Hard News by Russell Brown


All your copyright are belong to us

Yahoo!Xtra seems to have staggered into another PR debacle. As this Wellington Flickr Group thread relates, the company decided to extend its "round the world" photo competition by approaching a group entrants to have their pictures published on billboard sites it had already booked.

There would be no payment, but it was quite a nice idea, and it was voluntary. But the terms differed significantly from those in the original competition, which required entrants only to broadly licence their entry for commercial use by Yahoo!Xtra. The subsequent waiver required them to "acknowledge and agree that Yahoo!Xtra owns and shall own all rights, title and interest (including copyright) in the Photograph."

This is bullying, unnecessary and just dumb PR. The successful entrants are being invited to a March 4 event at the Auckland city art gallery, where they will meet the professionals who have helped judge the photography. If they make it there, they should ask the pros what they think about giving up copyright.

Are there any reports from the local loop unbundling beta trials being run by Orcon? The ones holding out the promise of 24Mbit/s ADSL 2+ type speeds? Just wondering.

Staying with tech, our favoured means of playing the TV programmes out friends in Britain and America so kindly send us over the interwebs has been to connect my MacBook to the TV by means of an ugly but highly effective VGA-to-video converter from Dick Smith Electronics; playing the files in QuickTime with the Perian components.

We only discovered this week that there was another way: just whack a USB drive in the front of the Xbox 360. The Xbox system detected and downloaded an MP4 codec and played the files very nicely. So would the sleeker and quieter PlayStation 3 (yes, we have both -- I get sent this stuff for my job) do the same thing? Not on your nelly. It couldn't even see the files, and it appears that Sony wants the world to adopt its proprietary video format. Oh yes. That'll work really well …

Meanwhile, Hilary and Obama go to war with radio ads. Hilary's came first and it's yer basic lying sleaze. Obama's response seems warranted.

No Right Turn looks at New Zealand's playing on the 2008 Environmental Performance Index.

A language you probably don't speak: Schizophasia.

New Colin video. Cats rule. Well, ours does.

New in the blogosphere, and a feed well worth bookmarking: Chris Bourke. The journalist, author and former Kim Hill producer has a couple of nice peeks into the Truth newspaper archive, which he's been exploring as part of his current project.

Chris has previously mentioned to me some of the stuff he's turned up in researching the forthcoming book, and I pointed out that it was perfect blog fodder. So I'm delighted to see that he's begun blogging.

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