✍ Condemning Developing Nations By Deception

Turkey Vulture§ A recent blog posting at The Guardian about the US “Special 301” rules has generated deep concern around the global open source community. It points (via a blog posting by Edinburgh University law lecturer Andres Guadamuz) to this year’s recommendations from the controversially-named International Intellectual Property Alliance, which describes itself as “a private sector coalition… of trade associations representing U.S. copyright-based industries” – namely

“the Association of American Publishers (AAP), the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)”.

As well as representing a group of organisations with dreadful reputations for disregarding citizen liberty and victimising customers, the organisation’s activities involve engagement with WIPO, activity over TRIPS and ACTA and this “Special 301” review. That is certainly enough to make each of their statements subject to scrutiny. IIPA provides a vehicle that allows companies who are members of its member organisations – that’s a double-opaque arrangement – to exercise influence without accountability and with deniability. Continue reading

☞ Imbalanced

  • At a recent debate in the House of Lords on the Digital Economy Bill, a number of amendments designed to ensure citizen rights (as opposed to most terms of the DEB that limit citizen rights in defence on corporate rights) were rejected by the UK government on the basis they would upset the delicate balance of UK law.

    Yet here we see the very same Bill seriously disrupting the delicate balance of rights voters already enjoy. You’ll no longer be able to offer your guests easy wifi access, ruining evolving and desirable modes of work and interaction in order to shore up the 20th century monopolies of Lord Mandelson’s media friends.

    I’ve not heard nearly enough from the opposition parties on this stuff, making me fear they will just do more of the same – not a surprise, it’s advance preparation for ACTA ratification. It’s election time; we need to make sure the politicians know we care about this stuff.

  • UK citizens can sign this petition to the UK government calling for transparency.
  • Useful summary from Michael Geist – worth asking your representatives why your government hates transparency if you’re in one of the countries opposing it.
  • Peter Tribble documents some of the comments made by Oracle’s representative in theOpenSolaris annual meeting. Net: Oracle intends to keep going with OpenSolaris.

☞ Gestures

✍ Webmink Origins

For those who wonder where “webmink” came from…

Dilbert.com

(Thanks to Mark for finding this!)

✍ By Its Fruit

Tree stump with bracket fungi§ Where are all the bad laws coming from?

One of the worst things you can find in your home is the surface signs of fungal growth, especially the fruiting bodies of “dry rot”. The fungus itself is bad enough, but its appearance tells you something even more worrying; that the structure of the building is riddled with an invisible infection. The first thing you see is the terrible fungi; they tell you it’s time to treat the infection.

For a considerable time, we have been seeing the “fruiting bodies” appearing all over the world’s legislatures. Country after country has seen smart politicians attempting to introduce laws that are complex for the average citizen to understand. They sound plausibly necessary when famous musicians or media impresarios call for a cure for “theft” and beg us all to think of them, in rags on the streets in retirement busking to live because organised criminals with baby faces have stolen their birthright. Continue reading

✍ Contact Your MEP!

§ A very important issue is now open in the European Parliament. As former MEP David Hammerstein writes, a cross-party group MEPs (a conservative, a liberal and two socialists) has proposed a written declaration by the full Parliament setting parameters for the acceptability of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, ACTA.

Here is the text:

Written declaration on the lack of a transparent process and potentially objectionable content concerning the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)
The European Parliament,

– having regard to Rule 123 of its Rules of Procedure,

A. Whereas the ongoing negotiations concerning the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
B. Whereas the co-decision role of the European Parliament in commercial matters and its access to negotiation documents guaranteed by the Lisbon Treaty,

1. Considers that the proposed agreement should not indirectly impose harmonisation of EU copyright, patent or trademark law. The principle of subsidiarity should be respected,

2. Declares that the Commission should immediately make all documents related to the ongoing negotiations publicly available.

3. Takes the view that the proposed agreement should not force limitations upon judicial due process nor weaken fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and the right to privacy.

4. Stresses that the evaluation of economic and innovation risks must take place prior to introducing criminal sanctions where civil measures are already in place.

5. Considers that Internet service providers should not bear liability for the data they transmit or host through their services to an extent that would imply prior surveillance or filtering of such data.

6. Points out that any measure aimed at strengthening powers for cross-border inspection and seizures of goods should not harm global access to legal, affordable and safe medicines.

7. Instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the signatories, to the Commission, the Council and the parliaments of the Member States.

If the written declaration is signed by the majority of EP members it will become the official opinion of the European Union’s elected representatives. This declaration needs to be physically signed by the majority of the Members of the European Parliament within three months. Please contact your MEP now (British voters can use WriteToThem) and ask them to sign.

☞ Discoveries

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