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The Courts

Submission + - I violated copyright law. Now what?

An anonymous reader writes: I am US-based and have recently been doing part-time subcontracting work for a friend in the UK who runs her own small marketing firm. She sells a complete branding/identity plan and if that includes a web site refresh, she calls me. The clients do not know who or where I am, or even that the work is being subbed. Like many designers, I often use Corbis and other photo merchants to mock up layouts for review. It is legal to download images ("comps") from Corbis to use offline for the this purpose. If the client likes the design/images, I get a quote from the photo vendor and the client has the option to purchase. If the price is too high, which it often is with Corbis, I turn to less expensive or free alternatives.

One of her clients, for whom I recently designed a site, just received a $25,000 invoice from a law firm in London representing Corbis, who claimed their content was on the client's site. The client of course was frantic when they received the bill and called my marketing friend, who called me. I investigated and sure enough, there were images on the site that were rightfully the property of Corbis, which I put there. In this instance I neglected to swap out the comps with legal images I purchased for the client from another online source before I made the site live. As a designer I respect content rights and did not, would not, maliciuosly steal images. The client and my friend had no idea.

I moved quickly to correct the situation — scrubbed the site and looked through other clients' sites to make sure nothing else had gotten through. I called Corbis and told their legal department what happened and they told me I would have to deal with the law firm, who handles "all our overseas affairs." I then sent a certified letter to the law firm telling them what happened in an attempt to exonerate the client, and by default, my friend. That was today.

I quoted the images in question on the Corbis site and the total would have been about $800. I did my due-googling and in the spectrum of copyright infringement, I want to believe I'm closer to the speeder than I am the serial-killer. Other photo houses (Getty) send out cease and desist letter and it's done. There is mention of similar situations on some forums, especially in the UK, but I can't seem to find any precedent as to what my fate might be. Does anyone have any idea? I made about $1,000 for the site about a year ago, and as much as it would pain me, would be willing to give that up to make this go away. But something tells me this is going to get ugly.
Slashdot.org

Submission + - How the Web Almost Never Was

An anonymous reader writes: I remember in the early 1990's when the web was being developed; Yahoo! was only 1 page, and there was believed to be only 100 web pages (not sites) in the whole world. The web had no ad banners, no PPC, and no commercial use. Domain name registration was free. Everyone believed the Internet was primarily used by college students. Some groups, like the RIAA, claimed the web & FTP sites were primarily used to transfer illegal music and therefor the world wide web should be shut down. This true story parallels the RIAA's current campaign against P2P sites, and explains why P2P technology (such as DNS) is necessary for the future of the web.

Feed A Poison Pen From the RIAA (wired.com)

The recording industry debuts a new carrot-and-stick approach for dealing with file-ripping students and the colleges and ISPs who know them. By Eliot Van Buskirk.


The Internet

Submission + - What's the Real Cost of BitTorrent vs Legit?

SharkeeTX writes: "How much do you really save using BitTorrent for TV? How much does leaving your computer on to download cost? This study reveals the costs and savings of BitTorrent, iTunes TV, XBox Marketplace TV, and Digital Cable. When is one cheaper than another? How much TV do you watch determines the answer and guides you to a cheapest solution.

http://thehonk.net/?p=179"
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Simple computation using dominos

An anonymous reader writes: When silicon fails to beat Moores law, maybe dominos can help. This guy has created a half adder in dominos as a proof of concept for domino computation. If he intends to make a full domino computer he's going to need an awful lot of dominos...
Portables (Apple)

Submission + - Who's buying all the IPods

skeets writes: "I know some people love their IPods, but it always amazes me that they sell so much better than other brands (11-12 million this quarter). Now don't get me started on Zune sales. The Zune article also sites SanDisk as No. 2, but it is still way behind Apple in market share. Will the IPhone sales be counted in IPod market share?"
Games

Rockstar to Use NaturalMotion Technology in Upcoming Games 39

CVG reports that future Rockstar titles will feature NaturalMotion technologies in an effort to make the games more realistic. Specifically, Rockstar will be licensing the 'Euphoria' engine, an advanced physics and substance simulation model already in use in several upcoming LucasArts titles. There's no word in the article on which games will feature the technology, but this certainly seems like something that would fit well with the sandbox style games of the GTA series. " Employed in the recently revealed The Force Unleashed, euphoria simulates the human body and motor nervous system. It means that in-game characters are fully interactive and always react differently to external influences, ultimately leading to a more life-like experience for the player. Specific reference to how euphoria 'uses the processing power of PLAYSTATION 3 and Xbox 360' to simluate the human body and motor nervous system was made in the announcement. While Rockstar is yet to name games using euphoria, its integration of the tech is well advanced."
Power

Submission + - Thorium the Key to Non-Prolfieration?

P3NIS_CLEAVER writes: Nuclear energy has been proposed as an alternative to coal power plants that generating carbon dioxide and emit mercury. As we are seeing now in Iran, the desire for nuclear energy has created a gray area that places peaceful civilian power generation at odds with nuclear non-proliferation. An article at Resource Investor claims that thorium reactors can be used to replace existing reactors without creating isotopes that may be used in nuclear weapons.
Security

Submission + - BBC views US counterterrorism center

An anonymous reader writes: After months of requests, permission was granted to visit one of America's newest and most secret establishments: the National Counterterrorism Center, the NCTC. It is a nondescript building, but inside is the beating heart of America's counter-terrorism nerve centre. "This is where we maintain a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week operational watch in the counter-terrorism intelligence community and monitor situational awareness in the world of CT [counter-terrorism]," says Vice Admiral Don Loren, one of the watch officers in the Operations Room. But up on the wall is a giant plasma screen showing every plane approaching the United States. "Right now, you're looking at the Eastern Seaboard air corridor, and we use that to monitor events of special interest and to keep an eye should there be any reports of what we call no-fly activity," Vice Adm Loren says. When it was set up two years ago, they brought in the "imagineers" from Hollywood — experts on sharing information. One of the boards showing air traffic movements The movements of every plane approaching the US are monitored The data flow here is enormous: more than 6,000 reports come through every day from satellite, electronic and human intelligence sources. When an incident happens, a "terror line" is created to pass the information to everyone who needs it. Central to all this is the Briefing Room, where screens rise up like something out of a James Bond film. This is the nerve centre of the US-led global "war on terror". It is here in this room, three times a day, every day, that America's specialists in counter-terrorism gather to share information.
Science

An Early Warning System For Earthquakes 147

Iphtashu Fitz writes "Would 15 seconds be enough warning time to prepare for an earthquake? It certainly wouldn't be long enough to evacuate from where you live, but it may be just long enough to get out of a building or brace yourself in a doorframe or under a solid desk. Italian scientists may have discovered a way to measure the initial shockwave of an earthquake two seconds after it starts, and from it predict the extent of the destructive secondary wave that will follow. It typically takes twenty seconds for the secondary wave to spread 40 miles, so sensors that can transmit warnings at the speed of light may provide just enough warning before a major quake for people to brace themselves. Even more importantly, such a warning could allow for utilities like gas companies to close safety valves, preventing potential fires or explosions in the aftermath of the quake."
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Richest 2% own 'half the wealth'

gollum123 writes: "BBC reports The richest 2% of adults in the world own more than half of all household wealth, according to a new study by a United Nations research institute ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6211250.stm ). The report, from the World Institute for Development Economics Research at the UN University, says that the poorer half of the world's population own barely 1% of global wealth. It deals with all countries in the world — either actual data or estimates based on statistical analysis — and it deals with wealth, where most previous research has looked at income. What they mean by wealth in this study is what people own, less what they owe — their debts. The assets include land, buildings, animals and financial assets. The study also finds that inequality is sharper in wealth than in annual income. In less developed nations, land and farm assets are more important, reflecting the greater importance of agriculture in those economies. In contrast, some citizens of the rich countries have more debt than assets — making them, the report says, among the poorest in the world in terms of household wealth."

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