- AU - Aussies ban graffiti game +/-
(Inquirer) Australian censors have banned a game not because it contains sex and violence, but because they fear that it will encourage kids to spray paint graffiti.
- CN - China defends right to police Internet +/-
(Associated Press) China defended its right to police the Internet, one day after four American technology giants appeared before Congress on charges they collaborated with Beijing to crush free speech online in return for market access.
- CN - China's top monitor defends Internet censorship +/-
(New York Times) Chinese authorities are determined to stop 'harmful information' from spreading through the Internet, but the controls it places on Web sites and Internet service providers in mainland China do not differ much from those employed by the United States and European countries, a senior Chinese official responsible for managing the Internet said.
- CN - Wikipedia finds fans, censors +/-
(Washington Post) Its on-again, off-again attempts to disrupt access to the Wikipedia site highlight the Communist Party's deep ambivalence toward the Internet: The party appears at once determined not to be left behind by the global information revolution and fearful of being swept away by it.
- EU - Danish cartoon row renews push for EU media code +/-
(EUObserver) European Commission vice-president Franco Frattini has said media should sign up to a voluntary code of conduct on reporting on Islam and other religions, in a bid to avoid future Danish cartoon-type disputes. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Mr Frattini argued that the cartoons in Danish paper Jyllands-Posten 'humiliated' millions of Muslims. He said journalists and media chiefs should be aware of their responsibility when exercising their right of freedom of expression, and that they should voluntarily agree to self-regulation in cases where sensitive religious issues are involved. The European Commission is planning to discuss details of such a code of conduct with press organisations and major media outlets in the coming months.
- UK - Radio 1 rapped for 'sex trailers' +/-
(BBC) BBC Radio 1 has been criticised by media watchdog Ofcom for broadcasting fake adverts for sex chatlines. The adverts, played at 4.20pm, included 'sounds of graphic sexual moans and groans', were trailers for advice show Sunday Surgery. The BBC said the ads formed part of a safe sex campaign on the show. But Ofcom said the trailers, which attracted 14 complaints, were 'totally inappropriate' and found the BBC in breach of its guidelines.
- US - Yahoo! appeals for support in censorship row +/-
(Guardian) The internet company Yahoo! sought to blunt criticism of its business practices in China in advance of what is expected to be a gruelling hearing in Washington. In a 'statement of beliefs' Yahoo! said it was 'deeply concerned' by some governments' efforts to control access to the web. But it said private firms alone could not bring about change and called on the Bush administration to do more.
- US -The worst of the Net +/-
(CommsWatch) A US Congressional body held a hearing on the involvement of American companies in the controlling of Internet access by Chinese users. But there is a more serious issue that American politicians and industry are not adequately addressing. The UK's Internet Watch Foundation found last year that 40% of all reports of child abuse images on the Net were hosted in the United States.
- FR - Inquiry set for French file-sharing plan +/-
(Reuters) France's Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres is set to be questioned by the parliamentary commission for cultural affairs and the commission for economic affairs about plans for a controversial law that would legalize file-sharing of music and films. The project has worried the music, film and television industries because it would make France the first country to allow unlimited peer-to-peer downloading for a flat fee of several euros a month.
- Newspapers want search engines to pay +/-
(CNET News.com) The World Association of Newspapers (WAN) intends to 'challenge the exploitation of content' by the Googles and MSNs of the Web. WAN executives want to explore their options and added that they understand search engines help them in one way: aggregating content and packaging it for consumers. But WAN noted that Web companies also 'built their business models in large part on taking content for free.'
- The Internet, Creativity and Copyright Incentives by Paul Ganley +/-
(SSRN) by Paul Ganley. Baker & McKenzie LLP. Journal of Intellectual Property Rights, Vol. 10, p. 188, 2005. The copyright industries savour their role as critical intermediaries in the copyright supply chain. To this end they are continually seeking to strengthen their legal entitlements by arguing that stronger copyright incentives fuel future creative action. But the reality of creativity is different from the linear economic reward/action relationship that these industries promote.
- UK - Gowers Review of Intellectual Property - call for evidence +/-
(OfcomWatch) The Gowers Review of Intellectual Property has issued a call for evidence as part of its commitment to consult widely. Responses to the call for evidence have been requested by Friday 21 April 2006.
- UK - Police unit targets film piracy +/-
(BBC) A police unit dedicated to combating movie piracy and those responsible for the manufacture and distribution of pirated films has launched in London. In partnership with the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact), the new unit will pursue individuals and groups profiting from the sale of fake DVDs.
- US - MPAA sues newsgroup, P2P search sites +/-
(CNET News.com) The Motion Picture Association of America has sued a new round of popular Web sites associated with movie piracy, including several that serve as search engines but do not distribute files themselves. Unlike a traditional search engine such as Google, the sites targeted are filled almost exclusively with links and references to copyright movies, software and music. The MPAA has had a string of successes targeting sites that distribute movies in the BitTorrent file format and collaborated with Swiss and Belgian police to shut down a major European server called Razorback 2, part of the eDonkey network.
- Whose words are they anyway? +/-
(Guardian) by John Halton. In a blaze of international publicity, the World Association of Newspapers announced that it is considering legal action against Google News, which it accuses of 'building a new medium on the backs of our industry, without paying for any of the content'. This follows earlier objections to the Google Print service - Google's plans to scan millions of books have attracted opposition from publishers and authors. But what is its legal position faced with these objections?
- EU - Mrs Reding announces Regulation on roaming costs +/-
(RAPID) Towards a true internal market for electronic communications. Speech by Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media, European Regulators Group, Paris, 8 February 2006. I have asked my services to start working on an EU regulation on international roaming charges that the European Commission could propose to the European Parliament and the Council well before the summer break. When we come to review the regulatory framework in 2006, we may agree that there is no need for increasing the Commission powers substantially, but there is room for improvement in getting regulators to think beyond their national boundaries. As we go forward, I would ask for your support on using the ERG, not just as a source of regulatory expertise for its members, but also for the purpose of delivering more of a genuine internal market than has been the case to date, for example by seeking more consistency in the imposition of remedies.
- AU - Ring tones drain kids' pockets +/-
(Sydney Morning Herald) Children continue to be sucked into signing up for costly ring tone subscriptions despite moves to crack down on the industry. A 12-year-old was recently charged $80 in fees when she thought she had bought a one-off ring tone. She had responded to a television ad from ring tone company Jamster, notorious for its Crazy Frog icon. Like many children, she had not read the fine print on the screen and did not realise she had signed up for a weekly subscription rather than a single ring tone.
- EU - Mobile roaming: Call for Comments +/-
(RAPID) The European Commission believes that consumers continue to pay unreasonably high prices for using their mobile phone abroad. This is reducing cross-border use of mobile phones and presents an obstacle to the European market for electronic communications, so the Commission has started work on an EU regulation on international roaming charges. Your views are welcome by close of business on 17 March 2006.
- How to Regulate Tomorrow's Mobile Market +/-
(ITU) 10 Regulatory Principles from the GSM Association. More regulation while competition is increasing? That does not sound right, according to the GSM Association. Instead, given the innovative nature of 3GSM, its embryonic status and the current lack of market and legal certainty, regulatory forbearance is advisable.
- Leading Mobile Operators to Deliver Ubiquitous Instant Messaging +/-
(Press Release) The GSM Association (GSMA) announced an initiative to make instant messaging as popular and ubiquitous among mobile users as text messaging. As part of this initiative, 15 of the world's leading mobile phone operators plan to rollout instant messaging services that will work across networks.
- Leading Operators Join Forces to Tackle Mobile Spam +/-
(Press Release) The GSM Association (GSMA) has brought together 15 of the world's leading mobile phone operators to sign a code of practice committing them to work together to minimize spam sent via text and picture messages.
- UK - Mobile phone users get licence warning +/-
(Guardian) Mobile phone users excited at the prospect of watching television on their Nokias and Sony Ericssons without a TV licence face the same fines as those caught without one at home.
- CA - Young Canadians in a Wired World +/-
(Media Awareness Network) Young Canadians are more connected than ever, and at a surprisingly early age. The second phase of the Young Canadians in a Wired World (YCWW) research project reveals that an astonishing 94 percent of young people access the Internet from home, with students as early as Grade 4 beginning to rely on the Internet to explore social roles, stay connected with friends and develop their social networks.
- Do consumers understand mobiles? +/-
(CommsWatch) A poll on consumer understanding of mobile phones has been conducted ahead of the 3GSM World Congress. The Netonomy/YouGov poll found that 79% cent of respondents believe mobile phone services are getting more complicated to understand and configure (up from 71% a year ago). The survey also found that, of non-3G users, less than half (41%) of respondents are confident that they would find 3G phones and services easy to use, while only 4% of respondents were planning to upgrade to a 3G phone.
- UK - Good news and bad news on Net connectivity +/-
(CommsWatch) The figures on Internet connectivity issued today by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) provide good news and bad news. The good news is that broadband take-up is storming ahead and now accounts for almost two-thirds of all Net users in the UK (the actual figure is 64.2%). The bad news is that, while narrowband users have been upgrading to broadband, the overall number of the Net has virtually plateaued.
- Welcome To The Blogosphere: Population 27.2 Million And Growing +/-
(TechWeb News) A new blog is created every second and the phenomenon has grown 60 times larger than it was three years ago, says Technorati in its periodic 'State of the Blogosphere'. There are about 27.2 million blogs and 75,000 new ones created each day. At that rate, the blogosphere doubles about every 5.5 months.