Filed under: Announcements & Events, Legal P2P News & Issues
Jammie Thomas-Rasset, the central figure in nation’s first file sharing case against an individual to have gone to litigation has refused to pay the settlement of $25,000 proposed by the recording industry for the charges to be dropped.
The initial decision, which demanded the defendant to pay damage awards of $1.92 million for sharing 24 songs on Kazaa, was later reduced to $54,000 by the federal judge in the case. Ultimately, following the ruling of U.S. District Judge Michael Davis, the RIAA offered Thomas-Rasset the alternative to settle out of court in exchange for the sum of $25,000.
According to Joe Sibley, lawyer of the defendant, Thomas-Rasset decided to reject the proposition. “I think it proves our point. They want to use this case as a bogeyman to scare people into doing what they want, to pay exorbitant damages”, Sibley explained in a telephone interview.
Thomas-Rasset’s rejection of the settlement could lead to a new jury trial for deciding the amount of damages the defendant must pay, or an appellate court might interfere in the case and reconsider Davis’ overwhelming decision. In the meantime, Thomas-Rasset has the possibility to legally confront the justness of the reduced awards, which the defendant’s lawyers insist is still exaggerated.
The Copyright Act stipulates that damages must not exceed $150,000 per track. While the jury in Minnesota decided upon $80,000 awards for each individual song, U.S. District Judge Michael Davis subsequently reduced that amount to $2,250 per song and expressed his disapproval regarding the $1.92 million verdict, which he described as completely out of rule compared to the charges filed in the case.
Judge Davis’s decision to reduce the amount of damages in a Copyright Act case is a premiere in the nation’s history. Hopefully, this precedent will influence future legal court verdicts to better reflect the reality and establish a more reasonable standard for damage awards in similar cases.
Pharell Williams disapproves with the perception that file-sharing produces negative effects. The artist has expressed his opinion in a statement for MidemNet, where he suggested that this type of practice could actually have a pronounced positive impact, MusicWeek reports.
“You need to embrace technology and see how it can help you,” he said. “As for illegal downloading, does that really hurt you if they love you? It’s just taste-testing”, he then added.
Ed O’Brien of Radiohead aligns to the beliefs of Pharell, but has an even more aggressive position on the matter, condemning the UK government for its harsh policy regarding file sharers, who are being treated as if they were terrorists.
In a video message transmission, the guitarist from Radiohead explained that the Featured Artists’ Coalition opposes the government’s ‘three strikes’ approach, considering it to be dysfunctional. “You disagree on that point and you’re typecast as the Taliban”, O’Brien said in the message.
The music industry has been placed against the wall many times lately, despite the occasional praises received by the record labels for licensing to new services and for introducing innovations aimed at overcoming the present crisis.
However, O’Brien thinks that the industry’s efforts to reinvent itself and find feasible solutions are inefficient and slow. “Times of uncertainty are always accompanied by fear among some people,” Radiohead’s guitarist informs. “But there is scope for enormous creativity. That’s what the industry needs.”
Terry McBride of Nettwerk Music Group is convinced that online piracy can be effectively reduced by promoting the use of streaming services. Suggesting the fact that users’ hard drives are generally disorganized and packed with files acquired through illegal downloading, he pointed out that users wouldn’t mind the idea of paying for the services of a “digital valet” like we7 or Spotify. This would be the perfect way for users to get organized digital access to comprehensive catalogues.
McBride made an appeal to record companies and music services to consider the idea of sealing collaborations with these ‘valet’ services, as they could turn out to be very beneficial in the near future.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services, Legal P2P News & Issues
Microsoft promised some time ago to increase its efforts in fighting piracy and now it seems determined to stick to that promise. Recently, the giant sued LinkoManija, the largest Lithuanian BitTorrent file-sharing tracker site, whose founder Kestas Ermanas is asked to pay an enormous $43 million in damages.
In its endeavor Microsoft received help from anti-file sharing agency LANVA.
Allegedly, Ermanas, whose assets and company have been seized following the lawsuit, was accused of assisting in copyright infringement. LinkoManija provided links for illegal copies of Microsoft’s Office 2003 and 2007 software.
I guess Microsoft could really use that money…
I know many of you have been desperately counting down the days to this release so how could have we not cover this ?
Apple Inc finally announced the official release of its new product, the highly anticipated iPad, which promises to successfully fill the gap between smartphones and laptop computers, and introduces features that render the gadget as much more than just a hybrid.
The latest technology device was first revealed to the world on Wednesday, as Apple Inc CEO Steve Jobs displayed its smooth contours, slim profile and generous 9.7-inch touch-screen before an overcrowded audience.
The iPad stands out as Apple’s biggest product release since the iPhone was first introduced to the public three years ago, and is by far the most anticipated device in the company’s history. According to Jobs, the market premises for introducing such a device couldn’t be any better, as there was a real need for a product that would share the characteristics of both smartphones and laptops, but also bring a series of distinctive features.
With prices starting from $499, Apple describes the iPad as “the best way to experience the web, email, photos, and video”. With its thin and light profile designed for portability, the iPad offers a large, high-resolution LED-backlit IPS display, a highly responsive Multi-Touch screen and a powerful Apple-designed chip. In addition, the battery life was prolonged to up to 10 hours by combining lithium-polymer battery technology with a power-efficient processor.
The iPad provides support for wireless connection, automatically locating Wi-Fi networks available within range, and also comes with Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, enabling connection to devices like wireless headphones or the Apple Wireless Keyboard. The gadget is also available in the form of a 3G model to provide a backup solution for connecting to the Internet in areas without a Wi-Fi network, and provides support for a variety of accessories specifically designed for the iPad. Other features such as improved Internet and e-mail access and navigation, as well as various organizing tools further add to the advantages offered by the iPad.
Considering its benefits and estimated price range, the iPad promises to attract many buyers and establish itself as the new trend in the consumer electronics market.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services
A setup in µTorrent 2.0 makes it all possible
On Tuesday Bittorrent Inc. announced its partnership with Measurement Lab (M-Lab) to test ISP connections and home networking related issues that could impact a user’s connection speed
Bittorrent’s blog reads:
“To accurately configure µTorrent for optimal performance, it’s helpful to know the bandwidth available to the client. Traditionally, we have expected users to go to another site to perform a test, understand the results and translate them to the client’s configuration settings. With µTorrent 2.0 we have integrated the speed testing into the setup guide. To do this we have partnered with Measurement Lab, which provides the testing tools and infrastructure.”
Back in July 2009 when uTorrent 2.0 beta launched one of the most significant improvements of the client was a new setup guide process, which included a speed test in order to establish optimal upload and download settings for users’ systems and broadband connection. Now, that feature plays the major role in this partnership.
Rather than relying on its own server to determine the speed, BitTorrent is employing a service that M-Lab (a Google-funded project) is providing that is also aggregating the anonymized test results for an improved assessment of how the average DSL or cable connection work; the service also allows a thorough investigation of the possible home related problems users might encounter as.
“M-Lab is supporting important research into how our Internet is actually performing and informing the debate on how this shared resource should be managed,” the blog further reads.
Probably the best part of the news is that since data is available under the Creative Commons Zero license anyone can freely use it as they please:
“Our speed test relies on the Network Diagnostic Tool (NDT) servers hosted at M-Lab sites around the world. The non-personally identifiable data generated by these tests (data collection info here) will be made available to researchers through M-Lab under a Creative Commons Zero license. Given µTorrent’s substantial user-base, we are hopeful that this data will stimulate new research into the state of the Internet and support the public debate with unbiased measurement data,” says the announcement.