The Washington Post

The Circuit: Megaupload; Anonymous; tablet and e-book reader ownership

LEADING THE DAY: Following the closure of the file-sharing site Megaupload, The Washington Post reported that there are already concerns about how the shutdown will affect other companies. One company, FileSonic, has already disabled file-sharing on its site in the wake of the shutdown, CNET reported.

Seven Megaupload executives face criminal charges after federal officials said they allegedly encouraged the upload of pirated material to the site. Megaupload’s attorney denies any wrongdoing, and the action raises some questions about whether the government can or will go after other file-sharing services.

“They will wonder if they have done anything different from Megaupload, and does that mean the Feds will come through their door,” said Eric Goldman, a professor of intellectual property law at Santa Clara University, about other file-sharing sites.

Online piracy has been a hot topic in Washington in recent days after heated discussion over the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act resulted in both bills being tabled Friday.

Anonymous targets Polish Web sites over IP law: Loose hacker collective Anonymous targeted Polish Web sites in protest of an intellectual property law, continuing its campaign against laws that some believe are tantamount to government censorship. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a European treaty ostensibly intended to target the sale of counterfeit physical goods online, but critics believe could hinder free expression. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has said that “disturbingly little information” has been divulged about the treaty’s contents and that the agreement’s aim to set a new standard for intellectual property enforcement is not clear about how Internet service providers can and should remove infringing material from the Internet.

The group targeted U.S. government Web sites — including the Justice Department — following federal officials’ shutdown of the file-sharing site Megaupload and in protest of SOPA and PIPA.

Thousands petition for Dodd investigation: Following a Fox News interview where Motion Picture Association of America president Chris Dodd said that politicians who opposed SOPA and PIPA should not look to Hollywood for financial support, thousands have petitioned the White House to investigate the former senator’s comments.

Reuters reported that more than 5,000 people have signed a White House petition calling Dodd’s comments an “open admission of bribery.” The group behind the petition is the We the People Foundation, an educational and research group based in New York.

Tablet/e-book reader owners double: A new study from the Pew Center on Internet and American Life has found that tablet and e-book reader ownership saw huge growth late this year, nearly doubling from 10 percent to 19 percent over the holiday period. According to the study, released Monday, about 29 percent of American adults now own a tablet or e-book reader. Tablet ownership has spiked among those over the age of 50; women saw a faster e-book reader adoption rate than men.

RIM co-CEOs out: Research in Motion announced Sunday that it has appointed a new chief executive and president of the board, replacing Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis as co-chief executives and co-chairmen.

The company’s board of directors announced the change Sunday night, saying that the decision was made “acting on the recommendation” of a sucession plan put together by Balsillie and Lazaridis, who have tried to breathe new life into the struggling company. Lazaridis will become the vice chair of RIM’s board and chair of a new “innovation committee.” Balsillie will remain as a member of the board.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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