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(RAPID) More than 63% of Europe's television broadcasters' programming time is devoted to European works and over 36% to works by independent European producers. These new figures come from the European Commission's eighth report on effectiveness of EU rules on the promotion of European works, which covers the period 2005-2006. This report which is published every two years is based on information provided by the EU Member States and monitors the promotion of European works on European TV screens under the 'Television without Frontiers' Directive.
(RAPID) The European Commission has authorised, under the EC Treaty's rules on state aid, a credit facility granted by the Danish Ministry of Culture to support TV 2 Danmark AS. The Commission concluded that the credit facility, which addresses the company's cash flow problems, constitutes rescue aid in line with the EU rules on state aid to companies in difficulty. In due time, the Commission will review whether the credit is fully reimbursed or whether appropriate restructuring measures to restore the long term viability of TV 2 Danmark AS are taken.
(Europa) Services Contract for the Maintenance and Upgrade of the ePractice.eu Platform (SMART 2008-0105) (Deadline: 02/10/2008) The subject of the contract is to maintain, upgrade and run a world-leading good practice exchange scheme for online electronic services in the public interest across Europe building on the ePractice.eu initiative.
(Communiqué de presse) 2887ème session du Conseil Justice et affaires intérieures Bruxelles, les 24 et 25 juillet 2008. Le Conseil a accueilli favorablement un projet de la Présidence pour l'élaboration d'un plan contre la cybercriminalité au sein de l'UE. A titre d'outils opérationnels la Présidence propose notamment : 1) la création d'une plateforme européenne pour le signalement des infractions relevées sur l'internet. La France a organisé un séminaire Pl@nets.eur à Reims du 3 au 6 juin 2008 à ce sujet qui a permis de tracer les contours de ce dispositif. Europol pourrait jouer un rôle central dans la mise en oeuvre d'un tel projet ; et 2) le renforcement du projet "Check the web" pour la lutte contre la propagande et le recrutement terroriste sur l'internet et la recherche d'une solution au problème posé par l'itinérance dans les réseaux électroniques ("roaming").
(CNET) by Desiree Everts. Olympic officials said there was "no deal" with the Chinese government to restrict Internet access for foreign journalists covering the Beijing Games. International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said during a press conference in Beijing that he is "adamant in saying there has been no deal whatsoever to accept restrictions," according to the BBC. In addition, he applauded the organization of the Summer Games, falling short of an apology following widespread public criticism that China had backtracked on assurances that members of the media would not be restricted. See also China lifts ban on Tiananmen sites (Guardian). Content_Regulation.htm">Content_Regulation
(BBC) YouTube has been criticised by MPs, who say it must do more to vet its content. In a review of net safety, the Culture, Media and Sport select committee said a new industry body should be set up to protect children from harmful content. It also said it should be "standard practice" for sites hosting user-generated content to review material proactively. YouTube's owners said the site had strict rules and a system that allowed users to report inappropriate content. The committee also wants a rethink on how best to classify video games - but there is disagreement over who should run the new ratings system. See Committee recommendations and full report. See also Web firms should screen content, says Parliamentary committee (OUT-LAW News).
(OUT-LAW News) The European Commission "wilfully ignored" studies that it paid for whose conclusions disagreed with its policy and the Commission is misleading the European Union Council, Parliament and citizens over copyright extension, a leading academic has warned. Professor Bernt Hugenholtz is the director of the University of Amsterdam's Institute for Information Law (IViR) and has written an open letter to Commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso that is starkly critical of its controversial policies on copyright extension.
(AFP) Commission européenne et Etats membres sont tombés d'accord, lors de la réunion informelle des ministres européens de la Culture et de l'Audiovisuel à Versailles, sur la nécessité d'une "obligation d'information" sur les conséquences du piratage sur internet pour les fournisseurs d'accès.
(IDG News Service) Italian media conglomerate Mediaset Group has sued YouTube for €500 million (US$780 million), alleging the Google video-sharing site illegally hosts thousands of video clips that belong to Mediaset. The suit, filed in civil court in Rome, names both YouTube and parent company Google. The company claims that on June 10, there were 4,643 video clips on YouTube, totalling more than 325 hours of material, owned by Mediaset.
(Guardian) A hardline letter sent by the BPI at the 11th hour threatened to undermine a deal to tackle illegal filesharing, prompting the government to express its displeasure of the music industry body in a terse response to record label executives. The BPI's letter, signed by the body's chief executive, Geoff Taylor, was sent to Baroness Vadera, the business minister; the UK's six biggest internet service providers; and the Motion Picture Association of America, the Hollywood studios' trade organisation.
(OUT-LAW News) The UK's six major internet service providers (ISPs) have agreed to write to 1,000 of their subscribers a week on behalf of the music and film industries warning them not to engage in copyright-infringing file-sharing. The announcement came as the Government admitted that an industry-wide voluntary agreement to tackle illegal file sharing is unlikely to emerge. The Government has brokered a deal between content owners and the UK's six major ISPs on the writing to subscribers and on negotiation over what action to take against persistent illegal activity. Those ISPs and the film and music industries will create a code of conduct governing what to do with subscribers who do not stop their activities when warned. No decision has yet been made on whether or not the code will require ISPs to terminate accounts which have been used for illegal file-sharing. See: The Government consultation, including the Memorandum of Understanding(66-page / 499KB PDF) .
(CNET) A Federal judge refused to dismiss a suit claiming that Universal abused the Digital Millennium Copyright Act when it issued a takedown notice to YouTube over a 30-second video of a baby dancing to a Prince song. Judge Fogel held that copyright owners must consider fair use before sending DMCA takedown notices. See also Sampling a song can be fair use (OUT-LAW News).
(News.com) Microsoft has been granted a patent on 'Page Up' and 'Page Down' keystrokes. The software giant applied for the patent in 2005, and was granted it on August 19, 2008. US patent number 7,415,666 describes "a method and system in a document viewer for scrolling a substantially exact increment in a document, such as one page, regardless of whether the zoom is such that some, all or one page is currently being viewed". However, Page Up and Page Down keyboard buttons have been in existence for at least quarter of a century, as evidenced by this image of a 1981 IBM PC keyboard.
(OUT-LAW News) Breaching the open source licence that came with free software amounted to infringement of copyright, a US Court of Appeal has ruled. The landmark ruling has been welcomed as a major boost to the free and open source software publishing models.
(BBC) The UK government has until the end of August to respond to a letter from the European Union about the controversial online ad system Phorm. EU commissioner Viviane Reding has asked the UK government to clarify whether the system is in breach of European data laws. Phorm's so-called Webwise system tracks users' web habits in order to better target ads at them. BT is due to begin a widescale trial of the service imminently.
(Silicon.com) Unencrypted data on all 84,000 prisoners in England and Wales has gone missing after a Home Office contractor lost a USB stick on which it had been stored. Contractor PA Consulting alerted the Home Office to the loss - and confirmed tha "rigorous" searches had failed to uncover the whereabouts of the memory stick and its cache of sensitive information. According to a Home Office statement, the missing USB stick contains: Data relating to all prisoners in England and Wales - 84,000 (names, dates of birth and in some cases, expected prison release data and date of Home Detention Curfew); Data relating to prolific and other priority offenders, approximately 10,000 individuals (names and dates of birth, but not addresses); Drug Interventions Programme data, with offenders' initials but not full names.
(RAPID) Europe's cultural diversity in books, music, paintings, photographs, and films open to all citizens at the click of a mouse via one portal - this dream of a European Digital Library could become reality this autumn. However, further efforts by the EU Member States are needed, said the Commission in a new Communication on making available digital versions of works from cultural institutions all over Europe. Digitisation of cultural works can give Europeans access to material from museums, libraries and archives abroad without having to travel or turn hundreds of pages to find a piece of information. Europe's libraries alone contain more than 2.5 billion books, but only about 1% of archival material is available in digital form. The Commission therefore called on Member States to do more to make digitised works available online for Europeans to browse them digitally, for study, work or leisure. The Commission itself will provide some € 120 million in 2009-2010 for improving online access to Europe's cultural heritage. see Communication on Europe's cultural heritage at the click of a mouse and Staff Working Paper. See also Frequenlty Asked Questions (FAQs).
(OUT-LAW News) The body behind the internet's addressing systems has said that it will settle disputes over who wins the right to new generic top level domains (gTLDs) by auction. ICANN has said that auctions will be used if two organisations vying for the right to a gTLD are tied on other grounds.
(Europa) Are you interested in governance and participation tools, policy modelling, opinion visualisation, mass collaborative platforms, large-scale societal simulation? You are invited to provide your comments, views and contributions on the Community on ICT for Governance and Policy Modelling by visiting the ePractice.eu website. See also: http://ec.europa.eu/egovernance.
(Economist) In the US Presidential campaign, the battle to master new media becomes ever more intense.
(Filtering Facts) The Australian Communications and Media Authority released a report on Closed environment testing of ISP-level internet content filtering. This report presents the findings of the closed environment testing of ISP-level filters conducted in 2008. The trial was conducted in response to a ministerial direction received in June 2007. Among the report's findings: Successful blocking (the proportion of illegal and inappropriate content that should have been blocked that was successfully blocked) was between 88% and 97% with most achieving over 92%. The median rate of successful blocking was improved from the previous trial. Overblocking (the proportion of content that was blocked that should not have been blocked) was between 1% and 6%, with most falling under 3%. The median overblocking rate was significantly improved from the previous trial.
(Heise) Der Chef des Bundeskriminalamtes (BKA), Jörg Ziercke, hat sich bei der Vorstellung des Lagebilds zur organisierten Kriminalität 2007 dafür ausgesprochen, Internetprovider gesetzlich zur Sperrung von Angeboten mit kinderpornographischen oder fremdenfeindlichen Inhalten zu verpflichten. "Der Großteil der Kinderpornographie wird über kommerzielle Webseiten verwaltet", betonte Ziercke in Berlin. Es gehe dabei um "Millioneneinnahmen". Das "Access-Blocking" könne daher eine "wichtige Maßnahme" sein, um das Geschäft mit Kinderpornographie weniger lukrativ zu machen.
(Filtering Facts) Some former Websense managers have started up an Internet security solutions provider called Total Tech. Their product offering is called Livia Web Protection, and it's basically Websense's filtering "in the cloud" - i.e., with the filtering done on remote servers rather than on your desktop. This is a good thing, because filtering databases have become too large and are updated too frequently now to be practical running on individual desktops as they were in the 1990s. This is about the best quality filtering I've seen, blocking everything in my test sample.
(Observer) Some UK households could access websites known to host images of child sex abuse despite a government pledge made two years ago to stop access to paedophile sites. Last night a coalition of leading children's charities, including Barnardo's, the NSPCC and National Children's Homes, described the situation as 'completely unacceptable'. They have written to the Home Office minister in charge of crime reduction, Vernon Coaker, urging him to take immediate steps to ensure all telecom companies offering internet access block customers from being able to see images that in some cases show children as young as a year old being sexually abused. Around 5 per cent of consumer broadband connections can access the images because their internet service providers (ISPs) chose not to subscribe to a scheme introduced by the Internet Watch Foundation to bar known paedophile websites. See open letter to Vernon Coaker.
(Dow Jones) Cablevision Systems is the latest Internet provider to reach an agreement with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to block access to bulletin boards and Web sites that distribute child pornography. Cuomo said the media and entertainment company has signed his code of conduct, which requires the companies to restrict access by their customers to Web sites and newsgroups - or public bulletin boards where they can upload or download files - that have been identified as sites that disseminate child pornography.
(New York Times) Web filtering software is moving to the cloud - that all-knowing, pervasive, sometimes unreliable cluster of computers in the digital ether - and it's going to watch your every move online and tattle to your boss. Zscaler's idea is to relieve companies of the tiresome and costly burden of managing Web filtering and security on their own servers. Instead, the cloud-based service, which is rented to companies by the month, acts like a Web proxy, intercepting all incoming and outbound HTTP traffic from employees and scrubbing it for malware and online activity that violates company policy.
(BBC) More than 500,000 official "spying" requests for private communications data such as telephone records were made last year, a report says. Police, security services and other public bodies made requests for billing details and other information. Interception of Communications Commissioner Sir Paul Kennedy said 1,707 of these had been from councils. A separate report criticises local authorities for using powers to target minor offences such as fly-tipping.
(CNET) by Declan McCullagh. Federal regulators voted 3-2 to declare that Comcast's throttling of BitTorrent traffic last year was unlawful, marking the first time that any U.S. broadband provider has ever been found to violate Net neutrality rules. The Federal Communications Commission handed Comcast a cease-and-desist order and required the company to disclose to subscribers in the future how it plans to manage traffic. Comcast had said that its measures to slow BitTorrent transfers, which it voluntarily ended in March, were necessary to prevent its network from being overrun. See FCC News Release. See also Comcast and the Internet and Comcast and "network management" by Susan Crawford. See further Reactions to FCC's Comcast decision come fast and furious (Ars Technica) by Matthew Lasar.
(RAPID) The European Commission wants to ensure that the results of the research it funds under the EU's 7th Research Framework Programme (FP7) with more than € 50 billion from 2007 - 2013 are disseminated as widely and effectively as possible to guarantee maximum exploitation and impact in the world of researchers and beyond. The Commission today launched a pilot project that will give unrestricted online access to EU-funded research results, primarily research articles published in peer reviewed journals, after an embargo period of between 6 and 12 months. The pilot will cover around 20% of the FP7 programme budget in areas such as health, energy, environment, social sciences and information and communication technologies.
(Europa) "The right of the child to protection" is the title of a competition launched by Jacques Barrot, Vice-President of the European Commission with responsibility for justice, freedom and security. European children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 18 are invited to design a poster on the right of children to protection in the European Union. The aim of the competition is to ensure that these young European citizens are more aware of their right to protection and are better equipped to defend it. Those wishing to take part in the competition will have to design a poster illustrating the idea of their right to their own protection in the EU. Participants will be divided into two age categories (10-14 and 15-18) and must work in groups of at least four. Further information may be found on the Internet site www.europayouth.eu, which contains links to the competition site.
(Techtree News) Technology giants like Microsoft, Google and Yahoo have reached an agreement with other Internet companies and human rights groups to draw up a voluntary code of conduct for doing business in countries like China that impose restrictions on Internet. The three companies have sent separate letters to Sen. Richard Durbin (D., Ill.), and Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.). Among the few specifics about the code mentioned in the letters include formulating principles on freedom of expression and privacy, identifying guidelines for their implementation, and drawing up a governance, accountability and learning framework.
(OUT-LAW News) Some of the biggest technology and internet companies in the world have agreed a set of standards to protect human rights online that they hope the whole IT industry will adopt. Google, Microsoft, Vodafone, Yahoo! and others agreed 18 months ago to try to create a code of conduct for companies who wanted to behave in a way that respected human rights. Those companies and others are now close to finalising a code of conduct for companies under the banner 'ICT Initiative on Freedom of Expression and Privacy'.
(Guardian) by Simon Waldman. The members of the House of Commons Culture Media and Sport Committee asked what measures did YouTube take to make sure the content on their site was suitable for it's audience. To which YouTube owner Google's general counsel replied that while they responded to complaints about their content - so a film showing a gang rape, for example, was taken down after 600 views - it is not feasible to look at every piece of content on the site. This contrasted with MySpace - who admittedly have much less content to worry about - who check all their video content. As a result, the committee said they found Google's arguments "unconvincing" and recommended that "proactive review of content should be standard practice for sites hosting user-generated content".
(Guardian) Nearly a quarter of children between the ages of eight and 12 are evading the age restrictions imposed by social networking sites Facebook, Bebo and MySpace, a poll of young people revealed. The results suggest that more than 750,000 children are illicitly using the sites - which are supposed to be limited to teenagers and adults - potentially exposing them to risky communications with strangers. The poll of 1,000 children was commissioned by Garlik, an online information company, which said parents are responding by secretly logging on to their children's social networking pages to detect any reckless online behaviour.
(BBC) Planned changes to the way video games are rated have sparked a row about who should be in charge of giving games their official age classification. Culture Minister Margaret Hodge has announced a consultation on whether the ratings for games should replicate the system for movies. But games makers oppose plans, backed by MPs, for the British Board of Film Classification to rate games as well. The games industry wants its own voluntary code to be made official.
(BBC) A US study of instant messaging suggests the theory that it takes only six steps to link everyone may be right - though seven seems more accurate. Microsoft researchers studied the addresses of 30bn instant messages sent during a single month in 2006. Any two people on average are linked by seven or fewer acquaintances, they say.
(Europa) U.S.-European Union RFID symposium, 22 September 2008 - 23 September 2008 Washington D.C. As part of the framework for Advancing Transatlantic Economic Integration between the European Union and the United States, the U.S.-EU Summit Leaders identified priority growth projects that will significantly enhance transatlantic economic integration, growth, and job creation. One of these "Lighthouse Projects" is Innovation and Technology, and cooperation on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies was singled out for specific joint action. As part of this joint action in cooperation with industry stakeholders, the United States and the European Union two days of RFID events have been planned.
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