(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

Thursday, September 25, 2003
Sharman Sues RIAA!

Australian IT reports, 'Kazaa sues labels over copyright':
TURNING the tables on record labls, makers of the most popular internet song-swapping network are suing entertainment companies for copyright infringement. Sharman Networks, the company behind the Kazaa file-sharing software, filed a US federal lawsuit accusing the entertainment companies of using unauthorised versions of its software in their efforts to root out users. Entertainment companies have offered bogus versions of copyright works and sent online warning messages to users. Sharman said the companies used Kazaa Lite, an ad-less replica of its software, to get onto the network. The lawsuit also claims efforts to combat piracy on Kazaa violated terms for using the network.
Rather amusing to see Sharman Networks joining the "anyone who can sue, I can sue better" game, but they'd better not kill KaZaA Lite in the process!

Learn to Build a Better (Chatting) Boat

Problem: two people drown at sea after falling off a boat. Solution #1: Drain the ocean. Solution #2: Never launch, build or use another boat. Now, this story already has you saying, that's naffing stupid. You're correct. So, why, has MSN shut down all its chatrooms for fear they may be used by pedophiles to make contact with children? Australian IT reports:
CHILDREN'S campaigners have cheered Microsoft's planned shut-down worldwide of its chatrooms, but other internet access providers showed little sign of following suit. The decision by the software giant was prompted by growing fears that internet chatrooms could be a target for pedophiles. Barring a handful of countries, Microsoft's online subsidiary MSN will halt chatrooms across the world from October 14. Chatrooms provide users anonymity through the use of pseudonyms to send typed messages to each other.
So, the ocean wouldn't drain (ie get rid of the Internet), so Microsoft are going to stop building boats. Why not, I ask, learn to build a better boat? Yes, of course, pedophiles should be stopped and there is no grey area there morally, but surely cultural fear about pedophiles shouldn't be used as a reason to shut down services, only as evidence that those services should be used with caution and children should be taught common sense (ie don't meet strangers who you only "know" online). This, to me, seems more like addresing the symptom than the problem. Of course, MSN may have been loosing money on the chatrooms (or feared getting sued) which may be the real motivation for closure!

Update (4.40pm): Emily Bell has an excellent article on the Media Guardian site entitled 'The myth of Satan's web', all about "The internet isn't evil - and Microsoft's move to close chatrooms is more about profit than paedophilia". Go read it.


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