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The Courts

Tenenbaum Lawyers Now Passing the Hat 388

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Just when you think this case couldn't get any stranger, it now appears that the defendant's 'legal team' in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum is passing the hat, taking up a collection. Only the reason for the collection isn't to defray costs and expenses of further defending the action, but to pay the RIAA the amount of the judgment so that their client won't have to declare bankruptcy. I would suggest there might have been a much better way of avoiding bankruptcy. It's called 'handling the case competently.'"
Music

RIAA Awarded $675,000 In Tenenbaum Trial 492

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The jury awarded the record company plaintiffs $675,000 in the Boston trial defended by Prof. Charles Nesson, SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum. I was not surprised, since exactly none of the central issues ever even came up in this trial. The judge had instructed the jurors that Mr. Tenenbaum was liable, and that their only task was to come up with a verdict that was more than $22,500 and less than $4.5 million. According to the judge, her reason for doing so was that, when on the stand, the defendant was asked if he admitted liability, and he said 'yes.' The lawyers among you will know that that was a totally improper question, and that the Court should not have even allowed it, much less based her holding upon the answer to it."
The Courts

Fair Use Defense Dismissed In SONY V. Tenenbaum 517

Several readers sent us updates from the Boston courtroom where, mere hours before the start of trial, a federal judge ruled out fair use as a defense. Wired writes that "the outcome is already shaping up to resemble the only other file sharing trial," in which the RIAA got a $1.92M judgement against Jammie Thomas-Rassert. The defendant, Joel Tenenbaum, has already essentially admitted to sharing music files, and the entire defense put together by Harvard Prof. Charles Nesson and his students turned on the question of fair use. The judge wrote that the proposed defense would be "so broad it would swallow the copyright protections that Congress has created." Jury selection is complete and opening arguments will begin tomorrow morning. Here is the Twitter feed organized by Prof. Nesson's law students.
Image

Artist Wins £20,000 Grant To Study Women's Butts 202

Sue Williams has been awarded a £20,000 grant by the Arts Council of Wales, to "explore cultural attitudes towards female buttocks." Sue plans to examine racial attitudes towards bottoms in Europe and Africa and create plaster casts of women's behinds to try to understand their place in contemporary culture. And here I've been studying the issue all these years for free like a sucker!
Privacy

Senators Want To Punish Nokia, Siemens Over Iran 392

fast66 writes "After hearing about Nokia-Siemens sale of Internet-monitoring software to Iran, US Senators Schumer and Graham want to bar them from receiving federal contracts. They planned the action after hearing about a joint venture of Nokia Corp. of Finland and Siemens AG of Germany that sold a sophisticated Internet-monitoring system to Iran in 2008. According to Nextgov.com, Schumer and Graham's bill would require the Obama administration to identify foreign companies that export sensitive technology to Iran and ban them from bidding on federal contracts, or renew expiring ones, unless they first stop exports to Iran."
The Courts

Madoff Sentenced To 150 Years 602

selven was one of several readers to send in the news that Bernie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison. "Bernard Madoff's victims gasped and cheered when he was sentenced to 150 years in prison, but they walked away knowing little more about how he carried out the biggest robbery in Wall Street history. In one of the most dramatic courtroom conclusions to a corporate fraud case, the 71-year-old swindler was unemotional as he was berated by distraught investors during the 90-minute proceeding. Many former clients had hoped he would shed more light on his crime and explain why he victimized so many for so long. But he did not. Madoff called his crime 'an error of judgment' and his 'failure,' reiterating previous statements that he alone was responsible for the $65 billion investment fraud. His victims said they did not hear much new from Madoff in his five-minute statement. They also said they did not believe anything he said. As he handed down the maximum penalty allowed, US District Judge Denny Chin... [said], 'I simply do not get the sense that Mr. Madoff has done all that he could or told all that he knows.'"
Image

Google Mows With Goats 466

Kelson writes "Google's Mountain View headquarters has fields that need to be kept clear of fire hazards. This year instead of mowing them, they took a low-carbon approach: they hired a herd of goats to eat the grass for a week. 'It costs us about the same as mowing, and goats are a lot cuter to watch than lawn mowers,' wrote Dan Hoffman."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Vista Advanced Heuristics

Anonymous Coward writes: "The Register has an article on Program Names govern admin rights in Vista.

From the article :

"If Vista sees that you have created a Microsoft Visual C++ project with install in the project name, then that .exe will automatically require Admin Rights to run. Create exactly the same project, but call it, say, Fred, and the problem disappears"

And more :
"Windows Vista heuristically detects installation programs"... named install.exe...

AC Bryan"
Education

Journal Journal: Google Answers Successors?

Since the popular Google Answers service was shut down, a host of similar services aiming at answering user questions - either automatically or using `crowd wisdom' techniques, i.e. human volunteers - have emerged.
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - FDA considering diluting chocolate

shewfig writes: The FDA is considering a redefinition of "chocolate" to allow substitution of vegetable oil ($0.70/lb) instead of cocoa butter ($2.30/lb) and whey protein instead of dry whole milk. There are already standard terms to differentiate these products from chocolate, such as "chocolatey" and "chocolate-flavored". The change, requested by industry group the Chocolate Manufacturers of America (CMA) http://www.chocolateusa.org/About-Us/ , will allow inferior products to masquerade as the real thing. Leading the resistance is high-end chocolate maker Guittard, from their website http://dontmesswithourchocolate.guittard.com/ with significant grass-roots support from the "Candyblog" — http://www.typetive.com/candyblog/

Deadline for consumer comments is April 25, so action is needed now.

FDA website on proposed change, oddly enough missing the exact proposed changes: http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dockets/07p0085/0 7p-0085.htm
AMD

Submission + - AMD Offers Convertible Notes To Raise Cash

ruiner5000 writes: "AMD has announced an offer of convertible senior notes of $1.8 billion to ease their current well publicized cash crunch. They plan to use 500 million to repay portions of a loan to Morgan Stanley they used to finance the purchase of ATI. The rest will be put to working capital and capital expenditures. Will this be enough to get them through the battle with Intel for marketshare as CPU prices fall heavily?"

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