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BBC Attacks the Open Web, GNU/Linux in Danger

16 Feb

See on Scoop.itAll things Internet and Law

The Web is one of the most dramatic demonstrations of the power of openness, alongside free software, which not coincidentally runs most of it and the rest of the Internet. At the heart of that openness lies HTML, a completely…

See on blogs.computerworlduk.com

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Digital boom couldn’t stop 2012 entertainment slump in UK

2 Jan

Digital boom couldn’t stop 2012 entertainment slump in UK:

The good news: digital formats now make up a quarter of UK entertainment sales thanks to 2012 growth. The bad: ongoing physical decline on the high-street means overall sales are shrinking.

Belgian media planning shared digital content passport

2 Jan

Belgian Media Planning Shared Digital Content Passport:
Despite a new agreement with Google, Belgian media will launch their own shared user management and payment system, reducing the amount of free content on their sites.

Defamation Act and Networking Filtering/Blocking

14 Jun

I have been thinking about the consequences of installing network level filtering, as TalkTalk have indicated recently they would do and  Claire Perry would like.
“TalkTalk customers get internet porn filter choice”
As I understand current UK defamation law, ISPs have an “innocent disseminator” defence provided in the Defamation Act 1996 [1].

1. (3) (e) as the operator of or provider of access to a communications system by means of which the statement is transmitted, or made available, by a person over whom he has no effective control.

[1] http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/31/section/1#section-1-3

I found it extremely interesting that mobile phone companies provide over their network access “no effective control” affected by the editorial control (selective blocks, trivially administered).   TalkTalk ISP, and (by extension) all network providers according to Claire Perry’s should move toward an OPT-IN and a  suggestion of mandatory network filtering.Could it, in theory, become possible to sue an ISP for not blocking access to material originating outside of UK jurisdiction? What would happen if a court was asked to issue an injunction to filter for defamation or a privacy breach? Could TalkTalk be compelled to block material?

For section1 (secondary responsibility defence) under the Defamation Act  one needs to show reasonable care so that, in theory, the repeat defamation situation case that would not be met. For an interesting case, see the dicussion in McGrath v Dawkins [2012] EWHC B3 (QB). At present common law innocent dissemination survives –however see Metropolitan Schools.

The Ecommerce directive prevents any general obligation to monitor. See the cases of Case C-70/10 Scarlet Extended SA v Société belge des auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs SCRL (SABAM) . There  is also a firm rule against prior restraint of defamation –so that not even the courts by court order will restrain defamation pre-publication (as opposed to privacy) –to avoid the courts acting as censor. It would be an unlawful restraint on speech/expression and so engage Art 10.

its an interesting question and I am not entirely sure what the correct answer is.Two points: (1) the High Courts power to issue an injunction is very wide Take a look at s37 of the Senior Courts Act 1981 here…(2) Secondly, however, an ISP is not themselves liable as a publisher of material which passes over their wires. The BPI thought that would mean they could not obtain an injunction under the SCA against ISP’s to block copyright content, which is why they lobbied hard for s97A of the CDPA 1988 and even then they were nervous of proceeding any further. In the event s97A has proved quite powerful enough.

As you know, there are 4 main types of case where the court will refuse an interim injunction to restrain publication. The Solicitors from Hell case was one in which Bonnard didn’t apply because the defendant did not indicate an intention to plead justification would a decision at hearing turn upon questions of the general character of the claimant, but I failed to communicate that was what I was talking about.
I suspect there’ll be an increasing opportunity for cases where neither Bonnard v Perryman nor any of the other situations (such an intention to plead honest comment or where a communication is prima facie privileged) apply. There’ll also be situations – such as election comments – where I can see people finding it attractive to obtain an injunction, but the rule against prior restraint is superseded by statute. I n those sorts of situations where a court will make an order, do will it make an order against an ISP using filtering technologies? I cannot think of any situations where that has happened or something analogous has happened?
More generally some information about orders to block directed at ISP’s outside s97A:

In modern practice the rule against prior restraint applies whenever a defendant has a defence –not just when that defence is Truth. The rule was affirmed in Green v Associated [2004]  EWCA Civ 1462.  There is also now a significant body of human rights jurisprudence to support the rule. Eady had questioned whether the rule was compatable with the new convention jurisprudence and the test for balancing Art 8 (reputation and privacy) and Art 10 (freedom of expression) which gives no precedence to either Article as applied in privacy cases (see Campbell and Re S) in Sunderland Housing v Barnes –but the rule has held except where as in the Solicitors from Hell case the defendant has evidenced an intention to repeat. The rule is good law and not under attack.

Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill to Amend Copyright Law

14 Jun

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill is set to amend Copyright Law in the UK.

See here…

Please note the explanatory notes:

“Repeals section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 so as to provide full copyright protection for the period of the author’s life plus 70 years.
Creates a power to amend exceptions for copyright and rights in performances without affecting the existing criminal penalties regime.”

Under Section 52 of the CPDA, you can see that Section 52 of CDPA 1988 relates to designs for artistic works. It applies where an artistic work has been exploited by the copyright owner by making 50 or more copies by an industrial process and marketing those copies. In those circumstances, the designs lose their protection after 25 years and copies can then be made without infringing copyright. That section came into effect on 1 August 1989. In Lucasfilm the items were first marketed in the 1970s and, accordingly, the earlier Copyright Act 1956 applied, which imposed a shorter time period of 15 years.

Mann J and the Court of Appeal found that while McQuarrie’s paintings were artistic works, they were exploited by more than 50 copies made in the form of the stormtrooper toys (and also, potentially, by the 50 costumes made by Ainsworth at the behest of Lucas for production of the film). This established a defence for Ainsworth under s52 once the relevant time period expired.”

Francis Davey expands on this on his blog here:

What about clause 56?

I suspect someone has pointed out that the effect of s.52 is that a great many depictions of Mickey Mouse are almost certainly no longer protected by copyright, having been reproduced on an industrial scale for well over 25 years. If this provision is repealed, the transitional arrangements are going to be fun to draft.

In relation to Lucasfilm v Ainsworth, the defence was in the end redundant as Mann J held that Ralph McQuarrie’s paintings were design drawings within the meaning of s51 and so were not infringed by the making of items based on them (i.e. the Stormtrooper costumes at the heart of the case). However, the defence had been run as a fallback and there was discussion of exactly how many costumes had been made at the time.

The intersection of UK design and copyright law is a mess that has only got more confusing with time. The effect of s51, as interpreted in Lucasfilm, is that Imperial Stormtrooper armour is not protected by copyright, but Iron Man’s suit is. Why? Because the initial drawings for the Stormtroopers were done specifically as designs for a 3D article that was later deemed not to itself enjoy copyright protection, whilst Iron Man was drawn as a comic in its own right.

CRAZY…

Internet Freedom is Under Attack…

13 Jun

‘Father of the Internet’ warns Web freedom is under attack

“Father of the Internet” Vint Cerf  recently warned that Internet freedom is under threat from governments around the world, including the United States.

Cerf, a computer scientist who was instrumental in the Internet’s creation and is now employed by Google as its “Internet evangelist,” said officials in the United States, United Kingdom and Europe are using intellectual property and cybersecurity issues “as an excuse for constraining what we can and can’t do on the ‘net.

“Political structures … are often scared by the possibility that the general public might figure out that they don’t want them in power,” he said.

He sounded the alarm about the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), arguing the group is poised to assume the role of global Internet cop.

Cerf said the ITU is likely to try and lock in mandatory intellectual property protections as a backdoor for easy Web surveillance. Even good-faith efforts at Internet policymaking should be viewed with skepticism, Cerf said, because balancing freedom and security “isn’t something that government alone is going to figure out.” He criticised the Cybersecurity and Intelligence Protection Act (CISPA) legislation passed by the House to encourage companies to share information about cyber threats with the government, because it lacks “adequate constraints” on how the information is used. Cerf said he has the “optimistic belief” that attempts by hostile governments to restrict access will be circumvented by resourceful engineers around the world. Cerf also urged vigilante groups such as Anonymous to stop using cyberattacks as a means of activism, saying the hackings are counterproductive.

“I don’t think lawlessness is our friend,” he said.Ultimately, there is a legitimate role for law enforcement on the Web, he said, adding that “it would be bad for us as a community to say … that all the good things outweigh the bad.” “That’s not a credible position to take,” he said. Cerf said activists and regulators alike harm themselves by using terms like “cybercrime” because they suggest that “every bad thing that happens on the Internet is a crime.” “Some are just bugs,” Cerf said, while suggesting a better goal for policymakers should be “cybersafety.”

These are my favorite lines, and are what i beleive as well.

I haven’t gotten to the point of believing that governance work is a complete waste of time yet, but have decided it is time to get my programing skills out of mothballs and get back up to speed. It is not easy talk about freedom, safety, neutrality, cybercrime, IP pirate, CISPA…with different interest… personal interest, national interest… business interest of the stakeholders …

Anything that are not following somebody interest will be bad and sometimes considered as a crime … cybercrime…

“Either you with me or against me…..” Sound familiar?  This is the challenge for the future global dialog, not as easy during the period of cerf when he started the Internet everybody has one goal.

Increasingly Governments are moving towards control of Internet Freedom. Freedom of expression, although debatable, is a fundamental right and is often the center piece of a democracy. However, Governments are sometimes preoccupied with finding ways to protect national security and human rights pertaining to Internet usage. I believe that the mechanisms for enforcement of copyright laws  or illegal content laws through DNS filtering is disproportionate and  is too restrictive. In total, DNS filtering undermines security on the Internet and may block legitimate content from the Internet. Therefore, this negatively impacts freedom of expression.

It is important to note that the blocking of domain names does not actually remove illegal content off the Internet.  As a result, there is need for various human right agencies within the government, private sector, academia and civil society to negotiate the terms and conditions for Internet Regulation.  However, I believe that these agencies should have a basic understanding of the Internet before negotiating Internet regulation. Moreover, Governments need to realize that harsh regulations of the Internet may impede innovation through various ICT tools.

Recently we have seen a few examples pertaining to Internet Freedom see below:

“Iran’s telecommunications ministry has barred local banks, insurance firms and telephone operators from using foreign-sourced emails to communicate with clients, a specialist weekly said on Saturday.  “The telecommunications minister has ordered the use of domain names ending with .ir” belonging to Iran, Asr Ertebatat reported.” See http://j.mp/KDVUWK

In addition, we see that India is pushing for the creation of a forum called ‘Committee for Internet Related Policies’ (CIRP) to develop internet policies, oversee all internet standards bodies and policy organizations, negotiate internet-related treaties and sit in judgment when internet-related disputes come up. The catch is that India’s formal proposal is for CIRP to be funded by the U.N., run by staff from the U.N.’s Conference on Trade and Development arm and report directly to the U.N. General Assembly, which means it will be entirely controlled by the U.N.’s member states. See:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3423018.ece

We can effect change let us bring these issues to the fore at the various (ICANN, IGF, WSIS, IETF etc) Internet Governance meetings.

I have posted vid of this at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwtTUMXpxLk&list=PL18388B00C798AEFC

The Internet is the next stage of human evolution. We look at ourselves as separate beings but the reality is that humans are far more interconnected than a hive of bees. The Internet is our collective minds. We are externalizing our collective intelligence. It allows us to collectively comprehend the universe. And since we are the universe – we are the universe contemplating it’s own existence. And it is the Internet that creates the physical structure to allow humanity to this as one and we can contemplate what no single person could ever do.
My 2p worth.