What a crazy world we live in, thanks to the copyright police. An article over on Ars Technical shows just how screwed up our copyright system is here in the U.S., thanks to the DMCA. One example – it is legal to jailbreak your iPhone, but not your iPad.Read more
3D printing at the moment is slowly becoming a more publicly available technology. In the not so distant past the technology was only really used by big companies in industries such as engineering to create prototypes, models, etc, but within the last few years there has been a big increase in public availability with a number of cheaper 3D printers appearing on the market.Read more
By many accounts, one of the more entertaining talks at TED in 2012 was Rob Reid’s look at what he calls “copyright math.” Reid is the author of Architects of the Web and he founded Listen.com Inc., which created the Rhapsody digital music service. In a very tongue in cheek demonstration, he points out the bogus nature of the entertainment industry’s math when it comes to supposed losses due to copyright infringement. For example, he discusses how the economic loss due to copyright infringement, as claimed by the entertainment industry, would equal the combined collapse of the entire U.S. corn, fruit, wheat, cotton, tobacco, rice, and . . . sorghum industries. He goes on from there, in a talk that is worth several laughs.Read more
If you tried to visit 40Tech today, you saw that we went dark from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST. We turned out the lights, shutting off the site, to join the online protest again SOPA and PIPA. For a look at SOPA and PIPA, check out this video.
You’ve probably heard about SOPA by now. SOPA is a bill that, if passed, would allow private companies (i.e. the movie and recording industry) to obliterate sites from the Internet, merely by making an accusation. For an example of the dangers of such a law, a post by the founder of Weebly is a must-read. Weebly is a web service that allows users to create their own sites using a drag and drop interface. The service hosts millions of sites. In 2009, the site was hosting over two million sites, and all those sites almost went dark thanks to a complaint by one business.Read more
We’ve written a few times before about the entertainment industry’s war against piracy, and the collateral damage that it causes. We’ve covered the U.S. government’s seizure of domains without due process, the government’s mistaken take down of 84,00 innocent sites, and attempts to push through a treaty with other nations that would, among other things, make it illegal to unlock phones. That was bad, but if a bill that is currently under consideration today is passed, things could get much worse.Read more
Recently, Netflix angered a large amount of its US subscriber-base by announcing changes to its pricing model. It used to be that, if you wanted to do the Neflix videos-by-mail thing and stream content as well, it would only cost you an extra couple of bucks per month. Now (as of two days ago, in fact), if you want both, you need to pay double — $7.99 for each service. While the Netflix move may be understandable, and part of a potentially larger plan to phase out physical delivery altogether, the customer backlash was also unsurprising — and significant.
To make matters worse for Netflix, on the very day that the new pricing came into effect, Starz, the distributor of Sony and Disney content decided not to renew their contract with Netflix. This is probably going to hurt Netflix customer relationships even more, but believe it or not, it happened as a result of Netflix attempting to preserve their pricing model, and, presumably, to keep their customers from imploding.Read more
Two months ago, we wrote about the U.S. Department of Justice’s largely unilateral seizure of domain names of commercial websites that were engaged in counterfeiting. We’ve now seen the danger of that process, with the government pulling a major “whoopsie” and mistakenly shutting down a large number of perfectly innocent sites, as the government went after child pornography sites.Read more
By now, you’ve heard how the United States Department of Justice seized the domain names of several commercial websites that were accused of engaging in counterfeiting. Among these were some file sharing sites. If the seizure shocks your idea of fair play, you’re not alone. How exactly did the U.S. government seize these domain names, without giving the site owners a chance to defend themselves?Read more
After a (very) long wait, Netflix has finally opened up in Canada. Well, mostly, anyway. For starters, the Canadian arm of the service is streaming only, no delivery, so that that immediately cuts down the amount of possible content available to Canadians. That was just the first content cut, however… Canadian usage rights for entertainment content have always been an added difficulty with any mainstream media service, and Netflix proves to be no different. Even though the service has finally found its way to Canada, when Hulu, Pandora, and even YouTube content is still restricted, the selection of movies and television episodes have been met with groans of disappointment by many.Read more