Tim Wu speaks

I got there late, but in time to hear the end of Tim Wu’s opening  key note. His comments about the failure to build a peer-to-peer internet stimulated an interest. His book, “The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires” examines the evolution of information networks from radio through TV and Cable to the Internet, so I have ordered it. It’ll be interesting to compare, contrast and possibly integrate his ideas with those of Benkler and Perez. While researching for the article that eventually became Municipal WiFi, now over 1½ years old, I was interested in the funding and technology problems faced by public sector organisations. Some hackers have considered making wireless access gateways peer-to-peer, particularly in France while the Hadoopi laws were being debated and passed, but we are still running an internet of hubs and spokes, in the words of the Register, modeled on the command and control systems used in the Soviet Union. …

A bad week for RSS

RSSI reckon it’s been a bad week for the open web. Google have announced they’re shit canning not just Google Reader but also CalDAV and Twitter ran one of their API Version 1.0 blackouts. Both offer alternatives; I am unsure that they are as open as their predecessors. Twitter certainly are withdrawing support for RSS, and Google have over the last 18 months been rebuilding their technology as a secret garden. …

Linking is legal again

Seventeen senior academic lawyers have published a powerful opinion that internet hyperlinks, to copyright infringing content is legal. The EU Court has been asked for an opinion/ruling by the Swedish Government, the case is summarised on the marvellous 1709 blog in an article entitled “CJEU to consider copyright implications of linking and framing”. The lawyers have published this opinion under the auspices of the European Copyright Society. This is not exactly news but it’s an important statement of common sense.

Let’s hope the Judges agree! …

Citizens not Suspects

I attended the Open Rights Group’s London meetup on Monday night; Rachel Robinson, Liberty’s Policy Officer was speaking at the Angel, a pub near Old St, probably the inspiration for the London monopoly board space. She spoke about planned legistation in the UK known variously as the Communications Capabilities Development Programme or the Communications Data Bill. Interesting how the British Government develop such annodyne names for their oppressive measures, the Digital Economy Act vs the US “Stop Online Piracy Act” or the “Commerce before Leisure on the Internet Act”, I made the last one up, or I think I did. …

The Neverending War on Culture

It’s been a busy month in the never-ending copyright and information wars. This article looks at the Surf the Channel verdict, and the mysterious disappearance of Vickerman’s statement from the web. It looks at the progress of the legal assault on Kim Dotcom in New Zealand, and establishment of the principle that linking is legal in the USA. …

The abuse of takedown notices

In Feburary, TechDirt discovered that one of it’s key anti-SOPA polemics had been deleted from Google’s index as a result of a bogus DMCA takedown notice. The article goes onto detail similar dirty tricks on Torrentfreak.

In my article, “More on the Newzbin2 affair”,  I comment on BT’s attempt to clarify the initial injunction and the issue of false notifications and liability for acting on them. The judge said there was no evidence that false notification would be significant. Despite the well documented existence of speculative invoicing scams, this would seem to add to the evidence that while accusing innocent infringers is free of consequence, some at least will do it. …

Neither the UK, nor the EU should sign ACTA

Red Sin Censura, published an Internet in Danger page the other day, which pointed me at Le Monde’s “What’s wrong with ACTA”. This has been worrying me, since much of the opposition has been based solely on secrecy, although this bleeds into democratic oversight. Since the treaty has been negotiated primarily between democracies and their politicians and public servants, to me secrecy alone is not sufficient to win broad support to opposition to the proposed treaty; there’s a lot of people that trust their politicians. …