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10.26.10

Google and Linux/Android Under Attack by Microsoft Folks (More Lawsuits), Mobbyists and Boosters Jubilant

Posted in Site News at 2:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Forefront and Gemalto

Summary: Report from the trial of Microsoft’s co-founder’s Traul [sic] Allen versus Google et al.; Microsoft’s partner Gemalto sues Google over Android

GOOGLE HAS been having a tough time in Land of the Fee, where lots of patent trolls love to charge a fee using software patents that had been blessed by the USPTO and often changed hands. Fortunately, not the whole world had yet been ‘infected’ by the same sort of distorted patent law and judging by world economics, it is possible that the USPTO will adapt to the rest of the world, rather than it working the other way around (software patents dying internationally instead of going international).

As we pointed out before, Microsoft is a major breeding ground for patent trolls and Traul Allen is one of its creations/exports. Traul decided to sue Google back in August and Groklaw has early details about the case:

Google et al respond to Paul Allen with Motions to Dismiss, Sever – A Whole Lot of Shakin’ Goin’ On

[...]

All month there has been a flurry of activity on the part of the defendants in Paul Allen’s patent infringement litigation, Interval Licensing v. AOL, et al, against Google, Apple, Yahoo! and pretty much everyone else you can think of — mostly all the companies have been busy getting lawyered up. I see Yahoo! has added Morrison & Foerster’s Michael A. Jacobs to its legal team, so I am getting quite excited about what we may get to watch.

The Linux-powered Android has just been sued by yet another company. It is called Gemalto and it’s a buddy of Microsoft, based on its own Web site [1, 2] (they recently collaborated around Microsoft Forefront, which died a month later). The Register says:

Security chip maker Gemalto has launched its own attack on Android, claiming to own patents essential to the use of Java as a mobile OS.

The suit, filed in patent-friendly Texas, accuses Google, HTC, Motorola and Samsung of infringing Gemalto’s patents which, according to the company, cover techniques essential to the use of a high-level language such as Java on a device with limited resources.

Microsoft and Apple have also sued Google over Android; Oracle sued Google for the Java-like part of Android alone.

It is worth seeing the reaction from mobbyists who use this to spread FUD about Linux/Android. One of them is also linking to stuff like this one tweet from O’Gara (FUD galore) where she summarises with: “freebie operating system is quite a little suit magnet ”

For those who do not know O’Gara, read older posts such as:

In short, O’Gara is one of those longtime foes of Linux and people who work with Microsoft PR. O’Gara can be considered one of the mobbyists because she went as far as stalking and harassing Microsoft critics. She is part of the mob. And speaking of mobbyists, do not believe them for a second about the status of software patents around the world. As hinted in the previous post, they seemingly try to spread defeatism among the Free software developers/community by saying that software patents got their way around the world. The matter of fact is, Amazon is still struggling (for many years!) with its controversial ‘one-click’ patent which it wants to spread to Canada and to Europe. We wrote about this patent last week [1, 2, 3] because it gets a lot of people involved and they protest against software patents.

Microsoft’s Pressure for Software Patents in Europe Carries On

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents at 2:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

European parliament

Summary: Microsoft keeps pressuring Europe to give up its sovereignty and restrict the use of Free/libre software for newly-conceived legal reasons (European parliament photographed above)

ON the heels of FFII actions and FSFE-BSA stand-offs [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] the FSFE’s head Karsten Gerloff writes to rant about software patents at WIPO and the FFII’s president shows us that WIPO gives room to Microsoft [PDF]. See the time slot which says: “14.30 – 15.00 Mr. Jean-Yves Art, Associate General Counsel, Microsoft Corporation”

To quote part of Gerloff’s long summary and analysis:

This week’s meeting of the SCP was mainly supposed to discuss the study prepared by Professor Bently and his team of experts, in particular the section on software. On the agenda was also further discussion of the relation between patents and standards. That’s a topic which FSFE has long been working on in various fora, including the European Commission and the Internet Governance Forum.

We got to make three statements. The first was a general statement, outlining FSFE’s viewpoint on the issues on the agenda. The next two were more detailed.

In our second statement, we talked about the relation between standards and patents. This has been a topic for the SCP for several sessions. We argue that software standards need to be implementable by anyone, whether in Free Software or otherwise. Free Software licenses don’t allow you to impose additional conditions on the person you give the software to. You can’t say “you’re free to use, study, share and improve the software, but when you pass it on, you have to pay for a patent license”. That’s why patents included in software standards need to be licensed royalty-free to anyone who implements the standard.

The third statement talked about excluding software from patentability. Professor Bently’s study discusses at some length the practice of the European Patent Office (EPO) to grant patents on software, even though this contravenes the letter and spirit of European law, namely the European Patent Convention’s Article 52, which says that software “as such” is not patentable. Our statement discusses this in some detail.

For those who do not remember, the tightening between standards and patents is promoted by Microsoft and its lobbyists, who are now joined by mobbyists. There is this mysterious Twitter account called “European Innovation” (@EUinnovation), which calls itself “the number one source for #EU #innovation news!” Well, we linked to it before because we suspected it could be funded by Microsoft to push the idea of software patents in Europe. This account is apparently connected to “Microsoft Europe” (@MSEurope) and it has just begun following the president of the FFII (see list of recent additions). How come?

Anyway, “European Innovation” is mostly propaganda for more patent monopolies in Europe and “harmonisation” (more of the same party line) gets pushed by ManagingIP, which summarises its new article as follows:

Five areas for global patent reform: harmonisation back on the agenda

As the name ManagingIP implies, it is biased in favour of patents.

Microsoft must be pleased with above now that it turned to litigation just like SCO. Software patents may be Microsoft’s last weapon and resort, but software patents are hardly accepted in the world. It’s mobbyists, patenting maximalists, and gullible journalists who believe lawyers and mobbyists who spread the perception that the fight against software patents has been lost. What utter nonsense in ZDNet.

Allegation: Novell Has “Profit Motive for Pushing Mono Everywhere”

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 1:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mono is all about the money

Summary: How Novell uses Mono to spread proprietary software to proprietary platforms and exclusively make money from this practice

OUR reader Brandon pointed out the obvious about Mono’s vested interests yesterday. To Novell (and to Microsoft), Mono is means for (up)selling proprietary software. It oughtn’t be so shocking that Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza publicly spoke at Microsoft less than a year ago about how software freedom makes it hard to make a living. The hypocrite himself is very rich and he has just published this post which says “I will be in Redmond from Tuesday afternoon until Friday night.”

Anyway, to quote Brandon, who is now a Fedora Ambassador (IRC log from the same date as above):

Ender2070 So much for open source: http://www.go-mono.com/store/ Oct 26 05:13
TechrightsBot-tr Title: Store – Mono .::. Size~: 27.8 KB Oct 26 05:13
Ender2070 “If you are the only individual planning to use Mono Tools for Visual Studio, then the Professional Edition is right for you. Your non-transferable license entitles you to one year of updates. $99 USD “ Oct 26 05:14
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[diablod3/@diablod3] Mono goes closed source http://ur1.ca/25p4o #wtf #microsoft !fsf Oct 26 05:16
TechrightsBot-tr Title:  Mechanical Keyboard Guide – Overclock.net – Overclocking.net .::. Size~: 167.66 KB Oct 26 05:16
Ender2070 SUSE Linux Enterprise Mono Extension is a .NET application framework that enables organizations to run Microsoft .NET-based server applications on Linux. Based on open source Mono technology and run in conjunction with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, SUSE Linux Enterprise Mono Extension delivers all the performance, scalability and hardware support of the SUSE Linux Enterprise platform to the .NET application Oct 26 05:17
Ender2070 environment. $200 a year Oct 26 05:17
Ender2070 I think there is a profit motive for pushing mono everywhere Oct 26 05:17
Ender2070 and its there for everyone to see Oct 26 05:17
Ender2070 if people recommend other languages nobody is going to want to buy this from Novell Oct 26 05:19
Ender2070 no conspiracy theories required Oct 26 05:19

We pointed this out many times before and it is clear that other people independently reach the same conclusion. When you support Mono you also support Novell/Microsoft and proprietary software. Mono is 'open' core, putting aside the API and patent issues.

Eye on Apple: Where Do You Want Not to Go Today?

Posted in Apple at 12:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Utah State Prison Wasatch Facility with Apple

Summary: Apple links for sceptics of the company’s direction and general behaviour

EXCEPT bugs and defects, Apple has limitations and restrictions to offer its customers.

iPad’s orientation lock to mute switch change will be permanent

When iOS 4.2 gets rolled out to iPad users sometime in the coming weeks, the button on the side that, until now, has prevented the screen from swapping between portrait and landscape will become a mute switch, just like it is on the iPhone. However, since this is clearly a software-managed control rather than being hard-wired, some users were hoping that this might be configurable somewhere in the settings.

[...]

Apple doesn’t allow modification of hardware controls, as the developers of Camera+ learned recently.

Is Mac App Store A Threat?

iTunes has already become a one-way gateway for iOS devices, despite continuous fraud and hijacked accounts which Apple supposedly doesn’t care about. The ‘cancer’ of iTunes has now spread to yet another company mastering the art of copy-pasting — Microsoft. They are using a similar model in their Windows 7 Phone devices.

Gosling blows lid off Jobs Java nonsense (covered here before)

People who buy from Apple neither own (control) the product nor get their money’s worth. A.P.P.L.E – Anti-Piracy Pricey Lending to Elitists – where Steve knows everything.

Signs of Defeat: Microsoft Speaks About Invisible Windows, Not Existing Products

Posted in Microsoft, Windows at 12:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“In the face of strong competition, Evangelism’s focus may shift immediately to the next version of the same technology, however. Indeed, Phase 1 (Evangelism Starts) for version x+1 may start as soon as this Final Release of version X.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Summary: Microsoft reveals a weakness by talking about a product which it only claims will be available in 2 years from now and for the time being may slow the adoption of its predecessor, Vista 7

IT IS worth starting with the confession that we struggle to post Microsoft news not due to lack of time (I posted a lot in my personal blog yesterday) but because there is hardly a darn thing in the news about Microsoft; Nothing of substance anyway. It’s generally the case that as time goes by, more of Microsoft’s products turn to dust or become products which are merely speculative or vapourware. Companies which are in a healthy state speak about today’s products, those who are hopeful speak about future products (which may never see the light of day), and miserable companies like Novell speak about past products, or legacy.

At the moment, Microsoft is somewhere in the middle, namely that classification of companies which focus on products nobody knows or can test (e.g. Vista 8) and rather than be upset about it, Microsoft critics ought to know that it’s a sign of weakness. When any company advertises a product it cannot sell (i.e. won’t make profit from) because it does not exist or may never exist, it’s a premature sign of defeat. This issue came up in IRC several times.

Some short while ago Microsoft was asked about its loss of market share and the company denied the facts, to which Pogson replied by writing:

SEC, are you listening? Slipping against MacOS on the high-end and GNU/Linux just about everywhere else and a company with huge market cap has a spokesman denying reality publicly.

What does Microsoft do while Vista 7 sales fail to amaze (and as we showed yesterday, Windows profits decline sharply)? It speaks about a mysterious successor, Vista 8. Who speaks about it? Mostly Microsoft boosters [1, 2] like Ina Fried. These people are desperate for any piece of news about Microsoft, especially something positive. Over the past couple of years they had to cover (or selectively ignore) news about people quiting Microsoft, divisions being shut down, products getting cancelled, and rounds of layoffs being announced. It’s not pleasant for people whose career depends on an audience which follows Microsoft.

It was especially amusing to see this post from OpenBytes where Microsoft MVP Da Costa (aka “Lucy” and other pseudonyms) is having a go with some spin. For those who do not know Da Costa, it is a textbook example of Microsoft ‘agents’ who plague blogs critical of Microsoft and insult the writers under all sorts of fake names. We wrote about the subject in:

Da Costa’s spin is a warning and a reminder of the fact that Microsoft has presence in GNU/Linux blogs and another known Windows booster in the same comments section (he turns offensive) shows how unpleasant this can be. We too had some Microsoft employees do this to us without disclosing their relationship with Microsoft (employed to do exactly that).

Microsoft says Vista 8 might be out in 2012 (historically, they almost always missed the target dates). Funnily enough, as Tim puts it (he is the one I’ll be doing the audiocast with): “The Mayans predicted that the world would end in 2012. Maybe they were right and Windows 8 will mark the end for Microsoft? Certainly Microsoft has some unhappy people, maybe that’s why people are now seeing other platforms as desirable?”

Waterfalls in paradise

Links 26/10/2010: Facts From London Stock Exchange, webOS 2.0 Reviewed

Posted in News Roundup at 9:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Mark Cuban Wants to Pay Government Attorneys to Get Off Their Ass

    Frustrated by the snail’s pace of the SEC investigation into insider trading allegations, Cuban offered to pay government attorneys to work faster.

  • Manila: A megacity where the living must share with the dead

    Land is precious in Manila, and people are prepared to endure incredible circumstances to claim their own piece. Baking’s family is one of hundreds that have set up home in the cemetery, jostling for space with the dead. “It’s much better living here than in a shanty town,” he assures me as we clamber over densely-packed powder pink and blue tombs on the way to his home. “It’s much more peaceful and quiet.”

  • Drug addict has vasectomy in return for £200 cash

    A drug addict has become the first man in Britain to take part in a controversial project that saw him get cash to be sterilised.

  • Report: Ancient ruins worldwide ‘on verge of vanishing’

    Twelve historic sites around the world are “on the verge of vanishing” because of mismanagement and neglect, according to a new report.

  • FarmVillains

    Steal someone else’s game. Change its name. Make millions. Repeat.

  • Judge Clears CAPTCHA-Breaking Case for Criminal Trial

    A federal judge in New Jersey has cleared the way for a landmark criminal case targeting CAPTCHA circumvention to proceed to trial.

  • UberCab Ordered to Cease And Desist

    Did Ubercab just crash and burn? Taxi and limo industry insiders in California today informed TechCrunch that the San Francisco Metro Transit Authority & the Public Utilities Commission of California have ordered the startup to cease and desist.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Scientists suggest that cancer is purely man-made

      Cancer is a modern, man-made disease caused by environmental factors such as pollution and diet, a study by University of Manchester scientists has strongly suggested.

      The study of remains and literature from ancient Egypt and Greece and earlier periods – carried out at Manchester’s KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology and published in Nature Reviews Cancer – includes the first histological diagnosis of cancer in an Egyptian mummy.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Jesse Jackson: Britain’s moral authority is undermined by police discrimination

      The Rev Jesse Jackson has said that Britain’s moral authority is being damaged by the government’s failure to stop the police discriminating against ethnic minorities.

    • AND FINALLY

      With the impact of the soon-to-be-announced mega austerity cuts still to come, it could be that millions will soon find it hard to make ends meet.

      But help is it hand. There’ll be no shortage of people forced to turn to shoplifting or petty crime to survive – and now there’s a website that will pay you to sit at home and spy on everyone in the hope of catching them.

    • Inquiry after police filmed hitting anti-fascist protester

      An investigation is under way after a police officer was filmed hitting an anti-fascist demonstrator in the face during a far-right rally.

      Alan Clough, 63, from Radcliffe, Bury, was protesting against the English Defence League (EDL) rally in Bolton in March when he was struck, fell to the ground and was subsequently arrested.

    • Iraq war logs: military privatisation run amok

      Shortly after 10am on 14 May 2005, a convoy of private security guards from Blackwater riding down “Route Irish” – the Baghdad airport road – shot up a civilian Iraqi vehicle. While they were at it, the Blackwater men fired shots over the heads of a group of soldiers from the 69th Regiment of the US Army before they sped away heading west in their white armoured truck. When the dust cleared, the Iraqi driver was dead and his wife and daughter were injured.

    • They’re Trying To Sell the Brooklyn Bridge Again

      So it was last month when a friendly couple dumped their paper on the train seat opposite me. And bingo, it was as bad as ever. “Defense Officials Predict Slow Afghan Progress.” And the sourcing for this hardly unexpected headline? “Senior US military officials”, “military officials”, “a senior US military official”, “Obama administration officials”, “defence officials”, “the senior military official”, “military leaders”, “the official”, “military officials”, “the officials”, “many in the military”, “military officials” (again), “officials” (again), “military officials” (yet again) and “officials” (yet again).

      Why do our scribes write this horseshit? My old mate Alexander Cockburn calls it “selling the Brooklyn Bridge” and claims that Michael Gordon, chief military correspondent of The New York Times, is always ready to buy it.

    • David Kelly files prove little for campaigners whose fight continues

      Kelly’s death has never been the subject of a proper inquest, Powers argues. The original inquest was replaced by the Hutton inquiry – a highly unusual and, to many observers, unjustified break with standard legal procedure for single deaths. Last month, lawyers acting for Kelly campaigners delivered an application for a fresh inquest to attorney general Dominic Grieve. Grieve is considering it, a process which may take several more months.

    • Norwich Council uses ‘spying’ powers to catch smoke pub

      Norwich City Council used controversial spying powers to investigate and fine a pub for flouting the smoking ban.

    • Allotments and privacy

      With allotments in mind, news has reached Big Brother Watch of the ludicrous situation of a Lincolnshire council demanding to know the sexual orientation, race and religion of those applying for one of the eighteen vacant plots in the City of Lincoln.

    • Police chief wants Birmingham ‘spy’ cameras removed
    • Sacrificing our liberties won’t win the war against terror

      The good news, according to Professor Audrey Cronin at the US National War College, is that terrorist campaigns always end. The only questions are when and how. The answers hinge on government policy. After the 2005 London bombings, Tony Blair proclaimed: “Let no one be in any doubt, the rules of the game are changing.” Ministers proposed waves of authoritarian measures, including incursions on free speech, control orders, ID cards and extensions to detention without charge that one former chief constable labelled a “propaganda coup for Al-Qaeda”. If Al-Qaeda was looking for a repressive reaction, they got it. But, was it effective?

    • EXCLUSIVE: WikiLeaks Prepares Largest Intel Leak in US History with Release of 400,000 Iraq War Docs

      AMY GOODMAN: So they’re doing it again on this 400,000-document leak?

      DANIEL ELLSBERG: They’re doing it again, and it’s much to their credit, and I appreciate it. I’ve waited forty years for a release on this scale. I think there should have been something on the scale of the Pentagon Papers every year. How often do we need this kind of thing? We haven’t seen it. So I’m very glad that someone is taking the risk and the initiative to inform us better now.

    • Government web snooping back on the cards

      Government plans to intercept Internet communications and store details of “traffic data” are reportedly back on the cards.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • French protests jeopardise airport fuel supplies

      France’s main airport has only a few days’ worth of jet fuel left, it was announced today, as the strikes against government pension plans continued to disrupt infrastructure.

    • Sarkozy should retire, says France

      More importantly, the French have decided to take to the streets in the millions – including large-scale strikes and work stoppages – to defend hard-won retirement gains. (It must be emphasised, since the media sometimes forgets to make the distinction, that only a tiny percentage of France’s demonstrators have engaged in any kind of property damage and even fewer in violence, with all but these few protesting peacefully.) French populist rage is being directed in a positive direction – unlike in the United States where it is most prominently being mobilised to elect political candidates who will do their best to increase the suffering of working- and middle-class citizens.

    • Greece promises to crack down on tax evaders

      Saying Greeks had already made “unprecedented sacrifices”, the prime minister, George Papandreou, insisted today there would be no more hard-hitting austerity measures, despite the country bracing itself for an expected upward revision of a budget deficit that at 13.6% has already hit record highs.

      “Whatever happens, there will be no additional burden placed on wage earners and pensioners. There will be no additional increase in tax rates beyond the ones we have already committed to making,” Papandreou said.

    • Fannie and Freddie’s Foreclosure Barons

      [Editor’s note: In November 2009, MoJo reporter Andy Kroll received a tip about a little-known yet powerful firm, the Law Offices of David J. Stern, which handled staggering numbers of foreclosures in southeastern Florida—the throbbing heart of nation’s housing crisis. Among the allegations, the tipster had it from insiders that Stern employees were routinely falsifying legal paperwork in an effort to push borrowers out of their homes as quickly—and profitably—as possible.

      Kroll spent eight months investigating Stern’s firm and its ilk—a breed of deep-pocketed and controversial operations dubbed “foreclosure mills.” After sifting through thousands of pages of court documents, interviewing scores of legal experts and former Stern employees, and attending dozens of foreclosure hearings in drab Florida courtrooms, he emerged with a portrait of a law firm—indeed, an entire industry—that was willing to cut corners, deceive judges, and even (allegedly) commit fraud—all at the expense of America’s homeowners.

    • ForeclosureGate
    • Wall Street Sold `Tragically Deficient’ Product, Angelides Says

      Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. created products that were “tragically deficient,” in the view of the chairman of the panel charged by Congress with identifying the causes of the financial crisis.

    • Timothy Geithner forecloses on the moratorium debate

      Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is good at telling fairy tales. Geithner first became known to the general public in September of 2008. Back then, he was head of the New York Federal Reserve Board. He was part of the triumvirate, along with Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke and then Treasury secretary Henry Paulson, who told congress that it had to pass the Tarp or the economy would collapse.

    • Unemployment Benefits: The 99ers

      Even after an extension of unemployment benefits to 99 weeks, many of those about to go off the program are in a quandary. Scott Pelley talks to some of them in Silicon Valley.

    • California Data Autumnal: Dialing Back a Decade

      From the highs of 2007, total California employment is down about 6.5%. And, 2008 total oil product consumption compared to 2007 is down about 5.5%. There is no question that 2009 energy data from EIA Washington will show another notable fall, in California energy use. Meanwhile, as we can see from the labor market data, there is no economic recovery occurring in America’s largest state.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Tell the DOJ: Investigate the Chamber of Commerce’s campaign spending

      This year alone the Chamber has pledged to spend $75 million on ads attacking candidates who don’t meekly bow down to the biggest and wealthiest corporate interests.

    • It’s Not Your Local Chamber of Commerce

      Many Americans think of the Chamber of Commerce as a local organization that supplies maps or information about local businesses, or thing of it as a sort of civics league, like the Elks Lodge. But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. is completely different. It often has no ties to local Chambers of Commerce. It spends more money on lobbying than any other entity in Washington, D.C., outspending even the political parties on elections nationwide. The Chamber has a $200 million budget, and as a 501(c)(6) trade association, it doesn’t have to pay any taxes or disclose its donors.

    • The Loaded Chamber: Secret Money
    • How Radical Christian Conservatives May Succeed in Destroying Democracy

      The ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes spent his life battling the assault on democracy by tyrants. It is disheartening to be reminded that he lost. But he understood that the hardest struggle for humankind is often stating and understanding the obvious. Aristophanes, who had the temerity to portray the ruling Greek tyrant, Cleon, as a dog, is the perfect playwright to turn to in trying to grasp the danger posed to us by movements from the tea party to militias to the Christian right, as well as the bankrupt and corrupt power elite that no longer concerns itself with the needs of its citizens. He saw the same corruption 2,400 years ago. He feared correctly that it would extinguish Athenian democracy. And he struggled in vain to rouse Athenians from their slumber.

    • The Kochs, Glenn Beck and Titans of Industry Met to Plot 2010 Elections

      ThinkProgress has discovered that the oil billionaire brothers, David H. and Charles G. Koch, who played a key role in creating and funding the Tea Party movement, hold a quiet annual, invitation-only gathering where they coordinate their political agenda with other titans of industry — including the big health insurers, oil executives, Wall Street investors, real estate tycoons, conservative journalists and TV opinion show stars like Glenn Beck.

    • MEMO: Health Insurance, Banking, Oil Industries Met With Koch, Chamber, Glenn Beck To Plot 2010 Election

      In 2006, Koch Industries owner Charles Koch revealed to the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore that he coordinates the funding of the conservative infrastructure of front groups, political campaigns, think tanks, media outlets and other anti-government efforts through a twice annual meeting of wealthy right-wing donors. He also confided to Moore, who is funded through several of Koch’s ventures, that his true goal is to strengthen the “culture of prosperity” by eliminating “90%” of all laws and government regulations. Although it is difficult to quantify the exact amount Koch alone has funneled to right-wing fronts, some studies have pointed toward $50 million he has given alone to anti-environmental groups.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Google boss: ‘Creeped out by Street View? Just move’

      Google CEO Eric Schmidt has said that if you don’t like Google Street View cars photographing your house, you can “just move.”

      “Street View. We drive exactly once,” Schmidt said during an appearance on CNN’s “Parker Spitzer” late last week. “So, you can just move, right?”

      Schmidt’s words were broadcast across the net on Friday, but they’ve been edited from the video now available on the CNN website. Before it was edited out, the moment was reported by The Wall Street Journal.

    • Why I’m suing the Department of Homeland Security

      Today the First Amendment Project is filing a lawsuit on my behalf against U.S. Customs and Border Protection (one of the divisions of the Department of Homeland Security) for violating the Privacy Act and the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) by refusing to disclose their records of my travels, what they did with my requests for my records, and how they index, search for, and retrieve these travel surveillance records.

    • Berlusconi ‘vendetta’ takes Italy’s Paxman off air again

      His fans see him as Italy’s Jeremy Paxman, an aggressive but penetrating TV anchorman. Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who owns most of the country’s private channels and wields indirect control over the state network, RAI, sees him as a dangerous leftie. Meet Michele Santoro, the temporarily banned hero of Italian current affairs broadcasting.

    • Egyptian government fears a Facebook revolution

      Many Egyptians, in what is still a police state, regard Facebook as a safe haven where they can campaign and express their opinions freely. But that could soon change following a crackdown by the authorities against various types of media.

      In Egypt, many opposition movements have either started or grown significantly on Facebook, most notably the April 6 youth movement and the national campaign to support Nobel peace prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei as a presidential candidate.

    • Chinese police refuse to register human rights lawyer as missing

      Chinese police have refused to register an outspoken human rights lawyer who has not been seen since April as a missing person, his elder brother said today.

      The disappearance of Gao Zhisheng has caused international concern, particularly because he had previously made detailed claims of torture at the hands of security officials during detentions.

    • Tibetan student protests spread to Beijing
    • The west must stand up to China

      Pity the Chinese. The inhabitants of the world’s next superpower cannot search the internet or assemble or travel or speak or read or write or even reproduce without restriction. Yet in the lands where freedom is abundant, China, rather than earning well-deserved rebukes, continues to be championed as the ineluctable future. This disgraceful journey began with a liberal assumption: the west, it was claimed, is more likely to influence China by partnering with it, by giving it a prominent position inside, rather than pushing it outside, global institutions.

    • Silence of the dissenters: How south-east Asia keeps web users in line

      Vietnam, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines have all moved or are moving towards monitoring internet use, blocking international sites regarded as critical and ruthlessly silencing web dissidents.

    • Gaza’s Surfer Girls
    • NYCLU Settlement Ends Restriction on Photography Outside Federal Courthouses
    • Plan to store Britons’ phone and internet data revived
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • What Do Kids Say About The Internet? + Competition For Best Online Children’s Content

      And, by the way, we can get a good insight into where the internet might head by understanding what these kids use. School work or watching videos (84% and 83% respectively). Playing games (74%) and communicating via instant messaging (61%) are the next most popular activities online. One out of three youngsters now connect via their mobile phones or other portable devices.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Vatican to rich countries: stop “excessive zeal” for IP rights

      On September 21, the Vatican observer at the UN, Mons. Silvano Maria Tomasi, addressed the 48th general assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva (English translation). He let the group know that the Vatican supports intellectual property rights (IPR) because such protection “recognizes the dignity of man and his work” and because it contributes to “the growth of the individual personality and to the common good.”

      But Tomasi then went on to make a point we’ve harped on repeatedly here at Ars: supporting IP rights in general does not always mean supporting tougher patent and copyright rules; “better” does not always mean “stronger.”

    • Steven Johnson: ‘Eureka moments are very, very rare’

      What all this means, in practical terms, is that the best way to encourage (or to have) new ideas isn’t to fetishise the “spark of genius”, to retreat to a mountain cabin in order to “be creative”, or to blabber interminably about “blue-sky”, “out-of-the-box” thinking. Rather, it’s to expand the range of your possible next moves – the perimeter of your potential – by exposing yourself to as much serendipity, as much argument and conversation, as many rival and related ideas as possible; to borrow, to repurpose, to recombine. This is one way of explaining the creativity generated by cities, by Europe’s 17th-century coffee-houses, and by the internet. Good ideas happen in networks; in one rather brain-bending sense, you could even say that “good ideas are networks”. Or as Johnson also puts it: “Chance favours the connected mind.”

    • Copyrights

      • We should copyright the Canadian way

        The new copyright bill, C-32, places consumers and users at risk of infringement for a wide variety of things, such as circumventing digital locks to transfer a CD track to an MP3 Player, or to transfer e-book content from an old device to a new one. Alongside C-32, Canada has been involved in talks to establish an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Both C-32 and ACTA represent a departure from Canadian copyright…

      • From “Radical Extremism” to “Balanced Copyright” : Canadian Copyright and the Digital Agenda
      • Six more website operators facing Righthaven copyright lawsuits

        Hotel management students in Canada are receiving a lesson in U.S. copyright law courtesy of Las Vegas copyright enforcement company Righthaven LLC.

      • US Library of Congress: Copyright Is Destroying Historic Audio
      • Critique of CBC’s new Anti-Creative Commons Policy

        The logical and ethical next step is to alter this policy, and as such I call for the CBC to do such; allowing for appropriately licensed Creative Commons music to exist alongside commercially licensed music, effectively giving back the rights of Artists and Show Producers to share content, and giving alternatives to Canadian Artists to decide for themselves how their content is to be used. A key issue here is artists’ right to give permission under copyright law for use of their works. They have various reasons for doing this, and why should CBC punish them? By blocking this, the CBC has effectively eliminated this potential on the larger scale. This is not the Canadian way of doing things – we share and we like sharing. Allowing policies like this to exist in our Public Services is a step backwards and creates justifications and rationalizations for similar policies in the future. As a Canadian, this upsets me – seeing my countries’ artists with alternative views set onto a back burner because they have been unfairly grouped in with others. This is not right at all.

      • MPAA Calls Censorship Of Websites ‘Forward Looking’

        Ah, the word choices of the MPAA. The organization that once claimed the VCR was the “Boston Strangler” of the movie industry is now out there trying to get three strikes and censorship laws passed to protect their business model, and referring to these backwards looking protectionist policies as “forward looking.” That’s what MPAA boss Bob Pisano called the idea, found in the COICA proposal to censor web sites the MPAA doesn’t like. Of course, if this had been in effect when the VCR first came out, there would be no VCR.

      • Is Mark Twain’s ‘New’ Autobiography Covered By Copyright?

        PometheeFeu pointed us to the news that Mark Twain’s autobiography, to be officially published for the first time 100 years after his death is already looking like it’s going to be a best seller. The book comes out on November 15th, but it’s already near the top of the bestseller lists on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble thanks to pre-orders. If you weren’t aware, Twain (real name Samuel Clemens), wrote this autobiography towards the end of his life, but demanded that it not be published until 100 years after his death (some of it, he demanded be withheld for 500 years). Allegedly, he did this so that he could say what he wanted without worrying about the people he spoke ill of ever finding out. Also, it’s not your typical autobiography. Apparently, it was more or less stream of consciousness, concerning whatever he felt like talking about. He would get up in the morning, talk about whatever he felt like, and people working for him would take it all down in dictation.

      • Sarkozy Wants To Use Anti-Censorship Conference To Promote Censorship By Copyright

        We’ve pointed out many times how copyright is, by its nature, a law for censorship. Now, you can argue that it’s necessary or useful censorship (though, I doubt I would agree), but it cannot be denied that the basic purpose of copyright law is to stifle a form of speech. That’s why I’m always amazed at the disconnect of politicians, who support anti-censorship efforts online at the same time that they promote plans to censor-via-copyright law. Of course, most haven’t actually thought about it, or they insist that copyright is not censorship at all, and they can’t fathom how the two are connected.

      • Irdial and the Underground

        The Underground story in brief is this: their comic was pirated and bootlegged on 4Chan. They didn’t sue or whine: the authors went online at 4Chan to discuss their comic. What happened? More good publicity than you can imagine – go look at their website for what happened to their sales.

      • ACTA

        • FFII: ACTA goes beyond present EU laws

          The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is not in line with present EU laws, according to a Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) analysis. Previously, the European Commission has often stated that ACTA would remain fully in line with existing EU legislation.

          Health groups have pointed out that ACTA will hamper access to essential medicine in developing countries. FFII’s analysis focusses on the impact ACTA will have on European SMEs in the ICT field, and on diffusion of green technology, needed to fight climate change. The FFII concludes that patents have to be excluded from ACTA’s civil enforcement section.

Clip of the Day

The Digital Prism Screencast – MintBackup


Credit: TinyOgg

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Mark Cuban Wants to Pay Government Attorneys to Get Off Their Ass

    Frustrated by the snail’s pace of the SEC investigation into insider trading allegations, Cuban offered to pay government attorneys to work faster.

  • Manila: A megacity where the living must share with the dead

    Land is precious in Manila, and people are prepared to endure incredible circumstances to claim their own piece. Baking’s family is one of hundreds that have set up home in the cemetery, jostling for space with the dead. “It’s much better living here than in a shanty town,” he assures me as we clamber over densely-packed powder pink and blue tombs on the way to his home. “It’s much more peaceful and quiet.”

  • Drug addict has vasectomy in return for £200 cash

    A drug addict has become the first man in Britain to take part in a controversial project that saw him get cash to be sterilised.

  • Report: Ancient ruins worldwide ‘on verge of vanishing’

    Twelve historic sites around the world are “on the verge of vanishing” because of mismanagement and neglect, according to a new report.

  • FarmVillains

    Steal someone else’s game. Change its name. Make millions. Repeat.

  • Judge Clears CAPTCHA-Breaking Case for Criminal Trial

    A federal judge in New Jersey has cleared the way for a landmark criminal case targeting CAPTCHA circumvention to proceed to trial.

  • UberCab Ordered to Cease And Desist

    Did Ubercab just crash and burn? Taxi and limo industry insiders in California today informed TechCrunch that the San Francisco Metro Transit Authority & the Public Utilities Commission of California have ordered the startup to cease and desist.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Scientists suggest that cancer is purely man-made

      Cancer is a modern, man-made disease caused by environmental factors such as pollution and diet, a study by University of Manchester scientists has strongly suggested.

      The study of remains and literature from ancient Egypt and Greece and earlier periods – carried out at Manchester’s KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology and published in Nature Reviews Cancer – includes the first histological diagnosis of cancer in an Egyptian mummy.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Jesse Jackson: Britain’s moral authority is undermined by police discrimination

      The Rev Jesse Jackson has said that Britain’s moral authority is being damaged by the government’s failure to stop the police discriminating against ethnic minorities.

    • AND FINALLY

      With the impact of the soon-to-be-announced mega austerity cuts still to come, it could be that millions will soon find it hard to make ends meet.

      But help is it hand. There’ll be no shortage of people forced to turn to shoplifting or petty crime to survive – and now there’s a website that will pay you to sit at home and spy on everyone in the hope of catching them.

    • Inquiry after police filmed hitting anti-fascist protester

      An investigation is under way after a police officer was filmed hitting an anti-fascist demonstrator in the face during a far-right rally.

      Alan Clough, 63, from Radcliffe, Bury, was protesting against the English Defence League (EDL) rally in Bolton in March when he was struck, fell to the ground and was subsequently arrested.

    • Iraq war logs: military privatisation run amok

      Shortly after 10am on 14 May 2005, a convoy of private security guards from Blackwater riding down “Route Irish” – the Baghdad airport road – shot up a civilian Iraqi vehicle. While they were at it, the Blackwater men fired shots over the heads of a group of soldiers from the 69th Regiment of the US Army before they sped away heading west in their white armoured truck. When the dust cleared, the Iraqi driver was dead and his wife and daughter were injured.

    • They’re Trying To Sell the Brooklyn Bridge Again

      So it was last month when a friendly couple dumped their paper on the train seat opposite me. And bingo, it was as bad as ever. “Defense Officials Predict Slow Afghan Progress.” And the sourcing for this hardly unexpected headline? “Senior US military officials”, “military officials”, “a senior US military official”, “Obama administration officials”, “defence officials”, “the senior military official”, “military leaders”, “the official”, “military officials”, “the officials”, “many in the military”, “military officials” (again), “officials” (again), “military officials” (yet again) and “officials” (yet again).

      Why do our scribes write this horseshit? My old mate Alexander Cockburn calls it “selling the Brooklyn Bridge” and claims that Michael Gordon, chief military correspondent of The New York Times, is always ready to buy it.

    • David Kelly files prove little for campaigners whose fight continues

      Kelly’s death has never been the subject of a proper inquest, Powers argues. The original inquest was replaced by the Hutton inquiry – a highly unusual and, to many observers, unjustified break with standard legal procedure for single deaths. Last month, lawyers acting for Kelly campaigners delivered an application for a fresh inquest to attorney general Dominic Grieve. Grieve is considering it, a process which may take several more months.

    • Norwich Council uses ‘spying’ powers to catch smoke pub

      Norwich City Council used controversial spying powers to investigate and fine a pub for flouting the smoking ban.

    • Allotments and privacy

      With allotments in mind, news has reached Big Brother Watch of the ludicrous situation of a Lincolnshire council demanding to know the sexual orientation, race and religion of those applying for one of the eighteen vacant plots in the City of Lincoln.

    • Police chief wants Birmingham ‘spy’ cameras removed
    • Sacrificing our liberties won’t win the war against terror

      The good news, according to Professor Audrey Cronin at the US National War College, is that terrorist campaigns always end. The only questions are when and how. The answers hinge on government policy. After the 2005 London bombings, Tony Blair proclaimed: “Let no one be in any doubt, the rules of the game are changing.” Ministers proposed waves of authoritarian measures, including incursions on free speech, control orders, ID cards and extensions to detention without charge that one former chief constable labelled a “propaganda coup for Al-Qaeda”. If Al-Qaeda was looking for a repressive reaction, they got it. But, was it effective?

    • EXCLUSIVE: WikiLeaks Prepares Largest Intel Leak in US History with Release of 400,000 Iraq War Docs

      AMY GOODMAN: So they’re doing it again on this 400,000-document leak?

      DANIEL ELLSBERG: They’re doing it again, and it’s much to their credit, and I appreciate it. I’ve waited forty years for a release on this scale. I think there should have been something on the scale of the Pentagon Papers every year. How often do we need this kind of thing? We haven’t seen it. So I’m very glad that someone is taking the risk and the initiative to inform us better now.

    • Government web snooping back on the cards

      Government plans to intercept Internet communications and store details of “traffic data” are reportedly back on the cards.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • French protests jeopardise airport fuel supplies

      France’s main airport has only a few days’ worth of jet fuel left, it was announced today, as the strikes against government pension plans continued to disrupt infrastructure.

    • Sarkozy should retire, says France

      More importantly, the French have decided to take to the streets in the millions – including large-scale strikes and work stoppages – to defend hard-won retirement gains. (It must be emphasised, since the media sometimes forgets to make the distinction, that only a tiny percentage of France’s demonstrators have engaged in any kind of property damage and even fewer in violence, with all but these few protesting peacefully.) French populist rage is being directed in a positive direction – unlike in the United States where it is most prominently being mobilised to elect political candidates who will do their best to increase the suffering of working- and middle-class citizens.

    • Greece promises to crack down on tax evaders

      Saying Greeks had already made “unprecedented sacrifices”, the prime minister, George Papandreou, insisted today there would be no more hard-hitting austerity measures, despite the country bracing itself for an expected upward revision of a budget deficit that at 13.6% has already hit record highs.

      “Whatever happens, there will be no additional burden placed on wage earners and pensioners. There will be no additional increase in tax rates beyond the ones we have already committed to making,” Papandreou said.

    • Fannie and Freddie’s Foreclosure Barons

      [Editor’s note: In November 2009, MoJo reporter Andy Kroll received a tip about a little-known yet powerful firm, the Law Offices of David J. Stern, which handled staggering numbers of foreclosures in southeastern Florida—the throbbing heart of nation’s housing crisis. Among the allegations, the tipster had it from insiders that Stern employees were routinely falsifying legal paperwork in an effort to push borrowers out of their homes as quickly—and profitably—as possible.

      Kroll spent eight months investigating Stern’s firm and its ilk—a breed of deep-pocketed and controversial operations dubbed “foreclosure mills.” After sifting through thousands of pages of court documents, interviewing scores of legal experts and former Stern employees, and attending dozens of foreclosure hearings in drab Florida courtrooms, he emerged with a portrait of a law firm—indeed, an entire industry—that was willing to cut corners, deceive judges, and even (allegedly) commit fraud—all at the expense of America’s homeowners.

    • ForeclosureGate
    • Wall Street Sold `Tragically Deficient’ Product, Angelides Says

      Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. created products that were “tragically deficient,” in the view of the chairman of the panel charged by Congress with identifying the causes of the financial crisis.

    • Timothy Geithner forecloses on the moratorium debate

      Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is good at telling fairy tales. Geithner first became known to the general public in September of 2008. Back then, he was head of the New York Federal Reserve Board. He was part of the triumvirate, along with Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke and then Treasury secretary Henry Paulson, who told congress that it had to pass the Tarp or the economy would collapse.

    • Unemployment Benefits: The 99ers

      Even after an extension of unemployment benefits to 99 weeks, many of those about to go off the program are in a quandary. Scott Pelley talks to some of them in Silicon Valley.

    • California Data Autumnal: Dialing Back a Decade

      From the highs of 2007, total California employment is down about 6.5%. And, 2008 total oil product consumption compared to 2007 is down about 5.5%. There is no question that 2009 energy data from EIA Washington will show another notable fall, in California energy use. Meanwhile, as we can see from the labor market data, there is no economic recovery occurring in America’s largest state.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Tell the DOJ: Investigate the Chamber of Commerce’s campaign spending

      This year alone the Chamber has pledged to spend $75 million on ads attacking candidates who don’t meekly bow down to the biggest and wealthiest corporate interests.

    • It’s Not Your Local Chamber of Commerce

      Many Americans think of the Chamber of Commerce as a local organization that supplies maps or information about local businesses, or thing of it as a sort of civics league, like the Elks Lodge. But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. is completely different. It often has no ties to local Chambers of Commerce. It spends more money on lobbying than any other entity in Washington, D.C., outspending even the political parties on elections nationwide. The Chamber has a $200 million budget, and as a 501(c)(6) trade association, it doesn’t have to pay any taxes or disclose its donors.

    • The Loaded Chamber: Secret Money
    • How Radical Christian Conservatives May Succeed in Destroying Democracy

      The ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes spent his life battling the assault on democracy by tyrants. It is disheartening to be reminded that he lost. But he understood that the hardest struggle for humankind is often stating and understanding the obvious. Aristophanes, who had the temerity to portray the ruling Greek tyrant, Cleon, as a dog, is the perfect playwright to turn to in trying to grasp the danger posed to us by movements from the tea party to militias to the Christian right, as well as the bankrupt and corrupt power elite that no longer concerns itself with the needs of its citizens. He saw the same corruption 2,400 years ago. He feared correctly that it would extinguish Athenian democracy. And he struggled in vain to rouse Athenians from their slumber.

    • The Kochs, Glenn Beck and Titans of Industry Met to Plot 2010 Elections

      ThinkProgress has discovered that the oil billionaire brothers, David H. and Charles G. Koch, who played a key role in creating and funding the Tea Party movement, hold a quiet annual, invitation-only gathering where they coordinate their political agenda with other titans of industry — including the big health insurers, oil executives, Wall Street investors, real estate tycoons, conservative journalists and TV opinion show stars like Glenn Beck.

    • MEMO: Health Insurance, Banking, Oil Industries Met With Koch, Chamber, Glenn Beck To Plot 2010 Election

      In 2006, Koch Industries owner Charles Koch revealed to the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore that he coordinates the funding of the conservative infrastructure of front groups, political campaigns, think tanks, media outlets and other anti-government efforts through a twice annual meeting of wealthy right-wing donors. He also confided to Moore, who is funded through several of Koch’s ventures, that his true goal is to strengthen the “culture of prosperity” by eliminating “90%” of all laws and government regulations. Although it is difficult to quantify the exact amount Koch alone has funneled to right-wing fronts, some studies have pointed toward $50 million he has given alone to anti-environmental groups.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Google boss: ‘Creeped out by Street View? Just move’

      Google CEO Eric Schmidt has said that if you don’t like Google Street View cars photographing your house, you can “just move.”

      “Street View. We drive exactly once,” Schmidt said during an appearance on CNN’s “Parker Spitzer” late last week. “So, you can just move, right?”

      Schmidt’s words were broadcast across the net on Friday, but they’ve been edited from the video now available on the CNN website. Before it was edited out, the moment was reported by The Wall Street Journal.

    • Why I’m suing the Department of Homeland Security

      Today the First Amendment Project is filing a lawsuit on my behalf against U.S. Customs and Border Protection (one of the divisions of the Department of Homeland Security) for violating the Privacy Act and the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) by refusing to disclose their records of my travels, what they did with my requests for my records, and how they index, search for, and retrieve these travel surveillance records.

    • Berlusconi ‘vendetta’ takes Italy’s Paxman off air again

      His fans see him as Italy’s Jeremy Paxman, an aggressive but penetrating TV anchorman. Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who owns most of the country’s private channels and wields indirect control over the state network, RAI, sees him as a dangerous leftie. Meet Michele Santoro, the temporarily banned hero of Italian current affairs broadcasting.

    • Egyptian government fears a Facebook revolution

      Many Egyptians, in what is still a police state, regard Facebook as a safe haven where they can campaign and express their opinions freely. But that could soon change following a crackdown by the authorities against various types of media.

      In Egypt, many opposition movements have either started or grown significantly on Facebook, most notably the April 6 youth movement and the national campaign to support Nobel peace prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei as a presidential candidate.

    • Chinese police refuse to register human rights lawyer as missing

      Chinese police have refused to register an outspoken human rights lawyer who has not been seen since April as a missing person, his elder brother said today.

      The disappearance of Gao Zhisheng has caused international concern, particularly because he had previously made detailed claims of torture at the hands of security officials during detentions.

    • Tibetan student protests spread to Beijing
    • The west must stand up to China

      Pity the Chinese. The inhabitants of the world’s next superpower cannot search the internet or assemble or travel or speak or read or write or even reproduce without restriction. Yet in the lands where freedom is abundant, China, rather than earning well-deserved rebukes, continues to be championed as the ineluctable future. This disgraceful journey began with a liberal assumption: the west, it was claimed, is more likely to influence China by partnering with it, by giving it a prominent position inside, rather than pushing it outside, global institutions.

    • Silence of the dissenters: How south-east Asia keeps web users in line

      Vietnam, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines have all moved or are moving towards monitoring internet use, blocking international sites regarded as critical and ruthlessly silencing web dissidents.

    • Gaza’s Surfer Girls
    • NYCLU Settlement Ends Restriction on Photography Outside Federal Courthouses
    • Plan to store Britons’ phone and internet data revived
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • What Do Kids Say About The Internet? + Competition For Best Online Children’s Content

      And, by the way, we can get a good insight into where the internet might head by understanding what these kids use. School work or watching videos (84% and 83% respectively). Playing games (74%) and communicating via instant messaging (61%) are the next most popular activities online. One out of three youngsters now connect via their mobile phones or other portable devices.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Vatican to rich countries: stop “excessive zeal” for IP rights

      On September 21, the Vatican observer at the UN, Mons. Silvano Maria Tomasi, addressed the 48th general assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva (English translation). He let the group know that the Vatican supports intellectual property rights (IPR) because such protection “recognizes the dignity of man and his work” and because it contributes to “the growth of the individual personality and to the common good.”

      But Tomasi then went on to make a point we’ve harped on repeatedly here at Ars: supporting IP rights in general does not always mean supporting tougher patent and copyright rules; “better” does not always mean “stronger.”

    • Steven Johnson: ‘Eureka moments are very, very rare’

      What all this means, in practical terms, is that the best way to encourage (or to have) new ideas isn’t to fetishise the “spark of genius”, to retreat to a mountain cabin in order to “be creative”, or to blabber interminably about “blue-sky”, “out-of-the-box” thinking. Rather, it’s to expand the range of your possible next moves – the perimeter of your potential – by exposing yourself to as much serendipity, as much argument and conversation, as many rival and related ideas as possible; to borrow, to repurpose, to recombine. This is one way of explaining the creativity generated by cities, by Europe’s 17th-century coffee-houses, and by the internet. Good ideas happen in networks; in one rather brain-bending sense, you could even say that “good ideas are networks”. Or as Johnson also puts it: “Chance favours the connected mind.”

    • Copyrights

      • We should copyright the Canadian way

        The new copyright bill, C-32, places consumers and users at risk of infringement for a wide variety of things, such as circumventing digital locks to transfer a CD track to an MP3 Player, or to transfer e-book content from an old device to a new one. Alongside C-32, Canada has been involved in talks to establish an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Both C-32 and ACTA represent a departure from Canadian copyright…

      • From “Radical Extremism” to “Balanced Copyright” : Canadian Copyright and the Digital Agenda
      • Six more website operators facing Righthaven copyright lawsuits

        Hotel management students in Canada are receiving a lesson in U.S. copyright law courtesy of Las Vegas copyright enforcement company Righthaven LLC.

      • US Library of Congress: Copyright Is Destroying Historic Audio
      • Critique of CBC’s new Anti-Creative Commons Policy

        The logical and ethical next step is to alter this policy, and as such I call for the CBC to do such; allowing for appropriately licensed Creative Commons music to exist alongside commercially licensed music, effectively giving back the rights of Artists and Show Producers to share content, and giving alternatives to Canadian Artists to decide for themselves how their content is to be used. A key issue here is artists’ right to give permission under copyright law for use of their works. They have various reasons for doing this, and why should CBC punish them? By blocking this, the CBC has effectively eliminated this potential on the larger scale. This is not the Canadian way of doing things – we share and we like sharing. Allowing policies like this to exist in our Public Services is a step backwards and creates justifications and rationalizations for similar policies in the future. As a Canadian, this upsets me – seeing my countries’ artists with alternative views set onto a back burner because they have been unfairly grouped in with others. This is not right at all.

      • MPAA Calls Censorship Of Websites ‘Forward Looking’

        Ah, the word choices of the MPAA. The organization that once claimed the VCR was the “Boston Strangler” of the movie industry is now out there trying to get three strikes and censorship laws passed to protect their business model, and referring to these backwards looking protectionist policies as “forward looking.” That’s what MPAA boss Bob Pisano called the idea, found in the COICA proposal to censor web sites the MPAA doesn’t like. Of course, if this had been in effect when the VCR first came out, there would be no VCR.

      • Is Mark Twain’s ‘New’ Autobiography Covered By Copyright?

        PometheeFeu pointed us to the news that Mark Twain’s autobiography, to be officially published for the first time 100 years after his death is already looking like it’s going to be a best seller. The book comes out on November 15th, but it’s already near the top of the bestseller lists on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble thanks to pre-orders. If you weren’t aware, Twain (real name Samuel Clemens), wrote this autobiography towards the end of his life, but demanded that it not be published until 100 years after his death (some of it, he demanded be withheld for 500 years). Allegedly, he did this so that he could say what he wanted without worrying about the people he spoke ill of ever finding out. Also, it’s not your typical autobiography. Apparently, it was more or less stream of consciousness, concerning whatever he felt like talking about. He would get up in the morning, talk about whatever he felt like, and people working for him would take it all down in dictation.

      • Sarkozy Wants To Use Anti-Censorship Conference To Promote Censorship By Copyright

        We’ve pointed out many times how copyright is, by its nature, a law for censorship. Now, you can argue that it’s necessary or useful censorship (though, I doubt I would agree), but it cannot be denied that the basic purpose of copyright law is to stifle a form of speech. That’s why I’m always amazed at the disconnect of politicians, who support anti-censorship efforts online at the same time that they promote plans to censor-via-copyright law. Of course, most haven’t actually thought about it, or they insist that copyright is not censorship at all, and they can’t fathom how the two are connected.

      • Irdial and the Underground

        The Underground story in brief is this: their comic was pirated and bootlegged on 4Chan. They didn’t sue or whine: the authors went online at 4Chan to discuss their comic. What happened? More good publicity than you can imagine – go look at their website for what happened to their sales.

      • ACTA

        • FFII: ACTA goes beyond present EU laws

          The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is not in line with present EU laws, according to a Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) analysis. Previously, the European Commission has often stated that ACTA would remain fully in line with existing EU legislation.

          Health groups have pointed out that ACTA will hamper access to essential medicine in developing countries. FFII’s analysis focusses on the impact ACTA will have on European SMEs in the ICT field, and on diffusion of green technology, needed to fight climate change. The FFII concludes that patents have to be excluded from ACTA’s civil enforcement section.

Clip of the Day

The Digital Prism Screencast – MintBackup


Credit: TinyOgg

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