FED SHUTS DOWN PIRACY WEB SITE
The Justice Department said Wednesday it has seized a Web site used to sell modification, or "mod" chips used to sidestep copyright protections built into game consoles, such as Microsoft's Xbox and Sony Playstation 2, giving users unlimited play time on pirated games. The department said David M. Rocci, 22, of Blacksburg, Va., sold approximately 450 Enigmah mod chips, making about $28,000, through his iSONEWS.com Web site. The chips were imported illegally from the United Kingdom and were designed specifically to be used for the Xbox console, the DOJ said. On Dec. 21, Rocci pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to import, market and sell the mod chips. He reached an agreement with the government to surrender the Web site. As of this week, visitors to the site are greeted by DOJ and U.S. Customs seals. "The domain and Web site were surrendered to U.S. law enforcement pursuant to a federal prosecution and felony plea agreement for conspiracy to violate criminal copyright laws," the message on the site says. "The Department of Justice and federal law enforcement will continue to investigate and prosecute individuals and groups that violate the federal criminal copyright laws at home and abroad," it warns. Sentencing is set for March 7, and Rocci could face up to five years in prison and a $500,000 fine, the department said.
VIRTUAL ANTI-WAR PROTEST CLAIMS VICTORY
The anti-war coalition Win Without War claimed victory Wednesday after its "Virtual March on Washington" using phone calls, faxes and e-mail messages "overwhelmed" the Senate and White House, the movement said. According to protest organizers, over 1 million phone calls and faxes and an as-of-yet uncounted number of e-mail messages from opponents to a U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq flooded Senate and White House offices. "We knew that so many people who don't participate in demonstrations would take the opportunity, by letting their fingers do the marching, to send a clear message to their senators and the president," said Tom Andrews, a former congressman and Win Without War's national director. "Our support is clearly growing as the American people begin to reject the administration's arguments for war." The Win Without War coalition is made up of 32 groups, including the National Council of Churches, MoveOn.org, the NAACP, NOW, and the Sierra Club.
FILE-SHARING FIGHT GAINS COLLEGIATE CHAMPION
The ongoing battle between music industry giants and proponents of peer-to-peer file sharing headed to Congress Wednesday, with both the recording industry and university officials pleading their cases. Graham B. Spanier, Penn State University president, told the House subcommittee on courts, the Internet, and intellectual property that although abuse and copyright infringement through peer-to-peer file sharing is a major problem on university campuses, appropriate P2P file sharing technology is a major boost to the academic environment. "Computer networks have greatly facilitated communication between students and faculty, have enabled new pedagogical and research capabilities, and have expanded our campus connection with local communities," Spanier told the House panel. Information technology, he said, "has expanded the educational boundaries of traditional classroom teaching and dramatically increased the potential for distance learning." Spanier told the subcommitee that "no single set of policies and procedures for managing P2P technologies is likely to be appropriate for all," but added a joint committee composed of university and entertainment industry representatives would be able to establish "useful examples" for colleges and universities to follow.
WORKOUT "PARTNERS BY PROXY" GAINS POPULARITY -- BUT BE WARY
Online personal trainers -- for those too busy or inconvenienced to meet with a trainer face-to-face -- are expected to become more popular over the the next year, according to predictions by the American Council on Exerices, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. However, the paper said, not all cyber-trainers are alike, and it is important to check the credentials of online trainer to guard against the age-old Internet fraudsters. "There's a huge proliferation of online stuff and most of it is just junk," said Gregory Florez, ACE spokesman and owner of the online personal training company fitadvisor.com. According to the Journal-Constitution, sites should be connected with a certified personal trainer who has worked face-to-face with people, their programs should allow for flexibility and customization, and the program should include ongoing support through e-mail or phone.
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