Thursday, December 4, 2008

Should we stop the sale of used video games?

Being able to buy used games is a huge advantage to the middle class every day gamer. Instead of spending 60$ for a new game we could spend 30$ and get that same game used. Or we could buy the game new and sell it back when we are done in order to get some money back to buy another game. The developers aspect of the used game market is however not so positive. They see is as loosing revenues for them in new game sales. Now the Game Industry is trying to use such tactics as post game content and other bonuses that come along with buying the game new instead of buying it used. The question we have to ask ourselves is wether this post realease game content is enough to convince the gaming world to stop buying used games. The one thing the gaming industry overlooks is the hidden revenue they receive from used game sales. Buy making games avaliable for a more affordable price, the game industry gets their titles into the hands of people who might not buy it in the first place. If they like the game then they will be the first ones in line to buy the next one new. These discounted games are also attracting new gamers. This overall benifits the gaming industry.

Harvard team: Let consumers hack abandonware

As we all know when Digital Rights-based music or any other DRM products shut down, we no longer have access to these products. If we pay for it we should be able to use it as long as we live. This is now becoming a serious problem now that MSN music, Walmart music, Google's video store, and Yahoo music have all shut down and anyone who purchased music from these sources can only play them on one device, if they can play them at all. What if the consumers had the right to bypass these DRM protections once they expire? The team and Harvard is proposing just that! As we all know the Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it illegal for us to circumvent DRM, but every three years the Copyright office asks for requests to make exemptions to these laws. This team from Harvard submitted a request that, in the event of DRM failure, users be able to circumvent the DRM protections on the failed software, so they could still use what they payed for. Without this users with any works that have failed DRM would not be able to transfer any of these works to other devices or even re-authenticate them for use on that same device. Say for instance Electronic Arts were to go bankrupt, millions of people would lose the ability to re-install or repair any software purchased from them. If this plan passes then researchers will be able to study the authentication messages flowing back and forth between the software and the DRM systems. This will allow them to learn how DRM works and how we could eventually lawfully circumvent it in the case of a DRM system failure or shutdown. This exemption for researchers has also been added into the plan sent to the Copyright Office for review. Lets hope it works, for our sake and for the sake of our DRM software, music, and games that we payed for. 

Remixers, Unlockers, Jailbreakers, Oh My!

I thought this was an interesting development. EFF submitted two petitions to the copyright office. They are after DMCA exemption of a few specific technology related activities, remixing, unlocking cell phones, and jailbreaking phones such as the iPhone.

The exemption for remixing covers ripping DVDs for remixing purposes. Fair use. Currently, once someone rips a DVD, the DMCA gets angry and jumps the gun by saying that that person broke the law without determining if the use was fair or illegal. The petition is to protect these people and actions so that the creators on websites such as youtube and vidders are still free to create.

Unlocking cell phones is a different subject. Cell phone companies lock their phones so they can only be used with their service and to protect their copyrighted material. So a phone that you got from AT&T won't work if you want to switch to Verizon or Alltel. They do this to discourage people from switching networks and it slows competition between carriers. Thousands of phones, because of this, end up in dumps and landfills because they can't be used with a different carrier. Unlocking these phones would allow for easier recycling.

Jailbreaking is like unlocking, but it applies to phones with applications, like the iPhone. Many iPone owners have already 'jailbroken' their phones so they can recieve apps from places other than the app store that Apple provides. I think I read somewhere that Amazon has made one or a few apps for the iPone..

The cell phone exemption petition would allow people to play with the stuff they bought, 'tinkering' is used in the article. The locks on the devices limit freedom with something you rightfully own because you paid for it.

The Copyright Office is supposed to announce the determinations in October of 2009..

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bye Bye Bratz?

Bye Bye Bratz?

U.S. District Judge Stephen Larson ordered for all Bratz products to be removed from warehouses and stores because of copyright infringement. This battle has been going on for a long time between the maker of Barbie, Mattel Inc. and MGA Entertainment Inc. MGA Entertainment Inc. has been growing more and more popular with the Bratz dolls and products, controlling the dolls on market. The final hearing isn’t until February to find out the verdict on those Bratz. The jury in Larson’s courtroom believed that the Bratz dolls were made by a designer who had worked with Mattel Inc. in the past. The designer had worked with Mattel under an exclusivity agreement, not allowing the Barbie/Mattel Inc. designs to leave Mattel Inc. The jury awarded Mattel Inc. $100 million for copyright infringement as well as for breaking the exclusivity contract with Mattel Inc. MGA believes that losing the revenue from the Bratz dolls and products will be very costly for the Van Nuys Company.

Mashups: No SOA required, but keep IT in the loop

The writer of this blog talked about how everybody is doing mashups for their own purposes. He states that it doesn’t take a lot and believes that users should “just do it.” He believes that mashups should be a part of the SOA evolution, moving the SOA forward. Jackbe’s Chris Warner, writing in Fast Company, agreed with the author of this blog. Chris outlined “the five common mistakes to avoid” with mashups. 1) True mashups don’t have anything to do with vendors, so don’t believe it when vendors say they offer mashups. 2) IT needs to establish a strong and secure infrastructure. 3) Mashups can be done without SOA. 4) Mashup reuse should be encouraged. 5) Security issues- secure your mashup files.

Woman sues Tyler Perry for copyright infringement

Woman sues Tyler Perry for copyright infringement

Donna West filed a lawsuit against Tyler Perry for stolen material used for the film, “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.” She is suing Tyler Perry for copyright infringement in U.S. District Court. She has asked for a jury because she is asking for all profits made from the film for her family. Donna West testified that she developed a script based on her life experiences titled, “Fantasy of a Black Woman.” She starred in the play. It was performed at the Junior Black Academy of Arts and Letters at the Dallas Convention Center in 1991. Donna West believed that Tyler Perry (or anyone apart from that production) could have seen the play since it was open to the public and replicated it. Tyler Perry’s movie earned about $50 million when it came out in 2005. Jurors watched Tyler Perry’s movie and also listened to a part of the script from West’s play. Tyler Perry’s attorney, Veronica Lewis, told the jury that Perry had prior success to the film and that he was a talented individual who did not need the help from another person. The case will be completed in about a week.

Live, From Carnegie Hall: It's the YouTube Symphony Orchestra

Live, From Carnegie Hall: It's the YouTube Symphony Orchestra

YouTube announced that they will be generating content by launching a symphony orchestra. The YouTube Symphony Orchestra has two main goals. 1) The creation of mash-up performance will come from video submissions. 2) There will be a live performance written by composer Tan Duan at Carnegie Hall on April 15, 2009 with 150 players selected based on their YouTube submissions. The idea was first brainstormed by two YouTube employees about a year ago. The other people who are contributing to the YouTube Symphony Orchestra will be Michael Tilson Thomas who will conduct the Carnegie Hall performance, the London Symphony Orchestra, and Lang Lang the pianist. Participants who are interested must be older than 14 and cannot be bound by any contracts that wouldn’t allow them to participate in the project. Participants can download the music for “Internet Symphony No. 1: Eroica”, selecting one of the 26 instruments. Participants who want to participate online can upload their videos of the symphony onto Participants who want to audition for the live performance can submit their videos following the specified standards by January 28, 2009.

Nokia Comes With (Illegal) Music In Vietnam?

Nokia Comes With (Illegal) Music In Vietnam?

Recording Association of Vietnam (RIAV) filed a $3 million lawsuit against FPT Telecom and Nokia Vietnam for breaking intellectual property rights from copyright infringement of recorded music. RIAV represents 60 music production companies in Vietnam. It is stated that RIAV was going to file a lawsuit against FPT Telecom for allowing users to share music over the internet through its website, Nhac So, and FPT Telecom’s internet television service. RIAV also filed a lawsuit against Nokia Vietnam for letting the public download 1,000 copyrighted songs from Nhac So. Nokia blamed FPT Telecom when they wrote a letter to RIAV. According to Nokia, FPT admitted that they may not have all the proper rights for the recorded music on their website even though they had told Nokia in the past that they had all the legal rights, allowing them to use the music on their website. RIAV is still filing a lawsuit against Nokia because RIAV believes that Nokia isn’t taking responsibility for their poor actions.

Ravens, NFL did not violate copyright law

Ravens, NFL did not violate copyright law

The artist filed a federal lawsuit over the Baltimore Raven’s original logo, but it has now been dismissed stating that the NFL and other businesses did not violate any copyright laws. Frederick E. Bouchat’s most recent lawsuit against the Raven’s logo for commercial uses for Raven’s home games, highlight films, and online photographs. Judge Marvin J. Garbis stated that a settlement had been reached between Bouchat and The Sun. Bouchat’s lawyer dismissed the lawsuits against the remaining defendants. Bouchat has now sought a “final, permanent injuction” to stop future copyright infringement, wanting to destroy offending materials. The judge agreed with the defendants. The defendants gave a 24 page opinion that displayed the dispute of the logo as well as the history of pro football in Baltimore. The visibility of the Raven’s logo was incidental and not a major component. Bouchat’s lawyer disagreed, believing the Ravens’ actions were the equivalent to “stealing a painting, making a copy of it, and hanging it in a museum as his own work.”

Australian firewall trials start

In Australia plans are being made to set up a internet filtering program for children. The Program will start out blacklisting certain sites which seems pretty ridiculous because of how many sites could be deemed as a blacklist site but its a start. The 'cyber safety plan' will cost up to $126 million dollars and will take atleast four years to place in to action. People all over are skepticle of how this plan will work. Stephen Conroy will be leading the way and has some doubts of his own, which even increases the amount of skepticism I have for this plan. The only other countries that have similar plans are ones that have free speech as a major issue, for example: China and Saudi Arabia. Does Australia really want to be placed in a group with these countries in terms of civil rights? I doubt it. It seems like theyre willing to do so though. The internet industry says that this plan could slow down internet as well as limit what its users can view. Another issue is if Australia has the technology to create a program or some type of system to filter out these sites with out having to look through the thousands of different sites that could contain some sort of explicit material. We'll see what happens though, nobody besides this teacher in the article seems to be very enthusiastic about this new plan. It would be nice to see australia succeed and create something that the whole world could use.

Google Settles Publishers’ Lawsuit Over Book Offerings

Google Settles Publishers’ Lawsuit Over Book Offerings

Google, recently, had to settle a couple of lawsuits, accusing Google for copyright infringement. Google said that they would pay $125 million to those who filed the lawsuits, Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild. Google was going to spend $34.5 million of the $125 million on establishing a “Book Rights Registry” so that each author was compensated for their works being used. The “Book Rights Registry” would oversee payments to songwriters and musicians for the use of their works. In addition, the registry would give payments to the authors of works who are already in the Google Book Search system. Google argued in the beginning that Google Book Search did not break any copyright infringement laws. Google added that the public wasn’t allowed to read a work from the beginning to the end from the works’ original implementation. The new agreement allows the public to buy books that are out of print but keep their copyrights. Google would pay the registry 63% of any revenue from an author’s works, even advertising on the internet next to the pages of the online book. The settlement still needs to be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. As of right now, the proposal looks like it’s suppose to be approved by the court. Publishers state that the settlement should be a huge benefit to authors and readers. Under the new terms, colleges and university can pay for access to the titles in Google’s catalog, the public library could access Google’s catalog for free, and people searching from their homes would get limited excerpts.

Analyst: Use Lasers on Pirates (and Everyone Else)

Doctor James Jay Carafano believes that lasers are the answer to all of our military and piracy problems. This article explains his point of you by showing us different ways lasers could be the easy way out. Any hostile missiles from other countries could be easily shot down by a laser defence system. Carafano thinks that it is necessary for our major government institution buildings to have laser defence systems to protect against the danger of these hostile missiles. He then connects the use of lasers in a military circumstance to a piracy solution. I was a little confused with how this would work...but he said lasers could do the trick! Probably just by shutting down the computer or something, I really wasnt sure. It is interesting though, how much lasers could begin to play a role in our way of life, especially in a foreign relations point of view. Lasers could be the answer to terrorism. Satellites could pick out people or buildings from space and they would disappear...pretty crazy right? Pretty scary right?

Just think about if we were the first country to develop a laser defence system and a laser offense system. The possibilities could be endless, and we would definitely be more of a world power than we are today. The opposite would be true if someone else got hold of that technology...:(

Cue "Barracuda"

Cue ‘Barracuda’

Once Sarah Palin finished her speech at the Republican National Convention, “Barracuda” by the band Heart blasted over the loud speakers in honor of Palin’s nickname in high school, “Sarah Barracuda.” It was a big hit with the crowd, but the Heart’s songwriters, Ann and Nancy Wilson, did not agree. The sisters stated that they didn’t believe “Sarah Palin’s views and values in no way represented us as American women” and demanded that the McCain-Palin campaign not play their song. Their publisher and label sent a letter to the campaign to have them stop advertising the McCain-Palin campaign with their song. It is obvious that the main reason why Ann and Nancy Wilson disagree with Palin using their song is because they disagree with Palin’s political views. However, not all artists are like the Wilson sisters. Some artists just don’t want their songs being used at all politically by any candidate or campaign. The author of the article believed that even though all and any artist has the right to their song and the way it is used, they believe that filing a copyright lawsuit to stop the song being used politically is a little too much. The author of the article proposed the question of “Why would we support limiting artists’ legal powers in this way?” The author proposes two reasons. The first reason is because artists make their songs available for from firms via “blanket license.” The blanket licensing system gives artists revenue they would not otherwise obtain by lowering the cost of licensing. This also allows bars, clubs, and restaurants to play artists’ music without fear of costs. By allowing artists to choose which song is allowed to be used for a blanket license, the system has no function. The McCain-Palin campaign continued to use the song, “Barracuda” because they cleared the license with the ASCAP firm. The second reason is because politicians use songs as a way to portray their views of what they stand for to the public. The ability to communicate their political message through the usage of music is a form of speech that should be protected by the First Amendment. In this case, the First Amendment wins because political speech is protected even with the copyright laws. All copyright laws should be respected nevertheless, but artists shouldn’t abuse the laws, like in this case with the campaign. Copyright laws exist so that artists get paid. As long as politicians pay for a blanket license for the use of a song, then there is nothing illegal about that.

U.N. Investigates Electromagnetic Terrorism

What if your cell phone could give you cancer? We would all be screwed!! Almost everyone has a cell phone nowadays. This article attempts to answer whether cell phones could have negative side affects because of a radiation of some sort. It's conclusion is one of uncertainty. Tests have been conducted but no real mind boggling data has surfaced. Another question the article poses is what if people could use this radiation or supposed raditation as terrorism? When I think of terrorism, the last thing that comes to mind is a cell phone or a microwave. In 1953 the russian government was caught emitting low level radio and micro waves in to the U.S. embassy in moscow. Nobody knew of any health affects that this might have posed, so they suspected that the russians were trying to disrupt communications. This was known as Project Bizarre.

Amanda and Will's project

Amanda and I made picture photo story about her trip to the Phillipines. A lot of her pictures were pretty cool. Amanda is Philipino so it was pretty cool to see some pictures that expressed her heritage. The music was added to draw the viewer in to the material shown. I thought it worked well with the settings displayed in the story. A lot of her pictures made me want to visit the Phillipines and hopefully the people watching felt the same way. I had fun making it with her.

My video project that I did a week ago

The video project I did a week ago was a slideshow of airplane photos taken during my journey from Washinton's Reagan National airport to Honolulu via Chicago O'Hare. I love airplanes, and I love taking pictures of them. At the end of the video, to take up space, I included some pics from when my dad took me plane-watching. The background music is "Raiders March", the Indiana Jones theme, which was performed by the wind ensemble at Colonial Forge High School in May of 2008. I played the snare drum part in that piece, which closed my last high school concert. I hope you enjoyed it.

Austrailians protest ISP filerting

Link Here.

This was a very short little blurb about a topic that has appeared on this blog, the Australian Government's plan to filter internet content nation wide. According to this article the Aussies did not like the idea and have decided to stage simultaneous protests across Australia. The filtering of the internet content will slow down speeds across the nation. The filter will also statistically block 10,000 out of 1 million websites incorrectly. Finally the Australians believe that the filtering is a block of free speech.

I'm rooting for the Australian protesters, I could not imagine suddenly having all the content that I go to have to go through a filter first and maybe be blocked due to some mistake.

YouTube comes down hard on porn ads, suggestive content

As the title states, youtube is determined to decrease the amount of nudity or sexually suggestive content on its site, to preserve the sites integrity. The site will not only delete certain movies with nudity, but also movies with inappropriate clothing that wouldnt normally be worn in public. The site has employed viewers to analyze the material and judge whether it is appropriate. I think it would be a pretty great job to have haha.

The "new guidelines" have yet to be put in place but they will very soon. Most sexually suggestive movies will only demoted and taken off the lists, such as the most viewed or most popular lists that many people look at to see funny or interesting material. Only a few videos a day will be demoted though...This quote optimistically explains what youtube is attempting to do. "Let's work together to ensure that the YouTube community continues to thrive as a positive place for all of us." Good luck with that

Crime and Punishment 2.0: fighting criminals with the 'Net

This article is about the new crime software that is being created around the world. Its showing the growing importance and recognition of the internet today and how it can help the F.B.I. and the police. Obviously the internet can't catch the perps but it sure can help take information from others who may have witnessed the crime or know people who were involved. The FBI has been taking information from the internet instead of phone calls or conversations for many years. Which brings about the question: Why haven't the police used this so called NEW information? The article says that one commenter of the Boston Globe asked the same thing. "Its comforting to see that the police are discovering the newfangled technology thing called the 'COMPUTER' at last. have they been using pencils and paper all this time? That they are just NOW doing this is PITIFUL." The man has a point.

Other examples justices new found accomplice are all over the world. In london, the police created a google map of crime, so to speak. It basically maps out past crimes and shows certain hotspots for criminal behavior. The Toronto Police have put all their criminal information online where the public can view and actually comment on certain crimes taken place. Whether or not the publics opinion matters to them remains to be seen but it seems like an idea that couldn't hurt.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sought: Wal-Mart shoppers who trampled NY worker

As I'm sure everyone has heard, there was a man, Jdimytai Damour, who was trampled to death on black friday at a mall about 20 miles east of Manhattan.  Now, police are reviewing a surveillance video to try and identify who trampled Damour to death.  While criminal charges were possible, it is proving to be difficult, said Detective Lt. Michael Flemming, a Nassau County police spokesman.  Other workers, and a pregnant woman were trampled when the doors were open as well.
Perhaps the most amazing thing, and what really pisses me off is that when Walmart made an announcement that people had to leave because an employee got killed, people were screaming that they have been in line since the previous morning, and people actually kept stepping over the dead employee in order to keep shopping.
While stores have great deals that are definitely worth lining up for and getting in line early for, there has to be a better system for this to happen. Whether this system is selling tickets, and specific amount of customers that can shop at a time, or something else, there has to be something done to avoid another situation like this.

Symantec releases antivirus just for gamers, but why?

On November 25, Symantec released Norton antivirus 2009, Gaming Edition.  This antivirus is specifically designed to not bother gamers while they are playing a game on their computer.  This gamer mode suspends alerts, updates, and other background activities while you are playing your game.  When a player goes into full screen mode, the antivirus is automatically enabled, and can also be manually enabled.  The vice president of consumer products at Symantec gave the following reason for releasing the game edition: "Gamers are an extremely demanding audience that simply won’t tolerate anything on their system that detracts from gameplay. Norton AntiVirus Gaming Edition keeps gamers protected online and runs perfectly undetected in the background, meaning no interruptions, no pop-ups, and with the same award winning zero-impact performance of our 2009 products."
This release has a lot of people asking for a non-gamer edition.  Even non-gamers would like to have updates and background activities suspended when they are in full-screen mode.  I personally think that this should be released for more than just gamers, and i don't see why they wouldn't release it, because they would make more of a profit if they did.

Whoops: UK senior citizens targeted for downloading gay porn

While it is bad, and a little bit embarrassing to be informed that you have been caught downloading music, it is another thing to be told that you have been caught illegally downloading hardcore gay porn.  This is exactly what the UK based law firm of Davenport Lyons does.  Users are now anxious to get attention for the nature of these letters.
Davenport Lyons acts on behalf of content owners, and are going after copyright infringers, and has recently been in the news for sending letters to users who are operating open Wifi networks, because he says that they are responsible for the illegal actions of the others who are using their open wireless networks.
A 60 year old couple was accused of downloading the film "Army F**kers", which is a film about officers, however the couple claims to have never downloaded it. The couple said "We were offended by the title of the film.  We dont do porn-straight or gay- and we cant do downloads.  We have to ask our son even to do an iTunes purchase"  Many other people have come out too, claiming that they have not downloaded this movie either.  With its pre-settlement tactic, it is very similar to a currently used tactic used by the RIAA, attempting to ferret out college students that they believe are guilty of illegally downloading.
While these cases have yet to be closed, it appears that Davenport Lyons is just hoping that some people will feel intimidated, and pay up the fine (roughly $774).