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XBox (Games)

Modded Xbox Bans Prompt EFF Warning About Terms of Service 254

Last month we discussed news that Microsoft had banned hundreds of thousands of Xbox users for using modified consoles. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has now pointed to this round of bans as a prime example of the power given to providers of online services through 'Terms of Service' and other usage agreements. "No matter how much we rely on them to get on with our everyday lives, access to online services — like email, social networking sites, and (wait for it) online gaming — can never be guaranteed. ... he who writes the TOS makes the rules, and when it comes to enforcing them, the service provider often behaves as though it is also the judge, jury and executioner. ... While the mass ban provides a useful illustration of their danger, these terms can be found in nearly all TOS agreements for all kinds of services. There have been virtually no legal challenges to these kinds of arbitrary termination clauses, but we imagine this will be a growth area for lawyers."
The Internet

Submission + - SPAM: Prototype software sniffs out , disrupts botnets 1

coondoggie writes: "Researchers this week detailed a prototype system to identify and eradicate botnets in the wild. Georgia Tech's BotSniffer uses network-based anomaly detection to identify botnet command and control channels in a local area network without any prior knowledge of signatures or server addresses, the researchers said. The idea is to ultimately detect and disrupt botnet infected hosts in the network. The researchers said their prototype, which was presented at the Internet Society's Network and Distributed System Security Symposium this week, is based on the fact that botnets engage in coordinated communication, propagation, and attack and fraudulent activities. BotSniffer, can capture network command and control protocols and utilize statistical algorithms to detect botnets. [spam URL stripped]"
Link to Original Source
United States

Submission + - California sues US over emissions

gollum123 writes: "California is suing the US federal government, in an attempt to force car makers to conform to tougher cuts in greenhouse gas emissions ( ). The lawsuit comes after the federal Environmental Protection Agency denied California a waiver from US law needed to enact its own efficiency targets. Fifteen other states or state agencies are set to join the action. It challenged the Epa's denial of California's request to implement its own emissions law — which would require a 30% reduction in motor vehicle greenhouse gas emissions by 2016 by improving fuel efficiency standards. For years, California has been allowed to set its own environmental targets in recognition of the "compelling and extraordinary conditions" the state faces — and the Epa has never before denied California a waiver request. The other states joining the fight are: Massachusetts, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington."
The Courts

Submission + - NYCL Needs Help Debunking the RIAA's "Expert&# (

Groklaw Reader writes: "The RIAA member companies have fired back after the last time we helped debunk their expert witness, they've filed a supplemental report. In it, Doug Jacobson explains how he's still sure that Marie Lindor is a filthy pirate because she and others use email and once plugged a 100 GB USB drive into the computer and didn't give it to the RIAA, even though there's no trace of Kazaa on the machine. NYCL needs our help again so as to figure out how best to pick this apart just in case her jurors have never used the internet. After all, such jurors might be confused about how Dr. Jacobson can follow the process outlined by the International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists to perform a forensic investigation on a piece of paper with an IP address on it generated by a MediaSentry computer he previously testified he knew nothing about."
PC Games (Games)

Submission + - Blizzard Taking It To Gold Sellers and Buyers

Samalie writes: It appears Blizzard may finally be taking a fatal shot at IGE, providers of WoW Gold & Powerleveling.

The State of Florida has issued a subponea demanding pretty much everything IGE has on their own operations, as well as account/player names for everyone they've ever sold gold or services to.

Looks like the lamighty banstick may be coming out at Blizzard....but estimates are that upwards of 25% of their monthly paying customers have at one time bought gold. Will Blizzard really chop out 1/4 of their subscriber base?

Read the subponea here, and the full article here.
The Courts

Submission + - Oregon AG Seeks to investigate RIAA tactics

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "Turning the tables on the RIAA's attempt to subpoena information from the University of Oregon about the identities of the university students, the Attorney General has now filed additional papers requesting permission from the Court to conduct immediate discovery into the RIAA's 'data mining' techniques, such as the use of unlicensed investigators, the turning over of subpoenaed information to collection agencies, the obtaining of personal information from computers. The AG pointed out (pdf) that "Because Plaintiffs routinely obtain ex parte discovery in their John Doe infringement suits.....their factual assertions supporting their good cause argument are never challenged by an adverse party and their investigative methods remain free of scrutiny. They often settle their cases quickly before defendants obtain legal representation and begin to conduct discovery...... and have dropped cases, such as their case against Tanya Andersen, in which their methods and practices have been challenged through counterclaims...... While the University is not a party to the case, Plaintiffs' subpoena affects the university's rights and obligations. Plaintiffs may be spying on students who use the University's computer system and may be accessing much more than IP addresses." As one commentator succinctly put it, "They'll be going bananas in RIAA land" after reading this filing."

Submission + - Ham Radio Operator Finds Cure For Cancer ( 5

CirReal writes: "John Kanzius, K3TUP, himself suffering from cancer with nine months to live, used nanotechnology and a radio transmitter to kill cancer cells. "Kanzius did not have a medical background, not even a bachelor's degree, but he knew radios. He had built and fixed them since he was a child, collecting transmitters, transceivers, antennas and amplifiers, earning an amateur radio operator license. Kanzius knew how to send radio wave signals around the world. If he could transmit them into cancer cells, he wondered, could he then direct the radio waves to destroy tumors, while leaving healthy cells intact?" Reseachers "recently killed 100% of cancer cells grown in the livers of rabbits, using Kanzius' method.""
The Courts

Submission + - RIAA Tries to Stop RICO Class Action 1

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "Last month an Oregon woman, victimized by the RIAA for two years, retaliated by bringing a class action for fraud, RICO, malicious prosecution, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, misuse of copyright law, civil conspiracy, and other assorted wrongs, against the record companies, the RIAA, their investigators, and their 'enforcers', in Andersen v. Atlantic. The opening gambit of the record companies, the RIAA, and the enforcers (Settlement Support Center LLC), all of whom are being represented by the same law firm, has been to file a motion to dismiss Ms. Andersen's complaint. The RIAA's unlicensed "investigators", MediaSentry/Safenet, presumably represented by separate counsel, have yet to respond to the amended complaint. Ms. Andersen is the disabled single mother, who together with her 10 year old daughter, had been pursued by the RIAA for two (2) years, despite the fact that neither of them had ever engaged in file sharing."
The Courts

Submission + - Jack Thompson Suspended 1

Dr. Eggman writes: has the story the Florida Bar has ordered Jack Thompson to undergo psychological testing and have suspended his license for 91 days. According to his 2005 book, he has been asked to undergo such testing by the bar before, but sued and successfully settled with the bar for $20,000.

Submission + - Judge in SCO vs. Novell clears the decks

An anonymous reader writes: The judge in the SCO vs. Novell case has issued a series of rulings in preparation for the beginning of the trial on the eleventh. He smacks down SCO pretty good. In particular, he denied their request for a jury trial. That means the trial will be completely carried out by the judge. It could be quite a short efficient trial followed by a loud clap of thunder. One issue is apportionment. That means the judge has to decide how much of the Microsoft/Sun licenses belongs to Novell. Any reasonable amount will immediately thrust SCO into bankruptcy. They won't get a choice of what kind of bankruptcy because there will be no hope that the company can be returned to profitibility. The trustee will walk in the door, take the keys from Darl and wind up the rest of this sorry mess as quickly as possible.

Link to ColonelZen's site
The Courts

Submission + - Record Company Collusion a Defense to RIAA Case?

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "Is collusion by the record companies a defense to an RIAA case? We're about to find out, because the RIAA has made a motion to strike the affirmative defense of Marie Lindor, who alleged that "the plaintiffs, who are competitors, are a cartel acting collusively in violation of the antitrust laws and of public policy, by tying their copyrights to each other, collusively litigating and settling all cases together, and by entering into an unlawful agreement among themselves to prosecute and to dispose of all cases in accordance with a uniform agreement, and through common lawyers, thus overreaching the bounds and scope of whatever copyrights they might have" in UMG v. Lindor. The motion will be decided by the same judge who agreed with legal scholars in sustaining another affirmative defense of Ms. Lindor, in which she alleges (pdf) that the RIAA's $750-per-song-file statutory damages theory is "unconstitutionally excessive and disproportionate to any actual damages that may have been sustained, in violation of the Due Process Clause"."

Submission + - A Visit from MPAA Senior VP Rich Taylor

tedswiss writes: Fate has dropped a unique opportunity upon my lap: I teach at a moderately small independent school who has as one of its alums Richard Taylor. Mr. Taylor is both speaking at our start-of-year festivities and being honored with this year's "Distinguished Alum Award." Having followed and been disgusted by the MPAA's corporate practices regarding DRM and government lobbying in the past (Anyone remember DeCSS?), I would love to make his visit help to truly educate our student body, not just indoctrinate them. The school administration is sympathetic to my plight, but I want to present them with more than just my complaints. To the /. community: How would you best make use of this opportunity if you found yourself in my shoes?
United States

Submission + - Rootkit installation hits PC gaming (

An anonymous reader writes: Sony (the owners of SecureROM copy protection) are still up to their old tricks. One would think that they would have learned their lesson after the music CD DRM fiasco. However, they have now gone over and started infesting PC gaming with their DRM ideas. Recent facts have surfaced that show that BioShock, a recently released PC game, installs a rootkit as part of its SecureROM copy protection scheme. Not only this, just installing the DEMO installs the rootkit on your system, which embeds itself into Explorer. This begs the question: Since when did demos need copy protection?

Submission + - Google Throws Lead Paint on Movie Download Market 6

An anonymous reader writes: As promised Google shut down its video store Wednesday — and its DRM made sure all movie files purchased from the store ceased to funtion. This has sparked a firestorm of negative commentary from the Digerati who see it as pure theft. Cory Doctorow called it "...a giant, flaming middle finger, sent by Google and the studios to the customers who were trusting (as in dumb) enough to buy DRM videos". John Dvorak called it "old bait-and-switch tactics" where vendors make promises, but build-in the ability to reneg on those promises if they choose to do so later. Both Dvorak and Doctorow call for the judicial system to step in, but MP3 Newswire says that the abuse to consumer trust will do more damage to the paid download market than anything the courts could inflict. "As a consumer, if you purchase a digital movie file online only to have it unexpectedly repossessed you will probably think twice before ever buying any such download again. If you do consider it again it certainly won't be for the same price as before. Experience made these downloads worth far less to you. So what are feature film downloads that can be revoked at any time worth in the market place? To some Google Video customers the value of a movie download dropped all the way down to zero."

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