posted 17 days ago on techdirt
Both a cop and his prime homicide suspect have walked away free men. But it's the cop who's gathered most of the attention. Donald Love was picked up by Milwaukee police on August 14, 2013, after his infant son died in a local hospital of traumatic brain injuries. Love wasn't just a "person of interest." He was alone in the house with the infant at the time the injury occurred. Love was interrogated by detective Rodolfo Gomez Jr. This questioning was recorded. The highlight reel, as it were, doesn't show much interrogation. It shows Gomez attacking the restrained suspect on two separate occasions. Love was punched, kicked and jabbed in the eye with Gomez's thumb. The latter -- and more excruciating "interaction" (caution: the video hosted here contains some very unnerving screaming) -- occurred during Gomez's "follow-up questioning," and appears to have been provoked by Love's justifiably angry yelling. A jury acquitted Love of all charges more than year later. Another jury also acquitted Gomez of all charges, despite watching him assault a handcuffed man. (via The Honest Courtesan) How do you defend someone against charges related to a videotaped beating? Well, you do everything you can to cast the person handing out the beating as the real victim. His defense lawyers helped, but they had to fight an uphill battle against both damning video footage and statements made by Gomez himself, most of which gave the indication that he had no idea how to handle a potentially dangerous individual. First, Gomez admitted he said something he knew would provoke an angry response. Then he claimed his short-term memory went all haywire in the heat of the moment. Even after Gomez punched Love hard in the face, he still refused orders to sit and stop resisting, Gomez told the jury, causing the veteran detective to fear for his life. Love finally settled down when the lieutenant responded to yelling in the interrogation room and helped Gomez gain control of Love. Both detectives then left the room, but Gomez continued to monitor Love from just outside the doorway. It was at that point, Gomez said, that he realized he had handcuffed Love earlier. "I had forgotten I had handcuffed Mr. Love," Gomez said. "Forgotten." And twice at that. Gomez got a very good look at the "forgotten" handcuffs during the first beatdown, having twisted Love's free arm up against his body and bent him over the interrogation room desk. But he entered the room moments later and acted as though Love's left hand was unrestrained. On top of that, he stated that he "provoked" an angry reaction -- something he probably wouldn't have done if he thought Love was completely unrestrained. If he actually thought Love wasn't cuffed to the wall -- and went ahead with his plan to aggravate his detainee -- then Gomez was either acting recklessly or just looking for an excuse to start swinging. Gomez's memory continued to leak. Gomez said the door behind was closed and locked, which made retreat difficult. But even if the door had been open, he said, he would not have tried to leave the room. "I'd be giving my back to a killer," Gomez said. A lieutenant testified that when responding to the room after hearing yelling, the door was open. And with all of that (and the detective's past misconduct), the jury still found Gomez credible enough to acquit. The key to this unlikely turn of events? The skillful manipulation of time. A handful of guys in black suits walking down through a parking lot is almost completely uninteresting. But adjust the speed a bit and suddenly you have something much more dramatic. The same sort of thing happens in real life. A video which apparently shows a detective beating an unarmed, restrained man becomes a horrific incident in which a detective bravely survives a potential beating at the hands of an unarmed, restrained man. A juror from the trial said a defense expert's frame-by-frame examination of the incident's key moments put things in a different light and convinced jurors that Gomez reasonably believed he was in danger and used only the force necessary to establish control over Deron Love, a suspect in the death of his infant son. "We were able to convince the last juror, reluctantly, that still frame by still frame Gomez's last three closed fist windups became open palm motions to control Love's arms, and his final leg strike misses the mark." Gardner said the expert's explanation, while moving single frames from the video back and forth in a slide show, helped convince jurors that Love was resisting Gomez's commands to sit down or relax his body, even if Love didn't actively fight back. It also helps to have a jury pool sufficiently awed by the dangers of police work that they can swallow that last sentence without immediately vomiting in disbelief. And also willing to grant positive points for blows that didn't quite connect. Apparently, you can "resist" without "actively fighting back," and you'll know that you're "resisting" when the police officer begins raining blows on your handcuffed body. "Turning your back on a killer" or no, Gomez had other options. Love was restrained. He could have left the room. He could have called for help. He could have simply walked as far back as needed to still "communicate" with Love without being "resisted" at the same time. The excuse that he "forgot" he had handcuffed Love might work once, but it doesn't explain his actions the second time, after he could plainly see the handcuff attached to Love's wrist. Gomez, for the time being, is no longer a Milwaukee PD employee. This "problem" may be swiftly remedied now that he's been acquitted. Love has also been cleared of all charges, but he's headed right back into the courtroom with a newly-filed civil rights suit against Gomez. Just as this won't be Love's first tango with Gomez, it also won't be Gomez's first appearance under the heading "DEFENDANT" in a civil rights suit. A 2008 lawsuit stemming from a no-knock warrant obtained by Det. Gomez ended up this way. Gomez, now a homicide detective, sought qualified immunity. The district judge denied the request, a decision that was upheld Wednesday by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Gomez was recently the subject of internal investigation after his arrest on a domestic violence claim. No criminal charges were issued. In its 20-page opinion, the court found that "If believed, (the sister's sworn) deposition testimony would establish that Officer Gomez knowingly or with reckless disregard for the truth made false or misleading statements in the affidavit..." In denying Gomez qualified immunity, the court noted that Gomez's affidavit implied the [suspects] kept weapons as a part of a criminal enterprise, when the sister's tip suggested nothing of the sort, that he knew the sister was on bad terms with Sharon Betker and hadn't been in the Franklin home for five years, and didn't try to nail down some information that came from her as hearsay. "Statements that are both unreliable and uncorroborated do not support probable cause," the court found. Former Det. Gomez, ladies and gentlemen: a cop who hits restrained men and unrestrained women, but somehow manages to land on his feet. And wrapped up in his tale of habitual abuse is the "power" of video -- an objective, unblinking eye that can be made to "take sides" when properly manipulated. A recording of a disputed event is better than hearsay and conjecture but, in reality, is often nothing more than a useful idiot. It only records. It offers images, not insight. With enough skill, any recording can be used to present both sides of the same argument. "Seeing is believing," as they say, but the use of controversial tactics, like those used in Gomez's defense, can change what is seen and alter beliefs. Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Read More...
posted 17 days ago on techdirt
Getting on a rocket to Mars has been a dream for space exploration enthusiasts for decades. However, there are a lot of engineering problems that still need solutions before people can safely get to Mars (and back, unless you favor the one-way trip strategy). Optimists might expect humans to walk on Mars sometime in the 2030s, but realistically, there would have to be a significant change in the way deep space exploration is funded for that to happen. If you're just entering 5th grade or so, maybe you can consider a career on Mars. But perhaps you shouldn't put all your eggs in one basket. Boeing has a promotional video for its SLS (Space Launch System) rocket that could get people to Mars. Boeing suggests that six spacecraft elements need to be built, and two of them are already in the works. Getting those other four pieces might be difficult to do without several billion dollars more funding. [url] British astrophysicist Maggie Lieu wants to be the first woman to have a baby on Mars. She's a 24yo PhD candidate who is also on the shortlist for the Mars One project, so it's possible that her wish could come true. It sounds more than a bit risky to give birth on another planet, but it's been done in Antarctica.... [url] For a manned mission to Mars to work, an extremely sophisticated life support system will have to be developed to shield astronauts from radiation and keep bodies from atrophying in microgravity. When astronauts who have been in space for months come back to earth, there are plenty of able-bodied people to help them re-adjust to earth's full gravity -- but that's not really an option for landing on Mars. [url] If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Read More...
posted 17 days ago on techdirt
This isn't a huge surprise, even as it's ridiculously problematic, but the jury in the "Blurred Lines" copyright case has ruled that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams infringed on Marvin Gaye's song, and thus now owe $7.54 million. I had guessed that this is how the jury would rule solely because it was possible to play Blurred Lines lyrics over the Gaye composition and have it sound like it would fit -- and it seemed unlikely that the jury would understand enough about the specifics of copyright to not think that magically made it infringing. Of course, the fact is there are tons of songs that you could play over tons of other songs. That's why there are even multiple different comedy routines making this point. The jury seems to understand that Thicke and Williams didn't do this on purpose -- even though there was a claim made that they said they wanted a song with "the feel" of a Marvin Gaye song. In fact, they said it wasn't willful infringement. That means that, according to this jury, merely being inspired by a genre and making a song with the same sort of "feel" is infringing. That's not how copyright law is supposed to work at all. One hopes that Thicke and Williams appeal and the appeals court slaps down this ridiculousness. Either way, this accidental infringement is worth a pretty penny, according to the jury: Ultimately, a jury comprised of five women and three men heard dueling opinions regarding "Blurred Lines" and decided to order Thicke and Williams to pay $4 million in copyright damages plus profits attributable to infringement, which for Thicke was determined to be $1.8 million and $1.6 million. That's less than the $25 million that the Gaye Estate was seeking, but still. That's crazy. It's likely that Thicke and Williams will appeal, and one hopes that they'll go through with it, rather than settle just to end things. This is a horrific copyright ruling that suggests that songs that merely have a similar feel may be infringing. It's a really dangerous precedent that completely undermines basic copyright law. In the meantime, the Gaye estate is asking for a permanent injunction on the sale of the song, which is just a negotiating tactic to pressure Thicke/Williams into settling...Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Read More...
posted 18 days ago on techdirt
Insanely popular game Minecraft is known for a lot of things. It's a fantastic creative outlet and the digital sandbox of youngsters' dreams, for instance. The game has also been known to raise the ire of unrelated companies who somehow think all that creativity by gamers is something that can be sued over. It's known for amazing user-generated content, including games within games and replicas of entire cities. The nation of Turkey is known for very different things. It's a country that absolutely loves to censor stuff, for instance. And, thanks to recent developments, Turkey is also known as a great place to get a front-row look at the incredible violence done by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. But the Turkish government has a plan to keep its youngsters from witnessing too much violence: it is calling to ban Minecraft. Turkish websites Hürriyet Daily News and LeaderGamer report that the country's Family and Social Policies Ministry is now calling for Minecraft to be banned in the region. The ministry's report has been sent to the legal affairs department, along with instructions for the legal process for the ban to begin. Ultimately, whether the game is banned or not will be decided in the Turkish courts. When it comes to the issue of violence corruption the national youth, one would really think that the Turkish government might have bigger fish to fry than a sandbox game in which battling fictional and non-human monsters is almost an aside from the actual gameplay mechanics. The point of the game is to build, to be creative, to express. For a Turkish government with the barbarians quite literally at its doorstep to call for censorship of one of the more benign gaming titles in recent memory would be comical if it were parody. But it isn't. Nor are some of the hilariously contradictory claims to Ministry made in its report. Although the game can be seen as encouraging creativity in children by letting them build houses, farmlands and bridges, mobs [hostile creatures] must be killed in order to protect these structures. In short, the game is based on violence," the report stated (via Hürriyet Daily News). The ministry feels as though children may confuse the in-game world with the real world, and even begin torturing animals, oblivious to the pain they're inflicting. The report added that not only would Minecraft cause "social isolation," but that the online component might lead to internet bullying. Ah, of course! It's a video game, so it has to create isolation amongst players, except it's a video game, so it must also create bullying problems because of the all the interacting going on between those isolated players. Don't think about that sentence for too long or your brain will storm out of your noggin in protest. Turkey may be censorship happy, but going after Minecraft over violence concerns? C'mon guys... Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Read More...
posted 18 days ago on techdirt
Services like Uber and Lyft have been disrupting the taxi industry, and plenty more industries, too. In fact, they are the progenitors of a new and growing "gig economy". But what's it like to actually drive for one? Podcast co-host Dennis Yang has been trying his hand as a driver for both services, and in this episode he shares his experiences and sparks off a discussion about the future of this economy. Follow the Techdirt Podcast on Soundcloud, subscribe via iTunes, or grab the RSS feed. You can also keep up with all the latest episodes right here on Techdirt. Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Read More...
posted 18 days ago on techdirt
For years now, customers have been begging HBO to offer a standalone streaming service. Instead, customers got HBO Go, a streaming service only accessible if you can prove you have traditional cable. HBO Go is part of the cable and broadcast industry's "TV Everywhere" initiative -- or the industry's misguided belief that you can thwart cord cutting by building giant walled gardens firmly tethered to traditional cable. Of course this does nothing to actually thwart cord cutting, and only drives customers unwilling to pay cable's endlessly-soaring rates to piracy. For many years, HBO was hesitant to offer a truly stand alone streaming service, fearing disruption of the cozy, promotion and subsidy-laden relationships it has with cable operators. Late last year HBO finally announced it would offer a standalone HBO service, but didn't provide any hard details. The good news? HBO has formally announced that it's launching "HBO Now" next month for a $15 monthly fee. The bad news (for some)? The service is going to be an Apple exclusive at launch, meaning that while you can access the service via iOS devices, you're out of luck if you'd like to use the service on a game console, Roku player, Chromecast, or any of the myriad other competing streaming devices. And while you will be able to watch HBO Now content via the new website and any old browser, you can apparently only register for the service using Apple's HBO Now app and an iOS device. This resulted in many people correctly noting customers are being herded from one walled garden to another: HBO used to be cable only, now it's cable and Apple exclusive. Is that really an improvement? http://t.co/ExSUMumDPg pic.twitter.com/1NKqrtV7Ei — Richard Lawler (@rjcc) March 9, 2015 The press release can't be bothered to mention this, but the exclusive is only for three months, after which HBO Now will be made available on all the usual platforms. Cable providers may also jump in and pitch the service, though many will likely worry they'll only act to cannibalize existing cable subscribers. In other words, we're not exactly talking about the end of the world here, and HBO Now is still part of a welcome sea change toward more standalone streaming options in 2015. If you're still annoyed, just pretend Apple users are beta-testing the service and ironing out the wrinkles ahead of your arrival this summer. Still, while the exclusive surely nets Apple a nice cash payout, being greeted by a giant wall isn't a great first HBO Now brand impression for Android, Xbox, Playstation, Chromecast or Roku users. Being greeted by that same giant wall also isn't going to do much to keep the "most pirated TV show on television" from being downloaded via BitTorrent. HBO Now's still a welcome change, it's just a shame its market entry has to be polluted by unnecessary, annoying boundaries just to fatten Apple's wallet.Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Read More...
posted 18 days ago on techdirt
The latest big report from the Intercept is about an annual hackathon, put on by the CIA (which the NSA and others participate in) where they try to hack encrypted systems, with a key focus on Apple products. The CIA calls this its annual "Trusted Computing Base Jamboree." The whole point: how can the CIA undermine trusted computing systems. If you can't see that, it notes: As in past years, the Jamboree will be an informal and interactive conference with an emphasis on presentations that provide important information to developers trying to circumvent or exploit new security capabilities. In other words, rather than seeking to better protect Americans by making sure the security products they use remain secure, this event was about making everyone less safe -- in particular Apple users. The report notes how researchers have undermined Xcode so that the intelligence community can inject backdoors into lots of apps and to reveal private keys (apparently not caring how that makes everyone less secure): A year later, at the 2012 Jamboree, researchers described their attacks on the software used by developers to create applications for Apple’s popular App Store. In a talk called “Strawhorse: Attacking the MacOS and iOS Software Development Kit,” a presenter from Sandia Labs described a successful “whacking” of Apple’s Xcode — the software used to create apps for iPhones, iPads and Mac computers. Developers who create Apple-approved and distributed apps overwhelmingly use Xcode, a free piece of software easily downloaded from the App Store. The researchers boasted that they had discovered a way to manipulate Xcode so that it could serve as a conduit for infecting and extracting private data from devices on which users had installed apps that were built with the poisoned Xcode. In other words, by manipulating Xcode, the spies could compromise the devices and private data of anyone with apps made by a poisoned developer — potentially millions of people. The risks for nearly anyone using an Apple product should become pretty clear when you realize what this "whacked" Xcode can do: “Entice” all Mac applications to create a “remote backdoor” allowing undetected access to an Apple computer. Secretly embed an app developer’s private key into all iOS applications. (This could potentially allow spies to impersonate the targeted developer.) “Force all iOS applications” to send data from an iPhone or iPad back to a U.S. intelligence “listening post.” Disable core security features on Apple devices. While the Jamboree appears mostly focused on Apple products, that's not all. Microsoft's BitLocker encryption was also a target: Also presented at the Jamboree were successes in the targeting of Microsoft’s disk encryption technology, and the TPM chips that are used to store its encryption keys. Researchers at the CIA conference in 2010 boasted about the ability to extract the encryption keys used by BitLocker and thus decrypt private data stored on the computer. Because the TPM chip is used to protect the system from untrusted software, attacking it could allow the covert installation of malware onto the computer, which could be used to access otherwise encrypted communications and files of consumers. Again, this suggests a serious problem when you have the same government that's supposed to "protect us" in charge of also hacking into systems. With today's modern technology, the communications technologies that "bad people" use are the same ones that everyone uses. The intelligence community has two choices: protect everyone, or undermine the security of everyone. It has chosen the latter. “The U.S. government is prioritizing its own offensive surveillance needs over the cybersecurity of the millions of Americans who use Apple products,” says Christopher Soghoian, the principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union. “If U.S. government-funded researchers can discover these flaws, it is quite likely that Chinese, Russian and Israeli researchers can discover them, too. By quietly exploiting these flaws rather than notifying Apple, the U.S. government leaves Apple’s customers vulnerable to other sophisticated governments.” There's been a lot of talk lately about the growing divide between the intelligence community and Silicon Valley. As more stories come out of projects to undermine those companies and the trust they've built with the public, it's only going to get worse.Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Read More...
posted 18 days ago on techdirt
As we've noted countless times, diminishing the impact of piracy isn't exactly rocket science. Give consumers what they want at a reasonable price, and more often than not you'll be able to minimize piracy's impact on your business model. But as we've seen just as often, that logic is a bridge too far for many entertainment industry executives, who've relentlessly instituted all manner of more "creative" solutions to try and retain legacy power in shifting markets. Why give consumers what they want when you can insult, cajole, sue and otherwise harass your paying customers, then blame everything but your own rigid thinking? The latest ingenious solution comes courtesy of India's Tamil Film Producer's Council (TFPC), which is considering a plan to stop releasing movies entirely in the misguided belief that this is going to somehow stop people from pirating. Apparently, the logic goes, if you stop releasing films for three months, the lack of things to pirate (ignoring a century of previous content, of course) will magically stop piracy forever! Ingenious!:"Piracy will automatically stop when there's no content. When we stop film releases, say for three months, the movie pirates will go out of business. We are looking into this option because film producers have suffered heavily in the last 24 months," (said) Kalaipuli S Thanu, TFPC president."One, there's just a blistering amount of hubris involved in believing that you can turn an entire culture's art creation on and off like some kind of spigot. Like they were scolding a kitten, you'll recall the RIAA often used to state that if people didn't stop pirating content, creators would just stop making music -- as if the business side of the equation could simply wipe all art creation from the face of the earth. That some still think they can unilaterally stop art creation as a "punishment" for piracy perfectly exemplifies the distorted thinking responsible for the global entertainment industry's ongoing struggles. Two, the report notes that just a three-month ban on film production would impact the release of some 36 Indian films, which would then be harmed by the fact that they'd be shoveled in a more crowded release window. In addition to harming content creators, TFPC can't apparently understand that stopping the release of all films hurts its paying customers. Local filmmaker "Cheran" has a different suggested course of action, involving crazy concepts like modifying release windows and (gasp) lowering prices:"If original DVD of a new film is available for Rs.50, why would anyone think of buying a pirated copy?" (asked Indian Filmmaker Cheran. "We all know the quality of pirated prints. I've sold nearly Rs.10 lakh (or around $16,800) DVDs of my film in the first two days," he said."I don't mind if one person buys and shows it to his entire family. As long as people don't watch pirated version of any film, I'm happy to release my films on DVD. Most households today have access to digital TV, so new films can be released via direct-to-home medium as well," he added."Hopefully somebody at the TFPC hears Cheran's outlandish suggestions above the din of indignant entitlement.Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Read More...
posted 18 days ago on techdirt
Why is it always the state Attorneys General? Time and time again we see examples of state AGs who seem to think they're above the law and can abuse their position to attack those they dislike. The latest? Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. Apparently, he was none too happy that Huffington Post reporter Dana Liebelson was investigating juvenile prison conditions in the state, and had a representative from his office follow her for two hours across the state to slap her with two separate, but equally questionable, subpoenas, demanding all of her notes: As Liebelson notes on her Twitter feed, she had had permission to visit the prisons, and agreed not to bring in a recording device. She noted that she followed all the rules that she was given for reporting from the prison -- and yet, she immediately gets slapped with a subpoena demanding her notes. And she wasn't the only one. Another report notes that Schuette also sent a subpoena to Michigan Radio, demanding its recording of a prisoner/attorney interview. Of course, after Liebelson's story started getting social media and press attention, Schuette's office quickly backed down, and promised to rescind the subpoenas. The excuse given by his office, to MLive, is absolutely ridiculous: A spokesperson for Schuette, responding to a request for comment, issued a statement indicating a civil service attorney had been "doing the department's job of defending the state" from lawsuits. The attorney "followed a common legal procedure" of subpoenaing information from individuals "entering Michigan prisons to speak to prisoners who are suing state taxpayers," said spokesperson Andrea Bitely. That makes no sense at all. Defending the state from lawsuits should never involve sending reporters subpoenas demanding all of their notes. It's a clear intimidation technique that violates all basic concepts of a free and open press.Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Read More...
posted 18 days ago on techdirt
This is big news. Wikimedia Foundation, the organization behind Wikipedia, has announced that it is suing the NSA (with help from the ACLU) over its mass surveillance program. While the full lawsuit hasn't yet been posted, the lawsuit targets the "upstream" collection under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. Because this gets confusing if you're not spending a lot of time with this, let's break out some of the different surveillance programs: Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act: under this program the NSA is collecting all the phone metadata on calls in the US. Executive Order 12333: this is what enables the NSA to hack into pretty much anything overseas -- including things like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft's data centers. PRISM: Actually part of Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. Allows for (slightly) targeted collections of information via a court order from the FISA Court, demanding specific types of information (rather than "all" information). Upstream collection: Also under Section 702, but this is the program that lets the NSA tap into backbone fiber optic cables, such as from AT&T and others, and slurp up all traffic in case there's anything "interesting" happening that it can classify as "foreign intelligence information." It's the upstream collection that Wikimedia is challenging in this lawsuit, arguing (among other things) that it violates both the First and Fourth Amendments. That upstream program is the one that was first disclosed by Mark Klein, a former AT&T technician who wandered into the EFF's offices a decade ago with the evidence. This resulted in a lawsuit -- Hepting v. AT&T -- that AT&T was able to get out of thanks to Congress passing a law granting the telcos retroactive immunity for helping the NSA. The EFF has a long-running similar case against the NSA over the upstream collection -- Jewel v. NSA -- which recently suffered a setback, in that the judges claimed there wasn't evidence for "standing." That is, the plaintiffs need to be able to prove that they were spied on -- which is a fairly tough barrier. Another case that was filed on similar grounds, by Amnesty International (also with the ACLU), also lost at the Supreme Court on the question of "standing." However, as later came out, that victory was based mostly on a false statement from Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who had argued that if the US government made use of any of the upstream collection data in a lawsuit against someone, the government would need to reveal it to the defendants, who would then have standing to challenge it. Only later -- thanks to a Senate speech from Senator Dianne Feinstein -- did it come out that the DOJ regularly made use of information collected this way without ever alerting the defendants about how the information was collected. Wikimedia thinks that it has a chance to get past this "standing" hurdle, thanks to the following NSA slide that was leaked in the Ed Snowden revelations: See that big Wikipedia logo? That seems to be the NSA admitting that it's spying on Wikipedia users. The 2013 mass surveillance disclosures included a slide from a classified NSA presentation that made explicit reference to Wikipedia, using our global trademark. Because these disclosures revealed that the government specifically targeted Wikipedia and its users, we believe we have more than sufficient evidence to establish standing. In an oped for the NY Times, Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales explains why the organization is doing this: The harm to Wikimedia and the hundreds of millions of people who visit our websites is clear: Pervasive surveillance has a chilling effect. It stifles freedom of expression and the free exchange of knowledge that Wikimedia was designed to enable. During the 2011 Arab uprisings, Wikipedia users collaborated to create articles that helped educate the world about what was happening. Continuing cooperation between American and Egyptian intelligence services is well established; the director of Egypt’s main spy agency under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi boasted in 2013 that he was “in constant contact” with the Central Intelligence Agency. So imagine, now, a Wikipedia user in Egypt who wants to edit a page about government opposition or discuss it with fellow editors. If that user knows the N.S.A. is routinely combing through her contributions to Wikipedia, and possibly sharing information with her government, she will surely be less likely to add her knowledge or have that conversation, for fear of reprisal. And then imagine this decision playing out in the minds of thousands of would-be contributors in other countries. That represents a loss for everyone who uses Wikipedia and the Internet — not just fellow editors, but hundreds of millions of readers in the United States and around the world. Given how much difficulty other cases have had in establishing standing, it appears that this may still be a challenge here. However, the fact that the US government effectively misled the Supreme Court last time around, at least suggests that maybe it will be open to revisiting the issue this time around. Kudos to Wikimedia for stepping up to the challenge, and to the ACLU for not giving up on this issue.Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Read More...
posted 18 days ago on techdirt
As part of the annual joke from the USTR known as the Special 301 Report (which is so ridiculous that even top people at the US Copyright Office mock the USTR about it), the USTR publishes what it calls its "notorious markets list." The Special 301 Report, if you don't know, is the report where big companies whine to the USTR about countries those companies feel don't respect US intellectual property rights enough. The USTR collects all of those whinings, and rewrites it as a report to send out to US diplomats to try to shame countries into "cracking down" on the behaviors that these companies don't like -- no matter whether or not it complies with US or local intellectual property laws. Starting a few years ago, the USTR broke out a separate list of online websites, which it refers to as "notorious markets." It started doing this in 2011, in a process that was intended to support SOPA (because SOPA supporters wanted the list of "rogue" sites that would be banned under SOPA). The USTR itself admits that there's basically no objective or legal rationale behind its process: The List does not purport to reflect findings of legal violations, nor does it reflect the U.S. Government’s analysis of the general IPR protection and enforcement climate in the country concerned. The latest Notorious Markets list is out (technically, it's the "2014 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets") and it's full of the usual misleading crap. It's quite amazing to watch US government officials celebrating the censorship of online forums and websites, calling it "progress." Free expression is not particularly important to the USTR when the MPAA complains about it, apparently. But the really astounding move in this latest report is by the USTR to start including domain registrars as "notorious markets," including one of the most popular and widely used registrar in the world, Tucows: This year, USTR is highlighting the issue of certain domain name registrars. Registrars are the commercial entities or organizations that manage the registration of Internet domain names, and some of them reportedly are playing a role in supporting counterfeiting and piracy online. And here is the entry against Tucows: Tucows.com: Based in Canada, Tucows is reportedly an example of a registrar that fails to take action when notified of its clients’ infringing activity. Consistent with the discussion above, USTR encourages the operators of Tucows to work with relevant stakeholders to address complaints. Not surprisingly, the USTR lays the FUD on thick in claiming that it feels the need to do this to protect you against dangerous counterfeit drugs that are being offered on these sites, and those evil domain registrars that refuse to shut down an entire business because someone has complained: Several respondents to the 2014 Federal Register Request identified registrars that purportedly facilitate the distribution of unauthorized copyright-protected content. One respondent identified several registrars that have apparently refused requests to lock or suspend domain names used to sell suspected counterfeit pharmaceuticals to consumers worldwide. This conduct also presents a public health challenge, and requires a coordinated response by governments and a variety of private sector stakeholders. According to one report, an estimated 96 percent of online pharmacies targeting U.S. consumers are operating in violation of applicable U.S. law and standards. An estimated 50 percent of websites worldwide that hide their physical address are selling illicit pharmaceuticals, including those labeled with counterfeit trademarks. The website www.LegitScript.com has reviewed over 40,000 online drug sellers, but found fewer than 400 to be legitimate. Studies have found that counterfeit anti-cancer, anti-HIV/AIDS, and other medications are not only ineffective, but in some cases may contain toxic or deadly adulterants, such as rat poison. As you may recall, the scary stories about "counterfeit drugs" and conflating that with copyright infringement is standard operating procedure for those pushing for stronger copyright enforcement. That's because they can't show any real harm from copyright infringement, so they talk about drugs. But what they miss is the fact that counterfeit drugs are actually a very very small problem. The cases of "toxic or deadly adulterants" are exceedingly rare. Even when dealing with unauthorized pharmacies, studies have shown that they tend to deliver legitimate products (it's not good business to kill your clientele, after all). As for the whole "only 400 out of 40,000 online drug sellers are legit" claim -- well, consider the source. LegitScript is known for frequently conflating online pharmacies that are questionable, with perfectly reasonable authorized Canadian pharmacies that merely "reimport" legitimate versions of drugs at much lower costs than US pharmacies. LegitScript has regularly been used to try to shut down or to tar and feather Canadian pharmacies that provide much cheaper access to medicine. President Obama, in the past, spoke out in favor of allowing more "reimportation," but later went back on that campaign promise, once American pharmaceutical companies got angry. Even Senator Patrick Leahy, the author of PIPA (SOPA's companion bill in the Senate) has been a big supporter of reimportation of drugs from Canada. And yet, the USTR implies that merely reimporting drugs is the same as someone selling rat poison pretending it's something else. The big pharmaceutical companies have been really pushing a lot lately to force ISPs to completely take down websites if they sell drugs that weren't originally intended for the US, even if there is no court order or other adversarial process. They just want to complain and have the sites taken down. It appears that Tucows, quite reasonably, finds this to be somewhat excessive... and in response the USTR labels it as a "notorious market." To put it mildly, this is absolutely crazy. Note that this is the very same USTR that is currently negotiating the TPP and TTIP agreements, which it insists will help promote a free and open internet. Yet, at the very same time, it's going around and calling domain registrars "rogue markets" because they won't arbitrarily take down entire websites, because some pharmaceutical company complains that it doesn't want the competition and some movie studio is pissed off that a website links to some infringing content (no matter what else may be on that site, or who is actually responsible). It is difficult to see how the USTR can claim to be in favor of an open and free internet, and the free flow of information (as it claims), when at the very same time, it's arguing that domain registrars themselves should not only be held responsible for any infringement, but rather that they should censor entire sites just because the users of some sites whose domains were registered via that registrar, happened to infringe. Next thing you know, the USTR will be demanding that the makers of asphalt be held responsible for not stopping cars that have counterfeit tires from driving. The USTR has long been something of a joke, but recently it has tried to present itself as really "getting" the internet after years of not getting it. By naming Tucows as a "notorious market," however, the USTR has only shown how totally clueless it remains, and raises very serious questions about its focus and knowledge as it negotiates important trade agreements.Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Read More...
posted 18 days ago on techdirt
The TPP negotiations are still being conducted with a total lack of transparency -- especially compared to TAFTA/TTIP, where public pressure has led to the release of a large number of documents from the EU, though not from the US. Despite that secrecy, the TPP negotiators seem to have no qualms about proclaiming the talks as nearly "done." Since they have been saying something similar for years, skepticism is required, but it is possible that negotiations might be getting closer to the end game where all the really difficult issues need to be addressed. That makes the absence of any official release of the draft text pretty appalling. Assuming that the final text will be released if and when an agreement is reached, this will leave very little time for the complex provisions to be analyzed properly before the national votes take place in some TPP countries. Given what's at stake -- TPP is likely to have a big impact not just on trade, but also on many aspects of daily life -- one group has decided to pre-empt that eventual release, and to analyze what information we have, notably from leaks. HIA Connect, based in Australia, describes itself as follows: A resource for health impact assessment (HIA) as a method and a process to ensure that public policies, projects, plans, and programs contribute to the health of the population and health equity. HIA's new report "Negotiating Healthy Trade in Australia: A Health Impact Assessment of the Proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement" (pdf) focuses on TPP's likely impact on health in Australia, but many of its conclusions apply to other countries participating in the TPP negotations. Here's a summary of its findings: A report released today by a large team of academics and non-government health organisations reveals that the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) poses risks to the health of Australians in areas such as provision of affordable medicines, tobacco and alcohol policies and nutrition labelling. Many public health organisations have been tracking the progress of the TPP negotiations over the past several years and have expressed concerns about the potential impacts and lack of transparency. As that makes clear, the academics and other experts who put together the report are concerned about a number of adverse effects that TPP is likely to have. Some are familiar, for example the impact on affordable medicines, or on the ability to regulate and restrict tobacco advertising -- an area where Australia is already suffering thanks to corporate sovereignty provisions in other treaties. Others are new, but similar: some TPP provisions could limit the regulation of alcohol availability and alcohol marketing, and restrict alcohol control measures such as pregnancy warning labels. Food is another area where labeling restrictions in TPP could prevent governments from warning about the consumption of unhealthy ingredients. Of course, supporters of TPP will doubtless say that all this is premature, and that nothing certain can be said until the final text is released -- a point echoed by the authors of the report: "In the absence of publicly available current drafts of the trade agreement, it is difficult to predict what the impacts of the TPP will be," said Dr Deborah Gleeson, one of the report's authors. "In the study, we traced the potential impacts based on proposals that have been -- or are being -- discussed in the negotiations. But as Gleeson goes on to point out, there's a very easy way to remedy this problem: "The only way to properly assess the risks is to allow a comprehensive health impact assessment to be conducted on the final agreement before it gets signed by Cabinet." Given that people's health and even lives may be at stake here, it is irresponsible for participating governments to withhold the draft texts -- especially since they are allegedly so close to completion -- and thus to prevent a proper health impact assessment of them being conducted well in advance of any final votes. Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+ Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Read More...
posted 18 days ago on techdirt
For many years, we've warned newspapers that rushed headlong into paywalls that it was a fool's game. While, yes, their traditional advertising business was struggling, the idea that people would come out of the woodwork to suddenly pay for the online version seemed unlikely to come true, other than -- perhaps -- for the very largest newspapers in the world, the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal (and even then...). And yet, there remain a religious few who insist that paywalls must be the answer. They're wrong each and every time, but they can't stop screaming it. And so they trick foolish newspapers, desperate for some way to stem the revenue slide, into implementing a paywall, and nearly all of those papers discover the same damn thing: the people don't pay, and thanks to the paywall, the traffic decreases, fewer people link to or share their stories, and the advertisers go away even faster. The latest to make this discovery: the Toronto Star, which has announced that its paywall is going away. Notably, it was the newspaper's own advertisers who helped management make this decision: This decision means that effective April 1 all of our award-winning content will be available free on our website, thestar.com, and across all digital devices, including tablets and smartphones. We are making this move after extensive input from our readers and our advertisers. Listening to our audiences is critical to the success of our daily newspaper and our digital offerings and we are committed to continually adjusting our digital strategies to provide them with what they want. We've been saying it for years, but it needs to be said again: the news "business" has almost never (there are a very few exceptions) really been the "news" business. It has almost always been the community business. Build a community and then do something to monetize that community to continue serving that community. Most of the time that's been selling their attention in the form of ads. But, since the rise of the internet, newspapers no longer had quite the monopolistic control on the communities they were serving. That's the real challenge facing the old newspapers. How to continue to build a community. And yet, rather than look to add value and give the community reasons to stick around, they've gone in the other direction: trying to lock out the community, to put up barriers and toll booths that actually diminish the value to the community. A paywalled story is one that people are less likely to share, less likely to discuss, and less likely to visit altogether. Meanwhile, you see stories about companies like Nextdoor, which are actively building local communities by providing value, and they're valued at over a billion dollars. Why didn't newspapers build something like that, rather than focus on putting up a stupid paywall that no one wanted? The NY Times and the WSJ's "paywalls" are still really little more than the "emperor's new paywall." Both are easy to get around, so they still get people sharing. People pay because they're "the NY Times" and "the Wall Street Journal," and some feel a sort of obligation to pay. But they're hardly paying because of the paywall. The Toronto Star's decision to kill off its paywall just reinforces the simple fact that a paywall is a stupid business model in an age of abundant information. The publications that get the most attention these days -- places like Buzzfeed and Vox and Vice -- don't talk about paywalls at all, because they know it would be pointless and go against the very concept of everything that they're building. So it still amazes me that other newspapers have been suckered into believing that a paywall is somehow the answer.Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Read More...
posted 18 days ago on techdirt
We've covered hydrophobic materials before because it's just neat to see stuff not get wet when splashed with water. Commercial products like spray paints, water-resistant clothes and Teflon already exist, but repellent materials are not all equal. Some materials repel liquids better than others, and the way the surface is applied -- painted, chemically bonded, etched, etc -- makes a difference, too. Here are just a few more examples of hydrophobic surfaces (and a hydrophilic one) that people are working on. A new hydrophobic paint can be applied to fabrics, paper, glass and steel -- making surfaces waterproof so that water just rolls off. This paint claims to be scratch-resistant so that it can withstand the wear and tear of regular use. It'll be nice to not need to wash and wax cars, but it might not be so nice to see bird droppings spilling/splashing off a car. [url] Liquid-infused polymers are a relatively new class of materials that can create repellent surfaces. Porous silicones saturated with silicone oils can prevent the build-up of biofilms, thereby reducing bacterial growth and infections. Liquid-infused polymers might also treat surfaces to prevent ice formation and be used in other applications for non-stick coatings. [url] Instead of repelling water, a superhydrophilic coating attracts water and can form a thin, transparent film of water on a surface. So no more foggy mirrors with this ceramic coating called CleanClear, but it might not replace windshield wipers if muddy water splashes on your car. [url] Super-hydrophobic surfaces can be created with lasers etching. So far, this method only works on metals -- and it takes an hour to etch a 1 square inch waterproof pattern, but the researchers are working on speeding up the process and applying it to other materials. [url] If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Read More...
posted 18 days ago on techdirt
Chance Trahan and Craig Brittain, the "masterminds" behind revenge porn also-ran IsAnybodyDown, were never much for originality. To start out with, the site name was nothing more than a knockoff of revenge porn "pioneer" Hunter Moore's Is Anyone Up? Like Hunter Moore, Trahan and Brittain made a living off the misery of others, hosting explicit photos assumed to be forever secret by those featured in them. All three resided in a particular subset of humanity, existing only to entertain and titillate another subset of humanity located roughly adjacent to these misery merchants. And like Hunter Moore, these revenge pornsters ran headlong into the legal system. The FTC wrestled Brittain into an unfavorable settlement, while Trahan's supposed rebirth as an actual, presumably useful human being has gone unnoticed. Or mostly unnoticed. Asher Langton noticed. Chance Trahan thinks he's enough of a draw that people will willingly pay him up to and including $70,000 to pretend to be someone else. Chance Trahan invites potential victims attendees to "look in the mirror" and "reflect success!" (Exclamation point in the "original.") But when Trahan looks in the mirror, he sees… Shark Tank's Daymond John. Chance Trahan has copied -- in whole -- presentation FAQs and speaking topics [embedded below] from Daymond John's website, replacing little more than Daymond's name and logo with his own. [Original on top, Trahan's knockoff on the bottom.] Yes, Chance Trahan is so inspirational he can't even bothered to compose his own AV instructions. He's the white Daymond John, only without the talent, drive or provable success. He's everything you could possibly expect from a former revenge porn site operator, including deeply hypocritical. Much like Craig Brittain, Trahan has a deep -- if completely arbitrary -- respect for people's intellectual property. While the two may have built a small fiefdom using unauthorized photos, they're quick to deny that privilege to others. Brittain issued a DMCA notice a few weeks ago, aimed at delisting articles critical of him, including the FTC's own statement on his settlement. In his notice, he claimed the following, all without the slightest trace of irony: Unauthorized use of photos of me and other related information. Unauthorized use of statements and identity related information. Unauthorized copying of excerpts from isanybodydown.com. Using photos which are not 'fair use'. Trahan has made similar demands in the past. (h/t Adam Steinbaugh) You are infringing Chance's intellectual property. Please consider this a notice of infringement and a demand that you cease and desist from using Chance and from using any and all intellectual property owned by Chance. Regarding the DMCA, all content of Chance that you use is copyrighted material for which you are using without permission of the copyright owner; namely, Chance. You are also using Chance's registered trademarks without permission. Apparently, doing a name and logo swap isn't infringement. And neither is the use of others' intellectual property without permission -- like, say, in the context of a revenge porn site. Chance Trahan may be trying to reinvent himself as a brand-new, less-evil person, but so far, all he's done is reinvent himself as the Daymond John no one's interested in. The uninitiated may fall for this borrowed persona, but those familiar with Trahan's past will see right through his secondhand alter ego. There's a lesson to be learned here. 98% of it is: don't be so fucking stupid. The other 2% is this: if you want to make amends for your previous wrongdoings, great. Just don't do it by trying to bury your past (Brittain) or by building a whole "new" persona nearly-completely based on someone else's work and success. If this pair genuinely wants to go forth and do no (further) evil, that would be great. But so far, both have proven they can't even get out the front door without botching it completely. Fortunately, this time, the damage they're causing is mostly internal.Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Read More...
posted 18 days ago on techdirt
Oh, Elsevier. The publishing giant has quite the reputation for its desire to stop people from sharing knowledge unless Elsevier can put up a toll booth. A huge number of academics have signed pledges to boycott Elsevier and not allow their works to be published by the company. Also, in the last few years, there's been a rapid growth in open access and requirements that research be distributed for free (often under a Creative Commons license). Almost exactly a year ago, we had a story about Elsevier charging for open access content, and apparently the company hasn't gotten any better. Ross Mounce recently noticed that Elsevier appeared to be selling a paper on HIV infection for $31.50 + tax (after which you have just 24 hours to download it, or just kiss that money goodbye): The problem, however, is that the paper was actually published by competing publisher Wiley under an open access Creative Commons license (and is available free of charge on its website). The key author on the paper, Didier Raolt told Mounce that he had no idea why Elsevier was selling his paper, and that he had not given permission. The paper is under a Creative Commons license, but it's a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license. And while I'm not a fan of NC/ND licenses, it's pretty clear that this license does not allow someone to step in and start selling the paper. When confronted about this, someone from Elsevier, Alicia Wise, tweeted a nonsensical response: If you can't read that, it says: the journal is in transition from Wiley to Elsevier; will check on transition status But that's meaningless. If the paper is being published under an open access license, even if somehow that journal is being transferred, then Elsevier should still be publishing it under open access terms. And, considering that the document was just published recently, you'd think that the author on the paper would know something about this. Once again, it looks like Elsevier is just giving open access a giant middle finger.Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Read More...
posted 19 days ago on techdirt
During the last election cycle, Representative Marsha Blackburn received $15,000 from a Verizon PAC, $25,000 from an AT&T PAC, $20,000 from a Comcast PAC, and $20,000 from the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Surely that funding is only coincidentally related to Blackburn's recent decision to rush to the defense of awful state protectionist law written by the likes of AT&T and Comcast, preventing towns and cities from doing absolutely anything about their local lack of broadband competition. That money surely is also only tangentially related to the fact that Blackburn has also just introduced the "Internet Freedom Act" (pdf), aimed at gutting the FCC's recently unveiled Title II-based net neutrality rules and prohibiting the agency from trying to make new ones. Whereas most of us thought net neutrality is about protecting consumers and smaller competitors from the incumbent ISP stranglehold over the last mile, Blackburn's website informs readers that net neutrality rules harm innovators, jobs, and err -- freedom:"Once the federal government establishes a foothold into managing how Internet service providers run their networks they will essentially be deciding which content goes first, second, third, or not at all," Blackburn said in an announcement yesterday. "My legislation will put the brakes on this FCC overreach and protect our innovators from these job-killing regulations." And here I was thinking that the FCC was responding to unprecedented public support for some of the rules aimed at keeping AT&T, Comcast and Verizon on their best behavior. Blackburn makes sure to lean heavily on that thoroughly discredited report by the Progressive Policy Institute claiming consumers will all suffer from "billions" in new taxes, and again tosses out the well-worn trope about how Title II is bad because it originated in the 1930s (because old laws are always bad, get it?). Again though, the fact that Blackburn has received $66,750 from AT&T, $59,650 from Verizon, $56,000 from the NCTA, and $36,000 from Comcast over the last decade surely has nothing to do with her suddenly scurrying on multiple fronts to protect those companies' stranglehold over the U.S. broadband market. For freedom.Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Read More...
posted 19 days ago on techdirt
Until recently, most people probably assumed that real net neutrality was more likely to come to Europe than to the US. But in one of those ironic little twists, not only has the FCC voted in favor of net neutrality, but attacks on the idea in Europe have suddenly multiplied, leaving the final outcome there in doubt. Worryingly, one of the strongest verbal assaults on net neutrality comes from the very EU Commissioner who is in charge of the relevant legislation, Günther Oettinger. Techdirt has reported a couple of times on the Digital Commissioner's rather clueless comments, but this time he has surpassed himself. Speaking at an event held by the German Ministry of Finance last week, here's what the he had to say on net neutrality, as reported by the Pirate Party's MEP, Julia Reda -- her post includes a video of Oettinger speaking (in German) and a transcript of his remarks (in English): Net neutrality: Here we've got, particularly in Germany, Taliban-like developments. We have the Internet community, the Pirates on the move, it's all about enforcing perfect uniformity. They talk about "the evil industry". It’s not about the industry, it’s not about the CEO and his salary. Oettinger then goes on to explain what he thinks net neutrality is about: telemedicine and car safety, apparently. If you want to have real time road safety, our lives are at stake, this has to have absolute priority with regards to quality and capacity. ... I think downloading YouTube can wait a few seconds. I think we can let the game at some times be less than perfect on the screen. But road safety (a commercial service!), health (a commercial service!) and a few others come to my mind: They should be able to deviate from net neutrality, this Taliban-like issue. What's interesting here is that alongside the very old idea of telemedicine, Oettinger uses exactly the same new argument against net neutrality as Nokia's CEO last week. Since no one was talking about this kind of application before -- unsurprisingly, since it's a really stupid approach -- a cynic might almost think that they have both been fed the same talking point by someone. Fortunately, Reda's position as Member of the European Parliament gives her the right to quiz the European Commission formally, and she is availing herself of this power to put the following rather pointed questions, which pick up on Oettinger's comments: Can the Commission name specifically every single hospital in the European Union and their specific telemedicine products and applications which rely on real time broadband internet connections whose technical specifications rely on the absence of enforced net neutrality rules in the EU? Please list each and every hospital, product and application, please do not cluster products and applications. Can the Commission name specifically every single intelligent transportation system such as a car-mounted impact warning system, car or transportation security device whose performance relies on real time internet access and whose technical specification relies on the absence of enforced net neutrality rules in the EU? Please list every manufacturer, product and application, please do not cluster products and applications. I can't wait for the replies. Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Read More...
posted 19 days ago on techdirt
On Friday, we had a post about some political comic strips that were posted to the Tumblr blog A Good Cartoon. Whoever is behind that blog (on the blog the name used is "rorus raz," and the post asks people to credit rorus raz, but on Twitter it's "Alan Smithee" which is a popular pseudonym) first posted a bunch of political cartoons by syndicated political cartoonists that demonstrated a near total lack of understanding about net neutrality, and then posted a followup post that took many of those political cartoons and replaced the bubble text with the simple statement "the cartoonist has no idea how net neutrality works." Well-known TV, book, podcast and internet personality John Hodgman then reblogged it on his site. I first saw it on Hodgman's site and set it aside to write about it. When I got around to it late on Friday afternoon, I noticed, oddly, that the original on A Good Cartoon was now gone. There was no note or anything. It was just gone. However, Hodgman's version was still up, so I wrote about it and posted some (but not all) of the comics and added some additional commentary. Over the weekend, however, the version on Hodgman's site also disappeared, and Twitter user Michael at BU alerted me to the news that over at A Good Cartoon a DMCA takedown notice had been posted. It appears that the copyright holder representing the cartoonist Chip Bok sent Tumblr a takedown. What's posted to the blog is what Tumblr sent to A Good Cartoon, and not the original takedown notice -- so it's not clear if it was sent via Bok himself or Creators Syndicate, which syndicates Bok's strips. Bizarrely, the notice that's posted to A Good Cartoon is not text and not a single image, but rather each word is a separate image. I have no idea why, but here's the transcribed note: Hi, We've received a notification of alleged copyright infringement on one of your blogs. Here are the details of the content in question: Copyright holder: Katie Ransom Post URL(s): http://agoodcartoon.tumblr.com/post/112519623990/the-cartoonist-has-no-idea-how-net-neutrality Description: The work is a copyrighted cartoon by artist Chip Bok. The caption of the cartoon was altered, but the copyright and signature remain, making it look like this work is by the artist, when it is not. You can find an original copy of the cartoon here: http://www.creators.com/editorialcartoons/chip-bok/31500.html The content has since been removed, in accordance with U.S. law and Tumblr's own copyright policies. It's important for all creators that our users respect copyright, and so we ask that you take greater care when posting other people's creations to your Tumblr blog. You can review Tumblr's Terms of Service (https://www.tumblr.com/policy/terms-of-service) and Community Guidelines (https://www.tumblr.com/policy/community) for more information on our copyright policies. At Tumblr, we implement a strict three-strike policy against copyright infringers. The notice we received counts as one strike against your account. If you receive three uncontested strikes within 18 months, your account will be terminated. You can contest this notification by following the instructions for a DMCA Counter-Notification found here: https://www.tumblr.com/policy/terms-of-service#dmca. A successful counter-notification will remove the strike against your account. Please note that if your account is terminated for repeat copyright infringement, any new accounts you create will also be terminated. This is a good opportunity to learn more about U.S. copyright law (never a bad idea) and to make sure that none of your other posts are infringing on someone's copyright. Here are a few free resources you might want to look over: http://fairuse.stanford.edu/internet-resources/ http://www.teachingcopyright.org/ http://copyright.gov/ Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Best, Tumblr Trust & Safety It would appear that the cartoonist has no idea how fair use works (and the same may be true of Tumblr's "Trust & Safety" staff). Yes, fair use is often a judgment call, but it's difficult to see how this is not classic fair use. It was transformed (as the Tumblr letter even admits), and the transformation was done for the purpose of commentary and criticism of the original -- classic parody, which the courts have recognized as quintessential fair use. Finally, it was not done for commercial reasons and the impact on the market for the original is clearly none (other than the fact that it might make Chip Bok look foolish -- but the courts have been clear that it needs to be the copying, not the commentary that harms the market, and that's clearly not the case here -- i.e., the question is whether or not the copied work might substitute for the original in the market). To better understand this, we'll post both versions here (which again is fair use, should Bok or his syndicate suddenly wish to try to play this stupid game on us as well). Here's the original: The line in the bubble doesn't make any sense at all in the context of net neutrality, nor does the message on the TV itself. As we stated in our post on Friday, we already know that the big broadband providers have been the ones who have been deliberately slowing down access to Netflix, resulting in images like the following appearing on people's screens without net neutrality: And, of course, once Netflix agreed to pay up, suddenly the big ISPs magically figured out how to plug in a few more connections and the speeds went back up: Part of the point of the FCC's new rules is to prevent this sort of gaming by the big broadband players so that you won't have to see any delay messages at all when downloading a film. So, given all that, it's rather easy to conclude that Chip Bok has no idea how net neutrality works. And, given that, a fairly good way to parody Bok's ignorance is to post the following cartoon: A Good Cartoon's response to the DMCA takedown is to note, "i'm astonished that chip bok believes people could confuse something he made with something that's actually funny and intelligent." Of course, being embarrassed about a parody does not make it infringing. It's still fair use. So, the most likely conclusion is that Chip Bok (and/or his syndicate) has no idea how fair use works.Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Read More...
posted 19 days ago on techdirt
The old guard in Hollywood, so frightened of an internet they don't understand, tends to be rather transparently buffoonish in its strategies to try to break the internet. For a few years, the MPAA was totally focused on a "three strikes" strategy -- believing that if people were getting kicked off the internet, that it would lead them to stop file sharing and go back to paying large sums of money for bad movies. That plan failed miserably. The followup idea was even worse: known as full site blocking, the idea was to convince countries to pass laws that would force ISPs, search engines, domain registrars and others to completely block access not just to infringing content, but to entire sites that the legacy copyright industries deemed "bad." This was always problematic on a few different levels. First, the entertainment industry has a rather horrible track record of declaring some new innovation "bad" and "illegal" when it shows up on the scene, only much later realizing that the "bad" or "illegal" thing is actually exactly what consumers are looking for. In the past, the industry has attacked radio, television, the VCR, the photocopier, the DVR, the MP3 player and YouTube (among many other things). Giving Hollywood a full on veto for any new technology, before it's had a chance to grow, thrive and show how useful it can be, seems like a great way to kill off innovation. Yet, that's what Hollywood wants. Second, the concept of site blocking itself is incompatible with some of the very fundamentals of the internet. It breaks DNS, it creates big security problems, and it has tremendous collateral damage (not that Hollywood gives a shit about that). The original site blocking plan was to pass SOPA in the US, which had site blocking provisions. It was seen as a slam dunk easy win by Hollywood, until suddenly, it wasn't (thanks to the internet speaking up loudly). But, similar strategies have worked better in other countries, as courts have often ordered ISPs to block certain sites, often with little review and almost no due process. Yet, as we discovered thanks to the Sony Hack last year, the MPAA is still 100% focused on figuring out ways to implement full site blocking, even as its internal discussion admits it has no idea about the technological feasibility of it. Instead, it's pushing on a few different fronts, from trying to get states Attorneys General involved to abusing the process at the International Trade Commission to "block" sites "at the border." However, it appears that the latest strategy is just to file a bunch of bogus DMCA takedown notices to Google on the top level domain, rather than on specific content. It's no secret that the MPAA has been asking Google to implement full site blocking for quite some time -- even though doing so wouldn't actually help (because instead of the sites, you'd just get people telling you how to get to those sites or you'd get even sketchier sites). TorrentFreak noticed that the MPAA issued a bunch of questionable DMCA notices on top level domains recently, nearly all of which Google rightly rejected. The law is pretty clear that you have to be identifying the specific work to be taken down, rather than just generally pointing to a site. The MPAA knows this, which makes the sending of a bunch of top level domains... bizarre. (TorrentFreak also points out that the MPAA may have even sent its own mpaa.org domain in a DMCA notice, but there's a decent chance that that's just someone playing a prank). The decision to file such clearly bogus DMCA notices, from an organization that is so totally focused on site blocking and which has large groups of lawyers looking for every angle to bring in full site blocking... suggests that this isn't just the MPAA getting lazy. Instead, it may be part of a plan to try to set up a test case, in which the MPAA sues over getting Google to remove an entire domain, based solely on a takedown (or series of takedowns) on that top level domain. If so, that would be an astoundingly stupid ploy -- one that the MPAA would have a high likelihood of losing. But perhaps desperate times at the MPAA call for desperate measures. Of course, we're still wondering when the folks over at the MPAA will get desperate enough to focus on giving people what they want, rather than treating them all as criminals.Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Read More...
posted 19 days ago on techdirt
As someone with only a mild and very uneducated interest in music, I am of course a huge fan of the band Hall & Oates. Private eyes, man, they're watching you, and all that. Hall & Oates, can apparently get very unhappy when things are named after them, as we saw when a bunch of drunken weirdos decided to name a SuperPAC after the band. The band, of course, couldn't go for that and got them to shut the whole thing down. And, now, according to the Guardian, the famed rocking duo are going one-on-one with the most unlikely foe: granola. Cue outrage about rockers feeling entitled: Rather than being flattered by the promise of rolled oats and maple syrup mix that, Early Bird insists, is “perfect by itself or as the base for a breakfast parfait creation”, Daryl Hall and John Oates claim “the name and mark Haulin’ Oats is an obvious play upon Plaintiff’s well-known Hall & Oates mark, and was selected by defendant in an effort to trade off of the fame and notoriety associated with the artist’s and plaintiff’s well-known marks.” The pair have brought the case in the Brooklyn federal court, where they claim the food company have infringed their trademark with a “phonetic play on Daryl Hall and John Oates’ well-known brand name”. Now, if you hadn't noticed, two bandmates from the 80's and a freaking granola company probably aren't in the same industries, aren't competing with one another, and customers won't be confused at all into thinking a granola parfait is either Daryl or John, their personalities notwithstanding. So it seems like this should be tossed out, right? Well, maybe not. Deep within the lawsuit (but not in the Guardian article linked above) is another bizarre tidbit. Apparently, a few years ago, someone else registered a "Haulin' Oats" trademark and started selling oatmeal with that brand. Rather than freak out and sue, representatives for Daryl and John resolved the whole thing amicably, with the other company agreeing to assign the trademark to the rockers and continue to sell their Haulin' Oats oatmeal -- in exchange for a royalty based on sales. You can see that trademark here. As Hall & Oates note in their lawsuit: Plaintiff is the owner, via assignment, of the mark HAULIN’ OATS that is used in connection with the sale of oatmeal and the provision of food delivery services. Plaintiff is the owner of United States Trademark and Service Mark Reg. No. 4,345,444 for the mark HAULIN’ OATS in International Class 30 for oatmeal and in International Class 39 for food delivery, which mark has been in use since March 1, 2012. And here's how it all came about: In 2014, Plaintiff became aware that an entity named Haulin’ Oats, a partnership organized under the laws of California and based in Nashville, Tennessee, was also utilizing the mark HAULIN’ OATS in connection with the sale of oatmeal and the provision of food delivery services. Thereafter, Plaintiff and Haulin’ Oats entered into a business relationship whereby Haulin’ Oats assigned to Plaintiff its trademark and service mark rights in and to the mark HAULIN’ OATS (including the United States Trademark and Service Mark Registration identified above) and Plaintiff granted a royalty-based license back to Haulin’ Oats. Based on that, the lawsuit actually makes a lot of sense -- though you wouldn't get any of that from the Guardian's coverage. There are some bizarre parts in the lawsuit, such as Hall & Oates arguing that because they once put oats on an album cover there might be confusion: That seems difficult to take seriously. But, rather than this just being a case of the rockers freaking out over someone making a play on their name (as implied in the Guardian piece), this actually has a legitimate basis: two different companies came up with the same play on the duo's name, and the rockers actually worked out a reasonable deal with the first, and now that they own the trademark, they're the ones who have to file against the other company using the same name.Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Read More...
posted 20 days ago on techdirt
This week, we followed the latest developments in the story of Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood and his interactions with the MPAA.That One Guy won most insightful comment of the week by catching some apparent contradictions in his statements: Slip of the tongue? While Hood's office says there are "nearly 900 emails Hood's office first said that it would refuse to share the emails between Hood and the MPAA's lawyers as they "constitute attorney-client communications" or "attorney work product" Compare the above to this, from an earlier article: Hood said the MPAA "has no major influence on my decision-making," although he noted that content creators occasionally provide reports and advice to him. "They're just reporting wrongdoing. There's nothing unusual about that," he said. Hood said he has never asked MPAA a legal question, isn't sure which lawyers they employ, and doesn't think he's ever met the organization's general counsel. So they've had 'no major influence on [his] decision making', and yet there are estimated to be at least 900 emails sent between the two. In addition, despite claiming that they were 'just reporting wrongdoing', and Hood never asked them a legal question, somehow the communications between the two qualify as "constitute attorney-client communications" or "attorney work product". One of these claims is clearly not true. Either the hundreds of emails sent back and forth had nothing to do with legal matters, in which case they would not be protected as attorney-client communications, or they were indeed legal discussions, in which case they would be. Honestly, if he's going to lie, he could at least put some effort into it. But that wasn't That One Guy's only win this week: he also took home second place for insightful with his thoughts about movie theatres boycotting Netflix's new movie to protect release windows: Run that by me again? So Netflix is planning on showing the films at the same time as they're shown in theaters. The theaters claim that home viewing hurts their profits. So in response, theater owners refuse to show the films at all, making it so anyone who wants to watch them will have to watch them at home, via Netflix. Brilliant. For editor's choice on the insightful side, first we'll round things out by giving one more nod to That One Guy. This time, it's a comment on something that drives us crazy here at Techdirt — the fact that net neutrality is becoming a partisan issue for many: That's some mighty fine paranoia you've got there "We will not stand by idly as the White House, using the FCC, attempts to advance rules that imperil the future of the Internet. I love how they still insist that Obama's behind this whole thing, as though he's just got to be the cause. As a scapegoat, he seems rather lacking, but I suppose the alternative, admitting that the main driving forces behind the shift were the actions of the ISP's showing how needed the change was, and the massive support on both sides for said change, wouldn't fit the spin they've decided on. Next, we've got a comment from Rich Kulawiec, who was blown away by the revelations that Hillary Clinton conducted all her work as Secretary of State through a personal email account: Let me see if I have this straight The Secretary of State of the United States of America used a personal email account for official government business for four years and during all that time, everyone in possession of that fact (which would necessarily include everyone she corresponded with) refrained from raising hell? Didn't any of them grasp that this necessarily meant that their messages were also traversing whichever service was hosting her account? And that they were thereby trusting that service's system and network admins? (Even if the messages were encrypted, which I doubt, the mail system logs would yield useful data for traffic analysis.) From an opsec standpoint (forget the records retention issue for a moment) this is insane. Over on the funny side, we start out on the not-so-funny story about Suburban Express changing its terms of service to block college students from their university-provided legal aid. One anonymous commenter took first place by elegantly expressing his reaction to this and many other stories of similar shenanigans from Tim Cushing: I can usually tell how many Tim C. posts there have been during the week by counting the number of drywall-repair patch kits I have to buy at the hardware store on Saturday. In second place, we've got another response to the Netflix boycott by theaters. This time it's DB with a healthy dose of sarcasm: The theaters have quite a bit of history to back them up. Look at how football was destroyed once it was shown on TV. Ticket prices went to zero (approximately, the average for a 'cheap seat' is only $84), and the parking lots could only charge $1 (approximate, actual cost is $75 in Dallas). The same with other sports. The miniscule broadcast revenue left the team owners destitute. Pretty much only the parents of the players show up at games. For editor's choice, we start out on our post about Canada's border patrol charging travellers for not coughing up their smartphone passwords. One commenter went just a little far in dubbing this a return of Naziism and a "history repeating", spurring Roger Strong to craft this response: It's true. The War of 1812 started when the British Navy boarded American merchant vessels and demanded crew members' smartphone passwords. Finally, after a Connecticut town took down a painting over some confused and silly ideas about intellectual property, Michael pined for an easy way to prevent such madness: If only there were a place in which someone could walk in and borrow some books about copyright so they could learn a little about the subject before pulling a painting off of the wall. That's all for this week, folks! Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Read More...
posted 21 days ago on techdirt
Five Years Ago There was a whole lot of conversation about ACTA this week in 2010. More leaks revealed the positions of more countries, Danish politicians began questioning the country's opposition to ACTA transparency, Sweden said it won't agree if any changes to the law are required, the EU apparently agreed that more transparency was needed, and the USTR admitted its desire for ACTA to cover patents too. Meanwhile, the UK was grappling with its own Digital Economy Bill — making it worse with a new web censorship aspect, trying to outlaw weblockers, and ensuring open WiFi would be a liability. There was more copyright insanity, too. We learned that Metallica, still famous for bringing down Napster, made only a small fraction of its revenues from CD sales; Brazil sued Columbia Pictures for violating the copyright on its famous Jesus statue; Activision killed a fan game project that had been previously licensed; Spanish indie labels tried to sue the government for not stopping file sharing; and the RIAA claimed that file sharing was undermining human rights efforts in Haiti (right). Ten Years Ago Record labels misunderstanding the market was hardly new to 2010. It was happening this week in 2005, too. BPI proudly announced 23 pointless file sharing settlements. Sony was among the worst, demonstrating that it was completely out of touch (and also shutting down a tribute band website, but it wasn't alone. Meanwhile, many popular musicians were taking Grokster's side at the supreme court — only for the industry to try to convince them they'd been used. Also in 2005: LinkedIn was trying out a business model while XM was monkeying with its own, the widely publicized hack of Paris Hilton's phone turned out to be good for T-Mobile, driving while talking on a cellphone was catching on, and so were alternate reality games (except, apparently not that much), and we could tell Firefox had really made it as an browser when spyware makers started to notice it. Fifteen Years Ago Mind-controlled computing is one of those things that seems to have been just around the corner for a very long time — since at least 2000, in fact. But hey, this was a time when CD sales were still rising, and other things still just around the corner included the wireless internet (which similarly seemed to be taking forever). Online gambling was big, B2B was (probably) bigger, and we just began to notice how big the databases of our personal information are (which was scary at a time when hacks could still significantly undermine general public confidence in the internet). Some still wondered if perhaps pen and paper was better for notes and tests — but maybe just keeping the web pages under 5K would be sufficiently old-fashioned. Twenty-Six Years Ago On March 1st, 1989, after a long period of resistance, the United States joined the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, which continues to influence (though not really directly shape or control) copyright policy around the world. The US still exercises what some have called "minimal compliance" with the convention, and that's probably a good thing, or at least better than total compliance — US copyright law barely includes the prohibitive moral rights called for by Berne, and while a registration requirement and other formalities were (sadly) removed in general, Congress retained them as a prerequisite for statutory damages. Which is, y'know, something. Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Read More...
posted 21 days ago on techdirt
Earlier this week, the A Good Cartoon tumblr first posted a bunch of ridiculous and misleading political cartoons about net neutrality that showed zero understanding of net neutrality. And then the person behind the site remade many of those cartoons, but replaced the words in them with "the cartoonist has no idea how net neutrality works!" For reasons unknown, the original Tumblr post that had all of them has been taken down, but many of the images are still viewable via John Hodgman's blog, and they're worth checking out. Here are just a few with some additional commentary (because how can I not provide some commentary...) Right, so actually, the rules are designed to do the exact opposite of the image above. They're designed to make sure that the big broadband access players can't delay things and have to deliver your content faster. The idea that the FCC will be stepping between the content and people who want to see it is completely false. I don't even know what the original cartoonist was trying to say here, because it doesn't even make the slightest bit of sense. The text in the original cartoon was "time's up, next!" which makes even less sense than the first cartoon. The whole point of the new rules is to prevent broadband providers from putting these types of controls on your internet usage. Sensing a pattern yet? All of these cartoons are pretending that the new rules insert the FCC between you and the internet. And all of them pretend that the FCC is going to do what the broadband providers themselves have said they want to do -- which these rules are designed to prevent. So, yes, the cartoonist has no idea how net neutrality works. At least this one doesn't go for the easy (but wrong) joke pretending that the FCC is now watching what you do online. Instead, it's claiming that there's no reason for the FCC to "fix" anything because it's "not broken." But that's only true if you ignore the attempts to break neutrality along with how the broadband providers purposely made your Netflix slow in order to get the company to pay its tolls. And, of course, it also means having to ignore what the broadband providers have been saying themselves for a decade now about how they want to double and triple charge internet services to reach end users. If you pretend all of that isn't true, then maybe the original cartoon makes sense. But, all of it is true, so the cartoonist has no idea how net neutrality works.Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Read More...
posted 21 days ago on techdirt
What does Leonard Nimoy's "Vulcan salute" have to do with European newspaper headlines? They both might one day be regulated by new international intellectual property rules, if some have their way. One might think that what constitutes "intellectual property" is set in stone, but it isn't.  Around the world, different interests are lobbying for governments to create new types of intellectual property all the time. As DisCo has covered before, news publishers in Europe and elsewhere are currently pushing for the creation of new IP rights in newspaper headlines, so that online sites can be forced to pay for the privilege of quoting or linking to news coverage. Spain and Germany have already created these rights, and there is pressure in Brussels for a pan-European rule. At the same time, for more than a decade there have been efforts within the World Intellectual Property Organization to create rights in "traditional cultural expression" (which, as explained below, may include the hand gesture on which Leonard Nimoy based the Vulcan salute). Some indigenous communities are distressed about the commercial exploitation of their folklore and other forms of cultural expression by "outside" entities. In a desire to (a) prevent uses that they believe are disparaging and (b) regain control over an important part of their identity, these communities have lobbied for a treaty that would require the creation of intellectual property rights in "traditional cultural expression." Concerns have been raised about the scope of the draft treaty. If adopted in its current form, critics say, the treaty could interfere with cultural life around the world, pulling out of the public domain material that is incorporated in countless novels, paintings, films, sculptures, operas, and other musical compositions. This is because these works are based on stories, legends, dances, rituals and other forms of expression that the treaty could protect without a limitation on term. How does this relate to Leonard Nimoy's Vulcan salute? The famous actor's death last week provoked extensive discussion of his contribution to popular culture, including the famous Vulcan salute used by his character Spock in the Star Trek television series and movies. The Vulcan salute (hand raised with the palm forward and the thumb extended, while parting the fingers between the middle and ring finger) could violate the exclusive rights that a treaty on traditional culture expression would create. This is because Nimoy, according to his autobiography, based the Vulcan salute on the hand gestures in the priestly blessings he saw in synagogue as a child. The priestly blessing is an elaborate ritual performed during the Jewish worship service by men who believe they are descendants of Aaron, the High Priest and Moses's brother. These men are referred to as Kohanim (Hebrew for "priests"). At the beginning of the ritual, the hands of the Kohanim are washed by the descendants of the tribe of Levi, the Levi'im. The Kohanim then remove their shoes and stand up in front of the congregation. They cover their heads with their prayer shawls, turn towards the congregation, and raise their hands (underneath the shawls) in what is now popularly referred to as the Vulcan salute. With the fingers and thumbs spread in this manner, each hand looks like the Hebrew letter shin, which is the first letter of the word "Shaddai," a name for God. The Kohanim then recite the words of the priestly blessing set forth in the book of Numbers: "May the Lord bless you and guard you; may the Lord make His face shed light upon you and be gracious to you; may the Lord lift up His face to you and give you peace." (If the words sound familiar, that's because the song "Sabbath Prayer" in Fiddler on the Roof is based on them. It's also Solemn Blessing #10 in the Roman Missal used by Catholics.) Although the words of the priestly blessing derive from the Old Testament, and thus are over 2,500 years old, the hand gesture probably developed later. It is described in the Shulchan Aruch (Hebrew for "Set Table"), a codification of Jewish law first published in 1565, thus indicating that it was in wide use 450 years ago. Currently, the priestly blessing is conducted daily in traditional Sephardic congregations, and on holidays in traditional Ashkenazic congregations. Although no one seems to have objected to Nimoy's adaptation of the gesture for his Vulcan character, the hand gesture of the priestly blessing may nevertheless fall within the scope of the draft treaty. Traditional cultural expression includes actions such as ceremonies and rituals. The treaty's protection would extend to the traditional cultural expression created, expressed, and maintained, in a collective context, by the treaty's beneficiaries. The class of beneficiaries remains in flux. The treaty refers to "indigenous peoples" and "local communities and nations" without defining any of these terms. These terms may encompass traditional Jewish communities. Moreover, the treaty appears to allow national law to determine which communities are beneficiaries. One could easily imagine Jewish communities in some countries (e.g., Israel and the United States) successfully lobbying for the treaty's protection. Under the treaty, the rights in the traditional cultural expression would be collectively administered by a "competent authority" for the benefit of the members of the beneficiary community. The competent authority would have the authority to license the use of traditional cultural expression and distribute any resulting compensation. Although Nimoy was Jewish, it is unlikely that the treaty would have permitted him to use the hand gesture in a non-traditional way such as the Vulcan salute in Star Trek without the approval of the competent authority. And the treaty certainly would not have permitted the unauthorized use of the hand gesture by any Vulcans played by non-Jewish actors. The current draft of the treaty does not include a grandfather clause, so if the treaty were adopted in the future, the competent authority in each country would be able to prevent the further dissemination of existing Star Trek works containing the Vulcan salute, as well as the use of the salute in future films. Folktales permeate modern Western culture, from Disney films to Lord of the Rings to the Twilight series to Wagner's Ring of Nibelung to Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. Thus, it is no surprise that the treaty on traditional cultural expression has little support among the developed countries and WIPO is unlikely to adopt it soon, if ever. But this just highlights the fact that what receives intellectual property protection is a policy choice, rather than a reflection of natural law. As a result, types of protection vary across countries. For example, the "ancillary rights" that restrict newspaper snippets in Europe have received no traction in the United States. Similarly, Congress rejected the attempt by large publishers to import the EU Database Directive's protection for non-original databases a decade ago. This policy decision has allowed U.S. researchers to engage in enormously productive text and data-mining, which the Database Directive prevents their colleagues in the EU from performing. Just as policymakers were confronted with a choice over creating database rights, they may one day be presented with a similar choice about news snippets, or hand gestures, and the choices they make could have a considerable effect on culture and communication worldwide. Republished from the Disruptive Competition Project Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Read More...