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Internet

Thursday 10 September 2009
Google defends book deal as competitive, helpful
MaTiCa , Thursday 10 September 2009 - 12:09:57 //

By Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Google's deal to digitize millions of books opens the way for others to enter the online book business, the company's chief legal officer said in testimony prepared for a congressional hearing on Thursday.

David Drummond, addressing critics of the project, said Google was "fully compliant with copyright law," and access to online books could revolutionize research in schools without major libraries.

The scanning project prompted a 2005 lawsuit filed by the Authors Guild, accusing Google of copyright infringement. A proposed settlement to resolve the lawsuit will be discussed on October 7 in Manhattan federal court.

As part of the settlement, Google has agreed to pay $125 million to create a Book Rights Registry, where authors and publishers can register works and receive compensation.

Rival companies, privacy advocates and some libraries, have accused Google of violating antitrust law to dominate the digital book market. The Justice Department is looking into their concerns.

Google's Drummond argued that the scanning of "orphan works" -- books whose authors cannot be found -- would make it easier for other companies to follow suit.

"We believe anyone who wants to re-use abandoned works should have a fair, legal way to do so. In our view, the settlement helps," said Drummond the testimony prepared for a U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee hearing.

So far, the search engine giant has scanned 10 million books, including many obtained from libraries.

Some Google competitors, libraries and others said they support plans to digitize books but not the settlement.

The Open Book Alliance said the pact threatened to monopolize the access, distribution and pricing, of the largest, private digital database of books in the world.

"It would do so by using the class action mechanism to not only redress past harm, but to prospectively shape the future of digital book distribution," said the alliance in a letter to Representatives John Conyers and Lamar Smith. Conyers heads the Judiciary Committee, while Smith is the ranking Republican.

Signatories of the letter included Microsoft, Yahoo and Amazon.com Inc, the New York Library Association, and small publishers like Bear Star Press. Privacy advocates like Consumer Watchdog also oppose the settlement.

The case is Authors Guild et al v Google Inc 05-08136 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan)

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

(Source: REUTERS)




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Wednesday 05 August 2009
The Pirate Bay is being sued again.
Christo [PCD] , Wednesday 05 August 2009 - 22:21:27 //

Today more than ten major movie companies issued a subpoena to the Stockholm District Court demanding it put an end to the activities of The Pirate Bay. The companies, including Disney, Universal, Warner, Columbia, Sony, NBC and Paramount also want the court to force the site’s ISP to shut down the site.

Despite losing in court against the music and movie industries, The Pirate Bay continues to operate, a clearly unacceptable situation for the plaintiffs in the case. The verdict is subject to appeal and that could make the whole thing drag on for years yet.

Back in May the music industry plaintiffs - Universal, EMI, Sony and Warner - indicated they’d had enough and through their lawyer Peter Danowsky, applied to the court requesting it starts imposing additional fines on three of the defendants - Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg and Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi - for as long as they continue to infringe their copyrights. In addition the plaintiffs demanded that the Pirate Bay’s ISP ‘Black Internet’ stopped providing services to The Pirate Bay.

Now just a couple of months after the record labels handed in their request, it’s the turn of the movie and TV industry to join in.

Today a whole batch of companies including Columbia, Disney, NBC, Paramount, Sony, 20th Century Fox, Universal and Warner are suing the same three individuals in Stockholm, demanding that the court stops the site from continuing to infringe their copyrights. In common with the music industry action, they also name The Pirate Bay’s bandwidth supplier, Black Internet AB.

Through their legal representative Monique Wadsted, the group named over 100 movies and TV shows they claim the site infringes copyright on, including Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, The Simpsons, 24, X-Men Origins:Wolverine, Batman, Watchmen and Harry Potter.

“It’s another day in the whole soap opera of TPB,? Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde told TorrentFreak. “They’re suing us in Stockholm where none of us live.?

But the problems with the action don’t end there. After also incorrectly stating that the site is running on the Hypercube software, the movie companies seem to have a problem with their perception of who owns the site. The Pirate Bay hasn’t been owned by the three since 2006, when it was acquired by Seychelles-based company Reservella.

“They’re suing us over something which we don’t own,? Peter told us. “I think the most funny part of the whole suit is that they just write: ‘Reservella is a company run by Fredrik Neij - out of 40 pages of paper that’s all they have to say, and it’s so wrong. They have no paperwork to back it up even,? he told us.

Peter is of the belief that the music and movie industries are well aware that the site is being sold and simply want to make that as difficult as possible.
[Submitted by Synthetic_Darkness]

153 1248939442 The Pi

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Sunday 28 June 2009
Michael Jackson's Death Overwhelms the Internet, Crashes Sites
Christo [PCD] , Sunday 28 June 2009 - 21:25:49 //

News of pop star's demise caused an icky mess on the internet

Some called in the "King of Pop" others called him less favorable titles, but many have followed Michael Jackson's capers over the years. In death, as in life he proved colorful and larger than life. When Mr. Jackson passed away at age 50, the news shook the internet world.

Within hours of the story breaking millions had flooded online reading the news. The LA Times recorded 2.3 million page views in just one hour -- more than many sites have in a month. The incredible traffic strain acted like a denial of service attack, overloading ABC, AOL, LA Times, CNN Money, and CBS servers and leading to longer load times, or, for some users, timeouts.

AOL spokespeople commented that they had "never seen anything like it in terms of scope or depth. Historically, celebrity news prompts a worldwide outpouring with several key consumer behaviors -- searching, sharing and reacting to the news followed by online tributes has become the modern way to mourn"

AOL's Instant Messenger, scheduled for routine maintenance, struggled under the traffic, causing service outages. Twitter, the popular micro-blogging service, saw its number of Tweets double almost instantly. And market tracker service Akamai reports that overall internet news traffic temporarily spiked over 20 percent due to Mr. Jackson's death.

Still other telltale signs greeted users. On iTunes Michael Jackson's albums accompanied the top four spots on the iTunes 100 top albums sold. Meanwhile, on internet encyclopedia Wikipedia users engaged in a war of edits that resulted in admins locking up the page until things cooled down.

This kind of an occurence wouldn't seem like tech news; in fact its seems about as far removed from it as possible. But his death proved to be one of the most impactful internet events of the year and offered a intriguing view of how web 2.0 takes on, processes, and deals with a traffic-driving event of unprecedented scale.

Michael Jackson in death, as in life, was larger and more colorful than life. He test the limits of the internet when news of his death broke. Many news sites received record traffic, resulting in problems. (Source: BongoNews)


[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1246216787 Michae

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Sunday 14 June 2009
Bing's "Porn Search" Angers Some, Pleases Others
Christo [PCD] , Sunday 14 June 2009 - 10:27:24 //

Microsoft defends the search engine's pornographic results, saying it gives users the tools to block them

When Microsoft's new search engine Bing debuted last week, some received a surprise. Turning off "safe search" they began to notice pornographic videos popping up as search results – which is really nothing new to users of Google’s video search.

However, simply moving your mouse over the videos would set them to motion, complete with sound. Some expressed outrage; Microsoft, meanwhile, has defended its actions according to InformationWeek. Bing general manager Mike Nichols says that by default Bing is set to "strict" SafeSearch, which he says is a more conservative approach than Google or Yahoo’ take.

He writes, "This is a bit more of a conservative approach than others in the industry. If you set SafeSearch to strict, you will not see any explicit text, image, or video content. If you turn SafeSearch off, which requires you to change the setting and then click again to acknowledge that you are over 18, then explicit content may appear."

Microsoft has added a tool to help network administrators enforce strict SafeSearch. By adding "&adlt=strict" to the end of any search query, only strict search results will be returned. Mr. Nichols insists it’s all about user choice, stating, "We think our current search safety settings are solid, but at Microsoft we are always working on pushing this stuff farther."

One key difference between Google's traditional search and Bing's is that Bing will actually start to play the clips you move your mouse over. Some experts warn that this will likely open Microsoft up to more suits from adult entertainment providers. Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft have all been sued for including still pornographic images in search results.

Some countries have begun blocking Bing's pornographic results and are angry with Microsoft. China and certain Muslim countries are among those to implement nationwide blocks on the content.

Microsoft's search engine has drawn a lot of attention, but has failed to surpass Yahoo in hits, according to reports. Market researcher Comscore states that Google owns 64 percent of the U.S. search market, Yahoo owns 21 percent, and Bing is in third with 8 percent. Microsoft spent over $1.5B USD to develop Bing, chiefly with the acquisition of Fast Search & Transfer.


[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]


Bing Results

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Thursday 11 June 2009
Update: Opera 10 Hits Beta, Heats Up Next-Gen Browser War
Christo [PCD] , Thursday 11 June 2009 - 11:16:31 //

A test drive of Opera 10 shows it to be shaping up to be a very impressive release

Though still young in the development cycle, Opera 10, which hit the web today in beta 1 form, is shaping up to be a potentially must-have release for Windows, OS X, and Linux users alike. The smoking fast browser packs some great innovations and puts older competitors, like Firefox 3 on notice.

First of all, the new browser uses advanced compression technology to deliver better performance on low bandwidth connections like public Wi-Fi, dial-up, or throttled connections. Secondly, the browser is compatible with the highest current web standards. Built on the Opera Presto 2.2 engine, it scores a perfect 100/100 on the Acid3 compatibility test. The new engine adds Web Fonts support, RGBA/HSLA color, SVG improvements, and more.

Where the browser truly shines is its speed. It loads pages extremely fast. DailyTech took it for a spin on a Fedora 10 desktop installation, to try some page loads. DailyTech.com loaded in 1.2 seconds in Opera 10 beta 1, versus approximately 2.2 seconds in Firefox 3.0.10. Likewise, SportsIllustrated.com (via CNN) had first and second load speeds of 4 seconds and 1 seconds in Opera, versus 11 seconds and 9 seconds in Firefox. It may not sound like much, but like Internet Explorer 8, the difference over Firefox's latest build is noticeable -- and Opera 10 even appears to surpass IE 8 in load speeds.

One improved feature of the release is Speed Dial, an exclusive Opera feature which allows you to see and pick from your favorite sites when opening a new tab. Refined, it now supports up to 25 favorites, and the ability to set custom backgrounds. Opera 10 also adds nicer integration with web mail clients like Gmail.

Another highlight-reel addition is the ability to resize your tabs. By dragging a bar beneath the tabs downwards, the tabs become tiny thumbnail screenshots of the page. While primarily a graphical effect, it certainly adds "wow" factor to the browser, and gives it a decidedly next generation feel. The effect resembles the "Windows Peek" feature in the upcoming Windows 7.

Other additions include an impressive inline spell checker. Also, if you want a lightweight email client, akin to Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird, Opera sports a refined version of Opera Mail. And for developers, the new browser packs a new and improved version of Opera Dragonfly. The new version includes tools to edit the DOM and inspect HTTP headers of pages you're debugging.

The only real disappointment here is security/ad-blocking. While popup blocking is a breeze, it'd be nice to see a bit more selective JavaScript and Flash blocking, along the lines of NoScript. Currently it’s easy to block scripts on a site, but blocking via the menus is an all or nothing affair, making it impractical for sights that use JavaScript for content you actually want.

While the official release of Opera 10 may be some time away, the browser is already shaping up impressively. Ultra-fast and packing a great set of features, the browser definitely will lure away some Firefox users, and maybe even a few Safari or IE 8 users. It’s definitely worth a download, if only to take it for a quick test ride.

Update 1:
There is a good way to block ads after-all, that's actually been around since Opera 9. To access it, right click anywhere on a page that doesn't have linked content. Then select "Block Content" then proceed to click on all content you want block (ads) and finally click "Done" on the top of the page. White space will appear for a bit, but reloads will fix this. Also you can use .ini filters to further block ad content.

Also, Mozilla currently is beta testing Firefox 3.5, which is expected to deliver substantial speed improvements. Expect an upcoming article to look at speed between all the browsers' latest betas or releases.

[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1244711686 Update

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