12/10/2009

UK air traffic control goes after Wikileaks

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The National Aviation and Transport Services (NATS) is threatening legal action against Wikileaks because the website has published a recording of the crashing of BA flight 038, call sign Speedbird 38, which came down just short of the Heathrow runway in 2008.

Earlier this month Wikileaks published an audio recording of air traffic controllers seeing, and reacting to, the crash and images of the control system. The Boeing 777 hit the ground just on the threshold of the runway at Heathrow. There were injuries, but no deaths.

NATS is claiming absolute copyright over the recording.

Google and MS sued over links to RapidShare

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Mini music label Blue Destiny Records has sued both Google and Microsoft for allegedly “facilitating and enabling” the illegal distribution of copyrighted songs.

Filed on Monday with a US federal court in Northern Florida, the suit is an attempt to choke off the distribution of Blue Destiny tunes on the Germany-based file-sharing service RapidShare. It accuses RapidShare of knowingly running “a distribution center for unlawful copies of copyrighted works,” while claiming that Google and Microsoft are propping the company up.

According to the suit, RapidShare benefits from ad relationships with the two search giants. “RapidShare generates revenue by selling subscriptions for its high-speed download services, and through advertising dollars generated by its advertising partnerships with Google and Microsoft,” the suit reads. “RapidShare’s business success is accomplished only with the knowing assistance of these two top search engines - Google and Microsoft’s Bing.”

But the overarching claim is that RapidShare is able to “achieve consistent prominent ranking in search engine results that direct users to websites where illegal ‘free’ copies of [Blue Destiny’s] recordings may be stolen.” US copyright law exempts companies from liability if they’re merely linking to infringing content - but only if they’re unaware of the infringement and don’t receive financial benefit.

The suits insists that Google and Microsoft benefit financially because they generate ad revenue from search results. And both companies have received DMCA takedown notices requesting removal of the links in question.

Facebook change gives users more privacy controls

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Facebook is changing its privacy settings to give users more control over who sees the information they post on their personal pages.

Beginning Wednesday, the networking Web site is taking the rare step of requiring its more than 350 million users to review and update their privacy settings.

The new controls are designed to simplify the cumbersome privacy settings that have confounded many people - which is one reason why only 15 percent to 20 percent of Facebook users have specified their privacy settings. Facebook hopes people now will get comfortable with sharing even more information.

AOL gets independence from Time Warner on Thursday

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

AOL is becoming an independent Internet company again.

With the company’s spinoff from Time Warner Inc. complete, AOL’s stock is set to officially begin trading Thursday. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong plans to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

AOL’s dial-up Internet access business has just one-fifth as many subscribers as it had at its peak in 2002. Now the company is trying to boost its fading profitability with a portfolio of Web sites, supported by advertising revenue.

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