Federal prosecutors in Virginia have shut down notorious file-sharing site Megaupload.com and charged the service’s founders with violating piracy laws. The Associated Press broke the story on Thursday, reporting that the indictment accuses Megaupload.com’s owner with costing copyright holders including record labels and movie studios more than $500 million in lost revenue. Seven people tied to Megaupload.com have been charged and four are already in custody, including the site’s founder Kim Dotcom. Dotcom earned $42 million from the the site in 2010 according to the indictment. Megaupload.com allowed users to upload and share content without any measures in place to ensure files being hosted on the site’s servers were not protected by copyright. The company claims that it responded to copyright complaints as they were received. According to court documents made available on Thursday, Megaupload.com was at one point the 13th most trafficked website in the world. More →
Google announced on Friday that it is shutting down a number of properties in the coming months, the most notable of which is likely its failed social network, Google Buzz. Best known as that annoying thing under “Inbox” in Gmail, Google Buzz was a Twitter-like service that never gained traction. Buzz encouraged users to share status updates, photos and more that could then be viewed by friends in real time, however it offered no compelling features compared to already established services such as Facebook and Twitter. Google will also shutter several additional services in the near future, including Jaiku, a social network the company acquired in 2007, and Code search, a tool that helped programmers search for open source code. Google Buzz will shut down in the coming weeks while Jaiku and Code Search will both go offline on January 15th, 2012 along with a few other seldom-used Google services. More →
T-Mobile has begun sending letters to remaining Sidekick users in order to notify them that the Danger Services powering Sidekick phones will no longer be operational as of May 31st. T-Mobile first announced the imminent shut down on Tuesday. What can current Sidekick users expect in return for being forced to part with their beloved Danger phones? Half off a select Samsung phone between now and May 31st, or a waived ETF should they choose to take their business elsewhere. Oh, and users will have to sign a new two-year contract should they opt for the discount Samsung phone. Hit the break for the full letter T-Mobile sent affected subscribers. More →
There is a bit of a soap opera going on in the Middle East between Canadian handset manufacturer Research In Motion and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The synopsis of the situation goes like this:
- The Saudi government said it would shut-down BlackBerry messaging services beginning on August 5th. The closure was due to concerns over national security stating that RIM was not in compliance with local laws.
- The United Arab Emirates expressed similar concerns.
- On August 5th BlackBerry messaging services in Saudi Arabia were shut-down for a short period of time before being brought back up again.
Today, Bloomberg is reporting that Saudi Arabia is allowing RIM, and wireless providers, to continue providing BlackBerry messaging services to customers and has not communicated another deadline for compliance. As the article reads, “the fact that there is no new deadline indicates they are close to a solution.” The Communications and Information Technology Commission, the country’s telecommunication regulator, has said it wants a system in place that will allow it to monitor BlackBerry communications in order to prevent terrorism and ensure national security. The report says that Saudi Telecom Co. and the two other major wireless carriers are all testing systems that would “avert a threatened suspension of the messaging service.” More →