Category Archives: openrightsgroup

So @BoingBoing has apparently gone puerile and forgotten the bigger picture /cc @doctorow

I like Boing-Boing, I’ve read it for years. I’ve met Cory several times as part of my work to help the Open Rights Group. I am generally sympathetic to a lot of the posts which are posted there.

I like the blog.

So yesterday there was something in the BoingBoing twitterfeed – a Disney Winnie-the-Pooh, meant to mock Richard Dawkins for having posted something about the TSA doing the pointless things that the TSA do, viz: taking away harmless things from you at airports:

Yes Richard’s a brusque character and a pain in the arse as far as some people are concerned; but still this is a notable, useful and blatant piece of security theatre, about which BB has written at length.

I feel that the war on the war on terrorism should win over nerdy character assassination, so I tweeted my – relatively modest – thoughts about this, to be met with a reaction which I’d describe as “apparently puerile”:

Being ignored would have been more mature response than this, I’d even half expect that.

But that’s not the weird thing.

The weird thing is that I checked my Google Docs this evening to find that Mark Frauenfelder has shared with me a “public” Google Doc entitled:

“People who are disappointed with Boing Boing”

Screencap:

Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 00.26.14

My name is not on it, there is no explanation why he has shared it with me. Does he expect me to edit myself onto it? Am I supposed to see it and understand that I and a handful of others are “alone” in our criticism? Is this some sort of shit-list? A list of uncool people?

I can only suppose in the light of the childishness of the exchange last night that to understand the intent I would have to reach into my memory of pre-pubescence.

What the fuck, Boing-Boingers? You’re meant to be the cool people – and, mostly, the hip ones too? Perhaps you’re a collective rather than an organisation, but this action of whomever many speaks ill of your brand.

[PDF]
People who are disappointed with Boing Boing – Google Drive

TIL: about Freedom of the Press – #milton #areopagitica

TIL about “Freedom of the Press” – my emboldening of a key point.

My question to you, dear reader, is whether you can accept that every man, woman and (likely) child should be permitted to exercise their reason?

Until 1694, England had an elaborate system of licensing. No publication was allowed without the accompaniment of a government-granted license. Fifty years earlier, at a time of civil warJohn Milton wrote his pamphlet Areopagitica. In this work Milton argued forcefully against this form of government censorship and parodied the idea, writing “when as debtors and delinquents may walk abroad without a keeper, but unoffensive books must not stir forth without a visible jailer in their title.” Although at the time it did little to halt the practice of licensing, it would be viewed later a significant milestone as one of the most eloquent defenses of press freedom.

Milton’s central argument was that the individual is capable of using reason and distinguishing right from wrong, good from bad. In order to be able to exercise this ration right, the individual must have unlimited access to the ideas of his fellow men in “a free and open encounter.” From Milton’s writings developed the concept of the open marketplace of ideas, the idea that when people argue against each other, the good arguments will prevail. One form of speech that was widely restricted in England was seditious libel, and laws were in place that made criticizing the government a crime. The King was above public criticism and statements critical of the government were forbidden, according to the English Court of the Star Chamber. Truth was not a defense to seditious libel because the goal was to prevent and punish all condemnation of the government.

via Freedom of the press – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

HP, Canon & Fujitsu [may] raise printing costs to deal with EU copyright ruling

Paperless office/household, anyone?

The price of printers and related accessories could rise in the future as print giants such as HP, Canon and Fujitsu face the prospect of huge payments to copyright holders for selling devices that allow such works to be reproduced.

A ruling from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) agreed that all printers that facilitate the reproduction of copyrighted works, by being connected to a computer, are liable for financial levies.

However, UK businesses might avoid any printing price increases, at least in the short-term, as the nation approaches copyright law differently to other European countries. 

Vanessa Barnett, technology and media lawyer at law firm Charles Russell LLP, told V3 that the UK does not have a private copying permission under copyright law, which is the basis for the levy system existing in many other countries. 

"The levy system is essentially a way to compensate copyright owners for private copying by placing a levy on items which are used to copy. [Outside of the UK] this obviously has cost consequences for suppliers and users," Barnett said. "But the UK shouldn’t feel too smug: the possibility of a levy system in the UK still does rear its head every now and then. It’s particularly relevant right now, because of the push in the UK for a private copying right to be introduced into UK law. If that does happen, a levy may not be far behind."

The ruling was made by the court at the request of the German Court of Justice for clarification on a case brought by publisher VG Wort against Canon, Epson, Fujitsu, HP and Xerox on the issue of payments for its copyright works that their printers allow to be reproduced in private.

“It is open to the member states to put in place a system in which the fair compensation is paid by the persons in possession of a device contributing, in a non-autonomous manner, to the single process of reproduction of the protected work or other subject-matter on the given medium,” the EU ruling reads.

In reality, this means printer companies will assimilate the levy into their pricing at the point of sale, thereby increasing the price of their goods, such as printers or printer ink, in a move that is likely to lead to higher prices for consumers and businesses alike.

Furthermore, because the decision has been handed down from the ECJ and is binding across all member states, it opens up for the possibility for all copyright holders to demand levies from printer companies. The potential costs to the affected IT firms could be huge, forcing printing prices to rise significantly.

HP told V3 it would comply with the EU copyright rules, but declined to comment on whether this would lead to price rises. "We believe HP’s printing systems provide the best overall value by offering customers an unrivaled combination of quality, reliability, speed and ease of use at competitive prices. We will continue to aim to protect our customers’ interests and the value we offer while diligently complying with European copyright framework,” the firm said.

via UK firms could escape price increases if HP, Canon and Fujitsu raise printing costs to deal with EU copyright ruling – IT News from V3.co.uk.

MUST READ: What’s wrong with “Good, clean wi-fi”?

David Cameron says he backs “good, clean wi-fi” plans to filter public wireless networks from inappropriate content. Apart from this being a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist (hoards of toddlers plaguing cafes with porn watching), the potential problems are obvious.

Most public wifi networks already have content filters in place, however, and as an example of the sort of things they block, let’s look at the “UK’s largest public-access WiFi hotspot network”, The Cloud:

…continues with examples at #yeahitsabithipster • What’s wrong with “Good, clean wi-fi”?.

Govt keeps Snooping Bill campaigners in the dark » Spectator Blogs

It’s not looking good for the Snooping Bill. The legislation is currently being re-written after serious concerns were raised with the first draft, but I’ve got hold of a letter from privacy campaigners which accuses the government of failing to hold the public consultation that was one of the conditions laid down in the damning report that killed off the first draft. The letter, from Big Brother Watch, Liberty, Open Rights Group and Privacy International, expresses fears that meetings between the organisations and Home Office ministers could be used as evidence that ministers have been consulting on the new legislation. It says…

continues at Govt keeps Snooping Bill campaigners in the dark » Spectator Blogs.

Snoopers’ laws could be used to ‘oppress us’, says David Cameron technology adviser – Telegraph

Ben Hammersley, a Number 10 adviser to the Tech City project, said the draft Communications Data Bill could be turned from a force for good into something more sinister under future governments.

The main aim of the Bill is to give security services like MI5 and GCHQ the ability to monitor email traffic, without actually looking at its content.

However, it is currently being revised after a committee of MPs and peers raised privacy concerns about the bill’s intrusion into people’s lives.

Asked for his views on the new laws, Mr Hammersley said the consequences could be “disastrous” in an interview with Tank magazine.

“I don’t trust future governments,” he said. “The successors of the politicians who put this in place might not be trustworthy.

via Snoopers’ laws could be used to ‘oppress us’, says David Cameron technology adviser – Telegraph.

Appeals court upholds legality of Aereo’s “tiny antennas” scheme # Utterly Bonkers But Legally Fabulous

A federal appeals court has handed a big setback to broadcasters trying to stop Aereo, a startup that streams New York-area television content over the Internet. Broadcasters such as Fox and Univision argued that transmitting TV content without permission was copyright infringement. But Aereo countered that its service was analogous to a television and DVR that happened to have a really long cable between the antenna and the screen. On Monday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit agreed.

Aereo’s technology was designed from the ground up to take advantage of a landmark 2008 ruling holding that a “remote” DVR product offered by Cablevision was consistent with copyright law. Key to that ruling was Cablevision’s decision to create a separate copy of recorded TV programs for each user. While creating thousands of redundant copies makes little sense from a technical perspective, it turned out to be crucial from a legal point of view. Because each copy was viewed by only one household, the court ruled that Cablevision was not engaged in a “public performance” of copyrighted works.

Aereo’s founders realized that the Cablevision ruling offered a blueprint for building a TV rebroadcasting service that wouldn’t require the permission of broadcasters [...]

via Appeals court upholds legality of Aereo’s “tiny antennas” scheme | Ars Technica.

What will happen when 3D-printing stops being a toy? #youtube #defcad

I’m not exactly pro-guns or anything like that – am not a great fan, plus those are “American” questions from a British viewpoint – however this YouTube video really makes you think about the future of intellectual property.

If the first minute puts you off, do stick with it; it’s a short video and it’s the latter two thirds which made me think: