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It turns out that the International Intellectual Property Alliance, an umbrella group for organisations including the MPAA and RIAA, has requested with the US Trade Representative to consider countries like Indonesia, Brazil and India for its “Special 301 watchlist” because they use open source software.
Still, in countries where the government has legislated the adoption of FOSS, the position makes some sense because it hurts businesses like Microsoft. But that’s not the end of it.
No, the really interesting thing that Guadamuz found was that governments don’t even need to pass legislation. Even a recommendation can be enough.
Example: last year the Indonesian government sent around a circular to all government departments and state-owned businesses, pushing them towards open source. This, says the IIPA, “encourages government agencies to use “FOSS” (Free Open Source Software) with a view toward implementation by the end of 2011, which the Circular states will result in the use of legitimate open source and FOSS software and a reduction in overall costs of software”.
Nothing wrong with that, right? After all, the British government has said it will boost the use of open source software.
But the IIPA suggested that Indonesia deserves Special 301 status because encouraging (not forcing) such takeup “weakens the software industry” and “fails to build respect for intellectual property rights”.
In late 2006, students at a school in Turin, Italy filmed and then uploaded a video to Google Video that showed them bullying an autistic schoolmate. The video was totally reprehensible and we took it down within hours of being notified by the Italian police. We also worked with the local police to help identify the person responsible for uploading it and she was subsequently sentenced to 10 months community service by a court in Turin, as were several other classmates who were also involved. In these rare but unpleasant cases, that’s where our involvement would normally end.
But in this instance, a public prosecutor in Milan decided to indict four Google employees —David Drummond, Arvind Desikan, Peter Fleischer and George Reyes (who left the company in 2008). The charges brought against them were criminal defamation and a failure to comply with the Italian privacy code. To be clear, none of the four Googlers charged had anything to do with this video. They did not appear in it, film it, upload it or review it. None of them know the people involved or were even aware of the video’s existence until after it was removed.
Nevertheless, a judge in Milan today convicted 3 of the 4 defendants — David Drummond, Peter Fleischer and George Reyes — for failure to comply with the Italian privacy code. All 4 were found not guilty of criminal defamation. In essence this ruling means that employees of hosting platforms like Google Video are criminally responsible for content that users upload. We will appeal this astonishing decision because the Google employees on trial had nothing to do with the video in question. Throughout this long process, they have displayed admirable grace and fortitude. It is outrageous that they have been subjected to a trial at all.
What was the video shot on? Maybe they can press charges on some Sony employees for making cameras too.
“What if the boy didn’t stop? Would you spank him forever, or would you stop when it bordered on abuse, in which case the child would win?” On February 6, seven-year-old Lydia Schatz was murdered by her parents. Her eleven-year-old sister Zariah was hospitalized for kidney failure, among other injuries. Both girls had repeatedly been beaten with quarter-inch plastic plumbing supply line, a punishment instrument recommended by Michael and Debi Pearl of No Greater Joy ministries.
The Pearls’ child training manuals have been popular in Christian homeschooling circles since the first one, Train Up A Child, was published in 1994. Their views and tactics are not without controversy, however, both on the child welfare and theological fronts. Though the Pearls consider themselves child-training experts, they have no formal training in child development. This is not the first time a family following NGJ discipline theory has killed a child.
The Butte County DA is investigating NGJ in connection with Lydia’s death. Michael Pearl responds. Blogger Tulipgirl responds to the response, while another blogger who knew the Schatzes gives further background.
From the comments:
Christianity is a tub of bathwater we’ve been told we should not throw out because of the valuable baby in it. The water just gets dirtier and dirtier and more and more stagnant, and if there was ever a baby in there it drowned long ago.
In 1902, Francisco Tárrega wrote a very nice waltz. Little did he realize that 91 years later, a few bars in the middle would be plucked from obscurity to become the most-frequently heard tune in the world.
And now, the beguilingly irksome Nokia Tune has begotten its own subgenre of pieces – some silly, some lovely – that take its theme as a starting point. Fugues! Improvisations! Orchestrations! Parodies! And perhaps my favourite: A whole new waltz.
The “Nokia tune” was adopted by the Finnish cellphone company in 1993, lifted from a (then) 91-year old piece called Gran Vals, which in later years has become a favourite of sensitive-looking guitarists on YouTube.
But it’s also inspired Impromptus! More fugues! Emo kids! And too many remixes. And inevitably, even Nokia has been creating whole new settings for the tune. The company might be getting thrashed in the smartphone wars, but it will always have its waltz.
The European Union has opened an antitrust investigation into Google to look into claims made by three European-based Internet companies. Not surprisingly, this key part of the investigation is said to be about search, which is dominated by Google is most of the EU markets.
Okay, without looking – guess who’s funding one of those three companies.
In the name of improved security a hacker showed how a biometric passport issued in the name of long-dead rock ‘n’ roll king Elvis Presley could be cleared through an automated passport scanning system being tested at an international airport.
Using a doctored passport at a self-serve passport machine, the hacker was cleared for travel after just a few seconds and a picture of the King himself appeared on the monitor’s display.
Adam Laurie and Jeroen Van Beek, who call themselves “ethical hackers,” say the exercise exposed how easy it is to fool a passport scanner with a fraudulent biometric chip.
The NHS should stop funding all homeopathic medicine, the House of Commons science watchdog said yesterday. The cross-party group said there was no evidence that homeopathic remedies had anything other than a placebo effect.
The NHS spends about £4 million a year on homeopathy, paying for prescriptions and supporting the running of four homeopathic hospitals.
Suggestion: this year, give each hospital £10, and tell them it will work better ’cause it’s diluted
“The Fed’s 1999 report, published five months before the Financial Services Modernization Act passed, found that overdraft fees were 41 percent higher at big banks compared to small. Big banks charged more for almost every fee imaginable, including 43 percent more for bounced checks, 57 percent more for stop-payment orders, and 18 percent more for ATM withdrawals.
“But rather than allow the evidence in favor of smaller banks to guide policy, Congress decided to get rid of the evidence. At the urging of then Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, Congress ordered the Federal Reserve to stop publishing its annual report on bank fees. . . .
“But, as it turns out, the firm that the Fed once employed to gather this data, Moebs Services, has continued to survey fees at more than 2,000 financial institutions. Moebs agreed to share its 2009 data with the New Rules Project. As our charts show, the biggest banks still impose much higher costs on their customers than small financial institutions do.
The man charged with protecting EU citizens’ personal data and privacy has protested at being frozen out of secret negotiations to tighten international copyright law online.
Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Supervisor, spoke out after a draft of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) leaked on Friday. It showed plans to make ISPs liable under civil law for the content of traffic.
“Whereas intellectual property is important to society and must be protected, it should not be placed above individuals’ fundamental rights to privacy and data protection,” Hustinx said.
The European Commission is negotiating ACTA on behalf of the EU, including the UK. Hustinx office said he “regrets” that he was not consulted by officials on the content of the proposed agreement.
That the European Data Protection Supervisor is not involved in negotiating ACTA should tell you all you need to know about it.
Toyota officials claimed they saved the company $100 million by successfully negotiating with the government on a limited recall of floor mats in some Toyota and Lexus vehicles, according to new documents shared with congressional investigators.
Toyota, in an internal presentation in July 2009 at its Washington office, said it saved $100 million or more by negotiating an “equipment recall” of floor mats involving 55,000 Toyota Camry and Lexus ES350 vehicles in September 2007.
The savings are listed under the title, “Wins for Toyota – Safety Group.” The document cites millions of dollars in other savings by delaying safety regulations, avoiding defect investigations and slowing down other industry requirements.
The documents could set off alarms in Congress over whether Toyota put profits ahead of customer safety and pushed regulators to narrow the scope of recalls.
The Polish authorities have for the first time admitted their involvement in the CIA’s secret programme for the rendition of high-level terrorist suspects from Iraq and Afghanistan, it emerged today.
After years of stonewalling, Warsaw’s air control service confirmed that at least six CIA flights had landed at a disused military air base in northern Poland in 2003.
“It is time for the authorities to provide a full accounting of Poland’s role in rendition,” Adam Bodnar, of the Warsaw-based Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, said.
After having been very publically ejected from the company late last year, former GM CEO Fritz Henderson has been reinstated with a cushy consulting role less than three months on. In early December, 2009 Henderson was asked by the then Chairman of the Board, Ed Whitacre, to resign just days before he was to make a keynote address at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
his new consulting job will see him work just 20 hours per month and require him to meet with GM’s international president, Tim Lee, to discuss matters on international operations. For his efforts Henderson will receive $59,090 per month, which equates to almost $3,000 per hour.
The only reason such apathy exists, however, is because there’s still a widespread misunderstanding of how exactly Wall Street “earns” its money, with emphasis on the quotation marks around “earns.” The question everyone should be asking, as one bailout recipient after another posts massive profits — Goldman reported $13.4 billion in profits last year, after paying out that $16.2 billion in bonuses and compensation — is this: In an economy as horrible as ours, with every factory town between New York and Los Angeles looking like those hollowed-out ghost ships we see on History Channel documentaries like Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, where in the hell did Wall Street’s eye-popping profits come from, exactly? Did Goldman go from bailout city to $13.4 billion in the black because, as Blankfein suggests, its “performance” was just that awesome? A year and a half after they were minutes away from bankruptcy, how are these assholes not only back on their feet again, but hauling in bonuses at the same rate they were during the bubble?
The answer to that question is basically twofold: They raped the taxpayer, and they raped their clients.
The bottom line is that banks like Goldman have learned absolutely nothing from the global economic meltdown. In fact, they’re back conniving and playing speculative long shots in force — only this time with the full financial support of the U.S. government. In the process, they’re rapidly re-creating the conditions for another crash, with the same actors once again playing the same crazy games of financial chicken with the same toxic assets as before.
That’s why this bonus business isn’t merely a matter of getting upset about whether or not Lloyd Blankfein buys himself one tropical island or two on his next birthday. The reality is that the post-bailout era in which Goldman thrived has turned out to be a chaotic frenzy of high-stakes con-artistry, with taxpayers and clients bilked out of billions using a dizzying array of old-school hustles that, but for their ponderous complexity, would have fit well in slick grifter movies like The Sting and Matchstick Men. There’s even a term in con-man lingo for what some of the banks are doing right now, with all their cosmetic gestures of scaling back bonuses and giving to charities. In the grifter world, calming down a mark so he doesn’t call the cops is known as the “Cool Off.”
“If they ever make a sequel to the film Dumb and Dumber I would suggest that the producers look no further than Islington Parking Department for the starring roles.”
Someone has uploaded a PDF to a Google Group that is claimed to be the proposal for Internet copyright enforcement that the USA has put forward for ACTA, the secret copyright treaty whose seventh round of negotiations just concluded in Guadalajara, Mexico. This reads like it probably is genuine treaty language, and if it is the real US proposal, it is the first time that this material has ever been visible to the public. According to my source, the US proposal is the current version of the treaty as of the conclusion of the Mexico round.
I’ve read it through a few times and it reads a lot like DMCA-plus. It contains, for example, a duty to technology firms to shut down infringement where they have “actual knowledge” that such is taking place. This argument was put forward in the Grokster case, and as Fred von Lohmann argued then, this is a potentially deadly burden to place on technology companies: in the offline world Xerox has “actual knowledge” that its technology is routinely used to infringe copyright at Kinko’s outlets around the world — should that create a duty to stop providing sales and service to Kinko’s?
This also includes takedown procedures for trademark infringement, as well as the existing procedures against copyright infringement. Since trademark infringement is a lot harder for a service provider to adjudicate (and since things that might be trademark infringement take place every time you do something as innocuous as taking a photo of a street-scene that contains hundreds or thousands of trademarks), this sounds like a potential disaster to me.
Update: Here’s an IDG report on the leak, with more analysis.
Frustrated that people continued to consume so much alcohol even after it was banned, federal officials had decided to try a different kind of enforcement. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States, products regularly stolen by bootleggers and resold as drinkable spirits. The idea was to scare people into giving up illicit drinking. Instead, by the time Prohibition ended in 1933, the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people.
Proponents of the prohibition of drugs point gravely not just to their dangerous and damaging physical effects, but to the way drugs corrupt the soul of the addict, driving him to shed every last vestige of human decency in a desperate pursuit of the next burst of gratification.
They should look in a mirror.
americanmedicalassociationdoctor Medical studies show cannabis effective for treating pain, spasmsWith the results of a medical study summarized by a new report delivered to the California state legislature, the California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR) claims it has established scientific proof that inhaled cannabis holds medical value at or above the level of conventional prescription medicines used for a variety of ailments.
“As a result of the vision and foresight of the California State Legislature Medical Marijuana Research Act
(SB847), the CMCR has successfully conducted the first clinical trials of smoked cannabis in the United
States in more than 20 years,” the group said in the study’s conclusion summary. “As a result of this program of systematic research, we now have reasonable evidence that cannabis is a promising treatment in selected pain syndromes caused by injury or diseases of the nervous system, and possibly for painful muscle spasticity due to multiple sclerosis.”
Nothing new, of course. And the amount of money invested in keeping pot illegal will make sure this research will not go anywhere.
The numbers are shocking: When EMI disabled the embedding feature, views of our treadmill video dropped 90 percent, from about 10,000 per day to just over 1,000. Our last royalty statement from the label, which covered six months of streams, shows a whopping $27.77 credit to our account.
Clearly the embedding restriction is bad news for our band, but is it worth it for EMI? The terms of YouTube’s deals with record companies aren’t public, but news reports say that the labels receive $.004 to $.008 per stream, so the most EMI could have grossed for the streams in question is a little over $5,400.
A grim irony of the rising pro-Taliban sentiments in the south is that the United States and its allies often returned to power the same forces responsible for the worst period in southerners’ memory—the post–Soviet “mujahideen nights.” In the case of Gul Agha Shirzai (now governor of Nangarhar but still a major force in Kandahar), the same man occupied the exact same position; in the case of Razik, nephew of the notorious Mansour, it is the restoration of an heir. By installing these characters and then protecting them by force of arms, the ISAF has come to be associated, in the minds of many Afghans, with their criminality and abuses. “We’re doing the Taliban’s work for them,” said one international official with years of experience in counternarcotics here.
Earlier this week, I released a free iPhone app with a map of Port-au-Prince.
I based that app on the data in openstreetmap.org. It’s a community project, and here’s a nice visualisation of the response to the earthquake by the OpenStreetMap community. Within 12 hours the white flashes indicate edits to the map (generally by tracing satellite/aerial photography).
Over the following days a large number of additions to the map are made with many roads (green primary, red secondary) added. Also many other features were added such as the blue glowing refugee camps that emerge.
A lot of these edits were made possible by a number of satellite and aerial imagery passes in the days after the quake, that were release to the public for tracing and analysis.
In November I wrote about how the Catholic Church in our nation’s capital had threatened to stop dispensing charity if the D.C. City Council voted in favor of Marriage Equality. At the time it seemed far-fetched (even to me) that the Washington Archdiocese so despised LGBT people that it would punish needy children in order to preserve a dogma of intolerance. I thought these princes of the Holy Apostolic Church were bluffing or, inspired by their homo-hysteric pontiff, merely making a political statement.
I was wrong. It has happened. The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has just ended its 80-year-old foster-care program in the District of Columbia. Rather than place homeless children with loving gay and lesbian parents, Archbishop Donald Wuerl and Catholic Charities president Ed Orzechowski have announced that the Archdiocese will turn its back on these most vulnerable members of society. (It bears mentioning that their efforts to help the needy were not being financed by the Church’s immense wealth. D.C. taxpayers were forking over a cool $20 million for all this faith-based do-gooding.)
The title of a recent article from the Catholic News Agency reads: Same-sex “marriage” law forces D.C. Catholic Charities to close adoption program. You’ll note the word “marriage” is placed in quotation marks, as is common with right-wing media outlets. You’ll also notice the word “forces,” which implies coercion. Of course no one has forced the Church to do anything – but CNA is spinning the story with a bias that would make Fox News proud. Oh, those poor beleaguered clerics with their lavish vestments, art treasures, bejeweled statues, and solid gold crucifixes, morally compelled to kick unloved kids to the curb.
No one asked these Catholic leaders to condone gay unions, or perform weddings for same gender partners. What sane gay couple would want the blessing of an organization that calls them “inherently disordered?” But the D.C. City Council has every right to expect Church charities to stop discriminating if they’re going to dip their self-righteous snouts in the government trough. Gays and lesbians pay taxes. The Catholic Church doesn’t.
Well, at least it decreases the odds that these kids are going to be abused.
The Dutch government has collapsed over disagreements within the governing coalition on extending troop deployments in Afghanistan.
The rules say there are now at least 40 days to get candidate lists compiled for the elections, followed by 43 days at least to campaign. So elections won’t be before may or so.
The debate on genetically modified (GM) brinjal variety continues to generate heat. Former managing director of Monsanto India, Tiruvadi Jagadisan, is the latest to join the critics of Bt brinjal, perhaps the first industry insider to do so.
Jagadisan, who worked with Monsanto for nearly two decades, including eight years as the managing director of India operations, spoke against the new variety during the public consultation held in Bangalore on Saturday.
On Monday, he elaborated by saying the company “used to fake scientific data” submitted to government regulatory agencies to get commercial approvals for its products in India.
If there’s one company that needs urgent disbanding, it’s Monsanto.