The recording industry has won its first victory against a user of a file-sharing network. Late yesterday, a jury in Minnesota determined that Jammie Thomas had in fact used Kazaa to share music files. Finding her guilty of "willful" copyright infringement, he jury ordered her to pay the copyright owners (six labels) $9,250 for each of the 24 songs that were at issue, for a total of $220,000.
UPDATE at 8:46 p.m. PDT: A Minnesota woman must pay $220,000 to six of the top music labels after a federal jury found on Thursday that she violated their copyright.
Accused of encouraging the illegal sharing of more than 1,700 songs, Jammie Thomas, 30, elected to fight it out with the recording industry instead of settling out of court for far less money. The ensuing legal battle marked the first time the recording industry has argued a file-sharing case before a jury.
Since 2003, many of the 26,000 persons sued by the Recording Industry Assoc. of America (RIAA) have avoided litigation by agreeing to pay a few thousand dollars. Thomas, who could not be reached for comment, has always maintained her innocence. Accused of sharing music through the use of peer-to-peer service, Kazaa, she told the jury that she didn't even own a Kazaa account.
The jury didn't buy her argument. Thomas was ordered to pay $9,250 for each of the 24 songs that the RIAA concentrated on. She was initially accused of sharing 1,702 songs. The decision is important in that it sends a message to file sharers that Internet anonymity won't protect them from lawsuits, said Chris Castle, a copyright attorney and longtime music industry executive.
Castle said the Web makes it simple to hide. Proving who was sitting at a computer at any given time is very difficult for copyright owners. What is precedent-setting about this case is that the jury decided it doesn't matter who was sharing music on Thomas' computer.
Waiting for Google's online hard-drive service to launch? Check out Digital Bucket, a new storage service that's simple and intuitive. We've seen plenty of virtual desktop services here at Webware, and the one thing many have in common is attempting to emulate an existing GUI. In the case of Digital Bucket, that look and feel is the Microsoft Windows file explorer, and as I've found by using the service this morning-- this isn't a bad thing.
When it comes to files, drag and drop is by nature a very effective way of moving things around. … Read more
Jeff Zucker, the outspoken chief of NBC Universal and Philippe Dauman, Viacom's CEO, are scheduled to speak out against piracy and counterfeiting next week in Washington D.C.
Starting Tuesday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is holding its annual two-day summit on piracy and among the subjects expected to be discussed is the government's plan to defend intellectual property overseas, according to a statement.
Media companies have for a long time lobbied Washington to do more to combat online file sharing and other copyright violations. Most experts agree that despite the government's efforts thus far, piracy … Read more
FixMyMovie is a new service that takes your pixelated digital video clips and does its best to fix them. The technology stems from MotionDSP's processing technology, which is similar to what's used in government intelligence operations to improve those dark and grainy security films--like you see in movies.
The entire process is fairly straightforward: Just upload and tag a supported movie file, and the service will crunch it on its servers. You get a note by e-mail when it's done. Once it's finished you can preview the first 10 seconds of the enhanced version, as well as compare before and after results live, by pressing the "compare" button. What's even cooler is a stills mode that lets you compare the before and after with an easy-to-use slider that follows your mouse. Whatever's on the left of the slider is the old, with the new on the right.
To grab the improved film, there are download options for multiple formats, including iPod-formatted H.264, Adobe Flash, and Windows Media. You can also grab quick embed code to stick it in any blog, which I've done after the break.
I tried out the service on several video clips this morning and got improved results on every single one of them. The most dramatic improvement of all was with text, which managed to turn almost unreadable pixelated words into legible sentences. Just be wary, though: The service can only handle clips up to 352x288 in resolution, which means the VGA videos from your digital camera aren't going to cut it. Older cameras, on the other hand, are fine.
FixMyMovie is launching in beta at this morning's DEMOfall conference in San Diego with $25 worth of free processing for everyone while still in its beta period. Eventually, FixMyMovie plans to charge users for the option to enhance video and still images, which can also be captured manually by users within the Flash player. I can see this service being hugely popular, as everyone wants better looking video clips, and ways to improve older, lower resolution clips.
Update: It's worth noting you need the latest beta of Adobe Flash 9 to view videos on the service (which makes the neat, live before and after feature possible). You can pick it up here, or just get a feel for what it can do with the screenshot below.… Read more
On his main desktop computer at the Power Lair, Power Downloader has huge hard drive volumes filled with old case files, spy photos, and secret documents. Though he's a master of software and navigating the intricacies of Windows to get the files he wants, he has always found that Windows Explorer isn't exactly ideal for some of his more complicated file management tasks. Fortunately there's a better way.… Read more
In the turbulent, choppy waters where P2P networks and copyright law chomp at each other's fins for dominance, there's at least one beast that thinks it has a solution to keep everybody happy. Its name: Grooveshark. The tagline? "Everybody gets paid."
As content distribution has mutated from analog to digital, the companies that came into existence to control the distribution have panicked and floundered. Decentralized peer-to-peer sharing made this all possible, but it's also thrown nearly a century of copyright law beyond the deep end and into rough waters.
I use TechSmith's Snagit screen-capturing tool (review) on a daily basis to gather all sorts of shots for posts and archival purposes. It works great at getting those pixel-precise sizes you might be going for, along with taking a step or two out Windows' less-than-stellar built-in print screen function. Today I've been playing with a small download called Clip2Net. It's a free and simple screenshot program with built-in Web uploading for screenshots AND image files. It's not at all as advanced as Snagit, but if you're in the market for a relatively easy way to take and host screenshots, or share a roll of pictures with friends, Clip2Net is a promising hybrid solution.
Setup is simple: Just download and install the less-than-1MB file and you're good to go. You can start capturing right away, either in regions or the entire screen at a time. Registering and plugging in your login credentials lets you upload your shots to a Web folder that saves all your shots. Likewise, if you'd like to stay anonymous, Clip2Net will provide you with a URL where your shot is being hosted--although keep in mind that if you lose that URL, you won't be able to track it down again. … Read more
Recently a friend of mine asked me about good programs to find duplicate files. She had important files on two different drives and knew she had a significant amount of duplication, but didn't want to lose newer files in either location. Moreover, she wanted to transfer all of her files to a new computer she had just bought.
I knew of one program that worked for me in the past, but did a little research to find several programs that quickly scan drives and let you compare files to know which ones you can delete. Not only do these applications offer a solution to my friend's problem above, you can also free up a significant amount of hard drive space by getting rid of duplicates.… Read more
The divide between Web IM apps and the software versions is getting smaller, albeit with the help of improved bandwidth and technology like Adobe's Flash. In the same vein, Meebo, the popular Web-based multiclient chat platform is getting a handy update tonight. Users are now able to trade files with each other right in the chat window. It's not just Meebo users, either, it's anyone on your friends list. If your buddy has a file-transfer-enabled client, you'll be able to pass files back and forth freely.
However, unlike software IM clients, the caps for file transfer … Read more