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Today in Tech News Digest, Dropbox denies DMCA disaster, HTC One M8 benchmarks, BlackBerry blocks sales of Typo, Microsoft stops snooping, Avast launches Grimefighter, and Eat24 breaks up with Facebook.

The Dropbox DMCA Copyright Conundrum

One simple tweet (embedded above) was all it took for users of Dropbox to raise concerns over the company’s policy towards the storing and sharing of copyrighted files. However, it turns out this isn’t a new revelation and not an example of the company changing its stance on copyrighted content.

The tweet shows a user barred from sharing a file from a personal folder because of a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown request. DMCA takedown requests are common across the Internet, but the concern was that this one suggested Dropbox was digging into users’ personal files in order to find copyrighted content.

Not so. Instead, this occurred as a result of file hashing (explained neatly by TechCrunch), which means the file this user was trying to share has already been blacklisted. Dropbox didn’t need to search his folders to discover the file; it simply matched with one already flagged as copyrighted.

This may seem like a non-story, but it should act as a reminder that sharing copyrighted content via Dropbox is, and always has been, illegal. You can legally store the content in a private folder, but the moment you share it with someone else you’re breaking the law 4 Ways In Which Internet Piracy Can Be a Good Thing [Opinion] 4 Ways In Which Internet Piracy Can Be a Good Thing [Opinion] Back in January, users of the Internet were faced with an interesting phenomenon - the SOPA/PIPA blackout. When American legislators introduced a bill that would give unprecedented power to the government over the Internet, consumers... Read More . Whether you’re personally comfortable with doing that is down to personal morality What Should Be Done About Online Piracy? [You Told Us] What Should Be Done About Online Piracy? [You Told Us] Laws against piracy of copyrighted materials existed well before the invention of the Internet, but this interconnected network of computers has turned piracy into an immediate and unfortunate problem for copyright owners of all shapes... Read More .

HTC Inflates One M8 Benchmarks

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HTC recently launched the new One M8 handset Facebook Oculus Rift, HTC One M8, MS-DOS Source Code, IRS Bitcoin [Tech News Digest] Facebook Oculus Rift, HTC One M8, MS-DOS Source Code, IRS Bitcoin [Tech News Digest] Facebook causes an Oculus rift, HTC One blah blah, Microsoft frees MS-DOS, IRS rules on Bitcoin, Disney buys into YouTube, Google launches Photowall, and lots of white guys wear the Oculus Rift. Read More to much critical acclaim, but it appears the benchmarking results which saw the phone convincingly beating its rivals weren’t quite as impressive as first thought.

It turns out that HTC has optimized the One M8 so that it performs differently when benchmarking software 3 Apps to Benchmark Your Smartphone [Android] 3 Apps to Benchmark Your Smartphone [Android] Benchmarking has long been the best way to objectively explore the performance of a device. By using a standard test, it’s possible to throw mere opinion to the wayside and obtain reliable results that can... Read More is detected. This ensures the HTC One shows off its finest features according to the tests being performed.

HTC admitted as much to CNET, but rather than apologize for giving itself an unfair advantage, HTC suggested this is a feature users can enable for themselves.

The company said, “For those with a need for speed, we’ve provided a simple way to unleash this power by introducing a new High Performance Mode in the developer … we believe in offering customer choice, as there may be times when the desire for performance outweighs the need for battery longevity.” Which includes during benchmarking tests, obviously.

Typo iPhone Case Blocked By BlackBerry

BlackBerry has won a preliminary injunction against Typo, the iPhone case that adds a keyboard to your Apple device. BlackBerry is unsurprisingly suing Typo for its “blatant infringement against BlackBerry’s iconic keyboard.

The preliminary injunction means Typo cannot sell its iPhone cases The 5 Toughest iPhone Cases Money Can Buy The 5 Toughest iPhone Cases Money Can Buy Apple’s latest iPhone is surprisingly robust given its light weight but it’s only designed to survive minor drops in a friendly environment. Serious falls, dirt and water aren’t a factor, and that’s a problem if... Read More unless and until the issue of this alleged infringement is resolved. Typo, co-founded by American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, responded by promising to “continue to make and sell innovative products that busy people can’t live without.” Unless they infringe on someone else’s design, clearly.

Microsoft Stops Snooping On Email

After the outcry over its decision to rifle through a user’s email inbox Microsoft Snoops, Turkey Twits, Qik Quits, MtGox Finds, Samsung Slams [Tech News Digest] Microsoft Snoops, Turkey Twits, Qik Quits, MtGox Finds, Samsung Slams [Tech News Digest] Microsoft looks in Outlook, Turkey bans Twitter, Qik is killed off, a Fitbit class-action lawsuit, MtGox finds missing Bitcoin, Facebook needs you for beta testing, and Samsung snark. Read More , Microsoft is changing its privacy policies. In a TechNet blog post, General Counsel Brad Smith promises that, in the case of an allegation of theft from Microsoft, the company will “refer the matter to law enforcement” rather than conduct a search for itself. Which is surely the right and proper way of doing things.

Avast Grimefighter Safeguards Your PC

Antivirus expert Avast has launched Grimefighter Avast Launches GrimeFighter To Clean Up & Safeguard Your Windows PC Avast Launches GrimeFighter To Clean Up & Safeguard Your Windows PC Avast is looking beyond protection now with the launch of Avast Grimefighter, a new tool to clean up and safeguard your Windows PC. Read More , a new tool designed to safeguard your PC. Avast Grimefighter sedates your PC so that it can search through files normally out of reach of most clean-up utilities. Unfortunately, while Grimefighter will conduct a scan for free, actually purging your PC of the “grime” requires cold, hard cash.

Eat24 Breaks Up With Facebook

And finally, Facebook is upsetting many brands with the changes it is making to its ‘News Feed’ algorithm What Facebook Just Did To Your News Feed Took Serious Guts. But I Absolutely Love It [Weekly Facebook Tips] What Facebook Just Did To Your News Feed Took Serious Guts. But I Absolutely Love It [Weekly Facebook Tips] Facebook has recently changed an algorithm that controls which sites get highlighted in your News Feeds, effectively limiting traffic to viral publishers such as Upworthy. So what's changed? Let's take a look. Read More . The accusation is that these changes mean brands have to pay in order to reach the number of followers it could once reach for free.

One company is refusing to take this lying down, and is instead threatening to shut its Facebook page by the end of the day (March 31). The blog post detailing the issues is written like a breakup letter, and is worth reading in its entirety.

However, we suspect the threat may be a hollow one. Tomorrow is April Fools’ Day after all.

Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks.

Image Credit: GaelX via Flickr

  1. Tom W
    March 31, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    I thought it was common for phone manufacturers to boost their benchmark scores. Why is it surprising that HTC did it? Unless the surprising part is that they're claiming it as a feature.

    Avast continues its march to become Malware, I see. Combine this with repeated, annoying popups, and the fact that they grey-out free options as if they were disabled, and I think I'll take the performance hit and move to AVG. It's sad, really. It used to be such a fantastic product, one that I have used for many years and recommended to many people, but it seems the lust for money is destroying it. I know that they have to make moneysomehow, but, when the line blurs between an anti-virus and the malware it's supposed to protect you from, something is very wrong.

    • Dave P
      March 31, 2014 at 1:11 pm

      While it may be common most don't admit as much or suggest it's some kind of feature for the users. Which is, let's face it, total BS.

      Is the malware dig purely because of the need to pay? I agree it's a shame. I personally won't be downloading a free tool that tells me what is supposedly wrong with my PC as a way of persuading me I need to pay up.

    • Tom W
      March 31, 2014 at 4:25 pm

      The malware dig is because there are many, many malware tools that offer to do a free scan of your computer, then ask you to pay in order to remove the threats. Avast doesn't get a free pass to do the same thing just because the threats would be real in this case. The pop-up adverts and tricking users into thinking the free edition is unavailable are also hallmarks of malware, in my book.

      The amazing thing is, if there was no free edition of Avast, I would probably be more than happy to pay the £20 a year. But, by offering a free version and essentially tricking users into paying, they've lost all credibility with me.

    • LostInDaJungle
      April 1, 2014 at 8:16 pm

      Most of the "paid" anti-virus programs are becoming indistinguishable from the malware they're supposed to protect you from.

      Scenario: User logs into their computer and a message pops up... "Your computer is unprotected against 40 Gazillion viruses. Give us $29.95 right now to make this message go away."

      Ok, your task.... Does this user have Malware, or did their McAfee trial expire?

  2. Tom W
    March 31, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    If dropbox is detecting these files through hashing, does that mean that it is possible to modify the file slightly to avoid detection? Theoretically, of course, since actually doing it would be illegal.

    • Dave P
      March 31, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      Theoretically, yes. I see no reason why not. Theoretically. THEORETICALLY.

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