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21 January, 2003

A Big Win for RIAA

From CNET: RIAA wins battle to ID Kazaa user.

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered Verizon Communications to disclose the identity of an alleged peer-to-peer pirate in a legal decision that could make it easier for the music industry to crack down on file-swapping networks.

The case was really about the subpoena powers granted by the DMCA.

The dispute is not about whether the RIAA will be able to force Verizon to reveal the identity of a suspected copyright infringer, but about what legal mechanism copyright holders will be able to use. The RIAA would prefer to rely on the DMCA's turbocharged-subpoena process because it is cheaper and faster than other methods--but Verizon and civil liberties groups have said it is not sufficiently privacy-protective.

This topic is being covered at Slashdot, where the original poster made a good point:

Verizon wasn't making any sort of principled stand to protect its users' privacy, it just wanted to avoid the costs of complying with the (many) subpoenas it will now receive.

Posted on 21 January, 2003

A Diamond Is Forever a Rip-off

I've been meaning to write a piece on the diamond industry, but Anil Dash beat me to it. His opening paragraph sets the tone, and it only gets better. Read it.

We all know that diamonds are intrinsically worthless stones whose popularity and value are a recent creation, the result of a concerted marketing effort by a monopolist cartel whose control on its market makes Microsoft look like amateurs.

And if you want proof that the diamond industry preys on stupid people, go here. You'll find an online calculator that tells you how much you should spend on an engagement ring -- designed for people who aren't smart enough to figure out how much they earn in two months.

Posted on 21 January, 2003

Sundance Online Film Festival

Got a few hours to kill? Go here.

This wonderfully eclectic collection of short films is a diverse sampling of various types of storytelling, both fiction and non -fiction. And it's all available at your fingertips.

Virtual popcorn not included.

Posted on 21 January, 2003

Painted Hands

Pamn sent me three photos of hands painted to resemble animals. Here's a small version of one of them.

Apparently, these were used in an advertising campaign by Shroeders Investments? I was not able to find the original source, here's a personal web site that has copies of the images.

Posted on 21 January, 2003

Boycott the RIAA: Now, More Than Ever

Now that Microsoft has officially taken an anti-fair use stance with regard to music purchases, it's time to re-think your CD purchase behavior.

Boycott the RIAA.

Boycott-RIAA was founded because we love music. More and more the RIAA and the major labels have attempted to lock up our culture and heritage through extensive lobbying, outrageous campaign donations, misleading our political leaders, and lying to the public, while misrepresenting the facts.

And now they have the blessing of the largest software company in the world.

Posted on 21 January, 2003

Infrared Image Gallery

Familiar objects, viewed through an infrared camera.

Posted on 21 January, 2003

Flags of the World

The Flags of the World site boasts more than 9,900 documents and 18,500 images. It is a bit ironic that a site devoted to visual imagery has such a "blah" design and layout. Oh well...

BTW, Kenya sure has a cool looking flag.

Posted on 21 January, 2003

George W. Bush Job Approval Ratings

Last week, I posted a chart that shows the steady decline in George W. Bush's approval ratings since 9/11/01.

This cartoon at the Village Voice site clarifies these numbers. As it turns out, the approval rating remains high for the "dumb American" demographic.

Posted on 21 January, 2003

More Products That Were Never Made

More excellent Photoshop work at worth1000.com.

Posted on 21 January, 2003

For Bottle = 99 To 0 Step -1

In an attempt to find the lyrics to the ever-popular "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" song, I did a Google search. This site came up first in the results list. It contains program listings to generate the lyrics -- in 487 different programming languages!

Posted on 21 January, 2003