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RIAA Lobbyist Becomes Federal Judge, Rules On File-Sharing Cases 333

suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from Ars Technica: "Last week, Washington, DC federal judge Beryl Howell ruled on three mass file-sharing lawsuits. Judges in Texas, West Virginia, and Illinois had all ruled recently that such lawsuits were defective in various ways, but Howell gave her cases the green light; attorneys could use the federal courts to sue thousands of people at once and then issue mass subpoenas to Internet providers. Beryl Howell isn't the only judge to believe this, but her important ruling is especially interesting because of Howell's previous work: lobbying for the recording industry during the time period when the RIAA was engaged in its own campaign of mass lawsuits against individuals. The news, first reported in a piece at TorrentFreak, nicely illustrates the revolving door between government and industry."
Role Playing (Games)

eBay Virtual World Delisting Skips Second Life 42

As a follow-up to last week's eBay delisting story, CNET has the word that Second Life content is exempt from this decision. Mr. Durzy, speaking with CNET, specifically cited Second Life content as exempt because of the uncertain role of the virtual world. As the company (and the rest of us) are uncertain whether to label Second Life as a game in the first place, player-created content is still sellable via eBay auction. A perfectly fine explanation, but GigaGamez takes things a step further, pointing out that eBay founder Pierre Omidyar became a major investor in Linden Labs in 2004. It's uncertain if this constitutes a conflict of interest, because confusion about what exactly Second Life is persists pretty much everywhere. Just the same, it's interesting to note. Their article on the subject also has a few words of commentary from Edward Castronova, the well-known commentator on all things RMT.

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