(Guardian) In an eloquent open letter published in the daily Libération, France's best-known pornography producer mounted a passionate defence of his industry yesterday in the face of increasing threats from conservative politicians and the broadcasting standards authority to ban x-rated films from the nation's television screens.
(Heise) Der spanische Telecom-Konzern Telefonica ist wegen Beeinträchtigung des freien Wettbewerbs zu einer Rekordstrafe von 18 Millionen Euro verurteilt worden. Die Aufsichtsbehörde für die Telekom-Märkte (CMT) sah es als erwiesen an, dass das einstige Monopolunternehmen zur Abwehr von Konkurrenten einer Vereinigung von Firmen unrechtmäßige Preisabschläge gewährte.
(Baker & Mackenzie Elaw Alerts) The Mobile Telephones (Re-programming) Act received its second reading in the House of Commons on July 22, 2002 and was given royal assent on July 25, 2002. The Act creates offences in relation to the re-programming of the unique electronic identifiers used in mobile phones. It also makes it an offence to interfere with the operation of unique identifiers by use of an electronic chip.
(vnunet.com) The West Midlands Police force, in association with the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) launched a computer program to target online paedophiles. Developed in-house by the West Midlands Police force, the software trawls sites that contain potentially illegal images of child abuse and tracks users who attempt to download such images. Any images downloaded show a graphic police warning indicating that the perpetrator's actions could result in prosecution.
(Heise) Premiere-Chef Georg Kofler hat Auskunft über die Zukunft des Pay-TV-Senders gegeben. Dabei überraschte er mit der Aussage, das Premiere mit drei Millionen Abonnenten die Gewinnschwelle voraussichtlich bereits im Laufe des Jahres 2004 erreichen wird. Nach einem Bericht des Finanzmagazins Capital überlegt Premiere sogar einen Tabubruch: Angeblich denke der Sender daran, im Pay-per-View-Verfahren mit Hardcore-Pornos neue Abonnenten zu ködern. Gegenüber heise online wies Premiere diese Darstellung jedoch als falsch zurück: Kofler strebe lediglich eine "differenzierte rechtliche Einordnung" an, die im Ergebnis dazu führe, dass der "Near-Video-On-Demand-Dienst" des Abosenders rechtlich als Teledienst zu bewerten sei. Nach einer Neustrukturierung des Jugendschutzes, die sicherlich noch ein bis zwei Jahre in Anspruch nehme, könnte dann über eine Umstrukturierung des Angebots nachgedacht werden.
(National Law Center) Remarks of US Attorney General John Ashcroft, Federal Prosecutors' Symposium on Obscenity, National Advocacy Center, Columbia, SC, June 6, 2002. The Internet is perhaps the most pernicious medium for obscenity. The Internet is a double edged sword: on one hand, it is an amazing tool that provides children a wealth of educational resources and gives them access to cultures and ideas that are beyond their everyday experiences. On the other hand, it also serves as a conduit for child exploitation and obscenity that respects no boundaries and recognizes no jurisdictional lines.
(Guardian) Tony Blair's relationship with media baron Rupert Murdoch came under fresh scrutiny when the government rejected calls from an influential parliamentary committee not to let the newspaper mogul buy into parts of UK terrestrial television. The joint committee of MPs and peers, headed by Labour peer and film maker Lord Puttnam, will recommend that the government scraps plans to allow newspaper groups, or television companies allied to them, to buy into Channel 5. The move would effectively end the chances of the Murdoch-chaired BSkyB buying Channel 5.
(Europa) COM(2002) 430. Report from the European Commission on the application of Council Directive 93/83/EEC on the coordination of certain rules concerning copyright and rights related to copyright applicable to satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission. The Commission is particularly concerned about the difficulties which citizens encounter in trying to access satellite channels transmitted outside the Member State in which they are resident. This situation not only goes against the grain of a fundamental principle embodied in Directive 93/83/EEC, but also means that the freedom of movement of goods and services cannot be fully exercised, that viewers' expectations cannot be met, and that cultural and economic opportunities introduced by the internal market cannot be exploited. The Commission will therefore conduct a study - observing the protection of rightholders - into possible ways of meeting citizens' expectations, which are set to continue rising in step with increased mobility and the development of new technologies to which the general public has access in the European Union.
(Wired) Sen. Joseph Biden has become one of the newest field marshals in Congress' intellectual property wars. Biden introduced a bill titled the "Anticounterfeiting Amendments of 2002." It originally targeted the kind of large-scale pirates who manufacture fake Windows holograms, but in a little-noticed move before being sent to the Senate floor, the proposed legislation was rewritten to encompass technology used in digital rights management. Biden's bill would make it a federal felony to try and trick certain types of devices into playing your music or running your computer program. Breaking this law could land you in prison for up to five years and incur civil penalties of up to $25,000 per offense.
(Europa) Un nombre important de citoyens européens voudraient mais n'arrivent pas à obtenir l'accès, via le satellite, aux programmes télévisés autres que ceux originaires de l'Etat membre où ils résident. Techniquement, une diffusion par satellite de programmes au delà des frontières nationales ne pose pas de difficultés mais les problèmes d'accès sont souvent liés à la difficulté d'assurer de manière transfrontalière une protection adéquate des droits des créateurs des programmes concernés. Par contre, la diffusion transfrontalière de programmes par câble rencontre nettement moins de problèmes. Telles sont les principales conclusions du rapport que la Commission européenne a adopté sur l'application au sein des Etats membres de la Directive 93/83/CEE, qui permet aux créateurs et réalisateurs d'oeuvres audiovisuelles, ainsi qu'aux organismes assurant leur diffusion, de bénéficier pleinement du marché intérieur.
(AP) Hollywood escalated its fight against Internet trading of movies and music, successfully urging key lawmakers to consider letting the industry use hacker tactics to stop Americans' exchange of songs and films they didn't buy. The broad new legal powers proposed by Rep. Howard Berman, D-California would let record and movie studios hack into Americans' personal computers to find illegally shared music and movies. They could also try to disable or interfere with file-swapping programs. It also would let industry use denial-of-service attacks -- commonly launched by hackers to flood commercial Web sites -- to knock personal computers offline so they can't trade copyrighted songs and films.
(Heise) DaimlerChrysler will seine Kunden nicht nur mit "premium cars" und "premium services" bedienen, sondern auch mit "premium privacy". Den integrierten Datenschutz verstehe man als Wettbewerbsvorteil. Demnächst will der Konzern, der 1977 den ersten Datenschutzbeauftragten in einer deutschen Firma berufen hat, seinen Kunden einen Selbstverpflichtungskatalog vorstellen, der konzernweit, also auch in den USA, gelten soll.
(News.com) A California judge has ordered the Internet's governing body to open its books for inspection. A state judge in Los Angeles lifted the veil of secrecy that has surrounded many of the group's internal deliberations for the last four years, dealing an embarrassing setback to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Superior Court Judge Dzintra Janavs said that ICANN board members could not be denied their right under California law to review financial records, travel logs, legal contracts and other internal documents. "ICANN respectfully disagrees (with the judge) and will consider whether to appeal this decision upon review of the court's written judgment, which will be issued next week," ICANN said in a statement. see also Auerbach Wins, Court Criticizes ICANN (icann.Blog )
(AP) A federal judge has ordered a man to shut down anti-abortion Web sites with domain names confusingly similar to the trademarked names of some of the nation's best known companies. U.S. District Judge Ann D. Montgomery issued a temporary restraining order against William S. Purdy Sr. on behalf of McDonald's Corp., PepsiCo Inc., Coca-Cola Co., The Washington Post Co. and Washingtonpost.newsweekInteractive Co.
(ZDNet Australia) Federal Government is attempting to change freedom of information legislation to prevent the public discovering that Internet censorship laws have failed, according to civil liberties group Electronic Frontiers Australia. Proposed amendments to the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) would extend the Government's current powers to censor documents containing information about the activities of the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) and the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC). According to the EFA, the amendments are designed to prevent public scrutiny of the operation and effectiveness of the Internet censorship regime, and should be rejected. See EFA Press Release and detailed commentary on bill. (Baker & Mackenzie Elaw Alerts).
(Wired) An ambitious U.K. project, the People's Network, will see all of the United Kingdom's more than 4,000 libraries linked to the Internet to become access-and-learning centers by the end of this year. The project will see 30,000 terminals installed, stuffed with digital delights like e-mail, browsing, office applications, digital imaging and video conferencing. The vast majority will be connected to the Internet by 2-MB lines. Over 100 million pounds will be spent on the project, with the money coming from the United Kingdom's lottery cash through the New Opportunities Fund.
(CNET News.com) New software promises more order for your in-box, separating the critical messages from the 'reply all' excesses. But it could pose a political problem for managers.
(Heise) Der IT-Branchenverband Bitkom kritisiert die Entscheidung der Bezirksregierung Düsseldorf, Widersprüche gegen die Sperrverfügung von Websites abzulehnen. Die Behörde hatte im Februar insgesamt 76 nordrhein-westfälische. "Diese Sperrverfügungen sind juristisches Schattenboxen und bringen rein gar nichts", sagte Wolf Osthaus, Referent für Medienpolitik bei Bitkom. Osthaus sagte weiter, die Verhältnismäßigkeit der Verfügung sei nicht gegeben. Sehr schnell könnte die Sperrung von derzeit zwei Sites auf hunderte oder gar tausende ausgeweitet werden.
(Daily Telegraph) Britain's four mobile phone operators were dealt a blow yesterday when the Competition Commission said it believed they were overcharging for calls made between networks. The watchdog made the claim in an interim report on its probe into so-called "termination charges", which Vodafone, Orange, mmO2 and T-Mobile levy for receiving calls from other networks. see Mobile Phones Inquiry Remedies Statement.
(vnunet.com) Schoolgirls in Japan are using dating websites to run lucrative prostitution rackets and sleaze sites. According to the Mainichi Daily News even junior high school pupils are selling themselves. A recent survey from the Metropolitan Police Department of 2,115 junior-high and high-school girls found that as many as one tenth said they had met somebody through an online personals site. But it is clear that they are not just using the dating websites to meet boys. The newspaper interviewed two girls who have used the web to sell themselves.
(Bundestag) Rechtsextremismus, Antisemitismus, Fremdenfeindlichkeit und Gewalt müssen nach Meinung der Bundesregierung von allen zivilen demokratischen Kräften und Verfassungsorganen bekämpft werden. Dies geht aus ihrem Bericht über die aktuellen und geplanten Maßnahmen gegen Rechtsextremismus, Fremdenfeindlichkeit, Antisemitismus und Gewalt hervor.
(BBC) Two civil rights associations have asked a French court to ban a website run by a far-right group linked to the man who tried to assassinate President Jacques Chirac two weeks ago. The request, which calls for the site owned by the far-right organisation Radical Unity to be shut down, has been lodged by the Union of Jewish Students (UEJF) and the J'Accuse association, a group that monitors neo-Nazi propaganda on the internet.
(ACLU Press Release) The American Civil Liberties Union asked a federal court in Massachusetts to rule that a computer researcher has First Amendment and "fair use" rights to examine the full list of sites contained in an Internet blocking program and to share his research tools and results with others. The ACLU seek a "declaratory judgment" from the court on behalf of researcher Benjamin Edelman, who wishes to examine a controversial blocking program manufactured by N2H2 Inc., of Seattle. Edelman v. N2H2, Inc - Case Summary & Documents
(CNN) Princeton University admissions officials gained unauthorized access to a Web site at rival Yale University containing personal information about applicants to the Ivy League school, according to officials at both institutions.
(Hans-Bredow-Institut) Das Projekt im Auftrag des Bundesbeauftragten für Kultur und Medien, bearbeitet von Wolfgang Schulz und Thorsten Held, wurde am 11. Juni 2002 der Öffentlichkeit präsentiert. Der Endbericht ist als Nr.10 der Arbeitspapiere des Hans-Bredow-Instituts erschienen (PDF).
(Baker & Mackenzie Elaw Alerts) The OECD has released a paper on legal provisions related to business-to-consumer Alternative Dispute Resolution in relation to privacy and consumer protection. Meanwhile the ICC has compiled a worldwide inventory of Alternative Dispute Resolution services to assist online consumers. The inventory covers both business-to-consumer and consumer-to-consumer online transactions. See summary report.
(RAPD) The European Commission has set up a Radio Spectrum Policy Group and a European Regulators Group. The two advisory Groups will play a crucial role in assisting the Commission to develop further the Internal Market for the Information Society. The Radio Spectrum Policy Group will assist and advise the Commission on radio spectrum policy issues, on co-ordination of policy approaches and, where appropriate, on harmonised conditions with regard to the availability and efficient use of radio spectrum necessary for the establishment and functioning of the Internal Market. The European Regulators Group will act as an advisory group of independent national regulatory authorities to assist and advise the Commission in consolidating the Internal Market for electronic communications networks and services. It will allow co-operation between national regulatory authorities and the Commission so as to ensure the consistent application in all Member States of the regulatory framework.
(Economist) Thomas Middelhoff, the chief executive of Bertelsmann, a privately-held German media conglomerate, has been forced out after a boardroom battle. The board disagreed with his plan to take the company public by 2005. Following the departure of Jean-Marie Messier from Vivendi and Bob Pittman from AOL Time Warner, Mr Middelhoff’s ouster is further proof that the much-vaunted convergence between old media and the Internet has yet to pay off.
(FT) Bertelsmann, the German media group, plans a fundamental review of its publishing, entertainment and media operations following the abrupt departure of Thomas Middelhoff, its chief executive. Gunter Thielen, the new chairman and chief executive, has ordered the review following a sharp fall in the profitability of units including Random House and the BMG music operations. Random House, BMG and DirectGroup, Bertelsmann's book club business, have all incurred significant losses in the past year. It is understood that Bertelsmann could reconsider its ownership of several US operations including Napster, the internet music service, and US magazines at Gruner Jahr, its magazine publishing arm.
(MSNBC) As part of a series of new storage policies aimed at driving more people toward its paid services, Microsoft has instituted a plan to delete sent Hotmail messages that are more than 30 days old.
(Reuters) Napster just lost a good friend and its biggest supporter at the parent company that's been keeping it afloat. With the resignation of Thomas Middelhoff as chief executive of Bertelsmann AG, the future looks even bleaker for the debt-riddled and lawsuit-plagued music file swapping company.
(Guardian) Two of Europe's leading telecoms groups yesterday underlined worries about the outlook for third-generation mobile phone networks by taking a €9.2bn (£6bn) writedown against their European operations. Finland's Sonera and Spain's Telefonica Moviles are pulling out of Quam, the smallest of the German mobile phone operators, which accounts for the bulk of the write-off. In addition, Telefonica is freezing its 3G operations in Italy, Austria and Switzerland while Sonera is writing down its stake in Italy's IPSE.
(CNET News.com) The Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) Web site was unreachable over the weekend due to a denial-of-service attack. The apparently deliberate overload rendered the RIAA.org site unavailable for portions of four days and came after the group endorsed legislation to allow copyright holders to disrupt peer-to-peer networks.
(Wireless Week) A visiongain poll examined what the public would be prepared to pay extra for and thus establish 3G as the preferred medium of mobile communications. A 22% clear majority vote shows that pornography is the main attraction for many people and will be pivotal in the success of 3G.
(Heise) Die Berichte über eine Ablösung von Thomas Middelhoff (49) als Vorstandsvorsitzendem von Bertelsmann, einem der größten Medienkonzerne der Welt, wurden von dem Unternehmen bestätigt. Nachfolger Middelhoffs wird der 59-jährige Gunter Thielen, bislang Vorstandschef der Arvato, der Druck- und Dienstleistungssparte von Bertelsmann. Sein Stellvertreter wird der 57-jährige Siegfried Luther, der seit 1990 Finanzvorstand bei Bertelsmann ist.
(Guardian) Lord Currie of Marylebone has been confirmed as the new chairman of Ofcom, declaring that he was "honoured and delighted" to accept the role. He also announced he is giving up the Labour whip in the House of Lords and has resigned as a member of the Labour party in an effort to head off Tory accusations of cronyism. Lord Currie's appointment has been welcomed by internet and telecoms companies, who had been concerned the appointment of a chairman with a broadcasting background would see Ofcom concentrate on content issues at the expense of infrastructure concerns. see also UK - BBC set to find an ally in Currie (Guardian) The commercial sector's ongoing battle to curb the power of the BBC is likely to get little support from the new chairman of Ofcom, who has been a strong supporter of the corporation's relentless expansion.
(ZDNet UK) Richard Thomas, director of public policy at Clifford Chance, has been named to take over as the UK's new information commissioner when Elizabeth France steps down later this year. He is currently a board member of the National Consumer Council, and has previously served as a director of consumer affairs at the Office of Fair Trading and was involved in setting up the Insurance Ombudsman Bureau and the Banking and Building Societies Ombudsman schemes.
(Wall Street Journal) Joel Klein, a top Bertelsmann AG executive in the U.S., is leaving the company to become chancellor of New York City’s public-school system. The former chief of the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust division was hired by Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Middelhoff in early 2001
(Steven Clift) E-Democracy Starting Points - Frequently updated online resources with links and announcements directly related to e-democracy from across the Internet. Brief E-Democracy Definition. Quick Links to Select Topical Resources.
(Europa) Secretariat-General web site. see also Member States' national legislation: Comparative analysis, Summary and Overview.
QuickLinks consists of