The Internet

Record label finds new foe : sites hosting user generated content.

An Australian IT article starts:

UNIVERSAL Music, the world's biggest record company, is stepping up pressure against websites YouTube and MySpace, accusing them of infringing copyright.

This is an example of a clear market failure. There is no way to have the creators of these amateur productions go through the lawyers required to adequately license the musical works. The only way out of this is to legalize and monetize this use of music the way we did for radio airplay and public performance in bars: though statutory licensing.

'Blair Witch' Director Casting Movie Via Web

A PC magazine article by Natali T. Del Conte starts as:

In the culture of YouTube, everyone is a star. Daniel Myrick, the director of The Blair Witch Project, thinks so anyway. Myrick is using Abazab, a social sharing site that allows users to share videos, pictures and voice, to cast his next movie, The Objective.

I suspect there will be strong opposition to this from the traditional acting guilds. Myrick believes that this casting methodology will help him find raw undiscovered talent. It might also result in raw walkouts of incumbent actors.

Canadian doctor's suit against blogger reaches California Supreme Court

An article by Randy Boswell, CanWest News Service discusses another online defamation case. There is also more in-depth analysis and links to other cases on p2pnet. The critical question that one person suing asks is, ''Why is the Internet different?''.

For those people who don't recognize how things are different, the opposition to allowing such lawsuits will baffle them. If the New York Times, with its professional editorial board and on-hand lawyers, published something defamatory then I don't have a problem with someone going after the publisher.

Revolution at our fingertips

This OpenDemocracy article by Becky Hogge includes:

As the networked information revolution reaches a threshold for repression, Becky Hogge finds its future has already been written, and the battle lines are clear.
...this network held the same promise as Gutenberg's invention of the movable type printing press, Pool had shown caution: "Repression is in fact most likely not before a technology of liberation comes along, but only afterward, when the powers that be are challenged by the beginnings of change."

30 Days of DRM - Day 13: Criticism, Review and News Reporting (Circumvention Rights)

As part of his ongoing 30 Days of DRM series, he touches upon the anti-democratic nature of DRM as it relates to Criticism, Review and News Reporting. He discusses a YouTube video where a private citizen demonstrated how a CBC journalist was biased against the prime Minister. Mr Geist discusses how this video would not have been possible without circumventing DRM if such content had been DRM encumbered.

Please read this article and watch the video, as it is a perfect example of the need for governments to fully protect users' rights, especially as it relates to the right to build on past creativity without the permission of the copyright holder in critical situations. The human right to create and communicate content, and participate in our cultural and democratic society, must not be allowed to be limited desire of past creators to defend their chosen business model. Web content on trial: Who gets sued?

This article by Neil Sutton discusses the cases being brought to light by Jon Newton (p2pnet) and Michael Pilling (

Blogs, wikis and other Web 2.0 tools are great for collaboration, but they also pose legal risks. Two Canadians who face defamation charges explain why they think the laws need to change

Roundtable on Canadian Defamation and Libel Laws Reform (Toronto, Aug 5, 2006 @15:00)

The Roundtable on Canadian Defamation and Libel Laws Reform is today, as is the evening benefit concert. I hope to see many of you there!

Centre for Social Innovation
215 Spadina Avenue, Suite 120
Toronto, Ontario

To hold a roundtable discussion on the problems with Canada's defamation & libel laws preventing online freedom of speech, threatening bloggers with frivolous, hard-to-defend lawsuits. Invite media to raise awareness. Short presentations from speakers followed by a Q&A discussion.

A new report about alleged racism and terror on the Internet stirs debate about online freedom

This article by Patrick Lejtenyi in the Montreal Mirror includes:

So says Damien Fox, the coordinator of Electronic Freedom Canada (EFC), a civil liberties group that focuses on the Internet.
"... But that would just create a persecution complex [among those people] that the Jews are out to get them.”
Furthermore, says Philippa Lawson, the executive director of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic at the University of Ottawa, there already is a process in place to track down authors of hateful or defamatory material online. “A registry is like a no-fly or terror watch list,” she says. “If you start going down that route, it can be very dangerous.”

ITBusiness: There's no I in Internet

An article by Shane Schick includes:

Why StatsCan's portrayal of surfers as self-absorbed loners is so far off the mark
Unfortunately, this kind of data sampling is becoming meaningless as Internet use becomes a more regular part of our working lives. StatsCan gleaned its insights from diaries participants kept to record how they spend their time. It would probably be difficult for those involved to break out those moments where they stopped doing, say, their homework and read their favourite blog, or downloaded an MP3 while catching up on some office e-mail after dinner. The Internet encourages multi-tasking, a phenomenon which was not captured or measured in the data StatsCan published.

Canadian Libel Law Raises Net Free Speech Chill

Michael Geist's weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, BBC international version, version, p2pnet) places the spotlight on this week's fundraiser in support of, a British Columbia-based website that is being sued for defamation for comments posted on the site by its readers. The importance of the Internet intermediary liabilty issue extends well beyond just Internet service providers - corporate websites that allow for user feedback, education websites featuring chatrooms, or even individual bloggers who permit comments face the prospect of demands to remove content that is alleged to violate the law.

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