Wednesday, July 25, 2007

New Year's Eve music party at YouTube despite copyright concerns

YouTube and Warner Music Group rang in the new year online despite a seemingly broken promise by the superstar video-sharing website to have an anti-piracy system in place by 2007.

Warner music, messages from artists, and feeds of live performances at celebrations were featured at a YouTube New Year's Eve festival that the allies billed as the start of a tradition akin to the ball dropping in Times Square in New York City.

YouTube members joined the virtual celebration by uploading their own short video clips with resolutions or other year-end messages.

YouTube's New Year's celebration page and its offerings were to be available through Monday.

The show of holiday harmony came as YouTube evidently missed a self-imposed deadline to deploy a system to prevent piracy of copyrighted music.

Creating and installing an "advanced content identification and royalty reporting system" was at the heart of a precedent-setting agreement between YouTube and Warner in September.

Google bought YouTube a month later in a 1.65 billion dollar stock deal and company leaders proclaimed they would tap into the Internet search powerhouse's resources to grow and address technical challenges.

Warner agreed to let YouTube distribute its library of music videos, artist interviews, and other content and allow people to incorporate the music from its catalogue into works they create and post on the website.

YouTube vowed to have a piracy-prevention system in place by year's end as a caveat of the "first-of-its-kind" alliance to sell Warner music and share the revenues.

The system was not in place Saturday and YouTube's offices were closed until after New Year's Day.

A contract posted for electronic signing on the website advised those interested in uploading their creations to YouTube that it "shall be at your sole risk."

Missing the deadline would be a big stumble for YouTube, but it could recover its footing by getting the system in place within a week or two, said industry analyst Michael McGuire of Gartner Research.

"It is hugely important, especially from the rights holders' perspective, that the best efforts are being made to corral the stuff flowing through YouTube," McGuire told AFP.

"Rights holders are making specific bets on paths of distribution and are expecting serious effort to make uncontrolled distribution difficult for most folks to do."

Google and YouTube are not at a point where they can compensate for potential piracy problems by cashing in on the video-viewing audience, said McGuire.

"The YouTubes of the world have to invest heavily in the technology," McGuire said of stopping unauthorized copying of music and videos. "I don't think this is an issue that goes away overnight."

Currently YouTube and other websites based on user-generated content shield themselves from copyright violation lawsuits by removing protected material when owners complain.

Copyright © 2007 Agence France Presse.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Google Admits To Spreading Viruses

Mountain View (CA) - Due to posts on Google's official Google Video blog group that contained a link to a computer worm, the Internet search giant is now apologizing, with reports that some 50,000 viewers and subscribers to the group were potentially affected.

According to a post from Google on the group discussion board, three postings to the group contained the virus. Google says the messages were removed, but not until after they had gone live, and in some cases, been e-mailed to users. "Some of these posts may have contained a virus called W32/Kapser.A@mm -- a mass mailing worm. If you think you have downloaded this virus from the group or an email message, we recommend you run your antivirus program to remove it," said Google in its message.

The virus is more well known by its street name, Kama Sutra. If downloaded on a computer, it systematically attempts to remove antivirus and firewall protections, which then makes the system more vulnerable to additional attacks. It also corrupts files stored on an infected computer, including Microsoft Word and Excel files.

According to Google spokesperson Gabriel Stricker, protocols have been put into place to ensure that such a breach won't happen again. The company did not comment on how or why the worm showed up in the Google postings in the first place.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Beating a dead horse: Novell and Microsoft

While it's true that I love a conspiracy theory-especially in software, I find myself a bit dumbstruck by the recent attempts by Oracle, Novell and Microsoft to sink the Red Hat ship.

As Matt said earlier, it's time for Microsoft to sue or shut-up. And Novell's pact with MS is now clearly a deal with the devil to ensure that Novell Linux users will be safe but every other Linux distro user (and vendor) are not safe from the clutches of MS.

The thing that doesn't make sense to me is that Microsoft has thrived because of the competition-or perhaps in spite of it. And considering the anti-trust aspects of Microsoft's business I find it odd that it would be acceptable that MS could claim ownership over anything in Linux, effectively reducing the world to Solaris and Windows. Extrapolating further, since MS and Sun already have a relationship, it makes me wonder if MS would then have its tentacles in virtually every operating system.

So what does Red Hat do? The short answer is to stay the course. Red Hat is a smart company who thus far have fared well in the face of adversity. Even with some disgruntled customers (trust us on this one) the alternatives of Novell and Oracle, or Microsoft are less appealing. Sun is the dark horse in all of this as Solaris is a damn good OS and the company has proven it takes open source seriously--if only we could understand the strategic vision.

Linux itself continues to grow and will keep doing so. Linux growth switched from being reactionary and cost-driven (though lower costs is still very important) and is now largely based on the benefits of the operating system and the support available.

The funny thing about Novell is that I keep hoping for them to do something smart for the business-they have made some smart decisions around technology, Suse and Mono for example. But the company continues to feel like an also-ran, buddying-up to Microsoft may have been a shrewd move but it sure doesn't seem like it.


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