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Piracy

P2P and P2P Links Ruled Legal In Spain 265

Nieriko writes After three years of arduous litigation, Jesus Guerra Calderon, owner of both a small bar and the P2P link webpage 'elrincondejesus.com' has beaten the SGAE (something like the Spanish version of the RIAA). The historic ruling states not only the legality of link webpages, but also the legality of P2P file-sharing networks. Quoting the judge: 'P2P Networks as mere data transmision networks between individual internet users, do not breach any rights protected by the Intellectual Property Law.' Downloading a file (from a P2P network) for private use is perfectly legal as long as there is no lucrative or collective use of the downloaded copy."
Internet Explorer

YouTube To Kill IE6 Support On March 13 282

Joel writes "Over six months ago, Google announced it would start phasing out support for Internet Explorer 6 on Orkut and YouTube, and started pushing its users to modern browsers. The search giant has now given a specific kill date for old browser support on the video website: 'Support stops on March 13th. Stopped support essentially means that some future features on YouTube will be rolled out that won't work in older browsers.'"
Your Rights Online

Google Italy Execs Convicted Over YouTube Bullying Video 391

FTWinston writes "Three Italian Google executives have been convicted of privacy violations in Italy over the contents of a YouTube video showing a boy with Downs syndrome being bullied — despite the fact that the video was removed as soon as it was brought to their attention, and that Google assisted the authorities in locating those who posted it. Prosecutors argued that Google should have sought the consent of all parties involved with the video before allowing it to go online. Quite how they were meant to achieve this is another matter." Google has responded by saying this is a Serious threat to the web.
Australia

AU Internet Censorship Spells Bad News For Gamers 152

eldavojohn writes "Kotaku is running an investigative piece examining what internet censorship means for games in Australia. Australia has some of the most draconian video game attitudes in the world, and the phrase 'refused classification' should strike fear in game developers and publishers looking to market games there. Internet censorship may expand this phrase to mean that anybody hosting anything about the game may suffer censorship in AU. Kotaku notes, 'This means that if a game is refused classification (RC) in Australia — like, say, NFL Blitz, or Getting Up — content related to these games would be added to the ISP filter. [This would bring up] a range of questions, foremost of those being: what happens when an otherwise harmless website ... hosts material from those games (screenshots, trailers, etc) that is totally fine in the US or Japan or Europe, but that has been refused classification in Australia?' Kotaku received a comment from the Australian Department of Broadband Communication promising that the whole website won't be blocked, just the material related to the game (videos, images, etc). Imagine maintaining that blacklist!"
Earth

Debunking a Climate-Change Skeptic 807

DJRumpy writes "The Danish political scientist Bjørn Lomborg won fame and fans by arguing that many of the alarms sounded by environmental activists and scientists — that species are going extinct at a dangerous rate, that forests are disappearing, that climate change could be catastrophic — are bogus. A big reason Lomborg was taken seriously is that both of his books, The Skeptical Environmentalist (in 2001) and Cool It (in 2007), have extensive references, giving a seemingly authoritative source for every one of his controversial assertions. So in a display of altruistic masochism that we should all be grateful for (just as we're grateful that some people are willing to be dairy farmers), author Howard Friel has checked every single citation in Cool It. The result is The Lomborg Deception, which is being published by Yale University Press next month. It reveals that Lomborg's work is 'a mirage,' writes biologist Thomas Lovejoy in the foreword. '[I]t is a house of cards. Friel has used real scholarship to reveal the flimsy nature' of Lomborg's work."
Internet Explorer

Why You Can't Pry IE6 Out of Their Cold, Dead Hands 416

Esther Schindler writes "It's easy for techies to enumerate the reasons that Internet Explorer 6 should die. Although the percentage of users who use IE6 has dropped to about 12%, many web developers are forced to make sure their websites work with the ancient browser (which presents additional problems, such as keeping their companies from upgrading to newer versions of Windows). But rather than indulge in an emotional rant, in 'Why You Can't Pry IE6 Out Of Their Cold Dead Hands,' I set about to find out why the companies that remain standardized on IE6 haven't upgraded (never mind to what). In short: user and business-owner ignorance and/or disinterest in new technology; being stuck with a critical business app that relies on IE6; finding a budget to update internal IE6 apps that will work the same as they used to; and keeping users away from newer Web 2.0 sites."
Internet Explorer

Details Emerge On EU-Only "Browser Choice" Screen For Windows 220

Simmeh writes "Microsoft have posted screenshots and details on their upcoming 'web browser choice screen.' Requirements include being in Europe, and having Internet Explorer set as your default browser. It comes with a few surprises, as the software automatically unpins Internet Explorer from your taskbar, and offers 11 alternative browsers."
Yahoo!

Microsoft-Yahoo Search Deal Gets Go-Ahead From EU, US DoJ 113

CWmike writes "Microsoft and Yahoo announced Thursday morning that the US DOJ and the European Commission have approved an agreement between the two firms to have the Bing search engine power Yahoo's sites. The companies said that engineers will begin adapting Bing for the Yahoo site 'in the coming days' and that they hope work is completed, at least the US, by the end of this year."
Microsoft

Where Microsoft's Profits Come From 295

derrida writes "Microsoft is the largest, most profitable software company in the world. In case you had any doubts about where Microsoft's profit comes from, there's nothing better than a graph to make all those numbers clear. As you may have guessed, the desktop division is quite profitable, while the online division is a money pit."
Bug

Windows Patch Leaves Many XP Users With Blue Screens 658

CWmike writes "Tuesday's security updates from Microsoft have crippled Windows XP PCs with the notorious Blue Screen of Death, users have reported on the company's support forum. Complaints began early yesterday, and gained momentum throughout the day. 'I updated 11 Windows XP updates today and restarted my PC like it asked me to,' said a user identified as 'tansenroy' who kicked off a growing support thread: 'From then on, Windows cannot restart again! It is stopping at the blue screen with the following message: 'A problem has been detected and Windows has been shutdown to prevent damage to your computer.' Others joined in with similar reports. Several users posted solutions, but the one laid out by 'maxyimus' was marked by a Microsoft support engineer as the way out of the perpetual blue screens."
Censorship

AU Classification Board To Censor Mobile Apps 129

bennyboy64 writes "The Australian Classification Board is seeking to censor mobile phone applications under its National Classification Scheme. 'I recently wrote to the minister [Minister McDonald] regarding my concern that some so-called mobile phone applications, which can be purchased online or either downloaded to mobile phones or played online via mobile phone access, are not being submitted to the board for classification,' Australia's Classification Board director Donald McDonald told a Senate Estimates committee. I wonder if they know that there are over 80,000 applications on the iPhone platform alone?"
Media

Disney Close To Unveiling New "DVD Killer" 498

Uncle Rummy writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that Disney is close to releasing a new system that will sell permanent, multi-device access to digital media. The system, dubbed Keychest, is being positioned as an answer to consumer concerns about purchasing digital media that are locked to a small number of devices, and thus as a way to finally shift media sales from an ownership model to an access model. They claim that such a service would reduce the risk of losing access to content as a result of a single vendor going out of business, as purchased content would remain available from other vendors. However, they do not seem to have addressed the question of what happens to customers' access to purchased content if the Keychest service itself is discontinued."
Power

Cats "Exploit" Humans By Purring 503

An anonymous reader notes a BBC report on research recently published in the journal Current Biology, indicating that cats manipulate humans by adding a baby-like cry to their purring. "Cat owners may have suspected as much, but it seems our feline friends have found a way to manipulate us humans. Researchers at the University of Sussex have discovered that cats use a 'soliciting purr' to overpower their owners and garner attention and food. Unlike regular purring, this sound incorporates a 'cry,' with a similar frequency to a human baby's. The team said cats have 'tapped into' a human bias — producing a sound that humans find very difficult to ignore."
Censorship

The Internet Helps Iran Silence Activists 232

Hugh Pickens writes "Over the last couple of weeks, those who believe in the transformative power of technology to battle an oppressive state have pointed to Iran as a test case. However, as Farhad Manjoo writes on Slate, the real conclusion about news now coming out of Iran is that for regimes bent on survival, electronic dissent is easier to suppress than organizing methods of the past. Using a system installed last year, built in part by Nokia and Siemens, the government routes all digital traffic in the country through a single choke point, using the capabilities of deep packet inspection to monitor every e-mail, tweet, blog post, and possibly even every phone call placed in Iran. 'Compare that with East Germany, in which the Stasi managed to tap, at most, about 100,000 phone lines — a gargantuan task that required 2,000 full-time technicians to monitor the calls,' writes Manjoo. The effects of this control have been seen over the past couple days, with only a few harrowing pictures and videos getting through Iran's closed net. For most citizens, posting videos and even tweeting eyewitness accounts remains fraught with peril, and the same tools that activists use can be used by the government to spread disinformation. The government is also using crowdsourcing by posting pictures of protesters and asking citizens for help in identifying the activists. 'If you think about it, that's no surprise,' writes Manjoo. 'Who said that only the good guys get to use the power of the Web to their advantage?'"

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