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WinMX Suspends Operations

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the i'll-take-non-extradition-ip's-for-500-alex dept.

The Internet 192

An anonymous reader writes "Slyck.com is reporting that it appears the WinMX network has shut down its operations in response to the RIAA's letters threating legal action. Although the WinMX network is currently down, this may only be temporary as developers seem to have relocated from Canada to Port Villa, Vanuatu."

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192 comments

Pertinent Links: (5, Informative)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#13616904)


Some information about Vanuatu, as well as its capital, Port Vila (misspelled in TFA) can be found here [wikipedia.org] and here [cia.gov] .

As for why WinMX might want to relocate there, this link [vanuatugovernment.gov.vu] should shed a little light on the issue...

Re:Pertinent Links: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13616926)

Gee thanks.....

Is this how low you've sunk you fucking whore?

Re:Pertinent Links: (4, Informative)

interiot (50685) | more than 8 years ago | (#13616931)

It should be especially hilighted that Kazaa has already moved to Vanuatu, so the island clearly has decent internet connectivity in place already.

Re:Pertinent Links: (2, Informative)

Knara (9377) | more than 8 years ago | (#13616950)

I should hope so. Their Internet Free Trade Zone would be pretty silly if they didn't.

Re:Pertinent Links: (2)

interiot (50685) | more than 8 years ago | (#13616986)

For the record, name me a government that isn't "pretty silly", especially in matters of self-promotion.

Re:Pertinent Links: (2)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617419)

...and it's a lot cheaper than hosting atSealand [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Pertinent Links: (3, Insightful)

shark72 (702619) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617661)

"It should be especially hilighted that Kazaa has already moved to Vanuatu, so the island clearly has decent internet connectivity in place already."

Just to be clear... that's where Sharman Networks is headquartered for tax purposes. They don't have servers there. There are probably a dozen outfits on Vanuatu that'll set up a PO box for you and forward your mail.

Running afoul of the Berne Convention or local copyright laws was probably never a reason for Sharman's setting up in Vanuatu -- you can generally be nailed in any country in which you do business, regardless of the address printed on your articles of incorporation.

Re:Pertinent Links: (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 8 years ago | (#13616935)

I loved the "rediculous" part on "http://www.vanuatugovernment.gov.vu/cyberspace.ht ml"...

Tax haven? Not for long..... (4, Insightful)

CDMA_Demo (841347) | more than 8 years ago | (#13616994)


Sure it is very interesting. But I wonder what will happen if every p2p company takes refuge in Vanuatu. The laws specifically prohibit pornography and don't even think about applying if you've got money laundering on your mind. U.S. can easily pressurize a country of the size of Republic of Vanuatu to extend their laws to prohibit sharing copyright work!

Re:Tax haven? Not for long..... (5, Funny)

abes (82351) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617125)

I know we have a lot of hot air coming from America, but I'm suspicious of being able to pressurize an entire country..

Might come in useful if the tectonic plates ever get a bit slippery...

Re:Tax haven? Not for long..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13617170)

I know we have a lot of hot air coming from America, but I'm suspicious of being able to pressurize an entire country..

Yes, when the country is of the size of Ct. and is harboring Cyber Terrorists!

Re:Tax haven? Not for long..... (0, Redundant)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617465)

Thank you for that... :)

Re:Tax haven? Not for long..... (2, Funny)

TheGavster (774657) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617640)

With enough nuclear weapons, you can pressurize any country to a radically higher than normal level, albeit only for a fraction of a second.

Re:Tax haven? Not for long..... (2, Insightful)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617216)

How? I work for many companies in dinky countries (news services and publishers -- legit businesses). They have plenty of corruption internally, but there's really no toehold that the United States has on them. If they are making money through companies arriving, they aren't going to change things. They are masters of their little corner of the world and they like it; many have just shrugged off European absentee rulers and are quite enamored with their own sovernity. You'd be surprised how little influence the United States has in some of these countries.

Many people in first world countries think they carry the biggest stick and the sun sets on their ass. They'd be surprised that the population and rulers of the many very capable small countries don't see it that way.

--
Evan

Just how might they do that? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13617639)

If the US of A completely cut off all its trade with Vanauatu, they wouldn't notice. We don't buy much from them, we don't sell much to them. It would be hard to hurt them in any meaningful way if they decided that the money they were making was more than they would otherwise make.

Australia and NZ, on the other hand, are in a position to be really annoying to Vanauatu.

ps. They don't have static electricity there (way to humid). The natives have never experienced it. When they leave the island and do experience it, they often jump to interesting conclusions like: "Oh my gawd, the electrical system is giving me shocks. This hotel is going to burn down."

Re:Pertinent Links: (4, Funny)

DaveFromChicago (915169) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617005)

Vanuatu - the India of P2P?

Re:Pertinent Links: (5, Funny)

Animekiksazz (653048) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617024)

What an interesting government website. "...and don't even think about applying if you've got money laundering on your mind."

Re:Pertinent Links: (3, Interesting)

freaktheclown (826263) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617224)

Indeed: [vanuatugovernment.gov.vu] Recent political developments in Vanuatu. Vanuatu has a new Government. Please revisit this site next week.

Wow (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13617043)

You get an orgasm from karma whoring and having that ol' first post, don't you?

Re:Pertinent Links: (2, Informative)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617101)

More specifically, the critical part appears to be that they aren't a signatory of the Berne convention:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berne_Convention_for_ the_Protection_of_Literary_and_Artistic_Works [wikipedia.org]

Re:Pertinent Links: (1)

shark72 (702619) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617686)

That will only protect them if they're doing business only in Vanuatu -- only trying to sell ad space to Vanuatu businesses, taking steps to ensure that only Vanuatu residents can use their network, and so on. Sharman Networks, who run Kazaa, also print a Vanuatu address on their articles of incorporation, but this is for tax purposes only. As we all know, Kazaa was recently nailed in Australia, as they do business there and many of their executives live there.

Re:Pertinent Links: (4, Funny)

lelitsch (31136) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617153)


As for why WinMX might want to relocate there from Canada, this link [lonelyplanet.com] should also shed a little light on the issue...

Re:Pertinent Links: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13617155)

Cool! Sounds like the place Randy was setting up in "Cryptonomicon". Gee, what was the name of that author? Should maybe do a /. poll.

Re:Pertinent Links: (1)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617311)

Neal Stephenson. I figured he based the data-haven island off of a mixture of similar places in the real world...Sealand, Vanuatu, et cetera.

Welcome to Fantasy Island! (5, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617163)

As for why WinMX might want to relocate there, this link should shed a little light on the issue...

Tattoo: Bozz, bozz, ze plane, ze plane!
Mr. Roarke: Yes, Tattoo. Let us go meet our guests.
Tattoo: Who are zey, bozz?
Mr. Roarke: They are wanted criminals and nihilists. They have come here to set up an illicit P2P network.
Tattoo [rubbing hands together]: Ooh, I cannot wait see what you have in store for them, bozz. And who are those people, bozz?
Mr. Roarke: They from the Recording Industry Association of America.
Tattoo: Why zem, bozz?
Mr. Roarke: Let's just say, Tattoo, that I enjoy putting spiders and flies in small jars together. [arms out to guests] Welcome to Fantasy Island!

Re:Welcome to Fantasy Island! (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617484)

And in the next scene, the RIAA and Roddy McDowall exchange the sort of greetings one is accustomed to seeing between good friends.

Re:Pertinent Links: (1)

Rac3r5 (804639) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617182)

Hmmm,

Thanks for the links, but why would they charge no taxes? How does the government get its money to run?

Re:Pertinent Links: (1)

Rac3r5 (804639) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617245)

Oh ok.. my bad

"Tax revenues come mainly from import duties and a 12.5 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on goods and services."

Then I guess the incentive from the government is to create local jobs in Vanatutu.

WOAH (5, Funny)

Craptastic Weasel (770572) | more than 8 years ago | (#13616917)

talk about "change for the better"... from snowy days to sunny days... I kind of want the RIAA to send me one of those legal threats, I need a change of locale!!!

Re:WOAH (1)

almost-empty (861377) | more than 8 years ago | (#13616952)

no kidding. a change of locale would be nice, especially getting away from the heat (texas)...

Re:WOAH (0)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#13616979)


Don't worry...I see plenty of rain [weatherunderground.com] in your future...

Re:WOAH (1)

almost-empty (861377) | more than 8 years ago | (#13616997)

Oh I know, lol. I've already been forced to evacuated from Galveston, lol. Hmm, an alternate location, hmm, Costa Rica sounds good :)

Re:WOAH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13617173)

lol [slashdot.org]

Re:WOAH (1)

Yokaze (70883) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617203)

export LC_ALL=es_CU@utf-8

Are they planning to live there too? (4, Informative)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 8 years ago | (#13616927)

If not, they're still under the jurisdiction. Scratch that, under the DMCA they're still liable for any 'ip violation' that their product 'enables' in countries that follow the DMCA (such as the US).

You have to catch them first. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13617009)

If they obfuscate their identity, and if the foreign country won't cooperate, then good luck prosecuting them.

Re:You have to catch them first. (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617185)

If they obfuscate their identity, and if the foreign country won't cooperate, then good luck prosecuting them.

"We have every reason to believe that this tiny island country is harboring terrorist agents of Al-qaeda, and is developing weapons of mass destruction to threaten its neighbors with."

Re:Are they planning to live there too? (2, Insightful)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617029)

yep, and Joe User can still be sued for downloading the "pirated" movies/music/games/etc. no matter WHERE they got it. Just a thought, you know if they had did this with P*rn during the early days of the 'Net the things we have now would have taken a lot longer to get here. It's a fact that early adopters (and improvers) of technology have been those on the "dark side" such as P*rn and Gambling.

Re:Are they planning to live there too? (2, Interesting)

sobachatina (635055) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617375)

Is anyone sued for downloading pirated material?

I was under the impression that the people that were technically breaking the law and being sued were those distributing pirated material.

Of course its probably a moot point considering most P2P programs are designed to do both.

Re:Are they planning to live there too? (1)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617695)

Uploading is easier to prove, and big uploaders are less likely to get sympathy than big downloaders.

Provide relevant links or be modded down! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13617350)

while they may be "liable," their servers cannot be shut down or confiscated. This is I'm sure they received legal advice about this matter, and I'm sure that whatever actions are taken its better for them to have the service relocated. BTW InterVideo Launches New DVD Copy 4. Yay!

On my way now... (0, Offtopic)

BaCkBuRn (621588) | more than 8 years ago | (#13616936)

Were going streaking to Vanatu! Who will join me!?

Re:On my way now... (2, Funny)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617341)

Were going streaking to Vanatu! Who will join me!?

...Good luck crossing most of the Pacific naked. Guess I'll take a ship.

RIAA (0, Offtopic)

mysqlrocks (783488) | more than 8 years ago | (#13616966)

Wow, they're getting really good at pissing people off. Are they trying to make sure that nobody wants to buy music from them? Looks like desperate moves to save their way of doing business instead of going with the flow and embracing new technology.

Reminiscence (1, Interesting)

gunpowda (825571) | more than 8 years ago | (#13616973)

I remember using WinMX before discovering Kazaa. It was functional, but its one (major) defect was its hideous interface [netzwelt.de] .

Survival of the fittest, I guess!

Re:Reminiscence (1)

garylian (870843) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617204)

I know quite a few folks that still use WinMX, mostly because it seemed to fly under the RIAA's radar. Less publicity, to them, meant more safety from possible lawyers.

Sometimes, crappy has it's benefits.

Re:Reminiscence (2, Insightful)

bobbyshade (906085) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617310)

i've been useing winmx for several years and it has worked well for my purposes. one of the key features was that it allowed you to log onto a large choice of "open nap" networks, and it was there i found what i was looking for. folks, who like myself, ripped old records and digitized then. i just cked and i am still hooked up with six open naps and have traffic up and down. to find a client for open nap ck source forge and search on open nap.

Re:Reminiscence (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617451)

Hey, I *loved* that interface! If you had a brain, it was *perfect*! ;P

No really. Why is an interface always supposed to be *easy*. I want the inteface where i have the most possibilities in the quickest and most compact form, not 256x256x32 animated icons, idiotic "wizards" and nothing behind it.

An "easy" interface only dumbs you down to the level where you nearly understand it enough to use it and you where you complain about it being to complicated because you're such a lazy ass. ;P
I think an interface should be dissalowed to use it before you RTFM. (wich of course should be of high quality, compact and with external links to all missing expected knowledge :)

AGGGG! (0, Offtopic)

GweeDo (127172) | more than 8 years ago | (#13616977)

The "Island of Fire"!

No taxes? (0, Offtopic)

DrIdiot (816113) | more than 8 years ago | (#13616991)

Maybe they'll be able to dodge some taxes while they're there too.

Does anyone consider WinMX safe anyway? (2, Interesting)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#13616995)

It's not an encrypted P2P network, the downloader is known to the source, and I thought spyware was associated with it. If anyone wants to vouch for WinMX as being spyware free please do, but I've seen it only on two systems, both infected with spyware.

Re:Does anyone consider WinMX safe anyway? (4, Informative)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617106)

No spyware. Used it for a long time before torrents. Never had spyware turn up in any scan.

Re:Does anyone consider WinMX safe anyway? (1)

Quince alPillan (677281) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617354)

Don't know about more recent versions (I thought they closed shop a long time ago) but their older versions didn't have any spyware. Their software at the time didn't support multiple sources (ala Limewire or Ares) so I stopped using it. Lately I've used http://mp3.baidu.com/ [baidu.com] or google filetype:mp3 for faster downloads.

Re:Does anyone consider WinMX safe anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13617140)

There's no spyware in WinMX. Spread your anecdotal FUD elsewhere :p

Re:Does anyone consider WinMX safe anyway? (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617486)

Pardon me if I don't take the word of Anonymous Coward. I think an AC vouching for something is the definition of FUD spreading.

And I never said the computer with WinMX got spyware from WinMX, just that it had spyware [that could have come from WinMX, since I don't know what else on the computer could have infected it].

I remember it too (1)

Mustang Matt (133426) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617171)

At one point it was loaded with spyware even if the other two posters don't agree.

Re:I remember it too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13617228)

It's always been spyware free. you must have gotten it from a bad source.

Re:Does anyone consider WinMX safe anyway? (1)

-kertrats- (718219) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617423)

I never had any problems with WinMX spyware before switching to Limewire ~a year ago.

Re:Does anyone consider WinMX safe anyway? (2, Informative)

rm999 (775449) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617528)

What are you talking about? I was always under the impression that winmx was spyware free.

http://www.docsdownloads.com/Tier1/winmx.htm [docsdownloads.com]

From winmx.com cache:
"WinMX from winmx.com does not contain ANYTHING besides WinMX.
No spyware or other parasite programs will ever be in our software. We respect your privacy and security."

Re:Does anyone consider WinMX safe anyway? (0)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617552)

"
From winmx.com cache:
"WinMX from winmx.com does not contain ANYTHING besides WinMX.
No spyware or other parasite programs will ever be in our software. We respect your privacy and security.""

I'm still not saying WinMX has spyware, just that my hunch is that it does, from my limited experience. However, I would not put much weight into the site from which the software orinates. The only sure thing would be if it claims to have spyware, not if it claims not to. My Web Search doesn't claim to wreck your computer, but it does just that, for example.

Re:Does anyone consider WinMX safe anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13617577)

In real countries, providing a file for someone else to download and then charging them for doing so would be a crime - except that in real countries downloading is A-OK, only uploading is prohibitied.

ScuttleMonkey == Michael? (2, Interesting)

daniil (775990) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617000)

Seriously, that's the third YRO story in a row. It's as if someone had let Michael back online and now he's sitting there, manically posting YRO stories (and laughing his hideous laughter).

Maybe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13617634)

...his michael account got hacked? (Not that I'd know about it...)

Is it a big deal? (0, Flamebait)

gordgekko (574109) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617003)

WinMX has sucked for a long time, I'm not sure if we should really count this as a loss.

Re:Is it a big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13617055)

Its good to search albw.

I agree... (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617082)

but I wish eDonkey would be the one leaving. I hate those 2500+ queues.

For starters, why not make a trackerless bittorrent-like network? Oh well, back to the land of unicorns and castles in the air. :(

Re:I agree... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617471)

You mean like those networks where you couldn't (and still can't) find anything because you are no able to track the sources? You know this never worked ;P

Doubt it... (4, Informative)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617021)

...developers seem to have relocated from Canada to Port Villa, Vanuatu

No, the address on their domain name registration has been been relocated to Vanuatu. I very much doubt that developers themselves would move to Vanuatu over a barely-operational P2P scheme. If you're going to do make a move like that, there are much nicer places in the South Pacific.

Re:Doubt it... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13617422)

If you're going to do make a move like that, there are much nicer places in the South Pacific

You've been to Vanuatu?

Run away... (2, Funny)

GmAz (916505) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617039)

When all else fails...flee the country...or at least here, webhost.

Dedication (0, Redundant)

unborracho (108756) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617054)

I didn't RTFA, but just by reading the headlines I know that these developers are dediacated...

They moved so they could develop their product. I don't know about you all, but I'd have a hard time justifying just picking up my life and leaving somewhere else because the RIAA sent me a threatening letter and has jurisdiction in my country...

Re:Dedication (1)

dthbyfr (915186) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617208)

There really is not proof that the developers actually moved anywhere and DNS records are not guaranteed to be corrected and only show where the web host is.

In addition, the article states that the developers have not released an updated (or at least a major and useful one) for years.

Google Maps (5, Informative)

qw0ntum (831414) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617076)

This is where Vanuatu [google.com] is.

Someone update wiki for Vanuatu (2, Funny)

Serveert (102805) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617080)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanuatu [wikipedia.org]

The economy is based primarily on subsistence or small-scale agriculture, which provides a living for 65% of the population, and online advertising thanks to sweaty nerds downloading free mp3s with WinMX and visiting the WinMX website which provides tribalfusion popups.

There is NOTHING the RIAA or the USA can do (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13617086)

There is absolutely NOTHING the RIAA or the USA can do about the company or the country (if they both refuse to submit to the copyright prosecution) except for the following:

1) Get a Los Angeles class attack submarine to destroy all fiber optic links to and from Vanuatu.

2) Deploy a squadron of F-14s from an aircraft carrier to destroy all satellite uplink/downlink facilities on Vanuatu.

3) Impose economic sanctions on the country.

4) Use a team of Navy SEALs or elite FBI commando units to land in Vanuatu and kidnap all individuals associated with the company and ship them to the United States for prosecution.

Re:There is NOTHING the RIAA or the USA can do (1)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617156)

5) Pressure the major internet hubs to "cut off" Vanuatu from being accessible inside of america

6) Get every other country we have economic ties to do the same

7) ???

8) RIAA profits!

Re:There is NOTHING the RIAA or the USA can do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13617315)

Don't forget: Invade because of WMDs! (Weapons of Media Distribution).

Typo. (1)

reality-bytes (119275) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617193)



4) Use a team of Navy SEALs or elite FBI commando units to land in Vanuatu and kidnap all individuals associated with the company and ship them to the United States for prosecution.


Should read: "....and ship them to the United States for persecution."

Re:Typo. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13617383)

Why wouldn't they just ship them to Uzbekistan?

Re:There is NOTHING the RIAA or the USA can do (1)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617364)

It wouldn't exactly take an uber-leet submarine to cut cables and fiber-optic links. If the cables just happened to "break" somewhere, would Vanuatu even have the resources to fix them?

Re:There is NOTHING the RIAA or the USA can do (2, Insightful)

cianduffy (742890) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617413)

Considering they're bound to be owned by anybody BUT the government (its only in places like the US, UK, Ireland etc where the state actually owns significant amounts of the fibre), some ISP's insurance somwhere would have the resources to fix them, yes.

Re:There is NOTHING the RIAA or the USA can do (4, Informative)

grcumb (781340) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617560)

"If the cables just happened to "break" somewhere, would Vanuatu even have the resources to fix them?"

No, but it's okay. Vanuatu doesn't have undersea cables. Nor does it have the USD 20 million to have one laid. As I mentioned in a previous post, total national bandwidth - for both voice and data - is somewhere around 4Mbps, all through satellite.

Businesses who want to work online typically install their own satellite equipment. Typically, only the cash transactions occur in Vanuatu itself. That means that if you make a bet online, for example, you've placed your bet on a server somewhere in the US (or wherever), but your card actually gets debited through a transaction queued through a server sitting in a air-conditioned room in Vanuatu.

Re:There is NOTHING the RIAA or the USA can do (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617659)

4) Use a team of Navy SEALs or elite FBI commando units to land in Vanuatu and kidnap all individuals

Bah... these fools would have to swim to the shore, and to do that they'll have to get by the sharks with laser beams on their heads. Bwahahaha!!!!

CATASTROPHY!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13617093)

PLANET-DISSOLVING DUST CLOUD IS HEADED TOWARD EARTH! It was spewed from a black hole 28,000 light years from Earth and is vaporizing everything in its path, astronomers say! By MIKE FOSTER CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Scared-stiff astronomers have detected a mysterious mass they've dubbed a "chaos cloud" that dissolves everything in its path, including comets, asteroids, planets and entire stars -- and it's headed directly toward Earth! Discovered April 6 by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, the swirling, 10 million-mile- wide cosmic dust cloud has been likened to an "acid nebula" and is hurtling toward us at close to the speed of light -- making its estimated time of arrival 9:15 a.m. EDT on June 1, 2014. "The good news is that this finding confirms several cutting- edge ideas in theoretical physics," announced Dr. Albert Sherwinski, a Cambridge based astrophysicist with close ties to NASA. "The bad news is that the total annihilation of our solar system is imminent." Experts believe the chaos cloud is composed of particles spawned near the event horizon of a black hole (a form of what's called Hawking Radiation) that have been distorted by mangled information spewed from the hole. "A super-massive black hole lies about 28,000 light-years from Earth at the center of our galaxy," explained Dr. Sherwinski. "Last year the eminent physicist Stephen Hawking revised his theory of black holes -- which previously held that nothing could escape the hole's powerful gravitational field. He demonstrated that information about objects that have been sucked in can be emitted in mangled form. "It now appears that mangled information can distort matter. "Just imagine our galaxy the Milky Way as a beautiful, handwritten letter. "Now imagine pouring a glass of water on the paper and watching the words dissolve as the stain spreads. That's what the chaos cloud does to every star or planet it encounters." To avoid widespread panic, NASA has declined to make the alarming discovery public. But Dr. Sherwinski's contacts at the agency's Chandra X-ray Observatory leaked to him striking images of the newly discovered chaos cloud obliterating a large asteroid. "It's like watching a helpless hog being dissolved in a vat of acid," one NASA scientist told Dr. Sherwinski. Ordinarily, Hawkings Radiation is harmless. "It's produced when an electron- positron pair are at the event horizon of a black hole," Dr. Sherwinski explained. "The intense curvature of space-time of the hole can cause the positron to fall in, while the electron escapes." But when "infected" by mangled information from the black hole, the particles become a chaos cloud, which in turn mangles everything it touches. "If it continues unchecked, the chaos cloud will eventually reduce our galaxy to the state of absolute chaos that existed before the birth of the universe," the astrophysicist warned. Some scientists say mankind's best hope would be to build a "space ark" and hightail it to the Andromeda Galaxy, 2.1 million light-years away. "We wouldn't be able to save the entire human population, but perhaps the best and the brightest," observed British rocket scientist Dr. David Hall, when asked about the feasibility of such a project. But even if such a craft could be built in time, evacuating Earth might prove fruitless if theories about the origin of the chaos cloud are correct. "A black hole at the center of Andromeda is about 15 times the size of the one in our own galaxy," Dr. Sherwinski noted. "It might be like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire." Speaking under the condition of anonymity, a senior White House official said the president's top science advisors are taking the findings in stride. "This is a lot like global warming, where the jury is still out on whether it's real or not," said the official. "The existence of this so called chaos cloud is only a theory. Americans shouldn't panic until all the facts are in."

Re:CATASTROPHY!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13617175)

That sounds like it came from the Weekly World News.

Don't worry, the President is meeting with the alien and Bat Boy RIGHT NOW to figure out a plan.

Re:CATASTROPHY!!!! (1)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617237)

The bad news is that plan involves looting everything that isn't nailed down and then flying to Jamaica to party with Bigfoot and Elvis.

United Nations of RIAA (3, Insightful)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617123)

I used WinMX for a while, as it was much more featureful than the crappy Napster client of old and the subscribership was outstanding. I don't seem to remember any feature or message in WinMX that helped users pirate music. It's true that some people used the software to trade music, but there is absolutely no proof that the program was designed for that purpose. I don't know why they took the network down. It is a simple P2P file sharing utility and nothing more.

Furthermore, WinMX is freeware. I presume the author made no money from it. Regardless, why is the RIAA challenging this poor guy on the grounds that he has broken another country's laws?

Well that's it.. (4, Funny)

modi123 (750470) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617150)

Dear RIAA,

I officially give up. This is the straw the finally broke the camel's back (it always seems to be the LAST straw that does this - hrmph). I will officially renounce my intent on pirating media, software, pr0n, and the like. I am currently burning my PC to stop enabling me to do bad things (did you guys patent the phrase "If thy eye offends, pluck it out; if they hand does wrong chop it off"?). Additionally, I will re-buy all my purchased media again - just in case some where along the line it was pirated. I can not take the pressure anymore - too many people have been hurt because of my negligence. Please oh please just call off the dogs before more people are hurt. With this latest action you have successfully reached critical mass of the "Piracy == Bad" meme, and people will understand. Thank you for your service in showing humanity where it went wrong, and that the red pill is not for us. To make it up to you, I will pay double for my CDs, send you a dozen roses every week, and mow your lawn. Please, take me back! I want to be loved again. I really didn't know I was hurting you like that baby. Sugar, you got to believe me!

xoxoxo

- modi

I wish to extend a welcome to the new media overlords. May they use their infinite wisdom to safe guard freedom and the natural order of things.

I'll Miss It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13617169)

I really liked WinMX. It could be difficult at times to get the songs you wanted, BUT IT HAD NO GODDAMN SPYWARE OR ADWARE AND WASN'T FUCKING WRITTEN IN JAVA. And it was easy to use.

Re:I'll Miss It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13617387)

complaints about things being written in Java might have had some merit in 1998, but it's 2005 now, if your machine can't handle Java, what the fuck can it handle?

Re:I'll Miss It (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617687)

Yeah, it's the MACHINE'S fault that Java runs slow. Keep repeating that and maybe even YOU will believe it!

A new nation (1)

Gogo0 (877020) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617176)

How about some of these filesharing companies get together, buy an island, and create their own nation?

Im sure that countries like China wouldnt care about US sanctions against this new country, so if secured near the mainland it would be easy to get supplies and keep things running smoothly.

Not to say that filesharing is shady business, but I am surprised that this sort of thing hasnt happened already by some criminal organizations or large-scale pirating rings. Perhaps there is an obvious answer to that...

Taiwan? (1)

doublem (118724) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617293)

From what you describe, Taiwan would work nicely.

Oh, wait, they're not on good terms with China.

Never mind.

Re:A new nation (1)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617417)

Assuming they actually managed to create a working government, they'd end up being the bitch of whatever major country they were off the shore of, ESPECIALLY if it was China.

New Government? (4, Funny)

RManning (544016) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617262)

Vanatu seems like a really nice place to live. I found this on their government's news site [vanuatugovernment.gov.vu] :

Vanuatu has a new Government. Please revisit this site next week

Survivor: Return to Vanuatu.. (5, Funny)

cryogenix (811497) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617371)

19 survivors will be standed on an Island for 39 days while they attempt to avoid the RIAA.... Reward challenges will give legal mp3 credits which of course can only be played on limited devices and burned once...

Its Still Legal in Canada (4, Interesting)

kwandar (733439) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617385)

Its strange that the RIAA would bother sending a letter to a Canadian company.

Music is quite legal (until the government changes the law) to download in Canada. It is most likely legal to have it available for download too, provided that you are not "distributing", which seems to require active promotion.

I would think software developers would be one step further removed from that. Good luck to the RIAA pressing their case in Canada under the current law. CRIA was already stupid enough to take it to the Federal Court http://www.cippic.ca/en/projects-cases/file-sharin g-lawsuits/ [cippic.ca] and lose.

Re:Its Still Legal in Canada (1)

shark72 (702619) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617607)

"Its strange that the RIAA would bother sending a letter to a Canadian company."

Because the company does business in the US. Generally speaking, if you're soliciting business in the US (including selling ad space), you're liable to run afoul of US laws.

It's this same principle which allowed Kazaa to be sued in Australia, even though they're headquartered in Vanuatu. While many folks are of the understanding that Kazaa located in Vanuatu to avoid violating the Berne Convention, the real reason is likely due to it being a tax haven.

As a Vanuatu-based geek... (5, Informative)

grcumb (781340) | more than 8 years ago | (#13617459)

...Perhaps I can offer a little bit of background.

I've been living and working in Vanuatu for the last two years, and have some experience in the IT sector here. So let me try and provide a little perspective.

First, the vanuatugovernment.vu website is NOT the official government website. It was put together by some less-than-reputable individuals who took advantage of their connections with certain politicians to try to sell 'honorary consulships' to 'independant businessmen'. Basically, this is a way of making money from the sale of diplomatic passports. Among the people found to be using Vanuatu diplomatic passports are a Northern Irish 'contractor' working in Sierra Leone and a convicted member of a Chinese triad.

Second, the information on wikipedia.org is far from complete - and in some cases, inaccurate. And yes, as another poster has mentioned, The capital is Port Vila (one 'l'), so the summary is mis-spelled.

Third, Vanuatu has for quite a long time been associated with businesses who need a more flexible set of business rules than they might find in the US. Kazaa, for example, is incorporated in Vanuatu. As a gesture of appreciation, we now have the Kazaa Cricket field, which will be hosting international competition in the next couple of weeks.

There are some seriously large online betting operations interested in setting up shop in Vanuatu. Without telling tales out of school, I can confirm that one operation recently received approval to install one 7m and one 4m satellite dish, giving it total bandwidth capacity of about 40 Mbps. This in a country that currently has a national total about about 4 Mbps for voice and data combined!

Shades of Cryptonomicon, there actually is a 'bunker' here - a hardened server room with independant everything that is being used to manage data more or less along the same lines that Neal Stephenson suggested in his book.

Vanuatu has some of the most expensive Internet services in the world. I'm composing this message on a 56k dial-up line shared with 6 others computers. Unlimited dial-up costs a paltry USD 200/month, and dedicated access typically runs about USD 1000/month when bandwidth is factored in.

Vanuatu was once a site of significant money-laundering activity. Since 2001, the regulatory regime has been strengthened significantly. And yes, it was because the US 'pressurized' the government to act. They simply informed Vanuatu that if they didn't conform to certain minimum standards, they wouldn't be able to buy US dollars. Very persuasive.

Vanuatu is still a major tax haven, and is increasingly of interest to Australian investors. As I write, the private yacht of the richest man in Australia (Kerry Packer) is anchored in Port Vila Bay.

There are over 100 native languages in Vanuatu, but the language of commerce here is Bislama, a pidgin English that is really interesting to learn. Here is a quick and amusing sampler [moodindigo.ca] .

As far as WinMX is concerned, I've heard nothing about their arrival in Vanuatu, but some people are fairly secretive about the business they do here, so maybe I shouldn't be skeptical....

Today I managed to hurt the RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13617551)

I convinced two more people never to buy another CD, and showed them the alternative ways to obtain music that do not involve being financially raped. I suggest that everyone who opposes extortion and price fixing do the same.
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