Monthly Archives: March 2012

Vote for me! I am standing for the ORG board.

I am standing for election to the Open Rights Group (ORG) Board. I hope to offer experience, knowledge and commitment.

I work in the information technology business and came to ORG via the Open Source and Software Freedom campaigns. I submitted personal evidence to the Government consultation on peer to peer file sharing in 2009, started following the ORG shortly after.

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The abuse of takedown notices

In Feburary, TechDirt discovered that one of it’s key anti-SOPA polemics had been deleted from Google’s index as a result of a bogus DMCA takedown notice. The article goes onto detail similar dirty tricks on Torrentfreak.

In my article, “More on the Newzbin2 affair”,  I comment on BT’s attempt to clarify the initial injunction and the issue of false notifications and liability for acting on them. The judge said there was no evidence that false notification would be significant. Despite the well documented existence of speculative invoicing scams, this would seem to add to the evidence that while accusing innocent infringers is free of consequence, some at least will do it.

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Only a musician sees the future

The queue to get into Parliament last week was a bit long, so long I missed the first presentation at Pictfor’s Consumer’s and Creators in the 21st Century Copyright World, although I did take some good pictures. Saskia Wetzel was the first person on, and it’s a shame I missed it; she was the only speaker designated as a consumer representative.

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The internet is a UK success

I was going to polish my notes from the #Pictor meeting last week, which has published its own precis of events, but the Wall Street Journal and the BBC are both carrying a story sourced from Boston Consulting that the UK’s internet industry is now over 8% of GDP, and grew at over 10% during the period of the study. This is  while the UK GDP grew by 0.7% over the last year and there remain fears of a return to recession.

James Firth, at his blog, “Slightly Right of Centre”, tries to evaluate the contribution of the Internet industry vs. the “creative” industry and makes the point that the Digital Economy Act was passed to help and support a very important wealth creator in our economy. It’s a shame, well, more truthfully a point of design,  that it almost certainly discriminates against an even more important one. The figure bandied about by BIS at the time the time the act was passed was that creative industries were about 7% of GDP; the internet has overtaken it.

No matter how one does the sums, maybe its time to back a winner!

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Copyright maximalists even want to eat orphans

I attended the PICTFOR meeting on Tuesday, having prepared for it by researching the state of politics in relation to “Orphan Works”. I have been pointed at this issue by Dr James Boyle in his Orgcon 2010 speech and more recently by this paper, called “Orphan Works: Mapping the Possible Solution Spaces” by David Hansen.

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The London Mayors and their tax affairs

There has been some complete shite written about Ken Livingstone’s tax affairs; he has replied in this article at the Huffington Post.  Here’s the law. The HMRC insist that people once known as sole traders incorporate themselves and run fully regulated companies so that the might of the Companies Act applies to their record keeping.  As a reward, or inducement, unlike those of us who pay PAYE, they are allowed to evaluate and pay their tax bill a year in arrears.

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A look at the sources of Government Income

The budget was presented last week and I decided to look at where the money comes from.

Interesting how much comes from personal taxation; NI is a payroll tax, much of it paid by business. 13% of the total income is new borrowing. I suppose I am most shocked by how little is collected through the ‘progressive’ income tax ( 23%).

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Neither the UK, nor the EU should sign ACTA

Red Sin Censura, published an Internet in Danger page the other day, which pointed me at Le Monde’s “What’s wrong with ACTA”. This has been worrying me, since much of the opposition has been based solely on secrecy, although this bleeds into democratic oversight. Since the treaty has been negotiated primarily between democracies and their politicians and public servants, to me secrecy alone is not sufficient to win broad support to opposition to the proposed treaty; there’s a lot of people that trust their politicians.

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