Blurred Lines jury awards Marvin Gaye family $7m

Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke perform at the Grammy Awards - 25 January 2015

A jury in the United States has ruled that the writers of Blurred Lines – one of the best-selling singles of all time – copied a Marvin Gaye track.

Jurors in Los Angeles decided that the 2013 single by Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke breached the copyright of Gaye’s 1977 hit Got To Give It Up.

The family of the late soul singer has been awarded $7.3m (£4.8m) in damages.

Thicke and Williams denied copying the hit, and their lawyer said musicians would find the ruling chilling.

Gaye died in April 1984, leaving his children the copyright to his music.

His children – Nona, Frankie and Marvin Gaye III – sued the singers in 2013. Nona wept as the verdict was read in court.

“Right now, I feel free,” she told reporters after the ruling. “Free from… Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke’s chains and what they tried to keep on us and the lies that were told.”

In court, Williams had told jurors that Gaye’s music was part of the soundtrack of his youth but he insisted it was not on his mind when he wrote the song.

But the musician recognised a likeness between the songs and agreed he was “channelling… that late-70s feeling” when he co-wrote the song.

Thicke testified that he had contributed little to the writing of the song.

The hit, which earned a Grammy nomination, generated more than $16m (£10.8) in profits and made more than $5m (£3m) for both stars.

Sony PlayStation Network PS4 MTU Settings WARNING

Cybergroups have targeted Sony’s Playstation Network with a DDOS and bringing the network to its knees causing misery for gamers over the Christmas period. Slowly the network has begun to recover, but there are still issues for which we bring you a fix: If you’re still unable to connect to the PlayStation Network with your PS4 we have a solution. First and foremost, try resetting your system and then try to connect, it might take a few attempts but be patient. If your PSN still isn’t working try this: Go to Settings > Network > Settings > Network > Setup Connection > Manually > Wifi or LAN. Once you reach the MTU Settings, change it to 1473 manually. If it still doesn’t work, try resetting a couple of times more. Once the service has been restored, make sure you change the MTU back to the default 1500 to ensure your connection runs smoothly. WARNING: Do not attempt to change any proxy settings, as other ‘news’ outlets have suggested. These do nothing but add to congestion, and possibly capture your communications (and passing on account details to cyber criminals). You’re welcome

The Pirate Bay vanishes (again)

Torrent site and online copyright infringement poster child The Pirate Bay experienced a lengthy worldwide outage on Tuesaday, reportedly following the raid of a Stockholm area data center by Swedish police.

The site dropped off the web early on Tuesday and remained unavailable for much of the day, only re-emerging in the late hours with a new URL hosted under the top-level domain for Costa Rica.

However, it appears that the site is just a mirror and the search function does not work.

Swedish authorities have kept mostly mum about the raid that apparently downed the site, including such details as the exact location of the data center involved and what sort of equipment was seized.

Stockholm County Police’s national coordinator for intellectual property crime, issued only a brief statement on Tuesday, saying: “There has been a crackdown on a server room in Greater Stockholm. This is in connection with violations of copyright law.”

“Several servers and computers were seized, but I don’t want to say exactly how many,” Ingbland said, adding, “I can’t say exactly what the crime is yet.”

This certainly wouldn’t be the first time that authorities have attacked The Pirate Bay by going after its servers. Past occasions have sent the site sailing to various domains and hosting providers around the globe, where it briefly found friendly ports under such regimes as Peru, Guayana, and the Caribbean island of Sint Maarten.

The site’s personnel have come under legal pressure, as well. Cofounder Peter Sunde was released from jail last month after serving a five-month sentence for facilitating copyright infringement, and two other Pirate Bay cofounders – Hans Fredrik Lennart Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm Warg – are still locked up on various charges.

According to file-sharing news site TorrentFreak, at least one man may have been detained by police in connection with Tuesday’s raid.

Several other sites reportedly also went offline as a result of the raid in addition to The Pirate Bay, including Bayimg.com, EZTV, Istole, Pastebay.new, Suprbay.org, Torrage, and Zoink

Venezuela’s President Maduro offers asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Friday he had decided to offer asylum to former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who has petitioned several countries to avoid capture by Washington.

“I have decided to offer humanitarian asylum to the young American, Edward Snowden, so that in the fatherland of (Simon) Bolivar and (Hugo) Chavez, he can come and live away from the imperial North American persecution,” Maduro told a televised parade marking Venezuela’s independence day.

Snowden is believed to be holed up in the transit area of a Moscow international airport.

Costa Rican legislature accidentally passes gay marriage legalization

The measure would require the president’s signature to become law.

Villalta                       Alberto Font San Jose lawmaker José María Villalta

Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly on Monday passed a measure – by accident – that could legalize same-sex civil unions as part of a larger bill, lawmakers noted on Tuesday.

Conservative lawmakers voted for the bill’s passage without recognizing the included language that could be interpreted to change the definition of marriage, according to the daily La Nación. Lawmakers immediately called for President Laura Chinchilla to veto the bill.

José María Villalta, a lawmaker from San José, inserted the language into the bill. Villalta is a member of the leftist Broad Front Party. The language confers social rights and benefits of a civil union, free from discrimination, according to La Nación.

Villalta attached the measure to a reform of the Law of Young People, which covers various social services for young people and laws governing marriage.

“During the discussion in the first debate, we explained that the Law of Young People should be interpreted with this sense of opening to gays and no one objected,” Villalta said, according to La Republica.

Conservative politicians such as Justo Orozco, a member of the evangelical National Renovation Party, slammed the measure.

“That preference is not a right,” Orozco said, according to La Nación. “It’s a stunted development of sexual identity. It can change like alcoholism, tobacco addiction.”

Carlos Avendaño, a lawmaker from another evangelical party, the National Restoration Party, threw cold water on the measure. According to La Prensa Libre, Avendaño said the measure is a mirage because the law already established that marriage unions are between a man and a woman.

“The reference that is here is for heterosexual partners,” Avendaño said.

Marco Castillo, president of the Diversity Movement, said he was optimistic about the bill’s passage. However, for civil unions to survive, it would have to survive a constitutional challenge in the court.

“It is a big step forward for gay rights in Costa Rica,” Castillo said in a phone interview.

The legislation comes one day after thousands marched for gay marriage in San José. In 2011, Chinchilla said she would not oppose gay marriage if the courts allowed, but she has not campaigned on the issue. A poll at that time said 73 percent of Costa Ricans opposed same-sex marriage.

Currently, five Latin American countries recognize same-sex unions. Argentina and Uruguay recognize gay marriage, while Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador recognize same-sex unions, according to the Washington Post.

Nelson Mandela in permanent vegetative state

Nelson Mandela’s doctors say he is in a permanent vegetative state, CBS News  reported.

The ailing anti-apartheid icon has been on life support in a Pretoria  hospital and breathing with the help of a respirator. He checked into Mediclinic  Heart Hospital on June 8 for a recurrence of a lung infection, and his condition  has gradually worsened.

Meanwhile, a family feud over the remains of Mandela’s three children  reached a resolution Thursday when the bodies were reinterred at their original  resting site — the same place where the ailing South African revolutionary  wishes to be buried.

A family feud over the remains of Mandela’s children ended Thursday as the bodies were returned to their original resting place.ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images

A family feud over the remains of  Mandela’s children ended Thursday as the bodies were returned to their original  resting place.

The bodies were laid to rest again in a ceremony that included the singing  of hymns at Qunu, Mandela’s hometown.

The burial was the culmination of an embarrassing sideshow that has  mesmerized South Africa as Mandela likely enters his final days.

“My grandfather like myself would be highly disappointed in what is  unraveling,” said Mandla  Mandela, the oldest male Mandela heir and a tribal chief.

Oamohetswe Mabitsela, 4 months old, is placed by his mother next to a picture of Nelson Mandela outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital.Ben Curtis/AP

Oamohetswe Mabitsela, 4 months old,  is placed by his mother next to a picture of Nelson Mandela outside the  Mediclinic Heart Hospital.

The grandson had moved the bodies of Makaziwe Mandela, Madiba Thembekile  Mandela, and Makgatho Mandela to his village of Mvezo — Nelson Mandela’s  birthplace — in 2011.

Fifteen of Mandela’s family members said the bodies were moved without their  consent and pursued court action to have the bodies moved.

An expert on the Xhosa culture of Mandela’s family, Mlawu Tyatyeka, said the  court case over the graves was decided quickly because the family knows that  Mandela will soon die.

The former wife of Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela Madikizela, arrives at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital on July 4 in Pretoria, where the former South African president  is  hospitalized.
STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty  Images

The former wife of Nelson Mandela,  Winnie Mandela Madikizela, arrives at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital on July 4 in  Pretoria, where the former South African president  is  hospitalized.

“It’s not a case of wishing him to die. It’s a case of making sure that by  the time he dies, his dying wish has been fulfilled,” he said.

“We have a belief that should you ignore a dying wish, all bad will befall  you.”

Mandela’s wife said the former president is sometimes uncomfortable but  seldom in pain while being treated.

 

Richard Matheson: He is Legend

Obituary Acclaimed science fiction and horror writer Richard Matheson, who will perhaps be best remembered for his novel I Am Legend, has died at the age of 87.

Matheson was also the man behind some of the classic Twilight Zone television episodes, including 1963’s Nightmare at 20,000 Feet starring a fresh-faced William Shatner.

Tributes for the author flooded in immediately after his daughter announced on Facebook that the scribe had died.

TV actor Mark Gatiss, who has penned a number of Doctor Who episodes in recent years, said on Twitter: “RIP the great Richard Matheson. He is Legend.”

While Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright said: “If it’s true that the great Richard Matheson has passed away, 140 characters can’t begin [to] cover what he has given the sci fi & horror genre.”

Matheson was set to be given the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films’ visionary Saturn Award on Wednesday in Los Angeles. That honour will now become a posthumous award.

The academy described the writer behind classics that included The Incredible Shrinking Man and Duel, which gave Steven Spielberg his break into Hollywood, as a “singular voice in fiction, whose prolific written work is as unforgettable as the television and filmed entertainment it has inspired for more than half a century.”

Many credit Matheson as “the father of the zombie apocalypse”, whose vision was said to have hugely influenced George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead – a movie whose characters famously never once muttered the word “zombie”.

Horror author Stephen King – who dedicated his apocalyptic 2006 novel Cell to the iconic writer – once said that, without Matheson, “I wouldn’t be around.”

“He is as much my father as Bessie Smith was Elvis Presley’s mother. He came when he was needed, and these stories hold all their original hypnotic appeal.”

Matheson, who was born in Allendale, New Jersey in 1926, is survived by his wife Ruth and four children.

Insomnia? Brain overthinking when you try to sleep? Read on….

If you suffer from insomnia then read on. A new craze has taken the internet by storm after a sufferer posted her cure which she had discovered completely by accident. Twenty-nine year old Jessica Jones had described on an internet forum how she got trapped for 4 hours in a small storage cupboard whilst at work before being discovered by a collegue whos shift had just started.

When Jessica went to bed that night she fell asleep immediately. “It was the best sleep I had in months!” said Jessica. She went on to describe how being trapped allowed her mind to work through her thoughts, the same ones that keep her awake at night.

“simply put, I was stuck with nothing to do until I was rescued. Suddenly I had all this time to myself, and my mind started to wander, just as it does when I try to get off to sleep. I never gave myself any time because I was always finding things to do, but that night was amazing, my brain had already done what it needed to do earlier in the day.”

Jessica went on to describe how she struggled to carry on doing her newly discovered therapy during the day. “I tried to give myself time but it never worked. I would always think of something that needed doing. I then had an idea to clear out the spare room and ask a friend who installs security locks to put one on the door. It’s got a timer which prevents it being opened from the inside until the time has run out. Effectively I imprisson myself! It works and now I never have a bad night!”

After posting her story hundreds of people started comming up with their own solutions, including handcuffing themselves to immobile objects. Others ask their partners or friends to tie them up and leave them for a certain amount of time.

“People started accusing me of being a sex crazed kinky nympho who was into bondage. They were calling me by all sorts of names and I had even received threats. It’s nothing to do with sex, and it’s nothing to do with being kinky. There are similarities however, and I discovered what I was doing was called self-bondage. I’m not a fan of the word because it seems somewhat dark or dirty, but whatever it’s called, it works!”

Since posting her comments over a year ago, thousands of people have been getting in touch and she now has plans for a website for people to meet and discuss their own ideas.

We will of course update this article as soon as we get the website details from Jessica herself.

Jomsocial no longer ‘risk free’

Another giant of Joomla, Jomsocial is no longer ‘risk free’.

Jomsocial is a widely used social networking application for Joomla. It has recently been taken over by a new company which has pulled the $1 30-day trial soon after its takeover, and more recently removed its ‘try risk-free’ statement from its website.

Jomsocial is an application that is known for the multitude of bugs and its rather lack-lustre support. The demo on the website is basic at least and does not give you the opportunity to see how it interacts with other Joomla! addons.

There is a refund policy, but there is so much small-print that it is pretty much worthless. some of the small print includes “You’ve decided JomSocial is “Not what I need”” – how would you know if its what you need without trying it on your own website?

“You experience script conflicts with other 3rd party software connected to or installed on your Joomla website (Templates, Components, Modules, and Plugins).” Again, there is no possible way to know this without first installing the product

If you have a technical problem, you have to consult the support forum, where replies can be too slow and sometimes not relevant. Fixes often require you to delve into the code to make bug fixes and fiddle with uploading the files via FTP.

Its a shame Jomsocial have taken this approach and we can only hope that they work on updating their refund policy very soon.

Thakker Technologies – why you should be careful buying from developers listed in the Joomla Extention Directory (JED)

‘Dave’ (name changed) has been in touch regarding problems using a Joomla! extention he had purchased from a company called Thakker Technologies.

Dave saw the product listed on the Joomla Extention Directory (JED). The directory is a part of the official Joomla.org website and lists just about every single addon that was ever made for the Joomla CMS.

Unfortunately, Joomla do not seem to carry out stringent checks and appear to allow anyone to list a product which links to the developer’s own website. In this case, the website belongs to a young lady by the name of Sneha Thakker, who names her outfit as ‘Thakker Technologies’.

On May 14th Dave purchased a Joomla extention after seeing it on the JED website. Dave visited Thakker’s website and there was no problem taking payment. However, as soon as the payment was made, the website started to fail with various SQL problems, connection errors. Almost 2 weeks later, Dave is 44 Euros out of pocket, still does not have his product, and customer support is non-existant.

We understand that no website is perfect, they they all have problems, but there is usually a customer service team ready to deal with people’s problems and provide a solution.

Barren Brain visited Thakker’s website and at the time of writing we can confirm there are multiple problems with the website loading haphazardly – on this occasion we were not able to make a purchase. Interestingly the website revealed what appears to be a fake address for the company, this is something we are trying to verify with our indian readers and Google Street View.

Should Dave happen to get his refund, we will post an update here.

We think Open Source Matters need to revamp the JED and verify that developers are able to support  the extentions that they provide and make sure that all extentions are secure, and are there to support the Joomla! community above all else.

If you have a problem with a  Joomla! developer that you think people should know about, about then drop us a line below and we will investigate.

We have emailed thakker for comment and input, but our emails have gone unanswered. Therefore, we have decided to publish this article as-is.

 

Update: Dave has been in touch to say that his review and warning which he posted on the JED was rejected by their moderators.

This is their astonishing reply:
“Your review for has been rejected because it contains a commercial dispute. Commercial disputes are not permitted in reviews. Although the JED does not get involved in specific disputes, please submit a Report so we can monitor trends.”

This appears to confirm our doubts about how the JED is run. If you cannot write a review and warn others when there problem, future purchasers of the extention are going to run into the same problems. This type of activity can only serve to put Open Source Matters, it website, and genuine developers in a bad light.