Today, seventeen computer science professors (including me) are filing an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in the Grokster case. Here is the summary of our argument, quoted from the brief:
Amici write to call to the Court’s attention several computer science issues raised by Petitioners [i.e., the movie and music companies] and amici who filed concurrent with Petitioners, and to correct certain of their technical assertions. First, the United States’ description of the Internet’s design is wrong. P2P networks are not new developments in network design, but rather the design on which the Internet itself is based. Second, a P2P network design, where the work is done by the end user’s machine, is preferable to a design which forces work (such as filtering) to be done within the network, because a P2P design can be robust and efficient. Third, because of the difficulty in designing distributed networks, advances in P2P network design — including BitTorrent and Respondents’ [i.e., Grokster's and Streamcast's] software — are crucial to developing the next generation of P2P networks, such as the NSF-funded IRIS Project. Fourth, Petitioners’ assertion that filtering software will work fails to consider that users cannot be forced to install the filter, filtering software is unproven or that users will find other ways to defeat the filter. Finally, while Petitioners state that infringers’ anonymity makes legal action difficult, the truth is that Petitioners can obtain IP addresses easily and have filed lawsuits against more than 8,400 alleged infringers. Because Petitioners seek a remedy that will hobble advances in technology, while they have other means to obtain relief for infringement, amici ask the Court to affirm the judgment below.
Bubba, left, a 23-pound lobster pulled from the waters off Nantucket, Mass., is in a tank beside your average 1.5 pound lobster at Wholey’s fish market in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, March, 1, 2005. The big crustacean received a reprieve from being dinner and will be moving off to the Pittsburgh Zoo. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
In delen van Friesland en Drenthe is de afgelopen 24 uur 20 tot 30 centimeter sneeuw gevallen. Een woordvoerder van het KNMI in De Bilt sprak van matige tot zware sneeuwval. “Dit komt niet vaak voor,” zei hij woensdagochtend.
Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates will be awarded an honorary knighthood by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth Wednesday for his outstanding contribution to enterprise.
Gates, the world’s wealthiest man, will receive the award from the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
He will become a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, an honor that dates back to 1917, although monarchs have been creating knights for hundreds of years.
Among the pomp and grandeur of the formal state rooms at the palace, Gates will kneel in front of the sovereign, who will gently tap him on the shoulder with a sword.
Britons and citizens of the Commonwealth are entitled to add the title “Sir” in front of their names, but that honor does not extend to other nationalities.
When it was announced last year that Gates was to be knighted, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw paid tribute to him.
“(Gates) is one of the most important business leaders of his age,” he said. “Microsoft technology has transformed business practices and his company has had a profound impact on the British economy.”
“The idea that Bill Gates has appeared like a knight in shining armour to lead all customers out of a mire of technological chaos neatly ignores the fact that it was he who, by peddling second-rate technology, led them into it in the first place.” (Douglas Adams)
Some leading music labels are in talks with online retailers to raise wholesale prices for digital music downloads, in an attempt to capitalize on burgeoning demand for legal online music.
The moves, which suggest that the labels want a bigger slice in the fledgling market’s spoils, has angered Steve Jobs, the Apple Computer chief executive who is behind the popular iTunes online music store.
But music executives expressed caution about their ability to push through unilateral price increases. Among the biggest groups, Universal Music and Sony BMG are known to be particularly reluctant to disrupt the market for downloads. One top label said it would not raise wholesale prices now because the market was not yet mature enough for a price increase.
A congregation in the United States was left stunned when lightning struck a church moments after a visiting preacher asked God for a sign.
Church members in the town of Forest in the state of Ohio said the preacher had been emphasising the importance of penance when, in the course of his prayers, he called on the heavens above.
The lightning struck the steeple, then hit the preacher himself when it travelled through electrical wiring to his microphone.
Local authorities said he was not injured.
“It was awesome, just awesome,” said church member Ronnie Cheney, who was among the congregation when the strike hit, told the Findlay Courier newspaper.
“You could hear the storm building outside… he just kept asking God what else he needed to say.
“He was asking for a sign and he got one.”
Afterwards services resumed, however churchgoers realised after 20 minutes that the building was on fire and evacuated.
“It was kind of interesting hearing the preacher talk about what had happened,” Forest Fire Chief Doug Hawkin admitted.
The fire was put out after three hours, but damage to the church is estimated at around $20,000.