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theEweekly Wrap 28 August 2009

Download the cheerleader, download the world

US drama series Heroes is the most popular television programme amongst illegal file-sharers according to research from an American web firm.

The investigation by US company Big Champagne examined the most downloaded videos from file-sharing sites such as The Pirate Bay and Mininova. The enquiry found that in 2009, the NBC network drama Heroes was downloaded 54.6 million times by users across the globe.

Heroes, which follows the adventures of ordinary people with superhuman abilities, recorded 3.5 million more downloads than the second most popular programme, Lost. The ABC network drama about the survivors of a plane crash achieved over 51.1 million downloads in 2009.

The research also revealed the cult superhero film Watchmen as the most illegally watched film in 2009. The movie was downloaded 16.9 million times.

Eric Garland, Big Champagne’s chief executive, said that illegally downloading television programmes is considered acceptable behaviour among users.

“Millions of television viewers now access free, unauthorized versions of favorite shows at least some of the time. This is a socially acceptable form of casual piracy – and it is replacing viewing hours.”

View to a till

Google has introduced its Street View application in local map listings. Users clicking a local business marker in Google Maps now have the opportunity to see the shop front of a chosen company (depending on the availability of Street View in a particular area).

Companies are now marked on the Google Street View service

Matt McGee, contributor to popular SEO blog Search Engine Land, said the steps would have an effect on certain businesses:

“Street View can have a powerful, if somewhat under-appreciated marketing impact. It offers visitors a first impression of local businesses, and that first impression might determine the choice of a restaurant or hotel, for example.”

Internet Biel

American actress Jessica Biel has been named as the celebrity most likely to infect your computer with malicious software.

Research from internet security firm McAfee found that search results for the 27-year-old had a one-in-five chance of returning websites which hosted online threats such as spyware or viruses.

“Cybercriminals are star watchers too – they latch onto popular celebrities to encourage the download of malicious software in disguise,” McAfee’s Jeff Green said.

“Every day, cybercriminals use celebrities’ names and images, like Kim Kardashian and Rihanna, to lure surfers searching for the latest stories, screen savers and ringtones to sites offering free downloads laden with malware,” he added.

Searches for the singer Beyonce Knowles, ex-Friends actress Jennifer Aniston and popular teenage celebrity Miley Cyrus also returned potentially dangerous website results.

Free as a bird

Social networking company Twitter has failed in its bid to trademark the word ‘tweet’. The popular microblogging service had applied for ownership of the name, given to updates posted by its users, last month.

The request was denied by the US patent and trademark office on the grounds that other companies had applied for similar trademarks.

Earlier this month, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said that he was keen to establish legal protection for the company’s branding.

“We have applied to trademark tweet because it is clearly attached to Twitter from a brand perspective but we have no intention of ‘going after’ the wonderful applications and services that use the word in their name when associated with Twitter,” he said.

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