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Comment Re:Why do we need this? (Score 1) 324

What you're noticing is commonly referred to as a 'long tail' phenomenon. As economic scarcity begins to disappear, (or in the case of the internet, the economic scarcity of data vanished nearly overnight), people begin to migrate from the more popular content (the 'head' of the curve), to less popular niche content that more accurately reflects their own tastes (the 'tail' of the curve). The death of the recording giants as they were in the 70's and 80's was truly sewn when the customers' available selection went up by several orders of magnitude as it did when many of us began to get our music on the internet (legally or not), rather than small record stores. These record companies will all continue to lose business and capital as more and more artists begin to produce and publish their own music. If these companies want to continue doing business, they're going to have to take a good hard look at what's really happening, and adjust their business model accordingly.

Of course, no business really wants to downsize, people lose their jobs, maybe even their retirement. It's an ugly prospect in several ways. The truth is though, that the recording industry isn't necessary like it once was. Nearly everything that 30 years ago required an army of professionals and factories full of equipment can now be done by an amateur with a few dollars and a little skill and ambition. The result is that as these recording giants begin to die off, they exhibit many of the characteristics of a dying wild animal, which is to say that they're hurting people in their misguided attempts to stay alive, and largely unwilling to face the ugly truth of the situation.
The Courts

BusinessWeek Takes On the RIAA 241

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "BusinessWeek magazine has gone medieval on the RIAA, recounting in grisly detail the cruel ordeal to which the RIAA has subjected a completely innocent defendant, Tanya Andersen of Oregon. Nobody can read the story and come to any other conclusion than that the RIAA and its lawyers are total jerks. Of course we've been reading about Atlantic v. Andersen on and on my blog, and discussing it here, but there's something extra special about a mainstream publication like Business Week really letting them have it."

Submission + - Bringing Patients Back from the Dead ( 1

FattyBoeBatty writes: Interesting article claiming that patients generally don't die from lack of oxygen — but from the rapid reintroduction of it. Cells without oxygen can conceivably live for upwards of an hour without any damage. While this idea is already proving successful in small ER trials, this may change the way emergency medicine is delivered around the world.
United States

Submission + - Font Freedom Day (

TrumpetPower! writes: "On September 29, 1988, the Library of Congress Copyright Office issued a notice of policy decision (4 Mbyte coralized PDF) in the Federal Register “to inform the public that the Copyright Office has decided that digitized representations of typeface designs are not registrable under the Copyright Act because they do not constitute original works of authorship.” In observance of Font Freedom day, go ahead and share some of your favorite fonts with your friends — and do so entirely guilt-free!"

Submission + - Fair use in scientific blogging?

GrumpySimon writes: "Recently, a well-read science blog, Retrospectacle posted an article on a scientific paper. This blog post reproduced a chart and a table from the original article and everything was fully attributed. When the publishers, the mega-science publishing house Wiley found out, they subsequently threatened legal action unless the chart and table were removed. Understandably, this whole mess has stirred up quite a storm of protest, with many people seeing this as falling under fair use, and calling for a boycott of Wiley & Wiley's journals."

Submission + - EU approves new, stricter anti-piracy directive

A Pirate writes: "The European Parliament has voted for the new report submitted by Italian parliament member Nicola Zingaretti that criminalize even attempts to infringe on copyrights. Even if the new directive excludes end-users from the law it still criminalize sites like YouTube and practically all P2P services, even the developers of these services. The exceptions beside the end-users' personal use, includes studies and research. While the European Parliament apparently describes the new directive as a an attempt to harmonize the copyright laws of the European Countries others have been describing it as a lobby directive."

Submission + - IBM Announces the "Gameframe"

BBCWatcher writes: What happens when you marry the Cell processor to a modern mainframe? The New York Times, Associated Press, and CNET among others report on the new "gameframe." The idea is to take advantage of the IBM mainframe's massive transactional throughput and raw I/O performance while the Cell processors simulate virtual worlds — exactly the type of single hybrid processing system you'd need to support enormous online gaming communities. IBM identified Hoplon Infotainment as the first gameframe customer, although there is no ship date yet. Yes, it appears at least one of the OSes for the gameframe will be Linux.

Submission + - Dell releases Flash-based laptops

joetheprogrammer writes: "Dell has announced that they are going to offer a special configuration option with its Latitude D420 laptop that will allow users to swap clunky old HDs in favor of a 32GB SanDisk Flash hard drive. The only hitch comes with the price tag, which is set at a rather expensive price of $549. This will definitely ensure the laptop is set for a very high-profile consumer."
The Courts

Submission + - Should I worry about my employment contract?

An anonymous reader writes: I was preparing to accept a software developer job at a California company and was put off by the contract which claimed ownership of any ideas I create (on my own time or at the company) during my stay at the company and required me to inform them of any ideas (related to the company or not) during my employment and for a year afterwards. I found references to a couple instances where this became a legal problem for the developer. Is this something to worry about?

Submission + - Inkjet Printer Creates Body Organs

Stargaser writes: Scientists at Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine are using inkjet printers to create organs and tissues, that's something that could change the very way of studying tissue engineering. Regular ink cartridges available almost everywhere are emptied, cleaned and filled with the cells needed to create the organ. Then, an inkjet printer prints these cells into a substance resembling human tissues. Printed layer by layer, cells form the required shape of muscle or organ. Adopting inkjet printers for the need of tissue engineering resulted in more precise, accurate, fast and, most importantly, controlled creation of biomaterials. It seems to me that inkjet technology for today's science is like an invention of the wheel for our ancestors — it's spread far over the area it was designed for.

Submission + - Citibank breaking support for alternate browsers

An anonymous reader writes: Recently went to do some online banking with Citibank at and found they had so badly altered their website that it was unusable in both Moz 1.6 and in Firefox 1.5. Called their 1-800 tech support and was informed they don't support anything but IE so no help there. I was completely stonewalled by the customer support rep. I simply had to inform them that only fools use IE and that their changes had made it impossible for me to continue doing any business with them. We're done using Citi which has become more aggressive with their terms, fees and interest rates. Website FUBAR's that make it harder to do business with them are the last straw. Anyone else have issues with Citibank and their online site?

Submission + - No 'violent' games in VA shooter's dorm

Jabbrwokk writes: "The FBI's search warrant shows that there was no evidence of video games in VA Tech killer Seung Hi's dorm room.
The article contains a list of what the FBI did recover, all what you'd expect to find in a college dorm room (although booze, drugs and porn don't appear on the list).
The computer taken from the dorm may be found after further investigation to contain games on the hard drive, but so far there is no evidence that Seung Hi played violent video games, nor that there is any connection between violent video games and Seung Hi's shooting spree, despite attempts by the usual suspects to blame games for the actions of seriously disturbed individuals."

Submission + - RIAA Secretly Tries to Get ISP Subscriber Info

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "The RIAA secretly went into federal district court in Denver, Colorado, the home town of its lawyers, and — in an attempt to change the rules of the game — made an ex parte application to a federal judge there, asking him to rule (pdf) that the federal Cable Communications Policy Act does not apply to the RIAA's attempts to get subscriber information from cable companies. ("Ex parte" means application was secret, no one else — neither the ISP nor the subscribers — were given notice that this was going on.). They were, in effect, asking the Court to rule that the RIAA does not need to get a court order to be able to force an ISP to disclose confidential subscriber information. The Magistrate Judge declined to rule on the issue (pdf), but did give them the ex parte discovery order they were looking for."

Submission + - Why Palm will not licence its Linux OS

Tam Hanna writes: "When Palm announced its Palm Linux plans, many people wondered about why the company does not plan to licence that OS out to other manufacturers. TamsPalm takes a look at Palm's history and explains that decicion; and also takes a look at the future possibilities of Palm Linux.

Get the full scoop here: and-windows-mobile/"

Submission + - Andersen v. RIAA Now Up for Dismissal Decision

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "The counterclaims (pdf) in Atlantic v. Andersen, for Electronic Trespass, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Invasion of Privacy, Fraud, Negligent Misrepresentation, the tort of Outrage, Deceptive Business Practices under Oregon Trade Practices Act, and Oregon RICO, first reported in October, 2005, are now being challenged. The RIAA has moved to dismiss the counterclaims (pdf) brought by a disabled single mother in Oregon who lives on Social Security Disability and has never engaged in file sharing, this after unsuccessfully trying to force the face-to-face deposition of Ms. Andersen's 10-year-old daughter. Ms. Andersen's lawyer has filed opposition papers (pdf)."

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