Saturday 11 September 2010

Conroy's net filter still alive and kicking

Asher Moses

The Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, is ploughing ahead with his internet filter policy despite there being virtually no chance any enabling legislation will pass either house of Parliament.
Independent MP Rob Oakeshott, the Opposition and the Greens have all come out against the policy, leaving it effectively dead in the water.
The Greens communications spokesman, Scott Ludlam, has called on the government to end the facade and drop the internet censorship scheme once and for all, as it was wasting time and taxpayers' money.

Senator Quixote deserves to be told off

by Colin Jacobs

The Labor government's plan to censor the Australian internet has entered the realm of farce. Despite scraping back into government by the barest of possible margins, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has returned without delay to trumpeting his doomed scheme to anybody that will listen.
As we have said (for years, now) the filter will not help parents, nor will it help police crack down on illegal material. It's a worst-of-all-worlds approach that is a case study on the fundamental incompatibility of a classification-based system with the internet. Fortunately, most people are able to see this - not just nerds and civil libertarians think the plan is crazy, but industry, academia, the media, all the other major political parties and the vast majority of internet users do as well. With even children's rights groups criticising the scheme, you'd think any government would love an excuse to tow this old scow of a policy out to sea and scuttle it.

Friday 10 September 2010

Police out in force for weekend booze blitz

Thomas Hunter

Police have used the launch of a two-day booze blitz to remind revellers they can be fined $478 if they are found to be excessively drunk or behaving badly on Melbourne's streets.
Hundreds of extra police officers will hit the CBD as well as Moonee Valley, Hawthorn, Prahran and St Kilda this weekend as part of Operation Unite.
Commander Trevor Carter said the operation was running simultaneously across Australia and New Zealand and would target "alcohol misuse, violence and anti-social behaviour tonight and Saturday evening".

Tweets shed light on our banking gripes

Clare Kermond 
A STUDY of five months' worth of tweets about Australia's big four banks has found that people dislike all banks about the same, but find different reasons to be fed up with each one.
Researchers also found that people were far more likely to tweet about ANZ, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank than they were about National Australia Bank, with NAB the topic of only 9 per cent of messages. The issue most commented on for all banks was service.
Hardly surprising survey, makes some interesting points that I agree with some, having tweeted my distaste of Westpac multiple times, interesting to note that the article only credits Westpac for having an active presence however I know from experience that the Commonwealth Bank do as well.    

Thursday 9 September 2010

where are the magazines, applying the wrong ointment

I have often written about how I  think that the music industry is not doing them selves many favours in their fight against music privacy and in those discussions I seem to talk mainly of the RIAA and their role in the shenanigans but there are other organizations and collection agencies such as ASCAP or APRA that are also performers in this comedy of errors that is copyright and the music industry.

Performance rights organizations provide intermediary functions, particularly royalty collection, between copyright holders and parties who wish to use copyrighted works publicly such as public shops, restaurants and business establishments. These are the guys that shake down the local gym to pay for having the radio on, who incidentally have also been shaken down for royalties them selves. They are a big believer in every one should pay and that nothing should be or is really is for free, either that or I am missing some thing, in this article that  techdirt reported on the details of their ongoing war against Creative Commons, EFF and Public Knowledge it pretty much says as much.

About a year and a half ago, we reported on the news that ASCAP, who represents songwriters and publishers as a collection society, was holding strategy sessions on how to "counter" proponents of free culture, as if they were some sort of attack on ASCAP. Since then, we've actually noticed a growth in both the number of hilarious conspiracy-midned "attack blogs" from people tied to ASCAP, as well as an increase in the number of "anonymous" commenters on the site coming from IP addresses used by a few law firms that have connections to ASCAP. Funny that.

Now it appears they're stepping things up to stage two: they've sent around fundraising emails that specifically ask for money to fight Creative Commons, EFF and Public Knowledge. What's amusing (but really sad) is that this proves that the rhetoric out of ASCAP about protecting "artists' rights" is bunk. Creative Commons does nothing whatsoever to undermine artists' rights. It merely offers them more options for how they choose to license their works. It's the sort of thing that ASCAP and the rest of the music industry should embrace. In fact, when confronted, many of these organizations often make the point that they have no problem with Creative Commons, and they're happy if artists choose to use CC licenses.

Equally I also dedicate quite a lot of this blog to the woes that are be falling the print newspapers and their adaption to the digital age. I read and comment on the talk about the locking down of the news behind paywall’s and the use of the hot news doctrine to stifle competition and the news reporting. How blogs are plagiarising the work of others and if they don’t act fast that the same troubles that have beset the music industry will be their common enemy. The biggest issue is that the traditional revenue base that print media relied upon has moved as more mediums arrived to catch the desired audience with their message. The landscape has shifted and they are struggling to adapt a familiar theme so it was with surprise that I should stumble upon this article on the internet

The ASCAP example: How news organizations could liberate content, skip negotiations, and still get paid

This article suggests that the struggling newspaper sector take a leaf out of the music industries play book and introduce an adoption of the long-established ASCAP-BMI performance rights model by which they could collect payment for some of their content when it is distributed outside the boundaries of their own publications and websites. Now I don’t think this is going to be adopted and I think it is a perfectly fine thing to write of such ideas and propositions as I recently did with this article setting the intangible free, why not licence piracy however I can see some unsettling trends if we let this mob’s practices in place. I don’t want to poke fun at the author of that article and I intend to just explore a what if, if I may.

I often talk of unintended consequence and I think in this if ASCAP were to monitor and charge for incidental use of the media assets, its content well the consequences could be huge. Imagine a time you when were waiting in a sitting room at your local GP, dentist well almost anywhere and to help distract you as you wait for your appointment you reach for the magazines only find they are no longer there, you are of course a little bit dismayed but they have a TV so you immerse your self in “The View” on the large LCD screen in the corner forgetting about the lack of magazines.

The next time your out and you notice the same thing that no body has old magazines anymore; actually you can’t even get the daily newspaper at McDonald's when you enjoy your morning coffee. What is going on? Why have all the magazines disappeared? Then one day you’re driving home from work and switch on the radio to catch some talk radio, when the announcer asks the question you have been asking yourself all this time “what has happened to the magazines in the doctor’s surgery”? Suddenly the radio is alive with callers all commenting on the mystery disappearance of the magazines when all of a sudden a caller explains that the surgeries have to pay a licensing fee to have them now and that so they all gave them up.The other thing that I think could be quite interesting is that if this model was adopted how would the advertisers feel a potential stream of new customers eyes denied by the same people you are paying to deliver you the said eyes, I think not well.

I think there is a limit that copyright holders should be able to go to exercise their rights and that commercial use if incidental and not core to your business should not incur licensing fees however collection agencies are ramping up their targets. I should hope that the above fairytale should not ever become reality however if the newspaper and media turn to performance rights models it could turn to be a piece of non fiction, I told you yesterday I don’t do fiction.

What do you think? Is a performance rights model the right one for the struggling newspaper industries? Leave me comments have your say.

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Labor over the line: Windsor and Oakeshott hand power to Gillard

Mark Davis

Julia Gillard has just scraped back into office as Prime Minister after the independent MPs Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott announced they would support Labor to form a minority government.

Day of truth for Abbott and Gillard

Michelle Grattan and Katharine Murphy

TONY Abbott has secured a last-minute pledge from a maverick West Australian National MP to support a minority Coalition government, clearing the way for an announcement on who will be Australia's next prime minister.
More than two weeks after the election that produced the first hung Parliament in 70 years, the three country independent MPs who now hold the key to power are expected to reveal today who they will back.

So finally we are here, the independents will today confirm who they will anoint to lead Australia for what is meant to be the next three years, I however trust that this will neither be stable or long surviving. My prediction is that they will choose Labor and the alliance will fall over in less than a year.
Stay turned for updates as they happen.

Monday 6 September 2010

up their for safety not for copyright

Publishing firm's song and dance over safety anthem

Karl Quinn

IT WAS a case of Up There Copyright Infringement as an over-eager employee unintentionally dragged Woolworths into a melee with Albert Music, the publishing company that administers the rights to football anthem Up There Cazaly.
According to a spokesman for the grocery giant, ''a member of staff took the initiative last week in a task to promote workplace safety and penned a new song to the tune of Up There Cazaly. It was subsequently sent to staff in 84 Safeway and Woolworths stores last week in central Victoria and Tasmania.''
Problem is, said member of staff neglected to seek permission to do so first.
Interesting article that demonstrates how misunderstood copyright law is, it will be interesting to see if any further action is taken. I think that in this particular case that Albert Music should have freely given the rights, considering it was in house, not for profit and the actual use was to promote safety in the workplace, but alas that’s not how the world works.  I doubt that they will take action as their actual loss was zero but it is copyright we are talking about.
Do you have an opinion on this one drop me a comment love to hear your thoughts?