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Media

Submission + - Internet Radio to be killed by the RIAA

Anonymous Coward writes: "Just got this in the mail from Tim Westergren, Pandora's CEO: "I'm writing today to ask for your help. We've had a disastrous turn of events recently for internet radio: Following an intensive lobbying effort on the part of the RIAA, an arbitration committee in Washington DC has just dramatically increased the fees internet radio sites must pay to the record labels — tripling fees and adding enormous retroactive payments! Left unchanged by Congress, this will kill all internet radio sites, including Pandora. Tomorrow afternoon there is an important U.S. Senate hearing on the future of internet radio."

This issue has started to get blog coverage: http://gigaom.com/2007/03/05/webcaster-royalty-rat es-go-up/ and http://www.rossdawsonblog.com/weblog/archives/2007 /03/the_vast_potent.html

If you live in the US, please contact your local Congressman now!

Please note that I have no Pandora affiliation except as a very happy user."
Music

Submission + - An open letter to Steve Jobs: Drop DRM in iTunes.

Max Romantschuk writes: "In the wake of the recent EU stance on digital music and consumer lock-in, political pressure finally seems to be building up against DRM. Steve Jobs even claimed that he prefers DRM-free music. The EFF's DefectiveByDesign.org campaign has written an open letter to Steve Jobs. This excerpt pretty much sums it up: "It has been three weeks now since you published your pledge to drop DRM, and there have been many responses from commentators who have outlined actions you could take to back up your words. The fact that you have not taken any action leads us to ask the question: How genuine is your pledge?"

Help the EFF fight DRM. Sign the letter and let Mr Reality Distortion Field know that you care about DRM-free music."
Patents

Submission + - PTO Rejects Instant Live Patent

Jivecat writes: "The U.S. Patent Office has issued a notice to cancel a patent held by Live Nation that allowed that company to monopolize live in-concert recordings, recorded directly from the sound board and quickly burned on CD so that audience members can buy copies of the show as they are leaving the venue. The patent concerned a technology to add start and end cues to a live performance so the resulting CD would not contain a single, massive track. The EFF and patent attorneys found prior work of an equivalent technology. This is good news for those who consider Live Nation to be the Evil Empire when it comes to concert promotion."
Slashdot.org

Submission + - Square-Enix scans processes, fails to disclose

TinyTim writes: "This is 100% verifiable. POL.exe calls Process32First and Process32Next in order to enumerate all processes running on your system. Then, for each process it attempts to use ReadProcessMemory in order to scan the memory being used by each application. I found this out because I use ProcessGuard, and have all of my services set up with protected memory, and set all applications I use to the bare minimum permissions. I noted that after the update, POL.exe was attempting to gain access to Apache, Ventrilo, MySQL, Oracle, ProcessGuard, Explorer, Norton AntiVirus, and teatimer (The Spybot S&D Resident).

Yet square-Enix says:
There has been no change in the PlayOnline software that would allow it to report on a user's active programs, or cause it to send the data back to Square Enix. We want to make this official announcement so that our members will not be alarmed or confused by a rumor that has no basis in fact.
Link(it's the sticky at the top): http://tinyurl.com/r8ns9

Since just running ProcessGuard proves otherwise, the company just lied.

Under California state law, the company has to disclose that it is scanning in it's privacy policy, or it's entire Terms of Service agreement in null and void."
Privacy

Audit Finds FBI Abused Patriot Act 341

happyslayer writes to mention that according to Yahoo! News a recent audit shows that the FBI has improperly and in some cases illegally utilized the Patriot Act to obtain information. "The audit by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine found that FBI agents sometimes demanded personal data on individuals without proper authorization. The 126-page audit also found the FBI improperly obtained telephone records in non-emergency circumstances. The audit blames agent error and shoddy record-keeping for the bulk of the problems and did not find any indication of criminal misconduct. Still, 'we believe the improper or illegal uses we found involve serious misuses of national security letter authorities,' the audit concludes."
Education

Submission + - BGSU Prof Responds About Academic Freedom Article

C.Rathsack writes: "Dr. Paul Cesarini, an assistant professor in the Visual Communication & Technology Education department at Bowling Green State University, began a discussion that we wanted to continue on Interact at the Center. The original article, Caught in the Network, from the Chronicle of Higher Education, began a discussion on academic freedom, IT controls and limits, and the fine balance between the two. Paul was kind enough to respond to some of the comments and questions he has received as well as reflect his experiences over the past few weeks:

I appreciate how many of you read my article, commented on it in various online venues, and linked to it so that others might read it... (more) If anyone else has some specific questions or comments about my article, I would love to hear them. ~Paul
See Paul's full response here: Interact at the Center"
Privacy

Blizzard Exposes Detailed WoW Character Data 233

Gavin Scott writes "Blizzard has introduced a new web site called the Armory which lets you get information on any World of Warcraft character, extracted from their live databases, in near real-time. This exposes a great deal of information that was not previously obtainable including profession choices, skill levels for all skills, and the character's complete talent specification and all faction reputation data, along with all gear currently equipped. The complete roster of any guild or arena team is also available. Some players are upset about this, such as arena PvP teams who now have all their gear and talent choices exposed to the world, or players with non-standard or less-popular talent choices who fear they will have difficulty getting into pickup groups now that people can instantly find out everything about them. Are these complaints fair? Blizzard claims to own all the data and the characters, but at what point does this data represent personal choices and information about their players which would be covered by their own privacy policy? In a virtual society, should people be able to present a view of themselves that differs from (virtual) reality, or should all details be exposed?"
The Internet

Berners-Lee Speaks Out Against DRM, Advocates Net Neutrality 187

narramissic writes "Speaking before the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, Tim Berners-Lee advocated for net neutrality, saying that the Web deserves 'special treatment' as a communications medium to protect its nondiscriminatory approach to content. Berners-Lee's more controversial statements came on the topic of DRM, in which he suggested that instead of DRM, copyright holders should provide information on how to legally use online material, allowing users the opportunity 'to do the right thing.' This led to an odd exchange with Representative Mary Bono who compared Berner-Lee's suggestion to 'having a speed limit but not enforcing the speed limit.'"
Books

DRM Causes Piracy 413

igorsk recommends an essay by Eric Flint, editor at Baen Publishing and an author himself, over at Baen's online SF magazine, Baen Universe. In it Flint argues that, far from curbing piracy of copyrighted materials, DRM actually causes it. Quoting: "Electronic copyright infringement is something that can only become an 'economic epidemic' under certain conditions. Any one of the following: 1) The products they want... are hard to find, and thus valuable. 2) The products they want are high-priced, so there's a fair amount of money to be saved by stealing them. 3) The legal products come with so many added-on nuisances that the illegal version is better to begin with. Those are the three conditions that will create widespread electronic copyright infringement, especially in combination. Why? Because they're the same three general conditions that create all large-scale smuggling enterprises. And... Guess what? It's precisely those three conditions that DRM creates in the first place. So far from being an impediment to so-called 'online piracy,' it's DRM itself that keeps fueling it and driving it forward."
Space

Submission + - Whistle While You Work? Not in Space.

Ant writes: "ABC News report that astronauts on spacewalks will never, ever be able to whistle while they work in space. Former NASA astronaut, Dan Barry has seven hours of spacewalking time to his credit. He tried whistling during his spacewalk on STS-96 in May 1999. "It wasn't something I hadn't planned — I thought of it on the fly. It turned out that it didn't work." he said. "You can't whistle because the air pressure in the suit is only 4.3 [pounds per square inch], and normal atmospheric pressure is 14.7 psi, so there are not enough air molecules blowing by your lips to make a sound," he said. Seen on Blue's News."

Feed RFID Chips Shrink to Powder Size (wired.com)

Hitachi's new tags measure 0.002 inches square, but store as much information as their much-larger predecessors. The company's still investigating possible uses. By the Associated Press.


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