Elliott C. Back: Internet & Technology

iStockPhoto Offers Copyright Liability Insurance

Posted in Graphics,Law,Photo by Elliott Back on September 16th, 2009.

Stock photography wholesaler iStockPhoto has a new gimmick in its bid to provide the web with a source of affordable decoration: lawsuit immunity. That’s right, any stock photo you purchase will come with guaranteed protection of $10,000 against intellectual property disputes. So you can buy photos from iStockPhoto for $1-$27 per photo, use them according to the terms of use, and be protected from litigation:

iStock is about to offer a new “Legal Guarantee” on its entire collection. On Sept. 16, any video, image or audio file purchased and USED CORRECTLY by the customer, will automatically be guaranteed against any copyright or moral right, trademark and other intellectual property dispute, up to $10,000. Although common for traditional stock houses, a legal guarantee has not been standard in microstock because of the low prices.

Although these situations have always been extremely rare at iStock, if a client really needs added insurance, an Extended Legal Guarantee up to $250,000 in coverage can be purchased for 100 credits.

As the CNET article mentions, a credit will cost around $1-$1.50. The caveat here is that you must carefully follow the license terms, which are complex. For example, for use on the web, you are restricted to a maximum resolution of archaic 800×600 and in a single location (webpage). For items you wish to resell in any way, purchasing an extended license for 125-150 credits is necessary.

For more information, please see CrunchBase’s iStock Photo entry!

What’s worse than deliberate copyright theft? BLATANT copyright theft.

Posted in Law,SEO,Spam by Elliott Back on June 2nd, 2006.

The about page of Gamecentro explains what they do, and why they do it. According to itself, Gamecentro is a “non-commercial blog dedicated to providing the best video game news on the internet through freely available RSS feeds [emphasis theirs].” Then, they push off the problem of completely copying your articles by noting:

I added your RSS feed to the backend of my system. If you are worried about “revealing” too much of an article through your feed then you need to configure your feed to only display a short snippet of the full article. Please remember that having your feed on my blog will increase traffic to your blog – and we all share knowledge and become wiser.

The blatant and intentional disregard for copyright becomes clearer with their copyright notice in the footer:

The copyrights to all posts are held by their respective authors; all posts are reprinted from freely available syndicated feeds in accordance with a Fair Use Policy found in US Copyright Laws.

There’s too much going on here to pass up.

First, the copyright holder doesn’t have to publish excerpt feeds to prevent others from reproducing the work on their sites. Your feed is for your readers, not for content thieves. And, making a full feed as opposed to an excerpted one doesn’t give some kind of tacit approval of illegal copying.

Second, the commerciality of Gamecentro doesn’t affect the potential loss of revenue due to duplication, and thus the violation of the copyright of the copyright holder. I am making money from this content–without uniqueness, I’ll make less money. Since copyrights exist to protect commercial interests, and duplicate content results in less revenue, the copyright is clearly being violated.

Third, Gamecentro is not in accordance with Fair Use doctrine. While they do provide attribution, they are also copying the whole article and surrounding code. I would also argue that the following attempts at advertising make it a commercial site, as well as the “Ads by Google” ribbon:


Since they have a resolution email address, I will drop them a note before I send a DMCA notice to their host.


The host has removed my feed. However, I still have a problem with the entire site, which is just a slightly more sophisticated garden variety spam site.

Update 2:

He seems quite upset up this; I’m not sure why. His blog would be 100% awesome if he published excerpts instead of full feeds. You can read his article, which dug up some old posts I made to play with traffic patterns, and one case where I improperly quoted an article, which I’ve fixed now. I replied, in part,

I think the blog you have running on autopilot here is very well designed, professional looking, and probably very profitable. I also wish you the best of luck with it! However, I think that you should consider using excerpted feeds instead of full reposting both to stay on the right side of the law, and to avoid making copyright holders unhappy.

Update 3:

I was curious to find out how many blogs might be used as sources, so I wrote a short java app to pull them up: Bluegoop Video Games Blog, Consolas, Game Matters, Games Galore, GamersGame . com Gaming Blog, GamesIndustry . biz, Xbox 360 Blog, Way I Play, Water Cooler Games, Video Games Review, The Console Conspiracy, RetroGaming, Grumpy Gamer, Buzz Level, Sore Thumbs Gaming, NintendoGossip, Gamasutra News, Play Gadgets, and Google News. Interesting.

Synology DS1511+ NAS Review

Posted in Computers & Technology,Hardware,NAS by Elliott Back on April 19th, 2011.

In this post, I’ll be reviewing a brand new Synology DiskStation DS1511+ NAS equipped with five Hitachi Deskstar 2TB 5K3000 drives configured in RAID5. For comparison, I’ve also written about the Gen 1 Drobo’s performance as a NAS before (it tops out around 20MB/s), and own two of them at home. While the Drobos allow you to build mix-and-match RAID arrays, they are slow, take forever to rebuild, noisy, and hot. I am hoping the DS1511+ will remedy all of these issues.

Read more about the DS1511+ specs here

Network Base Configuration

The Synology NAS is using default MTU of 1500, connected to a Gigabit Ethernet Switch on LAN2. Testing with iperf shows a good gigabit connection between my PC and the NAS of around 885Mb/s:

Big_Bug> iperf -s
Server listening on TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 85.3 KByte (default)
[ ID] Interval Transfer Bandwidth
[ 7] 0.0-20.0 sec 2.05 GBytes 882 Mbits/sec
[ 6] 0.0-30.0 sec 3.09 GBytes 885 Mbits/sec

In megabytes per second, we can transfer 110.625 MB/s. As you will see, this is actually slightly lower than the performance of the RAID array.

The Hard Drives

How fast are the triple-platter 2TB deskstar 5K3000s in RAID5? It can do a very reasonable 125 MB/s in unbuffered pure-disk performance:

Big_Bug> hdparm -t /dev/sda
Timing buffered disk reads: 374 MB in 3.01 seconds = 124.22 MB/sec

Benchmarking File Copy from Windows

To test how fast I can transfer from my PC to the NAS, I’ve created a 4GB binary file:

C:\Users\Elliott Bäck\Desktop>ls -l test.file
-rw-rw-rw- 1 Elliott Bäck 0 4693544330 2011-04-19 20:00 test.file

Copying this file in Windows 7’s explorer took just 50.5 seconds. Doing the math, this gives us an average write rate of 88.63 MB/s. How fast can we copy it back? It took 71.6 seconds, for an average read rate of 62.51 MB/s. Both of these number are going to be constrained by how fast my desktop PC’s Intel SSD can read/write. I also tested using Java and writing a RandomAccessFile with a ByteBuffer, which achieved 95MB/s write and 97MB/s read on a 1GB file.

Reliability & Temperature

You just need to open up the storage manager on the Synology DS1511+ NAS to see what a beauty it is, giving you a full SMART status readout on all your physical drives, as well as their temperatures. Even after running through my benchmarking, the drives were only 34° C warm:


At nearly $900 for the NAS itself without drives, it’s pricey. But plugged into a Gigabit ethernet, the DS1511+ from Synology is also fast, cool, and quiet; the three things you want most from a NAS. Featurewise, it has a glorious UI, media servers built in (which I don’t use) and expandibility from 5 to a maximum of 15 drives. I anticipate phasing out my Drobos, with their proprietary technology, for the Synology NAS, which runs on open-source plain-vanilla linux.

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