Archive for April, 2009

IceTV Wins in High Court

The guys at the Unlocking IP blog are reporting that IceTV (which was providing electronic program guides independently of the tv stations) have won in the High Court. It is not a short decision, so will take a while to digest. The court is tracking down a path which will make it easier for interoperability to be achieved, and is backing away from the Desktop Marketing decision (in which Telstra was found to hold copyright in the telephone directory)

I’d like to think that, since the Stevens v Sony decision the High Court has realised that an expansive view of copyright creates an impossible burden for courts – in that any interpretation is continually sought to be expanded and, taken to its logical conclusion, almost any reasonable activity in modern life would involve a copyright infringement of some sort. Hopefully now decisions will become a little more based in practical reality than what we have seen from the Federal Court through the 90s and early 00s.

See also: my post on interoperability under AU copyright law.

Learning to H^HDislike OOo-3

Apparently, not only does OOo-3 break python, it also dis-innovates with presentation layouts.  One of the advantages that OOo used to have was to allow you to print handouts on an otherwise blank page.  This allowed plenty of room for taking notes, especially if one moved the slides a little away from their starting points.  OOo-3 apparently “improves” on this by mimicking MS Office’s stupid note taking lines.  As far as I can tell they are surgically implanted, unable to be removed.  So now my handouts are useless to me because the lines are the wrong size for me to write on and take up all the note taking space.

So this is now the second time I am rolling back from OOo-3.  Each time my experience of it has survived less than a day.

Copyright in a Nutshell

Copyright in a Nutshell

“They said they did not want to stop the appearance of [AP] articles around the Web, but to exercise some control over the practice and to profit from it.”

This, in essence, is the copyright creed, as expressed by AP executives and reported by the NYT.  Get paid for someone else’s innovation.  Nice “work” – if you can get it.

Russell Coker does not find this quote as revealing as I do.   So, by way of illustration –  how you would view an equivalent quote made by a producer of [just about] anything else:

“The [eg] United Pencil Manufacturers said they did not want to stop the use of pencils, but to exercise some control over that use and to profit from it.”

I don’t hate Truecrypt anymore

Have just wasted too much time on truecrypt usb volume which allows me to write to the volume but doesn’t let me chown or chmod any of the files (even as root).  I still don’t know the answer.  As far as I can tell/remember these partitions are ext2.  Am verily going nuts.

hmmmm…. am beginning to think I should reformat to make sure it’s not fat

have reformatted, seems now to work.  Must have chosen fat when previously creating the volume?

NBN – Just say No!

NBN – Just say No!

I have never liked the idea of the proposed national broadband network.  The main problem with network connectivity is not data carriage, it’s that copyright laws kill any innovative uses that that connectivity might be put to.  They do this directly, by slitting the throat of any innovative use of content or connectivity, and indirectly by affecting network topologies (eg – high comparative capacity to download, v. low comparative capacity to upload).  Given the ideology embedded in the Copyright Act, we can be about 100% certain that the next Google will happen anywhere but Australia.

Without copyright reform[1] the NBN will just be a different form of cable television.  It is supremely depressing to hear pundits give as examples of the use of such a network the ability to download movies and television over it – especially since the obvious candidate to secure this, multichannelling of digital television, has been swept by the wayside by the previous government.   I frankly can’t think of a worse way to give a $40Bn subsidy to the entertainment industry.

[1] I’ve singled out copyright, but defamation and censorship also have extensive chilling effects on the use of network infrastructure and would also be good candidates for overhaul.

Unlocking IP April 16-17 2009

Every couple of years the Cyberlaw Centre at UNSW holds a conference for its “Unlocking IP” research stream.   This year’s conference is due to be held on 16 and 17 April.  I’ll be out of the country this year, so am unlikely to attend.  However, past conferences have been interesting with good speakers.  For more details, see the Conference Webpage.


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