RIAA seeks extension in attempt to revive Doe subpoenas in campus P2P case

As we've pointed out before, the RIAA's attempts to sue college students for file-sharing have not gone as smoothly as it would like. The latest evidence comes from the US District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, where the record labels are looking for more time to respond to a motion from a group of Oklahoma State University students to quash a subpoena issued to the school. HangZhou Night Net

The RIAA is seeking to find out the identities of 11 students in Arista v. Does 1-11. After filing the lawsuit, the RIAA sought to perform ex parte discovery, which would enable them to perform an end run around the legal system by beginning discovery and issuing subpoenas without the defendants' knowledge. The students learned of the subpoenas, most likely from the school, and filed a motion seeking to quash them.

In their motion to quash, the students take a route similar to a student at the University of Tennessee, who is arguing that the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act prevents the school from providing the data the RIAA seeks. Unlike that student, the Does here argue that the sections of FERPA dealing with "illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior" as well as "legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers" override any factors the RIAA can cite in support for the subpoenas. As we noted in our earlier coverage of the case, the students also have enlisted the support of a security expert who has attacked the RIAA's investigative methods and oversimplifications.

Under the original schedule, the RIAA's response was due on August 24, but the trade group obtained a 17-day extension. The RIAA then said it would miss the new September 10 deadline, asking for another 14 days to file its response. The plaintiffs cite an illness in the family of one of the attorneys involved in the litigation, but the defendants point out that he is not one of the attorneys of record the case, and should have provided his "work product" to one of the "very competent" attorneys who is. The Does also argue that they will continue to be haunted by the litigation during the additional extension.

Other judges have taken a dim view of the RIAA's ex parte tactics when it comes to suing college students. In July, a federal judge in Virginia blocked the labels from using it in a case brought against seven Does associated with the College of William and Mary. The month previous, a different judge gave students at the University of New Mexico a chance to respond to another John Doe lawsuit before allowing any discovery to take place.

The OSU students' defense attorney is Marilyn Berringer-Thomson, who successfully defended Debbie Foster against a copyright infringement lawsuit, winning a sizable attorneys' fees award in the process. Like copyright attorney Ray Beckerman, Berringer-Thomson knows her way around the file-sharing litigation landscape, so this particular John Doe case is one that bears watching. Given the novelty of the students' defense, including their attacks on the record industry's investigative tactics, it wouldn't be surprising to see the judge give the RIAA its desired extension.

Apple, partners announce iTunes Tagging for HD radios

Apple's iTunes Store sure has made it easier to shop for and discover new music. Nearly every track and album you browse in the store can take you on a musical journey with those who have similar interests, thanks to that "Listeners Also Bought" section. But what if you hear great music, say, on your car's radio while out on the town? It probably isn't a good idea to jot down artist and song names while your eyes should be on the road, so what's a music lover with a thirst for more to do? Why, buy a new HD radio, enabled with a Tag button, of course! HangZhou Night Net

Apple has announced a new partnership with providers of HD radio content and manufacturers of HD radios to bring a new, free iTunes Tagging service to a dashboard near you for the 2008 holiday season. On the new Polk I-Sonic(R) Entertainment System 2 and the JBL iHD, users will find a "Tag" button that will allow them to mark the currently playing song for preview and purchase later in iTunes once they get home.

While this smells in part like a ploy to upsell people into buying HD Radios, it makes sense that this new feature can only debut with such services and devices. Traditional radio just isn't capable of passing the information needed to make a service like this work. Fortunately, if the prospect of tagging radio songs on the go is making your wallet sweat with anticipation, there are apparently over 1,400 stations in the US already broadcasting HD Radio, and that number seems to be steadily climbing. You can find more information at hdradio.com, and we'll have more on radio pricing, availability and how this iTunes Tagging actually works once more information is announced.

Friday afternoon Apple links, iPod hangover edition

I made up the phrase "iPod hangover." I think it's a good way to describe the feeling of overindulging on iPod news for a few days, then once again getting exposed to other Apple-related news, and hey, it's catchy. So if you've got an iPod hangover and are looking for a cure, here are some (mostly) iPod-free bits and pieces: HangZhou Night Net

In case you were wondering, the iPhone headphones can apparently survive a wash and dry cycle, for a while at least. I don't think anyone is advocating iPhone accessory abuse (*cough*), but if you, too, happen to wash your earbuds, you might be able to get lucky and convince a kindly Apple Store employees to replace them for free, as the unfortunate fellow in the story did.For the serious news item this week, let's talk about patent reform. It turns out Apple has spent a cool $720,000 on patent reform in the first half of 2007, presumably hoping that spending money now will mean less patent lawsuits filed against them in the future. It's a noble cause, but I feel like they should spend some of that money settling all their lawsuits out of court, instead.In case you missed it, there was a bit of a stir over a Google contextual ad for the phrase "iPhone price drop." The ad was related to a Nokia ad, and congratulated iPhone late adopters. As it turns out, the ad was a fake inspired by the Nokia ad, since I'm sure Steve Jobs doesn't want to annoy people more than he already has.If you're looking to replace your iPod hangover with a real hangover, but still want an iPod to be involved in some way, check out the iDrink. It's not the most creative name, but it is an iPod-shaped bottle opener with a fake scroll wheel, which will make you look even classier when you break it out at parties.

Sorry about that last one. I know I said no iPods, but I couldn't resist. Today also marks the seventh anniversary of the founding of Google, so happy incorporation birthday to those guys. And as always, have a safe, fun, pleasant, and blacksnake-free weekend.

KDE 4.0 release schedule revised, libraries to be released early to speed up porting

HangZhou Night Net

After initially deciding to push the KDE release schedule back from October 23rd, the release team entered several weeks of debate to produce a new schedule. Much of the debate centred around the fact that the libraries are already nearly stable, and that by pushing the date back, it would discourage third party developers from porting their applications to KDE 4 already. In addition, if the tagging dates were pushed too far into December, the developers responsible for tagging the release would be on holiday, making tagging the release nearly impossible. The compromise was to have an early release of the stable underlying libraries and components, while pushing back the release of the KDE 4.0 Workspace into early December.

Here is what the new schedule looks like, subject to change for show stopper bugs and other unforeseen problems:

KDE 4.0 Beta 3: tagging on September 26th, releasing on October 2nd.Total Release Freeze (the so called Deep Freeze): October 19thKDE 4.0 RC1: tagging on October 24th, releasing on October 30th. The kdesupport, kdelibs, kdepimlibs and kdebase/runtime modules will be considered to be fully released at this point, known as the KDE Development Platform.KDE 4.0 RC2: tagging on Novermber 7th, releasing on November 14thKDE 4.0.0 Final: tagging on December 5th, releasing on December 11th

While there are a number of KDE 4 applications that will be quite stable by the time the December release rolls around (some have been perfectly stable for months already), there are still a number of applications that will be late in arriving, such as Kopete, KDE's instant messaging program. Fortunately there is work underway to ensure that KDE 3 and KDE 4 can peacefully coexist on any system. This entails renaming some executables (some have simply had the number '4' appended to the name) and ensuring that library versions do not conflict. This should ensure that your favourite KDE 3 applications are still available well into the KDE 4 series, as well as allowing distros to ship KDE 4 components in their stable releases (like the forthcoming Kubuntu LTS) without worry.

Obviously KDE 3 and KDE 4 components will be able to interact on a basic level, such as icons embedding themselves in the system tray normally. This is possible since KDE 3 and KDE 4 both follow inter-desktop standards, although this is a somewhat unique case as the two desktops are both KDE desktops. However, KDE 4 has also introduced and revamped a huge number of old KDE technologies like switching from their in-house DCOP (Desktop COmmunications Protocol) to the DCOP-inspired D-BUS standard that is being rapidly adopted by other desktop environments. Since the high level of integration between various KDE applications relies on the communication system, this means that KDE 3 applications will not integrate as smoothly into the KDE 4 environment until they are properly ported.

The early release of the KDE 4 Development Platform will help to ensure that the simpler applications (code-wise) can ported in time for the December release. At the same time, this delay allows applications such as the Plasma workspace some additional time for development and testing to ensure that it is ready for a release that the KDE team can feel confident in shipping.

A glimpse at HPs iPAQ line, ultra slim desktop, and the Voodoo Envy line

At the HP Your life is the Show event, Blackbird 002 wasn't the only product on display. HP also showcased a bunch of its upcoming products that will be released throughout the year. I wandered around, tripping over camera cables and supermodels, to get you some shots of what's to come. HangZhou Night Net

The HP Compaq dc7800 Ultra Slim desktop PC was one of the machines on display. First impressions? It's not that slim and looks like a monitor with PC for a backpack. It could probably be a bit more attractive, too. I think a product like this with HP's black-gloss finish would look much more modern.

Like an iMac, the PC and monitor are attached, except instead of being tied to a specific display, you can add your own using four mounting screws. Of course, this begs the question: what happens when you attach a 30 inch monitor or larger? Seems like it would be hard to reach around.

Unlike to the iMac, you can also simply remove the monitor and use the PC like a standard tower. The dc7800 Ultra slim will come with either a 80GB, 160GB, or 250GB hard drive, is Energy Star 4.0 compliant, and has 1GB of PC2-5300 DDR2 667MHz RAM. According to CMP Media, who got an early review unit, the dc7800 can be purchased with a choice between an Intel Core 2 Quad, Intel Core 2 Duo, or Celeron processor and can be purchased with RAID 1 pre-configured. There's also a side-mounted DVD optical drive, two USB ports on the front, six USB ports on the back, and headphone jacks. The product was in the "Integrated Work Center" part of the HP event, so it probably doesn't have a ton of video power for gaming under the hood, and was designed for standard work-place desks without a ton of room (it's for cubicle monkeys).

I also got a taste of HP's upcoming iPAQ 100 series smartphone, which features integrated WiFi 802.11 b/g, a Marvell PXA310 624MHz processor, Bluetooth support, Windows Mobile Classic, Windows Media Player 10, 64MB of SDRAM and 256MB flash ROM. The large 3.5 inch 240×320 pixel touch-screen was attractive, and the unit itself is skinny—just 13mm thick—but there really isn't much new here that you can't find in other hand-helds. It'll be available shortly for $299.

Also among the announcements of new phones was the iPAQ 900 3G Business Messenger smartphone, which has integrated quad band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, tri-band HSDPA, as well as support for 802.11b/g networks. Instead of a touch screen/stylus setup like the iPAQ 111, the higher-end 900 has a QWERTY keyboard and a smaller 2.46 inch 320×240 pixel screen. The phone is clearly designed for businesses instead of individual users, as it also has HP's Enterprise Mobility Suite software, which provides push management, diagnostics, and other IT related capabilities. Also among its features list is a 3 mega pixel camera with 4x digital zoom.

Lastly, I got a glimpse of HP's new iPAQ 300 series travel companion. Basically, it's a 4.3-inch 800×480 pixel touch-screen personal GPS system running Windows CE 5.0 that lets you view from 10,000 feet above where you are, down to street level with 3D buildings. Since it's a "travel companion" and not just a navigational device, it also has other functions. You can use the device for viewing pictures, or listening to Windows Media DRM tracks. HP also mentioned that it supports video and games, although there was no word on formats or titles that are available.

The iPAQ line also includes the 200 and 600 series, titled the "Enterprise hand-held" and "business navigator," respectively.

HP Voodoo was also showcasing a few of its latest Envy laptop gaming machines. They had a few on display in a variety of colors including turquoise, purple, pink, orange, pearl-white, and maroon. My favorite out of the Envy lineup was probably the F:121 because of its size. Instead of being a huge lap monster, like the rest of the Envy line, it has just a tiny 12.1" 1280×800 pixel screen. It's available with an AMD Turion 64 X2 mobile TL-56, 60, 64, or 66, up to 2GB of PC2 5300 RAM, and a 250GB 5400rpm hard drive. Sadly, the entry level model starts at $3,000, which I consider a bit ridiculous. Not a ton of power, but a nice package and awesome looking laptop—for those with the dough.