New Zealand's guilt-on-accusation copyright law postponed

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New Zealand, as we’ve previously reported, wants to take a hard line against people accused of copyright infringement by cutting them off without any attempt to ascertain whether they’re actually guilty.

The copyright owners argue that this is necessary, because successfully prosecuting someone is a time-consuming and costly business. Of course, copyright owners have a history of falsely identifying acccused infringers.

As a result, there’s been uproar in the country, with many across the world “blacking out” their social network profile pictures to draw attention to the law, due to come into force this Saturday (28th Feb 09).

Thanks to their actions, and the media spotlight placed on the country from across the world, the law has now been postponed. Although it’s only postponed for a month, it’s still a major victory for consumers, who’ll now have a chance to input on a code of practice for the implementation of the law.

If no agreement is reached on the code of practice, then the law will be suspended further, and the government has also promised a review of the effectiveness of the law six months in, to see if it’s had any effect on volumes of filesharing. My guess? It won’t.

(via Stuff.co.nz)

Sandisk reveals one-button-backup USB flash drives

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Now that flash memory has got to a price competitive with mechanical storage, we’re starting to see it crop up in all sorts of places. One of those places is backup, where the speed of the memory presents a clear advantage over a traditional disk drive.

With that in mind, Sandisk has brought out a new backup-focused USB drive, which is the first in the world to work its magic with just a button press – no software installation needed. The capacities aren’t huge yet – the biggest is 64GB – but that should cover the contents of ‘My Documents’ for the vast majority of consumers.

The SanDisk Ultra Backup will go on sale in April, and cost between $40 (£28) and $200 (£137) depending on the size you plump for. How big is your “My Documents” folder? How about when you don’t include the porn? Let us know in the comments.

Sandisk Press Release

Related posts: MicroSD just got bigger – 16GB SanDisk MicroSDHC for £44.99 | SlotMusic – albums on SD cards from SanDisk

Spore DRM finally eased

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Call it a victory for pester power if you like, but EA has just released a deauthorisation tool for their DRM system in Spore. As previously reported, Spore would only let players install the game five times before forcing you to buy a new copy. This patch allows you to ‘de-authorize’ a computer, meaning that you get one of your credits back.

Interestingly, the de-authorization process doesn’t involve uninstallation, so you can leave it sat on your hard drive, and just de- and re-authorize as necessary. Of course, if your hard drive corrupts, then you’re not going to be able to get that installation back, but do you know anyone who’s lost five hard drives that way, ever?

Spore Deauthorisation Patch (via RPS)

Related posts: Spore becomes most pirated game ever | SPORESUIT: EA sued over Spore DRM

AmberFin: Snell & Wilcox launches end-to-end content creation solution: good news for consumers

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At first glance, the news that a well-established company which supplies services to the broadcast industry has launched a new service for handling video content may not seem particularly relevant to consumers. Yet Snell and Wilcox’s work is something that most TV viewers in Britain will have experienced even if they’ve never heard of the company.

Yesterday I spoke to Joe Zaller (VP Corporate Development) and Simon Derry (CEO) from S&W. It’s clear that broadcasters, ISPs and telecoms companies need a system like AmberFin if they’re to deliver digital video in a variety of formats to an ever more demanding consumer, in high quality, while still making money.

AmberFin should create a win-win situation for everyone…

High-value consumers want Net Neutrality: no two-tier Internet

broadbandmodem.jpgTim Berners-Lee has spoken out against it, now new research suggests that high-value Internet consumers in Europe want flat-rate pricing on their broadband service without Internet Service Providers (ISPs) placing restrictions on what they can access.

JupiterResearch, which carried out the Europe-wide study, is urging ISPs not to supply faster, prioritised Internet access only to a select group of web sites that pay for improved performance.

29% of consumers questioned said that they desired flat-rate, unlimited broadband, while 16% said they wanted no access restrictions.