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RIAA goes crazy: mp3 ripping is illegal

effrey Howell of Scottsdale stands accused of placing 54 music files in a specific “shared” directory on his personal computer that all users of KaZaA and other “peer-to-peer” software could access — pretty standard grounds for an RIAA lawsuit. However, on page 15 of a supplemental brief responding to the judge’s technical questions about the case, the RIAA’s Phoenix lawyer, Ira M. Schwartz, states that the defendant is also liable simply for the act of creating “unauthorized copies” — by ripping songs from CDs. “I couldn’t believe it when I read that,” New York lawyer Ray Beckerman told the Washington Post. “The basic principle in the law is that you have to distribute actual physical copies to be guilty of violating copyright. But recently, the industry has been going around saying that even a personal copy on your computer is a violation.”

In other words, according to Schwartz’s logic, every single person who’s ever “ripped” a CD for portable listening on an iPod or other MP3 player could be liable for astronomical damages. Apple itself estimated earlier this year that only 4 percent of music on iPods worldwide had been purchased through iTunes, implying that most of the rest had been ripped from CDs. In October, Jammie Thomas, a Minnesota single mother, was ordered to pay the record companies $220,000, or $9,250 for each of 24 songs a jury found she’d shared online. Are these twats totally out of their mind? Putting a lawsuit against someone who legally bought a CD and then ripped it to mp3 so he can listen the songs on his mp3 player, that’s the last proof of how idiotic this bloody company is…

Source: Fox, Washington Post 

Samsung announces 31″ OLED display

OLED panels are the next big thing when it comes to TVs and other consumer electronics from cameras to cell phones. The OLED screen promises more compact dimensions, less power consumption and brighter images. Small OLED screens are currently found on some cell phones and LCD TV makers are looking for larger OLED screens to use in HDTVs. Reuters reports that Samsung recently unveiled a 31-inch active-matrix OLED screen. Samsung says it will have a 31-inch OLED prototype TV on display at CES 2008 in January. Samsung declined to comment on the commercial availability of TVs using the 31-inch OLED panel stating that the panel being available for retail purchase would depend on TV makers’ plans.

With the very high cost of the Sony XEL-1, the first commercially available OLED TV retailing for over $1,700 USD, the price for a 31-inch Samsung panel equipped OLED TV is a frightening thought for many. Samsung didn’t comment on potential pricing for TVs using its 31-inch OLED panel. Samsung says its new 31-inch OLED panel is only 4.3mm thick and uses less than half the power required of a typical 32-inch TV. The panel’s lifespan is 35,000 hours, which is the best lifespan of existing AM-OLED panels. Exactly how many of the panels Samsung will be able to produce is unknown. Sony is limited to 2,000 of its XEL-1 11-inch OLED TVs per month because of production limits for the OLED panels. This looks really good, but the price will be most likely the biggest issue here.

Source: DailyTech

Shop now for home theater systems at Shopping.com’s deals on LCD TVs.

Steal This Film 2 released on BitTorrent

Steal This Film 1, which was downloaded nearly 3 million times, has now been succeeded officially (as the sequel premiered and was ironically leaked last month) by none other than Steal This Film 2. By producing this video, the League of Noble Peers, which features many prominent individuals from the BitTorrent community, has the goal of “bringing new people into the leagues of those now prepared to think ‘after intellectual property’, think creatively about the future of distribution, production and creativity.”

For those still confused, Steal This Film is a series documenting the movement against intellectual property. The films discuss piracy culture as well as raids against file sharing websites. In the spirit of piracy, the movie is completely free for download. You can choose from XviD, full DVD and 720p (HD) version, all downloadable through BitTorrent. More information can be found at the official website. I haven’t seen this movie yet, but first viewers aren’t too enthusiastic about it (aka “It’s 44 minutes of some random blokes trying to justify piracy … nothing else”). I guess there are better releases to watch…

Source: Neowin 

Hackers exploited Bhutto’s death to massive attack

Within hours of yesterday’s assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, malware makers exploited the breaking news to dupe users into downloading attack code, security researchers said Friday. Searches for news about Bhutto’s killing and the ensuing chaos in Pakistan listed sites pimping a bogus video coder/decoder (codec), said analysts at McAfee Inc., Symantec Corp. and WebSense Inc. For instance, WebSense found such a site simply by using “benazir” to search on Google. Meanwhile, McAfee quickly located 10 sites hosted on Blogger.com, Google Inc.’s blog service, that were spreading the fake codec.

The sites use the well-worn tactic of promising a video — in this case one of Bhutto’s assassination — but telling Windows users that they need to install a new high-definition video codec, the program that decodes the digital data stream, to view the clip. Naturally, the so-called codec is no such thing, but is instead rigged code that downloads a variant of the Zlob Trojan horse, a back door that can infect the compromised PC with a wide range of other malware. Other hackers are relying on the news of Bhutto’s assassination to draw users to sites that forgo the codec angle and instead conduct drive-by attacks, said Rahul Mohandas, a security analyst at McAfee’s Avert Labs unit. This is just sick, I thought these people have some limits…

Source: Computerworld

Letterman made a deal with striking writers

US talk show host David Letterman has reached a deal with striking writers that will allow his show to return with a full writing staff. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) said the agreement meant its members would be paid for work distributed online – a major sticking point in their dispute. Letterman said he was “happy to be going back to work” on 3 January after eight weeks off air. Many of his rivals also return next week – without their writing teams. The interim agreement between the Letterman’s Worldwide Pants production company and the WGA also allows the return of spin-off programme The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. “This is not a solution to the strike, which unfortunately continues to disrupt the lives of thousands,” said Letterman. “But I hope it will be seen as a step in the right direction.”

Letterman’s deal gives his show a distinct advantage over the likes of Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel, who face the prospect of presenting an hour-long nightly television show without scribes to pen their monologues, sketches and other written material. Presenters such as Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert will not even be allowed to write their own scripts, as they are members of the WGA. There is also a question over whether celebrity guests will be prepared to cross picket lines to appear on the shows. The strike, which began on 5 November, was called because of a dispute over the fees writers get paid when their work is released on DVD or the internet. I really hope this will be a beginning of the end of this strike, as it hurts mostly us, fans of all those shows…

Source: AP, BBC

Amazon: 17 Wiis sold each second

When they were in stock — during a brief, miraculous moment in time — the Nintendo Wii flew off Amazon.com’s virtual shelves at 17 units per second. Amazon released a bunch of random statistics on the day after Christmas to show how its 13th holiday shopping season was the best ever. This also included the fact that Amazon sold enough high-definition DVD players to cover seven football fields and that if you lined up all the GPS units sold, it would make a trail from New York to Philadelphia (By my math, that would be about 1.7 million GPS machines, assuming that they’re 3.5 inches each and that the distance between New York and Philadelphia is about 94 miles).

The top sellers in consumer electronics were the Garmin GPS machines, Canon PowerShot digital Elph cameras and Samsung LCD HDTVs. And among computers, the top sellers were the Apple MacBook, Nokia Internet Tablet PC and HP Pavilion Entertainment Notebook PC, Amazon said. Amazon also provided some fun statistics. It says it sold one Wii every 17 seconds during the holiday selling season, but only when they were in stock. It sold enough high definition DVD players (i.e. Blu-Ray and HD DVD) to cover 7 football fields. I guess every family will own a Wii soon…

AOL dumps support for Netscape Navigator

The legend is going down. A historic name in software will effectively pass into history in February as AOL discontinues development and active support for the Netscape browser, according to an official blog. AOL will keep delivering security patches for the current version of Netscape until Feb. 1, 2008, after which it will no longer provide active support for any version of the software, according to a Friday entry on The Netscape Blog by Tom Drapeau, lead developer for Netscape.com. The Netscape.com Web site will remain as a general-purpose portal. Netscape was the original mass-market Web browser and helped to popularize the Internet in the mid-1990s, but it has long taken a back seat to Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.

Firefox itself traces its roots back to Netscape software that was made into open source. The Mozilla Foundation was founded in 2003, with support from AOL, and has released successive versions of Firefox while AOL continued to develop Netscape on top of the same platform, Drapeau wrote. Groups within AOL have tried and failed to revive Netscape Navigator and gain market share against Internet Explorer, according to the blog entry. As of this month, Netscape had only 0.6 percent of the browser market, which was still dominated by Internet Explorer with more than 77 percent, according to Web application and analytics firm Net Applications. Firefox was gaining, however, with market share just over 16 percent. Rest in piece.

Source: PC World 

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