January 25, 2007
Fox Goes After Uploader of 24, Simpsons Episodes
Fox has served subpoenas against YouTube and LiveDigital to find out the name of who uploaded episodes of 24 and the Simpsons to those two video hosts. It's not as if there aren't clips from either show there, or Family Guy, or American Dad, or American Idol, or House MD, or any other popular Fox program. This is different. The user in question uploaded full un-aired episodes of 24 and full episodes of the Simpsons from Season 7. (The current DVD releases cover through Season 9).
The show relies on shock after shock to keep the audience glued to this money-maker off the war on terrorism. Fox heavily promoted the series during the football playoffs, to the point where TV critics called the Bears-Seahawks game one long commercial for the show. The serendipity was present when the game went into overtime tied at 24 apiece.
So now someone comes along and says lets end the suspense and post these episodes. Fox normally keeps them under wrap, so it would likely be an insider, or potentially a critic with advance access to copies of the show. Fox would like to know who is that person. That's a mystery that may be more interesting than a lot of the programming on Fox. Maybe Geraldo can read the name live.
The studio is likely to succeed on their quest. The DMCA gives them leverage for the subpoenas. It's a matter as to how it all plays out. YouTube has deleted the content and suspended the account of the user. Let's hope this isn't a publicity stunt to hype the show even more. That's probably not the case, but you never know until the details come out.
January 24, 2007
Microsoft Extends XP Support to 2014
Microsoft is extending support for Windows XP Home and XP Media Center Editions to 2014. Support was supposed to end in 2009 as a consumer product but will match that of XP Professional. We, therefore, can expect patches and service packs for some time to come. Seven years is more than enough time to ease into the inevitability of Vista. What we won't get is additional features or design changes. The backdrop to this is that Microsoft intimated a while back that the Aero look could be ported to XP, as well as additional features that appeared in Vista, We'll we can't say that Microsoft is forcing us to upgrade.
January 23, 2007
Vista Service Pack 1 Planned
Vista is hardly out the door at Microsoft, with the business version out for a month and a half and the consumer version days away. Nonetheless, Microsoft is already planning Service Pack 1. Contents are unspecified as of now but likely will contain security updates and fixes. CNET has the story.
FTC To Hold Workshop on Connectivity and Net Neutrality
The Federal Trade Commission is scheduling a workshop to competition issues in broadband connectivity. The workshop is to take place on February 13th and 14th in Washington, DC. The announced agenda includes
Technical Primer on the Internet;
- What is the debate over “network neutrality” about?
- Discrimination Against and Blockage of Content and Applications;
- Network Operators Charging Fees for Prioritized Delivery of Data;
- Current and Future State of Broadband Competition;
- Consumer Protection Issues in Broadband Internet Access; and
What framework best promotes competition and consumer welfare? Industry and academic/policy views.
The network neutrality item is interesting. The focus so far has been on Congress and the Federal Communications Commission rather than the Federal Trade Commission. Is the FTC staking out some turf here?
January 21, 2007
University of Texas Joins Google Scan Project
The University of Texas libraries are the latest to partner with Google on their massive book scanning project. Scanning will include some of the rare books and other unique materials in the collection, which is the fifth largest academic collection in the U.S. The question continues as to copying books under copyright and will likely be decided via the lawsuit and multiple appeal route. There are no shortage of objectors to the project on that front. As a former student at UT, I can only add that opening the collection electronically is an exciting prospect.
See the story in Playfuls, Australia IT, Kansas City InfoZine, and the Times Online (London), with the ponderously titled article, "Could This be the Final Chapter in the Life of the Book?"