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US file-sharer gets $700,000 fine

Hand putting CD into computer

People need to be careful or you can be next on the hit list.  They are cracking down on file shares and the fines are very steep.    Check this article from BBC new about a boy and getting caught music sharing.

A US student who faces millions of dollars in fines for illegally swapping music files has admitted that he shared and downloaded hundreds of songs.

Joel Tenenbaum is accused of copyright infringement by four recording labels for sharing tracks by artists such as Nirvana and Green Day.

It is only the second music-downloading case to go to trial in the US.

In the first, single mother Jammie Thomas Rassett of Minnesota was ordered to pay $1.92m for sharing 24 songs.

Mr Tenenbaum is accused of using a computer at his parents’ home and at his college to download and distribute digital files.

Prosecutors working on behalf of the record labels have focused on 30 shared songs.

Under US law, the recording companies are entitled to $750 to $30,000 per infringement. However, the jury can raise the amount to $150,000 per track if it finds the infringements were wilful.

In the Minnesota case, the jury awarded $80,000 per song.

In opening remarks on Tuesday Tenenbaum’s lawyer said he “was a kid who did what kids do and loved technology and loved music”.

Recording companies had been slow to adapt to the internet, he added.

But prosecutors argued that file-sharers take a significant toll on the revenues for artists and others involved in music

The recording industry has recently changed its tactics in file sharing cases, preferring to settle quickly for much smaller amounts.

However, cases such as those against Mr Tenenbaum, which were already filed, are proceeding to trial.

The four recording labels involved in the case are subsidiaries of Universal Music, Warner Music and Sony.

The case continues at the US District Court in Boston.


This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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Bit lost

I completely agree with this article, I pay for 22Mbps download speed and I’m lucky to get 13Mbps.  Read it this is a good article from the BBC.

WHO, WHAT, WHY
The Magazine answers…

Broadband users aren’t getting the speeds they are paying for, says Ofcom. One reason is because the signal degrades over distance when sent through copper wires, so where do the missing megabits go

To many people around the UK the results of Ofcom’s broadband speed survey came as no surprise when it was published this week.

Copper wire

The telecoms regulator says broadband customers are not getting the speeds they are paying for. Nearly one fifth of those on an eight megabit per second (Mbps) connection actually receive less than 2Mbps.

It also says the speed of broadband delivered through traditional copper wires – rather than faster fibre-optic cables – is slower the further away you are from your telephone exchange. So where do the missing megabits go

They aren’t lost in the way that you would lose water pressure through a leaky water pipe. The extra megabits per second you are paying for and not receiving are usually never given in the first place, say experts.

THE ANSWER

  • The Megabits you pay for are never given in the first place
  • Broadband connection is decided by the “sync speed”
  • This is decided before signal leaves the telephone exchange

Broadband rates ‘not up to speed’

In most cases the speed of your broadband ADSL connection is set from the start, it doesn’t get slower or faster. So if it’s only 2Mbps then that’s the speed it was sent out from your local telephone exchange, even if you paid for a faster connection.

Several factors decide this rate but the main one is “sync speed”, says Richard Shaw from SamKnows, a broadband measurement site and Ofcom’s technical partner.

Broadband works best on a stable line and “sync speed” is the most stable speed possible on your line. It is calculated between the exchange and the ADSL modem in your home before the connection is fully established and working.

“You could think of it like a greeting between two people at the start of a phone call before the main conversation starts,” says Mr Shaw.

There are two factors that decide “sync speed”. The first is line attenuation, which is the natural loss of the signal due to the distance you are from an exchange.

This is the most referred to factor in broadband quality because a signal sent through copper wires degrades over distance. Quite simply the further you are from an exchange, the longer the copper wire used and the worse the signal.

Broadband speed graphic

The second factor is signal to noise ratio (SNR). This is the quality of the electrical signal being transmitted through the wiring and how it compares to the electrical interference.

Such noise on a line blocks and reduces the amount of broadband signal that can get through. The greater the signal that can get through the more stable the line is, which also taking in the attenuation can lead to faster speeds.

“It’s like a phone call with lots of noise in the background, you only might be able to hear half of what the other party is saying, whereas with no noise you can hear everything,” says Mr Shaw.

Once these two calculations are done the fastest, the most stable speed at which the signal can be sent from the exchange is decided. So, rather than megabits being lost along the line – they “lost” megabits are never sent in the first place.

WHO, WHAT, WHY
A regular part of the BBC News Magazine, Who, What, Why aims to answer some of the questions behind the headlines
Question mark floor plan of BBC Television Centre

Other much smaller factors that affect speed include using cheap hardware and using phone extensions which introduce interference.

Broadly speaking, standard ADSL can work up to 5km from an exchange, says Janusz Jezowicz, a director of BroadbandSpeedChecker. However, to get 8Mps you would need to be located no further than 2km from an exchange.

Frustratingly, it is very difficult – if not impossible – to find out how far you are from your closest exchange in terms of copper wire length, he adds. This means it is hard to make an informed decision about what broadband package it’s worth buying. After all, who wants to fork out money for 8Mps if you can only get broadband at 2Mphs.

“Distances apply to cable length and BT Wholesale does not publish how the cables are laid out on our streets,” says Mr Jezowicz.

“You can find out your distance from the exchange on various websites but it will give you distance as the crow flies, not the actual cable length which in most cases is much longer.”

There are devices that can improve broadband signal quality, these are called micro-filters and many consumers have them fitted in their homes.


This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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Firefox passes billion milestone

Firefox 4 screenshot (Mozilla)

The open-source browser Firefox is expected to pass the billion download mark in the next twenty four hours.

The milestone includes downloads of all versions of the web software since its first release in 2004.

Figures suggest that Firefox now has nearly one third of the browser market worldwide, at 31%.

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer still dominates the field with around 60%, whilst Google’s Chrome, Apple’s Safari and Opera are all less than 5%.

Microsoft is currently in talks with the European competition regulators, which ruled in January that pre-bundling Internet Explorer with the company’s Windows operating system hurt competition.

The firm recently made a proposal that would offer European buyers of its new Windows 7 operating system a list of potential browsers when they first install the software.

Regulators in Brussels said they “welcomed” the proposal but have yet to make a decision.

Firefox would be among the browsers on offer.

Record run

The browser, developed by the Mozilla Foundation, has quickly become a favourite with web surfers since its launch in 2004.

Last year, the foundation set a new Guinness world record for the most software downloaded in 24 hours when the third version of Firefox was downloaded more than eight million times.

The new milestone of a billion downloads should be achieved on 31 July.

The figure includes all versions of Firefox released since 2004 and includes single users downloading multiple copies for different computers.

In addition, the figure includes anyone manually updating their software to the latest version, rather than waiting for the automatic download.

Automatic updates are not included in the total.

The total number of downloads can be tracked on the Mozilla website. The foundation plans to launch a new website, OneBillionPlusYou.com, to celebrate the milestone.

Mozilla developers are currently working on the fourth iteration of the software.

Earlier this week, it showed off screenshots of the next version of the browser, Firefox 4.0.

The images showed a browser with a similar look to Google’s Chrome software.


This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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