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Under the Radar -- week ending July 24th

24 Jul 2009 | 17.00 Europe/London
The weekly news round-up continues, making sure nothing slips you by in your travels through cyberspace. This time we're looking at alchemy, Big Brother and a Quantum of Torrents.

There's been a lot of fuss around good ol' Digital Rights Management this week. With TorrentFreak leading the way, various sites (mis)reported a supposed comment by from Jonathan Lamy, chief spokesman of the Recording Industry Association of America: "DRM is dead, isn't it?" Well, apparently not.

Even the mainstream press was brushing up its Orwellian DoubleSpeak after Amazon removed the book1984 from its customers' machines without warning. "Why did Big Brother remove paid-for content from Amazon's Kindles?" screamed The Guardian; "Amazon accused of 'Big-Brother behaviour' after deleting 1984" roared The Telegraph. It turns out the online retailer went into DRM overdrive after it found out the version of 1984 its Kindle users had purchased was unlicensed. Its knee-jerk response didn't prove popular with anyone at all - even people who've never seen a Kindle reader in their lives - with "stupid" and "thoughtless" two of the more polite reactions. And that's just the view of Amazon's CEO.

Elsewhere, music-streaming service Spotify is a step closer to entering the US market - and not a moment too soon. Based in London but founded by Swedes, Spotify will to go mobile in America this summer. Microsoft's expected to announce a rival service in the coming weeks. (After it announced its profits are down by a third, the Redmond giant could probably do with a new revenue stream or two.)

Classic Rock magazine's hoping it has found the alchemic formula for turning online journalism into gold. According to one report a "paid-for online elemenet will give subscribers the chance to download albums before they are released in shops." Meanwhile, Metro International has been finding it's online "elemenet" has been more lead (Pb) than anything recently, with its web losses increasing to €1.67 - and that's from a newspaper that makes its money from being handed out for free.

In other news, building society Nationwide became the latest company to opt out of Phorm.

Peer-to-peer outfit Kazaa has announced it's following The Pirate Bay's lead by going legit.

And Stephen Fry's illegal downloading "heroics" - covered here - have landed him the starring role in a new online game. Probably beats pretending to be a talking red phone on wheels.