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The Web Week in Review

It's that time of week again so without further ado, here's what caught Drama 2.0's attention in the last seven days.
    Wall Street Beat: Spending Slows, Dell Does Too
According to ChangeWave Research, 30% of the 2,000 corporate IT buyers it surveyed indicated that they'd be spending less money on IT in the third quarter than initially anticipated. This, of course, if an accurate reflection of corporate IT sentiment, isn't promising news for many technology companies. And neither were Dell's quarterly earnings. Although it beat sales expectations, its profit in the second quarter was down 17%. Dell's CFO blamed "a weak PC and server market in the U.S. and Western Europe, as well as restructuring in the company's services business in Europe" for the profit shortfall. Dell's stock, not surprisingly, took a hit in response to the results. Clearly, the technology industry isn't immune from economic downturns and unfortunately, sluggish growth looks like it may be here for some time.
    Google, EFF Applaud Veoh DMCA Ruling
A magistrate judge in a US District Court dismissed a copyright infringement lawsuit that was filed against online video service Veoh by porn distributor IO Group. Google, which is being sued by Viacom for $1bn in a similar case, is certainly pleased and wasted no time in applauding the decision. Its chief counsel for YouTube stated: "It is great to see the court confirm that the DMCA protects services like Youtube that follow the law and respect copyrights." While copyright infringement apologists cheer, however, the impact on Viacom's lawsuit against YouTube is unclear as there are significant differences between the two cases. First, IO Group did not follow the takedown process outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to notify Veoh of the infringing material. This appears to have factored heavily in the judge's decision because there was reasonably little evidence that Veoh had actual or constructive knowledge of the infringement. Viacom, which has sent over 100,000 takedown notices to YouTube, as well as other copyright holders, made YouTube aware of its massive infringement problems very early on. Second, as others have noted, this decision is not binding on the Viacom/YouTube case and it was issued by a magistrate judge in a District Court. District Court rulings are often overturned on appeal. At the end of the day, comparing IO Group's opportunistic lawsuit against Veoh to Viacom's legitimate and much more substantive lawsuit against YouTube is probably not valid, as I believe copyright infringement apologists will likely find out.
    Apple tries to fix security flaw that allows iPhones to be hacked
Apple's reputation has come under a bit of pressure recently. From problems with MobileMe to poor reception with iPhones, it's clear that Apple is capable of making mistakes. Add another one to the list - a security flaw that enables emails and contacts on an iPhone to be accessed easily by hackers. Apple, of course, is rushing to implement a fix but as Reuters notes: "The flaw may be seen as a setback in Apple's ambitious plans to compete against Research In Motion, whose BlackBerry smartphone has become a standard issue device in corporate businesses around the globe." As Apple branches out, expands its reach and takes on new markets, these types of mistakes become more probable. Most companies, of course, make mistakes but it's the great ones that deal with them successfully. Apple has proven that it's good. Perhaps its recent flubs will give it the opportunity to prove that it's great.
    Email libel costs £110,000
Email has become a casual communications medium and I'm always amazed at the misspellings and poor grammar that are prevalent in even the most important of corporate emails. In addition to making poor spelling and grammar acceptable parts of business communications, the ease with which an email can be sent without pause for thought leads to downright regrettable communications. And Salford University in Greater Manchester has been given good reason to regret an email that one of its staff members sent. Lecturer Dr. Tom McMaster submitted an expense claim to the university which was mistakenly thought to be fraudulent by a member of the accounts payable staff. This staff member responded by email: "Clearly the original claim was an attempted fraud and appropriately rejected." "Those who submitted and certified it should be ashamed of themselves." Unfortunately, the email was sent to other members of McMaster's department and he sued for libel. In addition to a £10,000 settlement reached with McMaster, the High Court has awarded McMaster up to £100,000 to cover his costs. Lesson: when you state something ill-informed via email, don't use CC/BCCs.
    Blogger arrested over leaked Guns N' Roses tracks
blogger who posted leaked tracks from Guns N' Roses' new album has been arrested by the FBI for violating copyright laws. Kevin Cogill will face a judge for a preliminary hearing on September 17 but in the meantime, he has a unique opportunity to prove that blogs can drum up business - after being questioned by the FBI, he stated that "if there are any lawyers out there horny for some high-profile copyright law battle," they should contact him. Unfortunately, given the blog's traffic levels and the fact that it apparently relies on AdWords and the affiliate program for revenue, the default public defender for those accused of infringing copyrights - the aforementioned Electronic Frontier Foundation - may be Cogill's only choice.
    Comcast to make monthly Internet use cap official
It may come as a surprise to some, but bandwidth is not a renewable resource. There's a finite amount of it and some Americans spoiled by years of unlimited, low-cost Internet access plans that have enabled them to refuel their hard drives with videos and music will learn this the hard way. Comcast, one of the leading broadband providers in the United States, is planning to set download limits for its subscribers. Starting in October, subscribers will be able to download 250GB of data each month. Those going over will be asked to cut back on their usage. The average internet user in the United States uses far less than this and some other providers already have their own caps. Comcast claims that the average subscriber has monthly usage of 2-3GB. Of course, logic hasn't prevented the usual suspects (passionates) from complaining, this despite the fact that according to Comcast, "a user could download 125 standard-definition movies, about four per day, before hitting the limit." Amusingly, Ars Technica's Jacqui Cheng had to point out that the few who might be affected by Comcast's new cap aren't necessarily doing anything wrong: "Comcast customers that make heavy use of their internet connections—myself included—are sure to find themselves somewhat alarmed at the prospect of being capped. After all, perfectly legal things like movies from iTunes and Netflix, online music stores, massive software updates, and other media-heavy applications do suck up a lot of bandwidth. [Emphasis mine]." What's with the guilt, Jacqui? Nobody accused you of doing anything illegal. We all know that when somebody sends you the Internets via email, it takes up a lot of bandwidth. Jacqui somehow believes that Comcast subscribers "may end up turning to an ISP...that has the infrastructure available to offer broadband without bandwidth limits." Apparently, some are incapable of recognizing that the absence of a stated limit does not mean that there aren't real limits - for everyone. No responsibility can be taken for the content of external Internet sites.

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