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As many of you know, ÜberSciFiGeek participated in the recent SOPA/PIPA protest by “Going Dark” for a day. All content was blocked and was replaced with information about why we were protesting and how you could learn more. I also took the time to contact my representative via several of the contact forms available through sites like Google and Wikipedia. Today I received a response from my Senator, Maria Cantwell. I felt I should share this with those of you who are following the issue and would like to know where things currently stand.

Thank you for contacting me about the internet streaming of copyrighted material. I appreciate hearing from you on this issue.

On May 12, 2011, Senator Leahy (D-VT) introduced S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act. Under current federal law, U.S. law enforcement officials and holders of copyrights, trademarks, and patents, have limited legal remedies available to combat internet websites that are registered in foreign countries but operate in the United States by selling products, services, and/or content that violates U.S. intellectual property law. If enacted, the proposed legislation would create an expedited process for the Department of Justice and intellectual property rights holders to shut down through a court order these websites by targeting the owners and operators of the Internet site, if known, or the domain name registrant associated with the Internet site.

While I am supportive of the goal of protecting intellectual property, I am deeply concerned that the definitions and the means by which the legislation seeks to accomplish these goals will have unintended consequences and hurt innovation, job creation, and threaten online speech and security. On November 17, 2011, I signed a letter along with Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) objecting to the bill as it is currently written.

On December 17, 2011, Senator Wyden introduced the “Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade” (OPEN) Act (S. 2029), of which I am an original co-sponsor. The bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee, where it is currently awaiting further review. The OPEN Act is a more effective approach to stop foreign web sites that are found to be primarily and willfully used to infringe intellectual property rights. The OPEN Act builds on the existing legal framework used by the International Trade Commission (ITC) for addressing unfair acts in the importation of articles into the United States, or in their sale for importation, or sale within the United States after importation.

Our trade laws have yet to catch up to deal with the global digital economy. The OPEN Act recognizes that the Internet has created new opportunities for foreign products to reach the U.S. market and that there is little difference between downloading a pirated movie from a foreign website and importing a counterfeit movie DVD from a foreign company. For those foreign web sites that are determined after an investigation to be primarily and willfully infringing, the International Trade Commission will issue a “Cease and Desist” order. The “Cease and Desist” order may also be served on financial intermediaries that provide services to that foreign web site, compelling financial payment processors and online advertising providers to cease doing business with the foreign site in question.  This would cut off financial incentives for this illegal activity and deter these unfair imports from reaching the U.S. market.

The OPEN Act addresses the same challenges as the PROTECT IP Act, while protecting freedom of speech, innovation, and security on the Internet. The challenge of rogue web sites is one that many nations face. The United States has always been seen as a leader on Internet issues. Laws we establish in the United States regarding the Internet are likely to be used as models around the world. And because the Internet is global in nature, it is important that we carefully consider how the laws and policies we adopt in this area may be received and translated by other countries.

The Protect IP Act was scheduled to go to the Senate floor for a procedural vote on January 23, 2011. Due to the effective grassroots advocacy and public outcry against the bill, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has pulled the proposed legislation from the floor calendar.

I appreciate Majority Leader Reid’s decision to postpone a vote on the PROTECT IP Act. America’s economy thrives on innovation and freedom of speech. We can’t afford to rush an Internet policy that could trample on our innovation economy. The American people clearly spoke and their voices were heard. As we move forward, I’ll continue to advocate for a policy that protects both creative content and online freedom of speech.

Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. You may also be interested in signing up for periodic updates for Washington State residents. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at http://cantwell.senate.gov. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.

Sincerely,
Maria Cantwell
United States Senator

For future correspondence with my office, please visit my website at
http://cantwell.senate.gov/contact/

from Nintendo of Canada:

The most epic game Nintendo has ever produced is set to soar into stores. On November 20, Nintendo introduces The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword exclusively for the Wii home console. It’s a sweeping adventure that all players, regardless of the type of video games they play, will want to pick up. Critics are already lining up with their accolades: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has earned perfect-10 reviews from leading outlets Game Informer and IGN.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a once-in-a-console-generation game,” said Ron Bertram, Nintendo of Canada’s vice-president and general manager. “This new adventure offers intense sword combat, engaging puzzles and a beautiful, stylized look. Once again, The Legend of Zelda franchise finds ways to surprise and challenge players.”

The world of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is expansive. The game takes players flying in the air, searching through dungeons and exploring on land. Players help heroic Link explore volcanoes, forests, deserts and the sky itself. The epic quest lays the foundation for the events in the critically acclaimed The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and marks a turning point for the franchise.

The game uses the motion controls of the Wii Remote Plus controller (or a Wii Remote controller with a Wii MotionPlus accessory) to immerse players in the action. Every motion, whether swinging the sword to fight enemies, tossing bombs or shooting arrows, feels natural and intuitive. Players must solve each battle by analyzing enemies’ attacks and defenses and coming up with effective countermeasures.

The game will be available at a suggested retail price of $49.99 in Canada. A limited-edition version will be offered at a suggested retail price of $69.99 in Canada, which includes a gold-coloured Wii Remote Plus controller.

As an additional treat for fans, every game in the initial production runs will include The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Special Orchestra CD at no extra charge. This special recording features 45 minutes of iconic music spanning the
25-year history of the Zelda franchise and offers fans who weren’t able to attend the sold-out Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony concerts in Los Angeles, Tokyo and London an opportunity to hear some of the arrangements created for those shows.

Remember that Wii features parental controls that let adults manage the content their children can access. For more information about this and other Wii features, visit nintendo.com/wii.

For more information about The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, visit zelda.com/skywardsword.

from J!NX:

Win a BlizzCon VIP Experience
Since 2007, J!NX has been a mainstay at the annual gaming phenomenon that is BlizzCon. In addition to featuring the biggest announcements about your favorite games, you can find fellow fans, great costumes, game designers, and even some guys called the Foo Fighters. We wish we could bring all of you with us, but our Time And Relative Dimension In Space device has been acting up. For now, we’ll settle for teaming up with our friends at Steelseries to bring 2 lucky winners along for the quest. Enter to win, and you get a chance at the following:

  • 2 BlizzCon Tix
  • Airfare
  • Accomodations
  • $200 in Spending Money
  • $200 to Morton’s Steakhouse
  • Front of the line access to contest sponsor booths

Plus additional prizes from J!NX, SteelSeries, BradyGames, and Cryptozoic Entertainment.

Free Shipping for Orders $45+
Use Promotion Code: RUBBERMATCH
This offer expires Monday, October 10, 2011 at 11:59PM PDT, so don’t wait!
*can’t be combined with any other offers, sale prices, or discounts

from The Guild:

Episode 10, “Strategy Timez” is now available on the web via MSN and Bing and on Xbox and Zune.

The crowded hotel room hosts a war summit as the Guild regroups to head off the breakup of their game.

Special thanks to HalloweenCostumes.com for many costumes, Clockwork Couture who provided Clara’s Steampunk costume, and Mike Z. Teeter from BSL Creations for the Megagame-O-Ramacon signs.

This episode features the original song “Megagame-O-Ramacon Theme Song” — music and arrangement by Greg Rutledge, lyrics by T.J. Rotell, performed by Greg Rutledge, Boo Rutledge, Ian Mitchell and T.J. Rotell.

Catch up on all of Season 5 on Xbox Live and Zune and via MSN and Bing. Connect with The Guild: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Flickr and our Fan Community.

from VIZ Media:

Following up the release of its first full-length record in the U.S., Sony Music Direct (Japan), Inc., a division of Sony Music Entertainment Japan, Inc., has announced the U.S. release of a brand new EP by the Japanese pop artist/group, Ryo (Supercell). The new release, Sekiranun Graffiti, is available now exclusively on iTunes and Amazon and features vocals from Hatsune Miku, the world’s first virtual pop diva.

The EP’s title track, “Sekiranun Graffiti” (Sekiranun means Thundercloud), is also the theme music to the latest Hatsune Miku PROJECT DIVA arcade console game and video game for the PSP, which will be released in Japan this fall. The release also contains the new single, “Fallin’ Fallin’ Fallin’,” which was composed by Ryo and the celebrated Japanese Vocaloid producer known as Dixie Flatline. The Sekiranun Graffiti EP also contains instrumental and remixes of the two tracks. Cover art for the new release was created by Atsuya Uki.

Ryo and his pop group Supercell are a group of Japanese multimedia creators and artists. Singer Hatsune Miku, whose name means, “first sound of the future,” is a Vocaloid (meaning machine-made vocals) digital female avatar and the most popular of the Vocaloid Character Series software originally created by Crypton Future Media using Yamaha’s Vocaloid 2 engine to create organic-sounding synthesized vocal tracks.

The group’s first full length U.S. release, Supercell Featuring Hatsune Miku, topped the iTunes World Music Charts in May 2011 and has continued to bring the virtual pop star greater exposure to enthusiastic fans in North America. In Japan, Hatsune Miku is a major national phenomenon appearing in many popular video games and music videos. She’s also played several sellout “concerts,” where she performed on stage as a 3D hologram backed by a live band. Miku recently played her first live show in the U.S. called, “MIKUNOPOLIS in LOS ANGELES,” at the 2011 Anime Expo held in July in Los Angeles, CA.

More information on Supercell is available at: facebook.com/supercell.JPN.

from The Guild:

Episode 05, “Focus Problems” is now available on the web via MSN and Bing as well as Xbox Live and Zune.

Codex’s neurosis is rejected by the Guild as close quarters lead to hot tempers.

Catch up on all of Season 5 on Xbox Live and Zune and via MSN and Bing. Special thanks to Jones Soda (on Twitter and Facebook), and you saw this awesomeness, right?), Commissioned Credentials, HalloweenCostumes.com and Wilson Cleveland.

This episode features the song “Geek Out” by Beefy.

Connect with The Guild: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Flickr and our Fan Community.

from Puppet This:

The Worst Movie of All Time RETURNS to Terrifying Puppet Life!

What: Manos – The Hands of Felt
Adapted by Rachel Jackson
Directed by Bob Koerner

When: September 4 & 5 – 6:45pm

Where: Center House Theatre (The TPS Stage at Bumbershoot)

Tickets: 206.701.1482 or bumbershoot.org/info/ticketing

More info: PuppetThis.net

“I saw this last night at a packed house and it was awesome.” — Dave, Satellite News comment

“A truly talented group putting on a truly awful story.” — Jay Irwin, BroadwayWorld.com

“It was totally worth pulling the battery out of my pager to go see.” — Derek, Satellite News comment

Puppet This’ recent smash hit, Manos – The Hands of Felt, returns, joining the TPS stage at Bumbershoot September 4 & 5 at 6:45pm

Manos – The Hands of Felt is a giddy puppet musical re-imagining of the cult classic Manos: The Hands of Fate (one of the worst films ever made).

The story of fertilizer salesman-turned-film director Harold P. Warren and his ill-fated run-in with an evil cult, Manos – The Hands of Felt features song and dance numbers, girl fights, and plenty of puppet mayhem. It’s a wicked fun time for Manos “fans” and newbies alike.

Manos – The Hands of Felt features puppeteers: Sann Hall, Rachel Jackson, Michael Robles, Jenny Schmidt, Paul Velasquez and Raymond Williams.

Not recommended for patrons under the age of 14. (Adult language, bizarre sexual situations.)

About Puppet This:
Puppet This is a Seattle based puppet production company working in puppet design, construction and performance. Puppet This designs and constructs puppets for their own scripted and improv productions and also provides puppets for other Seattle area artists.

About Bumbershoot: Seattle’s Music & Arts Festival:
Bumbershoot: Seattle’s Music & Arts Festival is produced by One Reel in collaboration with Seattle Center. Established in 1971, Bumbershoot takes place every year over Labor Day weekend and stretches across the 74-acre Seattle Center beneath the city’s iconic Space Needle. Bumbershoot programs 20 unique indoor and outdoor venues, allowing for a diverse array of arts including live music, comedy, theatre, dance, film, urban crafts, and literary and visual arts. Festival details are located at bumbershoot.org.

from Nintendo of Canada:

Nintendo of America today announced plans to drop the suggested retail price of its portable Nintendo 3DS system to $169.99 in North America, as new games based on some of the world’s most beloved video game franchises head to the system. The new price, down from the suggested launch price of $249.99 and effective August 12, makes an outstanding value even better and sets up a strong holiday season for the system.

“For anyone who was on the fence about buying a Nintendo 3DS, this is a huge motivation to buy now,” said Nintendo of America President, Reggie Fils-Aime. “We are giving shoppers every incentive to pick up a Nintendo 3DS, from an amazing new price to a rapid-fire succession of great games.”

Nintendo 3DS has the strongest software lineup of any video game system this holiday season and the new price now opens up the glasses-free 3D experience to many more consumers. Building on the popularity of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, which launched June 19, the upcoming game calendar is a Who’s Who of iconic video game franchises. Star Fox 64 3D arrives on September 9, followed by Super Mario 3D Land in November, Mario Kart 7 in December and Kid Icarus: Uprising during the holiday season.

In addition to great games, Nintendo 3DS has a host of attractive features* that make it the must-have video game system this season:

* The new Nintendo Video service automatically delivers short 3D videos from the worlds of music, comedy, animation and Hollywood.
* A free application allows Netflix members with unlimited streaming plans to instantly watch TV episodes and movies streaming from Netflix.
* The Nintendo eShop is a digital store for Nintendo 3DS owners that provides access to a wide variety of downloadable content, such as original 3D software, classic games that have been re-mastered in 3D called 3D Classics, Game Boy and Game Boy Color “Virtual Console” games in their original 2D glory, and more than 350 Nintendo DSiWare games. Visitors can also view video game trailers, screen shots and product information for games, including those available at retail locations.

Since Nintendo 3DS launched in North America on March 27, nearly 900,000 people in North America have purchased one to enjoy 3D visuals without the need for special glasses. These Nintendo 3DS owners represent some of Nintendo’s most loyal customers, and Nintendo is rewarding them for getting in on the action early with 20 free downloadable games from the Nintendo eShop.

These free games are available to anyone who owns a Nintendo 3DS system and uses a wireless broadband Internet signal to connect to the Nintendo eShop at least once before 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on August 11. These users will automatically be registered in the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador program. The program contains two elements:

1. Starting September 1, Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors will be able to download 10 NES Virtual Console games at no charge and before they are available in the Nintendo eShop to the general public. These games, including Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong Jr., Balloon Fight, Ice Climber and The Legend of Zelda, are slated to become paid downloadable games, but Ambassadors get them early for free. Once the paid versions of the games are posted to the Nintendo eShop later in the year, the updated versions will be available to Ambassadors for download at no cost.
2. By the end of 2011, Nintendo will provide Ambassadors with 10 Game Boy Advance Virtual Console games. These include games like Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Metroid Fusion, WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$! and Mario vs. Donkey Kong. These games will be available exclusively to Ambassadors, and Nintendo currently has no plans to make these 10 games available to the general public on the Nintendo 3DS in the future.

More details about this program will be announced in the future.

Remember that Nintendo 3DS features parental controls that let adults manage the content their children can access. For more information about this and other features, visit nintendo.com/3ds.

*Some features require a broadband Internet connection.

from Factory Entertainment:

We’re very excited to announce that both of our 2011 Comic-Con exclusives are now available to pre-order directly from our website, factoryent.com.

from VIZ Media:

VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of anime and manga in North America, has announced that it holds the U.S. product licensing rights for Hatsune Miku, the popular Vocaloid virtual pop singer that has become a massive pop culture phenomenon in Japan. VIZ Media will showcase Hatsune Miku among its other properties available for product license at the 2011 Licensing International Expo, held in Las Vegas, June 14th-16th, 2011. VIZ Media will be located in Booth #2481.

The Licensing International Expo is held at Mandalay Bay Convention Center and is the preeminent marketplace for the hottest international brands and properties. It features a show floor of more than 7,000 properties from all of Hollywood’s major film studios, global entertainment companies, Fortune 500 consumer brands, sporting teams, interactive properties, fashion labels, and cutting-edge artists and designers. The annual event celebrated its 30th Anniversary in 2010.

Hatsune Miku is a striking, blue-haired digital female avatar and the most popular of the Vocaloid Character Series software originally created by Crypton Future Media and using Yamaha’s Vocaloid 2 engine. The innovative software enables users to create synthesized vocal tracks using Hatsune Miku’s vocals by simply typing in lyrics or inputting a melody. Crypton’s Vocaloid program uses vocals that are derived from pre-programmed samples of the voices of many popular actors/singers.

In Japan, the popularity of Hatsune Miku has become a national phenomenon. She has appeared in several video games and music videos and has also performed several sellout “concerts,” where she appeared on stage as a 3D hologram, backed by a live band. Most recently she appears in a new commercial for the U.S. market for the 2011 Toyota Corolla. The spot is also available on YouTube, and since its debut on May 4th, the segment has received more than 950,000 hits. The Japanese pop group Supercell also features Hatsune Miku as its vocalist and released their first single in the U.S on May 10th. The track, “The World Is Mine,” from their forthcoming full-length album, placed as high as #4 on the iTunes World Music charts.

“Hatsune Miku is the world’s first true digital pop star and her notoriety is spreading fast across North America,” says Tracy Hanchett, Director, Consumer Products. “Her development explores a whole new hybrid of digital technology and organic creativity. The Hatsune Miku brand is richly developed in Japan, where she stars in several video games by Sega, as well as CDs, books, arcade games, collectible figures, apparel and other accessories. We’re very excited to showcase this new property at the 2011 Licensing International Expo and welcome the opportunity to work with innovative product partners to further cultivate the Hatsune Miku brand for a new U.S. market.”

For more information on Hatsune Miku and other titles from VIZ Media please visit VIZ.com.

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