Archive for September, 2010

Copyright… are we doomed???

With the exception of one piece of good news, most all other copyright news over the past few months has been either BAD or HORRIBLE!!!

Take the rise of the “Copyright Trolls.

Is This the Birth of the Copyright Troll?

After the Patent Troll, Enter the Copyright Troll

We’ve got the US Copyright Group suing over 15,000 people for allegedly downloading Far CryThe Hurt Locker and other lesser known movies.  Not to be outdone, we’ve also got adult film producers suing people they accuse of downloading various XXX adult videos.  Now… how’d you like to get one of those infringement letters?  Wanna’ go public & fight for your innocence???  If that’s not extortion, then what is it?

The RIAA? Amateurs. Here’s how you sue 14,000+ P2P users

US Copyright Group Targets 20,000+ BitTorrent Users

The Hollywood Reporter (THR, Esq.)

Then we have the lovely firm Righthaven, who’s scouring the web not only for full articles but even excerpts of articles from the Las Vegas Review Journal.  When they find one, they purchase the copyright from the newspaper & then sue the individual(s) for $150,000 for copyright infringement.  They even demand that the entire domain name of the allegedly infringing site be turned over to them.  No takedown notice, no nothing!  Of course, they’re perfectly willing to “settle” for a few thousand dollars (which just happens to be a few thousand less than what it would cost you to defend yourself in court).  Again… extortion anyone???

Righthaven: saving the newspaper industry, one lawsuit at a time

Collection of Righthaven articles @ Techdirt

The Bottomfeeder Chronicles

Righthaven Lawsuits

Next we have Europe, whose been rather unsupportive of what ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) has been trying to force down their throats, but now they’ve formally adopted a report (the Gallo report) which calls for a Europe-wide legislative framework to deal with online piracy, including measures to enforce intellectual property rights.

“A stab in the back”: Europe tackles online piracy

EU Parliament calls for pan-EU copyright law

Euro Parliament Equates Non-Commercial P2P and Physical Counterfeiting

And finally, the US Senate (Patrick Leahy & Orin Hatch) is at it again, this time crafting yet another bill for the content industry titled “The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” (COICA).  This RIDICULOUS bill would not only give the Justice Department the ability to shut down US sites accused of providing access to “unauthorized copyrighted works”, but to also block sites outside the US accused of hosting or offering access to “unauthorized copyrighted works” (i.e., The Pirate Bay).  Can you say “C E N S O R S H I P”?  Despite all the negative attention to this proposed bill in the press, it apparently has plenty of supporters in our “RIAA/MPAA–Friendly” administration.

Censorship of the Internet Takes Center Stage in “Online Infringement” Bill

Lawmakers want power to shut down ‘pirate sites’

New Bill Would Force ISPs to Block Piracy Websites

Copyright, Censorship, and Domain Name Blacklists at Home in the U.S.

Bill Would Allow US DoJ To Shut Down Piracy Sites Worldwide

And the good news?  A recent article in Ars Technica pointing out a federal judge in South Dakota that recently quashed a US Copyright Group subpoena targeting an ISP in his state.

All in all, I must say I find the copyright news over the past several months extremely depressing.  A famous quote (Thomas Fuller?) states “It is always darkest just before the day dawneth.”  Well… let’s hope — for copyright’s sake — that a new ‘day of copyright’ is about to ‘dawneth.

Windows Sysinternals “Primer” video

I’ve recommended Windows Sysinternals programs more than once in my blog.  Four of the Sysinternal  programs that I use daily and could not live without are:

Process Explorer
Process Monitor

Windows Sysinternals released a video primer this month covering Process Explorer, Process Monitor and more on their web site.  Don’t be concerned about the notice that you need to install Microsoft Silverlight.  Below the video placeholder are links to download the video in various formats (wmv, mp4, and even the Powerpoint slides).  If you are a user of Sysinternals utilities or just want to learn about them, I highly recommend you view this video.

To check out all the utilities offered by Windows Sysinternals, go to their site.  The really great feature of all of their utilities is that none of them require installation.  Just unzip the file(s) & run!

Increase your PC Security with a “Hosts” file

The “Hosts” file has existed in most, if not all, operating systems since the beginning days of the Internet — back when there was no distributed host name database or “Domain Name Server” (DNS).  Each network node maintained its own map of the network nodes as needed and assigned them names that users could (hopefully) remember.  This worked when the internet (or ARPANET as it was known back then) was fairly small… but not any more.  Most all the OS’s in use today still have the HOSTS file.  In most Windows boxes, it normally has only one entry (  localhost).

The purpose of the “Hosts” files is really simple — it maps IP addresses to host names.  Windows (and other OS’s) check this file BEFORE querying any DNS servers.  This allows it to not only OVERRIDE addresses in the DNS, but to BLOCK addresses, too.

Please check out the site “Blocking Unwanted Parasites with a Hosts File.”  This site provides a new Hosts file monthly that is tailored to block ads, banners, 3rd party cookies and more.  The MVPS HOSTS file now includes most major parasites, hijackers and unwanted Adware/Spyware programs.  To download, look for the yellow file folder & right-click on “” & select Save Target As.  The file was last updated on Sept 22, 2010.  The site provides all the necessary info you need for copying the Hosts file to the necessary location on your system.

I’ve been using the MVPS HOSTS file on all my systems for over three years and cannot imagine accessing the Internet without it.  I STRONGLY recommend using it!

Latest leak of ACTA released…

Ars Technica has a nice write-up of concerning the latest “leak” of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) document.  In addition, they lay the blame on the United States for all the ACTA secrecy.  It’s all this “secrecy” by the US Govt that has me most concerned & convinced that with respect to copyright, DRM & DCMA-like principles — they are up to “NO GOOD!”

This latest version of ACTA apparently no longer requires online service providers (ISPs) to monitor their customers’ activity in order to escape liability for copyright infringement by their customers, but there’s still plenty of language remaining in ACTA that should cause concern.

PC World’s article on the leaked ACTA draft is here.

Article on “How to Secure Windows” and more… (from OS News)

OS News posts some really informative articles periodically concerning Windows.  Two of the latest are:

How to Secure Windows

How to Revitalize Mature Computers

There’s lots of valuable information in both of these articles by Howard Fosdick.


Windows 95 turned 15 last week…

Not that anyone noticed (or cared, for that matter), Windows 95 turned 15 yrs old on Aug 24.  Actually, I found one site that noticed — OS News.

Now… I wasn’t particularly a Windows 95 fan, but I did like Windows 98 Second Edition & stayed with it well past the release of Windows XP.  I didn’t upgrade to XP until after Service Pack 2 was released.

Although my website is anything BUT popular, I thought the following compilation of operating system versions (OS) used by people visiting my site throughout this year was interesting:

OS Versions visiting my website

You’ll note that there are still 167 folks using Windows 98, and 22 folks using Windows 95 and Windows NT.  In the full tabular data set posted below that supports the above graph, there are 9 people still using Windows 3.1.

Amazing, eh?

OS Version supporting data

Project Gutenberg — Free eBooks!

The 40th Year of Project Gutenberg (PG) started on July 4, 2010.  That’s right – they’ve been producing eBooks of public domain works since 1971, almost exclusively by volunteers.  They surpassed 37,500 titles last month.

Here’s a list of Project Gutenberg’s top downloads.

If you haven’t visited their website, do so.  If you like what you see, write to your representatives and let them know you strongly disagree with current copyright law & the extensions that have been implemented over the past 89 years.  At the current copyright term (not to mention the rate at which Congress keeps extending it), the “Public Domain” as we know it will cease to exist — everything will be basically locked up forever by copyright law.

Our culture — in literature, art, music & yes, even movies — has developed & evolved by building upon previous works.  Congress is slowly & surely removing all ability to “build” upon previous works with their continuing extensions & modifications to copyright law.  Sooner than we realize, there will be nothing available to legally “build upon” due to copyright law.

Project Gutenberg website

US Commerce Secretary rips music piracy in recent speech

In a recent speech at Belmont University in Nashville, TN, the US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke (a.k.a. Uniform Foxtrot Delta Bravo) issued a blistering diatribe against music piracy.  He sided with the RIAA and urged internet service providers and content owners “to work collaboratively to combat intellectual property infringement online.”

Here’s what The Telegraph had to say (Digital piracy is ‘unadulterated theft’, says Obama administration)

For an EXCELLENT rebuttal on everything said by UFDB (Gary Locke), see Mike Masnick’s article over at Techdirt.

RE: TPB AFK Documentary (The Pirate Bay: Away From Keyboard)

Amazing!  In only 3 days the director, Simon Klose, has raised the necessary $25,000 for creating this documentary.  They’re now up to $36,000 with 24 days left to go (TPB AFK KickStarter Project Page).

I’m grateful to know that there are 1247 other “fans” out there that feel the same way as I do about TPB.

Looking forward to the documentary!!!