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October 2008 Archives

Belgium bans video game rentals

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

In one of the more bizarre rulings in recent memory, Belgians will soon not be able to rent video games, according to a report on Kotaku. It's true - the Belgian Entertainment Association managed to convince legislators in the European country this summer that game rentals were hurting game sales.

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Jesse Brown: The Bogus Cost of Piracy

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$250 billion and 750,000.

Those two daunting numbers will be familiar to anyone who has been following the corporate and governmental push for stricter Intellectual Property legislation. The first - $250 billion - is the figure commonly cited as the amount of money lost to I.P. piracy annually. The second is the total number of jobs lost. These figures have been used by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Customs and Border Patrol, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the FBI, the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition, The International Trademark Coalition, and countless media reports. The numbers are big, daunting, and useful to anyone trying to prove that piracy must be stopped.

But the numbers are bogus.

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Using Shaggy to stand out

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

With the holiday buying season approaching, all manner of technology companies are vying to get the public to pay attention to their products. There are many ways for them to get the word out - advertising, word of mouth, and of course, the media. The problem is, technology journalists (including us) get bombarded with press releases on a daily basis, much more so in the lead-up to Christmas.

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Jesse Brown: Let’s blame computers for the financial meltdown!

By Jesse Brown, CBC technology columnist.

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No one seems to be able to clearly explain why the world is suddenly facing a complete economic meltdown, but that hasn’t stopped politicians and pundits from pointing fingers.

The Democrats blame the Republicans (“See? This is what happens when you don’t regulate Wall Street!”). The Republicans blame the Democrats (“See? This is what happens when you let just anyone buy a house!”). Neither side makes a very compelling case, and so a new culprit has slowly emerged as an all-purpose scapegoat- computers!

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Jesse Brown: The Remix Manifesto

By Jesse Brown, CBC technology columnist.

Sometimes I have trouble explaining why copyright reform is so important.

Defining it as a cultural issue and a civil rights issue can be difficult when most people think of it (if they think of it at all) as a consumer issue, or worse yet, a technological issue (dinner party tip to passionate geeks: nothing glazes more eyeballs than tech "issues." However important they are to you, they all come out sounding like Linux vs. Vista to everyone else).

At worst, my spiel can come off like I'm going to elaborate rhetorical lengths to justify downloading free HBO. Perhaps that's why I'm so pumped by this - the killer preview for the new NFB doc RiP: A Remix Manifesto:

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Jesse Brown: Election 08 voter toolkit

By Jesse Brown, CBC technology columnist.

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Here's a roundup of links to help you quickly get up-to-speed for Tuesday's Canadian federal election.

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Copyright reform pledge gaining steam

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

With so many issues vying for attention as the Canadian election draws nearer, it's getting harder and harder to get support for one's own particular favourite. It's notable, then, that University of Ottawa internet law professor Michael Geist is managing to drum up significant political backing for balanced copyright reform legislation.

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Who wants tickets to space?

by Paul Jay, CBC News

Former Microsoft software geek Charles Simonyi is planning to head back to space, having booked a 2nd flight aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station.

At first blush, this appears to be nothing more than the story of a man with waaaay too much idle money, especially given the $25 million US price tag for the last 13 day-trip. (That works out to a cost of roughly $22 per second he was either strapped in a chair or floating around the ISS checking out the view.) Another possibility quickly comes to mind, however: perhaps the market for $25 million jaunts to a fading space station isn't what it used to be.

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Jesse Brown: Do not call the do-not-call list

By Jesse Brown, CBC technology columnist.

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It’s broken.

Or jammed, or crashed, or otherwise unable to sign up anymore phone numbers belonging to Canadians who would prefer not to be bothered by telemarketers. The National Do Not Call List website crashed too, but seems to be back up now.

This due to a stampede of sign-ups in the first 12 hours of the list’s existence. Anyhow, it’s taken the CRTC three years to get this thing online, and hiccups aside, everyone who wants in on the off list will soon get it.

Or will they?

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