Archive for February 20th, 2007
Straight from Techdirt: “Over the weekend, a bunch of people stopped by to point us to the blog post from the maker of some blogging software who was surprised to note that the MPAA had started a blog using his software, but had stripped out all of the backlinks to the developers site — despite it being pretty clear in the license that you could not do that. The story got picked up on a bunch of popular tech sites, leading the MPAA to take down the blog and proffer a weak defense that the blog (while on an unprotected site) was just for testing, had never been made public and was just a proof of concept. Someone from the MPAA insisted that the organization would have paid for a license to the software had the MPAA moved forward with the project. However, as the developer notes, if he used similar excuses to explain previewing a movie he downloaded, somehow he doubts the MPAA would find that acceptable. Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen the MPAA have a bit of a double standard when it comes to how it can ignore the intellectual property rules it claims to support so strongly. A year ago, remember, the MPAA was accused of making unauthorized copies of a movie criticizing the MPAA, This Film Is Not Yet Rated. That time MPAA officials claimed it was okay to make those unauthorized copies because it had “implications” for MPAA employees. Funny how the MPAA comes up with all sorts of exceptions for its own activities that aren’t found anywhere in copyright law — and yet it doesn’t want to give anyone else the benefit of the doubt.”
Straight from Ars Technica: “XM Radio and Sirius have put an end to nearly two years of rumor, speculation, and innuendo by announcing a $13 billion merger of equals. Under terms of the merger, the companies will combine in an all-stock, tax-free merger including net debt of approximately $1.6 billion. XM Radio shareholders will get 4.6 shares of Sirius stock for each share of XM common stock that they own, with the result being that the combined company will be made up of a roughly 50-50 split of shareholders from XM and Sirius.Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin will become the CEO of the combined company with XM Radio Chairman Gary Parsons stepping into the Chairman role of the combined company. The new board of directors will be made up of Parons, Karmazin, four independent directors designated by each company, and others. No closing date has been annnounced for a merger.
We have covered past rumors, and Karmazin has frequently voiced his opinion that a merger would be a good move for both the companies and their shareholders. It makes sense from a financial standpoint: both companies have heavy debt, relatively weak cash positions, and sizable market caps. A merger of equals would allow for an all-stock deal. It would also give subscribers access to the combined programming of both companies, including the sports programming currently divvied up between the two.”
DEBKAfile Reports: US troops may attack nuclear and military targets in neighboring Iran when a high-casualty attack is traced directly to Tehran
Straight from the Debka File: “This new presidential directive extends the license President George W. Bush issued last month to US troops to capture or kill Iranian agents supporting Iraqi insurgency and al Qaeda attacks on American forces.
It is causing great concern in Tehran’s ruling circles – especially as the new license may well be applied when the downing of a large US helicopter ends in a heavy US death toll.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that American commanders in Iraq are studying the innovative methods for shooting down US aircraft which Iranian Revolutionary Guards instructors are imparting to Iraqi insurgents.
Maj. Gen James E. Simmons, deputy commander of US forces in Iraq, describes multiple weapons systems fired at the same time as having brought down 7 American helicopters in the last month. This, says Simmons, is the sign of “a thinking enemy” – although sometimes the insurgents appear to have got lucky and hit helicopters with automatic weapons fire as they chanced by.
The New York Times reports these multiple systems may include shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades – RPGs and unguided rockets that can’t be diverted by American helicopters’ anti-heat-seeking flares.
Our military sources say this mix of weaponry is designed to ambush the aircraft at any altitude chosen to escape the ground fire.
Under the new presidential directive, the downing of a helicopter carrying a large number of US troops could trigger a bombing campaign against Iran such as, for example, the dispatch of long-range B2 stealth bombers with bunker-busting bombs for dropping on the 25m deep Natanz site, where centrifuges are positioned for enriching uranium.
Attacks mount also be mounted against Iran’s military infrastructure.”