Trial by wire: The RIAA has sued 26,000 people for file sharing, but last week marks the first time it actually had to prove its case in court. A jury in Duluth has awarded the industry pariah - err, PR group - damages of $US222,000 from Minnesota mum, Jammie Thomas, whom they decided had illegally 'made available' 24 songs on Kazaa, including such ditties as Hysteria, Get a Grip, and Appetite for Destruction.
Bad news for Thomas, but only a temporary reprieve for the record industry. The crowing you hear closely resembles the bleating of the last dinosaur as it sank into the tar pit. In a few years, record companies as we know them today will be as quaint (and relevant) as old 78 RPMs. And nobody will be singing a dirge at that funeral.
A nervous titter passed through the room: US politician, Matthew Barrett, was presenting a lecture to an Ohio high school government class on how a bill becomes law when he stuck a memory stick into the computer, producing an image of a topless woman on the screen. (It's been decades since my last civics course. Do the strippers show up before the bill is amended, or after?) In a confab with state police Barrett declared he had no idea where the picture came from, but he'd be happy to launch a prolonged investigation. (Kudos to Cringester, BY, for sharing that tidbit.)
Masters of no one's domain: The state of California temporarily lost the use of its primary Web domain last week, courtesy of the General Services Administration. The GSA delisted ca.gov for several hours, believing it had been hacked after the City of Marin's website was found to be redirecting visitors to porn sites. (Yet another reason to move north of the Golden Gate.) Ohio Rep. Barrett has denied all responsibility.
New Zune, same zinger: So far, Microsoft's iPod killer has been less lethal than a rolled-up newspaper. Take two of the Zune doesn't appear any more deadly, though it is smaller, lets you sync over Wi-Fi, offers some Web 2.0-ish sharing features, and serves up a couple of Nano-esque 4GB and 8GB cousins. Better? Probably. But no reason to wake Mr Jobs from his nap.