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Movies

+ - Camcorder piracy overestimated, says Geist.

Submitted by EWAdams
EWAdams writes: The BBC News website has published an article by Internet law professor Michael Geist, in which he argues that the MPAA is overstating the amount of camcorder piracy of movies going on and misrepresenting the economic damage that it causes... or at best, obfuscating the reality of the situation (small surprise). An excerpt:

First, the camcorder claims have themselves involved wildly different figures. For example, over the past two weeks, reports have pegged the Canadian percentage of global camcording at either 40 or 50%. Yet the International Intellectual Property Alliance, a U.S. lobby group that includes the MPAA, advised the US government in late September that Canadians were the source for 23% of camcorded copies of DVDs. Not surprisingly, none of these figures have been subject to independent audit or review. In fact, AT&T Labs, which conducted the last major public study on movie piracy in 2003, concluded that 77 percent of pirated movies actually originate from industry insiders and advance screener copies provided to movie reviewers.
The Courts

+ - Keith Urban vs. Keith Urban

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: I just noticed this on cnn.com about Keith Urban vs. Keith Urban. It seems to me to be an interesting question. One

Keith Urban is a famous singer (I never heard of him before) and has trademarked his name. The other is an artist and owns the KeithUrban.com web site. The artist never claims to be the singer but never clarifies that he isn't. There are google ads at the top of the page that advertise tickets to the singer's concert which would give the impression this is the singer.

Who should prevail? I'm torn. The artist does not generate the google ads. I've looked at the source code for the page and I don't see anything he generates that is overtly deceptive. I do wonder how common the Urban surname is and if a common name should be allowed to be trademarked.
Google

+ - Slashdot is Missing a Classic Tech Underdog Story

Submitted by KeepingOnEye
KeepingOnEye writes: We (Slashdot) are missing out on one of the coolest underdog stories of the day: It was the #2 spot in Digg's top 10 yesterday with 4,000+ diggs; The guy is getting 10 e-mails every minute from tech users wishing him luck; the stack of them he showed in his video from just the last 8 hours was over two reams of paper thick. He's gotten TV coverage by ABC (where I saw this) and all in the last 24 hours, when his quest went from unknown to known in seconds. People seem really into this — and it's a Slashdot kind of story, but there's no mention of it on Slashdot that I can find... so here it is. :)

From the site (CanGoogleHearMe.com): "On February 11th, 2007 I'm getting on a plane to fly to Mountain View, California, headquarters of Google, Inc. Once there, I'm going to try to pitch an idea to them that I think fits right in with the Google spirit and business model; catch is, I don't have an appointment, they don't know I'm coming, and I'm literally going to be showing up at their door and hoping they give me a meeting.

And if they don't give me one? Then I'm going to sit in their lobby like a spoiled child in hopes that they'll change their mind. :) Every once in a while you have to give an idea a shot, or you spend your entire life passing up ideas that seem just beyond your reach."
AMD

+ - ATI is not supporting the All-in-Wonder in Vista

Submitted by Working-Person
Working-Person writes: Thinking about using your expensive All-in-Wonder with Vista? Think again. Here's the response from ATI when looking for Vista drivers "The product you purchased was not advertised or broadcasted as Vista Compliant it is fully functional and supported on the specified Operating Systems. The tuner on the board doesn't meet Windows Vista's requirements and is not compatable. That means it will not be supported and there will be no drivers or software release for the tuner on the ALL IN WONDER Board."
Microsoft

+ - Vista retail sales low compared to XP launch

Submitted by
PetManimal
PetManimal writes: "A comparison of first-week retail sales of Vista compared to first-week sales of XP back in 2001 found that Vista sales were 60% lower. Steve Ballmer has admitted that earlier sales forecasts were "overly aggressive," but at least there is some good news for Microsoft: early Office 2007 sales were very strong compared to the early sales of Office 2003, despite almost no advertising or marketing until the retail launch at the end of January."
Nintendo

Comments From Miyamoto On Wii, Industry 209

Posted by Zonk
from the wise-man dept.
This past December, Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto sat down with the Talk Asia program. It was only just recently translated and (via Ars Technica), CNN is carrying the resulting commentary. Miyamoto discusses the creation of Mario, the future of the Nintendo, the problems facing the games industry today, and the 'awesomeness' of the Wii's name. "I think anyone can enjoy video games. But some people shy away from them, just by looking at the shape of the console, or they think it is complicated when they have to plug the machine into their television set. However, I think if it is something that is simple to connect and play, it can be enjoyed by anybody, especially if they can interact with the characters. We also have to think about the themes of the games. There is an abundance of themes that people are interested in, and video games have only touched on few of them."
Education

Kansas Adopts New Science Standards 868

Posted by Zonk
from the in-line-with-the-rest-of-us dept.
porcupine8 writes "The Kansas State Board of Education has changed the state science standards once again, this time to take out language questioning evolution. This turnaround comes fast on the heels of the ouster given this past election to the ultra-conservative Board members who originally introduced the language. 'Science' has also been re-redefined as 'a human activity of systematically seeking natural explanations' (the word 'natural' had been previously stricken from the definition). If you'd like to see the new standards, a version showing all additions and deletions is available from the KS DOE's website (PDF)."
Windows

+ - Vista "express" upgrade program bungled

Submitted by Josh M.
Josh M. writes: Thousands of customers who purchased new Windows PCs this past Christmas are still waiting on their promised Windows Vista upgrades, despite the Vista launch occurring more than two weeks ago. Ars reports that Dell and HP have both pushed their shipping dates 6-8 weeks back after launch, meaning some people won't get their upgrades well into April. It turns out that because those customers get free Vista support, the OEMs are waiting for better driver support, hence the delay. So much for "express."
Education

+ - Hacks no longer joking matter at MIT

Submitted by ecklesweb
ecklesweb writes: The Boston Globe reprots that Hacks are no longer a joke at MIT. Three students tripped an alarm while "exploring" the Faculty Club under the cover of dark. Instead of fines or community service, the three students face up to 20 years in prison on charges of felony breaking and entering and trespassing. Of course, maybe it's just *botched* hacks that are no joke at MIT...

"Take that, you hostile sons-of-bitches!" -- James Coburn, in the finale of _The_President's_Analyst_

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