Kmart isn’t closing all of its stores. Nope. That’s the company’s official policy, and what they tell anyone who asks. Yes, they’re closing some stores, both gradually and in big batches, but that’s part of the company’s “transformation from a traditional, store-network based retail business model to a more asset-light, member-centric integrated retailer.” Yet some employees are quietly worried that the whole chain is about to shut down. Update: Kmart denies this report. [More]
In spite of the fact that superstar rock bands and pop artists still travel the world in private jets and tricked-out custom buses while having their every whim catered to before and after performing to thousands of fans who pay huge amounts of money for tickets, the music industry is dead. At least if you believe Gene Simmons of KISS. And who’s to blame for this death that has occurred only in Mr. Simmons’ mind? That would be music fans. [More]
Many in the music industry paint peer-to-peer file-sharers as devil’s spawn who suck the life blood out of artists. Some P2P proponents have countered that file-sharing has helped encourage the growth of many bands who would have gone unknown in the CD and cassette age. Now comes a new study that each side could point to as support. [More]
LimeWire, the Gnutella-based peer-to-peer file-sharing service, is no more. Major record labels, also known as file-sharers’ archnemesis the RIAA, obtained an injunction from a U.S. District Court judge in New York City that stops Limewire from distributing their software or facilitating any file-sharing.
A federal judge yesterday bench slapped the Recording Industry of America, calling a jury’s $675,000 verdict against file sharer Joel Tenenbaum both eye-popping and unconstitutional. The judge struck a strikingly populist tone in reducing the verdict to $67,500, arguing that the same legal reasoning that protects large corporations from excessive punitive damages also protects “ordinary people” like Tenenbaum.
Almost a year after announcing their plans to charge passengers for using toilets on their planes, discount airline Ryanair is finally pushing ahead with not only installing the pay potties on their jets, but cutting down the number of toilets available to passengers.
If you’re trying to pirate the Japanese erotic manga game Cross Days–and I don’t care what people say, I love that I live in a world where I can type that phrase–you should know that the game’s developers are wise to you, and they’re going to do their best to shame and embarrass you.
The person-to-person loan website Prosper.com has been talked about in mostly positive ways since it launched a few years ago. Mark Gimein at Slate’s The Big Money says it’s a lot less awesome than you’ve been led to believe. In fact, he says it’s just a microcosm of what happened in the real financial world: “Loans to unqualified borrowers; reliance on mathematical models that turn out to be a lot less useful than they seemed; failed hopes that high interest rates could make subprime loans profitable; sky high default rates [of 39%]—Prosper has it all.”
ACTA—the misleadingly named “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement”—is the worldwide copyright treaty that’s being negotiated behind closed doors, and that will create a sort of global DMCA if continues in its current state. Now Wikileaks has posted a draft of the treaty, and Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow gives his take:
Comcast is now claiming that the FCC “has no legal power to stop the cable giant from engaging in what it calls ‘network management practices’ (critics call it peer-to-peer traffic blocking),” reports Ars Technica. In an amazing display of spin, Comcast writes that letting the marketplace “maximize consumer welfare” has been “enormously successful” as proven by the “Comcast customer experience”—seriously, we’re not making up these phrases. On a less humorous note, the filing in which Comcast makes these claims also seems to imply that it will sue the FCC if it tries to enforce any changes on how Comcast blocks P2P traffic.
Last week the House voted 354-58 to approve a college funding bill that requires colleges to “make plans to offer some form of legal alternative to P2P file-swapping” and to implement some form of network filtering. Luckily for sane people everywhere, the White House has already made veto-noises at the bill for other reasons—but still, the MPAA came that much closer to forcing its admittedly false worldview on universities.
Comcast is in heavy PR-spin mode this week following last week’s reports that they spoof customers’ computers to cancel peer-to-peer connections, and have been blocking corporate users from sending large attachments via Lotus Notes (that blockage was “fixed” last week, around the time this story broke). Comcast says that they don’t “block” anything but rather delay requests, and that it’s only done to improve overall performance for their customers.
Comcast uses its own computers to masquerade as those of its users in order to disrupt and throttle internet traffic—specifically the peer-to-peer kind—whenever it chooses, according to nationwide independent tests carried out by the Associated Press. A Comcast rep dances around the charge by saying that the company doesn’t “block” access to anything—but he makes no mention of throttling or disrupting connections to shape traffic, probably because if he did, he’d have to admit to it or blatantly lie.
To tell this story, I need to point out that, when I was a bachelor, I sometimes went to various web sites to satisfy my more elicit and transient urges. Probably nuff said, unless any of our sexy single female readers want to email me requesting a more vivid description.
Surprise! Downloading doesn’t hurt record sales. Double Surprise! The information comes from a study commissioned by the record industry (albeit, Canadian).
The Canadian Record Industry association have done some research and concluded that file sharers are great for business. According to their study, file sharers buy more music than the average customer and try the vast majority of songs they eventually buy.