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  1. Kim Dotcom's upcoming extradition hearing has been delayed by three months. The procedure was set to go ahead in just four weeks but the High Court says that would give the entrepreneur insufficient time to prepare his case. It will now take place no earlier than September 1, 2015. While trying to recoup as much of his seized wealth as possible, Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is determined to avoid being sent to the United States where he faces the largest copyright case in history. On four previous occasions the German-born businessman has been granted delays to his inevitable extradition hearing but in March his luck appeared to run out. Through his legal team Dotcom asked the North Shore District Court for an adjournment until October, claiming that more time was need to prepare his case and those of co-defendants Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato and Bram van der Kolk. The request was denied. Last month the parties returned to court with a request for a judicial review. Today and with some reservations, Justice Sarah Katz at the High Court granted the application, sending the matter back to the District Court to set a new hearing to take place no earlier than September 1. Justice Katz said that she believed that the delay was necessary for Dotcom and his associates to prepare their cases and have a fair hearing. “I have therefore concluded, with some reluctance (given the time that has elapsed since the plaintiffs were first brought before the courts) that the interests of natural justice require an adjournment of the 2 June 2015 extradition hearing date,†Justice Katz said. Previously, legal team issues and associated financing problems have prompted Dotcom to seek delays to his extradition hearing, but this morning the Judge indicated that the current delay shouldn’t herald additional claims. “This [adjournment] should not be taken by the plaintiffs, however, as a signal that any ongoing funding or representation difficulties (if they arise) would be likely to justify further adjournments,†Justice Katz said. “On the contrary, the plaintiffs must take full responsibility for preparing for their extradition hearing on whatever new date is allocated, with whatever level of legal support they are able to secure.†The United States has been particularly vocal on Dotcom’s financial position with claims that the entrepreneur “improperly divested himself†of shares in cloud-hosting service Mega when that money could have been used for his defense. The Judge addressed those claims in today’s ruling. “[Dotcom’s] Trust Me Trust is said to be a sham and Mr Dotcom’s conduct in relation to it is said to amount to equitable fraud,†the judgment notes, adding that if such an allegation was true, further delays to any trial would not be tolerated. In the event, Justice Katz said the validity of the U.S. government’s claims would be determined in separate proceedings. “For present purposes I must give Mr Dotcom the benefit of the doubt on the issue. Further, the assets of the Trust Me Trust, whoever may ultimately be entitled to them, are currently subject to freezing orders,†Justice Katz wrote. Finally, Dotcom co-defendant Finn Batato, who previously applied for legal aid due to a poor financial situation, will now have to defend himself after that application was turned down. However, that is not viewed as a problem by the Judge. “Mr Batato will be able to derive significant benefit from the work undertaken by his former legal team prior to their withdrawal. He will also derive significant benefit from the fact that the other three plaintiffs are legally represented and the plaintiffs are taking a collaborative approach to extradition issues,†the judgment reads. While today’s judgment appears to rule out further delays to Dotcom’s extradition hearing, the history of this case has shown us to expect the unexpected. https://torrentfreak.com/kim-dotcom-avoids-u-s-clutches-for-three-more-months-150501/
  2. A new study into IP litigation over the past 20 years has revealed that file-sharing has transformed copyright litigation in the United States. In particular, attacks against anonymous file-sharers dominated the landscape of the past decade, with just three companies now responsible for 93% of all John Doe lawsuits. Thanks to the development of advanced file-sharing systems and fast Internet connections, lawsuits aimed at alleged Internet pirates have become commonplace over the past decade and are showing no signs of disappearing anytime soon. The statistics behind the threats have been documented periodically but now a detailed study of IP litigation as a whole has painted a clearer picture of trends during the past 10 years. Published by Matthew Sag, Professor of Law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, IP Litigation in United States District Courts: 1994 to 2014 provides a review of all IP litigation in U.S. district courts over the past two decades to include copyright, patent and trademark lawsuits over 190,000 case filings. Perhaps unsurprisingly one of the paper’s key findings is that Internet file-sharing has transformed copyright litigation in the United States, in one area in particular. “To the extent that the rate of copyright litigation has increased over the last two decades, that increase appears to be entirely attributable to lawsuits against anonymous Internet file sharers,†the paper reads. In broad terms the paper places lawsuits against alleged pirates into two categories – those with an aim of discouraging illegal file-sharing and those that exist to monetize online infringement. Category one is dominated by lawsuits filed by the RIAA against users of software such as Kazaa and LimeWire who downloaded and shared tracks without permission. Announced in 2003, the wave seriously got underway during 2004 and persisted until 2008, straggling cases aside. Category two is dominated by the so-called copyright trolls that have plagued file-sharing networks since 2010. These companies, largely from the adult movie sector, track down alleged file-sharers with the aim of extracting cash settlements. As illustrated by the chart below, so-called ‘John Doe’ lawsuits witnessed their first big boost during 2004, the year the RIAA began its high-profile anti-P2P scare campaign. The second big wave can be seen from 2011 onwards. “John Doe litigation in the second wave appears to be aimed primarily, if not exclusively, at monetizing infringement—i.e., creating an independent litigation revenue stream that is unrelated to compensation for the harms of infringement and unconcerned with deterrence,†the paper reads. “The availability of statutory damages is essential to the infringement monetization strategy. United States copyright law allows a plaintiff to elect statutory damages ranging from $750 to $150,000 for willful copyright infringement, regardless of the extent of the copyright owner’s actual damage.†Needless to say, this situation has encouraged some companies to file more and more lawsuits over the past several years in pursuit of profit. However, they have been required to adapt along the way. Between 2010 and 2012 lawsuits were typically filed against hundreds or even thousands of John Doe defendants at once, but due to increased scrutiny from District Court judges the average number of Does per suit has declined dramatically. “[in] 2010 the average number of John Doe defendants per suit was over 560; by 2014 it was just over 3,†the paper notes. “2014 still witnessed the occasional mass-joinder suit, but by this time the model had almost entirely shifted to suits against individual unnamed defendants.†Also under the spotlight are the types of content being targeted by trolls. Pornographic titles were behind the lion’s share of lawsuits since 2010 and in 2014 accounted for 88% of all ‘John Doe’ actions. What is also startling about this second category is how it has become increasingly dominated by a tiny number of plaintiffs. Back in 2010 the top three plaintiffs accounted for less than 25% of John Doe lawsuits but it wouldn’t stay that way for long. “In 2011 and 2012, the top three plaintiffs accounted for just under 50% of John Doe cases. In 2013, Malibu Media, alone accounted for 64% of John Doe cases and the top three in that year accounted for more than 75% of such cases. The top three plaintiffs in 2014 account for more than 93% of John Doe litigation filings in copyright,†the paper adds. Conclusion Despite the large number of lawsuits being filed against John Doe defendants, the paper dismisses the notion that litigation since 2010 is a broad-based phenomenon. In fact, it draws quite the opposite conclusion, noting that a tiny number of plaintiffs are effectively making a huge noise. “The trend from 2012 to 2014 is one of increasing concentration of plaintiff activity. In fact, the pornography producer Malibu Media is such a prolific litigant that in 2014 it was the plaintiff in over 41.5% of all copyright suits nationwide,†the paper notes. Finally, in respect of the activities of the plaintiffs listed above, Matthew Sag’s studyarrives at an opinion long held by many ‘troll’ critics. “John Doe litigation is not a general response to Internet piracy; it is a niche entrepreneurial activity in and of itself,†Sag concludes. Torrentfreak
  3. Under pressure from the Australian government, local ISPs have now published proposals on how to deal with the issue of online piracy. Drafted together with entertainment companies, the draft sees subscribers warned three times before further action is taken. After developing a reputation for being some of the most prolific online pirates around, last year Australian citizens were told by the government that enough is enough. Since years of negotiations between ISPs and entertainment companies had gone nowhere, service providers were told to propose voluntary measures to deter and educate pirating subscribers or have one forced upon them by law. With a deadline looming, telecoms body the Communications Alliance has now published its draft proposal on behalf of its ISP members. Titled “Copyright Notice Scheme Industry Codeâ€, the 34-page document hopes to pacify rightsholders and their allies in government by outlining a graduated response mechanism to deal with file-sharers. “The Copyright Notice Scheme Code is designed to facilitate a cooperative industry-led copyright notice scheme through which Internet Service Providers and the owners of copyright works will work to deter the practice of online copyright infringement and inform consumers about available and lawful content alternatives,†the draft begins. “The Code provides for the creation of a copyright notice scheme under which ISPs will accept reports (in a prescribed format) from Rights Holders. The reports will identify Internet Protocol addresses that a Rights Holder alleges have been used to infringe copyright in online work of the Rights Holder. The reports will request that the relevant ISP notify the relevant Account Holders of the alleged infringements.†According to the draft there will be three types of notice. Step 1: Educational Notice Warnings received by subscribers for their first alleged offense are designed to be educational. The notice will advise that a rightsholder has observed an infringement while detailing the content involved plus a time and date. The notice will acknowledge that the account holder is not necessarily the infringer and will contain assurances that no information about the subscriber has been shared with a third party. Recipients will be warned, however, that they are now at a greater risk of being exposed to rightsholder legal action. Any questions about the notice can be sent to the Copyright Information Panel, an adjudication body comprised of ISP and rightsholder representatives. Step 2: Warning Notice Second notices sent to errant subscribers are framed as a warning. Like educational notices they will detail the alleged infringement but will also underline the fact that the subscriber has already received an Educational Notice. At this stage no information about the subscriber will be passed to rightsholders but will contain a stern warning. “Receipt of a further notice may result in a Rights Holder instituting court proceedings against the Account Holder, including a preliminary discovery application to obtain the Account Holder’s details,†the draft reads. Any questions about the notice can again be directed towards the Copyright Information Panel. Step 3: Final Notice In addition to detailing the alleged infringement, subscribers will be reminded that they have already received Educational and Warning notices. The subscriber will be required to acknowledge receipt of a Final Notice (via registered letter or popups) and will be advised that rightholders may go to court to obtain their identity. ISPs will make a record that a Final Notice has been sent to the subscriber but will not be required to send any further notices to an account holder who receives a Final Notice within 12 months of receiving an Educational Notice. Challenge Notices Subscribers who feel they have been wrongly accused can file a Challenge Notice with the adjudication panel. An appeal will cost the subscriber AUS$25 but will be refunded if the appeal is upheld. Fees may also be waived if the panel believes that would be appropriate. Punishments and costs The document makes no mention of punishments such as throttling, suspensions or disconnections, so they are now clearly off the table. Who pays for the system – a big sticking point throughout several years of negotiations – also appears to be unresolved. “Rights Holders and ISPs are cooperatively undertaking further work to quantify the costs of meeting the specific operational responsibilities and processes required by the Scheme and determine how these costs should be fairly apportioned between ISPs and Right Holders,†the draft reads. If the proposals (pdf) in the draft are accepted the scheme could be in place as early as September but the big question remains. Will entertainment companies also help Aussies to break the piracy habit by providing better and cost-friendly legal alternatives? http://torrentfreak.com/aussie-isps-advocate-three-strikes-solution-to-piracy-150220/
  4. Eircom was one of the first ISPs in Europe to implement a voluntary "three strikes" anti-piracy program but strangely it's now hiding the prospect of disconnections from customers. Together with music group IFPI, they also fail heavily on the piracy education front. More than five years ago the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) ended its legal action against local ISP Eircom when the ISP agreed to implement a new anti-piracy policy. The agreement sees Sony, Universal and Warner tracking Eircom subscribers online and the ISP forwarding infringement notices to customers uploading music without permission. Eircom promises to disconnect subscribers who are caught sharing three times. The entire point of this scheme and others like it is to inform Internet users that a “graduated response†is in operation. Whenever a notice is received users should be in no doubt they’re edging closer to being punished and ultimately cut off. For its part the music industry is clear. ‘Strikes’ regimes which don’t promise to disconnect or otherwise punish users are much less effective than those that have these measures. After all, who wants to be cut off by their ISP? But if that’s indeed the case, why then is Eircom keeping the prospect of disconnections out of its communications with alleged pirates? TorrentFreak has obtained one of the latest letters being sent out to Eircom subscribers. Received by a customer already on a warning, it begins normally enough. “Eircom has a long association with Irish music and we believe that artists deserve to be paid for the work they create. Most music files are protected by copyright and while it may be acceptable for them to be stored on a computer for personal use, it is unlawful to share those files without the copyright owner’s permission,†the letter reads. The warning goes on to note that sharing copyrighted music is a breach of Eircom’s terms and conditions and as such it’s the subscriber’s responsibility to ensure the connection is not used to breach copyright. Standard stuff so far. At this point one might expect Eircom to be getting into the details of its “three strikes†scheme implemented on IRMA’s behalf, informing the subscriber how after the third time sharing copyrighted material he or she will have their broadband connection terminated. Instead, however, the ISP makes no mention of it. “Please accept this letter as an advisory notice, and should no further activity as described above occur then no further action will be taken. The details of this notification will be retained for 12 months from the dates of this letter and will be deleted thereafter unless we receive an additional notification in that period,†the notice adds. And that’s pretty much it. No mention of a graduated response, no mention that subscribers will disconnected from the Internet. It’s a very strange approach considering the substantial sums of money spent by IRMA and Eircom to reach their “three strikes†agreement. So why the kid gloves? Since disconnecting customers is not exactly helpful to profitability, Eircom’s agreement with IRMA requires that the ISP isn’t put at a commercial disadvantage. To that end, IRMA has been locked in a five-year legal battle to force rival ISP UPC to also implement “three strikesâ€. Pending the outcome of that case, Eircom is currently the only ISP in Ireland promising to disconnect pirates. Playing that fact down in its letters to customers would certainly make commercial sense and stop those looking to jump ship. However, the other elephant in the room is that last year Eircom admitted it hadn’t disconnected anyone in four years of the “strikes†scheme. Add that to “weak†letters being sent out to customers and some might presume that disconnections are already off the table, at least unofficially. Still, there’s always the educational aspect to “graduated response†campaigns – you’ve been caught once so why not go straight now? As required by the IRMA deal, Eircom informs “strike†recipients where they can go to obtain legal music downloads – or at least that’s the idea. Sadly, in its infringement notices Eircom points them to eircom.net/legalmusic, a page that hasn’t existed for some time. A secondary educational effort in the letter sees the ISP encourage customers to completely remove file-sharing software and infringing files from their computers. “IRMA provides a program called ‘Digital File Check’ which can be downloaded from their website. It checks for and removes any infringing files and applications commonly used to share music illegally,†the letter notes. However, those following the link (www.ifpi.org/content/section_resources/digital-file-check.html) find it less than helpful. Links to the software on IFPI’s site send users round in a never-ending loop and the official domain DigitalFileCheck.com, for those who can be bothered to hunt it down, is completely dead. The situation is baffling. Why spend years pushing for this system yet execute it so poorly once it’s in place? Why then force other ISPs to do the same? It’s debatable whether these schemes have any effect at all, but if this is the model that’s no surprise. http://torrentfreak.com/isps-three-strikes-scheme-is-weird-and-broken-150214/
  5. UK police have arrested three men in London following a raid on what is being described as a popular movie and TV show piracy site. Following a FACT investigation the men, all in their 20s, were detained on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and copyright offenses. After scaling considerable heights during much of 2013 and 2014, overt operations to reduce online copyright infringement tapered off in the UK at the end of last year. The first six weeks of 2015 also remained quiet, with the now-famous Police Intellectual Property Unit (PIPCU) holding a lower profile. Today, however, there is news of fresh action by local authorities. Following an investigation by the Hollywood-affiliated anti-piracy group Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), this morning detectives raided individuals said to be involved in the operations of a movie and TV show download site. The men, aged 24, 25 and 26, all from the Southwark area of London, were arrested at 06:45 on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and copyright infringement offenses. Equipment and financial documents were also seized. Speaking with TorrentFreak a few moments ago, FACT said that they weren’t able to name the site “for operational reasons.†Nevertheless, police say it was popular among users. “The site was extremely popular. It was viewed about 70,000 times a day and, internationally, it ranked thousands of places higher than a well-known and legitimate film download site,†said investigating officer Detective Sergeant Neil Reynolds. Similar raids in recent times have been carried out by PIPCU but today’s operation is being accredited to the London Regional Asset Recovery Team. LRART is a Home Office-funded team comprised of officers and financial investigators from City of London Police and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, among others. The unit carries out financial investigations aimed at seizing criminal assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. “It can be difficult for people to care about copyright laws being broken but the money made from such sites is often spent on funding other crime,†said DS Reynolds. “We are looking at how much money was made from advertising on this website and where that money went to.†FACT say that the site was registered to one of the suspects in the UK but was then re-registered to a second suspect at an address in Romania. Advertising revenue was paid into a London-based bank account. Director General Kieron Sharp said that unauthorized sites undermine legitimate businesses and warned that people running such ventures face stiff penalties. “Websites which set out to direct users to illegal copies of films and TV shows are engaged in criminal activity which not only reaps huge financial benefits for the individuals involved but also undermines the fundamental business model which allows for future investment in the creative industries,†Sharp said. “As these latest arrests show, this type of criminal enterprise will not go without action, and those involved face severe penalties.†If anyone has any further information please contact us in confidence http://torrentfreak.com/uk-police-raid-movie-tv-show-site-three-arrested-150217/
  6. The Pirate Bay reached a questionable milestone today when copyright holders asked Google to remove the three millionth Pirate Bay URL from search results. While most requests are valid, Google also removed several non-infringing pages. Despite the criminal prosecution of The Pirate Bay four, the notorious torrent site remains available to the public at large. TPB is setup to make it especially difficult for law enforcement to take it down, so copyright holders have to turn to third parties to address the threat. One of the main strategies is to ask Google and other search engines to remove infringing Pirate Bay URLs from their search results. Google in particular is heavily targeted and this week the number of thepiratebay.se URLs submitted to Google reached the three million mark. Nearly all of these links have indeed been removed and can no longer be accessed through search results. The chart below shows the number of links that have been submitted per week. There is a sharp decline towards the end of 2013 when The Pirate Bay used another domain name. The requests increased again in December when the torrent site switched back. 3 Million Pirate Bay URLs reported While most of the reported links do indeed point to copyrighted material, some none-infringing pages have been removed as well. Paramount Pictures, for example, asked to remove this blog post where a comment mentions “the beast of hercules,†not the Hercules movie. Similarly, TPB’s Doodlespage is gone because an adult entertainment company confused it with Kelly Madison’s “Yankee Doodle Dame†In total, the three million URLs were submitted in 135,486 separate takedown notices, averaging more than 22 links per takedown request. A staggering number, but one that pales in comparison to other sites. Looking at the list of domains for which Google received the most URLs removal requests, The Pirate Bay is currently listed in 23rd place. The top spot goes to rapidgator.net with close to 13 million URLs, followed by 4shared.com, filestube.com, dilandau.eu and zippyshare.com. Torrentz.eu, the first torrent site in the list, comes in 8th with 5.4 million URLs. For The Pirate Bay the reduced availability in Google is not much of a problem. Previously the Pirate Bay team informed TorrentFreak that they stopped relying on search engines as a traffic source a long time ago. And indeed, despite the censored pages The Pirate Bay’s traffic has continued to grow. Even today the site remains among the 100 most visited websites on the Internet.
  7. Kathleen Kennedy has been discussing progress on Star Wars: Episode VII, which is rapidly approaching the point where cameras will stop rolling… As reported by The Guardian, Kennedy revealed that LucasFilm is “within three weeks of finishing filming on Star Wars: Episode VII†before going on to wax lyrical about the thrill of returning the franchise to London. “This continues a long tradition of Star Wars movies being made in London,†said the producer. “It goes back to 1976.†“To know that we are now coming back and we will be making the movies once again based out of Pinewood and now we’re looking to put together ILM London, it’s rather remarkable that this has come together in less than two years.†Meanwhile, series stalwart Warwick Davis has also confirmed he will be returning for the new film, courtesy of the amusing video below… Directed by J.J. Abrams and co-starring Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o and John Boyega, Star Wars: Episode VII will open in the UK on 18 December 2015. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  8. "Sales for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus exceeded our expectations for the launch weekend, and we couldn't be happier," CEO Tim Cook says. Apple sold a record 10 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones this weekend, the company announced today. The new phones went on sale on Friday, September 19. The previous record-holder was the iPhone 5 line, which combined to sell 9 million devices during its launch weekend last year. Apple added that sales of the new iPhone 6 models could have been higher if the company was able to meet demand. Strong performance out of the gate is not much of a surprise, given that the iPhone 6 broke preorder records for Apple, with more than 4 million preorders placed in under 24 hours. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are now available in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. The devices will launch in more than 20 additional countries on September 26, and will be available in a total of 115 countries by the end of 2014. "Sales for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus exceeded our expectations for the launch weekend, and we couldn't be happier," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. "We would like to thank all of our customers for making this our best launch ever, shattering all previous sell-through records by a large margin. While our team managed the manufacturing ramp better than ever before, we could have sold many more iPhones with greater supply and we are working hard to fill orders as quickly as possible." Apple says the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus represent the "biggest advancements in iPhone history." The standard model sports a 4.7-inch screen, while the Plus features a 5.5-inch screen; both are Retina HD displays. In addition, both iPhone 6 models run on Apple's proprietary A8 chip that promises "blazing fast performance." They also work with Apple Pay, the company's new payment option, and feature the iOS 8 update. The iPhone 6 begins at $199 for a 16 GB model, while the Plus starts at $299 for a 16 GB model. Those prices are assuming you lock in for a two-year contract. For more on the new iPhones, be sure to check out GameSpot sister site CNET's extended coverage of the smartphones. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  9. 2014-08-27 - NAS首选 西数6TB红盘体验会北上广三站粉ä¸æ‹›å‹Ÿå¼€å¯ 西部数æ®å·²ä¸Žæœ¬ç«™è”手æˆåŠŸä¸¾åŠžè¿‡ä¸‰æ¬¡ä½“验会. 本次更声势浩大,ä¸å…‰åªæœ‰ä¸Šæµ·ç«™,æ›´å¢žåŠ äº†åŒ—äº¬å’Œå¹¿å·žä¸“åœº. 还是è€æ ·å­ï¼šå…¥åœºç¤¼å“ã€æŠ½å¥–抽硬盘ã€åˆ°åœºä¼šå‘˜å¥–励PT积分等都ä¸ä¼šå°‘. 望有兴趣的且当天肯定能到的会员亲临现场观摩. 具体时间安排åŠæ´»åŠ¨ç»†èŠ‚请详è§æ­¤å¸–: Translate 2014-08-27 - NAS preferred Western Digital 6TB red plate northward wide experience will open three recruiting station Fans Western Digital has teamed up with the site experience will be successfully held three times. The more massive, more than just the Shanghai Railway Station, Beijing and Guangzhou adds special. Still the same: Admission gifts, sweepstakes pumping hard, PT scene Membership Rewards points so no less. Interested and hope the day will certainly be able to visit the site to observe members. Specific details of the time schedule and activities, please see this post:
  10. Acer’s Chromebooks have been known for their affordability and price point, but the company wants to be appreciated for its options, too. That’s why the company is keeping its competitive edge while offering three new Chromebook models – all with a 13.3-inch display, which is a first for the company. As with most tech products these days, Acer offers two major choices: a high-end model and a low-end model. The low-end Acer Chromebook 13 will feature a 1366 x 768 screen resolution, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal memory storage. The high-end Acer Chromebook 13 will come with a Full HD screen resolution (1920 x 1080), 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal memory storage. All three Acer Chromebook 13 models will use Nvidia’s Tegra K1 (the same processor found in Nvidia’s gaming tablet) in addition to a quad-core, 2.1Ghz ARM Cortex A15 processor for quick application launches, gaming, and other leisure and work tasks. To add to its power, the Chromebook 13 models will all utilize 802.11ac Wi-Fi, now the new standard in Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth 4.0, two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, 720p HD web cam, microphone, SD card slot for expandable storage, and a 3,220mAh battery. The low-end Chromebook 13 will cost $280, the high-end model $380. If you want something a bit high-end but don’t want to shelve out $380, you can choose a semi-high-end (or mid-range) model for just $300. It involves many of the specs of the high-end model but comes with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of memory storage instead of 32GB (after all, it is a little more inexpensive). Adding 13.3-inch models is a nice one, indeed. After all, there’re many consumers that like larger screens for work productivity, and the Acer Chromebook 13 models, at their price points, are sure to impress.
  11. Rascal Flatts announced today that due to illness with lead singer Gary LeVox, three upcoming shows on the band's current tour are canceled. The affected shows are Thursday, August 7 at the Idaho Center Amphitheater, Friday, August 8 at the Northern Quest Casino & Resort in Wash., and Saturday, August 9, at the Rocking’ River Music Festival in Mission, BC, CAN. "It is incredibly difficult to make the decision to cancel shows and disappoint our loyal fans who have been so good to us over the years," Rascal Flatts bassist Jay DeMarcus said in a statement. "The schedule of shows this past weekend, coupled with media days in New York City, have left him without a voice. We promise to return as soon as we can and give our fans the best show possible!†A release instructs ticketholders to contact their venue for refund information.
  12. Although TMZ has reported that the FCC received a "slew" of complaints about the concert special Miley Cyrus: Bangerz Tour, which aired on NBC over the July 4th weekend, the agency tells Rolling Stone it has received only four. Currently, it is determining whether the program indeed violated any of its indecency and profanity rules. Cyrus filmed the show, which was toned down from her usual exploits on the road, earlier this year at her Bangerz stops in Barcelona and Lisbon, incorporating behind-the-scenes footage that showed her doing far-from-shocking things like hanging out with her sister backstage and singing a Dolly Parton song. Clips from the show reveal that, while onstage, Cyrus wore a skin-tight unitard with a hoodie – as opposed to the nudity of her "Wrecking Ball" video – and, at one point, dressed one of her backup dancers like a blunt and others like cigarette lighters. For "Get it Right" the singer snuggled up to several men and women in a giant bed. During one song, Cyrus also danced suggestively with somebody who was dressed like Abraham Lincoln, which prompted one complaint. Although the Freedom of Information Act revealed the contents of three of the four FCC complaints, it presented an interesting look at what upset a handful of people about Bangerz, from one person feeling uncomfortable with the suggested homosexuality of the bed scene to another saying "F-no" to what he or she felt was an XXX performance all around. Read the grievances in full and unedited below. (The FCC did not make the fourth complaint publicly available.) Complaint Number One: "They aired a program called 'Miley Cyrus: Bangerz Tour.' Now, during the summer evenings when the kids get to stay up late, why would they choose to air a highly controversial 'pop star' who freely advertises that her songs are all about sex and drugs, who wears costumes that would perhaps be more appropriate if she were dancing on a pole in some club somewhere? "This was jokingly rated as PG-13/TV-14 and that simply cannot be correct. Miley Cyrus these days needs to be rated either MA or XXX, and nothing of hers should now or ever be aired during any time prior to 12:00 am in whatever time zone her smut is scheduled to air. "Since it made it past my parental control lock given the ridiculous rating, I made sure to watch some of it to see if I would allow my kids to watch it. My answer is a resounding NO! No just H-No, either. But a loud and resounding F-No! I am offended, appalled and ready to start taking public action to remove this garbage from our televisions. You MUST severely fine and censure both the 'artist' and the television station IMMEDIATELY!" Complaint Number Two: "Macy's/NBC aired a performance on the Macy's 4th Of July Fireworks featuring Miley Cyrus, she was dressed more in line with a video geared towards MTV, her performance was impropriate for broadcast tv, as she grinded along there was a costumed performer depicting President Lincoln following behind her and alongside her and the character acted quite lecherous even patting her on the backside. Very patriotic for the 4th ya think? This is a show geared for family I thought? What happened to NBC standards dept?" Complaint Number Three: "The live Miley Cyrus concert program was borderline pornographic in images and the lyrics to the songs. Open sexuality on a stage bed male/male female/female homosexuality. Very graphic and disturbing for a Sunday evening 9pm summertime broadcast. Please investigate this and prevent it from ever being shown again."
  13. The Season Three premiere of ABC's Nashville just may silence skeptics who think the actors aren't really singing. Well, at least for two of the actors. Chris Carmack and Charles Esten, otherwise known as "Will Lexington" and "Deacon Claybourne," will perform live on the September 24th episode — and on both coasts. The show, which films in Nashville, will switch between pre-recorded scenes and live broadcasts from its Bluebird Café set, which is an almost-perfect replica of the famed Music City venue. The actors will perform at 9:00 p.m. CST for the East coasters and Central time zone viewers and then again at 11:00 p.m. for the West coast. Carmack is set to sing "If It's Love," written by country duo (and frequent Nashville song contributors) Striking Matches, while Esten will perform a song he co-wrote with Deana Carter, "I Know How to Love You Now." Studio tracks and live recordings will be available for download that same night. This will be the first time in TV history a scripted drama has attempted a live musical performance, but it's not too much of a stretch for these two actors. Esten is currently on his own summer tour, alongside castmate Clare Bowen. The two also toured with Carmack, Jonathan Jackson, Sam Palladio and Will Chase on a three-city stint earlier this year, along with a post-race concert at St. Jude's Country Music Marathon in Nashville. "I don’t really get nervous," Carmack told Rolling Stone Country on the set of the Season Two finale, regarding his musical performances on the show. Instead, he says he gets anxious about "emotionally-heightened scenes," which, of course, are at great heights for his character as the show resumes this fall. Will Lexington was caught by reality show cameras finally coming out of the closet as the last episode ended.
  14. Amazon Amazon introduced a new file storage and collaboration service calledZocalo that—on first blush, at least, looks like it might be a Dropbox killer. Much like Dropbox and other cloud storage services, Zocalo lets you sync files between the Amazon cloud and your phone or PC. It has a business twist too, helping IT staffers control who gets access to which files. The product must be making some Dropbox executives uneasy, because unlike its other big competitors—Google and Microsoft— Dropbox itself is a pretty big Amazon customer. The startup uses Amazon’s S3 storage service to store the more than 500 million files that get uploaded to Dropbox each day. That’s going to make it pretty much impossible for Dropbox to undercut Amazon’s pricing. Zocalo starts at $5 per user per month for 200GB of storage. Dropbox charges twice that for half as much storage. But price isn’t everything, and Dropbox still has a several advantages that Amazon will be hard-pressed to overcome. 1. Sync is incredibly hard to get right Dropbox’s greatest strength is that it makes syncing files with the cloud and sharing them with other users seem so easy. But it’s not. Behind the scenes, Dropbox has a vast system of software keeping track of which files have been edited when, and who has access to what. Sync is a particularly difficult problem, and one small bug can lay waste to years of important user data. Err the other way, and you’re constantly resurrecting long-deleted files. Amazon has the technical chops to build a reliable storage and synchronization system, but making it as invisible to the end-user as Dropbox is no easy task. Dropbox has a seven-year head start here. And customers have shown, again and again, that they’re actually happy to pay more money for a tool with fewer features as long as it’s easy to use. 2. Dropbox’s “users first†strategy Dropbox’s strategy has always been to win end-users over first, then sell to the business side. Amazon is taking the opposite approach, by appealing directly to businesses. The problem with this approach is that even if Amazon is successful in selling its service to a business, the managers of that business still have to convince their employees to use it. Employees who are already Dropbox might not want to make the switch — especially if Zocalo ends up being even slightly harder to use than Dropbox. Could Amazon appeal directly to end users in this space? It already tried that with Amazon Cloud Drive, which is still around, but has been largely forgotten since its 2011 launch. 3. Branding Amazon already has a dizzying number of services and features under the Amazon Web Services umbrella, and it can be hard to keep track of them all. And the company is always adding more. That means it could be easy for the product to be overlooked, much as Cloud Drive has. That’s made all the worse by the name Zocalo. In Spanish, Zócalo means “plinth,†which is a platform for pillars or statues. It can also refer to the Plaza de la Constitución, the public square in the center of Mexico City. Unfortunately, it’s not a word that means much to non-Spanish speakers, and it’s particularly hard to remember. Bu now, just about everybody knows about Dropbox. Independence Ahead? Of course it’s not all smooth sailing for Dropbox and other competitors. This move will put pricing pressure on Dropbox, and it may need to spend some of $1.1 billion it’s raised on gaining more independence from Amazon. Startups are always in danger of being squashed by larger companies and bigger marketing budgets and the ability to undercut them on cost. But that problem is magnified when you’re running your service on infrastructure owned and operated by the same big companies you have to compete with. We’ve already seen this with Amazon Prime, which competes with Netflix, another major Amazon Web Services customer. But Amazon is still a long way from killing Netflix, and that’s good news for Dropbox. http://www.wired.com/2014/07/amazon-zocalo/
  15. A telecoms administrative body has ordered a fresh torrent site blockade in Italy. Following decisions against four torrent sites last month, the AGCOM regulator says that three more torrent indexes must now be banned by the country's ISPs. After coming under intense criticism, this year Italy was removed from the Watch List in the USTR’s Special 301 Report. Part of the formula for that achievement was to be found in telecoms regulator AGCOM. Instead of legislating against piracy, the Italian government gave the watchdog the power to deal with infringement, up to and including the removal of infringing content and even the blocking of allegedly copyright-infringing domains. In May and following complaints from the entertainment industry, AGCOM ordered the blocking of four torrent sites – LimeTorrents, TorrentDownload.ws, Torrentz.pro and TorrentDownloads.me. Just over a month later and yet more sites have fallen victim to its blocking regime. This time around it’s the turn of Torrent.cd, Torrentvia and TorrentRoom to land on the AGCOM blacklist. None of the sites are large, quite the opposite in fact, but a dig down into their traffic stats reveals why Italy is interested in them. The largest of the trio, Torrent.cd, has the greatest proportion of its visitors arrive from India, closely followed by the United States. Just a fraction of a percent behind are Italian visitors, making Torrent.cd fairly popular with locals. In mid 2012, TorrentRoom.com was among the top 5000 sites in the world, but traffic to the site diminished to a near all time low in mid 2013. A recovery in the early part of 2014 reversed the trend for a while, but traffic is currently the worst it has ever been. However, stats from Alexa show that Italian visitors to the site are only outnumbered by those from the United States, again making the site relatively popular with locals. TorrentVia.com is a very small site indeed with a global Alexa rank of 178,400. Traffic is so low in fact that it’s difficult to obtain stats. That said, Google.it is the site’s second most-popular referrer, something which again reflects local interest. For now it seems that AGCOM are going after sites that are enjoyed more locally, but that could very well change once the regulator runs out of targets.
  16. Attorney General George Brandis has been put under pressure over behind-the-scenes discussions on the introduction of a three strikes regime to Australia. A largely awkward exchange with the Green Party in the Senate this week only fueled growing feelings that being transparent on negotiations is not high on the Government's list of priorities. In a speech back in February, Australia’s Attorney-General George Brandis indicated that the Government had plans to crack down on Internet piracy. Not only was consideration being given to the introduction of a “three strikes†style regime, but ISPs could be required to block access to so-called ‘pirate’ sites. This week, in a session of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, the topic was raised by Senator Scott Ludlam of the Australian Greens. With the Attorney General and his team sat immediately opposite him, Ludlam asked Brandis about current Government copyright policy. “Unlike the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, France and many other comparable countries, Australia lacks any effective protection against online piracy,†Brandis said. “Australia, I’m sorry to say, is the worst offender of any country in the world when it comes to piracy, and i’m very concerned that the legitimate rights and interests of rightsholders and content creators are being compromised by that activity.†Who is helping Brandis shape his anti-piracy opinions? “Where are you getting your information from to form your views, who are you consulting and through what vehicle are you forming your views that you’ve just presented to us?†Ludlam asked. “Well, those are my views. I mean, the views that I expressed in the speech to which you referred, legal and philosophical views in particular,†Brandis said. Ludlam then asked if consumer groups were being involved in the process, as is the case in the United States “strikes†system. “Have you spoken to any consumer groups, such as Choice or ACANN, who would probably contest your view that a graduated response or three-strikes or any of those kinds of propositions…..†A clearly irritated Brandis interrupted, but Ludlam wasn’t giving an inch, continuing: “….or any of those countries that you’ve just listed at the outset that do have some version of those schemes, that actually they’re not working very well in those jurisdictions and there might be other ways to tackle the problem more effectively, but still preserve artists’ rights to be paid for their work.†Avoiding answering the question again, Brandis said that he and his colleagues speak to stakeholders all the time. Answer the question – are consumer groups involved? “Does that include Choice, for example?†Ludlam persisted. Brandis said that his team has consulted with “industry leaders†in the United Kingdom and the United States to learn from their experiences. That wasn’t the answer Ludlam was looking for. “I know industry leaders have very strong views on these things, but i’m asking you about groups like Choice or ACANN or others that might represent consumer interests or the public interest,†he said. “There is a very strong public interest in the protection of private property and that includes the protection of intellectual property,†Brandis responded evasively. “So you’re not going to answer the question,†Ludlam said rhetorically. Clearly irritated with the line of questioning and despite being the one to interrupt, Brandis then gave Ludlam a mini lecture on not interrupting him and proceeded, again, not to answer the question. The Greens Senator wasn’t letting go. “Have you met with Choice or ACAN in the process of forming your views?†he insisted. As the exchange continued it became very clear indeed that while Brandis was pretty sharp on how his discussions had gone with “stake holdersâ€, he was vague on any discussions with groups that should be involved to protect the public interest. Is three-strikes still on the agenda? Switching towards a member of Brandis’ team, Ludlam asked directly whether or not the Government’s copyright task group was looking at a three-strikes style regime to deal with online piracy? “Yes, that’s one option,†came the response. However, while the option is being considered, the Government clearly faces problems. In response to Ludlam asking whether talks were underway between rightsholders and service providers, a member of Brandis’ team gave a one word answer: “No.†The problem, the Attorney General said, stemmed back from the iiNet ruling in 2012. Since then there had been less willingness on the part of some ISPs to come to the table. However, one ISP has been very helpful lately. “Earlier in the month I had a very long conversation [with executives from] Telstra. If I may say so publicly I would say that Telstra’s contribution to this issue, and their willingness to work to find a solution to the piracy issue, which is really unaddressed in Australia, has been very commendable,†Brandis said. “We want to see if the various industry participants can be brought to the table and find themselves in agreement rather than having a solution imposed from on high.†So who is pulling the strings, who is making the decisions? And then, just before the end of the session, Brandis undermined confidence in government transparency again in response to Ludlam’s questioning on how the issue would now be progressed. “The matter is under active consideration right now. I had a meeting with certain decision makers in this matter as recently as 7pm last night,†Brandis said. So who are those key decision makers? “I’m not going to be disclosing in a public forum who I meet with, senator,†Brandis told Ludlam. With anonymous “stake holders†and “decision makers†commanding Brandis’ ear, no consumer groups front and center, and only Telsta, the part-owner of pay TV company Foxtel, worthy of praise on the ISP front, a voluntary agreement on strikes in Australia seems as far away as ever.