Youtube's pay TV service makes video-creators a deal they literally can't refuse


As part of the launch of Youtube Red, the company's new porny-sounding ad-free pay TV service, top creators are being told that they must allow their work into the paywalled/ad free zone, or be excluded from Youtube altogether. Noncommercial Youtube creators get a choice (for now). Apparently, the punishment for making Youtube into a success is losing the right to choose how to make money off your stuff. Read the rest

Sony licensed stock footage, then branded its creator a pirate for using it himself


Mitch Martinez licensed a stock footage clip to a Sony music label to use in a video; when the company proceeded to file a Youtube copyright complaint against him and refused to take his calls, he filed a copyright claim against them, told them he was cancelling their license to his footage, and threatened to make them re-edit the music video, removing his footage from it. Read the rest

Pharma company offers $1/dose version of hedge-fund douchenozzle's drug


Former hedge-fund manager Martin Shkreli became a poster child for greed and sleaze when he bought the only company that was tooled up to make an off-patent drug called Daraprim that people with HIV used to control parasitic toxoplasmosis infections and jacked the price from $13.50 per tablet to $750 per tablet. Read the rest

IMF: Cheap oil will bankrupt the Saudis in five years

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If oil stays below $50 a barrel for five years, the Saudis' cash reserve will be exhausted, and with it will also go the social stability that lavish spending for the Saudi elites brings. Read the rest

Sixth grader sells artisanal Diceware passwords


11 year old Mira Modi, daughter of privacy journalist Julia Angwin, has a startup through which she hand-generates secure Diceware passwords for $2, which she mails in sealed letters through the USPS, "which cannot be opened by the government without a search warrant." Read the rest

Investing in David v Goliath: hundreds of millions slosh into litigation finance funds


Litigation finance (AKA champerty) is the practice of investing in other peoples' lawsuits, with the expectation that you will share in any court awards or settlements should your side win the case. Read the rest

70% of CEOs' effect on company performance can be attributed to random chance


Texas A&M Professor of Management Markus Fitza used a technique called variance decomposition to evaluate the extent to which the performance of companies can be attributed to astute leadership versus the random chance, and concluded that in 70% of cases, CEOs can't be shown to add any value to the companies they run. Read the rest

Antioxidants protect cancer cells, help tumors to spread


The largely unregulated supplement industry sells a variety of weird and sometimes dangerous stuff that it wink-nudge promises will cure what ails you, but even the most accurately labeled, evidence-based supplements can make sick people much, much sicker. Read the rest

Son of Dieselgate: second line of VWs may have used "defeat devices"

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It's not just the 11 million VW diesels that the company admits to having converted to secret mobile gas-chambers; VW is now probing whether earlier models also used the "defeat devices" that detected when they were being evaluated by regulators, lowering emissions temporarily, then ramping them up to forty times the legal limit later. Read the rest

McDonald's China debuts a cement-gray bun


The barely-edible cattle-slurry battles are heating up in Asia!

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The new Nexus phones: beautiful, secure, and a shot across the bow


Dan Gillmor has been playing with Google's new Nexus phones, the humungous 6P phablet and the smaller 5X, and he's written a shrewd and thorough review of what these phones do -- and more importantly, what they mean. Read the rest

How the market for zero-day vulnerabilities works


Zero-days -- bugs that are unknown to both vendors and users -- are often weaponized by governments, criminals, and private arms dealers who sell to the highest bidders. The market for zero-days means that newly discovered bugs are liable to go unpatched until they are used in a high-profile cyberattack or independently discovered by researchers who'd rather keep their neighbors safe than make a profit. Read the rest

Five private prison myths that Muckrock will bust with its crowdfunded Freedom of Information Act blitz


Michael from Muckrock writes, "MuckRock's crowdfunding campaign to fund a series of FOIA requests and an investigation into America's Private Prison industry is in its last weeks, and the project's reporter, Beryl Lipton, has put together a list factchecking the industry's primary talking points, ranging from how they end up costing tax payers more than traditional prisons to how the industry actively works to build up the market by lobbying against policies that would reduce sentences -- and their margins." Read the rest

23andme & aggregated the world's DNA; the police obliged them by asking for it


When 23andme and began their projects of collecting and retaining the world's DNA, many commentators warned that this would be an irresistible target for authoritarians and criminals, and that it was only a matter of time until cops started showing up at their doors, asking for their customers' most compromising data. Read the rest

Buck Rogers and the Copyright Trolls

Remember the Sherlock Holmes case where the Conan Doyle Estate was shaking everyone down for sub-litigation payoffs and asserting claims over Holmes (despite serious copyright scholars all saying they had no right to do so) until Les Klinger stuck to his guns?

Now it’s happening again, with some minor variations, only this time the weapon of choice is Buck Rogers.

Titanic victory for fair use: appeals court says Google's book-scanning is legal

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals just dropped a bombshell, ruling against the Authors Guild in its bid to force Google to stop scanning books and making them searchable.

New Clay Shirky book on how China challenges western Internet firms and vice-versa

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Clay Shirky writes, "I wrote about the mobile phone manufacturing powerhouse and tech innovator, Xiaomi, for Columbia Global Reports, looking at both what makes Xiaomi so successful (they were founded when it was possible to take ecommerce and social media for granted, basically), and at the challenge internet services firms face operating in China." Read the rest

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