Friday, 22 January 2010

"Supreme Court Says No Cameras In The Courtroom" (TechDirt 14 January 2010)
this sounds mad. I'll have to investigate what French reviews report "French Court Forcing Google To Remove Word 'Scam' From Google Suggest" (TechDirt, 14 January 2010)

Copyrights bill in the UK

Sorry but don't have time right now to analyse:

"Lord Lucas Proposes That Copyright Holders Detail Actual Damages From Infringement Under Mandelson Bill" (TechDirt, 7 january 2010)

"UK Ministers 'Concede' Some Ridiculous Points in Digital Economy Bill In Attempt To Get Other Ridiculous Measures" (TechDirt, 13 January 2010)

reinforcement what I said earlier "If Banning The Internet For Sex Offenders Is Unfair, Is Banning The Internet For Copyright Infringers Fair?" (TechDirt, 13 January 2010)

Use of social networking

The tweet was silly, but the reaction to it is no better. Everything is out of proportion on both sides. Maybe we should set a course for both on how to use Twitter and social networking?

"UK Man Arrested And Banned From Airport For Twitter Joke About Blowing Up An Airport" (TechDirt, 19 January 2010)

Censorship: Google/China and others

Obviously, the headlines for the past 10 days are aboug Google's declaration and movement of withdrawal from China, but as pointed out, well, if Google withdraws from China, why not other countries like India, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Russia...?

"Google Considers Leaving China If China Will Not Allow Uncensored Search" (TechDirt, 13 January 2010)

"Will Google Pull Out Of India, Australia And Other Countries Over Internet Censorship?" (TechDirt, 14 January 2010)

and I would say of Italy?
"Proposal In Italy Would Require Gov't Authorization To Upload Any Video" (TechDirt, 18 January 2010) and for the French version, "Italie : un décret pour contrôler les vidéos du Web" (Net Eco, 19 January 2010)

The technical details of privacy/surveillance are worth understanding as it seems that China hacked the security features/apps used by Google. "China Google Hack Shows Security Gaps... Or Issues In Online Surveillance Apps?" (TechDirt, 18 January 2010)

For a reaction to Google's announcement: "Clinton urges Internet freedom, condemns cyber attacks " (Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, 21 January 2010) with a series of links to the media

and for an analysis in French: "Pékin-Google : le bras de fer s'engage" (Business and HR Resource Centre, 22 January 2010)

New report in France to reflect on digital economy

Well, I have just scrolled through the report and the least we can say is that the committee did not really engage with the issues at a deep level. The report is disappointing:
- for a summary in English, "France's Latest Plan: Tax Google, Microsoft And Yahoo To Fund Record Labels" (TechDirt, 7 january 2010)
-for an equally sanguine account, in French, "Mission Zelnik : les principales propositions du rapport" (Numerama, 7 January 2010)
- for the report itself (in French), in La Documentation Francaise

Privacy, piracy, copyrights and censorship

The theme of the week seems to turn around protecting privacy.

"Hacking Surpassing Human Error For Data Breaches?" (TechDirt, 19 January 2010). For the author, the answer is actually positive: hacking is a major threat, more that insiders leaking data.

In the fight against piracy, will privacy be waived? "Swedish ISP Refuses To Give Up Info; Says IPRED Violates EU Privacy Rules" (TechDirt, 18 January 2010)

"The Similarity Between ACTA And Chinese Internet Censorship" (TechDirt, 20 January 2010) in that both requires strong involvement from ISPs. I also think that both infringed on privacy. But the issue of ISPs involvement is also close to more traditional searches and seizures: "Once Again, FBI Caught Breaking The Law In Gathering Phone Call Info; But Real Issue Is Why Telcos Let Them" (TechDirt, 19 January 2010)

Obviously, all this debate supposes there is such thing as privacy about data online. Hence the issue about cloud computing and expectations of privacy. "Do You Have Any Legal Right To Privacy For Information Stored Online?" (TechDirt, 19 January 2010) THe US have actually articulated that notion of expectation of privacy, even though the answer is not satisfactory: it is not because it is online that there is no expectation of privacy. It all depends on where and what was intended to be done with the data.

France Considers 'Right To Forget' Law, Apparently Not Realizing The Internet Never Forgets (TechDirt, 8 January 2010)

Thursday, 7 January 2010

View of the blog via Wordle

I use Wordle ( to copy text from the blog (minus my name and the main sources TechDirt, as it is irrelevant to what I wanted) in order to get an idea of which words were recurring in the last two months. The results are insteresting if we put aside the words UK and French/France.
Have a look for yourself.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

telegraph and newspapers

The telegraph was feared, like today the internet is. But the threat only comes from refusing to embrace the new technology.

"How The Telegraph Was Supposed To Kill The Newspaper Business" (TechDirt, 22 December 2009)

Impartiality of judges

I found it a bit extreme to forbid the use of facebook. It is even hypocrite when one knows that judges and practitionners know each other quite well in real life, especially in the US and the UK where solicitors and barristers later become judges. The essential matter should be to ensure that facebook is not used to communicate on the case involving all sides.

"Florida Says Judges Can't Even Be Facebook Friends With Lawyers" (TechDirt, 11 December 2009)


"New Zealand Decides To Spy On An Awful Lot Of Your Online Activity" (TechDirt, 5 January 2010)

"How China's Attempts To Censor The Internet Are Failing " (TechDirt, 4 January 2010)

"Russian ISP Blocking Political Opposition Websites" (TechDirt, 18 December 2009)

with the interesting view of the WWW creator, Tim Berners-Lee Web inventor: " 'Snooping' authorities threaten Internet " (Euractiv, 3 December 2009)

Digitalisation of books - comparing France and the UK

Already yesterday I thought of writing a post about it, while I was discovering the poverty, I would nearly say the misery if the word had been appropriate, of digitilased books in the UK accessible free of charge. I wanted an old book from 1824 printed in London about criminal libel; so one can guess that copyrights should not be an issue. Well, where do I find it online? Certainly not on the British Library website; it is appallingly bad as far as digital collections are concerned. Despite the hype about the Online Gallery, there is absolutely nothing. Compared to its English counterpart, the French Bibliothèque Nationale de France is light years ahead of the British Library. On its Gallica website, also accessible in English and Spanish, there are hundred of thousands of old books (mainly pre-1930s) having been scanned with often a text search available. In my fields, I have all the old books that I need and still use; I even have the first issues of the main French law journal on criminal law. And the RSS feed allows me to keep up to date with the new books added to the digital collection, all that free of charge to the user.
So one can criticise the French Government for sponsoring the programme, but frankly, I would prefer my taxes to go into the programme than leaving it to private companies to do the job. Why? because the 1824 I mentioned earlier was scanned by Google and available at Google books, but frankly, half of the information displayed on the search result is inaccurate, the references not corresponding to what has actually been digitalised.

"Sarkozy To Throw Another Billion At Digitizing Books" (TechDirt, 17 December 2009)

"Now France Fines Google For Scanning French Books" (TechDirt, 18 December 2009)

and the European policy in the same lines as France's (14 october 2009/25 November 2009)

Now, on Jan 12, having received a newsletter from a French website, I post the following. It is about an article from Le Monde (The newspaper in France) dating from 19 december 2009. It confirms what I have described about the poor quality of the digitalisation of books. One author said his book was digitalised without his authorisation and Google used non corrected/checked proofs of the book. In other words, it was worthless. In the article, is also mentioned the work of the BNF and its willingness to digitalise but with quality and with compliance with the copyrights law. "

Livre numérique : la justice française donne raison aux éditeurs face à Google (Le Monde, 19 Dec 2009)

Good wishes, piracy and censorhip: happy new year!

I cannot believe it is already the new year and ... that I have not written for the past month. I only took two weeks of holidays, but being busy elsewhere did not give time to sit down in front of the computer with an actual internet connection.
So here I am, wishing you a happy new year, with the best for 2010 and maybe less snow that here in Suffolk and Essex we receive!

Back to business: 2010 will probably be like 2009 for piracy. The same debates and the same lack of innovative thinking about creation, authors' rights and distribution when it comes to legal reforms.

1 - So for the UK, "UK Government Report Shows That Digital Economy Bill Will Cost More Than Highest 'Piracy' Estimates, Drive 40,000 Offline" (TechDirt, 28 December 2009)

"Lord Lucas Wants UK Digital Economy Bill To Include Remedy For Bogus Copyright Threats" (TechDirt, 22 December 1009)

"UK Digital Economy Bill Section 124H Would Give Ability To Silently Censor Websites" (TechDirt, 18 December 2009)

For the text of the Bill, its different amendments and the parliamentar process, one can have a look at the UK Parliament website which is improving on a regular basis:

2 - and France: "Will France's Three Strikes Law Matter?" (TechDirt, 4 January 2010) The story is as follow. The database to be created with the names of the offenders has to be approved by the CNIL (the French quango established years ago to protect freedom of expression and privacy) which is careful in the methods used to hold the data, the length of time it is held, who has access, for which purposes etc... The problem is that the CNIL decided not to assess anything until it receives the details of the procedure that will be used, details awaiting finalisation in a decree (i.e. statutory instrument). Given the reputation of the CNIL, the French Government is stuck and just has to wait if it does not want to be seen as bypassing the CNIL's protecting role. See the text in French of the newspaper La Tribune, 23 December 2009

see also "French Government's Plan To Help Book Publishers Adapt: Have Them Embrace Three Strikes Plan" (TechDirt, 7 December 2009)

3 - I came accross the issue yesterday while working on the same article as last month. Reading again Levy's book on Becoming virtual: reality of the digital age, the passage on the changes brought by the acceleration of virtualisation in cyberspace struck me as ahead of his time (he wrote in 1998). He more or less noticed that the difference publishers, distributors and creators is abolished, or at least blurred, and that the model we rely upon, that of the printing press, is outdated and needs to be rethought. Technology should be used to promote distribution with fair use of authors' creations (= not charging like we do with publishers benefiting, but charging with authors receiving directly the money!).