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(Europa) The Commission has unveiled a consolidated text of the modernised "Television without Frontiers" Directive. After a first reading in the European Parliament and the Council, there is now broad agreement with the Commission about the future legal framework for Europe's audiovisual sector. The new Directive reaffirms the pillars of Europe's audiovisual model, which are cultural diversity, protection of minors, consumer protection, media pluralism, and the fight against racial and religious hatred,. The Commission also proposes to ensure the independence of national media regulators. The consolidated text of the new Directive will now go into a second reading by the European Parliament and Council.
(EurActiv) The Commission's anti-trust chief has sent another objection to Microsoft, questioning the software giant's pricing policy for granting access to information on its server protocols.
(CNET News) Federal antitrust officials have expressed growing concern that Microsoft is falling behind on deadlines to revise technical documentation to licensees. As part of the 2002 consent decree that came out of an antitrust settlement, Microsoft is required to disclose server protocols to rivals as a means to allow interoperability between the parties' products.
(Reuters) Egyptian bloggers have come into the spotlight, on the one hand as an important forum for political debate, on the other as the target of government attempts to limit their freedom of expression. Earlier this month, Abdel-Karim Suleiman, a 22-year-old former law student at al-Azhar Islamic university, became the first Egyptian jailed for his blogging when he was handed a four-year prison sentence. Blogs also provide a platform for religious and social minorities whose issues rarely find space in traditional media.
(BBC) French people could be prevented from posting images or videos of violent acts online under new laws. Part of a new youth delinquency law targets "happy slapping", the recording of violent acts to entertain the attacker's friends. The law makes it illegal for anyone but professional journalists to film and broadcast violent events in France. Press freedom advocates say the ban could restrict citizens reporting on subjects such as police brutality.
(ZDNet) Defamation suits slapped on two popular Malaysian bloggers by the government-linked New Straits Times Press (NSTP) have galvanized the country's bloggers into action. But, a legal expert warns that bloggers are just as accountable as print journalists for defamatory remarks.
(BBC) Access to the popular video-sharing website YouTube has been suspended in Turkey following a court order. The ban was imposed after prosecutors told the court that clips insulting former Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk had appeared on the site.
(E-Commerce Times) In a prepared speech to the American Association of Publishers, Microsoft attorney Thomas Rubin accused Google of taking a 'cavalier approach to copyright' and of using its Book Search project to make money off other people's copyrighted creations. His comments have stirred up a debate over the importance of free-market competition versus what is ethical when accessing information. see also Microsoft: Google 'cavalier' on copyright (Guardian)
See also Is Google really flouting copyright law? (BBC) [Ed: quick summary of issues for non-specialists - recommended].
(BBC) Internet radio stations are warning they could be forced off the air by a big increase in the royalties they pay to play music. The warning comes after a decision by a US copyright body to increase royalty payments for music via the net.
(CNET News.com) by Declan McCullagh. The Bush administration has proposed that Web sites keep records of who uploads photographs or videos in case police determine the content is illegal and choose to investigate. That proposal surfaced in a private meeting during which U.S. Department of Justice officials tried to convince industry representatives such as AOL and Comcast that data retention would be valuable in investigating terrorism, child pornography and other crimes. A second purpose of the meeting was to ask Internet service providers how much it would cost to record details on their subscribers for two years.
(CBRonline.com) The resurrected proposal to open an internet domain reserved for porn web sites is looking less likely to succeed, with ICANN's board of directors last week expressing 'serious concerns' about it. A majority of ICANN's directors are concerned that .xxx may not be wanted by the adult entertainment industry it would purport to serve, according to minutes of a February 12 ICANN board meeting.
(Europa) Speech by Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media, International conference "Advancing eGovernment", Berlin, 1 March 2007.
(EurActiv) A second landmark ruling on gambling, the 'Placanica case', puts pressure on EU member states to change their national laws restricting access to provision of sports-betting services.
(Europa) Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media, Annual Conference for the Joint Government-Private Sector Dialogue, Brussels, 26 February 2007. Speaking about creative contents, and notably audiovisual contents, I would like to make two comments related to EU-Japan cooperation. First, I would like a better distribution of Japanese films, notably feature films, in the EU and a better distribution of European films in Japan. Second, I must reflect here the debate which is taking place in EU countries on videogames. As you may know, worries have been expressed in European countries about very violent games imported in Europe. Our industry, with the support of the European Commission, has developed a good functioning system of labelling as regards games not appropriate for certain age categories and content categories. I believe this is a domain, where a discussion is needed between the EU and Japan in order to better understand each other and take advantage of existing best practice.
(Europa) Study on "Indicators for media pluralism in the Member States - towards a risk-based approach". SMART 007A 2007-0002. Tender procedure in the field of Media policy. Deadline 31/05/2007.
(Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology) There is increasing international debate on 'Internet governance', which encompasses a variety of public policy issues related to internet infrastructure, management and use. This POSTnote describes the structure of the Internet and summarises the debate over its management. It also discusses the prospects for its international governance, following the first meeting of the UN-sponsored Internet Governance Forum.
(BBC) A British company has been ordered to pay damages for sending spam. Gordon Dick took Transcom to Edinburgh's Sheriff Court for sending an unwanted advertising email, which he claimed was a breach of anti-spam laws. He was awarded £750 in damages plus legal costs of £616.66 through a "decree in absence" after Transcom did not appear in court. But a spokesman for Transcom denied any intentional wrong-doing, and stated: "We are not spammers."
(Washington Post) The deans at two top law schools have admonished the operators of an Internet message board that hosts chats containing personal attacks against female students and racist and homophobic remarks. Letters written by the deans at Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania law schools, were issued after an article in The Washington Post aired the debate over AutoAdmit, a message board that was created as a forum to exchange advice on law schools and firms. see Harsh Words Die Hard on the Web.
(ITU) ITU-T Study Group 2?s February meeting saw work continue on harmonizing numbering resources for child helplines. Study Group 2 is looking at the issue following a request from Child Helpline International (CHI). CHI is a global network of telephone helplines and outreach services for children and young people. Specifically Study Group 2 is looking at the logistics of providing a global number.
(Reuters) Connecticut lawmakers debated a bill that would require social-networking Web sites such as MySpace to verify users' ages and force minors to obtain parental consent before posting profiles. Intended to protect children from sexual predators, the bill proposed by state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal would be the first of its kind in the United States to impose strict regulations on the fast-growing sites, which are a virtual hangout for millions of American teenagers.
(Heise) Die Kommission für Jugendmedienschutz (KJM) ist mit der Effizienz der existierenden Jugendschutzfiltersysteme fürs Internet nicht zufrieden. Der KJM sei bislang noch kein Jugendschutzfilter vorgelegt worden, der den im Jugendmedienschutzstaatsvertrag (JMStV) vorgesehenen Anforderungen genügt, teilte die KJM mit. Die Mitteilung resultiert aus einer ersten Analyse existierender Filterprogramme im "Prüflabor der KJM", das von jugendschutz.net betrieben wird.
(Europa) Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media, Enhanced information security in software and services. European Information Security Awareness Day, Brussels, 27 February 2007.
(CNET News.com) An attack in early February on key parts of the backbone of the Internet had little effect, thanks to new protection technology. The distributed denial-of-service attack on the Domain Name System proved the effectiveness of the Anycast load-balancing system, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers(ICANN) said. see also: ICANN has released a factsheet concerning the recent attack on the root server system on 6 February 2007. The factsheet is intended to provide an explanation of the attack for a non-technical audience in the hope of enlarging public understanding surrounding this and related issues. [Ed: it does - very clearly written]
(RAPID) Joint Statement by Viviane REDING, EU Telecom and Media Commissioner and Roberto VIOLA, Chairman of the European Regulators Group (ERG) after their meeting on 27 February 2007 on the forthcoming reform of the EU's Regulatory Framework for electronic communications.
(BBC) Big media firms are rushing to copy the success of online games like World of Warcraft, a conference has been told. Millions of dollars are being spent trying to emulate the massively multiplayer online game, experts at the Game Developer's Conference said. "We are going to have so many failures it is going to be unbelievable," said Mark Jacobs of Electronic Arts. The panel also predicted that non-gaming MMOs such as Second Life would be prevalent in the short term.
(CNET News.com) There's still plenty of spam going around, but "adult" spam has been on a steady decline and hit an all-time low in February, according to a new Symantec report. Of all the spam filtered by Symantec's e-mail security tools in February, only 3 percent could be classified as adult spam. Adult spam, according to Symantec, contains or refers to "products or services intended for persons above the age of 18" and is "often offensive or inappropriate.
(CNET News.com) The rate of identity theft-related fraud has risen sharply since 2003, a report from research firm Gartner suggests. Gartner's study shows that from mid-2005 until mid-2006, about 15 million Americans were victims of fraud that stemmed from identity theft, an increase of more than 50 percent from the estimated 9.9 million in 2003.
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