Tag Archives: digital economy - Page 2

Contributing to a fairer European Copyright law

I have today submitted evidence to the EU’s Copyright Consultation. I used  http://copywrongs.eu/ to help me, they filter the questions for you, and I wrote about exceptions (we, especially in the UK, need more) , clarity and derived works (again arguing for more), the balance of rights between copyright holders and citizens (more rights for citizens) and the appropriateness of old laws and concepts to the digital age (they aren’t).

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Web Blocking in the UK

An internet safe for kids, plebs and Tories

The phone companies’ Tory inspired “safe content” filters are coming online. While the road to and strong arming of the ISPs into voluntary agreement was well covered over the summer, although not be me, it seemed the Surveillance stories were more important, the New Statesman in an article published last week by Martin Robbins, entitled “Cameron’s internet filter goes far beyond porn – and that was always the plan” shows the bleeding obvious that it’s not possible to build “safe” filters for other people. The article has provoked some noise on twitter since these privately implemented filters are a non-accountable overreach, there is no appeal, no democratic oversight and they are implemented using crude ineffective technology which reinforces such overreach. Taken in conjunction with the Gagging Bill, also known as the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill currently going through Parliament, this should be seen as an attack on our democratic systems in that it will deprive citizens of the information and evidence that they need to vote.

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Is piracy really the most important issue facing the creative industries

Today, Parliament released the “Culture” select committee’s report “Supporting the Creative Industries”. The headline pursued by most media outlets is that Google’s efforts to limit copyright infringement by its ‘users’ is, to quote the committee chairman, John Whittingdale, “derisory”.  This is reported by Computing, which extends Whittingdale’s quotes which demand further action from Google which is erroneously singled out as the single largest source of piracy and thus the single largest source of damage to Britain’s creative industries. Peter Bradwell of the ORG, and Paul Bernal of UEA cover the report and its impact, in Peter’s case on the ORG Blog, in an article called, Culture Committee copyright report one-sided and simplistic and in Paul’s case on his blog in an article called, Supporting the creative economy?. The ORG verbal evidence to the committee is available as a video here…, on Parliament TV. Enjoy the show and Peter’s persistant return to statistics and facts

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Privacy

The next session, called “Naked Citizens! The Data Protection Regulation and why you should care about it”.

The speakers were Anna Fielder from Privacy International, David Smith, the Deputy Information Commissioner and Kasey Chappele, a Lawyer from Vodafone. Fortunately for Kasey, no-one asked about about Vodafone’s Tax Affairs. She went through some of Vodafone’s route to where they are today, and they are quite proud of where they’ve got to. Critically, she argued that while Privacy is seen as a compliance issue, it won’t improve, it’s only when companies start to compete on Privacy that managers will treat Privacy as more than a burden.

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Can I get there by candlelight?

The conference was held in the shadow of the Guardian and Washington Post’s scoop that the NSA are accessing all foreigner’s uses of the major social networking sites, which are all, err…, US owned and based. As one speaker quipped, “Did we organise this, as a marketing scheme?”

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Tim Wu speaks

I got there late, but in time to hear the end of Tim Wu’s opening  key note. His comments about the failure to build a peer-to-peer internet stimulated an interest. His book, “The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires” examines the evolution of information networks from radio through TV and Cable to the Internet, so I have ordered it. It’ll be interesting to compare, contrast and possibly integrate his ideas with those of Benkler and Perez. While researching for the article that eventually became Municipal WiFi, now over 1½ years old, I was interested in the funding and technology problems faced by public sector organisations. Some hackers have considered making wireless access gateways peer-to-peer, particularly in France while the Hadoopi laws were being debated and passed, but we are still running an internet of hubs and spokes, in the words of the Register, modeled on the command and control systems used in the Soviet Union.

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Linking is legal again

Seventeen senior academic lawyers have published a powerful opinion that internet hyperlinks, to copyright infringing content is legal. The EU Court has been asked for an opinion/ruling by the Swedish Government, the case is summarised on the marvellous 1709 blog in an article entitled “CJEU to consider copyright implications of linking and framing”. The lawyers have published this opinion under the auspices of the European Copyright Society. This is not exactly news but it’s an important statement of common sense.

Let’s hope the Judges agree!

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A night with the Open Rights Group

I dropped into the #openrightsgroup meetup last night. Jim Killock presented on the coming legislative challenges, the crawl of the DE Act to execution, the resurrection of the CDDP, the corporate lobbying of the Tories and the EPP in European Parliament to weaken the EU’s proposed Data Privacy regulation. The resurrection of DRM in the standards world (HTML5) was raised, as was retaining the capability to help scrutinise electronic counting of paper votes, and oppose the full automation of elections. Jim announced that the ORG are organising an ORGCON North and an ORGCON in London later in this year. Welcome to #ORGCON13

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Is not just hackers, its leaking as well

I have suggested in two blog articles, that the should the UK’s security services build their proposed internet surveillance system, that it will be accessed illegally by the well resourced and technically savvy, and legally by those that can afford the lawyers, mainly big business or the sensitive libel litigators. There is well proven precedent that laws designed for a narrow purpose will bleed into broader areas.

We already have example of the Norwich Pharmacal case, where HMRC were subpoenaed to release records to a party in a civil case. This has bled from intellectual property to other cases. It should be noted that giving HMRC the facts they require is mandatory. It’s this bleeding of law from its original purpose to others that often makes the worse law.

The inland revenue refused point blank to take on the Child Support Agency’s collection duties and also fought tooth and nail to keep its data private from the CSA. They felt that many men would tell the truth to them, but seek to avoid co-operating with the CSA; inter-agency co-operation would in their eyes make their duties more difficult; they’d loose co-operation of many of taxpayers.

The decennial Census is mandatory. The privacy guarantee is that neither individual returns nor micro-sets that allow the identification of individuals will be published, yet this was run by Lockheed Martin, an organisation subject to Patriot Act supervision?

The establishment of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) has also created another luge, from the specific to the general. It was created to ensure that staff in schools criminal records were known. It is now used for parent volunteers and it is becoming common place for large employers to ask for a criminal records check before offering work. The CRB won’t release their data to organisations with no child protection roles without the permission of data subject, so guess what the options are if you want or need the job.

(That’d be quite a good caveat, no non law enforcement organisations can access the snoopers database without permission of the data subjects, but we need to change RIPA, since very large number of organisations can issue.)

This is all an interesting contrast as private (i.e. legally confidential) data is made available to the interested, but public data is being privatised.

Actually the Tories seem conflicted, their manifesto promises and early actions suggest they’d like to live with and act on the view that public data should be made available to allow the crowd-sourcing of innovation using the data, such as TFL and the train locations, enabling the private sector to create jobs and income on the back of a public sunk investment. They were persuaded that the public or the taxpayer as they like to see it had already paid for the data. However, the cutting of the Universities funding system weakens the public claim on the research output of these institutions; enabling the enclosure of this research by the academic publishers.

Alec Muffett has performed a   … » Read more …

Why Industrial Content prefers the Copyright Act to the Digital Economy Act

Under DE Act, copyright holders will have to pay half the costs of the enforcement; under the Copyright Act, it would seem the costs are awarded by the court, who have placed all the costs on BT in the case of the newzbin2 judgements.

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De Grucht, EU Trade Commissioner is on borrowed time

The EU Parliament voted not to ratify ACTA last week. In the immediate aftermath of the debate, the EU Commission member responsible for International Trade, Karel De Grucht stated that it wasn’t over and the Commission would look to ways to re-introduce it, possibly after the ECJ rules on if it amends or contradicts EU law; but seemingly not. Several of the Parliamentarians, such the UK’s David Martin and Eire’s Paul Flynn stated that this would be illegal, and a contempt of the European Parliament.

De Grucht was nominated to the Commission by a Belgian Government that has since been replaced by a Socialist led coalition. I can’t see them renominating him and the Commission’s term ends in 2014. It would be a close run thing as to whether the ECJ will rule in the life time of this Parliament and Commission. Wish I’d though of that in the letters I wrote to MEPs. If you, i.e. the European Parliament don’t decide now, you probably won’t decide at all.

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How can you commit copyright infringement without copying?

Yesterday, I read and commented on Judge Purdy’s judgement as to why Richard O’Dwyer had committed a serious crime in the this country and hence was liable to extradition to the USA. Here’s the source of my outrage,

he is due to face charges of copyright infringement while no-one claims he has copied anything

Not right!

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The O’Dwyer Case, why we thought linking was legal

It seems the Liberal Democrats are gearing up to oppose the extradition of Richard O’Dwyer. Good. He shouldn’t be extradited; it’s not the asynchronous nature of the Anglo US extradition treaty which is the problem here. In order to be extradited, you need to have a case to answer that you have broken a serious law in both jurisdictions.

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