC or Mac (as usual Linux users are left out in the cold.)"
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Businesses

+ - "I Just Need a Programmer"

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "As head of the CS Department at the University of Northern Iowa, Eugene Wallingford often receives e-mail and phone calls from eager entrepreneurs with The Next Great Idea. They want to change the world, and they want Prof. Wallingford to help them. They just need a programmer. 'Many idea people,' observes Wallingford, 'tend to think most or all of the value [of a product] inheres to having the idea. Programmers are a commodity, pulled off the shelf to clean up the details. It's just a small matter of programming, right?' Wrong. 'Writing the program is the ingredient the idea people are missing,' he adds. 'They are doing the right thing to seek it out. I wonder what it would be like if more people could implement their own ideas.'"
Games

+ - Is the Will a victim of its own success?->

Submitted by kube00
kube00 (1768000) writes "Wii sales have been dropping like rocks. This is because everyone who wanted one has one already. Nintendo's success will also be it downfall in the long run. Nintendo now has the image of a console with a gimmick, who's game library is dominated by causal games. Will this branding hurt the next Nintendo console's success? Should Nintendo finally get out of the console hardware market and go the way of Sega?"
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+ - book author boycotting amazon because of wikileaks->

Submitted by horstjens
horstjens (1375067) writes "tech book author Al Sweigart ("Invent your own games with python") made his book available online for free and uses CreateSpace.com (owned by Amazon.com) for self publishing. In his blog entry he explain his motives for boycotting amazon (for the holiday saison) and encourage other authors to do the same."
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If you hype something and it succeeds, you're a genius -- it wasn't a hype. If you hype it and it fails, then it was just a hype. -- Neil Bogart

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