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Comment the challenges of the current policy (Score 4, Informative) 223

I am a federally funded researcher who administrates a program that publishes quite a bit. First off, I am a supporter of open access publishing. Here is our challenge with the current policy, and why it has been very difficult to adopt.

Open access journals cost between $1-3k per publication (see PLOS or BMC). These journals automatically submit papers to the public repository. This is a direct cost that comes out of my grants that may not have been originally budgeted. Now, closed access journals are generally free or close to free to publish. The new policy requires submission of closed access papers, by the authors, to the central repository (if federally funded). Obviously, this violates the agreement the author had with the publisher, so the author, on their own, must negotiate a legal mechanism to do this. Some publishers charge to do this, maybe more than $1k. Every submitted paper gets an ID that must be submitted with a progress report. When we publish 5-10 papers per progress report, this is frankly a lot of work and sometimes, we fund papers partially that are published by other groups. So it is up to me to encourage these groups to figure this out, so I can include them in my reports. More work, and it adds another level of complexity to collaboration.

So far, this has been an administrative headache, it is expensive and considering most major university libraries already have licenses to the closed data, it seems, to me, unnecessarily complicated. I wish they had required the publishers to do this (each publisher would have to work with one source) instead of the researcher, because we have to work with a number of publishers and that takes time in an already very, very competitive field.

There are some really great aspects of open access publishing and the power of the resulting knowledgebase of manuscripts is going to be really exciting, however, $10-20k/year for page charges is only going to result in less science, IMO.

Submission + - SPAM: The web vs. U.S. Bank

destinyland writes: "Online information is creating problems for U.S. Bancorp. A new federal law lets customers opt-out of high-fee overdraft protection. In October a consumer site published an internal U.S. Bancorp memo, which inspired a Washington customer to confront a local manager who insisted that opting out was impossible. He ultimately received an apology from the bank's CEO — but two days later recorded the bank's tellers again wrongly advising customers that opting out was impossible. Now he's posted the audio recording online, targetting the $50 billion a year banks earn from their "courtesy" overdraft protection."
Link to Original Source

Journal Journal: How to Convince Non-IT Friends that Privacy Matters?

As technology becomes more advanced I am more and more worried about my privacy in all aspects of my life. Unfortunately, whenever I attempt to discuss the matter with my friends, they show little understanding and write me off as a hyper-neurotic IT student. They say they simply don't care that the data they share on social networks may be accessible by others, that some laws passed by governments today might be privacy infringing and dangerous or that they shouldn't use on-line banking with

The Courts

Submission + - "Investors beware" of record companies say (fool.com)

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: ""Investors beware" of "Sony (NYSE: SNE), BMG, Warner Music Group (NYSE: WMG), Vivendi Universal, and EMI", says the Motley Fool investment web site. In an article entitled "We're All Thieves to the RIAA", a Motley Fool columnist, referring to the RIAA's pronouncement in early December in Atlantic v. Howell, that the copies which Mr. Howell had copied from his cd's to mp3's in a 'shared files folder' on his computer were "unauthorized", writer Alyce Lomax said "a good sign of a dying industry that investors might want to avoid is when it would rather litigate than innovate, signaling a potential destroyer of value.""
Data Storage

Submission + - MegaUpload refuses payout - claims "fraud" 2

Farasha SilverSand writes: "Earlier this year, in October to be precise, LiveJournal user Cleolinda Jones updated her blog with an entry regarding a special campaign known as Project Download.

To make a long story short, Oregon resident Erin (LJ username redscorner) needed a series of brain surgeries that were both expensive and life-saving.

I suffer from two neurological disorders (Chiari malformation and cranial lesions) that will require a combined total of 2-4 brain surgeries. I'm unemployed and uninsured and the state I live in is so broke, they have strictly limited who qualifies for Medicaid. Because I have no children and am not pregnant, I don't qualify.

To Erin, MegaUpload's download reward program must have seemed like a godsend. For five million downloads, Erin would recieve $10,000, enough to pay for her brain surgeries.

The file to be downloaded was a small .txt file, basically thanking the downloader for participating and again explaining her situation.

In December, Erin reached her first milestone — 100,000 download points, listed on the reward page as paying out $100. Instead of waiting until the five million mark to cash in, Erin decided to claim her $100 reward, just to make sure MegaUpload really meant business.

Instead of her reward, Erin received an e-mail from MegaUpload stating that they would not pay her.

Dear Erin,

Our apologies for the late reply, our rewards staff was not in during Xmas.

We have decided not to pay you because of fraud. Your reward points were earned through small 2 KB txt files which were downloaded many times from the same IP's. This against our terms of service and reward rules.


Megaupload Abuse Department

Aside from being wholly unprofessional, the e-mail is not even consistent with MegaUpload's own Terms of Service regarding their rewards program, which state:

What is a qualifying download?

Up to one download per IP address per file per day will be counted. Downloads from certain countries or territories do not qualify. Click here for the current list of qualifying countries.

Absolutely no fraud

You will be disqualified and banned if you try to manipulate the results. Automated mass downloads are easily detected and strictly forbidden.

Only files up to 100 MB

Files larger than 100 MB do not qualify for the Rewards program.

The ToS do not state that files must meet a minimum requirement. They also do not state that multiple downloads from the same IP address on different dates are fraudulent and against the rules.

Erin is considering filing suit in small claims court, but since MegaUpload is allegedly based in Hong Kong, little to nothing might come from legal action.

MegaUpload's rewards program was more of a last-ditch effort than anything for Erin, and he whole situation should reiterate what most of us already know — if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

Submission + - Tens of Thousands of Adult Website Accounts Hacked (www.icwt.us) 3

Keith writes: "Tens of thousands — or maybe more — accounts to adult websites were recently declared compromised and apparently have been that way since sometime in October, 2007. The issue occurred when the NATS software used to track and manage sales and affiliate revenues was accessed by an intruder, who apparently discovered a list of admin passwords residing on an unsecured office server at Too Much Media, which makes and maintains NATS installations for adult companies. It would appear that Too Much Media knew of the exploit back in October, and rather than fixing the issue tried to bury it by threatening to sue anyone in the adult industry who talked about it."

Submission + - Walmart gives HD-DVD a boost with a $99 player 1

smoondog writes: "HD-DVD, the next generation format in a tight battle with rival Blu-Ray, got a huge boost this week with Walmart and K-Mart unveiling new pricing and exclusive advertising campaigns. Walmart is featuring the Toshiba HD-A2 player on Friday (11/2) as a 'secret' sale at $98.97. Additionally, a black Friday ad has the third generation HD-A3 at $169 at Sears, and K-Mart is now HD-DVD exclusive. Dreamworks is rolling out an exclusive Shrek based advertising campaign, and Walmart ads have been showing in primetime all week. Deflating even more from the Blu-Ray camp, Walmart is unveiling new pricing of $14.97 on a library of titles. Although Blu-Ray still maintains the sales lead, it is getting harder to argue with the $300 price difference between the lowest priced players."

Submission + - Conservative Book About Liberal Fascism was Hacked (blogspot.com)

redwolverine writes: In a stroke of irony, a bunch of liberal computer nerds who did not like a Conservative book, hacked into Amazon.com and titled his book "Liberal Fascism: The Totalitarian Temptation from When I Got My Advance Until I Finally Hand in the Manuscript in 2011." These people clearly do not know what fascism is because they have become fascist themselves.
The Courts

Submission + - Rochester judge holds RIAA evidence insufficient

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "Judge David G. Larimer, presiding in Rochester, New York, has denied an RIAA application for default judgment on the ground that the RIAA's evidence was insufficient, in that it contained no details of actual downloads or distributions, and no sufficient evidence that defendant was in fact Kazaa user "heavyjeffmc@KaZaA". The decision (pdf) concluded that "there are significant issues of fact regarding the identification of the defendant from his alleged "online media distribution system" username". (In case you're unfamiliar with the term "online media distribution system", that's because it is a term the RIAA coined 4 years ago to describe p2p file sharing accounts in its lawsuits; the term is not known to have been used by anyone else anywhere else.) In August a similar RIAA default judgment motion was denied on the ground that the pleadings failed to allege sufficient factual details supporting a claim of copyright infringement, in a San Diego, California, case, Interscope v. Rodriguez."

Submission + - RIAA gets first victory in court

Azar writes: After testimony wrapped up earlier today a verdict was handed down. Jammie Thomas, 30, from Minnesota had damages of $220,000 levied against her today. In the first such lawsuit to go to trial, the record companies accused Jammie Thomas of downloading the songs without permission and offering them online through a Kazaa file-sharing account. The jury ordered Thomas to pay the six record companies that sued her $9,250 for each of 24 songs they focused on in the case. They had alleged she shared 1,702 songs in all. During the three-day trial, the record companies presented evidence they said showed the copyrighted songs were offered by a Kazaa user under the name "tereastarr." Their witnesses, including officials from an Internet provider and a security firm, testified that the Internet address used by "tereastarr" belonged to Thomas.
The Courts

Submission + - Jury awards $220,000 to RIAA in P2P case (arstechnica.com) 1

Conrad writes: The Capitol Records v. Jammie Thomas verdict is in, with a jury finding her liable of willful copyright infringement for all 24 songs. At $9,250 per song, the grand total is $222,000. The RIAA is pleased with the verdict: 'The plaintiffs' legal team spent a few minutes talking to the jury after the verdict was announced, finally emerging from the courthouse to take questions from the media. The first question asked of Gabriel was whether the RIAA would enforce and try to collect the judgment. Gabriel replied that he hadn't had the chance to talk to the client about that yet. He said that the jury did not explain how they arrived at the $9,250 figure, but that they expressed to the legal team that the case was "clear and well-presented." Gabriel also noted the magnitude of the case in response to a question. "We appreciate the opportunity to put out in daylight the facts and evidence collected in this case," he replied. "This does send a message, we hope, that both downloading and distributing music is no joke." When asked if there was an end game in sight for the series of lawsuits, Gabriel said that it was up to the RIAA to decide.'
The Courts

Submission + - RIAA's First Trial Starts Today in Duluth

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "The RIAA's first trial starts today, in Duluth, Minnesota, in Virgin v. Thomas. The case is being widely covered by, among others, Associated Press, Wired, and Ars Technica. Since a number of people have indicated they will be going to the courthouse and watching the trial, I am hoping for citizen coverage as well. If any of you get to the trial and can report back, drop a comment here as well. The day before the trial the Judge excluded 784 pages of documents the record companies needed to prove they actually own the copyrights to 14 of the recordings in question, because they had failed to turn over the documents when they were supposed to, instead waiting until 2 weeks before the date of trial."

Submission + - Impassable Northwesth Passage is open (esa.int)

An anonymous reader writes: The area covered by sea ice in the Arctic has shrunk to its lowest level this week, opening up the Northwest Passage — a long-sought short cut between Europe and Asia that has been historically impassable. Leif Toudal Pedersen from the Danish National Space Centre said: "We have seen the ice-covered area drop to just around 3 million sq km which is about 1 million sq km less than the previous minima of 2005 and 2006. There has been a reduction of the ice cover over the last 10 years of about 100 000 sq km per year on average, so a drop of 1 million sq km in just one year is extreme.

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