EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

05.04.08

Ending Legalised Bribery in the UK and Dwindling Hopes for Freedom in Australia

Posted in Australia, DRM, Europe, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft, Patents, Standard at 3:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Lobbying” a gentle propaganda term for legalised bribery

The numerous problems associated with the role of money in writing laws was brought up in here before. The lobbying business has mushroomed to become a multi-billion-dollar industry in the United States alone. Yes, that’s an industry whose only role is akin to a middleman serving corporate agenda, typically against the interest of citizens whose activists (benign equivalent of lobbyists) are honest volunteers.

It was both surprising and encouraging to find that there will finally be some sort of a crackdown on lobbying in the United Kingdom.

The Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) has lost an appeal to keep secret its meetings with business lobbying group the Confederation of British Industry.

The case has dragged on for three years and originally concerned secret meetings between the CBI and BERR, which was formerly known as the Department of Trade and Industry.

[...]

The victory is a big filip for the wider movement, led by the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency, to force the UK government to introduce more transparency into its dealings with lobbying groups. ALT is calling for compulsory registration of lobby groups and a record of their meetings with politicians and civil servants.

Might we actually enter an age when laws are written for a purpose rather than for a company? Might laws actually serve the nation rather than those funding those who run it (corporations, not taxpayers)? There’s a glimmer or hope. To be fair, the United States government tried to save face by claiming to have done the same thing, but other than astonishing disclosures, which result from new and compulsory disclosure rules, not much appears to be done to curb the phenomenon. Recognition of a problem through transparency does not practically resolve it.

“Diplomacy typically trumps logic.”As we have witnessed over the past few months, similar games are being played inside standards bodies, not just in politics of law-making. Diplomacy typically trumps logic. Another important aspect that’s affected is patent laws, which can be used to ban Free software if politicians are corrupted sufficiently. It’s not just DMCA laws that are being spread by media companies and software companies to whom Free software is a threat; it’s also laws pertaining or directly applying to patents.

Whatever the implication of this might be, Australia has just facilitated easier access to patents by the broad public. Is more visibility a solution really?

The Federal government and patent agency IP Australia have launched a new open, online database featuring almost 20 years’ worth of the country’s patent application records, in a bid to make it easier for inventors to check if someone else has already had their light bulb moment.

What would be nice to have, theoretically at least, is a detector of patent collisions in computer programs. Why? Because it would soon reveal that programmers — not just in this large ‘niche’ that is Free software — are supposedly a nation of infringers in a handful of countries (the phrase “nation of in infringers” was famously used to illustrate just how out-of-hand and insane copyright law had become in the United States). Software patents do not make economic or scientific sense, yet Australia fell right into this deep trap. The same goes for DMCA, which Microsoft is still trying to force if not just push [5.a] onto Canada [5.b-g] (see references below).

For those interested in other funny new laws from Australia, here are some fairly recent articles (all from Australia). Watch how laws against “terrorist”, for example, evolve to become laws for political censorship, among other things (introduce & extend). The references below Labeled and numbered only for referencing purposes.

Introduce Stage

[1.a] Conroy announces mandatory internet filters to protect children

“Labor makes no apologies to those that argue that any regulation of the internet is like going down the Chinese road,” he said.

[1.b] Feds tout malware as Australia’s biggest cyber threat

This change in landscape has seen cyber crime rise to a podium place in the competition for the most significant criminal threat facing the nation.

[1.c] Australia to get net censorship

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will be able to force content providers to take down offensive material and issue notices for live content to be stopped and links to the content deleted.

Extend Stage

[2.a] Australia to extend web censorship

Privacy advocates take a dim view of this proposal, naturally. Roger Clarke, chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation, said “This government’s extremism has reached new heights today.” He asked “How can a politician claim the right to hold office if they set out to undermine the critical democratic right of freedom of speech, and blatantly decline to evaluate the impact of measures put before the Parliament?”

[2.b] Web ‘censorship’ bill brings police state one stop closer

Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) has slammed moves to give the Federal Police powers to ban access to certain Internet content as “another step in Australia’s descent into a police state”.

[2.c] Howard row over Wikipedia edits

Staff in the Australian prime minister’s department have been accused of editing potentially damaging entries in online encyclopaedia Wikipedia.

[2.d] Australia’s porn-blocking plan unveiled

While individual filters will be available beginning later this month, ISP-level blocking may take some time to implement. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is currently planning a trial of ISP-level filtering in Tasmania that will inform the government’s decision on a national launch.

[2.e] Australia becoming a totalitarian state with email snooping to become the norm?

Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland wants to let employers snoop on employees emails – without the consent of workers – as an anti-terrorism measure. Where do we draw the line on privacy?

[2.f] NSW police to search computer networks

The New South Wales Cabinet has approved new powers for police designed to help them track terrorist threats, fraudsters and paedophiles through computer networks.

[2.g] Major Aussie ISP Telstra BigPond shafts open source OpenOffice

Australia’s largest Internet service provider Telstra BigPond has removed the free open source office suite OpenOffice from its unmetered file download area following the launch of its own, free, hosted, office application, BigPond Office.

[...]

Our reader was outraged by Telstra’s move, which he sees as an attack on the open source software movement.

“The principle of the matter upsets me,” he said. “The fact that BigPond has removed previously allowed open source software is un-ethical. They are discriminating against me, even though I pay the same as other customers. They are attacking the Free Software movement.”

Moving on to a more on-topic example, watch how laws are used to suppress Free software procurement.

A Reality

[3.a] Is Open Source adoption set to mushroom in Australia?

Optimism and take-up is growing around the platform-independent code with the industry taking more notice of this fast growing area

[3.b] Open source increases its share

BUSINESS generated directly from open source software in Australia is worth about $300 million a year, with government a large contributor to the pie, a study shows.

[3.c] Australian open source industry worth $500 million

“The industry as a whole is earning $500 million,” said Jeff Waugh, co-founder of Waugh Partners, which conducted the survey online late last year. “Directly open source related earnings are about $300 million, but the reason why we’re distinguishing between these numbers is the industry is not just companies that build open source software. They also use open source products to support other parts of their business as well.”

Waugh said the figure was calculated by taking the midpoint earnings figures specified by companies who took part, and extrapolating over the broader ICT industry using existing data such as surveys by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Australian Computer Society. Waugh Partners estimates the respondents represent about a quarter of the overall industry.

[3.d] Open Source programmers earn more and combat trade deficit

The findings from the fourth-quarter 2007 Open Source Industry and Community survey is out. The authors say the results show open source is effective in combating trade deficit and that IT professionals involved in open source earn more than their more proprietary colleagues. Let’s check it out.

[3.e] Local Government Urged to Consider Open Source

The senior IT officer from a West Australian shire says open source software can provide a way forward for councils suffering budgetary constraints.

The Anti-FOSS Policies and Laws

[4.a] Open source the biggest potential game changer for government: Senator Lundy

Senator Lundy, a former Shadow Minister for IT, said she’d elected to focus on open source as the biggest potential game changer across the portfolios she’s involved in.

[...]

“The key issue that needs to be solved is independent invention. IP doesn’t cope with the commonly occurring ‘idea whose time has come’ – the patent system considers that a crime,” Tridgell said.

[4.b] Governments slammed for anti-competitive software tendering practices

A leading Australian open source advocate has called for an end for to tender lock-outs of competitors to Microsoft, claiming the practice is costing Australian taxpayers tens of millions of dollars each year.

[4.c] Feds revise IT procurement model

The federal government has launched version two of the SourceIT model contracts and user notes aimed at simplifying procurement of information technology 12 months after the first version.

[4.d] Ignore the open source hot heads, CIOs told

Some of the public responses to the article labelled Gibson a “bureaucratic parasite” and his concerns “short-sighted”.

While Waugh believes the open source model holds better security outcomes than its proprietary equivalent, he equally describes the vitriolic reaction to Gibson’s comments as being ‘disgraceful’ and says they achieve nothing for the industry.

[...]

“I can tell you that at the very highest levels of government, there is interest and opportunities that exist for open source,” Waugh said. “This doesn’t help.” Waugh was also disheartened when personal attacks were levelled at Standards Australia’s Alistair Tegart over Microsoft’s push to have its OOXML format accepted as an ISO standard.

[4.e] Govt ‘computer bungle cost $51m

THE State Government has bungled a deal and bought computer software for 12,000 computers in the Health Department that do not need it – costing taxpayers more than $50 million over five years, Parliament has heard.

[...]

Opposition Leader Martin Hamilton-Smith yesterday said the computer “blunder” saw thousands of Health Department computers loaded up with $675 versions of Microsoft Office software, which the computers did not use or need. Just 4000 of the 16,000 computers actually used the software, Mr Hamilton-Smith told Parliament.

DMCA Laws

[5.a] Microsoft Misleads on Copyright Reform

The Hill Times this week includes an astonishingly misleading and factually incorrect article on Canadian copyright written by Microsoft.

[5.b] Movie, music giants seek a Canadian DMCA

The Canadian copyright reform debate raged on during a panel discussion on intellectual property rights Wednesday, and while members of the recording, film, and Parliament argued in support for controversial legislation, at least one industry expert said they are failing to listen to the Canadian public.

[5.c] Canadian DMCA On Hold?

Rumours tonight indicate that the government has again decided to delay introducing the Canadian DMCA. With the House of Commons off next week and the budget coming the following week, if this is true it would appear that there will be no copyright legislation for at least another month (assuming there is no election).

[5.d] CD copying OK, DRM circumvention not OK

Circumventing DRM to make copies for personal use will remain illegal for consumers, under copyright reform proposals floated by the UK government today….Copyright law should also recognise that consumers can legitimately make copies of copyright material they’ve already bought, the government proposes.

Speaking at the launch today, Lord Triesman said it made no sense to prevent someone making a playlist for use in the car from material they had legitimately purchased.

[5.e] Microsoft: We Like DRM

Steve Jobs wants the music business to drop restrictions for digital tunes. But Microsoft, which began competing head to head with Apple in the digital music business last fall, is happy with the way things are, says media exec Robbie Bach.

[5.f] Microsoft Tells Apple To Stop Complaining About DRM

[5.g] DRM – a big win for Microsoft

Recently I came to conclusion that Microsoft is the company, which profits most from the Digital Rights Management.

I don’t know the numbers, but I guess that DRM is little or no success for the recording industry. To say it stopped pirating films and music would be a joke.

Microsoft people must have known that the protection would be broken very soon. So why they are implementing it after all?

Companies that love to change laws using money have used their money to change laws and legalise the practice used to change laws using money. It’s called lobbying. A little funny, is it not? Welcome to Planet Earth, the place where your basic rights will be taken away from you unless you protect them.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. The Unified Patent Court (UPC) is Dead, But Spin From Team UPC is Now Abundant

    As we predicted, Team UPC is now denying the very facts about a German court agreeing to hear a major UPC complaint, exploiting blogs with a larger audience to spread falsehoods



  2. EPO Roundup: Low Profile, Employment Changes, Patent Trolls, Refusal to Obey Courts, and Animal Breeding Patents

    A few recent developments and observations regarding the European Patent Office (EPO), which is in a volatile state and is making no public statement about the future of staff ('canteen talk' now revolves around alleged deep cuts to staffing)



  3. Links 22/2/2018: Qt Roadmap for 2018, Calculate Linux 17.12.2

    Links for the day



  4. As Expected, Bristows and Others Already Lying About UPC Status in Germany, But Doing This Anonymously (to Dodge Accountability for Lies)

    In their characteristic fashion, firms that created the UPC for their self-enrichment purposes, along with publishers/writers who deem it their role to promote the UPC and set up lobbying events for the UPC, look for ways to downplay if not intentionally distort what happened in Germany yesterday



  5. Further Attacks on EPO Staff and the Appeal Boards; Former EPO Boards of Appeal Member Speaks About EPO Scandals

    In the process of devaluing EPO workers and perhaps preparing them for a large round of layoffs information is also revealed about further repressions against the independence of the Boards of Appeal



  6. End of the UPC Lobby and Withdrawal of UPCA May Seem Imminent

    The Unitary Patent fantasy (of mass litigation firms) is coming to an end; in fact, the German government and courts (Bundesverfassungsgericht to be specific) now deem the complaint to be admissible and thus likely legitimate in spite of many attempts to shoot it down



  7. EPO's Board 28 Spikes Article 53 in CA/3/18, Apparently After Battistelli Withdrew It

    The latest plot twist, as odd as that may seem, is that the attack on the rights of thousands of workers (many of whom are rumoured to be on their way out) is curtailed somewhat, at least for the time being



  8. Links 21/2/2018: Apper 1.0, New Fedora ISOs

    Links for the day



  9. Rumour: European Patent Office to Lay Off a Significant Proportion of Its Workforce

    While the Administrative Council of the EPO praises Battistelli for his financial accomplishments (as laughable as it may seem) a lot of families stuck in a foreign country may soon see their breadwinner unemployed, according to rumours



  10. The Patent Trolls' Lobby, Bristows and IAM Among Others, Downplays Darts-IP/IP2Innovate Report About Rising If Not Soaring Troll Activity in Europe

    Exactly like last year, as soon as IP2Innovate opens its mouth Bristows and IAM go into "attack dog" mode and promote the UPC, deny the existence or seriousness of patent trolls, and promote their nefarious, trolls-funded agenda



  11. Links 20/2/2018: Mesa 17.3.5, Qt 5.11 Alpha, Absolute 15.0 Beta 4, Sailfish OS 2.1.4 E.A., SuiteCRM 7.10

    Links for the day



  12. Replacing Patent Sharks/Trolls and the Patent Mafia With 'Icons' Like Thomas Edison

    The popular perceptions of patents and the sobering reality of what patents (more so nowadays) mean to actual inventors who aren't associated with global behemoths such as IBM or Siemens



  13. The Patent Trolls' Lobby is Distorting the Record of CAFC on PTAB

    The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), which deals with appeals from PTAB, has been issuing many decisions in favour of § 101, but those aren't being talked about or emphasised by the patent 'industry'



  14. Japan Demonstrates Sanity on SEP Policy While US Patent Policy is Influenced by Lobbyists

    Japan's commendable response to a classic pattern of patent misuse; US patent policy is still being subjected to never-ending intervention and there is now a lobbyist in charge of antitrust matters and a lawyer in charge of the US patent office (both Trump appointees)



  15. The Patent Microcosm's Embrace of Buzzwords and False Marketing Strives to Make Patent Examiners Redundant and Patent Quality Extremely Low

    Patent maximalists, who are profiting from abundance of low-quality patents (and frivolous lawsuits/legal threats these can entail), are riding the hype wave and participating in the rush to put patent systems at the hands of machines



  16. Today, at 12:30 CET, Bavarian State Parliament Will Speak About EPO Abuses (Updated)

    The politicians of Bavaria are prepared to wrestle with some serious questions about the illegality of the EPO's actions and what that may mean to constitutional aspects of German law



  17. Another Loud Warning From EPO Workers About the Decline of Patent Quality

    Yet more patent quality warnings are being issued by EPO insiders (examiners) who are seeing their senior colleagues vanishing and wonder what will be left of their employer



  18. Links 19/2/2018: Linux 4.16 RC2, Nintendo Switch Now Full-fledged GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  19. PTAB Continues to Invalidate a Lot of Software Patents and to Stop Patent Examiners From Issuing Them

    Erasure of software patents by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) carries on unabated in spite of attempts to cause controversy and disdain towards PTAB



  20. The Patent 'Industry' Likes to Mention Berkheimer and Aatrix to Give the Mere Impression of Section 101/Alice Weakness

    Contrary to what patent maximalists keep saying about Berkheimer and Aatrix (two decisions of the Federal Circuit from earlier this month, both dealing with Alice-type challenges), neither actually changed anything in any substantial way



  21. Makan Delrahim is Wrong; Patents Are a Major Antitrust Problem, Sometimes Disguised Using Trolls Somewhere Like the Eastern District of Texas

    Debates and open disagreements over the stance of the lobbyist who is the current United States Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division



  22. Patent Trolls Watch: Microsoft-Connected Intellectual Ventures, Finjan, and Rumour of Technicolor-InterDigital Buyout

    Connections between various patent trolls and some patent troll statistics which have been circulated lately



  23. Software Patents Trickle in After § 101/Alice, But Courts Would Not Honour Them Anyway

    The dawn of § 101/Alice, which in principle eliminates almost every software patent, means that applicants find themselves having to utilise loopholes to fool examiners, but that's unlikely to impress judges (if they ever come to assessing these patents)



  24. In Aatrix v Green Shades the Court is Not Tolerating Software Patents But Merely Inquires/Wonders Whether the Patents at Hand Are Abstract

    Aatrix alleges patent infringement by Green Shades, but whether the patents at hand are abstract or not remains to be seen; this is not what patent maximalists claim it to be ("A Valentine for Software Patent Owners" or "valentine for patentee")



  25. An Indoctrinated Minority is Maintaining the Illusion That Patent Policy is to Blame for All or Most Problems of the United States

    The zealots who want to patent everything under the Sun and sue everyone under the Sun blame nations in the east (where the Sun rises) for all their misfortunes; this has reached somewhat ludicrous levels



  26. Berkheimer Decision is Still Being Spun by the Anti-Section 101/Alice Lobby

    12 days after Berkheimer v HP Inc. the patent maximalists continue to paint this decision as a game changer with regards to patent scope; the reality, however, is that this decision will soon be forgotten about and will have no substantial effect on either PTAB or Alice (because it's about neither of these)



  27. Academic Patent Immunity is Laughable and Academics Are Influenced by Corporate Money (for Steering Patent Agenda)

    Universities appear to have become battlegrounds in the war between practicing entities and a bunch of parasites who make a living out of litigation and patent bubbles



  28. UPC Optimism Languishes Even Among Paid UPC Propagandists Such as IAM

    Even voices which are attempting to give UPC momentum that it clearly lacks admit that things aren't looking well; the UK is not ratifying and Germany make take years to look into constitutional barriers



  29. Bejin Bieneman Props Up the Disgraced Randall Rader for Litigation Agenda

    Randall Rader keeps hanging out with the litigation 'industry' -- the very same 'industry' which he served in a closeted fashion when he was Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit (and vocal proponent of software patents, patent trolls and so on)



  30. With Stambler v Mastercard, Patent Maximalists Are Hoping to Prop Up Software Patents and Damage PTAB

    The patent 'industry' is hoping to persuade the highest US court to weaken the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), for PTAB is making patent lawsuits a lot harder and raises the threshold for patent eligibility


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts