The Internet

Spat between Viacom and Google 'mere politics' says observer

An article by Kathleen Lau for includes quotes from a phone conversation she had with me.

The dispute between Google and Viacom is déjà-vu to McOrmond, who refers to the whole kerfuffle as "radio all over again."
"It's not rocket science. Cable TV is exactly the same, where cable companies don't have to ask permission to re-transmit TV stations, they just pay a required fee."

He says that the playing field is choc-full of these kinds of lawsuits, but it's "just a matter of time before non-commercial content is monetized."

Broadband 2.0 - UK regulator says fiber needed in the last mile

Canadians interested in Internet infrastructure issues, such as Network Neutrality, should make sure they are subscribers to Bill St.Arnaud's "CAnet - news" service. The most recent letter discusses a UK study of whether wireless will be able to offer the higher bandwidth requirements of "Broadband 2.0" (IE: network infrastructure capable of handling HDTV and other such higher bandwidth services).

Internet to be reclassified as broadcast media?

A BLOG posting by Jesse Hirsh and a press release draws our attention to a motion filed against the libel claim of York professor David Noble which could significantly affect broadcast law and Internet activities.

The York University Foundation (YUF) has filed a motion to strike down Noble's claim of libel because the press release that Noble claims defamed him, which was issued on the Internet, should fall under broadcast libel law.

While the Internet does allow broadcast-style communications (multicast packet routing, streaming, etc), a press release posted to a website does not qualify. In the language of WIPO, this press release was made available "to the public" ... "in such a way that members of the public may access these works from a place and at a time individually chosen by them". (WIPO Copyright Treaty, Article 8)

Net Neutrality at the Industry Committee

Michael Geist spoke about net neutrality, broadband strategies, and anti-spam legislation at the Industry Committee. Please read his introduction, and check in the future the evidence for February 26, 2007 which will eventually contain a full transcript of the discussion.

RIAA to US ISPs: Help Us Sue Your Customers Better

An EFF article posted by Cindy Cohn includes:

EFF and others have long warned that copyright claims could become an altar on which personal privacy is sacrificed. Now the RIAA wants your ISP to voluntarily wield the knife, and there's no telling what else the RIAA might ask for once this cut has been made.

Canadians should remember that it is our stronger Privacy legislation, which requires that the copyright holder provide a minimal level of evidence of infringing activity before the court will allow the disclosure of private information.

E-mail warnings deter Canadians from illegal file sharing

This good news article on CBC news talks about how Canada's current "notice-and-notice" regime both protects the legitimate interests of copyright holders as well as the legitimate privacy and other rights of Canadians. Hopefully Canadian officials are watching this closely, and will ensure that if there is any law on ISP liability that it will mirror this successful regime.

"Notice and notice" differs from the "notice and take-down" program that's in place in the United States. There, when an industry group notices an alleged copyright violation, an e-mail similar to the ones being sent to Canadian users is forwarded to the American ISP. In most cases, the ISPs are forced to immediately take down the content or face penalties.

"I think notice-in-notice is a great alternative that really respects privacy and free speech much more than notice and take-down," said Ren Bucholz of the internet advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Canadians should realize that copyright holders already have the legal tools to sue Canadians infringing copyright on the Internet, and that these "warnings" should be treated with respect. A copyright holder only needs to go to court to get a court order to have the customer name disclosed, a process that is extremely easy if minimal evidence is provided (Something that CRIA members didn't do in their BMG vs. Doe case, with lack of evidence being why they lost that case -- not any major flaws in Canada's Copyright act).

Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us

A YouTube video by Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Kansas State University, tries to explain Web 2.0 in just under 5 minutes. It shows what is happening, but also some of the things we need to rethink (including of course copyright, which is currently radically outdated for a world of peer production -- and governments listening to the old-media lobbiests are facing backwards...).

When Being a Verb is Not Enough: Google wants to be YOUR Internet.

An article from Robert X. Cringely has some interesting speculation about Google, based on their purchasing large amounts of leased lines and building server space.

There are many other reasons beyond multimedia. The basic question about network neutrality is one -- Google relies on neutrality to exist, and buying their way out of that debate avoids having to rely on governments to "get it" about this issue. This is an important strategic move on their part given how badly governments have regulated new media.

For Sale: p2pnet

(Also covered by The Register)
Jon Newton has announced in an article that he is needing to sell p2pnet due to financial reasons. As a person dedicated to alternative media and alternative responses to the threats to average people from the major legacy studios, recording labels and "software manufacturing" companies, this will have been a hard decision.

The hope is that someone can buy the domain and keep the site running by hiring Jon to continue to be editor, with someone else taking care of the back-end such as technical and business. As someone focused on the content, Jon wasn't always the most aggressive person when it came to getting advertisers.

ACTRA strike and new media.

Reading the press release from the Canadian Film and Television Production Association (CFTPA) and a Canadian Press article, I can see a familiar situation. When there are many different types of creators and intermediaries involved in some final form of creativity, and there are multiple distribution channels (traditional TV, Internet, etc), then how does all the money get carved up.

The core of the dispute seems to be that actors want new media to be treated identically to traditional film and TV work. While I don't know the details of the dispute, I will tend to disagree with those who think all media are identical as they are not. The business models of traditional movie production, distribution and funding, and of television, are not going to be the same for new media. The Internet is not a new type of "pipe" (Past Heritage Minister Copps) or "tube" (US Senator Ted Stevens) onto which you feed the same content as old media, but is a different type of media that enables a much wider range of production, distribution and funding options. Any attempt to start a conversation from a misunderstanding that all media is the same is going to end up in major disagreements.

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