(RAPID) The European Commission has given the green light to the purchase by the French television channel TF1 of the shares in the digital package of satellite television channels Télévision Par Satellite (TPS) held by France Télévision and France Télécom.
(RAPID) The European Commission has authorised the acquisition by French company Vivendi-Universal of Liberty's stake in Multithématiques, a thematic channels group. This operation will increase Vivendi's shareholding in Multithématiques in which it will have joint control with Lagardère. The opération will not significantly change the competitive situation of the market since Vivendi already held joint control in Multithématiques.
(FT) Lawyers for the nine litigating states in the Microsoft anti-trust remedy hearings appeared to have been comprehensively outmanoeuvred by their counterparts defending the software giant after Microsoft's legal team decided to halve the number of defence witnesses they would call.
(Reuters) A Canadian man pleaded guilty to participating in an online Ponzi scheme that bilked some 13,000 investors out of nearly $60 million in what officials said was one of the largest Internet investment fraud cases in the nation.
(M. Dornseif, K. H. Schumann, C. Klein) There has been much talk about the risks to radio networks. How great is the actual danger and does criminal law protect against assaults on radio networks? First published in German in Datenschutz und Datensicherheit, April 2002.
(BBC) A Bill published by the Home Office will make it a criminal offence to reprogram stolen phones to create a new number so they can be used again.
(Guardian) Teenage boys who download images of child abuse from the internet should not always be prosecuted as sex offenders, according to experts on the sexual exploitation of children. The Children's Charities Coalition for Internet Safety (Chis), a taskforce set up last year following a series of high profile cases involving online paedophile rings, has called on the courts to distinguish between adults and children arrested on child pornography offences in a submission to the sentencing advisory panel.
(AP) Lawmakers, angry at the Supreme Court for striking down parts of an anti-child pornography law, are proposing legislation they hope will pass constitutional muster while banning computer simulations and other fool-the-eye depictions of teen-agers or children having sex. see background on the bill (Justice Department) and Summary of Ashcroft "morphed" child porn bill by Larry Sutter
(AP) The creator of the "Melissa" computer virus was sentenced to 20 months in federal prison for causing millions of dollars of damage by disrupting e-mail systems worldwide in 1999. see also Melissa Creator Sentenced On State Charges (Newsbytes).
(Newsbytes) A figure in the software pirating group DrinkOrDie has been sent to prison for nearly three years, the first of many members of the "warez" organization that will be sentenced for their roles in an operation that caused millions of dollars in damages.
(Newsbytes) The Australian government has proposed powers for the nation's telecommunications regulator that would allow it to tackle the practice of "Internet dumping." Internet dumping occurs when a Net user's modem is disconnected from the local call to an ISP and reconnected, usually secretly, to an international or premium-rate phone number.
(Washington Post) The get-rich-quick con, dubbed the "Nigerian Letter Scam" is now arriving with increasing frequency in e-mails, many sent from Nigeria or neighboring West African nations. Last year, they constituted the third biggest consumer fraud on the Internet, trailing auctions and the sale of merchandise, according to the National Consumer League
(Newsbytes) Under a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, several Canadian domain-name registrars and their operator will pay $375,000 to consumers who were duped into unnecessarily buying variations of their existing domain names.
(FT) German politicians from across the party spectrum demanded urgent reviews of gun controls and laws covering access to violent videos and computer games to prevent a recurrence of last week's school shooting that left 17 dead. They also called for a broader political debate on the events and violent influences on young people, amid nationwide scenes of mourning and soul searching. Chancellor Gerhard Schröder said he would soon meet heads of the main television channels, and premiers of the 16 federal states, constitutionally responsible for broadcasting, to discuss violent material. Otto Schily, interior minister, promised a review of Germany's relatively strict gun laws to see if further amendments were necessary. Separately, officials from the youth and family ministry said they would review draft legislation, due to be presented shortly, to see if further steps were necessary to limit access by young people to violent videos and computer games.
(Heise) Als Konsequenz aus der Bluttat von Erfurt beruft die Bundesregierung einen Runden Tisch zur Darstellung von Gewalt im Fernsehen und Internet ein. Dies vereinbarte Bundeskanzler Gerhard Schröder (SPD) am Donnerstagabend bei einem Treffen mit Intendanten privater und öffentlich-rechtlicher Fernsehsender in Berlin. Die TV-Sender wollen zudem Aufklärungs-Spots senden, in denen Gewalt als Konfliktlösungsmittel geächtet wird. siehe auch Jugendschutz und Medien im Internet und Medienpolitik: Wie blutig darf ein "Tatort" sein? (Spiegel), IT-Verband setzt bei "illegalen Inhalten" auf Selbstregulierung, Diskussion um Wirkung von Gewaltdarstellungen geht weiter und Stoiber will Gewalt in Computerspielen verbieten (Heise) und Deutschland - Ministerpräsident Beck für Forum gegen Gewalt in den Medien (dpa).see also Deutschland - Brutale Spiele(r)?
(Agence France-Presse) Chinese officials have vowed to crack down on "harmful" content on the Internet, saying they want to protect youth from being corrupted.
(Heise) Die Bundesregierung will noch in dieser Legislaturperiode die Novelle zum Jugendschutzgesetz verabschieden, die unter anderem rechtlich verbindliche Alterseinstufungen für Computerspiele vorsieht. Mit der Novelle soll auch für Computerspiele eine altersgerechte Kennzeichnung verbindlich gemacht werden, wie sie jetzt schon für Filme und Videos gilt. siehe auch Bundesprüfstelle indiziert zwei Ego-Shooter (Heise)see also Deutschland - Brutale Spiele(r)?
(Heise) Der Jugendschutz im Fernsehen und im Internet muss nach Ansicht der EU-Kommissarin Viviane Reding dringend verbessert werden. Die EU-Kommissarin sagte, die Jugendschutzregelungen auf EU-Ebene seien in einer Zeit geschaffen worden, als das Hauptaugenmerk darauf gerichtet wurde, die Verbreitung der Pornografie einzudämmen. Nun gehe es darum, schlimmste Darstellungen von Rassismus und brutaler Gewalt aus dem Fernsehen oder aus dem Internet zu verbannen. So müsse die Zusammenarbeit mit der Industrie und den Internetanbietern verbessert werden. Eltern sollten die technische Möglichkeit bekommen, bestimmte Fernsehprogramme zum Schutz ihrer Kinder zu sperren. Außerdem müssten die Schulen Kinder und Jugendliche auf den Umgang mit den modernen Medien vorbereiten.
(Newsbytes) A U.S. District Court judge recently ruled that video games are not a protected form of speech under the First Amendment, and upheld a St. Louis County ordinance restricting the use of "violent" video games by minors. A media law specialist considers that the finding that video games are not protected speech will not survive on appeal.
(Guardian) The collapse of ITV Digital has "dealt a body blow" to the government's plans for digital switchover. In its Fourth Report the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee said the government will have to seriously consider giving away digital set-top boxes to achieve its goal of switching off the analogue TV signal by 2010. On cross-media ownership, the media select committee agreed with BSkyB's argument that all special rules governing the media sector were "out of date". see also MPs call on regulator to split BT (vnunet) and BT faces pressure to sell fixed-line network (FT).
(FT) Rupert Murdoch is to be barred from expanding into free-to-air television stations in Britain under a shake-up of media law in the communications bill, which is to be published after this week's local elections. Currently, media organisations such as Mr Murdoch's News Corporation that control more than 20 per cent of the national newspaper market are prevented from buying more than 20 per cent of ITV, Channel 5 or a national or local radio service. Most of these cross-media restrictions are set to remain.
(Reuters) The top ten U.S. cable operators committed to take steps to accelerate the transition to digital television, including carrying several high-definition digital channels by January 2003.
(Business Week) If the media giants have their way, the Net freedom fighter says, content will be rigidly controlled and innovation stifled.
(BBC) Tech industry leaders gathered in Brussels have reiterated the growing threat of piracy to the software industry in Europe. The warning was issued at a conference, organised by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), which attracted delegates from firms such as Microsoft, Apple, Adobe and Symantec.
(LawMeme) by Ernest Miller. Jamie Kellner, chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting (an AOL Time Warner company), was recently interviewed on the future of television. He said :"[Ad skips are] theft. Your contract with the network when you get the show is you're going to watch the spots. Otherwise you couldn't get the show on an ad-supported basis. Any time you skip a commercial or watch the button you're actually stealing the programming." Interviewer: "What if you have to go to the bathroom or get up to get a Coke?" JK: "I guess there's a certain amount of tolerance for going to the bathroom". LawMeme offers the top ten new copyright crimes, as well as further choice quotes and commentary from Mr. Kellner's interview. see also Kellner's Contract Named.
(Newsbytes) A federal court judge has ordered the operator of a members-only network for access to adult Web sites to crack down on copyright infringement on Web sites run by many of its nearly 300,000 affiliates
(Mercury News) A federal magistrate in Los Angeles has ordered SonicBlue to spy on thousands of digital video recorder users -- monitoring every show they record, every commercial they skip and every program they send electronically to a friend. Four separate lawsuits focus on a pair of features on the ReplayTV 4000: an "AutoSkip'' function that allows the device to bypass commercials while recording a program and a high-speed Internet port that allows users to download programs from the Internet or send them to other ReplayTV 4000 users. The suits allege these features effectively deprive networks of the means of paying for their programs -- advertising revenue. see also SonicBlue Protests Court Order To Monitor ReplayTV Users (Newsbytes).
(RAPID) Mr Erkki Liikanen Member of the European Commission, responsible for Enterprise and the Information Society, International Conference on e-Government for Development, Palermo, 11 April 2002.
(CORDIS) Government, the private sector and civil society must cooperate in the development and implementation of e-strategies in order to reduce the threat of a 'digital divide' opening up between technology 'haves' and 'have-nots', concluded participants at an EU, Latin America and Caribbean ministerial meeting on the information society in Seville, Spain, from 26 to 27 April. see Co-operation Programme ALliance for the Information Society with Latin America" (@LIS).
(Reuters) Thousands of names in the United States' ".us" Internet domain have been sold off with little consideration for the public good, several public interest groups charged.
(Newsbytes) In a potentially controversial decision, an international arbitrator has ruled that individuals could lose rights to their own names in Internet addresses if those same monikers are sought by celebrities.
(law.com) A commission to advise the judiciary on possible privacy interests affected by the posting of New York state court case files on the Internet was appointed by the New York Court of Appeals. The Commission on Public Access to Court Records is expected to issue a report next year examining technology that allows easy access to the sometimes sensitive personal information in court documents.
(Bertelsmann Foundation) E-Government has begun to conquer the public sector. Under the roof of electronic democracy - or E-Democracy - a new culture of political participation is evolving. The Bertelsmann Foundation wants to investigate how far the integration of both concepts has advanced. The results of the research, which was conducted in cooperation with Booz, Allen, Hamilton, are summarized in the study Balanced eGovernment - Connecting Efficient Administration and Responsive Democracy.
(EurActiv.com) eGovernment: one of the 10 eEurope priorities.
(Guardian) For the past 10 days, the French haven't been able to stop talking about Jean-Marie Le Pen's unexpected success at the polls. Everywhere. At work, at the cafe. And on the internet.
(Reuters) French presidential candidates should freeze interactive parts of their Web sites two days before a final vote in case supporters post messages that could sway undecided voters, an independent commission said. President Jacques Chirac and far-rightist Jean-Marie Le Pen, who will face off on Sunday after the anti-immigration leader's shock success in a first round ballot, should not update their web sites after midnight on Friday, the National Commission for Campaign Control said in a statement.
(IDG) Southampton City Council in Southampton, England, will begin a smart card-based e-government scheme this month, allowing citizens to apply for housing and to follow housing repair requests online.
(Government Computer News) "Surf’s up" is not a phrase most people would associate with scam investigators at the Federal Trade Commission. But surfing is one of the chief pastimes at the FTC Internet Laboratory. Surfing the Web, that is. Commission attorneys and investigators use the lab to track down online-savvy violators of the 87-year-old Federal Trade Commission Act and related laws.
(JoongAngIlbo) Gostop, a Korean card game, is still gostop when played online, and running a gostop competition online with paying participants is still a form of gambling, the Supreme Court ruled.
(Newsbytes) Six Washington labor department workers have been fired and two others were disciplined for sending sexually explicit messages and other "unacceptable" content using the state e-mail system.
(New York Law Journal) An appellate panel in Albany, N.Y., has upheld the right of a state agency to revoke e-mail privileges from a union official who used a government computer to communicate with other members of his labor organization. see also Agency allowed to revoke e-mail access (CNET News.com).
(PCMLP) Programme in Comparative Media Law & Policy at Oxford University. Conference report by Christian Sandvig. On March 8th, Oxford hosted leading Internet researchers, policymakers, and industry representatives from the on-line media to discuss the present state of the art in ethnographic Internet research and its implications for the many attempts to regulate the Internet.
(RAPID) Mr Erkki Liikanen, Member of the European Commission, responsible for Enterprise and the Information Society, Biel's 1st Communication Days, Biel-Bienne, Switzerland, 2 May 2002.
(FT) Soccer, Hollywood films and porn hardly constitute a cultural exception, argues Guillaume Parmentier.
(RAPID) The European Commission launched a consultation on a preliminary draft proposal for a Council regulation which aims at harmonising the rules with respect of the law applicable to non-contractual obligations ("Rome II"). This initiative is part of the work under progress within the European Union in order to develop a genuine area of freedom and justice. Its objective is to ensure that courts of all Member States apply the same law to cross border disputes on non-contractual obligations, thus facilitating the mutual recognition of judicial decisions throughout the European Union. Contributions to the debate may be sent to JAIemail@example.com before 15 September. see also Europe Proposes Dual Plan on Disputes in Commerce (New York Times) and Internet industry lobbying to soften European law (CW360).
(Wired) The Danish Newspaper Publishers' Association has asked a court to ban newsfeed service Newsbooster from deeplinking to Danish newspaper stories. see also The War on Links (Newsbooster).
(legalis.net) De récentes ordonnances de référé ont démontré que les hébergeurs coopèrent sans trop de réticences avec la justice.
(Yomiuri Shimbun) Before the enactment of a law concerning the responsibility of Internet service providers (ISPs) in May, an industry panel has announced guidelines concerning the removal of information on Web sites to prevent privacy or copyright breaches.
(Wired) A law pending in Spain's Congress has sparked a national debate over how far the government should go in regulating websites. Critics charge that the LSSI bill (La Ley de Servicios de la Sociedad de la Informacion y de Comercio Electronico) would allow a "competent administrative authority" in government to shut down websites unilaterally -- a power that now requires court approval.
(Wired) The proprietor of BarkingDogs.org, a "proactive" news website that unearths political malfeasance in and around Dallas, is locked in a battle against the Belo media corporation, owner of The Dallas Morning News, which has demanded that BarkingDogs.org remove all "deep links" to the DallasNews.com site.
(ZDNet UK) The Radiocommunications Agency is proposing to hold an auction of licences in the 3.4GHz spectrum. No date has been set for an auction.
(Telepolis) Eine aktuelle Studie zur Wirkung und Nutzung von Gewalt in Computerspielen sieht keine generelle Gefährdung. siehe auch Der Medien-Psychologe Jo Groebel warnt davor, Medien zum Sündenbock für die Bluttat zu machen (dpa), Forscher: Globalisierung der Gewaltkultur hat Deutschland erreicht, Nach Erfurt: Spieler gegen Kritiker von Computerspielen und Die Wahrheit über das Massaker in Erfurt (Heise).
(BBC) Children suffering abuse or other problems will soon be able to chat to a counsellor online as the children's charity NSPCC launches a new website. There4me.com is the first website in the UK to offer one-to-one real-time counselling online.
(Heise) Die Zahl extremistischer Internetseiten ist in den vergangenen sechs Jahren drastisch gestiegen. Dies geht aus einem vorgelegten Bericht des baden-württembergischen Verfassungsschutzes hervor.
(New York Times) One of the most thorough reports ever produced on protecting children from Internet pornography, Youth, Pornography and the Internet by the National Research Council has concluded there are no simple solutions to the problem. see also Porn Panel Plays It Safe (Wired.
(Newsbytes) Vivendi Universal said that the finding by a Paris Commercial Court means it will reconvene another shareholders' meeting and re-do voting on at least some of the resolutions presented at the April 24 meeting. However, Vivendi Universal said the court agreed to its request for an investigation of the voting "malfunction." see also France - Vivendi Votes Hacked? Ha: Experts (Reuters) and Vivendi Says Online Shareholder Voting 'Hacked' (Newsbytes).
(European Commission) An inititiative promoting information exchange and discussions about eConfidence. including E-Commerce Codes of Conduct / Trustmarks and On-line out-of-court dispute resolution (ODR).
(Eur-Lex) COM (2002) 196(01). Answers to specific questions and general comments can be sent, preferably by 15 October 2002, to JAIfirstname.lastname@example.org.
(Guardian) Complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about junk mail increased by more than 50% last year. In its annual report for 2001 the ASA also said that complaints about Internet advertising rose, with a total of 750 complaints received during the year, an increase of 50% in comparison with 2000. For the first time, the ASA upheld a complaint about an ad delivered by SMS or 'text' messaging. Other ads receiving high number of complaints included a poster, by French Connection Group plc for the website fcukinkybugger.com.
(Reuters) Spanish telecoms regulator CMT has ordered leading telephone company Telefonica to reduce the rates it charges rivals for access to clients on its local loop -- the "last mile" of a telephone network.
(Independent) The chief executive of BT's retail division has raised the prospect of civil war within the telecoms group by warning that Openworld, BT's mass market internet division, may have to abandon its plans to offer consumer broadband internet access following BT Retail's announcement that it would launch its own "no frills" broadband package in September.
(FT) Companies as different as AOL and BT Group, the UK telecoms company, are finding it difficult to find the formula that will ease their transition to a broadband world. As high-speed access to the internet becomes more pervasive, the economic basis of a large part of their businesses is being questioned. Until they find new ways to co-operate, these and other communications and online media companies are likely to continue to flounder.
(FT) The death knell for ITV Digital sounded on the morning of 1 May when the pay-TV company's premium channels started to be taken off the air. ITV Digital's 1.2m customers lost their subscription service after Nick Dargan, the administrator, admitted he had been unable to find a buyer for the company's assets. see also Sad day for staff as digital dream is over and Editorial comment: ITV monkeys (FT).
(Heise) Immer mehr Wissenschaftler reagieren mit "zivilem Ungehorsam" auf die restriktiven Praktiken zahlreicher Fachverlage, die von Autoren verstärkt die Abtretung aller Rechte und satte Gebühren von den auf Publikationen angewiesenen Forschern verlangen.
(FT) Jean-Marie Messier, chief executive of Vivendi Universal, is contemplating a purge of the French media group's cash-burning internet activities that could lead to it abandoning the Vizzavi portal it co-owns with Vodafone.
(Newsbytes) The Korean government has earmarked an additional $14 million in support of the nation's growing Internet gaming industry, its latest direct investment in Korea's online development. Korea's Ministry of Information and Communication has earmarked $11 million toward the further development of Net gaming technologies, including 3-D game engines. A further $3 million will support the training of online game specialists, a project to combat online game addiction and industry regulatory support
(Reuters) Video game company Nintendo, the only console maker without a strategy for online game play, will unveil plans for Internet-based services for the GameCube at a key industry trade show later this month, an industry source.
(Daily Telegraph) Uncensored pornography cheaply available on the internet is seriously damaging the sales of America's best known soft porn magazines such as Playboy, Penthouse, Hustler and Screw.
(Reuters) The Financial Times has announced details of a subscription service for its FT.com Web site, which it expects to break-even by the end of this year. The newspaper will charge £75 a year for full access to its five-year news database, a new search engine and archives of the widely read daily financial comment Lex.
(CNN) Cellular operator Wind SpA is planning to send text messages from its subscribers to an Italian astronaut who began an eight-day mission to the International Space Station. GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) phones don't (yet) work in space, so the messages will be received by a phone on the ground, transcribed and sent over the space station's own data links. There are more mobile phones in use in Italy than there are homes: 49 million of them, for a population of 58 million.
(Reuters) AOL Time Warner will use the popular search engine Google across its Internet properties.
(Guardian) Google drew the largest global search audience last month with 46% of web users, according to OneStat.com, the net analysis company. Pushed back into second place, with just 20%, was the classic web company Yahoo. Although Yahoo denies these figures reflect the true state of play, is this a sign of the beginning of the end for one of the net's earliest success stories?
(Reuters) The British Broadcasting Corporation launched a new Internet search engine. BBCi Search, available from the homepage bbc.co.uk, had the advantage of providing relevant results free of advertising and commercial constraints, whilst giving preference to UK Web sites, the BBC said. 80 percent of British Web surfers felt current search engines could be improved, and 64 percent were frustrated by the amount of U.S. sites and advertisers they came across.
(CNET News.com) Law enforcement agencies and security experts agree that breaches in bank security are rising, but the number of serious incidents - and the risk to the public - remains largely unknown. Three-part special report.
(Reuters) Internet users who download songs for free from unauthorized peer to peer services are more likely to increase their music purchases than regular Internet users, the report by research firm Jupiter Media Metrix said.
(Newsbytes) The penetration of high-speed Internet access technologies in Canadian households has doubled since 2000, according to a new report that says some 48 percent of all online Canadian adults who connect from home now use digital subscriber line (DSL) services or cable modems
(Reuters) The number of file-swapping, or peer-to-peer, Web sites, has grown more than five-fold in the past year, according to a new survey by U.S. technology firm Websense, despite legal efforts by Hollywood, music companies and software firms to shut them down
(New York Times) The number of Japanese cellphones equipped for e-mail has jumped to 50 million today, about 40 percent of the population, from 10 million two years ago. Sending text messages appeals to Japan's passion for discretion.
(Newsbytes) As rises Kazaa, so falls Morpheus. Or so says data released by Redshift Research. Between February and April this year, the Kazaa media-swapping network grew by nearly 70 percent. Meanwhile, usage of Morpheus, once the largest peer-to-peer network, has gone in the opposite direction,
(FT) More than 150,000 customers have signed up for broadband over the past four months, taking the number of high-speed internet access connections above 500,000, Oftel, the telecommunications regulator, will reveal. The landmark will be a relief for the government which had become embarrassed by broadband's slow take-up. But the cost has been the virtual death of local loop unbundling - the process by which BT Group opens its network to competitors.
(Net4Nowt) Oftel has released their latest survey Consumers' use of the Internet. Results indicate that: 46% of UK households have Internet access and a further 4% claim to use the Internet from various locations, broadly unchanged since November 2001. Unmetered packages remain most popular - currently used by 43% of Internet households - and consumers continue to prefer PSTN/dial up access.
(Guardian) Britain's uptake of digital television has stalled in the confusion created by the collapse of ITV Digital. Ipsos-RSL Digital Audience Research Tracking (Dart) has found that 36% of homes have digital television, via satellite, cable or terrestrial networks. And six out of 10 viewers who don't have digital TV say that "nothing" would change their mind about getting it.
(NUA) Around 110 million Americans go online to look for health care information, according to a new survey from Harris Interactive.
(AP) Four years ago the record industry and some technology companies banded together to match wits in a combined effort to stamp out Internet music piracy. Their goal: to usher in an age of secure digital songs wrapped in unbreakable code. The Secure Digital Music Initiative was supposed to be just the medicine to marginalize the Napster phenomenon. Soon, there would be SDMI protected CDs and SDMI digital music downloads playing only on SDMI-compliant devices. Now SDMI is roadkill, outpaced by developments in digital technology and done in by the narrow interests of its own members - record labels competing for dominance and music hardware companies impatient to get their products out to consumers.
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QuickLinks is edited by Richard Swetenham email@example.com - Main Sources and Contributors: Michael Geist BNA - ILN, cybertelecom.org, jugendschutz.net, David Goldstein, Gerhard Heine