- China to censor text messages +/-
(BBC) China is expanding its censorship controls to cover text messages sent using mobile phones. New regulations have been issued to allow mobile phone service providers to police and filter messages for pornographic or fraudulent content. But analysts fear the real targets are political dissidents.
- US - Dirty-Word Filters Prove Costly +/-
(Wired) Thanks to the federal government's crackdown on obscenity, commercial radio stations have been clamoring for technology that delays broadcast feeds for up to 40 seconds, giving hosts and producers a chance to bleep out naughty words. Long a staple of political-minded talk shows at large stations, delay systems are now being put to work 24 hours a day, even during the weekly gardening hour and the afternoon stock market report. see also You Can't Do That on Television (New York Times). Six months after the Super Bowl, writers, producers and network executives are in a state of confusion about what they are allowed to say and show on television.
- US - Lawmakers take aim at virtual violence +/-
(CNN) The video game industry seems to delight in pushing the envelope - and the bounds of good taste -with ever-gorier content. That has put it under renewed attack from legislators and activists who claim some titles must be kept out of kids' hands, though courts have repeatedly granted games First Amendment protections.
- US - Supreme Court keeps Net porn law on ice +/-
(CNET News.com) A divided U.S. Supreme Court suggested that a federal law designed to restrict Internet pornography violated Americans' rights to freedom of speech, but the court stopped short of a definitive ruling striking down the law as unconstitutional. The 5-4 ruling upheld an injunction barring prosecutors from filing criminal cases under the Child Online Protection Act, or COPA, until a full trial takes place. COPA restricts the use of sexually explicit material deemed 'harmful to minors' on commercial Web sites. Violation of the law can result in civil fines and prison terms. In its decision Ashcroft v. American Civil Liberties Union, the high court said that a full trial in Philadelphia would permit the case to reflect the 'current technological reality' about the state of porn-filtering applications. Supreme Court Justices Uphold Block of Web Porn Law but Send Case Back and Internet Filters Are: [Good] [Bad] [Both] (New York Times), Washington Post transcripts COPA Supporter Jan LaRue, Chief Counsel, Concerned Women for America, COPA Opponent Ann Beeson Associate Litigation Director, American Civil Liberties Union.
- US - Washington State's violent video game ban overturned +/-
(CNN) A federal judge has struck down Washington state's ban on selling some violent video games to minors, calling it a violation of free speech. U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik wrote that depictions of violence have been used throughout the country's history to convey important social messages, and that the Supreme Court has never upheld bans on violent depictions under obscenity laws. The state's ban sought to prevent minors from buying or renting games that portray "realistic or photographic-like depictions of aggressive conflict" in which the players kill or injure law enforcement officers. The law included a provision to fine retailers $500 for violations.
- Cory Doctorow: Microsoft Research DRM talk +/-
(Cory Doctorow) This talk was originally given to Microsoft's Research Group and other interested parties from within the company at their Redmond offices on June 17, 2004. The author argues 1. That DRM systems don't work 2. That DRM systems are bad for society 3. That DRM systems are bad for business 4. That DRM systems are bad for artists 5. That DRM is a bad business-move for Microsoft.
- DE - Buchhandelslobby trägt Streit um wissenschaftlichen Kopierdienst nach Brüssel +/-
(Heise) Der Streit zwischen dem Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels und dem in Berlin ansässigen wissenschaftlichen Dokumentenlieferdienst subito eskaliert: Die Buchhandelslobby hat einerseits gemeinsam mit Stichting STM, dem internationalen Verband der Verleger im Bereich Science, Technology und Medizin, eine Klage (PDF) gegen den Kopienversand der Bibliotheken beim Landgericht München I eingereicht. In einem Musterverfahren wollen die Verleger subito den "weltweiten" Artikelversand untersagen. Darüber hinaus haben die beiden Verbände aber auch eine Beschwerde bei der EU-Kommission eingelegt. Die Verlage fühlen sich demnach durch die Versanddienste der Bibliotheken, die sie als "ruinöse Wettbewerbshandlungen" bezeichnen, "rechtswidrig geschädigt".
- EU - Patently unfair +/-
(Guardian) Software patents are back on the European agenda and the stakes are high. Are they necessary for innovation or do they impede it? Ben Hammersley investigates.
- France lends support to new open-source license +/-
(InfoWorld) Researchers at three French government-funded research organizations have revealed a new license compatible with the Free Software Foundation Inc.'s GNU General Public License (GPL). Plenty of free software licenses exist already, but they are mostly written in English, from the point of view of the U.S. legal system, which can pose a problem in countries where the legal system is based on different assumptions. The new license, known as CeCILL, is intended to make free software more compatible with French law in two areas where it differs significantly from U.S. law: copyright and product liability. See English version of the license.
- UK - Fast backs Whitehall copyright clampdown +/-
(vnunet.com) The Federation Against Software Theft (Fast) has welcomed government moves to clamp down on copyright piracy. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has established the Creative Industries IPR Forum to provide a national strategy for dealing with intellectual property (IP) crime. The DTI's strategy, to be unveiled later in the summer, is expected to set out priorities, combine the activities of various agencies and improve the processing of information to support enforcement processes. A copyright strategy group, to be chaired by the science minister Lord Sainsbury and arts minister Estelle Morris is also to be established.
- UK - Film Companies Launch New Anti-Piracy Offensive +/-
(Digital-Lifestyles.info) "Piracy is a Crime" is the new £1.5 million (?2.25 million) campaign from the UK film industry. Film makers have grouped together with retailers like Asda and HMV to form the Industry Trust for Intellectual Property Awareness, and have predicted an annual loss of about £1 billion (?1.5 billion) to the film industry in 2007. To combat this, the new campaign has a tough new message for the public. A new trailer seeks to educate the public that film piracy has links to organised crime and funds terrorist activities. By issuing posters featuring a gunman, the ITIPA is hoping to capitalise on the public's fear of terrorism to discourage the public from buying dodgy DVDs down the market. The majority of public opinion seems to be that piracy is a "soft crime" with no real victims, whereas low risks and high returns are making it an attractive option for criminal gangs ? raids to premises involved in piracy have also unearthed drugs, pornography and weapons. see also Introducing Del-Qaida (Guardian) Comment by Duncan Campbell. Worried about losing money, the entertainment business is peddling false links between DVD pirates and terror cells.
- US - The LawMeme Reader's Guide to Ernie Miller's Guide to the INDUCE Act +/-
(LawMeme) by James Grimmelmann. Ernie Miller has been blogging up an incredible storm about S. 2560, the Act Formerly Known as the INDUCE Act, now called the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act. ('Infringement' is singular, but 'Copyrights' is plural. Go figure.) His coverage matters to lawyers, techies, copyfighters, and consumers. That is, everyone. Ignore it at your peril. The IICA is one of the most dangerously misguided and malicious pieces of technology legislation to rear its ugly head in the last decade. Ernie's obsessively detailed articles are a powerful indictment of a bad idea. I have only one thing to add to what Ernie is saying: an index.
- US - Tough road for patent-busters +/-
(CNN) The Electronic Frontier Foundation is seeking to strike down a top 10 list of patents which the online civil liberties group considers as unwarranted and harmful to innovation. Only 614 of the nearly 7 million existing patents have been revoked, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Some 3,927 patents have been narrowed since the agency began conducting re-examinations in 1981. The hardest part for challengers is qualifying for a re-exam at all. A challenger must find written evidence, called "prior art" in patent parlance, showing others developed the technology before the patent application was filed -- a formidable task that consumes a cottage industry of patent researchers and lawyers.
- Europe - Broadband divide on the horizon +/-
(BBC) Europe is experiencing excellent broadband growth, but nearly 30% of broadband users in Europe have slow connections, says a report. Analysts Jupiter Research said there was a great disparity between the quality of service different people are experiencing.
- Films 'fuel online file-sharing' +/-
(BBC) File-sharing is booming, with people downloading millions of files despite efforts by the entertainment industry to stop the practice, say experts. Films and other files larger than 100MB are becoming the most requested downloads on networks around the world, said UK net analysts CacheLogic. It measures peer-to-peer traffic on the networks of internet service providers. It estimates that at least 10 million people are logged on to a peer-to-peer (P2P) network at any time.
- Germany tops porn Web hosting superleague +/-
(Register) Germany is the Web host with the most - at least in terms of pornography. The .de TLD boasts 10,030,200 pages of smut, beating the UK's 8,506,800 pages into the runners-up spot. That's according to Secure Computing, which has just carried out a study of the global distribution of pornographic web pages by the top 100 individual country domains - excluding US domains.
- OECD - File-Sharing Over Peer-to-Peer Networks Growing Fast in Europe +/-
(OECD) Peer-to-peer (or P2P) networks are used to download music, movies, images, games and software from the Internet. The number of people logged on simultaneously to popular file sharing networks approached close to 10 million in April 2004, a rise of 30% from the same period a year earlier, according to a pre-released section of the OECD Information Technology Outlook 2004. The included country-specific data for all 30 OECD countries reveals that users in the U.S. make up over half the total number of people using file-sharing networks, followed by Germany (10.2%), Canada (8.0%) and France (7.8%). The report also shows that usage of P2P networks is growing fastest in Europe and Canada. Whereas the share of P2P users from the United States as part of all OECD users is falling, the share of Germany, France and Canada is on the rise.
- Study: Five countries send 99 percent of spam +/-
(CNET News.com) Offers of drugs, particularly Viagra, accounted for about one-third of global spam messages sent in the first half of 2004, according to a study by Commtouch, a company that sells antispam products. Commtouch said about 55 percent of spam messages originated in the United States, while slightly more than 73 percent of them referred recipients to Web sites hosted in China. China, South Korea, the United States, Russia and Brazil host more than 99 percent of all Web sites mentioned in spam, according to Commtouch. Pitches for drugs and medicines made up about 30 percent of spam e-mails. Mortgage/refinancing and 'organ enlargement' ranked second and third with 9 percent and 7 percent respectively.
- Survey: One in four has downloaded an illegal film +/-
(CNET News.com) One in four people online has illegally downloaded a feature film -- and it's cutting into box-office and DVD sales, the Motion Picture Association of America said. A survey of 3,600 Internet users in eight countries, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, showed that as many as 50 percent had downloaded copyrighted content in the last year. Of those people who have downloaded films, 17 percent said they are going to the movies less often, and 26 percent said they bought fewer DVDs, according to online researcher OTX, which conducted the study in partnership with the MPAA.