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Monday, January 30, 2012

Top 5 Upcoming Tablets

Eyeing the increasing competition, we may also expect manufacturers to keep the prices of expected tablets reasonable.
Despite lower than expected sales, Android tablets remain hot favourites of the handsets vendors - this further gains ground if we look at the number of tablets lined up for launch this year.

Moreover, these new tablets are likely to come with better design and features. Eyeing the increasing competition, we may also expect manufacturers to keep the prices very reasonable.

Sony Tablet P

This one has already been announced and will be available within next 10-15 days in India. The biggest USP of this tablet is its form factor. It has two screens measuring 5 inch each; together they give you 10 inch space and when folded gives you a form factor of a large smartphone. How it performs in the market is something that needs to seen but this PSP (Playstation) certified certainly has a lot going for it.

Under the skin, this tablet houses a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 mobile processor and runs on Android Honeycomb OS. Sony P has a 5 megapixel camera at the back and a 0.3 megapixel camera in the front. It has quite a unique design and the interface is programmed to use both the screens combined and individually.

The device, with both 3G and WiFi connectivity, will cost Rs 36,990 but might not be liked by many users because in a time when high end feature phones come with around 4 GB of internal memory they would expect a tablet to have minimum 16 GB of internal storage capacity.

Asus Transformer Prime TF201

This is another tablet with a confirmed launch date, and a unique form factor. Like its predecessor, Asus Transformer, this tablet has a keyboard docking station which transforms it into a laptop.

The tablet is going to be launched in February at a price slightly higher than its earlier version, which sold for Rs 29,999 with keyboard dock.

Transformer Prime TF201 features a 10.1 inch touchscreen display. It houses a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 mobile processor and will run on Android 3.2 Honeycomb, though Ice Cream Sandwich update already lined up for it. In terms of connectivity also, the tablet is fully loaded with 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth etc.

Samsung Galaxy 7.7

Another tablet that is expected to be launched in a couple of months is the Samsung Galaxy 7.7, though no formal announcement has been made in this regard. This tablet will come with a 7.7 inch Super Amoled Plus display supporting 1280x800 pixel resolution. Inside, it would pack a dual core 1.4 GHz microprocessor with Mali-400MP graphics chip to power the Android 3.2 Honeycomb operating system.

Samsung has added Universal Remote Control functionality in Galaxy 7.7 that will let you control your television as well as home entertainment systems through your tablet.

Samsung Galaxy 7.7 will support SIM calling and has a 3 megapixel camera at the back while a 2 megapixel one will be there in its front. It supports 3G and WiFi and will come in 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB storage options along with support for micro SD card of up to 32 GB capacity. Samsung has not revealed its price yet but we expect it to be within Rs 30,000 price bracket.

Acer Iconia A200

This one is a mid range 10 inch tablet from Acer. It boasts a 10.1-inch display with a native resolution of 1280x800 pixel, and has a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor with an integrated low-power GeForce graphic chip which is capable of playing 1080p HD videos.

The tablet runs Android 3.2 Honeycomb operating system and will be upgraded to Android 4.0 later. In the front, Acer has only 2 megapixel front camera for HD video chats.

Acer Iconia A200 has a full USB 2.0 port, which means that it will support 3G dongles. The Iconia Tab A200 doesn't offer SIM slot and is entirely dependent on the WiFi for Internet connectivity. Bluetooth, GPS are there. It has also dual speakers for good audio experience.

While the price and availability of this tablet for India is yet to be announced, we expect it to be launched by March within a price range of Rs 20,000. The tablet has just started selling in USA for $350 (Rs 18,000 approx).

Motorola Xoom 2

The Xoom tablet did not get the cash register ringing for Motorola. However, the company will be hoping to change this with the upgraded Xoom tablet that is loaded with many interesting features and a stylish design.

Though it is not clear as when Motorola would bring the Xoom 2 to India, but it is already being launched in phases in different parts of the world, so we can expect it to come to India within next three months.

There are two versions of the Motorola Xoom 2 tablet with screen sizes of 8.2 and 10.1 inches, but both have the same display resolution of 1280 × 800 pixels and even the same hardware. Both tablets have an LTE version and a WiFi only version. Apart from that they use a 1.2 GHz dual core processor and run on Android 3.2, which will be upgraded later.

The 10.1 inch Xoom 2 has a detachable key board as an accessory. Motorola has also included Infra-red in the tablets that helps it work as a universal remote for all your gadgets. Other connectivity options are present in full force.

You can read our hands-on here (Xoom 2 is called Xyboard in USA). Motorola Xoom 2 is expected to be priced around Rs 30,000- 40,000.

Google Knows Too Much About You

The world’s known search engine Google has never been a champion of personal privacy, but it seems to finally overstep the mark with newly introduced encompassing services.
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Google has announced a few days ago that a major shake-up is afoot to a number of its services. Actually, the search engine seems to have switched from a Peeping Tom behavior to something close to full-on stalker. The website claimed it was getting rid of a lot of red tape that will provide seamless service between different facets of its business. Main part of it is relatively harmless: for instance, it would mean that keywords in the search engine might be used to suggest you certain videos when you visit YouTube.

This is not something users should be worrying about. However, taking into account the fact that your Google+ accounts, your location and even your Gmail content will also feed into searches, this may threaten to cross the line from convenient to plain creepy. Actually, the way Google behaves is expected to change quite substantially in March.

The company strongly believes that there are a lot of “cool” things it is able to do by “combining data” across its products. For instance, it might appear useful for you to get a reminder that you are late for some appointment based on your location. However, aside from all this care about the users, it is still a sign of the company’s ever increasing influence that is genuinely concerning. Indeed, taking into account the firm’s alleged abuse of its position with the information-spying debacle and other things, the level of trust Google demands is really phenomenal.

Google seems to combine all your peculiarities, including social life, search habits, and work in attempt to be with you at every moment. Meanwhile, one can notice that there is not much to be done to tackle Google’s changes. Undoubtedly, the main reason for Google to be so keen on delving even further into users’ lives is reaping greater rewards from advertising revenues. The search engine may keep claiming that it doesn’t sell your personal data, but it will benefit from knowing about you for sure.

Industry experts point out that this can appear the start of a backlash against Google. If you consider the way that the search engine has emerged relatively unscathed from serious privacy breaches previously, it might take much for Internet users to shift away. So, taking into account the claustrophobic feeling of the engine’s latest intrusions, public perception could start shifting.

Famous Rapper Will Face FBI Questioning

While the file-sharing community is mourning the shutdown of one of the largest cyberlockers – MegaUpload, Swizz Beatz (Alicia Keys’ husband and CEO of that former file-sharing service) may face questioning by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. At the moment, it seems very important for the current investigation to clarify his role into this entire business, because American officials claim $175 million in damage.

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After last week’s massive takedown operation, which is recognized as the largest criminal copyright case in American history, 7 MegaUpload executives found themselves indicted. As for Kim Dotcom, the file-sharing service’s founder, he has denied the charges and is currently fighting extradition claims after his arrest in New Zealand. Netizens, supported by well-known hacker groups, are trying to express their discontent about the situation, but the investigation doesn’t seem to care.

Although the site’s documents reveal that Swizz Beatz doesn’t have ownership whatsoever of the former file-sharing service, he was still listed as Chief Executive Officer on the website and is known for promoting the service by creating promotional videos. A week ago, Ira Rothken, the representative of MegaUpload, explained that Swizz Beatz had actually never been involved in a meaningful way. It turned out that Beatz was simply “in conversations to be named Chief Executive Officer”. However, the New York Post begs to differ, insisting that the artist was MegaUpload’s CEO for around a year. An unnamed source told the newspaper that it appeared to be a situation where the rapper agreed to take the position of the Chief Executive Officer without first doing his due diligence about the organization.

Today the 33-year-old musician is waiting for being questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to the same paper. It also says that Beatz may hire a criminal defense lawyer. Meanwhile, anyone that’s found guilty in this massive lawsuit would face as much as fifty years in prison.

Swizz Beatz, who’s real name is Kasseem Dean, is recognized as one of hip-hop’s shiniest stars. He has started in the 90’s by producing tracks for such stars as DMX, Jay-Z and Busta Rhymes. He has also released two solo albums already, along with producing tracks by Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z and Kanye West.

Wikileaks Showed America As A Tool Of Entertainment Industry

A leaked cable between the American and the Australian governments has revealed how far the United States is having its foreign policy dictated to it by the entertainment industry.

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The Canberra Wikileaks cables revealed that the embassy of the United States had blessed a conspiracy by Hollywood studios to target an Australian communications company iiNet via the local court system. It turned out that the idea was actually to achieve a binding common law precedent that would have made Internet service providers responsible for the illegal file-sharing of their subscribers.

The entertainment industry has selected this country and this ISP carefully. Indeed, if it managed to set a precedent over there, then it would have been influential in all other Commonwealth states. Since Telstra had too many legal resources to see off such a complaint, iiNet ISP appeared to be the perfect candidate.

The cables of the embassy of the United States revealed that the case was originally filed by the Motion Picture Association of America and its international affiliate, known as the Motion Picture Association (MPA). However, neither of them wanted this fact to become widely known. Formally, the case was launched by the local Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft – a consortium of US movie studios with token Australian representation, which started legal action against the selected ISP over three years ago.

The embassy of the United States in Canberra was saying that it would monitor this case, but it finally turned out that the US and MPA and American embassy badly misjudged their target and found the ISP put up the legal fight of their lives. According to the leak, AFACT was routed in every court in the land. 

Why MegaUpload Was Closed Down

Once MegaUpload was seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there appeared all sorts of theories circulating around the Internet, all trying to explain the reasons of such a drastic move. Meanwhile, most of them are trying to answer the only question: why MegaUpload?
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Actually, there is one theory that really makes sense. According to the recent media reports, the cyberlocker’s management was going to introduce a new service, which would shake the world of music industry from its grounds. The service was dubbed MegaBox and was meant to be a cloud-based alternative music shop, which could offer the musicians a better deal than the record labels. Meanwhile, MegaUpload’s founder Kim Dotcom told to the media that the website would soon accommodate musicians to offer them a chance to sell their works directly to consumers, at the same time keeping 90% of the earnings. In other words, in this case record labels lost clients and source of income.

Moreover, the cyberlocker was ready to pay the musicians even if their songs were downloaded for free. MegaUpload claimed that this business model proved to be successful after it has been tested with a million users. Indeed, claims like these might explain very well why the cyberlocker had the support of a lot of great artists before its abysmal fall.

In case this theory is true, which looks very credible, the shutdown of MegaUpload could be just an effort to stop an alternative business model that would have ended the era of record labels. Meanwhile, as everyone knows today, by some people, like those holding the monopoly on the outdated but still working business models, “change” is regarded as a bad word.

IFPI’s Piracy Claims Called Ludicrous

IFPI’s (the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) claims over the affects of music piracy have once again been regarded as misleading for the public and policy makers.
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The Pirate Party spokesman Andrew Robinson claimed that the IFPI’s report into the digital music sales was not just one-sided, but also very selective of facts, which made it “not just wrong, but even ludicrous”. The music body has published its findings into Internet music sales, and, regardless of seeing good growth in revenues, it kept blaming piracy for hindering further growth.

In fact, digital revenues to the music industry have actually grown by 8% across the globe last year, reaching an estimated $5.2 billion and up from 5% back in 2010. The growth in question was mainly attributed to a growth in presence of subscription-based services like Spotify and Deezer, with the number of countries with the access to the services more than doubling within the last year from 23 to 58.

Anti-piracy legislation like French HADOPI file-sharing law was also lauded for increasing moves to paid services instead of free downloading. Nevertheless, the IFPI still claimed that continuing piracy was hampering the music label’s attempts to monetize its switch from physical sales, with the United States selling more on the Internet than in stores now. The IFPI’s report claimed that piracy was rigging the market for legal services, hampering growth and jeopardizing investment in the creative content.

Pirate Party spokesperson explained that a lot of the claims by the music industry were actually baseless, as well as raised concerns over potential impact on the ACTA treaty that has been negotiated between a number of nations. Indeed, it turned out that the IFPI had no basis to claim such things, since they only had quotes from some unpublished research they have made, from which they picked up figures suiting themselves.

Why this is worrying is because such figures have influence on policy makers when anti-piracy bills are being discussed by the government. It has been seen many times how such reports were used by governments as facts without checking them. Consequently, this type of figures is later used to inform bills like the ACTA treaty where it can be used to provide evidence for arguments against online piracy.

MegaUpload Users Will Sue American Government

MegaUpload users who legally stored their information on the cyberlocker are going to sue the government of the United States for theft of their information. Last week, the US Department of Justice switched off servers of the website at the request of the entertainment industry, while cutting off millions of legitimate users from their backed-up data.

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It seems that the Department of Justice had been told that MegaUpload was only being used by pirates to distribute unauthorized material and for some reason they forgot that it might actually be used legitimately. Multiple media reports confirm that those users all over the world are now fuming that the government of the United States didn’t warn them to take their content off the website before they closed it down, so they might have a point.

Ironically enough, the legal campaign has been organized by the Pirates of Catalonia, cooperating with Pirate Parties International. They published a message on their website, saying that the widespread damage caused by the sudden shutdown of MegaUpload was really unjustified and entirely disproportionate to the aim intended. The Pirates of Catalonia have created a form where the site users were able to register their complaints. They are going to facilitate submission of complaints against the American authorities in as many countries throughout the globe as possible, in order to ensure a positive and just result.

Thus far, it is unclear what kind of legal action the outfit is able to take. In fact, the only specific statutes the Pirates of Catalonia mentioned were Articles 197 and 198 in the Spanish law responsible for governing the misappropriation of personal information. Today the outfit is claming that it is only investigating the potential breaches of legislation.

On the other hand, there is something that might stop the Pirates of Catalonia from being successful. The matter is that MegaUpload’s terms of service mentioned that users storing personal information on the website did so at their own risk. On the one hand, that might have protected the cyberlocker from being sued, but on the other hand, it could at the same time be used by the Department of Justice to point out that legitimate users should have backed up anyway. 

Internet Giants Linked to MegaUpload Under FBI Scope

There have been a lot of publications released related to MegaUpload lately, but this is normal given that it was actually the fall of a giant, which doesn’t happen very often. Now the reports started to mention names of the other online giants that were connected with the cyberlocker in some way. All of them are now also involved into the FBI investigation.
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Indeed, the sudden death of MegaUpload has dragged a lot of names under FBI’s scope, including Kim Dotcom (the founder of the service), MegaUpload’s CEO Swizz Beatz (famous rapper and music producer), and a number of other people from all over the globe: Germany, Finland, Slovakia, and Estonia. But this time, MegaUpload’s indictment involved such online giants as PayPal and Moneybookers, and not only them. It appeared that the FBI was interested in another big name in the gaming section related to the closed service.

According to the indictment, PartyGaming, the Internet gaming giant, had already paid over $3 million to the cyberlocker since 2009. One can read under the section “3rd parties” that PartyGaming PLC is an entity located in the United Kingdom, which has operated PartyPoker.com service since 2001. The latter accounts for over 3 million visitors every year and remains one of the largest poker rooms on the Internet. The advertising contract of PartyGaming, concluded with the members of Mega Conspiracy, had been initiated in November 2009. This contract has resulted in payments of over $3,000,000 to the Conspiracy and has been still active as recently as March 2011. The same sections mention a couple of another famous money transferring services: Moneybookers and PayPal.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Apple To Launch iPhone 5 Soon

World's largest handset maker, Apple may come out with the fifth generation iPhone 5 this summer (April), according to a report published on a website.

Quoting sources at Foxconn, which manufacturers iPhone for Apple, the website (9to5mac.com) said, “We received word from a reliable source at Foxconn in China that the iPhone 5, as it is currently being called, is now gearing for production. The source said various sample devices are also floating around (they vary slightly from one another), so it is impossible to tell which one will be the final.”

As per the report, the Apple iPhone 5 may have a 4 inch display and would have a different form factor (design) than its older cousins (iPhone 4S and 3GS etc). The upcoming device would be longer and wider, the report added.

Despite the rise of Android, Apple has managed to keep growing. Infact, according to a research, Apple has managed to grow its market share last year significantly to become the world’s largest handset maker. The release of iPhone 5 is expected to give its sales a further boost.

Apple’s iPhone 4S was launched in India in November 2011, a month after it was released in the USA. So, if the company releases iPhone 5 in April, we can expect it to come to India probably by June.

Top 5 Android Mobile Phones Under Rs 10,000 For Dec & Jan


Almost a year ago, Android phones under the Rs 10,000 category were not great enough to attract consumer attention. With sluggish performance due to myriad hardware models and delayed updates, several users preferred to wait till good Android handsets showed up in that price range.

Now we have a range of relatively powerful mobile phones that can run the latest Android OS smoothly. It is indeed very important to know the version of Android the mobile phone uses to make the best of it.

Android phones under Rs 10,000 are expected to have a feature rich package. They need to have a reasonably large capacitive touchscreen, decent processor, at least 3.2 megapixel camera and, of course, a recent version of Android OS.

Here is a list of the best mobile phones one must consider while buying a new Android phone for Rs 10,000 or less.

LG Optimus Net P690 (Rs 9,999) 

Successor to the popular Optimus One, the new Optimus Net P690 has instantly been accepted as a budget friendly smartphone, mostly because the phone is a feature rich package. Optimus Net P690 has a 3.2 inch touchscreen display with 320 x 480 pixel resolution and runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system.

Under the slim chassis, Optimus Net houses an 800 MHz mobile processor along with 512 MB of RAM, which is a good enough combination to run Android 2.3 Gingerbread smoothly. If third party developers get interested in this device then perhaps a custom ROM with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich might be supported on it.

Supporting 3G networks, Optimus Net offers wireless connectivity via WiFi and Bluetooth 3.0 as well. LG has used a 3.15 megapixel camera at its rear for decent quality photos to be uploaded and shared on social networks.

Finally, a mobile phone with a seemingly fast processor, decent camera and capacitive touchscreen should be your best bet if you plan to spend under five figures.

Samsung Galaxy Y S5360 (Rs 7,500) 

Packing a 3 inch capacitive touchscreen, the new Galaxy Y is quite popular amongst users of all ages and occupations etc. It's one of those mobile phones that come with Android 2.3 Gingerbread pre-loaded and with a flavour of TouchWiz user interface layered on it. Galaxy Y GT-S5360 mobile phone houses an 832 MHz processor to run the mobile operating system smoothly with 290 MB of RAM.

The compact candy-bar form factor makes it quite enjoyable and easy to hold. The Galaxy Y also comes in a special package - Galaxy Y Color Plus, which packs four additional inter-changeable backpanel covers, just like the Samsung Corby series phones. The Galaxy Y is kind of disappointing with a mere 2 megapixel camera at the back without any secondary camera in front.

Galaxy Y also features WiFi and Bluetooth 3.0 support. Of course, it comes with FM radio that works with an RDS and location services chip with A-GPS. Not counting the camera, this handset offers the best budget friendly Gingerbread experience.

Sony Ericsson W8 (Rs 9,300) 

Sony Ericsson's Walkman series mobile phones come with the special Walkman software and audio profiles loaded in them. The new Sony Ericsson W8 features a nice 3 inch capacitive touchscreen display and Walkman branding targeted at music lovers. By default the mobile phone bundles a 4 GB microSD card for music files.

Unfortunately, Sony Ericsson's Android phone buyers have to wait for weeks to get the latest update and enjoy a smooth OS experience. W8 comes with the age old Android 2.1 Éclair operating system that is powered with a 600 MHz mobile processor and a mere 168 MB of RAM. However, this mobile does not have enough hardware muscle to run even Android 2.3 Gingerbread smoothly, let along the upcoming Android Ice Cream Sandwich

Sony Ericsson has added custom Walkman styling with the TimeScape interface, bringing a W shortcut to the top right corner of the homescreen. This smartphone supports 3G networks and also offers WiFi support for wireless internet connectivity. It is a good phone which does appear slightly over priced. If you wish for a good music experience with your favourite pair of earphones and a fancy looking mobile, W8 should be the apt choice.

Motorola Fire XT311 (Rs 8,950) 

Android is indeed cumbersome to use with a Qwerty smartphone in candybar form, but if there's a capacitive touchscreen involved, the task is a wee bit easier. Motorola Fire XT311 is a Qwerty candybar phone with 2.8 inch capacitive touchscreen display supporting 240 x 320 pixel resolution.

Fire is one of the good entry level Motorola devices with Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread operating system for those who wish for the fastest and best features. Under the hood, Fire XT311 houses a 600 MHz mobile processor that might appear a bit slow, but is decent enough to run the operating system with a 256 MB RAM and 512 MB ROM.

The Fire XT311 is one heck of a good looking Android smartphone. It is very different from the dual-SIM EX119 that has a minimalist design. This mobile phone promises talk time of 7 hours on 2G networks and 5 hours on 3G. Considering the healthy talk time and physical Qwerty keypad, Fire XT311 is indeed worth a try.

Micromax Superfone Lite A75 (Rs 8,900) 

Micromax launched the iPhone 4-mocking Superfone with a bang and quietly slipped in the Superfone Lite, which is a stepped down version of the former model. Superfone Lite A75 comes with Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Micromax offers a 3.75 inch capacitive touchscreen display to enjoy Gingerbread goodness to the maximum without spending more.

Under the hood, it packs a 650 MHz mobile processor and offers dual GSM SIM support with dual-standby mode. 3G and WiFi enabled, this mobile phone is expected to eat up loads of battery life and that's why the company has packed a 1300 mAh battery, which is pretty decent for a budget phone. Then again, Superfone Lite comes with just 256 MB of RAM and there would be performance as well as battery issues on dual-SIM mode.

MegaUpload Shutdown By FBI, Owners Arrested

Last week was indeed sad time for online freedom: shockingly enough, MegaUpload, one of the largest file-sharing websites throughout the world, has been shut down by the Federal Bureau Of Investigation based on charges of infringing copyright laws. This happened just one day after hundreds of websites protested against new US anti-piracy legislation named SOPA by doing a “blackout”.
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The U.S. Justice Department indictment reads that MegaUpload, as well as its affiliated sites, generated revenues of over $175 million annually from advertising. In addition, it also read that because of the copyright infringement, the damages caused by the service reached $500 million. The leaders of the service have been convicted with five counts of copyright violation and conspiracy. Now the founders of MegaUpload face a sentence of twenty years in prison on the charge of racketeering, 5 years for money laundering and 5 more years on each of the substantive charges of criminal copyright violation. Four of the service leaders, Dotcom (the founder), Batato, Ortmann and van der Kolk had been taken into custody last week in Auckland, New Zealand, by local police. Meanwhile, three others (Bencko, Echternach and Nomm) are still free.

The file-sharing service has been supported by many celebrities, musicians and even producers. Just before being seized, the site contained endorsements from such celebrities as Kim Kardashian, Alicia Keys and Kanye West. Once the FBI seized MegaUpload domain name, the infamous hacker group Anonymous reacted to the move and compiled and published a file containing personal data about MPAA’s employees and US Democratic Party leaders and their families. The data was released, as usual, through Pastebin.com, as well as a list of the sites the hackers planned to attack next. In addition, the group under the Twitter name of @YourAnonNews claimed they managed to shut down FBI’s official site in response to MegaUpload being shut down. The tweet warned that 15 minutes after the government took down MegaUpload, Anonymous could take down government and record label websites.

The hackers emphasized that MegaUpload had been taken down without SOPA being law. The questions now are why they need this law in the first place then and what will happen if it passes. Apparently, the web as we know it will end in this case. 

The Pirate Bay Disclosed New Copyright Acts

The world’s largest BitTorrent tracker The Pirate Bay is once again reassuring its visitors that the newly suggested US anti-piracy acts known as PIPA and SOPA won’t be able to stop its activities, because there are a lot of workarounds. Nevertheless, the service can’t say that it is not worried at all. What worries the Swedish portal is not its own safety but the future of the web as we know it.

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The representative of the BitTorrent tracker admitted that they are worried, of course. However, he pointed out that he is worried not so much for The Pirate Bay, since there are many workarounds at hand, but rather for democratic reasons. Indeed, The Pirate Bay agrees with many industry observers, saying that it is really crazy what politicians can do in the name of copyright. It seems to many that they are either totally paid off, stupid or rights owners, though they may appear all of them, since it is not as uncommon as it might seem. At the same time, the worst part is that it is already so obvious that almost everyone in and outside the United States, including major companies, is against the suggested laws.

In case either SOPA or PIPA or both of them are given the green light (although their chances are diminishing), The Pirate Bay automatically appears on the top list of being blocked by all search engines and Internet service providers. The BitTorrent tracker has already taken precautions and started a modified edition of its CGIPROXY software to let anyone having access to a webserver launch The Pirate Bay proxy.

Everyone understands that the United States has too much influence on the web and the global politics. SOPA and PIPA are just two of many newer bills that are passed in the United States but in fact take effect outside of their borders. The United Nations and other organizations should actually fight back and say that it isn’t all right. Indeed, many experts agree that the web is a global infrastructure, which cannot be run in a single country. Aside from fighting anti-piracy legislation, the industry must also take away the possibility for a single state to rule over the global infrastructure. As for the ordinary Internet users, they are joking that while the laws are still discussed, people should post comments on SOPA official site including links to illegal content there, so that SOPA will have to shut down itself for containing such material.

People Against MPAA Over Bribery

Following Chris Dodd’s (the CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America) threatening that the industry would stop the cash flow to the politicians if they are going to withdraw their support to the recently suggested anti-piracy legislations like SOPA and PIPA, the public was quick to put into motion a petition. There it asks the White House to investigate comments of the MPAA’s head.

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As a result, several hours ago a White House petition was started, meant to investigate Chris Dodd and the Motion Picture Association of America for alleged bribery. The petition claims that their move represents an open admission of bribery and a threat meant to provoke a specific policy goal. It is claimed to be a brazen flouting of the “above the law” status people of Chris Dodd’s position and wealth enjoy.

According to media reports, the petition says that people simply demand justice and ask the White House to investigate that blatant bribery and indict everyone, particularly government officials and lawmakers, who appears to be involved.

Thus far, over 15 thousand people have already signed this petition, and this was in just a couple hours after its release. Now the number of the Internet users who aren’t afraid to break cover and openly demand justice is rapidly growing. Despite the fact that Chris Dodd’s connections in Washington aren’t to be taken lightly, consumers are still hoping that the petition in question may change something. Meanwhile, the more votes the petition gets, the better it will be for people, because White House can’t ignore the issue of such scale and will have to take action. Everyone who cares about the Internet future and freedom is invited to join the pack and sign the petition to fight for their own freedom of speech.
 

MPAA Threatened Politicians Not Supporting SOPA

The recent move of MPAA’s CEO Chris Dodd looks like an act of desperation. Indeed, it followed numerous protests against proposed anti-piracy bills and lawmakers’ drop of support for them. Dodd showed his true face at Fox News, saying that people who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support should realize that the entertainment industry is now watching carefully who is going to stand up for them when it is about their job.

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Nevertheless, this has been a known fact, which was even supported by anonymous comments from the industry members promising to stop contributing to Obama. At the same time, this lack of tact from the MPAA’s CEO may prove to be deadly for his future on that position. It seemed that he didn’t realize that the protests weren’t because of the content of the legislation, but because of the corruption. So going on national news and threatening politicians you “own” wasn’t a very wise step, with the public being already on fire.

It became clear that the Motion Picture Association of America doesn’t need a DC insider. Instead, it needs a reformer, someone who would be able to help the movie industry connect with the new market place – someone who clearly understands the essence of the web and can help the studios move forward.

In response, Public Knowledge has issued an incredible statement indicating how far Hollywood’s hypocrisy went and criticized Dodd’s threats. The outfit welcomed constructive dialog with everyone from all involved sectors about the questions over copyright, the state of the entertainment industry and related concerns. The list includes Internet security experts, web engineers, venture capitalists, musicians, businessmen, human rights advocates, professors, consumers and other outfits that had been shut out of the process for those acts.

Meanwhile, the industry experts suggested that if the Motion Picture Association of America was really concerned about the jobs of truck drivers and others in its industry, it could have brought its overseas filming back to the United States and created more jobs. The MPAA could have stopped holding states hostage for millions of dollars in subsidies that strained state budgets simply couldn’t afford, at the same time pushing special legislation through state legislatures. Public Knowledge pointed out that while such things happen, discussions could take place.

MegaUpload Case Continues

According to the latest media reports, New Zealand’s court of law has delayed the decision of granting or denying bail to Kim Dotcom. Meanwhile, two more site administrators were arrested in Europe. The prosecutor issued a statement, saying that Dotcom’s multiple identities, coupled with 4 dozen credit cards and a record of “fleeing criminal charges” indicate a flight risk “on the extreme end of the scale”.

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So, Kim Dotcom, the founder of well-known file-hosting service MegaUpload, was denied bail in an extradition hearing in New Zealand. Dotcom has been raided by 76 armed police in helicopters, and is currently wanted in the US, along with the other MegaUpload operators for racketeering, copyright violation and money laundering charges.

Today Dotcom reappeared in court to deny charges of copyright violation and money laundering, saying that he was a victim of an elaborate campaign that was launched in purpose to put him in the worst position. Dotcom’s attorney spoke at the North Shore District Court in Auckland hearing, claiming that Kim had been conducting a business supporting storage for online users and had nothing to do with any criminal activities.

However, the prosecution insisted that Dotcom’s collection of credit cards and impressing financial resources were making him liable of fleeing. Dotcom replied that he was only collecting credit cards, and many of those had already expired. The prosecutor didn’t seem convinced with that, emphasizing that the defendant’s resources, multiple identities, multiple passports and a record of fleeing criminal charges indicated a flight risk.

As a result, the judge delayed the decision because of the complex nature of the case.
As the entire world could see, Dotcom’s arrest came after a massive drop of support for new anti-piracy bills SOPA and PIPA, not just from lawmakers, but rather from a lot of firms that, under the pressure, eventually refused to support. Nevertheless, there are still many supporters of the legislation, including companies affiliated with the Business Software Alliance.

Meanwhile, in Europe a couple of MegaUpload operators got arrested. The media reports revealed that they were graphics designer from Slovakia and programmer and head of the development from Estonia.

Wikipedia Went Offline Protesting Against SOPA And PIPA

Wikipedia decided to express its feelings about the recently suggested copyright acts known worldwide as SOPA and PIPA. Apparently, the service has joined the long line of people actively protesting against the introduced bills and made a statement by going offline recently.
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The move in question is intended to make it obvious (again) for people who are yet to realize the complications and danger of having such legislation enforced. Indeed, the authorities and many people supporting SOPA still fail to understand how dramatically their life as Internet users would change without, for instance, a user-generated Internet encyclopedia and other online services that might suffer if these bills get green light.

Nevertheless, for people who are in so much need of knowledge that aren’t able to go without it even for one day, some ways of circumventing this impediment have already been made available. As for the announcement on Wikipedia, it claimed that for over ten years, the service have spent millions of hours creating the largest encyclopedia ever. And right now, the American Congress is discussing the law that could fatally damage the free and open web. That’s why the administrators decided to raise people's awareness by blacking out Wikipedia for 24 hours.

In a way, Wikipedia was still working as an encyclopedia, but that day you could learn only about one issue over there: instead of countless encyclopedia articles, the visitors saw information about the two congressional drafts of the bills and could read the details about how to reach legislators. It also appeared that people using smartphones still could access the full version of the site.

Cyberlockers Gave Up File-Sharing

Following MegaUpload shutdown and arrests that took place last week, Filesonic, one of the largest cyberlocker services on the Internet, has removed the features which made the site that popular among file-sharers. This move was done in order to place the service at a safe distance from Hollywood’s revenge. However, some industry observers believe that taking into account what is going on today, nobody can really be sure that such a distance even exists.

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The service that used to feature in the list of top 10 file-sharing websites on the web, with 250 million page views monthly placed today a red banner on the main page, saying that all file-sharing functionality on the service is disabled from now on and the site can only be used to upload and download files users have uploaded personally.

Moreover, Filesonic has also terminated its affiliates rewards program, which means that those users who have uploaded files to the service won’t any longer earn money for other visitors downloading their files. However, as the functionality of downloading itself was removed, the program wouldn’t have functioned anyway. Meanwhile, the uploaders are mainly concerned about the reward money they had already collected in their accounts before this shutdown. Users are not sure if they can even still receive that.

After the FBI arrested the founders of famous MegaUpload service and seized its domain name, all websites enabling files uploading and downloading, as well as their users, have been put on guard. However, what the unsuspecting ordinary online user doesn’t realize is that their fundamental rights are currently in danger, too, as they can be tragically limited. The reason for this is a new wicked anti-piracy legislation that hides behind such terms as “digital theft” and “intellectual property protection” is currently awaiting approval.

This is why a lot of the online giants went as far as to arrange a blackout regarding SOPA and PIPA bills in attempt to educate their visitors about the possible consequences of such laws. Today every other service urges everyone to get informed about the proposed legislation, offering detailed information about oncoming Internet filtering, and recommends taking immediate action in cooperation with the rest of the citizens trying to defend their rights and freedom.

Politicians Turned Away From Entertainment Industry

Online protests against entertainment industry taking over the American Justice system seem to have got the message to the US politicians that the world is hacked off with them. Press reports show that those politicians who stood for the entertainment industry are now switching sides. The reason is that they finally realized that their careers will be that much tougher when they are treated negatively by their voters.

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Apparently, the entertainment industry is realizing that its Washington campaign is faltering. For example, the Motion Picture Association of America described the opposition as an “abuse of power”. In other words, the MPAA really doesn’t know what to do. Recently, Wikipedia, the global free online encyclopedia, went offline for 24 hours. Google and others also used the black censorship bars in attempts to draw attention to what had earlier been a legislative proposal to curb access to foreign websites engaged into infringing the copyright.

Websites that participated in the blackout asked their visitors to reach their legislators on the question, and perhaps they did exactly that. After that, such sponsors of the bill as Senators Roy Blunt, Chuck Grassley, Marco Rubio, and many more announced that they were withdrawing their support. Meanwhile, the others began to attack Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for rushing the Senate version of the legislation. However, it can’t be Reid’s fault, because he was just doing what he was told. In addition, with political apathy in America about such issues he could think it was good to get campaign contributions from the entertainment industry for the coming elections.

In switching sides, some of the earlier bill supporters called it “deeply flawed”, while the others cited “unintended consequences” able to stem from the proposed legislation. All of them claimed that they supported taking action against Internet piracy. The others specified that they supported changes to the law.

Creative America – a studio- and union-supported outfit fighting online piracy, started a TV advertising campaign to air in the areas of key legislators. For example, in Times Square, it turned on a digital pro-SOPA and PIPA billboard in space offered by News Corp that owns Fox Studios. Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch is again known as a support of SOPA and PIPA and has dubbed Google a pirate.

MPAA Discontent With Online Blackouts

A lot of websites throughout the globe have joined the protest against new US copyright legislation called SOPA, including Wikipedia, Reddit, Dexonline.ro, The Cheezburger Networks, and many others. Meanwhile, Chris Dodd, the MPAA’s chairman, claimed that such blackouts were just “an abuse of power” and too “dangerous and troubling”.
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In his recent statement, the MPAA’s head called the blackouts a real blow against the efforts of the industry and the government to reach an agreement regarding new anti-piracy legislation. He pointed out that mere days after the government and chief sponsors of the bill responded to the concern of the opponents and consequently called for everyone to cooperate, a number of technology business interests were resorting to stunts which just punished their consumers or turned them into their corporate pawns, instead coming to the table to find solutions to a trouble, which everyone now seems to acknowledge is quite real and damaging.

As for the criticism that the new legislation was being exploited by a number of tech companies, there were some opinions online. For example, Rupert Murdoch announced on Twitter that there was government’s opposition to the bill, with Obama “[throwing] in his lot with Silicon Valley paymasters that threaten all software creators with piracy, plain thievery”. He also called Google a “piracy leader, which streams movies free, sells adverts around them”.

Google responded by calling Murdoch’s allegations nonsense and saying that the corporation believed, like a lot of other tech companies, that the best way to stop online piracy was through targeted legislation which would have required advertising networks and payment processors, like theirs, to cut off websites engaged in piracy and counterfeiting.

Chris Dodd, a strong supporter of both American anti-piracy bills (SOPA and PIPA), claimed that a so-called “blackout” became another gimmick, and quite a dangerous one, developed specifically to punish elected and administration officials working diligently to protect the US jobs from foreign criminals. He also added that it was a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms serving as gateways to data intentionally skew the facts in order to incite their visitor to further their corporate interests.