RealNetworks released a new $30 program today that allows users to easily burn DVDs to their personal computers. The program also preserves the encryption that's bundled with the disks, so even if people make copies, they have to watch them on a licensed player. But Hollywood isn't happy, because RealNetworks is making it easy for people to rent movies from Netflix or Blockbuster and burn them to their computers in lieu of purchasing them.
Wal-Mart has just given people one more reason to hate DRM. While the retailer has sold music online without DRM since February, it previously sold tracks bundled with software that aims to restrict users' ability to transfer the songs. Now, Wal-Mart says it will stop supporting DRM by Oct. 9. After that date, users won't be able to transfer their tracks to another computer. Wal-Mart is therefore advising users to burn their songs to CDs now, so they'll be able to still play them later.
Google is taking its case for a search deal with Yahoo directly to Web users with a new site defending the plan.
In the last five years, the RIAA has threatened to sue around 30,000 individuals for file-sharing. While many have settled outside of court, usually for $3,000 to $5,000, a few have fought the charges. To date, however, only one defendant, Jammie Thomas, has rolled the dice with a jury.
The FTC has been investigating behavioral targeting techniques for 20 months in response to a complaint filed by privacy advocates, Congress and the Senate have recently held hearings about online advertising, and three separate states mulled legislation regulating the industry this year. But none of that appears to be slowing down Web companies who view behavioral targeting as the best way to monetize non-premium inventory.
In the U.S., behavioral targeting company NebuAd was forced to retreat from a plan to purchase information about people's online activity from ISPs and then serve ads based on subscribers' Web histories. But in the U.K., authorities have not only cleared ISP-based behavioral targeting company Phorm, but appear to be rooting for it.
The record industry has unsuccessfully attempted to stamp out piracy by litigating against individuals for five years now. In that time, the RIAA has threatened more than 30,000 people with litigation, racking up millions in legal fees in the process, but without appearing to make any dent in copyright infringement. In casting a wide net for non-commercial file-sharers, the RIAA has also disrupted the lives of innocent Web users and is now itself facing a class-action lawsuit brought by an exonerated defendant. But none of that is slowing down the RIAA. On the contrary, the group is growing even more …
As is well known by now, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin routinely used a personal e-mail account from Yahoo to conduct official business. If the Republican vice-presidential nominee did so in order to shield her messages from discovery, the move backfired spectacularly. Her Yahoo account was hacked into and, this week, her messages surfaced on Wikileaks, Gawker and other sites.
The federal authorities, a dozen U.S. states and, now, the European Union, are mulling whether Google's ad deal with Yahoo violates antitrust laws.And that's to say nothing of groups like the Association of National Advertisers and World Association of Newspapers, which also weighed in against Yahoo's plan to outsource small percentage of paid search ads to Google.
For months, rumors have swirled about a new international anti-counterfeiting treaty in the works. The details haven't yet been officially released, but documents that surfaced on Wikileaks have stirred fears that the pact, aimed at preventing piracy, could have a profound impact on how people use the Web.