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Sunday, March 25, 2012

5 Ways Apple Could Stumble


How high will it go?
Answering that question about Apple has become a kin to a parlor game for stock analysts. The company merely can't seem to make a bad business decision. Apple's stock, now in the rarified air above $600 per share, is up 48 percent this year alone. Over the last five years, the stock has soared 571 percent, while the broader market has basically been flat.
The company recently said it would use part of its bulging, $97 billion cash stockpile to institute a dividend and buy back some of its shares, with room to do more of that in the future. Investing firm Zacks has an Apple price target of $654 over the next six months. There's chatter among investors of Apple shares some day cresting the $1,000 mark.
Apple's formula for success is no secret. Under late CEO Steve Jobs, Apple developed innovative and intuitive products like the iPod, iPhone and iPad, transforming old industries such as music and publishing while creating new ones such as app development. In the process, Apple built a fanatically loyal customer base. More than that, Apple has developed a whole content and technology universe, which means that even when hot gizmos start to cool, millions of customers will still rely on Apple for information and entertainment.
But no company is invulnerable, and former high-flyers such as Eastman Kodak, General Motors, AOL and Sun Microsystems have proven that the mightiest firms can succumb to hubris and misdirection. Even IBM endured a near-death experience in the 1990s, requiring the corporate equivalent of emergency intervention. Apple could probably ride its current wave of success for years. Yet the seeds of decline are often planted when big companies attain unmatched market power, as Apple has done. Here's how Apple could lose its edge:
The magic could wear off. Apple has millions of happy customers because its products delight and surprise them. To keep it up, Apple can't just crank out incrementally better gizmos. It needs to keep producing game-changers that leap ahead of the competition. The big question is whether the loss of Steve Jobs will blur Apple's vision or stall innovation.. "The untimely death of Steve Jobs may hurt Apple in this regard," Zacks says in its latest analyst report on the company. "New management will be watched heavily regarding its vision and stewardship capabilities."
Investing firm UBS notes that 62 percent of Apple's revenue comes from two relatively new products: the iPhone and iPad. For a company that's 35 years old, that's a remarkable testament to its ability to innovate. But it also creates high expectations, and if investors ever sense that Apple is losing its magic touch, the recent stock price run-up could turn out to be a temporary bubble.
Apple's competitors could wake up. Apple has a solid marketplace footing in respect to mobile phones and music players, while also jumping out to a huge lead in the tablet business. But in virtually all segments, Apple faces big competitors with deep pockets that are doubling down on new products and honing their sights on Apple. Zacks points out, for instance, that Apple has only a 15 percent market share in the mobile phone business, while Google's Android system, which debuted after the iPhone, has already nabbed 53 percent of the market. And competition will get tougher as Microsoft's Windows phone gains traction.
The market for iPods and competing music players may be close saturated, especially since most phones now play music. Big players such as Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Samsung, Sony, Amazon and HTC are taking on the iPad with their own tablets. And many analysts expect tablet sales to cut into laptop and desktop computer sales, for Apple as well as other manufacturers. "Increasing competition will hurt [Apple's] top-line going forward," says Zacks.
One buffer against competition for Apple has been a market for digital products that is ballooning, which explains why Apple's revenue from smart phones has gone up even as its market share has gone down. Analysts still see a big untapped market for Apple products, such as those in developing countries.. But an unexpected slowdown in way people adopt new technology could make Apple more sensitive to price competition and ultimately cut into profit margins.
Apple could overplay its hand with partners. Apple relies on partnerships with a variety of firms, including music companies, publishers, app developers and wireless providers such as Verizon and AT&T. Ron Adner, a professor at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business, who wrote about Apple in a new book called The Wide Lens, says Apple has so far enjoyed "asymmetric power partnerships" in which it's been able to dictate terms and take an oversized cut of any shared profits. The risk is that Apple could exploit its market power to squeeze partners even more, especially if there's increased pressure on Apple to sustain or improve margins. "They need to become more generous with partners, not less generous," says Adner. "The question is whether they can maintain a win-win atmosphere instead of squeezing their partners so much that partners start to look for other deals."
Apple TV could disappoint. The next big battleground for tech companies is television programming, where Apple is having a harder time developing highly profitable partnerships and gaining the kind of market share it has in other industries. When Apple first got involved in the music industry with the iPod and iTunes, it was static, with relatively little innovation. But TV viewers already have a lot of options, including Netflix, video-on-demand, websites like Hulu and free content apps offered by cable companies. "Apple doesn't have the same minimal viable footprint to jump-start a lead in TVs," says Adner. "It's a very different dynamic than what we saw in music and book publishing." Plus, Apple's ability to dictate terms has made some potential partners wary and more likely to seek alternatives.
Size could become a liability. The pace of innovation almost always slows when companies evolve into a behemoth. Some critics of Google and Microsoft, for instance, argue that these once-groundbreaking companies are now more likely to buy innovative companies than to develop breakthroughs in-house. Market leaders also attract more competition--and patent lawsuits--than niche companies. They have also become big targets for antitrust regulators, as AT&T, IBM, Microsoft and Google have learned.
Apple is now the most valuable company in the world by market capitalization. It accounts for 4.1 percent of the value of the S&P 500, according to UBS. Only five companies--AT&T, IBM, Exxon Mobil, Microsoft and General Electric--have ever represented a larger portion of the S&P 500. Apple has defied expectations many times before, so it may turn out to be the rare corporate giant that maintains the hunger and agility of a startup. As the stock keeps rising, that's what investors seem to be betting on.

Six Problem That The New iPad Has

The new iPad from Apple has received overwhelming response from consumers with three million units selling in just three days of its launch. However, the new tablet with famed Retina display is also facing its share of negative publicity with reports pouring in about the problems with the New iPad.

Heating issues

Many consumers are complaining that the tablet heats up fast while charging and is substantially hotter than what iPad2 used to be while charging. Some magazines have reported that it heats up to 47 degree Celsius compared to just 39 degree Celsius of iPad2.

WiFi issues

Network connection issues are not new for Apple with iPhone 4S facing major issues with network connectivity when held in a particular way.

The New iPad also reportedly does not properly connect to WiFi networks, giving users a weak signal. Hopefully this one doesn't turn out to be that big an issue.

Bigger apps

The New iPad comes with a retina display with better resolution, and this also means that the apps for this tablet will be bigger in size (MB) and will eat up more space. Since this tablet has no provision of external memory, you have to go for bigger storage version (32 GB and 64 GB) than the 16 GB version.

Takes much longer to charge

PCworld has reported that the New iPad takes as much as six hours to fully charge its battery, which is the longest duration among 40 tablets the magazine tested. However it should also be noted here that it also has one of the best battery backup time for any 4G device, thanks to a bigger battery.

Other complaints

USA based warranty provider 'SquareTrade' says that the tablet is more fragile than the iPad2 and completely shatters when dropped from shoulder height. Other than that people are also complaining that the tablet eats up a lot of data, and also doesn't support Facetime (video chat) function on LTE network.

The New iPad also doesn't support SIRI, the popular voice command service - which though is planned and not accidental from Apple.

Artist Analytics Integration Offered By Music Services

The British Last.fm announced its plans to cooperate with information and analytics platform named Musicmetric by integrating it into the Last.fm Music Manager.
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Musicmetric is also located in the UK, offering instruments for a better perspective on consumer behavior to anyone working for the creative industry. The service is doing this by drawing its power from peer-to-peer networks, review sites, comments and social networks, collecting information from all available sources.



Last week Last.fm has announced the integration during the SXSW Festival in Texas. After Musicmetric cooperates with Last.fm’s platform, the musicians will be able to track fans, plays and views across a number of Internet music and social platforms like Twitter, Last.fm, SoundCloud and others. In addition, the artists will be able to integrate 3rd party analytics from such services as Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, and YouTube Insight. They will also get a chance to upgrade to Musicmetric’s Premium version for just $5,99 per month.

Last.fm was launched 10 years ago and acquired by CBS in 2007. Today it accounts for around 40,000,000 users in 200 countries, offering new music and personalized radio and concerts, at the same time keeping a record of users’ listening behavior from more than 600 music players.

CBS Interactive Music Group announced that by integrating Musicmetric’s analytics dashboard into Last.fm’s Music Manager, they will be able to offer musicians and labels access to improved information related to their fans social media presence and listening habits through the Internet. The purpose of Last.fm is to help emerging musicians, and the current project will grant them unprecedented access to the instruments that are essential for success.

Via Last.fm Music Manager, the musicians are able to promote their tracks by uploading files to Last.fm, have access to a record about who is listening to their tracks, manage their profile and offer free downloads. Musicmetric has also launched a Musicmetric Pro edition, which offers sentiment analysis and TV-appearance tracking. Previously, this kind of analytics was only available to large companies. This is very convenient for new or unsigned artists trying to cut through the noise these days.

India Ordered Website Blocking

Last Wednesday Mumbai (India) held the event named FICCI FRAMES, an annual movie convention. Chris Dodd, the head of the MPAA and a supporter of Stop Online Piracy Act, pointed at the piracy issues during the event. As a result, Indian Internet service providers were ordered to close down over a hundred of sites that were allegedly facilitating access to copyrighted content.

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This year the event was held in partnership with Japan, and was attended by a number of important people, including Chris Dodd. The latter pointed out that 2 years ago the Indian movie industry was a $3.2 billion industry, and is expected to exceed $5 billion by 2014. But the copyrighted content theft threatens both the present and the future of the industry.

However, Dodd failed to mention why the Motion Picture Association of America lacks any kind of impartiality, particularly when it comes to independent artists, or how hundreds of millions of dollars had been invested in “second-hand” films while American economy was plummeting. Of course, blaming piracy can be regarded as a very convenient solution, but it doesn’t give right to the industry to ignore its own problems.

Unfortunately, these issues do not concern the Indian government, and a Kolkata court has already ordered all Internet service providers in India to block access to more than 100 sites, after Indian Music Industry filed lawsuit against them. According to the industry officials, each online service involved in the lawsuit in question had hosted some violated content, and that’s why the court decided that blacklisting is the best solution to tackle the problem. 4 injunctions from January to March 2012 implemented the blacklist.

Originally, the film group has targeted around 300 sites, but this number dropped to 104, because they decided to block only the most dangerous ones. Then the industry thought about how they could block all the services. Basically, there were three ways to do so: IP blocking, DNS blocking, or URL blocking. However, DNS blocking could be effortlessly circumvented by typing the website’s IP address instead of its URL. As for IP or URL blocking, they weren’t of much help either, and cutting the access to a portal became a problem. Meanwhile, such portals as Facebook and Google will soon have to also apply censorship on their content.

Worst Software Originates From US Government

According to experts’ opinion, the US government holds the reputation of the writer of the worst software code ever.
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According to the famous insecurity researcher, the American software developers are responsible for considerably more hackable security flaws in their code. That’s what the chief technology officer of bug-hunting company Veracode is going to tell delegates at the Black Hat Europe security conference in the Netherlands this week.

He has been looking at almost 10,000 pieces of software over the second half of 2010 and 2011. The software was scanned for errors which the hackers could use to hit either a website or a user’s computer.

80% of the applications failed to fully live up to the security criteria. However, breaking down the results between American government and private sector, the software developed by government team appeared to rank as garbage. When the security specialists tried to measure the collection of applications against the Open Web Application Security Project standard, it turned out that 16% of American government Internet software was secure, while the finance industry could boast a result of 24%, and commercial software was more than ¼ secure – 28%.

Then the SANS standard was used to measure offline software. The results were following: only 18% of the US government applications passed the check, while the finance industry managed to secure 28% of its applications. Unsurprisingly, 34% of commercial software was good.

Although the private sector coding was also awful, it appeared to be a lot better than anything the government could suggest. Internet software was especially bad. For example, over 40% of government web applications were vulnerable to SQL injections. When the researchers checked cross-site scripting, which lets the hackers to inject their own code into a site, they found out that 3/4 of government-written software was vulnerable, while only 2/3 in the finance industry and 1/2 of commercial software were that bad.

The reason for the difference is expected to be the private contractor system in the United States, which actually rewards bad coding. Indeed, in reality, the private sector software writers, who create insecure code for the government, later get additional pay in contract add-ons for fixing the problem. 

Fake Anonymous Operating System Distributed Online

A Tumblr account, which claims to be associated with the well-known hacking group Anonymous, recently announced the launch of their own Linux-based OS. The latter is promised to contain its own suite of hacking instruments on-board.
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In reality, the distributed software has been slammed as being packed full of malware, particularly designed to compromise the operating system on which it’s installed.

The operating system itself has been based on Ubuntu. It also uses the Mate desktop. Aside from what a user can normally find on Ubuntu, the software also contains the password cracker named John the Ripper; Ddosim, an instrument designed for simulating distributed denial of service attacks; and SQL Poison – this one searches the sites for security vulnerabilities.

Meanwhile, there’s a tiny warning located on the “About” section of the Tumblr page devoted to the new operating system. The warning points out that the software was developed “for educational purposes”. In addition, the site warns that any individual using the operating system to attack any Internet page might end up in jail because it is an evident crime.

However, the tweet from the official Anonymous channel, @AnonOps, has warned that the Anon operating system isn’t associated with the hacktivists, is fake and wrapped in trojans. Hacker News also pointed out that the software wasn’t developed by any genuine source and could be backdoored by any hacker or law enforcement agency.

In response, the developers of “Anonymous” operating system have published another Tumblr post, saying that in their world, in Linux and open source, no viruses can exist. Still, they didn’t deny that it may be a trojan horse instead.

BitTorrent Merged With Cyberlockers To Form Netkups

The team of developers who created Netkups by incorporating two file-sharing platforms (cyberlockers and BitTorrent) is sure that this new hybrid platform will prove to be a very interesting and pleasant surprise for both website administrators and users.
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In fact, BitTorrent portals and cyberlocker file-hosters do share some similarities – for example, a huge number of users. Both of them also attract the attention of the creative industry. Nevertheless, everything else is different. This will change soon thanks to Netkups, which combines both technologies, letting people to upload files and share them via direct links and torrents.

Adrian, Netkups founder, assured that the hybrid model is actually a win-win situation. In this case, they are able to save on bandwidth charges and enable a faster growth, while the developers can guarantee that the file is seeded by them as long as it’s downloadable. In the meantime, Internet users are able to enjoy the benefits of torrent files and download as much content as they want by using both part of their bandwidth and bandwidth from other users.

Netkups doesn’t offer a built-in search engine. However, it lets everyone to upload files of up to 1 GB (free of charge), and share them with other users or keep them private. File-sharing is possible at a speed of maximum 300 KBs. The application also makes a torrent file that can be shared and downloaded without speed limits. Everything is for free.

Talking about the copyright infringement, the policy of the new platform is very strict. The developers realize that they’d have been fools not to worry about that issue. So they have a very serious DMCA policy and a serious legal agreement as well. Considering this, the developers will be watching out for censorship and abuses of any kind.

Although people might not like to see some things published, it doesn’t have to mean that all files should be deleted. Netkups’ developers claim they care about everyone’s rights – not only users, and not only copyright owners. The Netkups’ founder has clarified the company’s stance to copyright violation in such way.

Of course, there is a paid premium package which offers a number of benefits, including 2GB upload size, simultaneous downloads, absence of advertisements, but you can also use Netkups for free.

Hackers Amplified DNS

Anonymous hacker group is known worldwide for taking down a number of important sites, including FBI, Interpol, Panda Security, and the US Department of Justice. Now they move further and are going after the Web’s entire Domain Name System.
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Of course, bringing the whole DNS down isn’t a very easy task. Anonymous is now planning on using the DNS itself as a weapon, and is developing a next-generation instrument named DNS amplification to reach this goal. The so-called “gadget” is expected to hack into an integral part of the web’s global address book, sending enormous data packets to the affected machines without revealing the source of attack. The suggested scheme becomes possible thanks to vulnerability in the DNS system, which actually exists for a decade already.

If you take a look from the inside, you would see that the DNS system is working on a strict hierarchy. At its top there are “root” nameservers. You can accomplish DNS lookup just by obtaining access to various levels of the hierarchy. Meanwhile, there’re 2 methods a DNS resolver is working: the first is iterative mode, and the second is recursive mode. In the first mode, the resolver first queries the root nameservers for the top-level domain’s nameservers, and after this it queries the top-level domain’s nameserver for the 2nd level, and so on. When contacting the various nameservers, the resolver will either find an answer or give up because of lack of it.

In the second case (the recursive mode), the resolver’s task becomes easier – it will be asking for one DNS server for the whole name, after which the server will do all the necessary requests for it.

There are numerous benefits of DNS amplification. For instance, the source of the attack could be hidden with UDP via forged headers. In addition, different VPNs could also be used as extra-precaution, because Tor’s services don’t function on UDP traffic. Therefore, due to the fact that DNS amplification relies on UDP (a connection-free protocol), the sent packets can’t be easily circumvented.

The industry experts seem worried. They point out that if Anonymous do manage to pull this stunt, there won’t be much that they can’t do in retaliation to the ongoing anti-piracy cyberwar, started by the US authorities.

Government Officials Found In Cyberlocker’s Userbase

While MegaUpload is trying to reach a compromise with the American Department of Justice to recover their users’ lost information, recent research revealed that some high-ranked American government officials were found to have an account on “evil” MegaUpload.
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After the shutdown of MegaUpload, its users have lost thousands if not millions legitimate files. In attempt to recover the legitimate files, the cyberlocker is currently trying to cooperate with the Department of Justice, thus leaving all prejudice aside to the benefit of MegaUpload’s users.

The legal team of the file-sharing service is currently working hard, trying to reunite their users with their information. MegaUpload continues negotiations with the Department of Justice, asking it to allow all its users to retrieve their files. When considering different options to grant access to the seized data, the legal team of the cyberlocker has stumbled upon a very interesting fact: it turned out that a lot of American government officials also had an account with the service. MegaUpload was surprised to find a great number of the accounts from American government officials, including the users from Department of Justice and the Senate. Kim Dotcom hopes that he will soon receive the permission to grant them and the other MegaUpload users access to their data.

Trying to support the closed cyberlocker, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has even started the campaign called “MegaRetrieval”. The outfit helps MegaUpload identify more users who have lost access to their legitimate personal data. Their common goal is to help people get their content back as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Generally, all consumer outfits are very concerned about the implications the indictment in question will have for the future of cloud computing and cyberlockers, and overall innovation. EFF points out that it is hard to imagine how the nature in which this goes down will not have a chilling effect going forward. The outfit hopes to come up with processes for further cases that would be able to counteract that.

In case the joint efforts of MegaUpload and EFF prove to be successful, next week we will see a cyberlocker back online to let its users recover their personal data.

Mozilla Will Reconsider HTML5 Video

The developers at the Mozzarella Foundation seem to be rethinking their decision regarding the HTML5 video codec, H.264, which they initially refused to include within Firefox. It has been quite a while that Firefox was unhappy with H.264, primarily because it featured a minefield of proprietary code under the bonnet that no open-sourcer could touch.
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Today it seems that Mozilla decided to change its mind. Perhaps, Mozilla will support H.264 where the codec is supplied by the platform or implemented in hardware. In other words, neither Mozilla nor its users will have to pay to use the codec.

Unsurprisingly enough, such proprietary companies as Apple and Microsoft do support H.264, but Mozilla and Opera are against the use of patented codecs. Meanwhile, Google has been pushing VP8, a codec that it has introduced as an alternative to H.264 for online video. In its turn, VP8 itself has yet to face the wrath of the patent trolls and may not be as open as the search engine insists.

According to press reports, Mozilla’s move doesn’t mean that H.264 codec is a winner. Meanwhile, the Mozilla’s director of research announced that he wanted to move further and enable H.264 on Mozilla’s Boot2Gecko (B2G) mobile operating system. In this case, the video element in Mozilla’s HTML rendering engine will have to rely on codecs supplied by the underlying OS or video hardware, which gets around the company’s philosophical dislike of the codec.

This situation takes places partly because Microsoft has allowed Windows Vista and Windows 7 to use H.264 codec with 3rd-party software. However, Firefox still has to support Windows XP users who make up a big demographic for Mozilla, and such half-way house idea turned out a good move for everyone.

New Tool For Searching And Downloading

The new instrument allows for torrent search links for a number of torrent trackers, including The Pirate Bay, Google Torrent, iMDB, Demonoid, AllSubs, Rotten Tomatoes, and YouTube Trailer search links.

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Noah Keller, known for his work as a developer for Greasemonkey, has written a script named The Pirate Helper. This new tool adds search links to the largest BitTorrent trackers like TPB, Demonoid, Google Torrent, AllSubs, iMDB, and others, thus making downloading both user-friendlier and smarter.

Upon installing The Pirate Helper, the user will be able to search for films, read their reviews, watch the trailers, and even read the list of the cast and crew. In addition, the tool will add torrent search links for the most popular trackers. Among the features of the new instrument there are automatic updates, auto remove torrents with no seeds on The Pirate Bay, UI Tweaks, and many others.

Google Chrome users can simply visit the download page, press the button saying “Install” and follow the steps as described on the page. Firefox users will have before installing to add the GreaseMonkey Extension to the browser.

The official website of The Pirate Helper lists the following features:

- automatic checks for updates every day, so the user will always have the latest version;
- making search form order by seeds from highest to lowest by default on TPB;
- auto removing torrents with zero seeds on TPB;
- random UI Tweaks on TPB;

When you view a film on iMDB or Rotten Tomatoes, it would open the results in a new tab if you click the favicon link.
In order to update the tool manually, visit a site that supports it, right-click on the GreaseMonkey icon, choose “User script commands…”, “Update ‘The Pirate Helper’” and that’s it

Grooveshark Will Maintain Its Services

While Grooveshark is engaged in lawsuits with the largest record labels, the music service is still determined to remain open and unlimited platform, beneficial for both the users and the rights holders.

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It hasn’t been a very good year for the service, because the largest record labels are suing Grooveshark on different grounds – from contractual disputes to copyright violation. Regardless of being dragged into legal battles, the popular music service is determined to continue operating.

Universal Music was the first to sue the streaming service for copyright violation back in November last year, demanding damages of hundreds of millions of dollars. It was followed by Sony and Warner next month, and 2012 started with EMI suing the service over a contractual dispute. This campaign has extended outside the borders of the United States: now even a Danish Internet service provider received a court order to block access to the music service.

However, Grooveshark claims that Universal Music’s accusations are false – in fact, the service has always tried to obtain licenses all over the globe and spoke directly to the musicians, creating a system that would be beneficial for copyright owners. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to please the music industry.

The Grooveshark’s idea is to keep the platform open. In other words, even when the service has official deals with the labels, it still wants the musicians to be able to share their works without involving a label. In addition, Grooveshark wants its platform and musical market to remain unlimited. It isn’t about the record labels being unpaid, but rather about the users being able to pay with their attention or their interaction.

This music service now has a user-base of more than 35 million music fans, and may appear a real asset to the record labels, if only they knew how to benefit from Grooveshark. Unfortunately, everything becomes complicated when it comes to multi-billions dollars industry, particularly when conflict of interests unsettles the pockets of the record labels.

The alternative to paid music is always piracy, and despite the fact that Grooveshark supports equity and revenues sharing, looking forward to a better business model that can satisfy both sides (record labels and consumers), companies like Universal, Warner and Sony still prefer litigation over compromise. 

App Makers Forced To Use Google’s Payment Service

Search engine Google was noticed giving its app and mobile game developers a kind of chinese burn until those use its Google Wallet payment service.

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In fact, the developers don’t like using Google Wallet because it’s more costly if compared to other payment services. However, it seems that the search engine introduced its new marketing strategy: it has been speaking softly while carrying a large stick to encourage the adoption of Google Wallet.

In fact, the example of Apple proved that the use of an integrated payment system has been one of the factors leading to success. Now it looks like Google is making attempts to repeat Apple’s experiment in a bid to squeeze the maximum revenue from its Android OS.

The search giant has been warning a number of developers during recent months that in the event that they continued using other payment services like PayPal, Zong and Boku, Google would remove their works from Android Market.

Press reports show that the app developers have been moaning that the search giant is claiming that it is going to simplify consumer payments, in a hope that applications-buying will increase and offset their higher costs. However, Google Wallet is known for charging a higher cut per transaction in comparison to its competitors on the market. Meanwhile, the very fact that Google is threatening developers to use its own payment service might anger all anti-trust watchdogs that are watching the situation on the market. They may be very surprised with one of the emails sent to developers in late summer 2011, where Google warned that those had one month to comply, otherwise their applications would be “suspended” from Android Market. 

UK Approved Extradition Of Linking Site Owner

While the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is making headlines by flying out to visit the US President, there is another case in the news which may better explain the particular relationship the United Kingdom has with the US – at least, more clearly than a cursory flight on Air Force One to watch a basketball game.

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Richard O’Dwyer, the 23-year-old student from Sheffield and the founder of TVShark service, is accused of copyright infringement on a large scale. Today he had his extradition approved by the Home Secretary Theresa May. During the interview to the local media, O’Dwyer’s mother, Julia, warned that this extradition approval would set a dangerous precedent for more British citizens to risk finding themselves on a plane to the United States to face trial.

Julia said that her son’s life, including his studies, work opportunities, and financial security, was being disrupted, for no-one knows how long, just because the British government failed to introduce the much needed changes to the extradition law. She called it “being sold down the river by the UK government”. Earlier, Julia said in the interview that if the US authorities could come for Richard, they can come for anyone else.

Although the servers of O’Dwyer’s TVShark were located outside the United States, the entertainment industry still pushed for harsh sentencing. Richard’s online service didn’t actually host any illegal material – it only linked to other sites.

O’Dwyer’s case is similar to that of Gary McKinnon, suffering from Asperger’s syndrome. McKinnon is also under threat of extradition to the US. Although his defense team claimed that their client was just looking for evidence of extraterrestrial life, an American ambassador still claimed that McKinnon faced extradition to the US

New Streaming And Locker Service

In our days, when cyberlockers fear so much to continue file-sharing, it’s good to see new players in this field. Seattle-based Audiogalaxy is a new Internet music product offering streaming and locker services, which combines features of both iTunes Match and Pandora.
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During the interview, the owner of Audiogalaxy explained that the fresh service is able to offer music fans a tunable music experience. Internet users can now play their own tracks anywhere without having to upload, copy, or sync them, or lean back and start discovering music they do not own through Mixes.

If you want to try it and start streaming music right from your computer, you have to first sign up with the service, then install its “Helper” and you’re ready to go. Unlike Google, Amazon and other cloud-based services, which demand hours of uploading, Audiogalaxy is able to scan up to 200.000 tracks, and stream them to other Internet browsers through P2P. This feature of the service is similar to iTunes Match, but its lacks a signed contract between the service and the record labels.

Talking about unwise features, “Free Mixes” lets Internet users to go beyond their own collections to stream ad-free music from millions of tracks, customized to their individual tastes. However, this music library isn’t licensed by the record labels, but rather is based on other users’ collections that may contain more or less legitimate material. Nevertheless, the creator of the service claimed that they have signed up with SoundExchange, ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC.

The history of the service started back at 2002, when it was just a file-sharing service, and its record is quite controversial. Actually, Audiogalaxy was even closed down by the authorities after a copyright infringement lawsuit.

Meanwhile, Eric Garland (former chief executive officer of BigChampagne and a present executive at Live Nation Labs) admitted that he had been using Mixes as a beta tester, and he listened to it on a daily basis. It is quite exciting to see innovation in the music streaming field, particularly when it is focused on engaging fans.

The industry observers point out that it would be interesting to follow the fate of new service, because the Recording Industry Association of America is probably planning its takedown already.

Wikipedia Founder Will Create “Open-Source” Government

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales seems to be landing in the thick of it with an unusual role – advising the authorities on new technologies to create an “open-source” government.
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Jimmy Wales has been offered a job in the British civil service. He will become an advisor to the government within the frames of a move to use the web and other modern technologies in their work.

It is unclear whether we can now expect to see Jimmy Wales showing up in government departments to dish out Malcolm Tucker style grillings. However, the netizens can at least hope that he will flag strings of inaccuracies and suspected plagiarism in oncoming whitepapers. Considering the fact that the controversial NHS Bill is on its way, the members of the House of Lords will undoubtedly be looking for any cut and paste jobs or Wikipedia citations working their way into the final cut.

Meanwhile, it isn’t actually clear what Jimmy Wales will exactly be doing. The local media has pointed to his advisory role, which is expected to go some way to placating the Wikipedia head after Wales was mistaken for Julian Assange by the customs officers back in 2011. The information is that his unpaid role will focus on a democratic crowd-sourcing push by the government to open up policy-making to the great unwashed of the United Kingdom. This initiative is regarded as laudable, and from a Coalition cost-cutting point of view, suggested crowd sourcing policies will be lighter on the country’s wallet than actually having to pay pension-demanding government employees to come up with ideas. Meanwhile, the government of the United Kingdom has also opened up commons debates, providing the public with the opportunity to start e-petitions. 

Online Comments Will Ruin Magazines

Nick Denton, Gawker media founder, claimed that fifteen years after everybody believed it would be great to allow readers to comment on every online news,this idea has appeared to be a big joke.

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Nick Denton, the owner of Gawker, Jezebel, Gizmodo, io9 and Lifehacker, believes that the very idea of capturing the intelligence of the readership was just a joke. The industry observers suppose that it’s because he doesn’t think his collective readers have any at all.

During his speech at SXSW, Nick Denton claimed that the comments left by the readers on his own websites, which have bought hacks to tears, were so bad that he didn’t engage. Denton told the press that for every 2 comments that sound interesting, even if they are critical, there will be 8 off-topic or simply toxic. With a site getting more and more popular, it becomes harder and harder to control the comments that inevitably get nastier.

Nick Denton admitted that he couldn’t think of any ideas that might have saved the current situation. Actually, he was quicker to shoot down ideas that others were trying than to introduce his own proposals.

Denton explained that editors and reporters didn’t have enough time to respond to readers in the comments. However, he also pointed out that the news publishers can’t force readers to reveal their real names since anonymity is the heart of the Internet. A democratic system with other commenters moving to upvote or downvote publications doesn’t work, according to Denton.

For instance, Jezebel would love to see American Apparel CEO Dov Charney come to the website and answer all the allegations of sexual harassment made against him. However, if the latter ever showed up, he would be voted off, as the site readers simply hate him.

Nick Denton is currently planning to publish some stories allowing only a hand-picked, pre-approved group of readers to comment on them. In fact, in reality he wants only sources and experts to be allowed to leave their comments in these discussions. Well, it seems that if he wanted some informed comment, he could probably ask Drashek to help out.

How do you think, the comments below our news are useful or unnecessary? We understand that it became the habit of our tracker users to come into conversation with each other and always-silent Sam, but is ability to comment really needed? Is it important that we answer your questions in comments or you are all right taking to yourself? 

Homeless People Became Wireless Hotspots

An unusual marketing stunt has totally backfired,when advertising agency called BBH came up with a splendid idea to turn homeless people at SXSW into wireless access points. The company is sure that it isn’t demeaning.
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Now the homeless people are equipped with technology that literally turns them into human routers, thus making otherwise charity-givers into Homeless Hotspot users. If you make a small donation, you would be allowed to log on and use the Internet.

Advertising company BBH, which remains behind the scheme, claims that it set out with the best of intentions. The company does realize the concern which has since erupted over social networks. The advertising outfit’s initiative describes itself on its Twitter page as aiding “bring Street Newspapers into the digital age” introducing itself as a modern take on such initiatives as the Big Issue.

The company’s official blog first announced that people will notice “strategically positioned individuals” wearing T-shirts saying “Homeless Hotspot”. Later, an updated entry tried to soothe the furious Twitter backlash.

Despite the fact that it could be argued that turning homeless people into a way for others to check their email is thoroughly dehumanizing and demeaning, the advertising company keeps insisting that such activity becomes the business of the individuals involved, because they can keep all the income they received from providing access to the web. Meanwhile, the company itself has virtually nothing to gain from this except from, probably, exposure. And the expectations are that it will certainly get that.

Although the SXSW trial is regarded as a “beta test”, BBH still hopes that the platform could later be adopted “on a broader scale”.

Anonymous Hacked Vatican

The hacktivists have decided to revenge the Pope all medieval sins including the execution of Giordano Bruno. The media has made a conclusion that the world’s known hacker outfit Anonymous isn’t prepared to let bygones be bygones.
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A couple of days ago, the Vatican’s official site was inaccessible for a few hours, and Anonymous Italian members were quick to stick their hands up to confess to the crime. However, the local press revealed that the hackers weren’t miffed at the Church for any of its recent actions. Instead, they have focused on a complaint that would have been familiar to Martin Luther.

The outfit explained that the hack was intended to protest against a number of alleged abuses by the Catholic Church, like past execution of heretics, as well as the selling of indulgences. Those used to be when someone paid the church to get out of purgatory early by arranging for appropriate prayers to be said after someone died. In fact, this scam was invented by one of the British popes who appeared to know a fair bit about purgatory having visited early Slough.

The hacktivists have issued a statement, saying that they have decided to put Vatican’s website under siege in response to their doctrine, liturgy and the absurd and anachronistic rules that this “profit-making organization” spread throughout the globe. Meanwhile, the intruders clarified that the attack wasn’t against the Christian religion or the faithful throughout the globe, but rather against the corrupt Roman Apostolic Church.

As you might know, the Church did apologize for the execution of some of its heretics, including Giordano Bruno, who was the first to suggest that life might have been existed on other planets. However, Giordano Bruno, who was a monk, also believed that it’s better to worship the Sun than Christ.

Digital Music Sales Increase, CD Sales Drop

A new study, conducted by NPD, indicated that the number of online music sales has grown up to 4% for the 2nd year in a row. At the same time, CD sales continued to fall.
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The research in question indicated that the number of people who prefer to purchase digital music had increased by 2%, making it 78 million American citizens. The results of the study bring into discussion the decline of physical music sales, which is an increasing concern for large record companies. The problem of those is that they unfortunately can’t (or don’t want to) tackle the issue.

The results of the study read that digital album sales increased around 20% up to 103 million. At the same time, CD sales fell around 6% to 225 million. As for the rest of the total, it’s made up mainly of digital single tracks, where ten tracks are regarded as one album. The media reports confirm that digital singles sales increased about 9% to 1.27 billion.

Meanwhile, the major players in the digital market are iTunes and Amazon. The users of those markets bought around 45 million songs, which is 14% more than they purchased in 2011. This made it an average of $49 spent per each Internet user, which represents a 6% increase compared to the last year.

When considering P2P networks, the research revealed that the number of downloaded tracks has dropped to 13%, down from 19% five years ago. This trend is expected to follow the same course within the year, because a lot of file-sharing services more or less willingly shutdown their gates after MegaUpload’s case.

Today the music-streaming industry is also developing rapidly: for example, services like Spotify and IHeartRadio are becoming extremely popular, and their usage increased up to 43% last year compared to 2009’s 29%.

In other words, everything points at the fact that the digital landscape is confidently becoming the consumers’ choice nowadays. At the same time, album sales become more and more obsolete. The truth that the music industry refuses to accept is that the music enthusiasts do prefer the online market over record labels for a while now. This isn’t a surprise for everyone else: instead of purchasing a whole CD for an average of 20$, you can just to spend $1 to buy your favorite song.

FBI Warned About Hackers

The citizens of the US realized that hackers could easily bring down the government servers. FBI has warned that it’s just a matter of time before cyber attackers bring down the servers of the government in the United States.

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Director of the FBI is reported he have warned The Congress of terrorist hacking when he asked the government for more cash funding. He claimed that so far terrorists haven’t used the worldwide web for a full-scale hacker attack, but it doesn’t mean that the situation will remain unchanged. According to the FBI, terrorists have shown interest in acquiring hacking skills and the information is that they are training their own recruits and hiring outsiders. As a result, these adaptations of the terrorist threat made the FBI’s counter terrorism mission much more difficult.

The press reports say that FBI told Congress how in the end of February the world’s known hacker group Anonymous has hacked into a phone conversation between FBI authorities in New York and law enforcement in London.

Although it isn’t clear whether the government would buy the story of a cyber terrorist hacking attack on the United States, there are signs that the FBI will get the extra cash it asked for. During the past year, the FBI has shown some success against hacker groups and arrested sixteen people across ten states. Nevertheless, the hacking outfit is still rather busy.

For example, one of the individuals caught by the police in their round up of Lulzsec hackers turned out to be someone who led a nonprofit group in Galway dedicated to making online services more secure. His name was Darren Martyn and he was a local chapter leader of the Open Web Application Security Project, engaged in developing open-source applications in order to improve security of the network. He resigned last week after learning the news of the arrests. His Facebook page says that he graduated from the National University of Ireland in Galway and among people who inspired him there were reformed hacker Kevin Mitnick, security professional HD Moore and, surprisingly enough, Mahatma Gandhi, who wasn’t actually known for his hacking skills.

Darren Martyn was mentioned in the same indictment as Jake Davis, who was accused of being Topiary, and Ryan Ackroyd, who was accused of being Kayla. In the hacker outfit known as Lulzsec Martyn was known under nicknames of Pwnsauce and Networkkitten. Since Martyn is mentioned in the indictment as a resident of Ireland, it isn’t clear whether the Irish will turn him over.

US Will Prosecute Wikileaks Owner

The American government is willing to arrest Julian Assange and has drawn up a secret charge sheet, hoping that they manage to extradite Wikileak’s owner to face one of its finest kangaroo courts.

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The message proving this was found in a confidential internal email leaked from private American intelligence company, Stratfor. Wikileaks has recently started publishing 5 million of Stratfor leaked emails. In the message in question, the Stratfor’s vice-president for intelligence was discussing a media report about American investigations that targeted Wikileaks, saying “we have a sealed indictment on Assange”.

The author of the email is an expert on security and counter-terrorism having close ties to American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, an ex-chief of counter terrorism in the country’s State Department diplomatic security service.

Assange’s service is currently releasing over 5 million leaked Stratfor emails claimed to reveal how a private intelligence agency operates, and how they target people for their corporate and government clients.

The leaked message reveals that the American prosecutors drew up a secret indictment against Julian Assange over a year ago. Now Assange is awaiting a ruling of British Supreme Court on his appeal against extradition to Sweden to be questioned related to sexual assault allegations.

Julian Assange insists that extradition to Stockholm will open the way for his extradition to the United States on espionage or conspiracy charges. In fact, many experts agree that getting him discredited by having him banged up on a sex charge in Sweden would be much easier to organize than a more politically damaging trial in the United States.

Meanwhile, the US army private Bradley Manning was recently committed to face court martial for two dozen of alleged offenses, including “aiding the enemy” by leaking classified country’s documents to infamous service WikiLeaks. Within that hearing, the investigators had reportedly found a link between Julian Assange and Bradley Manning.

What it looks like is a secret grand jury had been gathered in the State of Virginia. If he’s charged under the American law, it would most likely be the 1917 Espionage Act.

United States Will Take Control Of The Web

The American government is currently trying to enact a law that effectively means that whatever is located in the Internet is an American property. In other words, if you publish something online, it automatically belongs to the United States.

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Michael Geist, a copyright law expert, explained that the United States is trying to seize foreign assets by claiming that it owns the entire web. The case in question involves Bodog.com, a Canadian-owned online sports gaming website. Just as Saudi Arabia, the Fundamentalist Christians in the United States are anti-gambling, and it seems that they are well-prepared to make attempts to export their quaint puritan views to the more secular and balanced nation of Canada.

The United States managed to seize the bodog.com domain even though it was registered with a non-American registrar and didn’t have any American servers. Before, it seemed to be enough to fall outside the jurisdiction of the United States because any court order demanding the domain name registrar to transfer ownership of the domain (or redirect the website) was valid only in the country where it was issued.

Michael Geist claimed that in the case of Bodog.com, State of Maryland prosecutors obtained a warrant that demanded Verisign, the firm managing the .com domain name registry, to redirect the site to a page with a notification advising that the domain has been seized by the American Department of Homeland Security.

This case set a precedent, which means that all .com, .net, and .org domain names are also subject to American legislation regardless of where they operate or where they were registered. This provides the United States “super-jurisdiction” over web activities since America is concerned the location of the domain name registry is enough.

Of course, this becomes pretty dangerous for the rest of the world when it comes to issues like digital piracy. The Stop Online Piracy Act, better known today as SOPA, which died a death due to people’s protests, would have defined any domain name whose registrar or registry was in the United States as domestic for legal purposes. Despite the bill’s death, it seems that the bodog.com case has allowed the controversial legislation to come in through the back door.

Google Chrome Became Less Popular

Attractiveness of Google’s Chrome Internet browser seems to be fading, at least according to the latest figures from online metrics company named Net Applications. And the fall is quite a bit – two quarters of inflated figures.

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The statistics showed that the market share of Google Chrome fell for the second straight month. The metrics company confirmed that it had been over-counting Chrome’s share for months. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, which had boasted its largest-ever share increase in the start of the year, also declined slightly last month.

The Net Applications said that it had given Google’s Chrome a larger share than the application actually deserved because the pre-rendering technology used by the browser caused unviewed visits that shouldn’t be taken into account.

Since last month, Net Applications has adjusted this browser’s share by ignoring unused pre-loaded web pages and only taking into consideration the pages that Chrome’s users actually saw. As a result, this slashed the browser’s figures by 4.3%. Overall, the browser’s share fell about 1/2 of a percentage point to end last month with 18.9%, off its peak of 19.1% in December 2011. Google Chrome remained on the third place in the browsers’ chart, behind both Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s Firefox.

In February Net Applications put a decline in the browser’s use down to the fact that the corporation demoted the page rank for Chrome’s download website. This happened after the company confirmed that Google’s marketing campaign had broken the company’s own rules against paid links. In the end of last year Chrome was promised to become the most popular browser in the world, as its growth rate was incredibly high.

Anonymous Hacked Panda Security Sites

The world-known hacker group Anonymous has defaced around two dozen of the websites owned by Panda Security. This is meant to be done in revenge for the security company’s involvement in the arrests of LulzSec members. Although the hackers couldn’t take down Panda’s main website, its subdomains also were very attractive target.
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Each one featured a video from YouTube of Anonymous and LulzSec exploits, and what looked like the username and password details of more than a hundred of Panda employees.

Panda’s competitor, the insecurity group Sophos? was first to report the attack. The latter appears to be a response to the company’s blog post about the LulzSec arrests. The post was titled “Where is the Lulz now?” Luis Corrons, the Panda’s employee who wrote the blog post, also tweeted about the incident, revealing that they had their team taking a look into the defacement at the moment. In addition, investigations involving catching criminals were considered fun at the company. However, Luis Corrons denied that his company helped law enforcement arrest the hackers, but admitted that he would have loved to participate in it.

The blog post was taken down after the security outfit realized that it probably wasn’t the best idea to crow about the arrests. The messages left by Anonymous members on the hacked Panda website also accused the outfit of cooperating with law enforcement to arrest Anonymous members.

Regardless of taking down the blog post, the security outfit claimed that the attack in question wasn’t very serious. Panda said in its statement on Facebook that the attack didn’t breach either the company’s internal network or source code; update servers and user information wasn’t accessed. The only data the hackers managed to access was connected with marketing campaigns like landing pages and some obsolete credentials, which included supposed credentials for people that haven’t been working at the company for more than 5 years. In reality, Anonymous members obtained access to some server that was hosted outside the company’s internal network. The server was claimed to be used only for marketing campaigns and Panda Security blogs, so virtually no harm was done to the company.

Creative Industry Targeted Hotfile

File-sharing hunting seems to be announced open. Encouraged by their recent victory against MegaUpload service, the creative industry is currently seeking to take down another cyberlocker – Hotfile.

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A few days ago a lawsuit was filed against the file-sharing site that is accused by a number of the movie studios, including Disney, Fox, Universal, Sony Pictures and Warner, of copyright violation on a large scale.

The studios complain that 90% of the files distributed through the service were infringing copyright, and almost all users of the cyberlocker downloaded and uploaded unauthorized content. Moreover, Hotfile was accused of having “the temerity” to pay its users for uploading illegal content.

Of course, the Motion Picture Association of America was there quick enough to back up the allegations, insisting that this file-sharing service was a “haven” for pirates and should be closed immediately. They point out that the owner of Hotfile admitted they created the service to compete with MegaUpload.

In response, Hotfile claimed that it had a policy to remove illegal files upon copyright holder’s request. They use the same filtering system as YouTube, which blocks both the viewing and listening of copyright protected material. Hotfile’s service used fingerprinting technology to block the uploading of the content identified as illegal. Moreover, the website has recently upgraded its fingerprint technology to vCloud9.

Meanwhile, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, fighting to protect people’s freedoms in the Internet, said that Warner was deliberately using an unreliable technique to send takedown warnings to potential infringers. The outfit points out that while rights holders are granted by Congress the right to protect their creative works by copyright legislation, lawful copyright users are also granted the right to protect themselves against rights holders acting in bad faith and abuse of takedown notices. The EFF says that any company could sidestep accountability for improper takedowns by just outsourcing the process to a machine. Moreover, rights holders would have a perverse incentive to dumb-down this process, switching from human review to the computer one, so as to avoid the chance of any form of subjective belief. The result for the lawful uses is clear: all legal videos would be deleted, regardless of whether the uses were fair or licensed.

British ISPs’ Appeal against Copyright Law Got Ditched

For a while now a couple of the country’s largest Internet service providers (BT and TalkTalk) have been making attempts to fight against controversial copyright violation law, claiming that the UK’s Digital Economy Act comes into conflict with the laws of European Union.
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British Digital Economy Act, if passed into law, would turn broadband providers into cyber police, forcing them to send notifications to suspected pirates, and even disconnect them from the web. At the same time, the entertainment industry keeps complaining that piracy caused loses of $670 million annually. The attorneys of both BT and TalkTalk emphasized the fact that harsher rules could endanger privacy rights and raise costs for the ISPs and their subscribers.

Nevertheless, the latest appeal of the ISPs was denied. TalkTalk said the company was disappointed that the appeal was unsuccessful, but it still welcomed the additional legal clarity that had been given to all parties. Despite the fact that TalkTalk has lost that appeal, it will keep fighting to defend their subscribers’ rights against that “ill-judged legislation”.

BT, in its turn, explained that it has been seeking clarification from the courts that the Digital Economy Act was consistent with EU law, and legally robust in the United Kingdom, so that anyone can be confident in how it is implemented. After the court has taken its decision, the company would look at the ruling carefully in order to understand its implications and consider its next steps.

Meanwhile, general secretary of the Actors’ union Equity asked the ISPs to stop fighting and “start obeying the law”, explaining that the court would always take the side of the almost 2,000,000 employees in the creative industries whose livelihoods are put at risk by digital piracy.

At the same time, the leader of the UK Pirate Party pointed out that there are no reasons to believe that the legislation in question will have any impact on unauthorized file-sharing. But this court decision still brings the draconian law another step closer. The latest study on a similar “three-strikes” law in France proved that there was no benefit for music sales. The matter is that threats to disconnect entire households from the Internet will be bad for everyone: the economy, the society, and for a creative nation as well.

Canadian Indie Producers Support Piracy

After a media conference started last week in Ottawa, Canada, independent producers came to a conclusion that piracy could actually help their business, because it opens a whole new market for their works.
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Prime Time, arranged by the Canadian Media Production Association, is the annual meeting of the largest Canadian independent producers, where they discuss piracy issues and future plans. This year, Gavin McGarry, president at Jumpwire Media, said that digital piracy is in fact helping new companies by offering an innovative business model.

He said that today the industry is really coming to a place where illegal file-sharing is actually doing what it’s supposed to do: opening new markets, taking the music business to new places, and helping start big businesses for new and emerging companies, as well as for some of the country’s leading content providers. At the same time, a digital media consultant and founder of General Creativity said to the panel titled “The Ins and Outs of Illegal Downloading” that the music industry can effortlessly avoid copyright violation by changing the prices of its products. He believes that if they make their works available, this part of the problem will go away. This point of view is shared by former executive editor of Billboard, who confirmed that only by facilitating access to the works, instead of denying it, money can start flowing. He pointed out that he isn’t creating blocks between his works and the consumers, but rather putting in a toll booth between them.

The participants in the Prime Time also advised the largest studio producers to accept and promote innovation instead of embracing litigation and faulty copyright law. Such sensitive subject was brought into attention that of digital giants such as Facebook and Google who are constantly targeting traditional audience, turning the television into a usable instrument for the digital space, which can completely change the rules. Indeed, today TV is turning into an application. It is regarded by many as just another app which runs on someone else’s platform. However, Google isn’t stopping – it bought Motorola and is building expertise in the real-time insertion of advertising. It seems that it is moving into display.

New Zealand Enforced Anti-Piracy Law

The country recently introduced its new legislation on illegal file-sharing, but dedicated downloaders aren’t going to back down but rather find ways to circumvent it.

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Finally, the first round of copyright infringement warning has been shot under the country’s new legislation. However, the users’ response to this law hasn’t been the one New Zealand authorities expected. It appeared that instead of reducing the level of piracy, the copyright law has only pushed downloaders to find new ways of infringing it.

Actually, not everyone is trying to hide from the officials – some people admit that they are just waiting for their first warnings. Indeed, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that users sharing copyrighted content have simply switched mechanisms. The experts suspect that there was little net-change in the sharing of protected content.

The country’s Network Operators’ Group of the WAND Group has revealed the numbers reflecting the way of the traffic flowing in New Zealand. The group used new ways of measuring traffic and managed to accurately identify the “purpose” of packets. Their approach was called “mildly penetrative packet inspection”, and it required just 4 bytes of application payload instead of full DPI. The method also examined first payload-bearing packet in each direction only, and classifications based on payload signatures, size and ports. As a result, the group received a much “lighter” measurement burden coupled with 95% accuracy.

During the last year, the traffic remained constant, but after the “three-strikes” system was implemented in September, there was a 75% drop in measured peer-to-peer traffic. It followed the same course in the beginning of 2012. In addition, secure tunneling and remote access protocol traffic volumes increased almost twice within this period, which shows that online censorship isn’t doing well.