✍ OSI Opposes BBC DRM

§ The Open Source Initiative Board has added OSI to the list of organizations asking that the BBC not be allowed to add digital restriction measures to digital broadcasts in the United Kingdom. The BBC’s request to do so is being reviewed by the UK regulator, OfCOM, and OSI is supporting the position statement from the UK’s Open Rights Group and encouraging others to do likewise.

Read more…

☞ Broken Democracy

  • The Berlusconi regime in Italy has achieved a longevity that many thought was impossible in Italian politics, but it seems one of the mechanisms it has used rests at a convergence of politics and media power that is of questionable morality. It’s bad enough having Murdock and Fox as potential kingmakers across the world, but in Italy the connection is right in hands of the head of state.
  • I’ve never trusted the Verisign-style pay-to-prove hierarchical approach to internet security and the fact this box is so freely available settles it. This box means you can’t even trust https to protect you on the web.
  • The BBC want to add DRM (digital restriction measures) to UK television broadcasts. Given we have all already paid for whatever they broadcast becuase of the license fee, and given that most of what’s broadcast is available from elsewhere, this is about controlling consumers and not about protecting rights-holders. You’ll note that control of UK consumers is being handed to an unaccountable offshore consortium. It’s also another assault on the use of open source software since it will take a legal entity to get licensed by the offshore quango. I’ve signed up to the text ORG are submitting to OfCOM and suggest you consider doing so too if you’re in the UK.
  • There’s a delicious irony about the crusty old BCS turning down a petition for debate about their “modernisation” plans (in my view more about connecting with corporate sponsors) becuase the petition was conducted on the internet and not on paper. I hope their new President is suitably embarrassed and will make sure it doesn’t happen again (the anachronistic behaviour, I mean, not the squashing of dissent which I sadly anticipate continuing).

☞ Public Statements

  • I’m honoured to have been re-elected to the OpenSolaris Governing Board, delighted that the new Constitution has been adopted and humbled to have received the most first-preference votes. It is going to be a challenging year of change for the new OGB.
  • Intelligent discussion from Mako on Stallman’s latest essay on Software as a Service. Note especially that Stallman’s usage of SaaS is a special usage and we should not assume his condemnation of the concept extends to all, or even most uses. It does, however, extend to most things Google offers.
  • It had to happen eventually. Maybe it was the insulting performance from the European Commission’s negotiator that finally provoked someone to break the ring of silence. The draft reveals just how much negotiation is left to do, as well as plenty of horrors about the starting assumptions of the negotiators.
    (tags: ACTA)
  • Maybe there is more to sushi (and laverbread) than just concentrated delicious.

☞ Fixes, needed and delivered

  • In the gentlest possible way considering the reactions of other commentators, Geist points to the “stakeholder meeting” held by the European Commission’s lead ACTA negotiator. It’s clear even from Geist that the meeting was a very bad indicator for the process. In fact, the meeting was purely cosmetic, solely so that the Commission can claim it has “consulted stakeholders” without the need to even respect commentary let alone assimilate it.

    The Commission is clearly operating with a fortress mentality that regards all inquiries from new sources as juvenile. It believes its own work to be above reproach and of an urgency that justifies security and confidentiality worthy of the soviet Kremlin or of George Bush’s administration. It seems to have “gone rogue”.

    The consultation was a signal to us all that we have a serious problem with Europe’s civil service and that we need to demand our elected representatives intervene, to fix both the ACTA issue itself and the attitude that puts non-corporate insight, citizen interest and MEP challenge on a level beneath contempt.

Other news:

☞ The Next Act(a)

  • Very useful summary indeed, although it lacks a section on the impact on software freedom (which I believe to be significant). Raed this and distribute it widely, it’s the best summary I have yet seen for the general reader.
  • A good, easy-to-understand explanation of why the European Commission’s proposal to introduce criminal penalties both for copyright infringement /and for “aiding, abetting or inciting”/ copyright abuse spells the end of any semblance of an open internet and takes us back to Microsoft’s proposed Blackbird (and if you remember that you are officially old).

    This is indeed the Pirate Bay Killer clause that caused IPRED2 to be sidelined, and is one of the clauses that makes the EC want to keep the ACTA negotiations secret until the results can’t be changed. Because that’s the game, and it’s the nastiest anti-democratic game I’ve seen in a while.

  • In case you’re interested in digging a little deeper on that criminalization of copyright infringement idea, here’s the report of a joint working group of activist organisations explaining why it was a bad idea when IPRED2 tried to introduce it. Plenty of EP and EC people agreed and it was put on ice. Seems the Commission are using ACTA as an excuse to thaw it out.
  • “What you are doing is preparing a peephole into the private lives of a member, which will either distract them or lead them into additional questions which they’ll feel they have to defend themselves over. . . Transparency will damage democracy.” Great read [Meta: May be the only time you’ll ever see me link a Daily Mail story too]

♫ Music Picks, Probably Free

Music picks. Because I like them – Bonobo is best this time.

Loc Title Artist Comments
Global Bright Orange Air Inlets Enjoyable acoustic track with close harmonies and quirky modulations. They are at SXSW Music.
Global Eyesdown(Warrior One Remix) Bonobo Dancing wildly in a darkened room with the bass turned right up. The original track is cute as well, see below.
USA Rocket Goldfrapp This was on my UK list last week, now available for US download as well.
USA Album: Six Degrees Sampler Various Great selection – try listening to Ceu if you’ve not already
UK AlphaMonsterMashUp AlphaBeat Boppy poppy mashup of Lady Gaga tracks, nicely done.

Here’s the original of that Bonobo track:

That’s it for this week, more coming soon.

☞ Leaks and Law

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