Weekly News Roundup (October 2, 2016)

How are you doing on this fine Sunday. It’s windy here. Very windy. So windy that I’m actually glad I’m stuck indoors on this rather sunny day, sitting in front of my computer typing this WNR. Going outside is very overrated sometimes.

A few news stories to go through, but before that, please let me plug my new website/Facebook page, Meowware, once more. If you’re looking for funny cat pics with a technology twist, then maybe give Meowware a go. It’s a little bare in terms of content at the moment, but I plan to have something very interesting up soon, so keep an eye out!

Oh yes, the news …


YouTube, not targeted this time, but a YouTube ripping site is now facing a massive lawsuit

YouTube, not targeted this time, but a YouTube ripping site is now facing a massive lawsuit

The music industry has finally decided the time is right to do something about YouTube ripping. Several major labels and music groups have banded together to launch a massive lawsuit against YouTube MP3 ripping site, YouTube-mp3.org (YTMP3). And I mean massive! The music groups want the maximum allowable $150,000 for each act of infringement that YTMP3 is said to be responsible for, and considering the site gets 60 million visitors monthly, you can do the maths! Actually I did, and if each visitor only rips one YouTube video (likely to be more than that), that’s $9 billion worth of infringement every month.

The plaintiffs also claim that YTMP3 is profiting hugely from their activities, and while I’m sure the site turns a profit, I’m just not sure if it’s as profitable as the RIAA and others think. There are a couple of banner ads, but that seems to be it. Given the going advertising rate these days, I wouldn’t expect the millions in profits, like what the RIAA seems to be claiming.

Regardless, YTMP3 and its German operator does seem to be in a fair bit of trouble. The site doesn’t just extract the links from YouTube, it also processes the raw stream, extracts the audio, converts the audio and, worse of all (from a legal perspective), it seems to store the finished product on its own servers. The site even proudly boasts about this on the front page, a message there reads “Different from other services the whole conversion process will be perfomed [sic] by our infrastructure and you only have to download the audio file from our servers” – this is not something you want to have on your homepage if you want to avoid a lawsuit.

It’s important to note that the site has no association with Google/YouTube, and that it’s actually an abuse of YouTube’s TOS for the site to be operating in this way. So the music industry isn’t going after Google/YouTube in this case, at least not yet.


Street Fighter V

Street Fighter V gamers end up fighting with their anti-virus software over latest game patch

After last week’s DRM story, we have another one this week, although according to gaming company Capcom, it isn’t a DRM at all. Instead, it’s an anti-cracking patch for Street Fighter V, something that prevents unauthorised use and modification of the game (so basically a way to enforce digital rights – but obviously not a DRM. It isn’t a DRM in the sense that it was made to prevent piracy, but nobody ever said that DRM’s only role is to prevent piracy).

The problem though is that, in order to do it’s job, the new security measures had to dig deep into the system, and this is what caused all sorts of problems. First of all, Windows started warning users that the new patch appears to want to do more to system files than a normal patch might do, and to make it worse, anti-virus tools started to flag the patch as suspicious. The problem became so widespread that Capcom was forced to pull the patch shortly after, but not before a public backlash from paying customers.

I know companies want to protect their products, from pirates, or cheaters or hackers alike, but too often, they feel justified in doing “everything they can” to rectify a situation, often with complete disregard to the people that actually pay their salary and the bills, the customers. So the moral of the story is that companies should think of the consequences before they act (and also consulting with security firms and giving them a heads up before doing anything as major as this).


uTorrent has introduced a new feature that may mean you will never be able to finish downloading a torrent. While that seems rather counter-intuitive, the behaviour is actually expected and is part of the new “Altruistic” mode. It’s a new mode for users who wishes to always upload more than they download, and when enabled, it ensures a 2:1 upload to download ratio, even if there aren’t enough people in the swarm to upload to (which is why some downloads may never complete). This will allow users to be “altruistic” when it comes to their torrent sharing, and they no longer need to completely download something and seed for some time in order to ensure their ratio looks right. This should help to improve the quality of swarms, especially at the start of sharing.


So that’s it for news this week. I know it’s not the most interesting collection (and you can probably see I was stretching to find something, anything to write about), but I can only make do with what is available to me. Hopefully, the News Gods will make avail more interesting stories this coming week. Until then, have a good one!


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