Internet

Copyright isn't dead just because we're not willing to let it regulate us

Copyright isn't dead just because we're not willing to let it regulate us

The "copy" in copyright is there because of an accident of history: once upon a time, to "copy" was to do something industrial. Copying required physical plant, employees, premises, trading. While not everything industrial could be reduced to "copying," all copying was presumptively industrial. There were ways of non-industrially copying things – a sculptor could copy another sculptor's work by application of her eye and hand and chisel, a writer could dip his quill and set out the lines of another writer – but it wasn't really necessary to explicitly declare that this wasn't the kind of thing regulated by copyright. Such activity was almost always invisible to rights-holders, and even if an individual work happened to rise to the attention of a rights-holder, he would seem like a bit of a fool trying to apply industrial rules to individual actors. It's like asking your neighbours to register as a bed and breakfast because they've got guests in for the weekend who've chipped in for groceries.

Facebook asserts trademark on word "book" in new user agreement

Facebook asserts trademark on word "book" in new user agreement

Facebook is trying to expand its trademark rights over the word "book" by adding the claim to a newly revised version of its "Statement of Rights and Responsibilities," the agreement all users implicitly consent to by using or accessing Facebook.

Bombing Bridges

CNET's Greg Sandoval reported last year that top Internet Service Providers came to an agreement with the RIAA and MPAA to engage in copyright enforcement. Ryan Whitwam noted at ExtremeTech that the agreement is set to kick in during Summer 2012 and would entail a graduated response system. The Electronic Frontier Foundation reported that this was not founded by governmental action but instead a Memorandum of Understanding among multiple companies that remains open for other companies to sign on.

By this summer we will see a graduated response system for copyright enforcement arise in the United States. There won't be a firm procedure in place but the general structure calls for six strikes. During later strikes there is the possibility to utilize captive landing pages that would effectively terminate a user's Internet access until they carry out whatever mitigation measure the Internet Service Provider deems appropriate. While there is the possibility of arbitration, there is not generally recourse to governmental involvement in the matter. Contractual obligations and the use of Terms of Service as private legislation come into play.

As seen at Harbor-Topky Memorial Library in the Ashtabula harbor today, signs are posted warning users of library WiFi that using file-sharing applications and peer-to-peer applications on their network may result in the termination of access privileges. That perhaps highlights the danger shared Internet connections present in light of the Memorandum of Understanding entering into force in Summer 2012. If a copyright violation is found, all that can be seen is the account's access point to the ISP's network. There is not necessarily a way to differentiate which particular user committed the infringement, though.

It is regrettably possible that six infringements by six separate users on a shared network access point could result in the termination of service. In an unprotected wireless network it is possible to have parties unknown usurp a connection and cause infringement without the knowledge of the actual account holder. Unless WPA2 and other security measures are employed, an innocent account holder could be blamed for the foul action of a third party. This has already happened which is why normal advice in establishing a wireless network is to engage WPA2 encryption as soon as possible and to keep your network passphrase secret.

A degree of sophistication is required to avoid the very possible nightmare scenarios above. This unfortunately means, though, that networking hardware marketed to consumers needs to be treated as more than "set and forget" devices. With the greater push to frictionless sharing online and reducing burdens in accessing the Internet the possibility of the digital divide widening grows.

In light of an online environment that continues to deteriorate, fallback options are always necessary. For content producers it is very difficult when potential readers/listeners/viewers cannot access the producer's goods. While it can be said by users that the Internet treats censorship and is built to route around it, that notion assumes that routing can continue without interference or disruption. As we now see, the routing of traffic is now going to be subject to intentional interference and accepting that interference will be a condition of access. By private agreement of a group of companies, the trade in information can be restrained at least with regards to information fixed in electronic form.

When it comes to LISNews let alone the rest of the LISHost galaxy this is not an insignificant concern. When the actual means of routing traffic are effectively compromised, relying on a compromised network can result in the effective disappearance of sites. Who needs to burn books when you can just put the functional equivalent of a minefield around content repositories?

Depending upon how this sort of change impacts the Internet at-large, we have looked at workarounds. Since 2009 there have been two proof-of-concept exercises to continue LISNews and other parts of the LISHost galaxy through alternative means. A print edition of LISNews was piloted after being created using tools provided by FedEx Office. Since then we have seen the creation of HP MagCloud which would more easily do what we attempted. On New Year's Eve 2011 we heard LISTen make its debut on shortwave radio through the broadcast resources of WBCQ in Maine.

In both exercises, the general content remained the same while the manifestation differed. This has been a concept seen often in modern librarianship where books have large print editions and unabridged books-on-tape. As an adaptation tactic in terms of content creation, it may soon become quite critical.

It is not necessarily time to begin fundraising to incarnate alternative manifestations of content online perhaps. A few months remain before the private enforcement regime begins. Keeping the thought in the back of one's mind is prduent, though.

Creative Commons License
Bombing Bridges by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. -- Read More

Pay walls keep tightening

More and more content on the web has been going behind pay walls. The NYT implemented a porous pay wall this year. Non-subscribers could access up to 20 articles a month. This number has been reduced to 10.

The Professor Versus Wikipedia

Professor Timothy Messer-Kruse has devoted the last ten years of his life to one topic -- the 1886 Haymarket Riot. But when Messer-Kruse tried to correct a wrong fact about the event, he ran afoul of Wikipedia's thorny editing culture. Brooke talks to Messer-Kruse about his editing travails, and Phoebe Ayers, Wikimedia Foundation member, about Messer-Kruse's experience from Wikipedia's side.

The second half of the "On the Media" piece is an interview with librarian Phoebe Ayers. Ayers is co-author of the book - How Wikipedia Works. The full text of the book is available free here.

The Professor vs. Wikipedia

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What's your wish for the future of the Internet?

As part of the Internet Society’s 20th anniversary celebration, we invite you to share your wish for the future of the Internet. Visit http://www.wishingtree.internetsociety.org where you can:

* Simply add your wish directly to the site, or
* Upload a YouTube video wish by adding the video's url to the form, or
* Tweet your wish by using the hashtag #internetwishingtree

Let us know what’s important to you – and read the wishes of others. Be sure to share the Wishing Tree with your family, friends, and colleagues, too. Let your voice be heard!

Revealed: How China censors its social networks

Revealed: How China censors its social networks
The way the Chinese government censors and deletes politically-sensitive terms online has been revealed for the first time.

As expected, the communists are hypersensitive to criticism of the state - but also to people slating the so-called 'Great Firewall', the network blocking technology that prevents Chinese people browsing the internet freely.

YouTube's Content ID Disputes Are Judged by the Accuser

YouTube's Content ID Disputes Are Judged by the Accuser
The problem is that media companies and scammers are using Content ID as an end run around the DMCA.

With the DMCA, the process works like this. A rightsholder could file a claim against a video with YouTube, and YouTube would immediately take the video offline. If there was a mistake, the uploader could file a counter-notice. The video would then be restored by YouTube within 10-14 business days of the counter-notice, unless it went to court.

It wasn't perfect, by any means, but it was fair. Disputes could always be appealed, and both parties were given equal power. And if a claimant lied about owning the copyright to the material in question, they could face perjury charges.

The current system, led by Content ID, tips the balance far in favor of the claimant.

RSA 2012: Bruce Schneier on the Threat of "Big Data, Inc."

RSA 2012: Bruce Schneier on the Threat of "Big Data, Inc."
"I mean Big Data as an industry force, like we might talk of Big Tobacco or Big Oil or Big Pharma," Schneier told an overflow crowd of attendees. "I think the rise of Big Data is as important a threat in the coming years, one we should really look at and start taking seriously."

Library research databases have the worst UI in the whole world

Google-Trained Minds Can't Deal with Terrible Research Database UI
"The librarians quoted here understand most of the key problems, and are especially sharp about "the myth of the digital native" -- about which see also this deeply sobering Metafilter thread -- but there's one vital issue they're neglecting: research databases have the worst user interfaces in the whole world."

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