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Music

Submission + - Judge: use P2P, you're stealing music (electronista.com) 1

JonathanF writes: "If you were hoping judges would see reason and realize that just using a program that could violate copyright law was about as illegal as leaving your back door unlocked, think again: an Arizona district judge has ruled that a couple who hosted files in KaZaA is liable for over $40K in damages just because they "made available" songs that could have been pirated by someone, somewhere. There's legal precedent, but how long do we have before the BitTorrent crew is sued?"
Censorship

Submission + - Pirate Bay Launches Uncensored Image Hosting (lawbean.com)

Spamicles writes: "The guys over at the Pirate Bay have launched a new, censorship-free image hosting website called BayImg. Users of the new service don't have to sign-up in order to upload images. However, they can assign a "removal code" to uploaded images, in case they want to delete the files after a while, and tags to categorize images. BayImg currently supports 100+ file formats, and supports uploading Zip and Rar archives. The maximum file size of uploads is 100MB. The article also discusses TPB's plans for launching a video streaming service that will potentially compete with YouTube."
Security

Submission + - Updated Safari for Windows improves security

alittlespice writes: Apple has released Safari Beta 3.0.1 for Windows, an update to their recently-introduced Web browser for Windows XP and Vista that fixes the security issues found this week.

Full details at MacWorld
Privacy

Submission + - Judge orders TorrentSpy to turn over "RAM" (zdnet.com)

virgil_disgr4ce writes: "In a monumental example of the gap of understanding between legal officials and technology, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Chooljian "found that a computer server's RAM, or random-access memory, is a tangible document that can be stored and must be turned over in a lawsuit." ZDNet, among others, reports on the ruling and its potential for invasion of privacy."
Digital

Submission + - The Analog Hole is worth 24 Cents

YIAAL writes: "How big a threat to record companies is the so-called "Analog Hole" in digital copy protection? That's the question that professors Douglas Sicker, Paul Ohm, and Shannon Gunaji tried to answer in this paper. Conclusion:

Although the analog hole has been widely decried by content providers, surprisingly little is known about fundamental aspects of how it operates. Can average users exploit the analog hole, or is this limited to sophisticated users? Does analog hole copying significantly degrade the quality of music or video? Will people pay for music that isn't a perfect digital copy? Intuitions and guesses abound, but nobody has ever conducted a study to answer these questions. . . . What's the analog hole worth? Based on our survey, twenty-four cents. That's how much less our respondents were willing to pay for a music track when a perfect digital copy was replaced by an analog hole copy. Although our results need to be replicated on a larger scale, they suggest many conclusions that have never before been proved: people are willing to pay for less-than-perfect analog hole copies of songs; people will pay much more than half the price of a typically-priced digital music file for its degraded alternative; and even self-avowed "pirates" show a willingness to pay for digital music, albeit at prices well below today's market standard of ninety-nine cents a song.
In a blog entry about the study, Professor Ohm (love the name) wrote:

What does this all mean? If it wanted to, the music industry could probably price discriminate in the way we've described. If it offered lower-quality music downloads for less money, it would probably find a market. Although lower-quality tracks are no cheaper to produce than the standard-quality tracks sold today, lower-quality files are usually smaller, resulting in less bandwidth to distribute, leading to possible cost savings. Also, lower-quality tracks may be good enough for an iPod but not for a home audio system, which could possibly spur multiple purchases of the same song by the same consumer. More likely, the music industry will follow the lead of the EMI/Apple deal, and attempt to price discriminate for higher prices, if at all. It is unclear whether our result is generalizable to that situation.
I'm guessing that it is. Of course I don't know much about making money from downloadable music. But then, neither do the record companies, by all appearances . . . ."

Feed You Might Want To Get Record Labels' Permission Before Selling 'Legal' DRM-Free (techdirt.com)

Michael Robertson's back in the news again, with his latest business idea that thumbs its nose at record labels. Robertson's got quite the track record in this space. First, with MP3.com, he built a service that digitized thousands of CDs people could listen to over the web. The company made it "legal" by only allowing people to listen to songs for which they showed they had a physical CD by putting the CD into their computer and registering it with the service. Unsurprisingly, the labels disagreed, and won a copyright-infringement case against the company. A few years later in 2005, he set up MP3Tunes.com, a site to sell unprotected MP3s. Unsurprisingly, none of the labels wanted anything to do with the venture, so it launched without any compelling content for sale. He then revamped the music-locker idea, hired DVD Jon to drum up some publicity, and launched it as part of MP3Tunes. Robertson had been quiet for a little while, but popped up again this week with the launch of AnywhereCD, a site selling full-length albums as unprotected MP3s. The site didn't look particularly promising because it had a pretty narrow selection, but it looks like it could be getting even narrower, as apparently Robertson didn't have permission from Warner Music to sell its content without copy protection, and the label wants it pulled from the site. Given Robertson's history, you'd think he'd be pretty mindful of this sort of thing, but then again, he's never been averse to the publicity-via-lawsuit PR technique. Perhaps what's a little more disappointing is that he's offered up new business models to the music industry, and gets met with lawsuits, rather than any interest. If users can still rip their own CDs to MP3s, why force them to buy the physical copy to get the digital version they really want?
Security

Submission + - IRS Head: All Laptops to be Encrypted in Weeks

narramissic writes: "In an interview with National Public Radio over the weekend, IRS Commissioner Mark Everson said that the IRS will have all laptops encrypted within the next few weeks. The move comes after auditors tested 100 laptop computers used by IRS employees and found that 44 of them contained 'unencrypted sensitive data, including taxpayer data and employee personnel data.'

'What the report showed, which was correct, was that we weren't taking the proper steps to protect some laptops,' Everson said. 'We've worked to encrypt all of the laptops and that's just about done. We've got a couple dozen more we've got to finish up in the next few weeks.'"

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