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Comment: Not really (Score 4, Insightful) 209

by JPMH (#42089743) Attached to: Does Even Amazing Partisan Tech Deserve Applause?

Steinberg is really thinking about the low-budget, non-commercial, very effective sites that his charity MySociety has set up over the last 10 years in the UK, which aim to help non-party democracy at a grass roots level, by helping make citizens more powerful against government at all levels, by creating systems that give them more information, help them work together, and track and share the outcomes of what happens when they tangle with power.

What Steinberg is saying is that systems like that, that make the citizen more powerful, are far more impressive to him than systems which make a particular political party more effective. It's a bit surprising that so far seemingly every poster here has missed Steinberg's point.

Comment: Tom Steinberg's sites *do* help people (Score 2) 209

by JPMH (#42089643) Attached to: Does Even Amazing Partisan Tech Deserve Applause?
Tom Steinberg's sites are in the UK, so probably not well known in the USA, but they *are* about grass-roots democracy, and *are* about helping people -- using the internet for democracy in a different way than party politics.

So for example:

  • TheyWorkForYou -- a site which took the official record of the UK Parliament, and transformed it, making it searchable and commentable, and easy to track MPs by what they'd said. MPs were so impressed, they changed crown copyright law to make it legal.
  • The Public Whip -- easily browsable index of how MPs have voted on any particular issue or issues
  • Write to Them -- originally an email to fax gateway to allow constituents to contact their MPs, in the days when few MPs used or knew about email. Still helps UK citizens identify exactly who are their elected representatives, and how to reach them, at different levels of government.
  • WhatDoTheyKnow Site making it very easy to file Freedom of Information requests, and to track and share their progress, in a way that anyone can browse.
  • FixMyStreetSite allowing residents to publicly report problems with their local neighbourhoods to their local council, and browse other such reports, council responses etc.

These are the sort of sites Tom Steinberg is talking about -- sites that change the balance between people and government at a grass roots level, by allowing people to work together and see what each other are doing.

I've used eg the FoI tool, and it works. Think of these as force-multipliers for the individual's voice and clout in society.

Comment: Re:Video of the voting (Score 5, Informative) 297

by JPMH (#39375457) Attached to: European Parliament Blocks Copyright Reform With 113% Voter Turnout
The agenda papers for the committee meeting can be found here.

It includes the following documents for this dossier:

* Text proposed by the EU Commission
* Committee rapporteur's draft report, with her proposed amendments (1 to 48)
* Amendments proposed by other members of the committee (49 to 170)
* Opinion of the Culture committee (CULT), and their proposed amendments (CULT 1 to CULT 55)
* Opinion of the committee on the Internal Market (IMCO), and their proposed amendments (IMCO 1 to 41).

Unfortunately there does not appear to be a copy of the "Compromise Amendments", including the disputed amendment in question, "Compromise 20". One of the MEPs complains in the video at the end of the agenda item (10:51) that the text of these were only circulated on the night before the meeting.

It's not unusual for new texts to appear as heads get bashed together in the days immediately before the actual voting (in fact, it is an essential part of the system); but in this case they don't appear to have been placed on the website, or at any rate I didn't know where to find them.

The amended report from JURI, consolidating the results of these votes, appears now to have been formally prepared with the document reference A7-0055/2012, though I couldn't find the text of it yet on the Parliament website. This will now go forward for a short debate before the whole parliament, before voting on the amendments proposed by JURI, the amendments proposed by the other two committees, and any other amendments to the Commission text proposed by a sufficient number of MEPs.

Comment: Video of the voting (Score 5, Informative) 297

by JPMH (#39375277) Attached to: European Parliament Blocks Copyright Reform With 113% Voter Turnout
Video of the voting is available on the EP website. The agenda item starts at 10:27, and the voting runs from 10:31 to 10:51. The amendment in question appears to be "Compromise 20", voted on at 10:39, which is indeed rejected by 12 votes to 14. This was an all-party amendment that the centre-right EPP party then withdrew support from, because they were not entirely happy with the wording, according to one of their MEPs at the start of the meeting. (10:29). As the video shows, the EP tends to machine-gun through amendment votes, which are held in one swoop after months of discussion. You really need the papers for the meeting and your preferred faction's voting guide to turn them into an acceptable spectator sport. One of the extra votes could perhaps have been the chairman's casting vote; but it's not clear how there could have been two.

Comment: Re:Analysis (Score 2) 310

by JPMH (#39040233) Attached to: UK Law Enforcement Starts Seizing Music Blogs
Wrong. The owner is of San Antonio, but the server itself is located in the UK, which is why SOCA could indeed have been able to get to it.

inetnum: -
descr: Rackspace Managed Hosting
country: GB
admin-c: IA247-RIPE
tech-c: IA247-RIPE
remarks: rev-srv attribute deprecated by RIPE NCC on 02/09/2009

person: IP Admin
address: Rackspace Managed Hosting
112 E. Pecan St. Suite 600
San Antonio, Texas 78205
phone: +1 210 892 4000
fax-no: +1 210 892 4329
nic-hdl: IA247-RIPE
remarks: ### Rackspace Abuse Department
remarks: ### Please send any complaints to the following:
remarks: ###
mnt-by: RSPC-MNT
source: RIPE # Filtered

Comment: The judge got it wrong: not "making available" (Score 1) 409

by JPMH (#38693674) Attached to: US Government Seeks Extradition of UK Student For File-Sharing
The judge got it wrong. In fact he admits he's going against case law. To quote from the judgment:

HHJ Ticehurst (@ para 71) in Rock & Overton held "make available should bear its ordinary and natural meaning". He distinguished between providing money "directly to" another as opposed to a financial adviser who may "point" another to a bank meaning the bank alone "makes available the money".

I have endeavoured to weigh these subtle distinctions. The diagrams of how as a matter of electronic mechanics (if I may term it) the TVShack websites actually operated favour HHJ Ticehurstâ(TM)s restrictive construction. To my mind there is much in the distinction factually...

In copyright law terms, O'Dwyer wasn't making the films "available". The person that made them available was the person who uploaded them to a download site. What O'Dwyer was doing was pointing to those sites, and (allegedly) thus encouraging people to download from them. In civil law, that is known as indirect or contributory infringement, as opposed to direct infringement which is the actual making available of copies. It is "making available" that can be a criminal offence under s.107(2A), not the encouragement or inducement of people to go ahead and download from such sites. Thus, for example, a briefing for UK Trading Standards officers, compiled by the Federation Against Copyright Theft, and hosted on the UK Intellectual Property Office's website, advises them that:

The offence in s107(2A) is now available as a tool to trading standards officers to prosecute uploading file sharers of digital product, such as film and music, whether or not they do so in the course of a business. [Emphasis added].

Interestingly, this may also be the position in the United States, where the law on contributory infringement is said to be civil law that has been developed by judges, but not reflected in any provisions of the criminal law. However this point appears not to have been argued by O'Dwyer's lawyers. What should have happened here is that the extradition proceedings should have been thrown out, on the basis that O'Dwyer's actions are not in fact covered by s.107(2A). But he should then have faced a full-on civil action in the UK courts from a consortium of content owners for the alleged indirect infringement. It is also about time that UK judges in extradition cases were directed to consider where a case should best be heard under conflict-of-laws provisions: the so-called "forum clause". In this case, with the alleged infringer being UK-based, and the alleged infringement being worldwide in scope, if this is supposed to be a crime under UK law it should have been tried under UK law.


Google Stops Ads For "Cougar" Sites 319

Posted by samzenpus
from the here's-to-you-mrs-robinson dept.
teh31337one writes "Google is refusing to advertise CougarLife, a dating site for mature women looking for younger men. However, they continue to accept sites for mature men seeking young women. According to the New York Times, had been paying Google $100,000 a month since October. The Mountain View company has now cancelled the contract, saying that the dating site is 'nonfamily safe.'"

Google Wins European Trademark Victory 39

Posted by timothy
from the kleenex-runs-scared dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "A European court has ruled in Google's favor, saying that allowing advertising customers to use the names of other companies as search keywords does not represent a trademark violation. The court also went on to say that Google's AdWords program is protected by a European law governing Internet hosting services. Google's main line of defense was claiming that companies that want to extend trademark law to keywords are really interested in 'controlling and restricting the amount of information that users may see in response to their searches.' The decision is the first in a series of decisions from the court about how trademark rights can be used to restrict information available to users. Google is currently battling several trademark keyword cases in the US, including a case against Rosetta Stone, Inc."
The Courts

+ - FTC asked to investigate copyright warnings

Submitted by JPMH
JPMH (100614) writes "A formal Federal Trade Commission complaint has been filed by the Computer & Communications Industry Association — a group which includes Google, Microsoft, and Red Hat, among others. According to Ars Technica's report, "the CCIA's complaint fingers the NFL, Major League Baseball, NBC Universal, Morgan Creek, DreamWorks, Harcourt Inc., and Penguin Group (USA) for deceptive trade practices, accusing them of systematically misrepresenting the rights of consumers to use copyrighted material. 'These warnings that we have been seeing for decades are false,' CCIA spokesperson Jake Ward told Ars Technica in a Monday interview. 'They are a misrepresentation of the law and a violation of consumers' rights.'""

Promising costs nothing, it's the delivering that kills you.