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11 January, 2003

RIAA's Site Hacked Again

Once again, the web site of the RIAA has been hacked and defaced. In addition, it featured links to some file sharing apps -- which were stored on the RIAA's server. As I write this, the site is offline. But somebody saved a copy.

The RIAA, as you may recall, wants the right to hack into YOUR computer and delete your stolen MP3 files.

Posted on 11 January, 2003

Lawyers Say the Funniest Things

Amazon.com has an affiliates program. A web site owner can sign up, and then post links to products sold at Amazon. The web site owner will then get a small proportion of the sales made via the link. I've been an Amazon affiliate for several years. It's a handy way to let visitors buy my books, and it brings in a modest amount of "free money" every quarter.

Here's a link to an interesting thread in an Amazon affiliates discussion group. Some guy runs a web site about golfing, and has a link to Amazon's Golf Digest subscription page. As is the case with most affiliates, he included Amazon's image (shown here) as part of his link. He received a letter from an attorney for Golf Digest:

...use of the Golf Digest covers to implore users to purchase a magazine subscription at www.Amazon.com for your referral fee, suggests some affiliation or association with these magazines. From the context of your site, consumers are led to believe that www.watchingtytryon.com has some relationship with GDC to supply material from the publications and/or share proceeds from magazine subscription sales. Such use of our client's marks and cover images constitutes unfair competition and trademark infringement in violation of Federal and state laws. These laws also provide significant remedies for infringements such as yours.

I'm no lawyer, but I tend to think that most businesses would not mind the fact that others are helping to sell their products. In any case, using the image on a web page would certainly qualify as "fair use."

Here's the funny part -- a blurb added by the golfing web site owner:

...one of their other claims [made by the attorney] was that I was not allowed to mention the names of the authors of their articles when writing about what they'd written. Mr. Lawyer says its a violation of the author's right of privacy/publicity. I laughed out loud the 2nd time I read that particular paragraph, and it becomes difficult to take any of their claims seriously when they resort to scare tactics that'd only work on a 13 year old.

Now that's funny!

Posted on 11 January, 2003

My Share of MS's $1.1 Billion California Settlement

You may have heard that Microsoft has agreed to pay up to $1.1 billion in vouchers to California consumers. This is the resolution several class-action lawsuits related to overpriced software from the monopoly known as Microsoft. Full story here.

Let's see now... how much Microsoft software have I purchased between 1995 and 2001? Answer: none. Except for the software bundled with new computers, I don't think I've purchased a single Microsoft product in my entire life. So I won't be collecting a rebate.

Posted on 11 January, 2003

Propaganda Posters

The International Institute of Social History has an extensive online collection of propaganda posters.

Posted on 11 January, 2003

Eight Way to Spot a Fake Moon Shot

Software such as Photoshop makes it very easy to manipulate digital images. Richard A. Milewski describes how to spot a fake moon inserted into a photo.

If a photographer thinks adding a moon to a landscape will help a shot, that's ok by me. But I do get irritated when it's done in a way that doesn't look natural, and the more you know about shooting pictures of the moon, the more irritating the bad cut-and-paste jobs get.

I'm guilty. Here's one of my photos with a fake moon. And here's one with a fake sun.

Posted on 11 January, 2003