Filed under: Announcements & Events, Downloads, Movies, MP3, Digital Audio & Games
Three years ago, specifically on April 2010, Pandora launched a program that is capable of sharing people’s listening habits via Facebook. In response, residents of Michigan filed suit against the service (on the 20th of September 2010), claiming that the music service is violating Michigan’s Video Rental Privacy Act, as well as Michigan’s Consumer Act.
In response to these allegations, Pandora had asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to stick with the District Court Judge’s decision (which was issued last year), ruling that a class-action lawsuit against the music-streaming service is not possible.
The aforementioned program, called “instant personalization”, allowed Pandora to publish Facebook users’ information without their consent. Peter Deacon, a Michigan resident and also a Facebook user, claimed that Pandora is to be held responsible for illegally publishing his music preferences. To that, the District Court Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong ruled that the company does not fall under Michigan’s privacy law, as it only streams music and does not lend, rent or sell it.
Deacon was not pleased with the decision, so he appealed the decision. He argued that the District Court’s judge misinterpreted the Michigan privacy law by ignoring “the commonly accepted, everyday meanings of the terms rent and lend.” He went on by saying that Armstrong’s judgment is in contradiction with Michigan’s lawmakers’ intention to protect consumers’ “choices in movies, music, and reading material from unwanted public disclosure.”
In response, the music service argued that:
“Temporarily caching data on listeners’ computers to enable streaming is not ‘renting’ or ‘lending’ under any common definition of those terms.”
“Pandora asks listeners only for musical preferences and then selects and streams ‘songs containing similar musical attributes’ that Pandora alone controls,” the online music service argues. “It would be entirely novel to have a rental or borrowing arrangement where the user does not even know what songs will be borrowed,” the company concluded.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, Digital Media, Mobile Phones, P2P technology, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services
Sharing content through Facebook is easy as pie, but there’s more to it than just photos and YouTube links. Pipe and Dropify, two web applications dedicated to online social interaction, are about to change the way we “facebook”.
Pipe is a yet to be released application that will allow Facebook users to share/send files (music, video content, photos, etcetera) of up to 1GB in size. The transfer, according to the company’s claims, is going to be secure and in real-time.
The other web application, Dropify, was founded in Cologne back in May 2011 by Alex Heilmann, Mike Lieser and Chris Striepecke. Through it Facebook users can publish and explore files, including .PDF and .doc files, audio and video content, archives, and so on.
“Dropify is a fun way for people to both publish and discover awesome free files. Traditional file downloads have very limited visibility. With dropify, people share the download activity with their friends on their timeline and news feed. With more than one billion people who use Facebook each month, this results in major coverage, while people discover new artists, brands, and other content creators they have never heard of before,” Dropify’s official website reads.
The application is compatible with mobile devices and features drag-and-drop capabilities, embedding, monitoring, and more.
Furthermore, Dropify could help developers and content creators to get noticed by creating an activity feed whenever (their) files are downloaded, thus making the links go viral on Facebook.
Although the service is free, one can also opt for a subscription of $9 to $99 a month and enjoy the application’s extra features.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services
No less than a month ago Facebook launched Groups for Schools; now they’ve enabled file-sharing for all groups.
The number one social network (Facebook) is now offering the ability to send files to all groups. This update will become available to everyone the following days. If you can’t access this feature yet, Facebook wants you to know that you’ll have it “soon”, a Mashable report reads.
Facebook’s “Groups for Schools” was launched a month ago and enables anyone with an .edu e-mail address to share files.
Users can upload common file types of up to 25MB, the exceptions being music files and executable files. E-books, comics, music videos and other small movies are green.
To prevent the spread of malicious, inappropriate or copyrighted files, “users can report files the same way they can with other content across the site,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
More than 380 million people use Facebook Groups, and enabling file-sharing was one of the most common requests from groups’ users, the spokesperson said.
This is how the new file-sharing feature is going to look:
Filed under: Announcements & Events, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services
Facebook has recently launched a collaborative campus tool called “Groups for Schools”. At the moment only U.S. colleges and universities (soon to include worldwide institutions) can create groups related to their activities (dorms, classes, student events).
Back in Facebook’s early years Mark Zuckerberg attempted to launch a file-sharing service called Wirehog, and failed, but did not give up. Yesterday Facebook came out with yet another feature – Groups for Schools. As part of this program, students can upload files, but Facebook included some limits: you cannot send any .exe files (from obvious reasons – to avoid viruses spread), and a 25MB upload limit. Lastly, Facebook is going to monitor all uploads in order to avoid copyrighted files from getting shared.
The fact that Facebook bought the file-sharing service Drop.io in 2010 could be a hint that Zuckerberg is planning out a cloud-based service, but we may be wrong.
And since we’ve mentioned Zuckerberg’s failed project Wirehog, let’s get a little into that. Wirehog was part of Facebook until 2006, when Sean Parker shut down the program so that Facebook stays online and far from copyright infringement lawsuits.
Groups for Schools may just revive one key section that Facebook lost during the years. Anything posted within this group can be accessed only by students who use their .edu e-mails in order to authenticate, a key feature if you don’t want your future employer to see compromising pictures of you at some party.
Lastly, Groups for Businesses could be a project in Facebook’s agenda, so companies like Yammer or Google should get busy pretty fast. More news about this as soon as we find out.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, Legal P2P News & Issues
In an attempt to stop the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) bill Facebook, Google, Twitter, Zynga and other web companies have sent a letter (pdf) to important members of the US Senate and House of Representatives, saying that the act “pose[s] a serious risk to our industry’s continued track record of innovation and job creation, as well as to our nation’s cybersecurity.”
The letter’s aim was to underline the dangers within the SOPA act before entering the hearing held by the House Judiciary committee on the 16th of November. eBay, Mozilla, Yahoo, AOL and LinkedIn are just few of the web companies that signed the letter, asking politicians to “consider more targeted ways to combat foreign ‘rogue’ Web sites.”
If SOPA passes through and becomes law, it can send “rogue” sites into oblivion by simply erasing them from the face of the Internet. The key word here is of course “rogue”, as it’s still unclear which websites are to be considered a liability and which not.
The announcement of the hearing makes Lamar Smith’s (House Judiciary Chairman) position clear; it reads that SOPA reflects a bipartisan “commitment toward ensuring that law enforcement and job creators have the necessary tools to protect American intellectual property from counterfeiting and piracy.” Among supporters of the bill we can find Republican or Democratic leaders of the House and Senate committees, America’s Union Movement or AFL-CIO, and the US labor union Teamsters.
Trying to gag the voice of freedom Mr. Smith repeatedly refused to invite EFF (The Electronic Frontier Foundation) and other opposing groups to the hearing as he needs no counter-arguments to the legislation; those invitations were sent instead to the MPAA, AFL-CIO and Pfizer. However, Google will be the only company speaking at this hearing against SOPA, a tactical advantage from which the supporters of the bill may benefit.
The web companies’ letter will let Katherine Oyama (Google’s policy counsel) prove that the opposing voice is louder than they think. A press briefing was also held this morning inside the Capitol Visitors Center complex, with Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) being invited to speak on the SOPA issues.
CNet updates show that letters keep coming in. Members of Congress have sent a letter of their own (pdf), signed by Zoe Lofgren and Anna Eshoo, both California Democrats, and Ron Paul, the Republican presidential candidate from Texas, among others. In their letter, they say that SOPA will invite “an explosion of innovation-killing lawsuits and litigation.” They’re not the only one writing anti-SOPA letters. Other civil-liberties and left-leaning advocacy groups (Bits of Freedom in the Netherlands, the Electronic Frontier Finland, Reporters Without Borders, and US’s Free Press and Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility) are speaking their mind, saying that “through SOPA, the United States is attempting to dominate a shared global resource.”
Last but not least, a letter (pdf) signed by law professors, including Stanford’s Mark Lemley, Elon’s David Levine, Temple’s David Post, and UCLA’s Eugene Volokh was written, warning that SOPA “has grave constitutional infirmities, potentially dangerous consequences for the stability and security of the Internet’s addressing system, and will undermine United States foreign policy and strong support of free expression on the Internet around the world.”