Now that Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has warned of a possible Cyber-Pearl Harbor, it’s time to change your passwords. And guess what: a more secure password is actually easier to remember, if you follow a very simple rule.

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Art History Textbook no PicturesAs reported in numerous outlets today, publishers at the Ontario College of Art and Design realized their art history book would have cost $800 if they secured the rights to every image. So they chose the nuclear option, replacing each illustration with a white square and instructions to look the photos up online.

Not to worry! This approach should work fine for artworks like Kasimir Malevich’s White On White, or Robert Rauschenberg’s White Paintings or Erased De Kooning Drawing.

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AlienIt’s been a mixed season for copyright champions and opponents. On the side of copyright maximalism are the Supreme Court’s upholding 6-figure filesharing fines and the revelation that astronomer Carl Sagan had to get copyrights before beaming songs into space.

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St Thompson Techlaw fThe 3d printer promises to become “a photocopier of stuff,” and creative people have already begun to use them for fun as well as practical ends.

But will vending machines that fabricate homemade Legos or Warhammer figurines be the next target of filesharing lawsuits? It’s great to be able to download a Herman Miller Aero chair, but what if you only can afford the trial version, and you’re sitting on it when it crumbles into polymer dust 30 days later?

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Angry BirdsIt’s easy for the old guard to put their foot in their mouths where technology’s concerned, whether you’re a lawyer suing your own Web site, a publisher accidentally rewriting War and Peace, or a Fox News reporter tying Angry Birds to cyberwar.

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Have you ever entered (shudder!) a fake name into a Web site? Now that Interpol has helped arrest 25 alleged Anonymous hackers, you might be interested to learn that behaviors most netizens have practiced since the third grade qualifies as hacking under current US law.

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As covered previously on NMDnet, Wikipedia will interrupt its usual service to netcast a clear signal that proposed antipiracy legislation in the US congress would hurt the Internet more than pirates.

“Should Wikipedia shut down to protest censorship?”

http://www.nmdnet.org/2011/12/17/should-wikipedia-shut-down-to-protest-censorship/

Wikipedia is the latest Web site to plan a blackout for Wednesday to protest two Congressional bills intended to curtail copyright violations on the Internet….

“This is going to be wow, ” Mr. Wales wrote. “I hope Wikipedia will melt phone systems in Washington on Wednesday. Tell everyone you know!”

http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=5d1438dc4f2f5b3c65104aba659248c4

How long before the Occupy line of cosmetics hits Bloomingdales?

This project reminds me of a Heath Bunting proposal to paint anamorphic pictures of people on the ground in front of security cameras to confuse their operators.

“A New York-based designer has created a camouflage technique that makes it much harder for computer based facial recognition. Along with the growth of closed circuit television (CCTV) , this has become quite a concern for many around the world, especially in the UK where being on camera is simply a part of city life. Being recognized automatically by computer is something that hearkens back to 1984 or A Scanner Darkly. As we move further into the 21st century, this futuristic techno-horror fiction is seeming more and more accurate. Never fear though people, CV Dazzle has some styling and makeup ideas that will make you invisible to facial recognition cameras. Why the ‘fabulous’ name? It comes from World War I warship paint that used stark geometric patterning to help break up the obvious outline of the vessel. Apparently it all began as a thesis at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. It addressed the problems with traditional techniques of hiding the face, like masks and sunglasses and looked into more socially and legally acceptable ways of styling that could prevent a computer from recognizing your face. Fans of Assassin’s Creed might feel a bit at home with this, as it’s all about hiding in plain sight.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/01/04/2017215/avoiding-facial-recognition-of-the-future

Meanwhile, for those times when you want to get your face out on your terms, protestors have taken to occupying the sky.

Meet the Occu-Copter. The live-streaming media stars of the Occupy movement are using cheap technology to provide streaming coverage of protest events from the air – challenging the big budgets of mainstream TV news stations.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/lUTUeCDb9O4/

Now that “The Protester” is Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, should sites like Wikipedia and Google temporarily go dark to protest the controversial “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA) currently before the US Congress?

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Yet another reason to choose a Facebook photo that’s hotter than you really are.

With Carnegie Mellon’s cloud-centric new mobile app, the process of matching a casual snapshot with a person’s online identity takes less than a minute. Tools like PittPatt and other cloud-based facial recognition services rely on finding publicly available pictures of you online, whether it’s a profile image for social networks like Facebook and Google Plus or from something more official from a company website or a college athletic portrait. In their most recent round of facial recognition studies, researchers at Carnegie Mellon were able to not only match unidentified profile photos from a dating website (where the vast majority of users operate pseudonymously) with positively identified Facebook photos, but also match pedestrians on a North American college campus with their online identities. … ‘[C]onceptually, the goal of Experiment 3 was to show that it is possible to start from an anonymous face in the street, and end up with very sensitive information about that person, in a process of data “accretion.” In the context of our experiment, it is this blending of online and offline data — made possible by the convergence of face recognition, social networks, data mining, and cloud computing — that we refer to as augmented reality.’ http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/09/30/1422217/Cloud-Powered-Facial-Recognition-Is-Terrifying

But then again, who really pays attention to dry academic studies? The FBI, for one.

“The FBI by mid-January will activate a nationwide facial recognition service in select states that will allow local police to identify unknown subjects in photos, bureau officials told Nextgov. The federal government is embarking on a multiyear, $1 billion dollar overhaul of the FBI’s existing fingerprint database to more quickly and accurately identify suspects, partly through applying other biometric markers, such as iris scans and voice recordings.” http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/10/07/2342240/FBI-Plans-Nationwide-Face-Recognition-Trials-In-2012

As new laws force ISPs to become copyright cops, the ramifications of intellectual property in the digital age just get more and more absurd.

Anti-Piracy Lawyers Accuse Blind Man of Downloading Films

“As the mass-lawsuits against BitTorrent users in the United States drag on, detail on the collateral damage this extortion-like scheme is costing becomes clear. It is likely that thousands of people have been wrongfully accused of sharing copyrighted material, yet they see no other option than to pay up. One of the cases that stands out is that of a California man who’s incapable of watching the adult film he is accused of sharing because he is legally blind.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/08/16/2346248/Anti-Piracy-Lawyers-Accuse-Blind-Man-of-Downloading-Films

Maybe he just liked the music?

Can a Monkey Get a Copyright & Issue a Takedown?

“Last week, the Daily Mail published a story about some monkeys in Indonesia who happened upon a camera and took some photos of themselves. The photos are quite cute. However, Techdirt noticed that the photos had copyright notices on them, and started a discussion over who actually held the copyright in question, noting that, if anyone did, the monkeys had the best claim, and certainly not the photographer. Yet, the news agency who claimed copyright issued a takedown to Techdirt! When presented with the point that it’s unlikely the news agency could hold a legitimate copyright, the agency told Techdirt it didn’t matter. Techdirt claims that using the photos for such a discussion is a clear case of fair use, an argument which has so far been ignored.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/07/13/0033214/Can-a-Monkey-Get-a-Copyright-amp-Issue-a-Takedown

“Dice Age,” sounds like…?

Dice Age — Indie Gaming Project vs. Hollywood

“Dice Age, a independent game project that raised nearly $35K through Kickstarter, is apparently facing some scrutiny from a certain movie studio that has produced movies with a similar name. From the latest project update: ‘As if the Ice Age was exclusively the name of a movie, or if Dice Age was a movie itself, the 20th century fox has just asked for an extent of time (till 10-26-2011) to oppose to the registering of our beloved Dice Age game name. My point of view, as a scientist, is the Ice age is a geological era before it is a movie.”"

http://games.slashdot.org/story/11/07/29/2114234/emDice-Ageem-mdash-Indie-Gaming-Project-vs-Hollywood

Wendy Seltzer is an ace cyberlawyer who’s worked with Still Water to craft more enlightened forms of intellectual property law.

ISPs Will Now Be Copyright Cops

“Wendy Seltzer, Fellow at Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy, talks about the new plan by ISPs and content providers to ‘crack down on what users can do with their internet connections’ using a 6-step warning system to curb online copyright infringement.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/08/06/235206/ISPs-Will-Now-Be-Copyright-Cops

Looks like six is the new three:

“American Internet users, get ready for three strikes^W^W ‘six strikes.’ Major US Internet providers — including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cablevision, and Time Warner Cable — have just signed on to a voluntary agreement with the movie and music businesses to crack down on online copyright infringers. But they will protect subscriber privacy and they won’t filter or monitor their own networks for infringement. And after the sixth ‘strike,’ you won’t necessarily be ‘out.’” It’s not suspicious at all that most of the ISPs signing on for this are owned by or own media companies.

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/07/07/1644240/Media-Companies-Create-Copyright-Enforcement-Framework

On the pro-sharing front:

A federal judge ruled Monday that publishing an entire article without the rights holder’s authorization was a fair use of the work, in yet another blow to newspaper copyright troll Righthaven. It’s not often that republishing an entire work without permission is deemed fair use.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/SDLVTXCwy2k/

A federal judge backed the music storage-locker business model Monday while ruling that companies may develop services that store their customers’ songs in the cloud. The closely watched case brought by EMI against MP3tunes comes as Amazon and Google recently launched similar services without the music labels’ consent. Apple is expected to launch a cloud-storage service… http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/XGIJztQaOPw/

Who knew? Maybe the Pirate Bay should start an ecommerce site called Arrrrmazon.com.

Suppressed Report Shows Pirates Are Good Customers

“The movie and music industry think pirates are criminals and parasites who cost both industries billions of dollars in lost sales. In order to prove this fact a number of studies have been commissioned to help demonstrate the effect a pirate has on sales of entertainment. GfK Group is one of the largest market research companies in the world and is often used by the movie industry to carry out research and studies into piracy. Talking to a source within GfK who wished to remain anonymous, Telepolis found that a recent study looking at pirates and their purchasing activities found them to be almost the complete opposite of the criminal parasites the entertainment industry want them to be. The study states that it is much more typical for a pirate to download an illegal copy of a movie to try it before purchasing. They are also found to purchase more DVDs than the average consumer, and they visit the movie theater more, especially for opening weekend releases which typically cost more to attend.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/07/20/2119232/Suppressed-Report-Shows-Pirates-Are-Good-Customers

Donkeys, solar power, and trash are the Internet Service Providers for censored Syrians, beleaguered Afghans, and others without government-sponsored Internet.

These DIY ISPs would make great solutions to the privacy concerns about social networks cited in some recent NMDnet posts–and give new meaning to the term “data mules.”

Syrians Using Donkeys Instead of DSL After Gov’t Shuts Down Internet

“Rebelling Syrians are using all possible alternate methods to pass information to the world amidst a total blackout on the internet by the Government. Believe it or not, Donkeys are a part of the revolution now. From the article: ‘To get the news out, activists have been smuggling videos to Jordan through the desert and across a nearly 80-kilometer border Jordan shares with Syria. Some risk approaching the border with Jordanian cellphones to report to the outside world and send clips. It’s a dangerous task because the Syrian and Jordanian armies traditionally have the area under heavy surveillance to prevent the smuggling of drugs and weapons into the kingdom or further to the Gulf states.’”

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/11/05/15/1810215/Syrians-Using-Donkeys-Instead-of-DSL-After-Govt-Shuts-Down-Internet

The US military is taking note:

Move Over, Robots: Army Prefers Flesh-and-Blood Mules

The experimental four-legged, pack-hauling robots aren’t gonna be ready for frontline duty any time soon. So the Army is considering a big step backward in frontline logistics: more mules and donkeys, with a revived “Animal Corps” to oversee the four-legged recruits.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/ct7GAqIUi8Y/

The Afghans are at it:

Afghans Build Open Source Internet From Trash

“Residents of Jalalabad have built the FabFi network: an open-source system that uses common building materials and off-the-shelf electronics to transmit wireless ethernet signals across distances of up to several miles.”

http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/11/06/26/0322238/Afghans-Build-Open-Source-Internet-From-Trash

And there’s more:

Look Ma, No Internet! Free Software Gives Text-Messaging New Reach

Frontline SMS, an open source software that turns a laptop into an internet-free communication hub has been used in more than 50 countries by thousands of organizations.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/C4bjgmQ7rT8/

Berkeley’s working on solar-powered cell phone networks.

Low-Cost DIY Cell Network Runs On Solar

Shareable writes with word of the intriguing work of a Berkeley professor who has developed a “low-cost, low-power cell base station featuring easy, off-the grid deployment with solar or wind power; local services autonomous from national carriers; and an impressive portfolio of voice & data services (not just GSM). It’s designed to connect rural areas in the developing world, but could have wider application like disaster recovery.”

http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/11/08/28/0048211/Low-Cost-DIY-Cell-Network-Runs-On-Solar.

Limewire’s founder wants to distribute pedals as well as MP3s.

Peer-to-Peer Pioneer Sees New York Bicycles Pier-to-Pier

Mark Gorton founded LimeWire, but his true passion is transit — specifically, bikes — and sharply curtailing the role of cars in our cities. We sit down with him to find out why. http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/8SOZGbSiQ84/

Governments and vigilantes are using Facebook and other social media to identify and jail protesters–even if they never left their keyboards.

A Chat With Zavilia, a Tool For Identifying Rioters

“Social media isn’t just great for starting ‘social unrest,’ it’s proving to be quite helpful for quashing it too. Not long after the bricks began to fly in London’s latest kerfuffle, locals angry over raging mobs scrambled to assist the police in their attempt to identify street-fighters and free-for-all hooligans … Now with more than 1,000 people charged over the chaos, a few citizen groups continue to provide web-based rioter identification platforms, in hopes of being good subjects, maintaining the country’s pursuit of order, and keeping their neighborhoods safe.”

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/08/19/0248220/A-Chat-With-Zavilia-a-Tool-For-Identifying-Rioters

In Britain, a Meeting on Limiting Social Media

Government officials and representatives of Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry met to discuss voluntary ways to limit or restrict the use of social media to combat crime and periods of civil unrest.

http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=bc98f459d24fe76a1cb358676020620b

UK Men Get 4 Years For Trying to Incite Riots Via Facebook

“In addition to the 12 arrests from last week, a judge has sentenced 20-year-old Jordan Blackshaw and 22-year-old Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan to four years in prison for their failed attempts to use Facebook to incite riots in the UK. The judge said he hoped the sentences would act as a deterrent. The two men were convicted for using Facebook to encourage violent disorder in their hometowns in northwest England.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/08/18/0224214/UK-Men-Get-4-Years-For-Trying-to-Incite-Riots-Via-Facebook

Slashdot / Soulskill nonprofiteer writes “A bunch of vigilantes are organizing a Google Group dedicated to using recently revealed facial recognition tools to identify looters in the London riots. While Vancouver discussed doing something similar after the Stanley Cup riots, the city never actually moved forward on it. Ring of Steel London, though, is far more likely to incorporate FRT into its investigative work.” A related article points out how development of face-recognition technology has been kept under wraps by some organizations, but we’re getting to the point where it’ll soon be ubiquitous.

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/08/10/062225/The-London-Riots-and-Facial-Recognition-Technology

When police and vigilantes fail, there’s always PayPal.

PayPal Joins London Police Effort

“PayPal has joined a music copyright association and the City of London police department’s bid to financially starve websites deemed ‘illegal.’ When presented with sufficient evidence of unlicensed downloading from a site, the United Kingdom’s PayPal branch ‘will require the retailer to submit proof of licensing for the music offered by the retailer,’ said the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s latest press release.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/07/22/2345217/PayPal-Joins-London-Police-Effort

Meanwhile, Egyptian activists are getting in trouble for what they post on Facebook.

Egyptian Charged For Threatening Facebook Post

“The Egyptian Military Prosecution has charged 26-year-old activist and blogger Asmaa Mahfouz for allegedly defaming the country’s ruling generals and calling for armed operations against the military and the judiciary. Mahfouz, a prominent activist, was accused of using Facebook to call for the assassinations of Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) members and certain judges.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/08/15/0156222/Egyptian-Charged-For-Threatening-Facebook-Post

At the same time that the Obama administration is underwriting hardware for helping citizens of other countries circumvent their own government’s Internet censorship, Apple is patenting a camera that performs a government’s censorship for it.

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Reversing a trend to give corporations all the rights of humans, the US Supreme Court decided AT&T isn’t eligible for “personal privacy” when it comes to the release of embarrassing information submitted to the government. Meanwhile, Bolivia’s new law could give ecosystems the right to sue polluters.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/0tNjh7HCWgo/ via Byline

Bolivia’s Law of Mother Earth is set to pass, and on Wednesday the United Nations will discuss a proposed treaty based on the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. Both mandate legal recognition of ecosystems’ right to exist.

Wired speculates that this could help deter ecological disasters.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/QBuZq21YP1w/ via Byline

Hundreds of lawsuits have flowed from the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, filed by citizens, states and the federal government. And someday, perhaps, the Gulf of Mexico’s ecosystems will also file suit.

While it’s surprising to hear this Supreme Court rule against corporations, maybe it’s just part of a conclusion by society in general that “privacy is so twentieth century.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/03/02/159242/Supreme-Court-Rules-On-Corporate-Privacy?from=rss via Byline

“The Supreme Court unanimously decided (PDF) Monday that AT&T can’t keep embarrassing corporate information that it submits to the government out of public view; “personal privacy” rights do not apply to corporations. “We trust that AT&T will not take it personally” concluded the ruling.”

The Pirate Party of Canada has threatened to unleash its anti-surveillance software on its own government, promising to let Canadian citizens browse safely under a Virtual Private Network.

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/04/23/0534222/Pirate-Party-of-Canada-Promises-VPN-For-Freedom?utm_source=rss1.0&utm_medium=feed via Byline

“The Pirate Party of Canada has announced that it will extend a VPN originally set up to allow people in Tunisia to browse freely while internet censorship was imposed there. Canada may soon be added to that list since the ruling Conservative Party has vowed to introduce a bill that would provide unprecedented systematic interception and monitoring of Canadians’ personal communications. So the Pirate Party of Canada has announced it will extend that service to Canadians.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Meanwhile, back in north Africa…

http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/11/04/13/1326255/Engineers-Hijack-Libyan-Phone-Network-For-Rebels?utm_source=rss1.0&utm_medium=feed via Byline

“A team led by a Libyan-American telecom executive has helped rebels hijack Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s cellphone network and re-establish their own communications. The new network, first plotted on an airplane napkin and assembled with the help of oil-rich Arab nations, is giving more than two million Libyans their first connections to each other and the outside world after Col. Gadhafi cut off their telephone and Internet service about a month ago.”

EFF logoThe downside: no pay. The upside: save the Internet. Apply by 22 April.

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So we know from NMDnet that cell phones are privacy disasters–but what are they good at? How about detecting cancer, getting drivers out of speeding tickets, and blowing up terrorists, for starters?

http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/11/03/11/1847248/Smartphone-Device-Detects-Cancer-In-an-Hour?from=rss via Byline

“Scientists at the Center for Systems Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital have integrated a microNMR device that accurately detects cancer cells and integrates with a smartphone (abstract). Though just a prototype, this device enables a clinician to extract small amounts of cells from a mass inside of a patient, analyze the sample on the spot, acquire the results in an hour, and pass the results to other clinicians and into medical records rapidly. How much does the device cost to make? $200. Seriously, smartphones just got their own Samuel L. Jackson-esque wallet.” Reader Stoobalou points out other cancer-related news that Norwegian researchers have found a group of genes that increase a person’s risk to develop lung cancer.

Of course, cell phones have also been accused of causing cancer. Well, how about getting out of a speeding ticket?

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/02/26/021218/Smart-Phone-Gets-Driver-Out-of-a-Speeding-Ticket?from=rss

“Sahas Katta writes in Skattertech that a traffic cop pulled him over while driving home and gave him a speeding ticket but thanks to his Android, he ended up walking out of traffic court without having to pay a fine or adding a single point to his record. “I fortunately happened to have Google Tracks running when an officer cited me for speeding while heading back home from a friend’s place,” writes Katta. “The speed limit in the area was a mere 25 miles per hour and the cop’s radar gun shockingly clocked me driving over 40 miles per hour.” Once in court Katta asked the officer the last time he attended radar gun training, when the device was last calibrated, or the unit’s model number — none of which the officer could answer. “I then presented my time stamped GPS data with details about my average moving speed and maximum speed during my short drive home. Both numbers were well within the posted speed limits,” says Katta. “The judge took a moment and declared that I was not guilty, but he had an unusual statement that followed. To avoid any misinterpretations about his ruling, he chose to clarify his decision by citing the lack of evidence on the officer’s part. He mentioned that he was not familiar enough with GPS technology to make a decision based on my evidence, but I can’t help but imagine that it was an important factor.”"

Not impressed? How about the ability to blow up suicide bombers before they get to you ?

http://idle.slashdot.org/story/11/01/28/1228241/Spam-Text-Prematurely-Blows-Up-Suicide-Bomber?from=rss via Byline

“A suicide bomber’s plan to detonate explosives in Central Moscow on New Year’s Eve was foiled when she received an unexpected spam text message that caused her deadly payload to blow up too early. A message wishing her a happy new year came hours before the unnamed woman was to set off her suicide belt near Red Square, an act of terrorism that could have killed hundreds of people. Islamist terrorists in Russia often use mobile phones as detonators. The bomber’s handler, who is usually watching his charge, sends the bomber a text message to set off the explosive belt at the moment when it is thought they can inflict maximum casualties.”

How to keep these apps from wasting your phone battery? Throw one of these in your backpack.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/6k03KlR8C0w/ via Byline

Put this tubular object in your backpack, and you can generate juice for your cellphone — just by walking around.

If the Yes Men were the “Da Men,” they would have been locked up long ago. I hope Plutser-Sarno has a better travel agent than Julian Assange.

Aleksei Plutser-Sarno has been on the run since Russian law enforcement has been working to shut down Voina, the radical Russian art collective he belongs to….

For three years, Voina, which means war, has been playing cat-and-mouse with Russian law enforcement, staging street actions that ranged from the obscure (throwing live cats at McDonald’s cashiers) to the monumental (a 210-foot penis painted on a St. Petersburg drawbridge, so that it rose up pointing at the offices of the F.S.B., the security service).

Last September, Voina launched its most audacious project: “Palace Revolution,” which involved running up to parked police cars and flipping them over — a commentary, the group explained, on police corruption…

But Voina did not need art-world connections — YouTube, LiveJournal and Twitter gave it access to young Russians who shared the group’s sense of humor and rage at the police. Its plans got bigger, riskier. Before painting the penis on the bridge last June, the group practiced for a month before concluding that nine people could do the job in 30 seconds. As it turned out, guards barreled after them and they had only 23 seconds.

The image stood for a few hours before the authorities scrubbed it off; by then it had exploded onto the Internet. It was, Mr. Plutser-Sarno said, Voina’s most perfect act.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/22/world/europe/22voina.htm

Record labels agree to settle a class-action lawsuit by paying songwriters $47.5 million for tracks the labels themselves pirated. Oh, and Sony et al. didn’t make the 300,000 copyrighted songs (which they didn’t own) freely available on a filesharing network–they *sold* them.

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/01/11/0615258/Record-Labels-To-Pay-For-Copyright-Infringement?from=rss via Byline “Sony Music Entertainment Canada Inc., EMI Music Canada Inc., Universal Music Canada Inc. and Warner Music Canada Co. have agreed to pay songwriters and music publishers $47.5 million in damages for copyright infringement and overdue royalties to settle a class action lawsuit. ‘The 2008 class action alleges that the record companies “exploited” music owners by reproducing and selling in excess of 300,000 song titles without securing licenses from the copyright owners and/or without paying the associated royalty payments. The record companies knowingly did so and kept a so-called “pending list” of unlicensed reproductions, setting aside $50 million for the issue, if it ever arose, court filings suggest.’”

Not to be outdone, Microsoft is trying to patent the idea of a “fan.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/01/07/2130218/Microsoft-Lays-Claim-To-Patent-On-Fans?from=rss via Byline theodp writes “A USPTO filing made public Thursday reveals that Microsoft is seeking a patent for something it calls ‘One-Way Public Relationships’ in social networks and other online properties, lawyer-speak for what’s more commonly known as being a ‘fan’ of something online. It’s unclear whether it’s a goof on Apple, but Microsoft curiously used the example of a U2 fan named Steve to explain its ‘invention’ to the USPTO. Purported patent reformer Microsoft, which has called for the US to change from a first-to-invent patent system to a first-to-file system, filed the patent application in July 2009. Microsoft is a partner with and investor in Facebook, which first established its fan pages back in November 2007.”

Maybe these old media companies should be looking at newer, “free-to-play” business models.

http://games.slashdot.org/story/11/01/07/2220228/emLotR-Onlinesem-Free-To-Play-Switch-Tripled-Revenue?from=rss via Byline Last June, Turbine made the decision to switch Lord of the Rings Online from a subscription-based business model to a free-to-play model supported by microtransactions. In a podcast interview with Ten Ton Hammer, Turbine executives revealed that the switch has gone well for the company, with game revenues roughly tripling. The active player base has also grown significantly in that time. Executive Producer Kate Paiz said, “This really echoes a lot of what we’ve seen throughout the entertainment industry in general. It’s really about letting players make their choices about how they play.”

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