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30 Jan 2012 02:23


Tech: Megaupload data could get deleted as soon as next week

  • 3 days until your family photos get deleted source
  • » But only if you used Megaupload to store them. Megaupload wasn’t just a place to share pirated movies; it also served as webspace for people to store their personal documents, pictures, hard drive backups, and the like. But Megaupload didn’t actually own the servers on which its data was stored–they outsourced that two other companies. Now that Megaupload’s been shut down, its assets have been frozen, and so it can’t keep paying the storage centers their fee. So, according to a letter from the US Attorney’s Office, the two data centers could start deleting the data as soon as this Thursday. That would be a shame for many, many people (although it should have been clear from the outset that Megaupload wasn’t the wisest place to back up one’s data). An attorney for Megaupload says he’s “cautiously optimistic” that they’ll be able to keep the data from being erased.

29 Dec 2011 13:17


Tech: D’Addario founder speaks out against perceived support of SOPA

  • In the last few days, we have seen countless comments on various forms of social media and received many email messages, both pro and con on this issue. While the D’Addario family is committed to protecting its trademarks and family name, that commitment does not take priority over our respect for the U.S. Constitution and our right to free speech under the First Amendment.
  • D’Addario & Company, Inc. founder Jim D’Addario • Discussing his company’s perceived support of SOPA, as a result of having been placed on an alleged list of supporters of the act. D’Addario (which makes great guitar strings that sound really good with Cm7 chords) has dealt with numerous counterfeiting issues in the past (“7 out of 10 sets of D’Addario strings sold in Chinese music stores are fakes!”), and when his company signed onto a list asking for further help in fighting against counterfeiting, his company did not assume the result would be SOPA. We spotted his letter because he cited our defense of the companies on a list distributed by the Chamber of Commerce, but we think  — again — it’s worth pointing out that when D’Addario and other companies signed onto the list, they were asking for something far different than SOPA. Protest with care. source

02 Jun 2011 14:18


Tech: Tennessee lawmakers pass stupid anti-password-sharing law

  • Share your password on Netflix? If you live in Tennessee, you should stop. They just passed a law that makes it illegal to share your password to sites like Netflix and Rhapsody — even with permission. They’re the first state to do this. While you don’t have to worry about sharing within the same house, you might have to worry if you have a son or daughter in college, because they just might be sharing your password with everyone on their floor in their dorm. This is because the language of the law is super-vague and punishes mostly innocuous uses of password-sharing. And the punishments are steep too — up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine for $500 or less of “theft,” which the law treats as a misdemeanor. The recording industry, as you might guess, is behind this stupid law — and they hope other states will follow suit after this. source

02 Jun 2011 13:57


Tech: Meme theft drama: The Oatmeal takes on FunnyJunk

  • In one of the great battles of Memedom, this one might be remembered as the “War of Attribution.” What happens when a guy who draws a ton of memeworthy comics goes up against a site that aggregates comics just like his without any attribution whatsoever? Drama. That’s what happened when the guy behind The Oatmeal merely asked for a little credit for his work from the site FunnyJunk — after they stole all his content.
  • Many lulz, no attribution Matthew Inman, the creator of the famous webcomic The Oatmeal has a huge issue with Users of that site have been taking his comics, removing all forms of attribution, and posting them on the ad-laden site. He’s tried unsuccessfully to get them removed, but they keep showing up. “I realize that trying to police copyright infringement on the internet is like strolling into the Vietnamese jungle circa 1964 and politely asking everyone to use squirt guns,” Inman wrote, but he feels he needs to protect his rights.
  • Reasonable vs. immature All sorts of problems arose came from Inman just asking for FJ to link to his site — not exactly a huge thing — and the whole mess turned into a giant dramabomb that spread beyond The Oatmeal and FunnyJunk and hit Reddit and Facebook. It’s an interesting copyright battle that takes on some of the touches of YouTube vs. Viacom, except with more uses of anti-gay slurs and meme-talk. Honestly … we’re with Inman. And the guy who runs FunnyJunk is kind of an immature baby who tried to turn his entire userbase on Inman. source

10 May 2011 21:50


Biz: More thoughts on Newseum, front pages and copyright

  • Newseum provides a great service to the internet at large, and journalism in particular. We’ve used their Today’s Front Pages feature many times in the past to inform people about the day’s news, comment on what’s happening, and to inspire people to look a little bit deeper at the stories that inspire and inform us. Like all journalism should. Newseum runs one of the best parts of the entire internet — having every front page in the world at your fingertips is something most people couldn’t even imagine even 20 years ago. As a journalist, it’s something I bought into as well, and I’ve been an active participant over the years. And with the current situation (which involves the organization watermarking pages and enforcing copyright), I feel that I can’t just ignore it and let this issue get swept under the rug. Some thoughts and suggestions to deal with this:
  • On “best practices” Newseum’s talk of not stealing other people’s content online being a “best practice” is totally missing the point of the Internet. Are they using the same Internet we are? Hint: It’s not “stealing,” it’s sharing. Blocking sharing cuts off the hose. By cutting off the hose, you lose influence and focus. You know what needs our attention more than ever? The printed page. Losing that would be a mortal blow to a medium getting less respect than ever.
  • An alternate history To take this in a different direction, Newseum’s stance on this issue ignores a completely different story of the Internet — the growth of open-source content, the expansion of licenses beyond mere copyright, the story of folk heroes like Richard Stallman — all storylines that would not exist if everyone listened to the best practices put forth by the Newseum. Copyright is great and all, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Not on this issue.
  • A request for newspapers We have a solution to this mess that we hope that newspapers at large heed: Consider making your front pages available in a Creative Commons format — one that nips this problem in the bud for good. (This license would be a great choice, because it would make sure that nobody, not even Newseum, could change the content.) Freely-available front pages don’t take away from bottom lines. They add to them. Think about that.
  • » Ultimately, to be clear: Newspapers are taking a bit of a beating as an information source these days. As we switch over to the Web for more and more of our daily lives and our tastes change, projects like the Newseum become more important reminders of where we came from and why these things remain important. We write this because we love what Newseum does, but also because we need MORE things like Frontpages, not fewer.

18 Feb 2011 20:12


U.S.: Tucson shooting: Christina Taylor Green’s photographer may sue. Ugh.

  • Christina Taylor Green’s death may have been the saddest of the many that took place in Tucson last month. But now that Gabrielle Giffords has started to recover and the dust has mostly settled, ugliness is starting to seep in a little. Photographer Jon Wolf, who owns the copyright to this photo of Green, has pressured a number of media organizations, including the Arizona Republic, and the Tucson Citizen, to pay a licensing fee for use of the now-iconic image. He wants $125,000, which he’s said he wants to mostly give to charity, and he’s, uh, threatened to sue. Green’s family doesn’t support his actions, the charity has refused to take any of Wolf’s money, and there’s a Facebook campaign against Wolf’s business picking up steam. It’s a photo of someone who died. If we were him, we’d just take the modest licensing fee (which the media organizations have offered) and be done with this. source

27 Nov 2010 11:33


Tech, U.S.: The U.S. government gets bolder with its anti-piracy actions

  • 70+ illegal torrent sites shut down by the Feds; single tear source

02 Sep 2010 21:21


Tech: Copyright owners use YouTube ads as a backdoor into ¢A$H

  • 2 billion views of YouTube videos with ads every single week
  • 14% the percentage of total weekly views on YouTube each week ad-supported videos make up – a small chunk, but definitely still a lot
  • 33% of those videos (or more) are clips which are copyright violations that the owners have chosen to make money from source

03 Aug 2010 09:50


U.S.: The FBI thinks Wikipedia has no right to use its logo

  • The reasoningWikipedia puts logos on its various pages, often recreating them in a vector format in cases where the original is a low-resolution sample. Also, most things acquired by the U.S. government, from logos to photos to numerous other assets are designated public domain. Certain insignias, such as the FBI’s, however, are restricted for non-copyright reasons.

    The conflict This particular logo of the FBI led to Wikipedia’s offices getting a letter claiming that “Whoever possesses any insignia …or any colourable imitation thereof..shall be fined … or imprisoned … or both.” Considering that the seal is commonly used in other places, this seems like an odd source to attack. source

14 Apr 2010 22:21


Politics: In Florida, bizarro hippies are suing over the movement’s name

  • Who are the real bizarro hippies, anyway? In December, just after the election that will prove whether or not the movement actually has steam, different strains of Florida hippies will find themselves in a courtroom debating if anyone has ownership of the the name. After lawyer Fred O’Neal registered the name for a political party, it became a big issue, especially after he and his partner Doug Guetzloe started strong-arming fellow groups not to use the name. Those fighting against O’Neal and Guetzloe claim they aren’t “real” bizarro hippies. Do they have tests for this? source