Saturday, August 02, 2003

How Not To Get Sued By The RIAA For File-Sharing
(And Other Ideas to Avoid Being Treated Like a Criminal)

Every day, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) files 75 lawsuits against file-sharing computer users. Now, they have every right to protect copyrights of musicians and record companies, but many, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation feel that this tactic is heavy handed and an obsolete response to where distribution of music is headed ... via download.

Sharers want music how they want it. They want to download it and then burn it onto their own CDs. Apple seems to get that by opening up their iTunes Music Store. And the response has been stunning - over 5 MILLION downloads in just two months (Windows users will be able to use it later in the year). But the RIAA is resistant to the idea, fearing widespread filesharing results in piracy and loss of revenue for artists and record companies. And they have every right to protect that.

But suing teenagers and college students? Taking away tuition and making them criminals? THAT's a bad solution and the EFF is dedicated to fighting it.

Here are a few ways to avoid getting sued by the "Big Bad" RIAA:

1) Make sure there are no potentially infringing files in your shared folder

2) Remove all potentially misleading file names that might be confused with the name of an RIAA artist or song (e.g., "Usher" or "Madonna") from your shared folder.

3) Disable the "sharing" or "uploading" features on your P2P application that allow other users on the network to get copies of files from your computer or scan any of your music directories. Also, the RIAA appears to be targeting subpoenas at users who allow their computers to be "Supernodes" on the FastTrack P2P System (used, for instance, by KaZaA and Morpheus). In order to further reduce the risk of having your ISP subpoenaed or of being sued yourself, we recommend that you make sure your computer is not being used as a Supernode.

4) The EFF website has several links to organizations which can help in your defense should you get subpoena'd by the Big Bad. Check it out.

5) Consider JOINING THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION! This organization is dedicated to protecting computer users right in cyberspace and they are worthy of your support!

Friday, August 01, 2003

ER HOW-TO: End screen spam through MESSENGER

Windows 2000, Windows NT, and Windows XP all include the Messenger Service originally configured for corporate network messages. Knowing that it's enabled by default, crafty spammers figured out that this presented them an opportunity to send SPAM through it. THAT's a MAJOR FLAW.

Here's how to disable it:

Right-click My Computer and click Manage.
Click Services and Applications.
Click Services.
Scroll down to Messenger and right-click the entry.
Stop the Service.
Choose Disable as the Startup Type.
Click OK.

Teen uses cellphone camera to thwart wouldbe kidnapper

When cell phone cameras first came out, I thought it was the most rediculous accessory for the cellphone market. They grew on me slightly with those cute Sprint commercials, but I wasn't even close to considering buying one.

Then came this article from the Kansas City Star about a child/teen who used his cellphone camera to take a picture of a perpetrator trying to lure him into his car. He also took a picture of his license plate. The man is now IN JAIL! He has been charged with attempting to lure a juvenile into a car, criminal restraint and assault. If convicted, he could face up to five years in state prison. He is being held on $25,000 bail.

I'm buying one of those cellphone cameras this weekend.

Hey criminals, can you hear me now?

Thursday, July 31, 2003

Senator to investigate the RIAAs lawsuits against online music swappers

The Kansas City Star is reporting that the RIAAs lawsuits against online music swappers has been noticed by Washington in a way the RIAA didn't expect. Believing that the RIAAs heavy-handed tactics could ensnare innocent people, Senator Norm Coleman (R - Min) has stepped into the breech and begun an inquiry into the recording industry's copyright lawsuits against online music swappers.

Believing that the music industry has adapted a shotgun approach, Coleman wants to take a look at subponeas and safeguards the RIAA has in place to prevent innocent people from being targeted.

The RIAA has issued 900 federal subpoenas against computer users suspected of illegally sharing music files on the Internet, with roughly 75 new subpoenas being approved each day, court officials say.

Those wanting to know if they're in the RIAAs crosshairs can log onto the Electronic Frontier Foundation Website and check.

While you're at it, join the EFF and help them fight the "big bad" in cyberspace.

Over three decades since the first use of the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle

E-R wants to extend best wishes to the crew of Apollo 15 (Dave Scott - Cmdr, Jim Irwin - LMP, Alfred Worden - CMP) on the 32nd Anniversary of their lunar module "Falcon" landing in the Hadley-Apennine region near Apennine Mountains of the moon.

Apollo 15 was the first lunar mission to deploy the LUNAR ROVER for it's exploration of the lunar surface.

For more info on the Flight of Apollo 15, visit these links:





Wednesday, July 30, 2003


Jim Louderbach of EXTREME TECH gives a solid primer on how to protect your kids from predators in cyberspace.

With 19 percent of online kids receiving an unwanted sexual solicitation, and one in four have been exposed to unwanted, sexually explicit material, it's well worth parental attention.

Everyone else sees it, why can't the RIAA?

TECH CENTRAL STATION's Sonia Arrison has a great column today about the notion of technological progress vs. the law that slows it to a crawl.

The main point is this:

The battle over how to stop online piracy of music and movies has thus far demonstrated a classic struggle between the static, institutionalized thinking of dinosaur-like entertainment companies and innovative, forward-looking technology firms. The problem is that the technology community keeps coming up with different ways to distribute content, and instead of working out contracts to charge fees for distribution, the entertainment industry keeps trying to stop technology with the clumsy instrument of the law.

Thanks to hot info babe Virginia Postrel for posting this.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Loss of e-mail 'worse than divorce'

Taking a break from anti-war coverage, the BBC is reporting that a survey amoungst geeks reveals a week without e-mail is more traumatic than moving house or getting divorced!

Now, let's talk about what happens when you lose instant messaging for a few minutes!

Monday, July 28, 2003

New feature gives map by simply entering a phone number

It's apparently true. After confirming it by searching SNOPES.COM (THE reference page for confirming urban legends on the internet), E-R has discovered that GOOGLE has implemented a new feature wherein you can type someone's telephone number into the search bar and hit enter and then you will be given link TO A MAP TO THEIR HOUSE! Think about it -- if ANYONE gives out his/her phone number, someone can actually now look it up to find out WHERE YOU LIVE. The safety issues are obvious, and alarming.

Imagine it. A guy at a bar asks you for your phone number, and if you're foolish enough to give it to him, he can easily find out where you live.

This is not a hoax as E-R verified it. Although keying in an unlisted number yields nothing, thankfully.

In order to test whether your phone number is mapped, go to GOOGLE and type your phone number in the search bar
with dashes (i.e. 310-XXX-XXXX) and hit enter. NOTE: If your phone number is not publicly listed, you should be fine.

If you want to BLOCK Google from divulging your private information, simply click on the telephone icon next to your phone number. You will see a link where you are allowed to REMOVE yourself.