World Issues / Global politics

World Issues not limited to PCT that may have an indirect connection.

Are electronic books Eco-Friendly? Green Books says so.

I was recently sent an email by Christina Bobul, the Eco-Friendly Media Evangelist of Green Books LLC. The idea that they are promoting is that switching from paper books to electronic books will help protect the environment. I agree that this might be true, but only if the books are interoperable with the widest range of computing hardware and software such that people aren't ever forced to put far more toxic computer hardware prematurely into landfill.

I looked at their website and could not find any information about the file format they are using for their digital books. It should be clear that this business could not claim to be eco-friendly if they were using "DRM" or other proprietary file formats.

French Govt to Adopt Open Document Format?

All French government publications should use OpenDocument Format (ODF), a comprehensive report (PDF) commissioned by French prime minister Dominique de Villepin recommends. An article on InfoWorld mentions that the report also recommends a government research centre for open source security, and the creation of a system for government agencies - local & national - to exchange information in the use of open source software.

All informative, vital, and timely, and quite possibly the basis for legislation soon.

DMCA Coming to Australia

The Howard government of Australia released draft legislation that it plans to introduce this autumn to fulfill obligations set out in trade agreements with the United States, an article in the Syndey Morning Herald says (also discussed on Slashdot). The article states that "The Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement requires Australia to prohibit the use of devices and services to circumvent TPMs." and further that the proposed draft legislation would make it an offence to use any technology that circumvents technological protection measures used with film, music, games, and gaming consoles, amongst other uses.

Four Countries Order 4 Million Linux-Powered OLPC Laptops

An article by LinuxDesktop.com staff includes::

A spokesperson for the One Laptop Per Child program reported July 31 that the countries of Nigeria, Brazil, Argentina and Thailand have each committed to purchase 1 million Linux laptops through the U.S.-based program.

Several media outlets reported last week that Nigeria had committed to buying 1 million of the laptops, and others reported (incorrectly) that $1 million worth of computers -- or about 10,000 machines -- had been requested by the African nation.

"Darknet" Book Reviewed by TidBITS

Adam Engst, editor of the venerable Macintosh mailing list TidBITS, has an excellent review of J.D. Lasica's new book Darknet: Hollywood's War Against the Digital Generation in this week's TidBITS edition. The book chronicles the legal struggles of average citizens who have been caught up in the United States by their copyright regime, struggling for what most would deem common-sense use of their purhcased media. The author explains the DMCA and other 'Content Cartel'-inspired legislation in the US and consequences of these laws, and could serve as an illuminating read for those considering changes to Canada's copyright regime. Engst writes:

London mayor blames Middle East policy

This BBC News article includes words very different than what we heard in New York.

The London mayor told BBC News he had no sympathy with the bombers and he opposed all violence.

But he argued that the attacks would not have happened had Western powers left Arab nations free to decide their own affairs after World War I.

Instead, they had often supported unsavoury governments in the region.

G-8 say global warming requires urgent action

This Reuters article included:

The G-8 powers pledged to promote the transfer of new technology to developing countries and also stated that the United Nations provided the appropriate forum to negotiate a future multilateral regime to address climate change.

It is likely that this will not involve royalty-free access and ability to continue development of required technologies, but the promotion of "licensing" which only increases the trade deficits of these countries. Like the call to reduce the debt so that interests payments aren't larger than aid, we also MUST move to more open collaborative (and royalty-free) methods for these technologies, including Open Access (and patent free) science and FLOSS.

Further (copyright) policy suggestions on how to Make Poverty History.

I signed up to the campaign at http://www.makepovertyhistory.ca . The interface sends messages to the prime Minister and your own MP, so I sent the following which seeks to make the connection between copyright and development issues.

I also sent this message to the DCC discuss forum and Rabble Babble.

G8 plan to save Africa comes with conditions that make it little more than an extortion racket

This Guardian article by George Monbiot includes:

Never mind that much of this debt - money lent by the World Bank and IMF to corrupt dictators - should never have been pursued in the first place. Never mind that, in terms of looted resources, stolen labour and now the damage caused by climate change, the rich owe the poor far more than the poor owe the rich. Some of the poorest countries have been paying more for debt than for health or education.

Indian Financial Express: Options to traditional patents

This article by James Love, director of Consumer Project on Technology, includes:

The idea that high levels of intellectual property protection are best is now under attack. Regardless of what is said in Delhi, back home wealthy countries are backing open standards for the Internet, open-source software, open-access archives for publicly-funded scientific research, public domain databases like the Human Genome Project or the HapMap Project and similar open initiatives. Big successful companies like Cisco are alarmed at patent thickets on software and computing technologies and IBM is undergoing a profound shift in the way it thinks about intellectual property resources, which it now seeks to share.

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