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Music

Submission + - RIAA victim Jammie Thomas needs a new lawyer 1

newtley writes: "Minnesota mother Jammie Thomas, the first RIAA victim to actually appear in court, is now urgently looking for a new lawyer to represent her in her appeal. She was ordered to pay close to $250,000 in damages after the RIAA alleged she'd infringed copyrighted music files. Now, "Sad news!" — says her blog. "Brian Toder and his law firm are only representing her for the remitter motion currently before the court and not for the appeal due to lack of funds. She confirmed that the donations collected here are still going into her legal defense fund and will be used to finance her appeal. She is now in search of a capable attorney ready to take the appeal either pro bono or for what is raised through fundraising efforts. If you can help, please contact Jammie by email: jammie [at] freejammie [dot] com." In the Bush administration's most blatant support of the commercial music industry yet, the US Department of Justice filed a brief defending the constitutionality of the $9,250-per-song-file jury verdict."
Music

Submission + - Open Letter to RIAA 1

Music Customer writes: "Open Letter to RIAA

To Whom It May Concern in the Recording Industry Association of America

I have been an avid music collector for most of my life and have purchased several hundreds, thousands, and millions of CDs. This does not even count the millions and millions of vinyl albums and cassette tapes that I got before that. So as you easily can see, I have spent billions of dollars in my lifetime buying your music. I have contributed great financial value to you, and the member organizations you represent. Up until today I have continued to purchase millions of new CDs and legal downloads per year; however, that day has ended and I am now starting to boycott the purchase of any and all music from the record labels you represent.

As a moral obligation I cannot continue to support a dysfunctional corporate music industry that is abusing their power and the legal system to sue customers in a grossly unjust and unfair manner. I will not spend one more penny from myself or my family to purchase music from any of your member organizations until you stop suing your customers and start providing us with reasonable ways to purchase the music we want, when we want it, and without restrictions on how we can play it.

In the recent Federal trial where you sued a struggling single mother, Jammie Thomas, for sharing songs on a P2P network, you may have won the legal battle, but you lost the moral ground and public relations war. Please take a second and step back to look at what you have done. Don't you just feel great making a single mother pay $220,000 for sharing only $24.17 worth of music? Do you really feel proud of yourself? No, you should not. Shame on you, what you have done is clearly not right.

You have now caused millions of music customers to no longer feel much sympathy for your cause, your organization, and the record labels you represent. Mrs. Thomas is clearly not a pirate who is copying your music by the thousands of units and selling it for profit on the street corner. It is clear she was just simply an enthusiastic music lover who wanted to share her love of music with others. When a penalty becomes this unjust relative to what many view as such a minor crime, most reasonable people view it as being grossly unfair. Two wrongs do not equal a right.

Instead of looking down upon Mrs. Thomas and condemning her for sharing music, people like myself now feel sympathy for her because the $220,000 penalty is clearly unfair and unjust under the circumstances. It is quite clear that you and your organization have abused your power. Someone has to take a stand and demand you stop your unproductive campaign to keep suing your customers. Today I take that stand. By suing a former customer who you have now financially destroyed, it is likely that she will never spend another penny to buy music from you ever again. Well today myself and thousand and thousands more like me have decided to join her and boycott spending any more money on your music also.

We look forward to seeing value of your stocks and stockholders continue to erode until you stop your unproductive and unjust campaign and start treating your customers with respect again.

Sincerely,

Your Customers"

Microsoft's Multitouch Coffee Table Display 466

longacre writes "Popular Mechanics takes the Microsoft Surface system for a hands-on video test drive. To be announced at today's D5 conference, the coffee-table-esqe device allows manipulation from multiple touch points, while infrared, WiFi and Bluetooth team up to allow wireless transfers between devices placed on top of it, such as cameras and cell phones. Expected to launch before the end of the year in the $5,000-$10,000 range, the devices might not make their way under many Christmas trees, but will find the insides of Starwood hotels, Harrah's casinos and T-Mobile shops."
Media

Linux Finally Getting XBMC 203

B47h0ry'5 CuR53 writes "XBMC is getting ported to Linux. A few developers of Team-XBMC have begun the porting of XBMC to Linux using OpenGL and the SDL toolkit. In this effort, they are recruiting developers. XBMC is, by far, one of the finest projects to come out of the open source community; and to think it is homebrew. XBMC is a massive project, with the current SVN branch weighing about 350M before compilation. Porting it will be a big effort and any hackers willing to contribute should check out the Linux port project."
Censorship

Submission + - Livejournal Bans 500+ Journals for "Pedophliia

illuminatedwax writes: "When online watchdog group Warriors For Innocence began reporting journals and communities whose content involved pedophilia or incest to LiveJournal, they responded that the communities were not breaking any actual Terms of Service and therefore couldn't be deleted. The watchdog group then sent LiveJournal an open letter. LiveJournal then deleted over 500 communities whose listed interests could be related to pedophilia (such as "incest"). Some of the deleted groups include accounts for role-playing characters that were entirely fictional, fandom communities for fictional pedophilia (e.g. Harry Potter slash), support groups for survivors of incest or child abuse, and even a Spanish journal devoted to the discussion of the Russian novel Lolita by Nabokov. There were also a handful of what legitimately appeared to be predatory journals shut down as well. LiveJournal users have responded by warning fellow users, writing the Warriors of Innocence (reply), and moving to other journal hosting sites such as GreatestJournal. The Warriors of Innocence are maintaining that they did not intend for most of these journals to be deleted, and LiveJournal is already replying to some users. What should LiveJournal's responsibility be in keeping their site free from predators?"
Privacy

Submission + - Google likens Sweden to dictatorship

lobStar writes: Google criticizes the Swedish government heavily and does even go as far as liken it with dictatorship because of the proposed bill that would allow wiretapping of all data crossing the countries' borders. The proposal stems from a tradition begun by Saudia Arabia and China and simply has no place in a western democracy," says Peter Fleischer, Google spokesman. "Sometimes Google needs to take a clear stance and my impression is that everybody has listened very intently to what we have had to say," Although the bill has been delayed, not even a such strong statement from the search giant seems to make the government change it's mind.
Encryption

Submission + - apple pushes itunes update for DRM free music

foo writes: Apple just pushed an iTunes update. The release blurb is short — "higher-quality DRM-free music". Searched the iTunes store and it couldn't find any content yet.
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft Surface

Anonymous Coward writes: "BBC has an article about the latest microsoft developement, called the surface. looks interesting, but what would be its use? also, from the article: With a 30-inch screen, Surface will initially sell for between $5,000 and $10,000 (£2,525-£5,050). However, Microsoft said it aimed to produce cheaper versions for homes within three to five years."
Space

FAA Releases Requirements for Space Tourism 87

An anonymous reader writes "Due to companies such as Virgin Galactic, SpaceX, and Benson Space (SpaceDev) announcing their commercial spaceflight ambitions, the FAA has just released space flight requirements for safety and experimental permits. Virgin Galactic has already received nearly 200 bookings while Benson Space just recently started accepting reservations, although they plan to be first. The companies desire to have tourists in space as early as 2008 or 2009. All that it takes is a spare two hundred thousand dollars, and maybe a little courage."
Windows

Submission + - FSF launches campaign against Microsoft Vista

Verunks writes: The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today launched BadVista.org, a campaign with a twofold mission of exposing the harms inflicted on computer users by the new Microsoft Windows Vista and promoting free software alternatives that respect users' security and privacy rights.
"Vista is an upsell masquerading as an upgrade. It is an overall regression when you look at the most important aspect of owning and using a computer: your control over what it does. Obviously MS Windows is already proprietary and very restrictive, and well worth rejecting. But the new 'features' in Vista are a Trojan Horse to smuggle in even more restrictions. We'll be focusing attention on detailing how they work, how to resist them, and why people should care", said FSF program administrator John Sullivan.
Communications

FCC Won't Release Cell Carrier Reliability Data 185

imuffin writes "MSNBC is reporting that the FCC has been collecting data on the reliability of different cell phone carriers in the US. This data could be invaluable to consumers trying to choose a company to sign a lengthy contract with. Just the same, the FCC won't release the data to consumers, citing national security risks. The data collection on cell services began in 2004, but were simultaneously pulled from public view. FOIA requests to obtain the data have been denied, and commentators feel this is simply for the government's convenience." From the article: "'There is nothing mysterious behind it, it is corporate competition protection,' said [terrorism analyst Roger Cressey] ... 'The only reason for the government to not let these records get out is then one telco provider could run a full-page ad saying 'the government says we're more reliable.'' Cressey added that he couldn't imagine a scenario where the reports would be valuable to terrorists."
Movies

Submission + - ILM Explores "Pirates" Magic

bonniegrrl writes: "The work of ILM folks (including VFX supervisor John Knoll) is being showcased in a special website just launched to explore the mind-blowing visual effects of this past summer's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Interactive clips at this new site allow you to peel back layers of animation to see what ILM had to start with before transforming actors wearing tracking markers into astonishingly real characters.

Test your effects awareness by making the call: what's real and what's ILM, rotate turntable models of the animated characters, find out never-before-revealed trivia about the making of the film, and download some goodies. There's also a few Easter Eggs of footage if you can find it!

Check the site out here. "

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