hypnosec writes "After a prolonged outage that lasted for nearly a week Demonoid has reportedly been audited and closed down by the Ukrainian law enforcement agency. According to reports the Ukrainian anti-cybercrime police division carried out an investigation of ColoCall – the hosting service provider for Demonoid. Servers were sealed after all the data on the servers was copied. According to ColoCall the servers haven't been seized but, they are not operational any more. The hosting service provider is going to end the agreement with Demonoid. 'Investigators have copied all the information from the Demonoid servers and sealed them.' a manager from ColoCall, wishing to stay anonymous, said."
twoheadedboy writes "Three employees of Baidu, China's most popular search engine, have been arrested under suspicion of taking bribes. It is alleged that the employees accepted money in exchange for removing negative feedback left on Baidu's forum service. The company had already fired four people for misconduct before three of them were arrested. This so-called 'post-deleting' business is believed to be big in China, even though it is illegal."
derekmead writes "NASA's livestream coverage of the Curiosity rover's landing on Mars was practically as flawless as the landing itself. But NASA couldn't prepare for everything. An hour or so after Curiosity's 1.31 a.m. EST landing in Gale Crater,the space agency's main YouTube channel had posted a 13-minute excerpt of the stream. Ten minutes later, the video was gone, replaced with the message: 'This video contains content from Scripps Local News, who has blocked it on copyright grounds. Sorry about that.' That is to say, a NASA-made video posted on NASA's official YouTube channel, documenting the landing of a $2.5 billion Mars rover mission paid for with public taxpayer money, was blocked by YouTube because of a copyright claim by a private news service."
jibjibjib writes "The Australian reports that brands in Australia could be forced to abandon their social media campaigns, after the Advertising Standards Bureau ruled that they were responsible for comments posted on their pages. According to the article, the ASB is poised to release a report attacking Carlton & United Breweries for derogatory comments posted on one of their official Facebook pages, despite CUB monitoring and removing those comments twice daily. Legal expert John Swinson commented on the decision, saying 'You simply can no longer have two-way conversations with your customers.'"
theodp writes "ProPublica's Lois Beckett reports that the Obama for America campaign's new mobile app is raising privacy concerns with its Google map that recognizes one's current location, marks nearby Democratic households with small blue flags, and displays the first name, age and gender of the voter or voters who live there (e.g.,'Lori C., 58 F, Democrat'). Asked about the privacy aspects of the new app, a spokesperson for the Obama campaign wrote that 'anyone familiar with the political process in America knows this information about registered voters is available and easily accessible to the public.' Harvard law prof Jonathan Zittrain said the Obama app does represent a significant shift. While voter data has been 'technically public,' it is usually accessed only by political campaigns and companies that sell consumer data. 'Much of our feelings around privacy are driven by what you might call status-quo-ism,' Zittrain added, 'so many people may feel that the app is creepy simply because it represents something new.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Apple, by going to a jury trial to defend the patents of its most prized products, is allowing competitors and the public to see inside one of the most secretive companies in the world. From the article: 'While in court on Friday, Philip W. Schiller, Apple's senior vice president for worldwide product marketing, pulled the curtain further back when he divulged the company's advertising budgets — often more than $100 million a year for the iPhone alone. Also at the hearing, Scott Forstall, senior vice president for iPhone software, explained that the early iPhone was called "Project Purple." Mr. Forstall said it was built in a highly secure building on Apple's campus. A sign on the back of the building read "Fight Club." Behind the security cameras and locked doors, most employees on the project did not even know what they were working on.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Nick Bilton writes in the NY Times about how the fight against online piracy is 'like playing the world's largest game of Whac-A-Mole.' While this will come as no surprise to Slashdot readers, it's interesting to see how mainstream sources are starting to realize how pointless and ineffective the war on piracy actually is. Bilton writes, 'The copyright holders believe new laws will stop this type of piracy. But many others believe any laws will just push people to find creative new ways of getting the content they want. "There's a clearly established relationship between the legal availability of material online and copyright infringement; it's an inverse relationship," said Holmes Wilson, co-director of Fight for the Future, a nonprofit technology organization that is trying to stop new piracy laws from disrupting the Internet. "The most downloaded television shows on the Pirate Bay are the ones that are not legally available online." The hit HBO show Game of Thrones is a quintessential example of this. The show is sometimes downloaded illegally more times each week than it is watched on cable television. But even if HBO put the shows online, the price it could charge would still pale in comparison to the money it makes through cable operators. Mr. Wilson believes that the big media companies don't really want to solve the piracy problem.'"
theodp writes "In 2005, Microsoft came under fire after withdrawing support for an anti-gay-discrimination bill. 'I don't want the company to be in the position of appearing to dismiss the deeply-held beliefs of any employee, by picking sides on social policy issues,' explained CEO Steve Ballmer. That was then. Microsoft — like Google and Amazon — has since very publicly declared its support for gay-marriage legislation, which means it — unlike Chick-fil-A — needn't worry about the 'deeply-held beliefs of any employee' causing it to be blocked from doing business by the mayors of Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. I guess we'll never know what Microsoft versions of 'Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day' or 'National Same-Sex Kiss Day' would have looked like."
Social bookmarking site myVidster was the target of a copyright infringement case because it allowed its users to embed videos from other sites on its pages. Some of the videos infringed upon various copyrights, and the plaintiff in the case was granted a preliminary injunction against myVidster in 2011. Now, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned the injunction, saying that merely embedding copyright-infringing videos hosted elsewhere does not necessarily contribute to the infringement. Judge Posner wrote in the opinion (PDF), "myVidster is giving web surfers addresses where they can find entertainment. By listing plays and giving the name and address of the theaters where they are being performed, the New Yorker is not performing them. It is not 'transmitting or communicating' them. ... Is myVidster doing anything different? ... myVidster doesn't touch the data stream, which flows directly from one computer to another, neither being owned or operated by myVidster." However, the door is not shut on this issue: "Flava may be entitled to additional preliminary injunctive relief as well, if it can show, as it has not shown yet, that myVidster’s service really does contribute significantly to infringement of Flava’s copyrights." If myVidster was actively encouraging the sharing, hosting the videos itself, or profiting from their showing, the ruling likely would have been different.
colinneagle writes "In an interview with Fortune a few years ago, Steve Jobs explained that Apple never does market research. Rather, they simply preoccupy themselves with creating great products. On Monday, Apple's Greg Joswiak — the company's VP of Product Marketing — submitted a declaration to the Court explaining why documents relating to Apple's market research and strategy should be sealed. Every month, Apple surveys iPhone buyers and Joswiak explains what Apple is able to glean from these surveys. And as you might expect, Apple conducts similar surveys with iPad buyers. Apple wants all of these tracking studies sealed. Joswiak explains that if a competitor were to find out what drives iPhone purchases — whether it be FaceTime, battery life, or Siri — it would serve as an unfair competitive edge to rival companies. Further, competitors, as it stands today, have to guess as to which demographics are most satisfied with Apple products." A few other interesting facts have come out of the trial so far; Apple spent $647 million advertising the iPhone in the U.S. from its launch through fiscal 2011, and they spent $457.2 million advertising the iPad from its launch up to the same point.
theodp writes "Responding to Microsoft's Windows 8 efforts, Apple CEO Tim Cook insisted in late April that combining a tablet and a notebook would be like converging a toaster and a refrigerator. But a patent application submitted by Apple last year — and made public Tuesday morning — proposes marrying a tablet and a keyboard to create 'a true laptop alternative,' which GeekWire notes looks a lot like Microsoft Surface (comparison pic). In its patent filing, Apple describes various ways that a tablet's cover could be used as an I-O device — as a tactile-feedback keyboard ('word processing and email become much more efficient'), to display additional output, as a touchpad replacement, and even to receive stylus input. 'The experience,' claims Apple, 'is even better in some ways than the laptop experience.'"
hypnosec writes "Researchers at University College of London have applied principles of radar used in defense and designed a detector using home based Wi-Fi routers to spy on people across walls. Using the principles behind the Doppler effect ... Karl Woodbridge and Kevin Chetty, at University College London, have built a prototype unit that uses Wi-Fi signals and recognizes frequency changes to detect moving objects. The size of the prototype unit is more or less the size of a suitcase. The unit contains a radio receiver comprising of two antennas and a signal-processing unit. The duo carried out test runs and ... they managed to determine a person's location, speed, and direction (even through a one foot thick brick wall). The device could be used to spot intruders, monitor children or the elderly, and could even be used in military applications."
angry tapir writes "SAP has agreed to pay Oracle US$306 million in connection with the corporate-theft case that Oracle filed against it and a former SAP subsidiary in 2007, according to a filing made Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The long-running legal dispute centers on illegal downloads of Oracle software and support materials by SAP subsidiary TomorrowNow, which offered lower-cost support services for Oracle software. SAP admitted liability for actions taken by TomorrowNow workers, and a jury awarded Oracle US$1.3 billion in damages in November 2010." The $1.3 billion fine was overturned shortly after, causing more months of litigation.
Social game developer Zynga has been on the receiving end of complaints in the past for releasing games that look a bit too much like games from indie developers, and for other shady business practices. Now, they've run afoul of somebody with sharper teeth. Today Electronic Arts and Maxis filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Zynga claiming that The Ville is "blatant mimicry" of The Sims Social. "'This is a case of principle,' says EA Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw. 'Maxis isn't the first studio to claim that Zynga copied its creative product. But we are the studio that has the financial and corporate resources to stand up and do something about it. Infringing a developer's copyright is not an acceptable practice in game development.' In its complaint, EA argues that Zynga willfully and intentionally copied ideas from The Sims Social, the Facebook edition of the EA/Maxis franchise that released in August 2011. When Zynga released The Ville last June, consumers and the press immediately pointed out that the title resembled The Sims more than a little."
alphadogg writes "A new audit of the Internal Revenue Service has found the agency paid refunds to criminals who filed false tax returns, in some cases on behalf of people who had died, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), which is part of the U.S. Treasury. The IRS stands to lose as much as $21 billion in revenue over the next five years due to identity theft, according to TIGTA's audit (PDF), dated July 19 but publicized on Thursday. 'While the IRS does not have access to all third-party information documents at the time tax returns are filed, some third-party information is available. However, the IRS has not developed processes to obtain and use this third-party information."