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?

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

Thanks, Mark!

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.

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.

(H/T Lessig).

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.