stupid_is writes: Google announces plans to purchase Motorola Mobility (MMI) for $40/share — a 63% markup on Friday's closing price. Intriguing as Motorola Mobility owns all the old Motorola IPR, so perhaps they are buying up ammunition for the Android lawsuits given their recent failure to obtain the Nortel IPR portfolio.
stupid_is writes: The most complete terrain map of the Earth's surface has been published (although currently slashdotted by the world's media coverage (sample coverage here).
The data, comprising 1.3 million images, come from a collaboration between the US space agency Nasa and the Japanese trade ministry. The images were taken by Japan's Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (Aster) aboard the Terra satellite. The resulting Global Digital Elevation Map covers 99% of the Earth's surface, and will be free to download and use.
Previously, the most complete such topographic map was Nasa's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, covering 80% of the Earth's surface. However, the mission's results were less accurate in steep terrain and in some deserts.
Nasa is now working to combine those data with the new Aster observations to further improve on the global map.
stupid_is writes: YouTube are to be blocking their "premium" music video content to users in the UK, the BBC and The Register.
The Performing Rights Society in the UK say that YouTube want to decrease the amount of royalties they're paying, and YouTube are saying that the PRS want them to increase the amount they're paying. El Reg finishes with:
Yanking content off streaming sites appears to be an increasingly common negotiating ploy for both sides of the table. In December 2008, Warner Music Group began removing its videos from YouTube after claiming it wasn't getting enough cut of the profit. Apparently companies are betting customer outrage will spur the other side to bend to their demands. But when customers can get their content elsewhere easier (and often illegally, where nobody gets paid) the licensing e-tantrum can certainly backfire on both.
stupid_is writes: The BBC are reporting on proposed UK legislation that would mean that those folks caught "illegally downloading music and films" being cast out from the internet under a "3 strikes and you're out" policy. ISPs that fail to enforce these new rules could potentially be prosecuted, with the details of suspected downloaders made available to he courts. Apparently, some of the biggest UK ISPs (including BT, Virgin and Tiscali) have been in talks with the entertainment industry over introducing a voluntary scheme for policing pirate activity, but no agreement has been reached.
stupid_is writes: As predicted, Apple have just released an "upgrade" that leaves unlocked devices "permanently inoperable". The BBC are covering this, and also note that "some owners are reporting on technology blogs and Apple's own forums that the update is deleting contacts information, as well as photos and music, on iPhones that have not been modified in any way"
stupid_is writes: Following on from the previous story, it's being reported by the BBC that Apple and EMI are partnering with the result being that users can purchase DRM-free versions of the EMI catalogue on iTunes. The downside is that this "premium" content will cost an additional 30c per track, making it $1.29 per track. There will be the added bonus that the downloaded tracks will be twice the sound quality as before.
stupid_is writes: RFID tags can be fairly controversial in their use — because of this, the EU has set up a commission to examine the issues and come up with recommendations for a regulation policy on their use. Full details can be found on their website here. The BBC are also running an article on this, and there's an interesting viewpoint over at El Reg.
stupid_is writes: The BBC are reporting that a lawsuit has been filed in New York on behalf of Arista Records, Warner Bros, Capitol and UMG recordings against two Russian music download services, Allofmp3 and AllTunes. The usual arguments are touted, but there is also an interesting quote from the folks at the Russian Organization for Multimedia and Digital Systems (ROMS), the Russian equivalent of the RIAA, stating "Allofmp3.com's activity is quite legitimate"
stupid_is writes: In addition to a previous submission a judge in Spain is reported to have ruled that under Spanish law a person who downloads music for personal use can not be punished or branded a criminal. This seems to be a teeny bit clearer than the first article, which points out that downloading is a civil, and not criminal, offence for individuals.
The Spanish recording industry federation Promusicae is predictably a bit peeved, and says it will appeal against the decision.
stupid_is writes: A new theory that the human race will divide into two sub-species in the next 100,000 years (give or take a few) is being reported by the BBC.
"Evolutionary theorist Oliver Curry of the London School of Economics expects a genetic upper class and a dim-witted underclass to emerge."
"The descendants of the genetic upper class would be tall, slim, healthy, attractive, intelligent, and creative and a far cry from the 'underclass' humans who would have evolved into dim-witted, ugly, squat goblin-like creatures."
stupid_is writes: The BBC are reporting that Judge Ronald Friedman has cleared Bully for publication in Florida. Jack Thompson is, predictably, critical of the decision, stating "You did not see the game, you don't even know what it was you saw." after Take-Two gave him the game, along with someone to play the game for him to watch before he made a decision.