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Fighting Internet piracy: CES takes on SOPA vs. OPEN debate. While thousands of tech vendors frantically demoed new gadgets and apps at the giant Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a debate over the future of the Internet and how the government may regulate distribution of (often pirated) content was taking place down the hall.

Fighting Internet piracy: CES takes on SOPA vs. OPEN debate

As Ars readers know, bills like the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Online Protection & Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN) offer competing approaches to cracking down on piracy. But SOPA, introduced in the House of Representatives, and a similar Senate bill called the Protect IP Act (PIPA) have garnered scorn for potentially placing technical barriers on the Internet and even harming parties that have no intent to break the law. Copyright groups, in turn, think OPEN—which takes a "follow the money" approach, putting power in the International Trade Commission rather than the Department of Justice—won't do enough to protect owners of copyrighted material.

Forget SOPA: Copyright owners must build a better BitTorrent. While copyright owners test the legal limits of website takedown processes and push legislation greatly expanding powers to limit file sharing on the open Internet, a company that helps corporations protect intellectual property argues there is a better way: create more user-friendly services for acquiring legitimate content.

Forget SOPA: Copyright owners must build a better BitTorrent

CloudFlare named "tech pioneer" after protecting LulzSec website. Indie filmakers tackle indie games in Indie Game: The Movie. It's sometimes easy to forget that games are made by people.

Indie filmakers tackle indie games in Indie Game: The Movie

Game developers, for the most part, aren't particularly visible, and aside from a few big names, most players don't associate specific designers with specific games. The aptly titled feature documentary Indie Game: The Movie is looking to change that by telling the stories of some of the most acclaimed indie games of recent years, and showing just what it takes to create them. The film just recently successfully completed a second round of funding through Kickstarter, and the creators hope to have it completed this fall. The project was inspired mainly by a trip to the 2009 Game Developer's Conference. James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot, the duo behind the film, were sent to GDC on an assignment for New Media Manitoba to cover local game developers, and quickly became fascinated by the indie game development scene they encountered.

German police seize Pirate Party servers, looking at Anon's toolkit. Acting on a French request for assistance, German police today confiscated German Pirate Party servers—apparently hoping to search the prominent collaboration tool widely used within Anonymous to select targets for attack.

German police seize Pirate Party servers, looking at Anon's toolkit

Authorities appear to be concerned about a possible attack on French energy giant EDF. The German Pirate Party said in a statement that it does not believe itself to be a target of the investigation and expressed willingness “within its legal obligations” to aid French police: The [Pirate Party] Board does not have information that indicates the necessity to take all servers of the Pirate Party off-line. According to the information it has been provided with, only one single public service on a virtual server of the party was affected. Capsized: a beautiful 2D side-scroller for the FPS crowd. When you crash-land on an alien planet, you find yourself alone and in constant danger.

Capsized: a beautiful 2D side-scroller for the FPS crowd

Everything on this planet seems focused on killing you, but you have no choice but to explore and stay alive. Sounds a bit like Metroid, doesn't it? It's actually the premise behind a new indie PC game called Capsized. But while the game looks and sounds like yet another Metroidvania-esque adventure, it's actually something quite different, with a big focus on frantic, strategic combat heavily influenced by first-person shooters. New bill upgrades unauthorized Internet streaming to a felony.

Two months ago, US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel produced her wishlist of changes to US law.

New bill upgrades unauthorized Internet streaming to a felony

National Jukebox now online, serving up hits from the early 1900s. These days when a new music service launches itself, the sell is usually access to the latest cutting-edge content or classic pop genres.

National Jukebox now online, serving up hits from the early 1900s

Privacy groups applaud Senator Rockefeller's "Do Not Track" bill. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) has introduced a new "Do Not Track" bill to Congress that aims to hold companies accountable for collecting information on consumers after they've expressed a desire to opt out.

Privacy groups applaud Senator Rockefeller's "Do Not Track" bill

Called the Do-Not-Track Online Act of 2011 (PDF), the bill would create a "universal legal obligation" for companies to honor users' opt-out requests on the Internet and mobile devices, and would give the Federal Trade Commission the power to take action against companies that don't comply. "Recent reports of privacy invasions have made it imperative that we do more to put consumers in the driver’s seat when it comes to their personal information," Rockefeller said in a statement. "I believe consumers have a right to decide whether their information can be collected and used online. This bill offers a simple, straightforward way for people to stop companies from tracking their movements online. " Senator questions Apple over iPhone tracking.


Senator questions Apple over iPhone tracking

Al Franken (D-MN) wants answers. Security researchers today revealed the existence of a file on iPhones and on their computer backups that logs detailed cell phone triangulation data—and has ever since iOS 4 was released last summer. The information is stored unencrypted by default, and is simple to access. That announcement led Franken to fire off a two-page letter (PDF) today, asking nine pointed questions of Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

Franken first outlines scenarios in which the release of this data could pose a problem. Europe pledges to name and shame bad non-neutral ISPs. Europe's major new telecoms law comes into effect on May 25, and it avoids any explicit net neutrality rules.

Europe pledges to name and shame bad non-neutral ISPs

But European Commissioner Neelie Kroes, once known for hammering Microsoft during its European antitrust lawsuit, says she will personally keep an eye on any Internet problems that might arise from blocking, throttling, or lying about actual connection speeds. Pirate Bay becomes "Research Bay" to aid P2P researchers. The Cybernorms group at Sweden's Lund University has partnered with The Pirate Bay to "help researchers to better understand habits and norms within the file-sharing community"—and the site has temporarily rechristened itself "The Research Bay" in response. Cybernorms started in 2009 at Lund as a research project from a PhD student in the Sociology of Law department. The idea was to look at how real-world norms interact with laws concerning file-sharing, and early work in the field came to a stark conclusion.

A 2009 paper (PDF) based on initial Cybernorms research concluded first of all that there are "no social norms that hinder illegal file sharing. Oracle gives up on OpenOffice after community forks the project. In a statement issued on Friday, Oracle announced that it intends to discontinue commercial development of the (OOo) office suite. The move comes several months after key members of the OOo community and a number of major corporate contributors forked OOo to create a vendor-neutral alternative. OOo is one of many open source software projects that Oracle obtained in its acquisition of Sun.

OOo has long been plagued by governance issues and friction between its corporate stakeholders. Sun's copyright assignment policies and bureaucratic code review process significantly hindered community participation in the project. European ad industry pushes new tracking, transparency rules. European advertisers have begun hopping on board with a new set of guidelines (PDF) that will allow users to block cookie tracking. The rules, developed by an industry group called the Internet Advertising Bureau Europe (IAB Europe), come just over a month before Europe is expected to issue its own legal guidelines for online advertisers. The self-regulatory framework isn't just about avoiding being tracked—the goal is to offer transparency to consumers about which sites are using their cookie data, when, and for what purpose.

P2P lawyer: more settlements since former-lobbyist judge's ruling. Report: Piracy a "global pricing problem" with only one solution. Alleged WikiLeaker could face death penalty. Net neutrality rules: coming December 21. Priority access deals could result in "slow suicide" for ISPs. Did the Republican House landslide kill net neutrality? The Federal Communications Commission has published the agenda for its November Open Meeting.

It comes two days after the Democrats took their shellacking in the midterm Congressional elections. Judge realizes: on the Internet, no one can tell you're a kid. Fox throws anti-net neutrality pie at Cablevision in carriage wars. Former music label boss: beat piracy by selling albums for £1. Would musicians make more money selling more copies of albums at a fraction of the current price? Or does dirt-cheap music simply devalue the product art? P2P investigations now illegal in Switzerland. The end of used books, music, games? Court guts "First Sale" "Piracy" sounds too sexy, say rightsholders. Pirate Party membership plummets post Pirate Bay verdict. Back room net neutrality deal? Reform groups up in arms. US goes after movie pirates in Estonia, counterfeiters in Tanzan. UK regulator: net neutrality rules bad for consumers.