Boghound's World News

A Humorous Look At News Events And Life Around The World

Archive for March, 2013

Those Canadians??

Posted by Boghound on March 30, 2013

Canada Still Sues Canadian File-Sharers

Nine years ago Canada saw its first major lawsuit filed by BMG Canada Inc. and a number of other music labels against some Canadian file-sharers. The entertainment industry asked the ISPs to reveal the names and addresses of the suspected infringers. This case became a milestone for other copyright lawsuits which were filed afterwards and set the frivolous balance between privacy and copyright. BMG’s request was denied.

Since 2011, a number of similar cases emerged, and a couple of them were of great importance. Such behaviour could be explained by the affinity of the US for such cases, where a bunch of anonymous file-sharers are brought to justice. In case ISPs want to cooperate, the alleged infringers are forced to either settle for a certain amount or go to trial. Although the effectiveness of such approach has been debated in certain circles, the Canadian legal system seems to catch up to these methods and is ready to apply them.

Talking about the BMG case, despite the fact that BMG appealed the court decision not to force ISPs to reveal personal details about their subscribers, the Federal Court denied its appeal. This ruling resulted from the company’s failed attempts to provide with hard evidence of the violation. In addition, the court pointed to the fact that BMG couldn’t prove the necessity of involving ISPs, because details of the alleged infringers could have been obtained from iMesh or KaZaA.

Another similar case started a couple years ago, with Voltage Pictures LLC suing at least 34 alleged file-sharers. The company filed a motion where it requested the names and addresses of the defendants. In result, the motion was granted, because the Federal Court claimed that pirates shouldn’t hide behind IP addresses.

Late last year, NGN Prima Production Inc. also filed a lawsuit against a number of anonymous copyright infringers. The studio asked the court to force ISPs to release their subscribers’ names and addresses, and by the end of the year the motion was granted.

As you can see, it turned out that this method of dealing with copyright violators is slowly but surely becoming the easiest and most effective way of giving copyright owners what they want, regardless of privacy concerns and ethics. Not so good for the Canadians, though.

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Protest…Not In Melbourne!!

Posted by Boghound on March 29, 2013

Occupy Melbourne Wiki Page Edited by Australian Authorities

Local council in Australia has suddenly faced a problem after it dealt with a protest movement by editing the movement’s Wikipedia article.

It turned out that Occupy Melbourne’s official Wikipedia article was repeatedly edited by a person who used a City of Melbourne PC to remove contentious words. The experts believe that this move seemed to help re-elect lord mayor Robert Doyle in 2012. The edits in question vandalized the page by removing the word “peacefully” to describe the movement. They also purged references to the council’s alleged involvement in dealing with the protest. In reality, Occupy Melbourne’s protesters were removed from the City Square by over 100 police officers.

In response, the City of Melbourne confirmed that the IP address used to edit the Occupy Melbourne Wikipedia article did belong to it. However, it claimed that it was unaware of any authorization to do that and pointed out that actually anyone could edit Wikipedia page and the council did allow limited personal use of council PCs.

When commenting the issue, Robert Doyle claimed that neither he nor any of his staff made the abovementioned changes to the Wikipedia article. But he still stood by his decision to clear the protesters from the streets of the city. Doyle told the reporters that if he was going to alter the page he would make it to his own entry which has a particular view of those events, which he apparently didn’t like.

In the meanwhile, Melbourne City Labor councillor Richard Foster was concerned that the alterations which removed a reference to the council’s alleged involvement in the dealing with the protest were controversial. However, Robert Doyle claimed that the changes didn’t even warrant an investigation at the council.

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Greed….It Never Ends??

Posted by Boghound on March 28, 2013

BPI to Ban More BitTorrent Portals

The new targets of the BPI are Fenopy, H33t and Kickass Torrents. The group’s Director of Communications, Adam Liversage, announced that the entertainment industry’s ally is currently seeking court orders which require the major UK broadband providers – BT, Sky, Virgin Media, O2, Everything Everywhere and TalkTalk to block access to the aforementioned file-sharing website.

Almost a year ago, BPI successfully obtained a favorable decision by the British High Court which ordered British Internet service providers to block access to the TPB. Today the outfit is pushing for more. In response, the Open Rights Group published comments to the outfit’s hunting announcement, claiming that website blocking is definitely an extreme response. The consumer outfit fears that such precedent would make it too easy and quick to block websites and suggests that time needs to be taken to consider the legitimate use of the targeted portals.

The Open Rights Group also pointed out that there needs to be a more specific and adequate definition of the precise URL or IP address to be banned. After the industry blocks a portal, its alleged clone websites can also be blocked. However, in this case, the British Phonographic Industry will be able to do so without a court order. The matter is that such decisions would be made between the outfit and broadband providers and won’t be published.

In the meanwhile, blocking of these portals doesn’t come with an expiry date, which makes this indefinite blocking problematic in case the number of websites blocked keep growing, thus leaving a huge number of websites hidden from the public.

Industry observers believe that the court hearings between a judge, broadband providers and copyright owners don’t sufficiently represent the needs of Internet users because their voice isn’t included during the hearing.

The Open Rights Group is not going to intervene in this particular case, but claims that it’s likely to do so in the future because of the lack of user rights being represented.

Thanks to TorrentFreak for the source of the article

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Laurel and Hardy Dance Santana

Posted by Boghound on March 27, 2013

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Watch Out!

Posted by Boghound on March 26, 2013

Movie Company to Sue 34 Internet Users

Voltage Pictures LLC is a movie studio whose name has become popular in the industry after it released a blockbuster “The Hurt Locker”. The outfit has filed a lawsuit against 34 users alleged of pirating its films.

Voltage Pictures LLC has won a few Academy Awards in the past, and now is making attempts to receive $180.000 in damages from each of the 34 Internet users, accusing them of copying and distributing a last year’s movie “Maximum Conviction” without their consent.

According to the company’s complaint, the defendants are from Medford, Talent, Central Point, Shady Cove, Klamath Falls and Brookings. The movie studio wants $30,000 for copyright infringement plus $150,000 in statutory damages from each of them. However, the names of the infringers are yet unknown, because the movie studio only had their IP addresses. This means that ISPs, including Charter Communications, Clearwire Corp., CenturyLink, Embarq Corp. and Frontier Corp., would be ordered to disclose the names behind those IP addresses to identify the defendants. The lawsuit claims that taking into account the readily available pirated copies of the films and the ease at which they can be illegally downloaded at an almost anonymous level, lots of Internet users feel justified in their theft of movies.

In the meantime, Voltage Pictures LLC wasn’t the only company that suffered from such act of online theft. Another victim is Charlie McHenry, a co-founder of the video-game company called Trilobyte Games Co, whose product also got pirated. McHenry said that the larger tension is between the rights owners and people who believe in universal access. While stressing the fact that distributing copyrighted material is no joke, McHenry also claimed that monetary penalties are usually way too often blown out of proportions.

In fact, most of the infringers are underage guys who don’t necessarily realize that what they are doing is illegal. Kids may be experimenting with the worldwide web and unintentionally be breaking the law. And they or their parents are demanded to pay up to $180,000 in damages.

While Trilobyte Games Co is sending notices of desist each time one of its games gets pirated and downloaded, the movie companies keep suing large groups of Internet users, asking for damages which, in most cases, are impossible to comply with.

It begs the question “Who would want to download & watch Maximum Conviction anyway”?

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Phone Unlocked….Go To Jail??

Posted by Boghound on March 25, 2013

Phone Unlocking Petition Got Over 100,000 Signatures

It turned out that a White House online petition to lift the phone unlocking ban has already gathered over 110,000 signatures. Since the threshold for “We the People” petitions is 100,000, now the government will have to review or at least reply to the petition.

The controversial ban was introduced in the beginning of the year and under this new legislation anyone who dares to unlock their own phone in the United States could face up to five years of prison time along with a $500,000 fine. Industry observers were not happy to hear such news. For example, Forbes described the new law as a “clear example” of copyright legislation gone crazy (which is true). In the meantime, the lawmakers pointed out that the underlying law is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, better known as DCMA. However, applying the legislation to cell phone unlocking is, we would say, a stretch.

Actually, the ban is considered as an example of crony capitalism, which is nothing new in post-Citizens United America. For example, this ban allows corporations to control how their gear is used after it is sold – this obviously violates property rights. Although phone companies may claim that they are renting their devices on 2-year plans, they actually are not – at least not now.

Industry experts compared the situation to the one when a car company is telling its clients that they can’t install new alloys. In the meantime, buying a modular assault rifle is still legitimate in the United States, and the accessory market is growing rapidly. Indeed, in most states you can install everything from a bayonet to a high-powered scope and high capacity magazine on almost any rifle, and it is absolutely legal. Yet unlocking a cell phone can lead you to a courtroom, facing some serious jail time…

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Correct Grammar?….Not in Mid-Devon!

Posted by Boghound on March 24, 2013

Council bans apostrophes from all street signs to avoid ‘confusion’

A council has sparked fury from residents after banning apostrophes from street signs to avoid potential confusion.

Mid-Devon District Council said its new streets had not contained apostrophes for many years but the policy was now being made official.

Residents and plain English campaigners criticised the move, but the council said apostrophes could only be found in three street names in the district.

It added that Beck’s Square and Blundell’s Avenue both in Tiverton and St George’s Well in Cullompton were all named many years ago.

Andrew Lacey, of Mid-Devon District Council, said there was no national guidance that stops apostrophes being used.

But proofreader Mary de Vere Taylor from Ashburton said the thought of apostrophes being removed made her shudder.

"It’s almost as though somebody with a giant eraser is literally trying to erase punctuation from our consciousness," she said.

"To me there’s something terribly British and terribly reassuring about well-written and well-punctuated writing.

"Some may say I should get a life and get out more but if I got out more and saw place names with no apostrophes where there should be I shudder to think how I’d react."

Ms de Vere Taylor said while she accepted language had to evolve, she felt the council’s decision was a backwards step.

Steve Jenner from the Plain English Campaign said punctuation including the apostrophe was one of the basic rules of language. The council’s decision as "nonsensical", he said.

Mid-Devon Council declined to comment further and did not elaborate on who might be confused by the use of correct punctuation.

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A Bed For The Night?

Posted by Boghound on March 23, 2013

Sleepwalking woman found in hedge nine miles from home

A farmer’s wife was found in a hedge nine miles from her home after she sleepwalked out of the kitchen window.

Joy Grigg sparked a major police search in Cornwall on Wednesday morning (March 13) after her husband Richard awoke to find her missing and the kitchen window open.

The 50-year-old mother-of-two was found in a hedge on Thursday evening by a member of the public, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Richard said: "It is so great that she has been found. She is currently in hospital, and we just want to get out lives back together and try and get things back to normal.

"We are all very relieved and are very much looking forward to her coming home."

Richard also revealed that this is not the first time his wife has sleepwalked away from home.

He said: "She has wandered off before, about six or seven weeks ago in January, that time she ended up around five miles away.

"We managed to bring her back after I kept calling her mobile and eventually the vibration in her pocket woke her up."

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Hacker Hired?

Posted by Boghound on March 22, 2013

Ecuador Hired Hacker Wanted in the US

Kevin Mitnick, known as one of the most wanted computer hackers in the United States at one time, seems to still manage to poke the hornet’s nest. It turned out that his security outfit, Mitnick Security Consulting, was the one who helped Rafael Correa win the presidential elections in Ecuador.

In fact, Correa is not loved by the United States that has historically had a problem with democratically elected governments who appear vaguely socialist in their leanings. Media reports suggest that Correa feared he might have the election stolen from him by hackers, most likely from the United States or otherwise. That’s why he decided to hire Mitnick to protect the Net Lock computer system. The latter has been assigned the task of tabulating the country’s elections.

Mitnick admitted that almost two decades ago he was busted for hacking, but now he is allowed to do the same thing absolutely legitimately. Of course, he’d love it. Perhaps, you don’t remember that in the 1990s Kevin was on a hacking spree and gained access to hundreds of universities, PCs and corporate networks. His targets included the likes of Apple, Motorola and even the FBI. In result, Mitnick was arrested and banged up for 5 years. After his release, Kevin helped private and public entities by providing them security consulting. He even worked for the American government to help them mitigate cyber threats.

However, Correa’s re-election is unlikely to sit that well with the United States. The American-trained economist has created his own “Citizens’ Revolution”, which is a socialist-oriented economic program having something in common with what Chavez achieved in Venezuela. Like Chavez, Correa is quite popular, but he is sometimes slammed for being authoritarian. By the way, it was Correa who has offered Julian Assange asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy.

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No Laughing Matter?

Posted by Boghound on March 21, 2013

US man facing jail for laughing too loudly

A man from Long Island, New York, is facing up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine after a neighbour complained to police he was laughing too loudly.

Police issued Robert Schiavelli, 41, two tickets for disturbing the peace for laughing out the window of his home in Rockville Centre on Long Island at about 6pm on Feb. 12 and Feb. 13, his lawyer said.

Mr Schiavelli said the neighbour regularly mocks his disability, and the best response to those taunts is laughter.

"He just ridicules me all the time and the only thing I can come up with is laughing," Mr Schiavelli said in a telephone interview.

His lawyer, Andrew Campanelli, said his client has frequent seizures as a result of neurological impairments but denied his laugh is loud or boisterous.

"He’s like a big teddy bear, he’s got a low laugh," Mr Campanelli said

Mr Schiavelli lives with his mother, Suzanne Schiavelli, who said in an interview on Wednesday that he had a "fairly loud" laugh.

"I think it’s infectious. It’s cute," she said. "When my husband died, we said to ourselves, ‘We’re going to make sure to laugh every day and make the most of life.’"

Daniel O’Hanion, the neighbour who made the complaint, could not be reached for comment.

Mr O’Hanion and Mr Schiavelli live in adjacent private homes about 20 feet apart, separated by two driveways.

The Rockville Centre Police Department said they issued the summonses after receiving complaints about an ongoing pattern of noisemaking.

"On two occasions, police actually observed this individual creating a disturbance directed at neighbours and in violation of local law," police said in a statement.

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