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Comment Just Another Digital File (Score 1) 350

Of course books are and will be heavily pirated in whatever format they are placed in. As we move toward handheld computers as powerful as today's laptops, there will be no issue about how readable this or that format is. Users will find a good way to read them, then the books will be placed in that format and people will trade them like they do already today, just in greater numbers.

This is the transition that is happening with all media formats and its ridiculous on Slashdot to even ask the question "Will this happen?"

I am only worrying about whether the writers and editors will be able to get paid for their work. If the book industry tries to do like the music industry and continues to charge as much for their product as they did when they had to physically distribute it, then they will lose out on billions of dollars they could have made by correcting their prices and getting their money through selling more products. And they have to make this price correction early on. If they wait until everyone becomes insulted by their greed like the music industry did then people will not feel bad about cutting them out of their profits. Digital media has come to the point where the consumer now has the power in the relationship and if the industries don't recognize that then it will be at their own peril. I think many of those who pirate would have been happy to pay something small instead for a legal version.

It seems like the ideal endgame of all of these digital media transitions is for there to be direct payment to the artists who actually create the content. If I could go to my favorite bands' or favorite authors' websites and pay something small directly to get their content like 20 cents a song or 2 dollars a book then I would buy a lot more of these things for sure. I think that is the prize we should be keeping our eyes on - freeing the artists from these archaic business models and the huge piles of middlemen that want to continue to get paid from the artists' work. The current debate about piracy really frames this whole transition in the wrong way. It continues to assume that these media companies will have a place in the future of media distribution. For hugely collaborative works like movies, tv and video games, I think there will be a need for media companies to create the products. But media that can be created by small groups or single artists like music and books, there is no need anymore for this huge infrastructure to bring it to the public. That's the bottom line for them, they are soon obsolete and few will miss them. But I for one will always want to compensate artists I appreciate and I think that is a common feeling, so we really need to explore ways of doing that much more directly. If we can transition to this more direct relationship between audience and artist then I think the problem is solved and our culture as a whole will be better for it.

Comment Re:And in real life... (Score 1) 662

While I agree with the sentiment that games don't cause people to commit crimes, in the interest of understanding the actual data for comparison - I think that those numbers actually could be explained purely as reporting bias. Japan is a very private and very male-dominated culture, which is one reason why this sort of "entertainment" would be able to flourish there in the first place.

In America "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" which is good. In Japan they say "the tall tree catches the wind" which is bad. It is a culture that discourages letting other people know your personal problems or standing out at all.

The degree of ridicule and shame that a girl would face in Japan after accusing a man of rape is very much larger than in the United States. So while you could be right, I don't think people should be so quick to underestimate the difference in culture. I think it could be realistic that a huge number of rapes go unreported in Japan and you also have to consider that the definition of rape between America and Japan could be much different (date rape, spousal rape . .etc).

Comment Re:Come on... (Score 1) 541

Actually since the universe has already been created, it is not a thing for which chance can be calculated. It either was or was not created by your 7-foot tall bun-ghetti. We don't know and can't prove whether it was or not. But that does not imply odds. Chance is for the prediction of future events.

Sorry to seem pedantic about a +5 funny post, but I thought it was a distinction worth making.

Comment The question is loaded. (Score 2, Insightful) 353

I find it upsetting that we allow a computerized monitoring system to babysit our behavior anyway. As for the fact that it is surely being rigged in multiple places - that is just a sign that authorities have been given too much power over us in the first place. I believe in traffic safety, but I also believe in the freedom of not being monitored constantly.

I think that we should still be asking the question of whether these cameras should be allowed in the first place. By commenting whether the state, local or federal government should be allowed to get away with yellow light shortening tactics like this we're answering a loaded question that reinforces our acceptance that these cameras should be there at all.

Submission + - Is someone selling 5 Star book reviews?

An anonymous reader writes: Is someone selling 5 Star book reviews?

I noticed a book reviewer named "Midwest Book Review" had several 5 Star book reviews, each of which looked liked book blurbs, not reviews. I then checked out the reviewer at: O/ref=cm_cr_auth/102-4466102-9848954

I wrote the following:

Comments:Dear Amazon,
> I love the customer review feature of
> I think a reviewer named "Midwest Book Review" may be abusing the
review process.
> It appears they have 31,106 book reviews on your site. The first
200 reviews I looked at all had Five Star ratings. (I only looked
at the first 200 book reviews.)
> I have no idea what's going on here, but the sample of reviews I
read seem more like book promotion blurbs than reviews. I'm
wondering if they are selling Five Star reviews to authors.
> See
> Any abuse of the review process severly weakens my
faith in the review process, which I rely on to make good choices.
> I hope you will investigate this matter and find out if the review
process is being abused.
> Thanks.

Amazon responded:

Thank you for contacting

We appreciate that you took the time to write to us about this
issue. I have looked into this situation and found that the reviews
posted by Midwest Book Reviewer do not fall outside of our review
guidelines. While we do not condone selling positive book reviews,
we have no way of showing that this is what is happening in this
case and cannot take any action.

We thank you for your interest in our customer reviews. Comments
such as yours help us improve our service and are always
appreciated. Let us know if you have any other concerns.

Please let us know if this e-mail resolved your question:


I am not claiming Midwest Book Review (
is doing anything wrong. I could not look through all 31,000+ reviews to see if they are all 5 star reviews. The reviews may be honest appraisals. It does, however, look suspicious to me.

Submission + - Wikimedia Foundation, others sued for defamation

An anonymous reader writes: Barbara Bauer, a literary agent, filed a defamation suit in the Superior Court of New Jersey on March 23. Among the plaintiffs are the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc., the Nielsen Haydens, and the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization which runs Wikipedia and its sister projects. The suit's docket number is L-001169-07 in Monmouth; it can be viewed on the court's website.

Since the filing, Bauer's article on Wikipedia has been deleted by Doc glasgow, citing Wikipedia's policy on biographies of living persons. The deletion has since been brought up for discussion at deletion review. Discussion of the matter has also occurred on the Wikimedia mailing lists.
Wireless Networking

Submission + - Brussels Wants to Tax WiFi Antennas

mernil writes: "According to "Olivier Maingain, the mayor of Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe, one of the 19 Brussels boroughs, is planning to tax all "antennas for the transmission of data". Each antenna will be taxed a staggering 4,000 euros per year. [...] While the small antenna on your wireless router could theoretically be taxed, the new tax seems to target WiFi-antennas that can be seen from the outside, i.e. that are positioned on the outside of buildings. If the owner of the aerial cannot be identified the owners of the buildings have to pay the new tax.""

Submission + - Stem Cell Signaling Mystery Solved

Anonymous Coward writes: "A newly discovered small molecule called IQ-1 plays a key role in preventing embryonic stem cells from differentiating into one or more specific cell types, allowing them to instead continue growing and dividing indefinitely, according to research performed by a team of scientists who recently have joined the stem cell research efforts at the Keck School of Medicine of USC."
The Courts

Lawsuit Against Google Dismissed 89

Weather Storm writes in with news from PCWorld that a US District Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against Google by a company that accused them of manipulating search results for political and religious reasons and skewing results in favor of companies that compensate Google financially. The lawsuit (discussed on Slashdot last year) was filed by KinderStart, a parenting information Web site that claims it was illegally blocked from Google search results. The judge not only dismissed the lawsuit but granted a motion by Google to sanction KinderStart and one of its lawyers. Google can now seek "reasonable compensation" for attorney fees because KinderStart's lawyer filed claims that were factually baseless and did not perform an adequate investigation before filing the lawsuit.

Submission + - Is recording from radio a crime?

rvarada writes: XM is being sued by music publishers because their players can record the music. Even though the recording is being done by the end users, which is within fair rights, and XM and the makers of these players are already paying royalties to the music industry. So how long till I will get sued for recording a radio show using a microphone?
The Internet

Submission + - Search engine receive 5.5m funding for unique idea


Submission + - New paint provides wireless network protection

thefickler writes: Forget WEP and WPA; I'm switching over to the EM-SEC Coating System, a recently announced paint developed by EM-SEC Technologies that acts as an electromagnetic fortress, allowing a wireless network to be contained within painted walls without fear of someone tapping in or hacking wireless networks.

The EM-SEC Coating System is clearly the most secure option aside from stringing out the CAT5, and can be safely used to protect wireless networks in business and government facilities.
United States

Submission + - HBO Documentary "Hacking Democracy" DVD Re

TruthLaser writes: "The controversial HBO documentary "Hacking Democracy" DVD is released on Tuesday, March 27th, including footage never seen before. Filmed over three years this exposé follows the investigations of Black Box Voting and their team of citizen activists as they take on the electronic voting industry and target the Diebold corporation. The film reveals incendiary evidence from the trash cans of Texas to the ballot boxes of Ohio, exposing secrecy, votes in the trash, hackable software and election officials rigging the presidential recount. And finally in Florida one brave election official gave Black Box Voting and the film makers access to his county's Diebold voting system. Ultimately proving our votes can be stolen without a trace "Hacking Democracy" culminates in the famous 'Hursti Hack', a duel between the Diebold voting machines and the Finnish computer hacker Harri Hursti — with America's democracy at stake. See the film makers new website for details —"

Bill Gates Talk From 1989 Surfaces 317

70sstar writes "A 1-1/2 hour recording of Bill Gates addressing a crowd of university students in 1989 was recently found and digitized, and has been circulating in some IRC channels for the past few weeks. The speech has found a permanent home on the web page of the University of Waterloo CS Club, where the talk is reported to have taken place. Gates covers the past, present, and future of computing as of 1989. While the former two might be of interest to tech historians, the real fascination is Gates's prediction of computing yet to come. Like the now-legendary '640k' remark, some of his comments are almost laughably off-target ('OS/2 is the way of the future!'). And yet, by and large, he had accurately, chillingly, prophesied an entire decade or two of software and hardware development. All in all, a fascinating talk from one of the most powerful speakers in CS and IT."

Submission + - Washington State to try RFID drivers licenses

Nkwe writes: In order to ease border crossings Washington State is introducing 'Enhanced' (with RFID) driver's licenses.

"They will look much like conventional driver's licenses, but will be loaded with proof of citizenship and other information that can be easily scanned at the border."
The requirement for a passport at all US borders is an issue local commerce between Washington State and Canada, and the new driver's license is less expensive then a passport, but what "other" costs will it create?

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