Great video tutorial on this “Selectable Output Control” (SOC) nonsense. The video was created by Public Knowledge. SOC is brought to you by the lovable, hugable, folks at the MPAA.
H/T Gigi Sohn
As reported a couple of hours ago by Brazil’s IG News Service via Último Segundo (my translation):
The artist has held the office of Minister [of Culture] since 2003, the year that began Lula’s first term, and he has already prepared to leave the position on more than one occasion. Every time, the president managed to convince Gil to change his mind as well as his post.
Despite considering his term as head of the MinC [Ministry of Culture] as “positive,” Gil lamented that the Commission on Ethics had prevented him from performing live while serving in the government during the past two years. According to him, the presence of a musician in command of the Ministry could have become an “international paradigm.”
“I hope that these four years [have been] important for Brazil and for the world, because many people came in with prejudices about having a musician for a minister,” he noted.
Gil is a beloved icon throughout the country and a passionate defender of Free Culture and Access to Knowledge. Breaking with historical precedent, he dedicated his time at the MinC to creating new programs that supported thousands of small and medium sized cultural projects nationwide.
His departure will undoubtedly raise questions about the future of these projects.
Professor Geist’s latest update on ACTA shenanigans in Canada came out on July 28, in The Toronto Star.
You really should go read the whole thing, but here are my two favorite chunks:
What [Canadian Industry Minister Jim] Prentice did not reveal is that officials have been developing plans to establish an “insider” group comprised solely of government departments and industry lobby groups that would be provided with special access to treaty documentation and discussion.
The decision to create a two-track approach for ACTA consultations appears to have been deliberate. The same documents discuss the prospect a public track that would include a general public consultation (which was held in April) along with the insider group that would be privy to treaty information
there is absolutely no representation of the public interest — no privacy representation despite the obvious privacy implications of the treaty (the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada was not included on the government invitee list), no consumer representation despite the effects on consumer interests, and no civil liberties representation on a treaty that could fundamentally alter Canadian civil rights.
The government documents indicate that members would engage in “in-depth exchanges on technical negotiating issues” and therefore be required to sign confidentiality agreements in order to participate.
This is egregious stuff. Kudos to Geist for breaking the story – and unfortunate that it hasn’t gotten much play in the international press.
I also have to wonder whether this formalized two tier approach been pursued elsewhere?
FOIA request anyone?
July 30, 2008
I got a friendly email from Mark Harris pointing to the comments on ACTA he recently submitted to the New Zealand government.
Harris’ comment is quite in-depth and brings together many sources. He concludes, succinctly,
Therefore, I submit that the NZ position should be to:
* regularly review the IPR regime in New Zealand to ensure that it encourages actual innovation while respecting the rights of creators
* does not allow measures to continue within New Zealand that encourage infringements of IPR
* respect the existing global bodies (WIPO and WTO) and refer trade and IP matters through them
* not be a party to the development of ACTA
* not recognize ACTA if it reaches fruition
July 30, 2008
I.P. Justice has linked to a freshly leaked memorandum addressed to “ACTA Negotiators” from unnamed “Business Associations.”
The memo articulates positions consistent with the draconian enforcement measures sought by many content owners throughout the furtive ACTA process. In both its scope and tone, it also resembles quite closely the earlier submissions of comments by groups such as the RIAA, the International Trademark Association (ITA), and others.
The memo underscores the extent to which these organizations expect that the wealthy governments of the world will foot the bill for enforcing their private rights. It’s my understanding that in U.S. law, the financial and legal burden of enforcement of private rights traditionally falls on the rights holder. I’m pretty sure that’s why the government isn’t usually the one to sue you if you trespass on your neighbor’s backyard. In the brave new world envisioned by these business associations, suspected infringement of copyrights or trademarks would be sufficient to justify search, seizure and other forms of state intervention.
From where I’m sitting, that sounds an awful lot like a seriously invasive form of corporate welfare.
However, the memo also reveals one detail that the United States Trade Representative, the Canadian government, the European Commission, and other negotiating parties have declined to make public: the negotiations for ACTA are continuing – in secret – right now in Washington, D.C.!
In off the record conversations with government officials, I had been led to believe that late July was a target date for the second round of ACTA talks. However, there has been some misdirection and sleight of hand about exactly when and where these meetings would happen.
Turns out the ACTA negotiators from the U.S. (presumably members of the Office of the U.S.T.R.) do not mind passing such information along to “Business Associations” in a more timely and open manner.
As an interested citizen who submitted my own comments to the USTR about ACTA back in March, I find the USTR’s preferential treatment of corporations who support ACTA irresponsible and reprehensible.
The terms of the proposed agreement are too important for the future of the digital economy, global trade, the Internet, and international legal precedent for the negotiations to continue in secret.
As I’ve said before, this is no way to build a “new consensus” on the governance of trade in informational goods. Instead, it is a shameless tactic to railroad bad policies based on flimsy evidence and dubious intent.
July 27, 2008
On Thursday, Matt Stoller at Open Left posted a chart revealing that “every major Senate Democratic challenger” supports the free and open net.
This bodes well for Internet freedoms in an election year when Democrats are positioned to strengthen their control of Congress and possibly win the White House.
Perhaps we can finally begin to look forward to some legislation that increases the standards of openness, privacy, digital freedom, and data neutrality as opposed to the half-baked alternatives being peddled (and silently implemented!) by the telco’s.
As the FISA debacle illustrates, none of this is a done deal even in the hands of a Democratic majority or a Democratic president.
July 27, 2008
Here’s Glyn Moody’s concise and direct discussion of some of the reasons why ACTA represents a misguided approach to global information governance.
He does a great job making the case with the general interests of the Linux community and Free and Open-Source Software industries in mind.
Catching up on my RSS feeds, I followed one of Eszter Hargittai’s links to this thought provoking chart from Dave Eaves at the SEO Company that looks at the inlink/outlink ratio for major traditional news media sites.
The creators of the chart suggest that the deep inequality in inlinks/outlinks among the oft-villified “MSM” reflects some sort of scandalous refusal to play by the rules of the blogosphere. They have a point, but I want to think this through a bit more.
As Yochai Benkler, Matthew Hindeman and others have discussed in their writings, citation links (in-text links to other sites – contrasted with “static” blogroll-type links) function as key structural determinants of popularity and visibility on the Internet. Even though Hindeman’s notion of a strict “googlearchy” whereby citation links create search engine rankings which create power is overly stated for my taste, the fact remains that the structure of the net drives large masses of eyeballs in predictable directions along the pathways set by hyperlinks. For my money, Benkler does a more effective job in not overstating the case by situating his argument about the structure of discourse on the Internet in relation to the structure of discourse in the era of traditional broadcast media (see ch 6 and ch 7 of The Wealth of Networks).
Similarly, as the recent attempt by the Associated Press to squelch Fair Use for bloggers makes clear, many traditional news organizations do not want to play by the rules of the Net. Hell, in some cases, it seems like they and their shareholders would be happier if the Internet had just never happened.
For some organizations, the dearth of outlinks reflects the standard aversion of traditional journalistic writing style to the use of hyperlinked citations in stories. This is consistent with the widespread perception that the “MSM” has a willful disregard for Netiquette. It also makes Eaves’s conclusions (applying an equation to calculate the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient) that out-linking behavior predicts in-links in return that much more suggestive. If the out-linking practice truly predicts in-linking, these news organizations risk slipping into the dustbin of information history as the rest of the Internet slowly ceases to pay attention to them.
The truth, I suspect, is more complicated. While traditional news outlets may not yet take advantage of the practical benefits of out-linking, they enjoy a comparative advantage in terms of social status and network centrality (among politicians, news organizations, businesses, intellectuals, etc.). This social status and network centrality should (I predict) translate into a steady stream of hits and in-links from other sites no matter what standard practices predominate across the rest of the networked public sphere.
To put that in less abstract terms: even if CNN and the Washington Post continue to refuse to use out-links in their primary coverage, their corresponding level of in-links is unlikely to decline to zero simply because they are still CNN and the Washington Post.
Whether this is the case or not, the fact remains that the traditional media are all scrambling to figure out why they can’t seem to stay afloat on the Internet. By identifying another potential factor in the equation, Eaves’s study makes a useful contribution to the debat
I just got word that Australian trade officials are accepting comments on the next round of ACTA negotiations.
Predictably, their request for input from is inexcusably opaque. The announcement (link above) alludes to three topics: “border measures”, “civil enforcement”, and “institutional isssues” (I’m nominating that last one for the Max Weber Prize for lack of imagination by a bureaucrat).
Without more substantive public disclosure and debate of the topics under consideration in the ACTA negotiations, such public comments requests remain little more than a shadow play of actual democracy.
This is simply unacceptable given the scope of issues ACTA will address and their potential impact on the future of the Internet, the digital economy, global development, and law enforcement.
Small wonder, the Office of the US Trade Representative has not even bothered to request comments.
Hat tip: Kimberlee Weatherall