About a month ago we took a look at a disturbing new trend that was emerging in Australia involving the movie industry’s new approach to copyright enforcement. It now appears as though this heavy handed approach has indeed crossed the ocean and the RIAA is preparing to switch gears. Over the past 6 years the music industry has initiated lawsuits against over 35,000 people. Seniors, minors, or the deceased, nobody was safe from the wrath of the recording industry. This public relations nightmare was bound to end sooner or later, but their new approach could see tens of thousands of internet users booted off the web.
The Wall Street Journal has uncovered agreements made between several unnamed ISP’s and the RIAA which will make it possible for them to force internet service providers to disconnect user’s who refuse to cease and desist music sharing after being issued a written warning. Warnings will likely start with an emailed notice of violation which can then lead to restricted bandwidth, or in worst case scenarios as we mentioned before, the disconnection of internet service. Under the newly proposed system, the RIAA would forward a notice to the ISP of an offending IP address, and would leave it up to the provider to contact the individual customer. The positive change here would be that your privacy would not be compromised, and the RIAA would not require disclosure of the customer’s name.
The RIAA believes this new approach will “reach more people” and that it cannot afford to ignore piracy. The group cites NPD figures which show that the growth of illegally downloaded content has stalled in the wake of the uncertainty surrounding the lawsuits. Their new approach would be much more covert, and would likely attract less media attention.
So would you rather be sued or booted off the net? I think I’ll pay the 99 cents a track thank you very much.
Sony BMG has agreed to pay $1 million to the Federal Trade Commission to settle charges claiming Sony violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). While $1 million might seem a drop in the bucket to a company like Sony, the FTC points out the $1 million penalty matches the largest ever paid in a COPPA case.
The suit, which was filed just yesterday, alleged that Sony managed to collect personal information on roughly 30,000 users under the age of 13, including full names, gender, birth date, email addresses, mobile phone numbers, and in some cases, full mailing addresses. According to the FTC, the information was obtained through various Sony-owned websites designed to promote and advertise the company's music offerings, but didn't restrict visitors under the age of 13 from registering.
"Sites with social networking features, like any Web sites, need to get parental consent before collecting kids' personal information," FTC Chairman William Kovacic said in a statement. "Sony Music is paying the penalty for falling down on its COPPA obligations."
In addition to the $1 million penalty, Sony must also delete all personal information it had collected from those under 13 years old, and must also distribute the FTC's "How to Comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule" to all of its employees. In addition, Sony's also required to link to the children's privacy section of the FTC's website for five years.
As it's turning out, the fight against spam might not be so futile after all. Edward Davidson, who became known as the 'spam king' by sending out millions of falsely labeled emails, found himself behind bars in April, and then more recently, the FTC shut down one of the largest organized spam rings in the world in HerbalKing. And less than two weeks ago, the FTC scored another major win by shutting down a web host thought to be responsible for 75 percent of the world's spam. Now it's Facebook who's getting in on the fight.
Ruling on a case filed by Facebook against Adam Guerbuez and Atlantis Blue Capital on August 14, 2008, Federal Judge Jeremy Fogel has awarded Facebook over $873 million in damages. Atlantis Blue Capital found itself under legal fire for allegedly accessing Facebook's servers, setting up phishing websites to acquire Facebook logins and email addresses, and sending out millions of emails to the social networking site's members.
"It's unlikely that Geurbez and Atlantis Blue Capital could ever honor the judgment rendered against them (though we will certainly collect everything we can)," Max Kely, Facebook's director of security, wrote in a blog post. "But we are confident that this award represents a powerful deterrent to anyone and everyone who would seek to abuse Facebook and its users."
The sentence, which is likely to knock Atlantis Blue Capital out of business, also forbids Geurbuez to access, retain, or use Facebook data in any way, nor is he allowed to create or maintain a Facebook profile.
If you thought blue screens and other unexpected fatal system errors were annoying, how would you feel if your employer docked your paycheck every time you had to reboot your PC? This frightening practice appears to be a growing trend, one which has prompted several lawsuits by angered employees who are suddenly being itemized for the time they spend booting a PC.
According to The National Law Journal, several lawsuits have been filed in the past year in which employees claim they were not paid for the time they spent booting up and shutting down their PC at the start and end of each work day. And these aren't necessarily smaller companies looking to cut corners, either. Some of the accused include AT&T, UnitedHealth Group, and Cigna Corp.
"These are hourly employees who are not making much more than minimum wage,"said Mark Thierman, a Las Vegas-based lawyer who has experience filing computer-booting lawsuits. "There's a good half-hour a day that they're not being paid for. It adds up."
Thierman notes that even though booting up and shutting down a PC takes time, employees are still working, whether it be wading through paperwork or making phone calls. But management-side attorney Richard Rosenblatt sees it a different way. According to Rosenblatt, he's observed first hand employees engaging in non-work activities while waiting for their PC to boot.
"They go have a smoke, talk to friends, get coffee -- they're not working, and all they've done at that point is press a button to power up the computer, enter in a keyword," Rosenblatt said.
Are employers justified in docking pay based on startup and shutdown times? Hit the jump and sound off.
Just last week the RIAA commemorated the signing of an absurd new law in Tennessee that states:
"Each public and private institution of higher education in the state that has student residential computer networks shall:
[R]easonably attempt to prevent the infringement of copyrighted works over the institution's computer and network resources, if such institution receives fifty (50) or more legally valid notices of infringement as prescribed by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 within the preceding year."
In short, if you’re going to school in Tennessee you’re boned. Since the entertainment industry was unable to get a solid framework for universities in the Higher Education Act passed by Congress just earlier this year, the RIAA has decided to attack universities by using infringement notices.
What’s worse is that the law will cost the fine folks of Tennessee a whopping $9.5 million in new software, hardware and personnel, with an annual cost of $1.5 million for the personnel and maintenance. None of this money will go towards artists or record labels represented by the RIAA.
He heavily extolled Blu-ray, which he believes is a huge asset for media editing professionals and enterprises - a demographic that Psystar can now serve.
Psystar is certainly trying its best to get under the skin of Apple whose patience must be wearing thin. Around a fortnight ago, Apple and Psystar agreed to an “Alternative Dispute Resolution”. Prior to that, in July, Apple had slapped a lawsuit against Psystar. The latter soon returned the favor by filing a lawsuit of its own against Apple.
New regulations have made it compulsory for businesses to retain all wireless communications including IMs and text messages. Among the various legislations mandating the archival of wireless communications the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) are most prominent. Also, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) made the archiving of IMs and Texts compulsory through one of its edicts issued in December, 2007.
Everyone’s favorite trade group, the RIAA, is up to more of its usual, mustache-twirling antics as it appeals the decision to declare a mistrial in its case against Jammie Thomas. For the uninformed, the 30-year-old Thomas is being sued for $220,000 by the RIAA for file sharing. As the first person to take the music industry to court, rather than settle, her case will set a very significant precedent and could have a strong impact on the future of file sharing and the internet.
The suit was originally decided in the RIAA’s favor in October, however Judge Michael Davis threw out the ruling and declared a mistrial, declaring that “he originally misguided the jury by indicating that simply the act of making a copyrighted song available for sharing amounts to infringement,” CNET reports.
The RIAA is appealing the decision, hoping the original ruling will stick and they won’t have to conduct a whole new trial.
What do you think of the Thomas case? Let us know after the break.
Quickly after the news of Palin’s Yahoo email account being hacked broke out, cops zeroed in on 20-year old David Kernell, who happens to be the son of Democratic Tennessee State rep. Mike Kernell.
Now, more than a fortnight after the entire incidence came to light, David Kernell has been indicted. According to the indictment, David advertently accessed Sarah Palin’s personal email account on September 16, 2008 without having the authority do so. David might have to spend up to five years behind bars if the charges against him are proven.
Although RealNetworks downplayed any legal perils while announcing its DVD copying software last month, the major film studios have acted in the most obvious manner possible by suing the software company.
In the eye of the storm lies RealNetworks’ DVD copying tool called ReadDVD that allows users to make digital copies of their DVDs on their internal or external hard drives. However, the Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA) hasn’t taken a liking to the tool. The MPAA has dragged RealNetworks to court over RealDVD and is praying for a temporary restraining order against the sale of the software.
Greg Goeckner, executive vice president of MPAA, quipped that the software be called StealDVD instead of RealDVD. However, RealNetworks feels that the software can not be used for piracy as it encrypts the digital copies in such a manner that they can’t be shared.