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@ Now: be careful in New Zealand free speech is no more, don’t mention the World Cup

August 14, 2010

@ Now: be careful in New Zealand free speech is no more, don’t mention the World Cup.

Next year New Zealand will be hosting the Rugby World Cup, these days there is a world cup for everything under the sun, but it appears that for business hoping to win over any rugby fans better be careful with what words they use to promote their event or promotion. New Zealand has a little-known of law that restricts using the words ‘rugby’, ‘world’ and ‘cup’ to promote fundraisers, promotions and special events that are not authorised by the Rugby World Cup committee and each breach could cost up to $150,000.
The bill that outlaws this is The Major Events Management Act 2007, (MEMA) and it was passed basically to give the Rugby World Cup unfettered control of the key words associated with the event. We are told that in all seriousness that common sense will be used when considering the act, pity common sense could not prevail prior to the passing of this blatant removal of New Zealanders rights.
The major problem with laws like this is that the World Cup of what ever sport or activity is a celebration of the event and that community support outside of the official sponsors is crucial for success this tends to amputate that type of support. I would ask what harm can the local school in Edendale near Eden Park using signage using the words “Rugby World Cup” to promote a sausage sizzle do.
Will local car rental operator suddenly steal the cups thunder if they are allowed to use the words that describe an event that is happening in their locality? Will travel agencies be able to promote the Rugby World Cup because if they dare use the actual words describing the event then they most probably will the fall foul of the law?
Again the organizers say they are looking only for malicious breaches, and that they are not going to be overly heavy-handed. They assure us “We’ll use common sense”.
Hard to use common sense in this when the whole concept is so ludicrous, that the mere act of describing an actual event in your promotion is illegal. Worse still this act not only applies to this event but may others deemed to need protection from profiteering, god help the community for getting behind a local event. It is said the act is there to stop other companies coming in and pretending to be associated or piggybacking, and that might seem fine but the method and application is all wrong.
So what can New Zealanders do? I would suggest just ignore the whole event, if you are a business why waste your time courting fans of an event that obviously neither the organisers want or by their actions indicate they need. The community guarantees the success of this event so if the organizers don’t want your help why give it. Another option might be to use other alternative descriptive words such as “Global Football Goblet”, people are not nearly as stupid as the politicians or organizers must think they are and will get the link. Finally business could put their support behind inclusive community events that would welcome their involvement rather than greedy international sporting codes that think it fine to corrupt the English language for their own gain.
What do you think? Is the corruption of generic words as trademarks going too far? Will you be putting your support behind the “Global Football Goblet”.

@ Now a new way to deal with piracy, make the ones that pay, pay again and again

August 12, 2010

What’s next in the music industries play box of failing to adapt to the not so new digital landscape? Well maybe they could propose or should I say mandate a pay before you play levy. It must be mighty frustrating for these conglomerates to stomach the fact that people can play their legally purchased tunes whenever and wherever they like with non additional compensation for the sweat of the brow going  to the struggling performer who first created the musical work (seldom does anyway).  If I did not know any better I would call it intellectual property theft, of course I do but the greed of the music industry know no bounds and I am sure in time they will come cape in hand to government worldwide demanding this minor change to copyright.

Think this is far fetched? It’s probably not as far fetched as much as you might first think. Today comes the news that Apple could be launching an iTunes cloud music service well this has been the scuttle bug for some time now, although the company has said nothing publicly about its plans to offer this service. However, the latest version of Apple’s MobileMe iDisk application does let iPhone users and I would assume iPad users as well the ability to stream music from their virtual lockers held on Apple servers to their connected device.

This new service is far from the streaming music service that pundits were expecting but there well might be a reason for Apple’s timid approach and yes I did use Apple and timid is the same sentence. Michael Robertson, CEO of a competing music locker service MP3tunes thinks this will cause a stir among record labels. And so It appears that the Universal Music Group are quite annoyed because in their interpretation of copyright law Apple would need another licence to allow it to let its users listen to music they had already legally purchased and stored on their servers. They believe that companies who intend to offer personal cloud music services that limit the service to backing up and downloading are OK however when it comes to streaming music files this would require the company entering into a license and paying a per stream fee.

So obviously the new Apple’s service which allows its users unlimited sharing, no need for a user name or password and streaming without a license might just cause a little bit of a stir from the record labels. It would also appear that Michael Robertson and MP3tunes are currently being sued by music label EMI for not seeking licensing deals in offering a similar service, so it’s hardly a surprise that he is making his presence in the space known and blogging up the issues. It is extraordinary that each time a company innovates and creates a new service that helps to encourage the purchases of music from legal alternatives by giving the customers an additional incentive by offering a useful value added service that clearly encourages the said consumption of music is promptly culled by greed.  I suspect that Apple is playing the softly softly approach until the current legal grey areas are ironed out. But if users will have to pay again to stream a product they already have legally purchased then it will fail a real shame but again no real surprise.

So will we ever get to the need for a licence to play our music? I don’t think so because I believe the music industry as we know today will surely have fallen over by then, as there must be a limit to how many times you can shoot yourself in the foot and remain standing. Unfortunately greed is not the answer to the music industries woes and so trying to extract another rent from legitimate customers really only insults the last of your paying customers, is it any wonder so many have deserted and really only a matter of time for the rest to also desert the sinking ship. It does not have to be this way.

What do you think? leave me a comment no licence fee required.

via @ Now a new way to deal with piracy, make the ones that pay, pay again and again

@ Now: oh to be rich and powerful, because even theft is only a minor obstacle

August 11, 2010
I once asked if there was justice in this world when comparing the harm done by the irresponsible bankers that caused the GFC and the penalties handed out for copyright infringement. I now know the answer and I am sure it will be of no surprise to regular readers of this blog and of course there obviously is no justice in this world well not any more if the details of this story at the guardian.co.uk are correct.  The Times Newspapers which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, the same person who is one of the more outspoken people in declaring how piracy is destroying the newspaper industry is understood to be facing damages of about $250,000 for copyright infringement. The Sunday Times in September 2006 gave away with the print edition of its newspaper a CD that featured 10 tracks from a live performance by the late Jimi Hendrix recorded at London’s Royal Albert Hall in February 1969. This in itself is not that news worthy however it appears that the Times had somehow forgot to acquire the copyright licence to legally do this and thus has been successfully sued.

Two US companies associated with the Hendrix estate, Experience Hendrix and Last Experience, launched legal action three years ago claiming the newspaper, published by News International subsidiary Times Newspapers, did not obtain the proper copyright clearance for the giveaway. It appears that footage of this Hendrix’s recording was due to be released as a film by these companies as well as an accompanying DVD and CDs. These two companies claimed the free CD delayed this project and would have negative impact on the profits from the project. In May 2008 they turned to the courts to pursue a claim for damages relating to loss of earnings.

So last week in the UK High court judge Sir William Blackburne ruled that the Sunday Times had erred in using the copyright with out permission and has ordered the Times to pay damages and although the precise damages figure is still being worked out by the two sides’ legal teams it is understood it will be just over $250,000.

This does not sound like a lot of money considering the scope of the infringement; more than 1.3 million copies of the CD were given away, so this equals approx 20 cents per infringement. Compare this damage figure awarded against News Corp to those of the two highest profile cases in the USA where the verdicts against Joel Tenenbaum and Jammie Thomas-Rasset resulted in damages of $54,000 and $67,500 respectively being awarded against them. I should however note that in both these cases the original award was actually ten times higher but was reduced by the judges on the grounds they were manifestly unfair.

So lets get this clear Rupert Murdoch infringes for profit and is fined 20 cents per incident, two US residents are accursed of illegally downloaded a handful of songs for personal use and are stung $2250 per infringement. This just seems wrong on so many levels but I am not surprised. Is it any wonder that people have lost respect for copyright, if the largest media organisations either don’t care or just think that the law was not created for them to adhere to and therefore pay it scant regard or if caught infringing are given only a light slap on the wrist.

So the next time you hear big media pontificating about the evils of pirates and that consumers are stealing their content, just remember that they are just as much the thief in all of this its just they have more clout, better lawyers and no doubt quite a few politicians in their back pocket. Mind you they are not the problem per say its just the silly laws that they have lobbied to have that shore up their business models to the exclusion of all others through the corruption of copyright.

What do you think? Leave me a comment I’ll never steal your words.

via @ Now: oh to be rich and powerful, because even theft is only a minor obstacle.

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August 8, 2010

another road block removed, the Oz filter must be dead now?

August 6, 2010

The Australian Liberal Party has announced that the Coalition will not implement the controversial plan for an internet filter if it wins the August 21st election. Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey said that a Coalition government would abandon Labor’s flawed filter policy. The coalition would encourage parents to take more responsibility for monitoring their children’s use of the web, a policy that was in place prior to their 2007 election loss.

I think this is excellent news, and now that The Liberal party has revealed its hand along with the knowledge the Greens whom mostly likely will hold the balance of power in the senate after the August polls it seems this policy is as dead as the dodo. I am not alone in this thinking and Electronic Frontiers Australia have also applauded Mr Hockey’s announcement.

“The Opposition are very welcome among the ranks of those many organisations and individuals that see the filter as a policy failure,”

The governments Communications Minister, Mr Stephen Conroy’s office says Labor policy is unchanged and despite this news will still push ahead with its plan. Mr Hockey also indicated that the if unsuccessful at the August 21st polls that the collation would not support any legislation in the senate, ensuring that a second term Gillard government wouldn’t have the numbers required to pass its legislation as the Greens have also shown an unwillingness to support this legislation .

As I have stated the current Australian Government and the Labor party have maintained that mandatory censorship still remains Government policy, however with The Greens and the coalition now both opposing the internet censorship scheme it passing the senate is improbable. One would hope that the government see the wisdom of abandoning this policy and show a real understanding of the issues involved in cyber security and leadership on this in the final weeks of the election campaign I however think the chances are slim.

@now

July 28, 2010

making up for lost time, why economists dream in dollars

This cost in lost productivity has me wondering at how these estimates are arrived at, and if they really mean anything, after all many industries come up with extraordinary estimates of lost sales due to privacy and yet no real data supports it. I personally think that equating everything in dollar terms serves no real purpose except to highlight the ridiculousness of the assertion in the first place. An opinion piece on the real cost of the disruption on Monday 27th July to Melbourne’s railway network estimated at $12 million why I think its poppycock read all the details here.

making up for lost time, why economists dream in dollars

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If you don’t like toffy adding an apple won’t make it taste better (a toffy apple approach to news)

I think that the newspaper industry is a classic example of an industry that is failing to adapt to the new digital landscape and that the unprecedented success in their past has created a sense of entitlement, but in this new landscape they have neither adapted nor are they ready to compromise. This attitude does not bode well for them, because other leaner, fresh thinking organizations such as Apple Corp don’t have the baggage of the past and so only have their eyes firmly planted on the future. Hiding in your shell and demanding that all others do the same, or adopting an ostrich like position with thy head placed firmly in the sand does not a sound business model make, yet any astute observer of the newspaper industries both here in Australia and abroad may have noticed this very stance read what I think about this topic here.

If you don’t like toffy adding an apple won’t make it taste better (a toffy apple approach to news)

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if censoring debate is the actual policy make sure yours is an informed vote

Do you trust the current Australian Government to protect and guard you and your rights as an Australians citizen? This is of course one of the many questions all duly enrolled Australian citizens will ask themself come August the 21st as we again participate as voters in a the federal election. Our politicians are our elected representatives and are empowered to act on the counties and her people’s behalf and in casting a vote for one candidate over another should be indicative of the implicit trust that they will do just that, but do they? Censorship and privacy are two areas that are of great concern me, these things can easily be abused and thus governments should always tread lightly when introducing legislation and policy as it is not always their original intention that is the actual outcome I explore the issues here.

if censoring debate is the actual policy make sure yours is an informed vote

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using a smokescreen to reduce the smoke, why I think Oz cash for clunkers is the wrong policy

The Australian Government in the lead up to the federal election have announced that owners of pre 1995 cars will receive a $2000 rebate if they purchase a new fuel-efficient vehicle, under a Oz “cash for clunkers” scheme. If the Labor party is re-elected the government will from next January offers a $2000 rebate to car owners manufactured pre January 1995 if they trade them in for a brand-new car meeting fuel-efficient standards. The scheme is proposed to cost $394 million and will be financed by cuts to other climate programs, including reducing $220 million from the solar program. I feel the policy is flawed and explore why here.

using a smokescreen to reduce the smoke, why I think Oz cash for clunkers is the wrong policy

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would you sue a company for removing a seldom used feature? plenty do

Do you have a Sony PlayStation 3?  The reason I ask is because if you do are you pissed off at Sony for taking away features and options from the PS3? I first purchased a PS3 in March 2006, 3 days after its Australian launch. I love the PS3 as also I did the PS2 and the original PlayStation one. I have seen every incarnation of these consoles help propel the Sony Corporation a little further ahead in the battle of domination for the gamers’ heart and soul and their hard earned dollars. Game consoles like any technological device have greatly morphed since their first release into the main stream consumer market. I remember the earliest TV game consoles that basically just played variations of the game Pong. In a recent firmware update, Sony removed the ability of consumers to install other OS’s and as a result, seven class actions have been filed against Sony in federal court in San Francisco, California read the whole story here.

would you sue a company for removing a seldom used feature? plenty do

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what if apple had not disabled the iphone 4 before gizmodo got it ?

What if the iPhone 4 prototype had not had been deactivated by Mobileme, what if for some unknown reason the world was per chance a little friendlier and that no one had ever thought for the need to remotely lock a mobile device to prevent unauthorised access and there for there wasn’t an app for that. I know it’s a stretch but bare with me on this, what if instead of a review of a disassembled iPhone 4, Gizmodo had been able to run the phone through its paces and actually publish a true exclusive pre release review of the new upcoming iPhone 4. Would have a full blown review have been able to identify antenna issues prior to the iPhones eventual release? Could we have had Gizmodo come out like Consumer Reports did in the USA just recently and announce that they can’t recommend the forthcoming Phone 4 due to problems with the phones reception read my article here.

what if apple had not disabled the iphone 4 before gizmodo got it ?

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home taping only maiming music now, time for another tax

The content industries have always argued and quite successfully, again I must concede if the legislation that surrounds copyright is anything to go by, that each copy of a piece of intellectual property should have all the same rights associated with it that a physical tangible item does. This was important as technology allowed the average consumer to make analogue copies of others work at little or no cost to themselves that provided no financial reward (read incentive) to the creator and owner of the said copied worked. But now the sale of blank medium is on the decline and so a tax revenue is diminishing and they are looking for more things to impose levies upon, read all the details here.

home taping only maiming music now, time for another

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the abbott family; fair use or will it be copyright abuse

Australia is in the grip of a federal election campaign and the airways and the internet is full of political comment and advertising when I noticed this clip from The Australian Workers’ Union that they posted to You Tube it is a spoof of the Adams family and lampoons The Federal Australian Liberal Party portraying them as the Abbott Family. I don’t think this is particularly creative or becoming of a political advertisement and already a spelling mistake has been identified and that the producers of the clip don’t under stand the difference between their there’re and their, but hey that’s happens on the internet all the time. No in this article I ponder the copyright implications you can read all about it here

the abbott family; fair use or will it be copyright abuse

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can an EPG have superhero powers, Freeview thinks so

I wrote recently of my passion for Television, and I have decided to further explore this with an article about Freeview and their new and improved EPG. Freeview is the brand of the free to air digital terrestrial television stations in Australia. It was first launched in 2008 and aims is to unite all of the free-to-air broadcasters into a consistent marketing platform to compete against the new technical landscape that includes PayTV, TiVo and the many other ventures that could potentially derail the current market. Foxtel in particular is perceived as its greatest enemy with over 1.5 million subscribers. This article digs a little deeper in to some of the facts you can read it in full here.

can an EPG have superhero powers, Freeview thinks so

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respect an earned commodity, copyright abused again

An inspirational video and another rant  about copyright yet again; Respect that is what is lacking from copyright, fair use is just paid lip service to the self-serving greedy collection agencies, good one APRA I do not know what copyright you hold on the song by Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive, however their acts in getting this clip removed is reprehensible and frankly disgusts me. I love the irony that this guy survived Auschwitz yet a video that celebrates this fact can’t survive the greed of the music industry. You can watch the video and get the rants here.

respect an earned commodity, copyright abused again

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the admission of love, history of a TV romance

I was feeling nostalgic and detailed my love of the once humble TV; I remember the early days of the old black and white TV holding pride of place in the corner of the lounge room, a majestic piece of technology beaming out the latest adventures of the “Brady Bunch” or Maxwell Smart and agent 99 from “Get Smart”, this was a magical experience that I never wanted to end. Once the radio had like the player piano did before it, engaged families around the globe, but we now we had the TV and the radio was to be banished to the car the TV was the new king of the family lounge room and it was staying put. All the details of the sordid affair are right here.

the admission of love, history of a TV romance

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replacing the stick with a carrot levy (another music industry proposal)

I took another look at another article on persevering out dated models and I did not take any prisoners; I commented on very similar concept and how another’s idea sounded a little like mine of licensing piracy however I think economist Will Page in his paper “Moving Digital Britain Forward without Leaving Creative Britain Behind” diverged a bit the article starts out painting the current picture of the music industry and the perils it has faced and is still facing. I first took issue with disingenuous comments like litigation was their only option you can read on here.

replacing the stick with a carrot levy (another music industry proposal)

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where are the magazines, applying the wrong ointment

I have a dig at my least favourite technology company I was back to questioning copyright and the media; with a commentary piece on a ASCAP example of  how news organizations could liberate content, skip negotiations, and still get paid. That article suggests that the struggling newspaper sector take a leaf out of the music industries play book and introduce an adoption of the long-established ASCAP-BMI performance rights model by which they could collect payment for some of their content when it is distributed outside the boundaries of their own publications and websites. I did some fiction and the author commented read it all here.

where are the magazines, applying the wrong ointment

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if an apple falls in the forest will the cache catch it

I poke a little bit of fun at Apple and the permanency of the internet; I had deleted it from my muse an article and that should be the end of the story. But only original post had disappeared from this muse the article still existed in search histories on Google there were cached copies. Apple appears to have shifted into full crisis mode over a problem with the iPhone 4 antenna that reduces reception and drops calls when the device is held in certain ways. The company deleted threads from its official message boards and found out that on the internet delete does not work I covered some of it here.

if an apple falls in the forest will the cache catch it

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are the courts starting to question some copyright claims

I am again starting to question copyright and as I regularly do post about on this muse when I covered; How we have seen two high profile cases of copyright infringement levelled against ordinary members of the public fought out in the US courts resulting in huge damages being awarded for the plaintiffs. The two separate judges in the Joel Tenenbaum and the Jammie Thomas-Rasset cases won by the RIAA have had their jury awarded settlements reduced by the respective judges further details here

are the courts starting to question some copyright claims

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piracy and the lost billions a modern day fairy tale

I also explored writers block and my inability to write fiction and so I tackled another piece of fiction; I wanted I to attempt to write a piece of fiction, a story if you will, a flight of sheer fancy but instead I explored another’s piece of fiction, one that they profess to be true, a claim that I believe is nothing more than lies and this fiction that I refer is none other than the claims of lost sales that the world’s music royalty’s collection agencies have bandied around as proof that their industry needs further protection against the ravages of piracy in.

piracy and the lost billions a modern day fairy tale

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