The Internet

Census officials must explain online security

I was pleased that the Ottawa Citizen printed my letter to the editor today. Below is the original draft for your reading pleasure.

Census officials must explain online security
Re: Privacy Paramount, June 06

In response to the Director General of the Census’ letter, I would like to set the record straight on some critical points concerning data confidentiality. Security through obscurity is no security at all. Likewise trust built on secrecy is no trust at all.

Last month, Statistics Canada conducted the census for the first time with the ability to respond online – an option which they vigorously promoted. However, did you ever stop to ask yourself, “How exactly do they secure my data?” The answer is: no one in the public knows, you’ll just have to trust them.

p2pnet Freedom of Speech concert

An article by Jon Newton describes the current state of the lawsuit as well as the following:

Now Canadian indie musician, Fading Ways Records founder and activist Neil Leyton is both writing a Dylanesque song about p2pnet's troubles with Sharman and Hemming, and organizing a benefit concert in Toronto, probably for around August.

See also: p2pnet libel case appeal which contains details on donations.

The book business is dead. Or not

A Globe and Mail article by James Adams documents some discussions around BookExpo, Canada's annual four-day celebration of books, that starts this Friday at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

What I found interesting is that some authors have this same feeling of panic that the recording and motion picture industry have about the Internet harming their businesses, even though there is even less evidence of any problem. While some incumbent methods of production, distribution and funding may give way to innovative alternatives, and this might harm the business interests of intermediaries dependant on the old way of doing things, there is little evidence that any of these industries have reason to be fearful.

More on Captain Copyright

Personally, I'm quite impressed that someone has taken the time to help teach children about copyright concepts. Since these concepts embody some of the rules that assist us in our exchange of creative ideas, they should be explained to children in a clear, balanced manner.

There are a number of errors of omission in the lessons on the site. The teacher's notes to Activity 4 do not explain Private Copying. Perhaps a less controversial example (rather than music downloading) could have been used?

I'm also concerned if the discussion of things like Activities like 3 & 4 are valuable when teaching Grades 1-3. I'm not certain that children of this age can grasp the "world economic impact of copyright" (I'm still struggling with this question!). Perhaps discussion of artists and the role of art in our society might be a better form of introduction?

How CMEC and Access Copyright seek to destroy the Internet.

(Also published by p2pnet)

Howard Knopf has a great article on the Internet Educational Copyright Exemption Debate in Canada. I agree with him in that both the educational community and the collective societies have got it wrong, as I have written in the past (Paying protection money to Access Copyright and Reply to Hill Times about AUCC guest column).

Both parties are pushing a false-rhetoric that work is either in the "public domain" (IE no longer subject to copyright) or royalties are legitimately expected. This ignores the vast majority of works published on the "no password required" part of the Internet where neither is true.

Mark Shuttleworth Interview, Part I: on Dapper, and Ubuntu in the Enterprise

This 451 CAOS Theory (Commercial Adoption of Open Source) article by Nick Selby includes the following quotes from Mark Shuttleworth:

“So we see that trend absolutely continuing: anything that can be commoditized is going to become commoditized, and we see end-users becoming increasingly comfortable with the diversity that that brings. For example, in the consumer space, people are very protective about the desktop, but they’re not at all protective of the smart phone. So consumer adoption of Linux on the smart phone is enormous — people are absolutely willing to accept the idea that they might use new tools, new pieces of software, new user interfaces and so on, as long as you don’t threaten certain key applications that they’re comfortable with, that they know and trust.

“But we see even that traditional stronghold - the Microsoft Office stronghold - even that is becoming vulnerable, just because people are consciously aware that they need to retrain and embrace new ways of working.

Who's a journalist? Now we know, thanks to Apple

A CNet article by Charles Cooper discusses a case where a US court helped define who a journalist is.

And it's the right answer. If you can post information on a Web site, you're entitled to the same legal protections the law extends to the mainstream media.

Jon over at p2pnet also covered the issue, with comments to his BLOG speculating whether this US precedent might affect his British Columbia case where Sharman Networks (Makers of Kazaa) is suing him based on comments made by an anonymous reader of his popular BLOG.

JPEG Patent Ruled Invalid

In a ruling that is expected to be a sigh of relief for many corporate internet giants (and surfers), Forgent's "submarine patent" claim of ownership of the common JPEG file compression format was ruled to be broadly invalid by the US Patent Office. The original patent was granted by the USPTO to Forgent but The Public Patent Foundation (PubPat) challenged the patent claiming prior art. Since 2002, Forgent has said it would enforce it's patent and has sucessfully extracted over $90 million USD from dozens of companies using JPEG images on the internet. In 2004 it also initiated lawsuits against dozens more who refused to pay royalties and sign licensing agreements. Those lawsuits and licensing agreements may now be in jeopardy.

Hon. MP Bill Siksay on copyright legislation in Canada

Responding to an edited letter sent by me through Digital Copyright Canada's "Send a letter to your member of parliament" campaign, the Honourable MP Bill Siksay of Burnaby-Douglas has kindly sent me the following reply.

Dear Mr. Lee,

Thank you for your most recent letter about copyright legislation in Canada. As I have stated before, copyright is always a difficult balancing act between the fair use of the consumer and fair remuneration for artists. What has made the issue more difficult is the explosive growth of digital technologies in recent years.

Sharman escalates p2pnet attack

I am a contributor on p2pnet, so I have been watching the lawsuit against p2pnet for alleged defamation very closely. Since there are now more details being made public on the p2pnet site itself, I wanted to post a BLOG article about it.

Jon says:

Because this isn't about Sharman suing p2pnet . It's about a multi-million-dollar company using its weight to try to stop a small news site from reporting something the company didn't want reported - shades of Steve Jobs and Apple. And it therefore has hugely important implications for the blogosphere, and for the millions of people who've chosen the Net as their principal means of talking to each other.

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