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Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

US Pirate Parties in the News

August 17, 2010 Leave a comment
Over the last week, the Pirate Party concept has had some nice airtime in the US, specifically in the states of Oklahoma and Oregon. The latter has even gone national, via CNN.

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Look Rush, We Struck Oil

August 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Almost 2 weeks ago, I showed an excerpt from a Rush Limbaugh show where he talked about how they can’t find any of the oil spilt. From a single source, he went on a tirade about how the spill was overblown.

At the the top of that show, he quotes from the New York times, and follows with a little commentary of his own.

“– that three-quarters of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon leak has already evaporated, dispersed, been captured or otherwise eliminated — and that much of the rest is so diluted that it does not seem to pose much additional risk of harm.” I told you all this on day one and certainly the first week I pointed out this is light crude, it will evaporate quickly, that it will be dispersed.

Sorry Mr Expert, but it seems you were *shock horror* Wrong Again! Who woulda thunk it? Experts are saying that the oil is on the sea bed, and at toxic levels, clearly they’re not dittoheads
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Categories: Idiocracy, politics, Rant Tags: , , ,

REVIEW: Innovation For the 21st Century

July 31, 2010 Leave a comment

This review was originally scheduled for publication in May 2009 on TorrentFreak.com As we decided to move away from reviews for the time being, it’s being published here.

In a new feature to TorrentFreak, we’re going to look at a new book, recently published by Oxford University Press. Innovation for the 21st Century, written by Rutgers law professor Michael A. Carrier, takes a look at copyright, and patent law, and mixes it with antitrust (monopoly) law. The questions is, how does it read? Read more…

Categories: Copyright, politics Tags: , ,

Why VHS didn’t kill the Movie Theatre.

June 24, 2010 1 comment

If you’re a teenager or older, you’ll almost certainly have first-hand experience with VCRs and video tapes. If you don’t remember them, they’re big things that have been replaced by DVR’s, but which you could buy movies on, like with DVDs. They were in most peoples homes throughout the late 80s and the 90s. Yet they were nearly wrestled out of peoples hands around thirty years ago, because of the fear of an industry. Let’s first look back at the late 70s to understand why.

In the late 70s there was a kerfuffle between Sony, and the movie studios. It concerned the BetaMax VCR Sony made (and to a lesser extent the JVC/Phillips VHS system). There were concerns that with these machines, people would undermine advertising (argument A), making the amount that could be charged for them drop, reducing funding for TV stations and networks. It would also mean that movies played on TV would have to cost more for the stations, because people will record them, and keep them, and watch them instead of, say, going to the cinema (Argument B). There were also concerns that since the recorders were mostly made outside the US, the importation of them would hurt the balance of payments (Argument C). Also, making movies is a risky business, and the government should do all it can to make it easier to be profitable (Argument D).  It was nicely summed up by Jack Valenti (head of the MPAA) in his testimony in front of Congress in 1982.
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Political Bytes March 31 2010

March 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Few things caught my eye, which are fairly noteworthy, but which don’t need more than a few words.

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First, the UK Pirate Party have launched their list of Candidates for the 2010 UK General election. The ten candidates cover a fairly straight line from London to Glasgow, with the exception of the party leader, standing in Worcester. Most are, as expected, in the 18-21 age range, but three are actually around 40 years old, so not just kids, as some talentless hacks might suggest. I’ll be supporting them, as always, by doing any odd-jobs (like working on press releases etc)

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Next, an interesting quote from a US Republican. Over comments about misuse of party funds by GOP chairman Michael Steele, one republican was quoted in the Huffington Post as saying “No matter which side of the aisle you find yourself, if you are giving a political party your hard-earned money, you should have no doubts that it is going to be spent as advertised and not to provide a spoiled, egocentric, out-of-touch chairman with frivolous luxuries which are out of reach of the vast majority of the American people. Michael Steele needs to resign and let the RNC vote in a man or woman who understands that his or her needs do not come before the needs of the nation or the party.” (Douglas MacKinnon, former press secretary to Majority Leader Robert Dole.)

The funny thing? changing a very few words, you get the general impression people have about politicians in general, becoming (additions in bold, removals struck out) “No matter which side of the aisle you find yourself, if you are giving a political party POLITICAL CAPITAL your hard-earned money, you should have no doubts that it is going to be spent as advertised and not to provide a spoiled, egocentric, out-of-touch chairman FEW with frivolous luxuries which are out of reach of the vast majority of the American people.”

That’s lobbying for you, lobbyists can’t vote anyone in any more than anyone else, but they’re the ones that the politicians listen to. We need lobbying reform (or at least a transparent and accountable government)

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53 cars were towed away from a frat house parking lot, after people parked there to listen to Glenn Beck sing. The people at the even at the university of Central Florida, in Orlando, said there were signs up, when they went to park, claiming the Kappa Sigma frat ‘set them up’. Did they? Possibly, but it would have been nice of them to check signs first. Then again, checking facts, (or knowing the law) is a very un-Glenn Beck thing to do.

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Finally, some common sense it seems on patents. A New York judge ruled two DNA patents invalid, causing a small but measurable dip in the Biotech market. The patents, which relate to Breast Cancer genes known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, were hindering screenings, and tests. Naturally, there were some critics (biotech firms worried about the loss of genetic patents, for one, which is why their stocks dipped) while lawyers questioned the legal reasoning. Personally, I give a big hand to Judge Robert W Sweet for recognising that it’s pretty hard to patent a DNA sequence that occurs naturally, unless someone can point out how the patent holder, Myriad Genetics, invented these gene sequences (and thus, it seems, developed breast cancer…) As I remember the US Constitution, “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” patents on naturally existing DNA aren’t discoveries, nor was Myriad an inventor (they didn’t invent this DNA). The people who have these genes, they’re pretty darned strong ‘prior art’ (especially if they’re over 20).

Regardless, 2 patents down, thousands to go…

Do you like this? Want to see more like this? Think it sucks, or that I'm a Liberal Communist spawn of Satan? Let me know in the comments.

Copyright Consultation Document – US Gov

March 24, 2010 1 comment

The US Government, as part of the horrible ‘PRO-IP ACT’ had an open consultation on how it could deal with enforcement of copyright. The specifics are spelt out on the consultation document.

The US Pirate Party had an rough draft of a reply and a means to submit it, if people didn’t want to write their own response, but I don’t do that sort of thing. I prefer a much more detailed (and as always, last minute) response, to try and cover the main facts. Again, I ran out of time, and just got it sent at the deadline (which was some 20 minutes ago).

So, here is the finished response, all 5 pages of it. [PDF]

UPDATE – please read here

Why the Truth Police Trumps Panorama’s “Net Police”

March 16, 2010 2 comments

Panorama just aired an ‘interesting’ show tonight. Entitled “Are the Net Police Coming for You?”, the BBC describes the show in the following way.

A proposed new law is threatening to disconnect the millions of internet users who unlawfully download free music, films and TV. Jo Whiley looks at how broadband use at home may never be the same, and could even be cut off
Broadcast on: BBC One, 8:30pm Monday 15th March 2010

The problem is, the show is much like one broadcast as part of Film09 last year. That show, like this one, relied almost entirely on industry views, regurgitating their talking points, and ‘facts’ without any attempt at journalistic integrity. Basic practice is to get confirmation on facts from two separate sources, and yet both last year, and last night, this was not adhered to. The reason why is simple, of course – there is no second separate source. The Copyright industry is the only one claiming losses. The only facts that support those claims, are studies those same industries fund. Even then they don’t match up, although that little detail is swept under the rug.

Like last year though, I’m going to complain. and like last year, I expect I’ll get a rather cavalier brush-off as to why the  program was short on facts, counterpoint, investigation, critical analysis or basic rational thought.

Just so you understand, the film09 segment last year was basically a regurgitation of the MPAA/Rand study claiming organized terrorism is involved in ‘movie piracy’. The problem is, my old friend at TorrentFreak, Ben Jones, debunked the report thoroughly weeks before the segment was shown, and he wasn’t alone in it. The respnse to my complaint however, dismissed little things like ‘facts’

From: complaintresponse@bbc.co.uk
Subject: ‘Film 2009 with Jonathan Ross’ [T2009040900EUS010Z5530203]

4/15/2009 10:25 AM

Dear Mr Norton
Thank you for your e-mail regarding ‘Film 2009 with Jonathan Ross’ as broadcast on 31 March.

I note you felt the report on this programme about copyright theft wasn’t adequately balanced as it only featured interviews with people from the film industry. I appreciate you felt we allowed a distorted view of this issue to be portrayed and note you have strong views regarding this matter.

This report focused in on a legitimate problem for both the film industry and the authorities as they try to tackle what is an ever increasing and profitable criminal activity. We feel the report outlined the laws surrounding the issue of film piracy adequately and that the interviewees from the film industry were entirely appropriate people to comment on the problem.

Impartiality is the cornerstone of all our output, and we feel this report was fully balanced in it’s coverage of copyright theft. Nevertheless I appreciate our audience has a wide range of opinions and inevitably this means that not every viewer will agree with the content of every programme we broadcast. We know all our editorial decisions are subjective and we’d never expect our audience to agree with every decision we make.

With this in mind that I’d like to take this opportunity to assure you that I’ve recorded your comments, including that you believe this topic deserves a more in depth investigation, onto our audience log. This is an internal daily report of audience feedback which is circulated to many BBC staff including senior management, producers and channel controllers.

The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.

Thanks again for contacting us.

Regards

Liam Boyle
BBC Complaints

And now, almost exactly a year later, we have another program, making a similar lobbying attempt, cunningly camouflaged as factual programing. The UK Pirate Party has, so far, found over twenty errors, embellishments, inaccuracies and misstatements. I imagine the number will increase as more people look closely at the program.

I for one will be sending another complaint (http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/) , and I hope I won’t be alone in it. When I get a response, I’ll post it straight away.