MegaUpload Shut Down
MegaUpload has been shut down by the US Government. Early reports suggested that this was because of SOPA/PIPA legislation, but these have not yet been passed. Swizz Beatz was also implicated early on as CEO of MegaUpload, but he is not mentioned at all in the 72-page indictment against the company. While not officially an owner, even in part, Swizzy must have some stake in the company given his move to rally support for the site by creating the MegaUpload Song, featuring a bunch of name brand artists. Swizz and Mega are now being sued by Universal Music Group, home to many of these artists.
It seems that MegaUpload lost the ability to claim safe harbor because of their perceived inaction against copyright infringers. The indictment includes communications between members of the company who knowingly shared and acknowledged such content existed and did nothing to stop it. Basically, MegaUpload is being taken down as some type of pirate mafia organization. The attack against them seems odd mostly because I don’t hear any artists complaining and that is who companies like the MPAA and RIAA would have you believe are being hurt.
Anonymous Goes Nuclear
In response to the pretty vicious take-down of MegaUpload, Anonymous has jumped back into the spotlight in the site’s defense. One thing to bear in mind is that the site was used worldwide for things other than sharing some illegal content. There very well may be millions of people across the globe who have been burned by the site’s disappearance. They just want their personal files back and this is the type of thing that we might see on a larger scale if things like SOPA become reality. Even the Obama Administration agrees with this in their response to petitions against SOPA:
Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small.
Anonymous decided to take matters into their own hands and launch a large-scale attack against a number of organizations using their patented Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) technology. Time reports 10 sites, including FBI, DOJ, U.S. Copyright Office, and Universal Music (who are still down, at the time of this writing) were affected by the attack. Anonymous also employed a new and evil tactic to increase the severity of the attack by enlisting the help of unknowing individuals. All you had to do was click a link and you were suddenly part of the attack, whether you meant to be or not.
Apple Unveils New iTunes U App for All iOS Devices
Apple moves to shake up education with their new iTunes U offering. It allows educators to manage everything from lectures, assignments, and books to quizzes and syllabuses. On the other side, it gives users access to “the world’s largest catalog of free educational content from top universities including Cambridge, Duke, Harvard, Oxford and Stanford.” There are even Push notifications to keep students updated on what’s going on with their classes.
The all-new iTunes U app enables students anywhere to tap into entire courses from the world’s most prestigious universities,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “Never before have educators been able to offer their full courses in such an innovative way, allowing anyone who’s interested in a particular topic to learn from anywhere in the world, not just the classroom.
Google Announces 4th Quarter Results and Fiscal 2011 Results
The numbers are in and, while it appears GOOG has missed projected targets, Google+ is still surging ahead. Analysts expected earnings of $10.51 per share on net revenue of $8.43 billion, but GOOG came in at $9.50 per share and net revenue of $8.13 billion. Google+ comes in ahead of the game at 90 million users worldwide. This shatters most third-party estimates. Larry Page also issued the following statement to TechCrunch: “I have some amazing data to share there for the first time: +users are very engaged with our products — over 60% of them engage daily, and over 80% weekly.” While vague, this could indicate much higher engagement than Facebook.
“Google had a really strong quarter ending a great year. Full year revenue was up 29%, and our quarterly revenue blew past the $10 billion mark for the first time,” said Larry Page, CEO of Google. “I am super excited about the growth of Android, Gmail, and Google+, which now has 90 million users globally – well over double what I announced just three months ago. By building a meaningful relationship with our users through Google+ we will create amazing experiences across our services. I’m very excited about what we can do in 2012 – there are tremendous opportunities to help users and grow our business.”
Facebook Opposes SOPA and PIPA
In case you were wondering, Facebook opposes both SOPA and PIPA. This means that Facebook and Google actually agree on something despite their fierce social networking competition. In a statement posted by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, he states that “Facebook opposes SOPA and PIPA” and “will continue to oppose any laws that will hurt the internet.” He goes to say that “the world today needs political leaders who are pro-internet” and “encourage you to learn more about these issues and tell your congressmen that you want them to be pro-internet.” Zuck points users to a Facebook Page with more details about their stance on SOPA and was even moved to post to his Twitter account, which has been dormant since 2009.
New Apps for Your Facebook Timeline
Facebook is launching new apps which will allow you to “enhance” your timeline and better tell your story by integrating a number of services. There are now apps from Foodspotting, Foodily, Ticketmaster, Pinterest, Rotten Tomatoes, Pose, Kobo, Gogobot, TripAdvisor, and others. If your friends and followers want to see things like your movie reviews and pins on Pinterest, these new apps will definitely make their day.