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Sweden is not in America

Swedish site thepiratebay.org has received a cease and desist from Dreamworks lawyers [warning: big JPG file] about bittorrent trading of Shrek 2. The letter says:

As you may be aware, Internet Service Providers can be held liable if they do not respond to claims of infringement pursuant to the requirements of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). In accordance with the DMCA, we request your assistance in the removal of infringements of the Shrek 2 motion picture from this web site and any other sites for which you act as an Internet Service Provider.

The site’s response, or rather the bit that doesn’t include swearing:

As you may or may not be aware, Sweden is not a state in the United States of America. Sweden is a country in northern Europe. Unless you figured it out by now, US law does not apply here. For your information, no Swedish law is being violated.

Obviously the DMCA doesn’t apply in Sweden, but presumably the country has similar copyright laws to the rest of Europe and has either implemented or will soon implement the EU copyright directive. Can anyone enlighten me about the legal status of downloads in Sweden?

[via the Digital Music Weblog]

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The new hpPod

Aaagh! My eyes!

Don’t let the garish appearance fool you: it’s a sticker. Everything else about the HP-branded iPod is identical to the Apple version, with the exception of the HP: Invent logo on the back (which has caused some snickering on various Mac sites). The only thing HP is bringing to the iPod party is mobile phone-style covers, which you can print from – of course – an HP printer whenever you feel like putting Slipknot or Britney on your iPod; everything else (including the price) is identical to the current 4G iPods.

On the face of it, then, HP’s iPod isn’t particularly impressive – but anyone who thinks that is missing the point in a big way. The iPod isn’t broken, so any attempt by HP to fix it would probably have been disastrous; the blue iPod mockup that’s been on the net for a few months was so hideous I can’t imagine anyone buying it. What HP gets from this deal is some much-needed “cool”, and Apple? It gets iPods into HP’s massive distribution network, which covers all the major retailers around the world that don’t currently sell iPods, and there’s a distinct possibility that HP will make and sell more iPods than Apple could handle. That means iPods everywhere and the iTunes music store on many, many more PCs.

Clever.

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Is this the new iMac?

This alleged spy shot of the new G5 iMac has been flying around the web for the last 24 hours. Am I missing something? It looks like a clumsy fake to me, a photo of a Cinema Display sitting in the packaging from a PowerBook.

update

Oh, and packaging that touches the sides of the computer without any polystyrene? It’s a PowerBook box, goddammit!

On a more interesting note, there are nice ideas over at Engadget, where readers have come up with their own suggestions of what the G5 iMac will look like. You can see their ideas here.

The amount of talent on the internet never fails to amaze me.

another update

Peter from Engadget has emailed with news that the pics are definitely a hoax. And he shares my high opinion of his readers’ talents.

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Yarrrrrrrrrrr!

It’s utterly immature I know, but apparently some US cinemagoers are responding to anti-piracy adverts by making pirate noises.

Yarrrrrrr!

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iPod antics

It’s all go in the world of digital music: HP is expected to launch its version of Apple’s iPod this afternoon (or this morning if you live in the US), and Microsoft’s about to unveil its rival to the iTunes Music Store, which is pegged for a 2nd September launch date. There’s an interesting nugget in this Rolling Stone story:

Microsoft has made several overtures to Apple to make its store compatible with the industry-leading iPod but has been rebuffed. (Apple declined to comment.)

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Movie villains

US cinemagoers are currently being treated to a series of adverts depicting film industry workers, with the message that movie piracy threatens US jobs. However, as this article points out, the biggest threat to US film industry jobs isn’t piracy – it’s the film studios themselves. I’ve emphasised the key points in boldface:

There is a new sense of crisis among American film industry workers… over “runaway productions” – films and TV shows that for economic reasons are shot wholly or almost wholly outside the U.S. While runaways typically employ Americans as producers, directors, and stars, most of the crew and some non-star actors are hired locally.

According to a 1999 study commissioned by the Directors Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild, runaways have increased from 14 percent of total US film and television productions in 1990 to 27 percent in 1998. They have a total negative economic impact of over $10 billion a year. Today the practice has reached what the Los Angeles Times calls “epidemic” levels and involves many big-budget, high-profile pictures like the Academy-Award winning “Chicago”. The DGA/SAG study calculates that over 125,000 jobs were lost to runaways in the 1990s. A more recent study by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. predicts that another 4,000 film jobs will likely disappear by 2005.

Incidentally, the studios that are so keen on using cheap labour in other countries are the same studios who use region coding on DVDs to prevent you from importing cheap DVDs.

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Another 744 bite the dust

Another day, another tranche of RIAA lawsuits; this time, a further 744 “John Doe” lawsuits have been filed against file sharing network users, bringing the total so far to 4,700.

The RIAA has also re-filed 152 suits against people who were told to hand over their life savings if they didn’t want the RIAA’s attack dogs to ruin their lives forever given the option to settle but refused.

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Dry your eyes, Matt

The new Matt Damon spy thriller The Bourne Supremacy is lots of fun, not least because the implacable assassin that dogs Damon is none other than Mike Skinner from The Streets*.

* I know, I know, it’s Karl Urban. But the resemblance is uncanny. Although I suspect any US readers will be utterly baffled by this post.

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Sharp takes aim at fat

Japanese manufacturer Sharp has invented a new microwave oven that can melt the fat away from food, using superheated steam at temperatures just short of 600 degrees fahrenheit. It’s clever stuff although like most new tech, it’s pricey: it looks like it’ll cost around $1,100 (£600).

[via Squander Two]

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IPC in another copyright grab

Yet another copyright story, and something that’s worth remembering whenever big media companies talk about protecting content creators. According to a discussion on the editorial photographers’ mailing list, IPC (publisher of NME and Uncut, among others) is about to launch new, digital versions of some of its titles, which will be available as PDF downloads from a subscription service. As a result, it has been writing to photographers and saying (I’ll paraphrase):

When you sell us photos, they’re sold for use in our print publications. But we’re going to use them in the digital versions too, and we’re buggered if we’re going to pay extra for that. Ner ner ner ner ner.

As you’d expect, the photographers’ trade association (the British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies) isn’t amused: it’s taken legal advice and informed members that their sales to IPC are for print only, and that any digital use requires further payment.