An anonymous reader writes "When some of Hollywood's biggest movie and TV studios took Australian ISP iiNet to court in 2008 — accusing it of facilitating piracy — it focused the eyes of the world downunder. Internet users and media companies alike were keen to see if the courts could figure out how to resolve the ongoing battle caused by easy, and essentially illegal, access to copyrighted material. After three and a half years and a number of appeals the high court judgement comes down on Friday, but it already looks like a failed attempt to solve an impossible riddle."
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silentbrad writes, with bits and pieces from the Globe and Mail: "A number of Canadian media companies have joined forces to try to shut down a free music website recently launched by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., claiming it threatens to ruin the music business for all of them. The group, which includes Quebecor Inc., Stingray Digital, Cogeco Cable Inc., the Jim Pattison Group and Golden West Radio, believes that CBCmusic.ca will siphon away listeners from their own services, including private radio stations and competing websites that sell streaming music for a fee. The coalition is expected to expand soon to include Rogers Communications Inc. and Corus Entertainment Inc., two of the largest owners of radio stations in Canada. It intends to file a formal complaint with the CRTC, arguing that the broadcaster has no right under its mandate to compete with the private broadcasters in the online music space. ... 'The only music that you can hear for free is when the birds sing,' said Stingray CEO Eric Boyko, whose company runs the Galaxie music app that charges users $4.99 a month for unlimited listening. 'There is a cost to everything, yet CBC does not seem to think that is true.' ... The companies argue they must charge customers to offset royalty costs which are triggered every time a song is played, while the CBC gets around the pay-per-click problem because it is considered a non-profit corporation. ... Media executives aren't the only ones who have expressed concern. When the CBC service was launched in February, the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers said that when it set a flat fees for the more than 100,000 music publishers it represents, it never envisioned a constant stream of free music flooding the Internet."
braindrainbahrain writes "Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, has a Facebook page in which he posts a short gripe about Comcast. It seems watching video through the Xfinity app on an Xbox does not counting towards your cap on your Comcast data plan. All other services, Netflix included, do. To quote Hastings: 'For example, if I watch last night's SNL episode on my Xbox through the Hulu app, it eats up about one gigabyte of my cap, but if I watch that same episode through the Xfinity Xbox app, it doesn't use up my cap at all. The same device, the same IP address, the same wifi, the same internet connection, but totally different cap treatment. In what way is this neutral?'" The difference, of course, is that you need a Comcast cable TV subscription in order to have the Xfinity app not count toward your monthly data usage allowance. Then again, you can't exactly sign up for a similar plan through Netflix or Hulu.
Weezul writes "Paramount's 'Worldwide VP of Content Protection and Outreach' Al Perry has insinuated that Louis CK making $1 million in 12 days means he isn't monetizing. Al Perry asserted that 'copyright law gives creators the right to monetize their creations, and that even if people like Louis C.K. decide not to do so, that's a choice and not a requirement.' Bonus, Slashdot favorite Jonathan Coulton apparently grossed almost half a million last year."
raolin writes "I have been running without television service for the last few years, relying instead on Netflix Streaming, Hulu Plus, Amazon, and my personal video library. I have the latter indexed and easily searchable, but I have not managed to find a good aggregator for the streaming services that I use, so when I have friends over and the question 'Can we see X?' is asked, I have to search three streaming sources, which is kind of a drag. I know Netflix has a search API that I could work with, and it seems at least possible that Hulu and Amazon do as well, but before I try to build something myself I thought I'd ask the community. Any thoughts?"
AstroPhilosopher writes "In a move similar to Hollywood's attempt to have the Supreme Court ban VCRs back in the 80's, ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and Univision are set to appear in court next month to urge a New York federal judge to block Aereo. 'Aereo lets those in New York who want to watch on their iPad what they can pull down for free from the public airwaves to their TV with an antenna.' The networks, however, say Aereo will cause irreparable harm to their business. Aereo's conduct apparently causes them to 'lose control over the dissemination of their copyrighted programming, disrupts their relationships with licensed distributors and viewers and usurps their right to decide how and on what terms to make available and license content over new internet distribution media.'"
Sun Studio in Memphis, TN. It's still there (after a spotty history, including resale and re-opening in the late '80s) -- and it's still analog. Mostly analog, at least; a Pro Tools system is there for people who don't want to pay for an all-analog production. Thousands of tourists (I met a family from Norway who'd come to visit Graceland and Sun) descend on the old building each year just to see the place, and others come to record in the legendary space and what has become a boutique recording studio. I got to chat for a while with Sun recording engineer Matt Ross-Spang about working with the studio's lovingly gathered and restored recording gear, some of it nearly three times as old as he is. (An unexpected bonus: hanging out for a few hours in the Sun control room is a good way to bump into Fluke Holland, former drummer for Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash, who stopped in just after we stopped shooting.) Be warned: there are some bursts of rock-and-roll to listen through.
An anonymous reader writes "Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals candidly discusses the future of privacy law in an essay published today in the Stanford Law Review Online. Referencing an Isaac Asimov short story, Kozinski acknowledges a serious threat to our privacy — but not from corporations, courts, or Congress: 'Judges, legislators and law enforcement officials live in the real world. The opinions they write, the legislation they pass, the intrusions they dare engage in—all of these reflect an explicit or implicit judgment about the degree of privacy we can reasonably expect by living in our society. In a world where employers monitor the computer communications of their employees, law enforcement officers find it easy to demand that internet service providers give up information on the web-browsing habits of their subscribers.'" (Excerpt continues below.)
First time accepted submitter TheSeventh writes "Simpsons creator Matt Groening has revealed the location of the real Springfield: It's in Oregon. In an interview with Smithsonian magazine, Groening credits the name to the hit TV show Father Knows Best. The show 'took place in the town of Springfield, and I was thrilled because I imagined that it was the town next to Portland, my hometown,' he says. 'When I grew up, I realized it was just a fictitious name. I also figured out that Springfield was one of the most common names for a city in the U.S. In anticipation of the success of the show, I thought, 'This will be cool; everyone will think it's their Springfield.' And they do.'"
unts writes "The highly configurable Linux PVR, MythTV, has reached the 0.25 release, over 500 days after the previous full release. New features include VAAPI support, E-AC3, TrueHD, and DTS-HD audio, the ability to control other home entertainment devices via HDMI CEC and additions to the API to allow HTTP live streaming. The release notes for 0.25 don't reflect the release status at the time of writing, but should contain most of the relevant changes. MythTV can be used as a backend (recorder) and frontend (viewer), but can also feed other frontends such as appropriate versions of XBMC. Hopefully the new HTTP streaming API will lead to even more ways to get your video fix."
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's JR Raphael offers up six memorable tales of trouble and triumph from the tech support desk. 'Working in tech support is a bit like teaching preschool: You're an educator who provides reassurance in troubling times. You share knowledge and help others overcome their obstacles. And some days, it feels like all you hear is screaming, crying, and incoherent babble.' Pronoun problems, IT ghosts, the runaway mouse — when it comes to computers, the customer isn't always right."
MrSeb writes with ExtremeTech's account of how director (and deep sea explorer) James Cameron spent a reported $18 million converting his blockbuster movie, Titantic, to 3D. The article "looks at the primary way of managing depth in 3D films (parallax), how you add depth to a movie that was originally filmed in 2D, and some of the software (both computer and human-brain) difficulties that Cameron had to overcome in the more-than-two-year process to convert Titanic into 3D."
T-Kir writes "Apparently 20 years ago, instead of the Fremont Experience, downtown Las Vegas was actually close to building a life sized version of the refit USS Enterprise, and would have — had it not been for the then studio chairman Stanley Jaffe nixing it at the final meeting. The project had support from Paramount licensing and then-CEO Sherry Lansing, the Las Vegas Mayor, and the downtown redevelopment committee, but not opinion of Mr Jaffe: 'I don't want to be the guy that approved this and then it's a flop and sitting out there in Vegas forever.' As a Trek fan, I'm saddened that this never got built because I feel that this would've appealed to a much wider audience than science fiction fans. Props to io9 for picking this story up."
An anonymous reader writes "I was looking at multimedia players from brands such as SumVision, Noontec and Western Digital. They all seem to be some device which accepts a USB hard-drive and commands from an IR remote control, and throws the result over HDMI. I have my own idea of what a hardware multimedia player should do (e.g. a personalized library screen for episodes, movies and documentaries; resume play; loudness control; etc.). I also think it will a good programming adventure because I will have to make the player compatible with more than a few popular codecs. Is this an FPGA arena? Or a mini-linux tv-box? Any advice, books or starting point to suggest?" There certainly have been a lot of products and projects in this domain over the years, but what's the best place to start in the year 2012?
New submitter BBCS writes "The National Copyright Administration of the People's Republic of China ('NCAC') is seeking public comments on a controversial draft amendment to China's copyright law. A number of recording artists and musicians have reacted strongly against this proposed amendment because it appears to encourage using others works without compensation. The amendments that have drawn particular ire are article 46 & 48. Per Article 46, one does not need consent to make recordings of another person's musical work if 3 months have passed since such work was published. Per Article 48, to use such person's musical work, one must contact the NCAC, identify the published material and its author, and within 1 month of use, submit a usage fee as per the NCAC, to facilitate the distribution of payment to applicable parties. I wonder what happens when someone applies to make use of Chinese Democracy by Guns N' Roses." What would you do, if copyright were so strongly time-limited?