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MPAA: Plagarism good, Piracy bad?

BillGatesLoveChild BillGatesLoveChild writes  |  more than 7 years ago

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) writes "The MPAA is fast to complain about their Intellectual Property being violated, but have no qualms about violating the Intellectual Property of others. The SMH reports another case of a Hollywood Studio plagarizing a film as their own. Adam Sandler's I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007) is a tale of two firemen who pretend to be gay to get domestic partner benefits. Curiously Paul Hogan's Strange Bedfellows (2004) made three years earlier, is also a tale of two firemen who pretend to be gay to get domestic partner benefits. Universal Studios issued a statement claiming "the similarities are purely coincidental". The producers of "Strange Bedfellows" are amused but not convinced.

This isn't the first time, with similar accusations being made against Spielberg's Julie Newmar (1995) vs Priscilla (1994) and Eddie Murphy's "Coming to America" which the courts found was stolen from writer Art Buchwald. Add to that "Hollywood Accounting" fleecing artists (The Forest Gump movie didn't pay the author a cent in royalties), the Record Industry doing the same and the MPAA itself caught yet unrepentant for pirating movies. Before The Senate rushes off to do their bidding, shouldn't the MPAA and RIAA be ordered to clean up their own houses?"

R2D2: Skype-enabled and iPod compatible?

BillGatesLoveChild BillGatesLoveChild writes  |  more than 7 years ago

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) writes "Ever wondered what R2D2's technical specs are? Look closely, and you'll see he has a USB Port. Look closer, and you'll also see he has a memory card reader, an MP3 player, an iPod docking bay, and a DVD player connected to a XGA wall projector: "Help me Slashdotter, you're my only hope." The Japan Times reports that the Nikko Group is now selling R2D2 as a home robot. The Home Entertainment R2D2 features all of the above, and is controlled with a Millennium Falcon-shaped remote control. The price is a cool US$3,195. And no self-respecting fan boy would be caught dead with an iPhone when he could have this: The Home Communications R2D2 is Skype-enabled, with a webcam and light sabre for the handset. The Nikko Group links are in Japanese, but don't worry. While you may not be able to read Japanese, Geek is the universal language."

BillGatesLoveChild BillGatesLoveChild writes  |  more than 7 years ago

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) writes "When Trey Harrison found his music lighting software 'Salvation' had been pirated, he was taken aback. Being an Independent Software Developer, there wasn't much he could do. So he contacted the Warez Group and asked them nicely. They wrote back and said sorry, that they at least hoped more people got to see it and that in accordance with his wishes, they wouldn't release it again.

But what of the Anti-Piracy tool "Armadillo Software Passport" that was supposed to have protected Trey's Software? Unlike the Pirates who responded straight away, Trey says he never heard a peep back from Armadillo. Seems the Pirates have better "customer support" than the Anti-piracy agents!

Of course, "Ask Nicely" may not work for the RIAA who as Orson Scott Card's famous essay pointed out have perhaps irreversible ill-will due to their history of ripping off artists and consumers and buying off Congressmen. But for smaller companies and independents, perhaps it's worth a try? There's even hope for the industry heavies. Mark Ishikawa of Anti-P2P Company BayTSP says 85% of people he sends a gentle warning on behalf of the MPAA "do not come back, with no headlines and no public relations blowups."

Could a softly-softly approach work better for IP owners that heavy-handed threats and lawyers?"

BillGatesLoveChild BillGatesLoveChild writes  |  more than 7 years ago

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) writes "Recently Slashdotters wondered how easy it would be to take down YouTube videos. Wonder no longer:

A 15-year old Australian Boy with nothing more than a HotMail account emailed YouTube saying he was the "Australian Broadcasting Corporation" and under the DMCA ordered YouTube to take down hundreds of videos. They did without immediately and without question. YouTube did not try and call the ABC back, nor ask why the email came from Hotmail. Given Cringely's recent report which lead to Slashdotters asking the question, YouTube seem remarkably slow to learn. How many more DMCA attacks will there be before they get the message?

Many of the Video's were from the ABC's The Chaser, including one where a prankster rolling a cigar asked Senator Hillary Clinton if he could be her new intern. The Chaser Staff were impressed with the youngster, "I don't think we should prosecute him — we should probably hire him.""

BillGatesLoveChild BillGatesLoveChild writes  |  more than 7 years ago

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) writes "CNET reports VeriSign has made its move, increasing domain name prices by 7%. From October 15 2007, .com domains will now cost $6.42 (up from $6) and .net domains $3.85 per annum. ICANN had previously voted to support the increase. Despite annual income of $323.4M from .com domain names alone, VeriSign claims it needs the increase to provide "a high level of security and reliability for .com".

This increase comes in the face of complaints by customers, registrars and senators alike that VeriSign is abusing its ICANN monopoly. Yet the furrowed brows and promises of senators of investigations have come to nothing, even though the only people seemingly in favor of the monopoly are ICANN and VeriSign. With complaints about the pair running back to 2002, what can we the public do to get our elected representatives to take the great domain name ripoff seriously?"

BillGatesLoveChild BillGatesLoveChild writes  |  more than 7 years ago

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) writes "Bob Cringely reports that an interview potentially embarrassing to Steve Jobs was taken off YouTube. The interview was from Cringely's 1990s show Triumph of the Nerds. YouTube said it responded to a DMCA complaint made by NBD Television Ltd in London. Trouble is, NBD is not the copyright holder. They have nothing at all to do with the show and don't even sell it.

PBS who made and holds the copyright said they knew nothing of the complaint. Cringely tried to contact NBD Television Ltd who wouldn't respond. Neither would Youtube, who only speaks by form letter. Why did NBD Television make the complaint? Why did YouTube blindly enforce it? Is Steve Jobs behind this, or is it just another media company misusing the DMCA, at that, not even with their own copyrighted material? Why should a London-based company be able to issue DMCA takedowns, yet not be liable when they abuse the law?"

BillGatesLoveChild BillGatesLoveChild writes  |  more than 7 years ago

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) writes "Microsoft's PR Agency accidentally send Wired Reporter Fred Vogelstein its secret dossier on him. The dossier shows how much effort Microsoft goes to in stage managing articles. Vogelstein said he felt downright weird reading it: It was "strange to see just how many resources are aligned against me when I write a story about Microsoft". The dossier is here with updates here and here.

Asher Moses of SMH.com.au points out the dossier doesn't bode well for Wired either, since it shows how much influence Microsoft has over its reporting. (Wired chose to run the piece, albeit underneath a Microsoft-Friendly one proclaiming "How Blogs Opened Up Microsoft".) Given the recent Press releases-cum-news on the X360 Elite ("We do not comment on rumors or speculation.. that's E-L-I-T-E") and the misleading Vista sales announcement, might we just as well be getting our news straight off Microsoft?"

BillGatesLoveChild BillGatesLoveChild writes  |  more than 7 years ago

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) writes "You've got your iPod. People watch you on YouTube and read your Blog. You have a thousand MySpace friends. You're special! Or are you?

The L.A. times and MSNBC report that the Childhood Self-esteem movement of the 1980s has backfired in a big way. UCSD Psychology Researcher Jean Twenge in her paper "Egos Inflating Over Time" (cached) compared studies of 16,000 college students taken over 25 years, and found that almost two-thirds of recent college students had narcissism scores above the 1982 level. The study says Narcissists tend to lack empathy, react aggressively to criticism and favor self-promotion over helping others. They "are more likely to have romantic relationships that are short-lived, at risk for infidelity, lack emotional warmth, and to exhibit game-playing, dishonesty, and over-controlling and violent behaviors."

It began with Nursery schools teaching children the song: "I am special, I am special. Look at me." But "Current technology fuels the increase in narcissism," Twenge says, "By its very name, MySpace encourages attention-seeking, as does YouTube." Sociology Major Laura Rantala reflects "We all have our own cellphone and iPod with which we're doing our own thing in our own little world". It's become cool not to care. Is this you?

Can the current trend in Narcissistic Technology be reversed? Are we going to become a world of self-absorbed, self-promoting shopaholics who care about nothing but themselves? With the Internet pervasive in our everyday life, has it become unstoppable?"

BillGatesLoveChild BillGatesLoveChild writes  |  more than 7 years ago

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) writes "The Sydney Morning Herald reports Australian viewers have been plagued by their new Digital TVs mysteriously locking up. Strangely most of the lockups occurred on one TV station and one program in particular: CSI.

Although the TV station involved refused to confirm or deny it, it now appears to be because they were altering the digital TV transmission to prevent viewers from exercising their Fair Use Rights to copy it. The problem was initially reported with LG Brand TV sets, other Digital TV owners are reporting similar problems.

If a TV stations zealtory for enforcing DRM prevents viewers from watching their programs, isn't it time to set back and ask if the whole DRM crusade is completely broken? So far no one has suggested that affected viewers can download CSI ad-free off Bit Torrent anyway."

BillGatesLoveChild BillGatesLoveChild writes  |  more than 7 years ago

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) writes "The Sydney Morning Herald reports the Vista backlash has begun, and is spreading to the popular press: "Utterly unimaginative, internally discordant and woefully out of tune".

You have to hand it to Microsoft. Despite the negative reviews of Microsoft's New Vista Operating System in the trade press, very little of that has filtered through to the general public. Friends and relatives have told me how eager they are to upgrade to it, for no other apparent reason than "It's New!" Warnings about draconian DRM, incompatability and poor performance as highlighted in ComputerWorld and in Peter Gutman's famous paper (apparently only famous to geeks) are lost on them.

But the Sydney Morning Herald Reports that as the general public experiences these first hand, the bad word is finally starting to spread. Customers have been reinstalling XP and advising others to wait. No one ever asked for Vista. Microsoft hoisted it upon us. Has Microsoft finally gone a Bridge to Far?"

BillGatesLoveChild BillGatesLoveChild writes  |  about 8 years ago

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) writes "It's happening again! Tremendous excitement amongst the public seems to have followed Steve Job's announcement of the new Apple iPhone. People can't wait to get their hands on one, literally, so they've been turning to lookalike "iPhone skins" for their Palm and Windows PDAs. Apple isn't happy about this, and has threatened developers with violating their look and feel. Apple even threatened journalists who have printed pictures of the screens, warning them "the icons and screenshot displayed on your website are copyrighted by Apple."

What happened to "fair use"? Has Apple learnt nothing from their failed Look and Feel Law Suit against Microsoft? Is Apple risking it's cool image by repeatedly legally threatening anyone who looks sideways at them?"



Retiring from Slashdot: The long, slow death

BillGatesLoveChild BillGatesLoveChild writes  |  more than 7 years ago

1. Why Anonymous Mods suck

Any user on Slashdot is invited to moderate after a while, so long as their Karma remains positive. Moderation is great when its used wisely and I've no hassle being modded down when deserved. Trouble is, every man and their dog is doing it now, and there is no accountability. Take this post. Someone modded it as a "Troll" shortly after I posted it, and hardly anyone else got to see it:

Post on Bioshock Installs a Rootkit (SONY get away with what hackers are jailed for doing)

Increasingly we're seeing dumber and dumber mods come on board: Jokes are marked "Offtopic" by the humor-impaired. If someone doesn't agree with you, you'll get modded a "flamebait" or "troll". They don't justify this. You don't even know who they are, and there's no appeal process. New moderators are supposed to read the moderator guidelines, but from the number of dumb mods it's clear they don't.

There is something called Meta-moderate which is *supposed* to be a check for this, but Meta-moderate isn't easy or even interesting work: You have to guess the context: it's long, slow (and ineffective). I don't know the numbers, but I'm guessing most mods are never meta-moderated. The best time to meta-moderate is immediately after the dumb mod is posted because that's when everyone sees it. Instead it gets "archived" in a historic meta-moderate queue which no one ever looks at.

The above post, which others noted was an unfair mod, is still sitting at 0=Troll a week after which suggests to me: Meta-moderate is a warm, fuzzy feeling that doesn't happen.

2. The Firehose Sucks

To submit a story to Slashot takes 20-30 minutes. You have to write it, get the links, work on the wording, check and post. That's a fair chunk out of your day. But this all goes limp when it reaches the firehose. To be published, you have to get a lot of votes very quickly (within the hour). Post at the wrong time of day, and your submission disappears off the front page (which is usually filled with spam submissions anyway).

And for the wonderful democracy that Firehose is, what do we get? Interesting stories get ignored, for stuff that is recycled, the same story posted with a slightly different headline a few days later, increasingly dumb stuff like the recent story that Verizon diggers cut a power cable. ("Big deal!") Slashdot has become so much like Digg you might as well cut out the middle man and read Digg anyway.

Firehose is just laziness. Slashdot's editors seem to think that a few thousand people looking at brief story synopses for a few seconds and pressing 'up' or 'down' will give better quality then one of them giving the story a good hard read. Slashdot only posts a dozen or so stories a day, so I'll call this plain laziness.

3. A Bad Place to Work

Does any editors even come in to the Slashdot office any more? Slashdot is a nice experiment in a user-run board. Great. Write an academic paper on what you have achieved. What Slashdot isn't any longer is a good place to get news you can use.

So farewell, Slashdotters. Good luck for the future. Nothing personal. In your time, you were a class act, and I think you'll still be around for some time yet. I'll still skim your front page every morning, but my days of submitting stories, writing comments, moderating, meta-moderating and firehosing are over. This is too much like thankless work, and so I Resign. She's all yours.

Slashdot Story of August 24, 2007:
BioShock Installs a Rootkit

"Sony (the owner of SecureROM copy protection) is still up to its old tricks. One would think that they would have learned their lesson after the music CD DRM fiasco, which cost them millions. However, they have now started infesting PC gaming with their invasive DRM. Facts have surfaced that show that the recently released PC game BioShock installs a rootkit, which embeds itself into Explorer, as part of its SecureROM copy-protection scheme. Not only that, but just installing the demo infects your system with the rootkit. This begs the question: Since when did demos need copy protection?"

One Law for the Rich, one for the poor
(Score:0, Troll)
by BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) on Saturday August 25, @12:13PM (#20350411)
Case 1
* FOX doesn't pay their taxes. "Don't worry about it" says Congress. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/special_report/1999/02/ 99/e-cyclopedia/302366.stm [bbc.co.uk] http://www.vision.net.au/~apaterson/politics/econo mist_murdoch.htm [vision.net.au] Presidential Candidates eagerly take handouts from FOX http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070802/ap_on_el_pr/ed wards_news_corp [yahoo.com]
* Guy videos FOX's Simpson movie. Goes to Jail. http://www.smh.com.au/news/web/simpsons-filmed-on- mobile/2007/08/17/1186857730452.html [smh.com.au]

Case 2
* SONY regularly cracks the security on customer's computers. No prosecution.
* Some guy does it. 21 months jail. http://www.sophos.com/pressoffice/news/articles/20 05/05/va_threatkrew2.html [sophos.com]
* Congress decide life jail for hackers would be better: http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/2002/02/507 08 [wired.com]

Case 3
* Disney Wants the law changed. Law gets changed. http://writ.news.findlaw.com/commentary/20020305_s prigman.html [findlaw.com] http://dir.salon.com/story/tech/feature/2002/02/21 /web_copyright/index.html [salon.com]
* What's Congress done for you lately? Health Insurance? Told their own kids to enlist?

Says Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "There is a growing trend for hacking gangs to break into innocent people's computers to spy, to steal, and to cause damage. This sentence sends out a strong message to other hackers that infecting others with Trojan horses and other malware is not acceptable." So Justice Department: You going to do anything about this, or are you corporate shills too?

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