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Last post Author Topic: Internet freedoms restrained - SOPA/PIPA/OPEN/ACTA/CETA/PrECISE-related updates  (Read 96841 times)

TaoPhoenix

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The surprising thing is the Rise of Facebook and YouTube, isn't Web 2.0 All about "Sharing"? So we have the **AA handling Music & Movies, but look at the stunning numbers of clips on YouTube that list "all property owned by _______, no copyright infringement intended." How can they even post that? It gets into a twisted circle of "A, is the user that dumb?" or B, "Does the **AA like the nice record breaking sales generated by an obscure cat lady on a British television talent show that no American would ever see normally?"

A long time ago I posted an aggressive note on Slashdot, calling someone's bluff about copyright, when he claimed "he wanted to explore piracy on sales". I smelled a rat, and created a special Creative Commons edition, at which point he magically backed away. Oh, there we go, let's let people "infringe virally" when it helps our sales but retain lawsuit possibilities, and then block other stuff when we don't like it."


IainB

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Goodness me, dictatorship seems to be on the up-and-up in the US. If you can't get a Bill passed through Congress by lawful democratic process, then it seems that you can always dictate it by Executive Order:
Quote
White House Circulating Draft of Executive Order On Cybersecurity
Posted by Soulskill on Saturday September 08, @05:54PM
from the do-things-if-you-want-or-not-we-don't-care dept.

New submitter InPursuitOfTruth writes with news that the Obama administration has been circulating a draft of an executive order focused on cybersecurity. This follows the recent collapse of an attempt at cybersecurity legislation in the Senate. According to people who have seen the draft, the order would codify standards and best practices for critical infrastructure. That said, it's questionable how effective it would be, since participation would be voluntary, and the standards would be set by "an inter-agency council that would be led by the Department of Homeland Security." The other agencies involved would include NIST, the DoD, and the Commerce Dept. "It would be left up to the companies to decide what steps they want to take to meet the standards, so the government would not dictate what type of technology or strategy they should adopt."

Happy days.

Renegade

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Republic > Democracy > Dictatorship > Tyranny

The downward spiral in action! And we all get to see it in our lifetime! My how we live in "interesting" times...  :'(

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

kyrathaba

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Quote
And we all get to see it in our lifetime!

Either that, or our children will. I fear for them sometimes...

TaoPhoenix

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Republic > Democracy > Dictatorship > Tyranny

Here's one of the creepiest songs I've ever heard. Stabilizers - Tyranny

http://www.youtube.c.../watch?v=WfgKy6B-1R8

The lyrics are just vicious in describing how a manipulator thinks. Then the music is so smooth for the music.

(Simulation of mood)
Here, little Renegade. Ssh, thinking is too hard for you. Here, come lie down on this nice bed in this comfy little padded cage. Here's a nice hat for you to wear. After I plug it in, you'll feel a lot better. (Neurocranial stimulation of endorphins.)

 :o

IainB

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...Here's a nice hat for you to wear. After I plug it in, you'll feel a lot better. (Neurocranial stimulation of endorphins.)
Those hats sound kinda gud!
Want one. Far out man...

IainB

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I had to read this post in SoftwareInformer twice over because I couldn't believe that it wasn't a joke, but no, it is apparently a post made in all seriousness by someone whom I can only presume to be either on Happy-Happy pills or to have been lobotomised:
Quote
Anti-Piracy Work Resulted In 14 Cases
Nova Vozrak, Editor
Informer Technologies, Inc.
3 days ago (2012-09-06)

About two years ago, in 2010, a tool to fight digital piracy was created in France. The organization was called Hadopi. It was established to receive requests from copyright holders for takedowns of French IP addresses trying to download files with illegally obtained media via P2P.

According to the data presented by Mireille Imbert-Quaretta, the President of the Commission for Rights Protection (part of the Hadopi agency), for the period of almost two years, among 3 million IPs registered by Hadopi 1.15 million were found pirating data. These people were sent a letter notifying them about their infringement. Six percent of them communicated back to discuss the matter. The second wave of warning letters counted 102,854 cases, among which 24 percent responded. From these only 304 received the third warning. This time 75% interacted with the committee. As a result of these steps, on July 1, only 14 offenders of the law had a case filed with the French court, the legal measure Hadopi is allowed to use if the third warning is ignored. Still, none of them have been taken to the trial yet.

Even though the President of the Commission for Rights Protection considers these to be good results, in 2012 the existence of the committee is put under question. The new President of France, François Hollande, wants to replace Hadopi with something else. Upon taking the post, he has appointed a new French Minister of Culture, Aurélie Filippetti, who seemed to be intended on closing Hadopi. In August, she pointed out that this organization costs a lot: "In financial terms, [spending] €12 million (which is about $14.86 million) and 60 agents—that’s expensive [just] to send a million e-mails."

In general, if we believe the numbers, the project proved effective in teaching French people about legal matters of data spreading over the Internet. And according to Mireille Imbert-Quaretta's words that was the actual idea behind the project.

Just to order the facts to make sure I have this aright:
  • A French government agency called Hadopi was established in 2010 as "a tool to fight digital piracy". It was to receive requests from copyright holders for takedowns of French IP addresses trying to download files with illegally obtained media via P2P.
  • Results: 14 offenders of the law had a case filed with the French court, the legal measure Hadopi is allowed to use if the third warning in a 3-step warning process is ignored. None (zero, dinada, aucun) of them have so far been taken to trial.
  • The costs of this humungus operation were either $14.86 million/pa or a total of that for the two years (a lot of taxpayers' money, in whichever way you look at it).
  • This is according to the data presented by the President (Mireille Imbert-Quaretta) of the Commission for Rights Protection (part of the Hadopi agency), who considers these to be good results.
  • In 2012 the existence of the Commission/Hadopi has been brought into question by the new President of France (François Hollande), who wants to replace Hadopi with something else, so has appointed a new French Minister of Culture (Aurélie Filippetti), who seems to intend closing Hadopi. Filippetti commented that:
    Quote
    "In financial terms, [spending] €12 million (which is about $14.86 million) and 60 agents—that’s expensive [just] to send a million e-mails."
  • The author of the post (Nova Vozrak) states that:
    Quote
    "In general, if we believe the numbers, the project proved effective in teaching French people about legal matters of data spreading over the Internet. And according to Mireille Imbert-Quaretta's words that was the actual idea behind the project."

Que?
Amazing. Presumably this is the sort of prudential government spending which has accelerated the freedom-loving socialist country's economic spiral into bankruptcy. (/sarc)
« Last Edit: September 09, 2012, 08:10:09 PM by IainB, Reason: Minor corrections. »

IainB

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A third cogent post about the TPP at the PublicKnowledge's PolicyBlog provides a useful overview of the infeasibility issue of "temporary copies" prohibition in the context of the TPP:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks.)
Quote
Failing to Understand the Needs of the 21st Century: The TPP and Temporary Copies
By Sherwin Siy  | September 10, 2012

This is the third post in our our series on how a US proposal for a copyright chapter in the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) would hurt the rights of citizen’s in the 21st century. That proposal was leaked on the Internet in February last year. For more details on the TPP, check out tppinfo.org.

By reading this post, you have made copies of a copyrighted work. In fact, this is true of any copyrighted work you view on an electronic device. That copy is sitting in your computer or your phone's RAM, and likely also in a cache in its long-term storage. Streaming online video, even if you don't save it to your hard drive, still means that a copy of that video is made on your computer: bit by bit, the entire video is copied into a buffer before it gets played to you.

So are those everyday uses copyright infringement? It's highly unlikely under US law. But if the TPP has its way, they might.

The very first paragraph of the TPP's copyright section (at least as of February 2011, which was the last version of the agreement to be leaked to the public) says,

Quote
Each Party shall provide that authors, performers, and producers of phonograms have the right to authorize or prohibit all reproductions of their works, performances, and phonograms, in any manner or form, permanent or temporary (including temporary storage in electronic form).


It's that insistence that "temporary" reproductions, including "temporary storage in electronic form" be part of the author’s reproduction right that raises some real questions. Every digital file that's opened on a computer has reproductions made of it in RAM—temporary storage in electronic form. Even a CD player that has anti-skip protection does the same thing—music is copied into a digital buffer (temporarily) before it's streamed to the audio output. DVRs do the same thing with incoming TV signals. Every piece of software you run is also copied into your computer's RAM.

A few different legal principles prevent all of these things from being illegal under US copyright law. Some instances of a copyrighted work are so fleeting—lasting only fractions of a second, that they aren't even considered "copies" for the purposes of the law. Others might be considered fair uses, while still others might fall into specific exemptions written in to US copyright law for software use.

This doesn't mean that temporary copies can never infringe copyright, but the language in the TPP seems to say a lot more than that. It expressly defines temporary copies as infringing, and then reiterates that temporary electronic copies are infringing. It's certainly possible to read that as not making RAM copies and buffers illegal prima facie, but it's not the most intuitive reading of it. And potential interpretations are incredibly important in the context of international agreements. A particular phrase in a treaty can be easily read one way by an American lawyer, and completely differently in the context of Australian or Chilean law. This is particularly salient in copyright law, a field where very few countries have a system of limitations and exceptions to copyright as strong as US-style fair use.

And since proponents of the TPP are particularly concerned with its promised benefits for US industry, what effects would a ban on temporary copies have for the American tech sector? US-based makers and exporters of devices that make temporary electronic copies of everything they encounter as a matter of course (computers, smartphones, tablets, DVRs) could face liability for the copies they make of copyrighted material in other countries. The same is true for cloud-based services that make temporary copies, like search engines caching websites. Would Apple need to be concerned about running afoul of New Zealand copyright law when a user in Auckland streamed a rugby match? Would Google face liability in Singapore for caching an article on the Straits-Times website?

This isn't the first time that this temporary copy language has appeared in trade agreements—the US has signed bilateral free trade agreements with Colombia, Korea, Australia, and others that include similar language. Including it in a multilateral treaty simply further enshrines a bad idea, makes it even harder to fix, and creates more opportunities for harm from that language than has already been risked with bilateral trade partners. Removing the temporary copies language doesn't prevent those existing bilaterals from doing their current work, and it wouldn't create any inconsistency with other international agreements. It does, though, remain inconsistent with US law.

TaoPhoenix

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The Rather Not Safe For (Judges?) reply to that kind of thing would be to post a mean vicious slam against the **AA with a strange license, something like "the following groups are granted access to this piece - the EFF, the ACLU, (etc etc). For everyone else, All Rights Reserved."

Then when they get upset, it's all "Oh, I'm sorry, where did you get your copy? I don't see my check for $375,000 now, do I? Oh, that's right, that's because laws only apply to the big boys, never to the little guy. I'm voting your reps out of Congress. KThxBye"

Renegade

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 >:(

...just...

 >:(
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

TaoPhoenix

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>:(

...just...

 >:(

P.S. Who owns the copyright to those smileys?


Renegade

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>:(

...just...

 >:(

P.S. Who owns the copyright to those smileys?


I sure as Hell hope not this version of mouser:

badcat.gif

 :'(
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

TaoPhoenix

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Don't make Mouser angry! You wouldn't like him when he's angry!  :o

TaoPhoenix

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Meanwhile, back on track, they just affirmed the ridiculous charges in the Thomas copyright case.

IainB

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This from TechDirt (copied below sans embedded hyperlinks):
Quote
This Is Not Transparency: TPP Delegates Refuses To Reveal Text, Refuse To Discuss Leaked Text
from the massive-fail dept

The folks over at the EFF have a decent summary of the travesty that was the "stakeholder" events at the latest TPP negotiating round, in which various groups (on all sides) were supposedly given an "opportunity" to express their thoughts on the TPP. We've already discussed some other aspects of it, but the one thing that the EFF writeup makes clear, is that the whole thing is a complete joke. The text, of course, remains "secret," and negotiators flat out refuse to discuss any points raised about the various leaked texts:

Quote
The stakeholder engagement events in the morning were followed by a stakeholder briefing in the afternoon. The briefing allowed registered individuals from civil society and the public to ask questions of and make comments to eight out of the nine negotiators who represent a TPP country. The press was barred from the room. Roughly 25 people rose from the audience to ask questions to the trade delegates during the 90-minute briefing period. As predicted, they were not transparent about the talks, revealed little new information, and delegates also refused to make any comments based on leaked version of texts—the only text EFF and other public interest organizations have had access to. It is difficult for public stakeholders to ask accurate questions or receive any substantive answers when the content of the agreement continues to be shrouded in secrecy.

Rossini asked the USTR about its claims that the TPP’s intellectual property chapter will provide for fair use in its IP chapter, and how those public statements starkly contrast with the recent leaked TPP chapter that shows that the US delegation is in fact pushing for provisions that will restrict non-US countries from enacting fair use. Further, they neglected to comment on the fact that the leaked test has the potential to limit US fair use to the three-step test restrictions. In response, the lead negotiator for the USTR dodged the question and stated that they would not comment on issues raised by text EFF has “purportedly” received. The representative did acknowledge that fair use would be discussed during the week's meetings.

This is not "transparency," no matter how many times the USTR claims that they have "unprecedented" levels of transparency around the TPP negotiations. If negotiators won't share what they're even negotiating, and won't respond to any questions related to the actual text that's leaked, the only thing you can discuss are vague generalities not found in the leaked documents. That's insane. And because of that, the negotiators are focused on ridiculous ideas. For example, the EFF writeup notes that negotiators were asked how they could justify negotiating expansive copyright laws in secret after seeing what happened with SOPA and ACTA... and the response revealed just how out of touch the negotiators are. They don't even realize that the DMCA is controversial:

Quote
The last question of the briefing came from EFF’s International Intellectual Property Coordinator, Maira Sutton, who raised from the crowd and asked the lead negotiator how they justify pushing for ever more restrictive copyright laws in the agreement even though it has become clear, with the defeat of ACTA in Europe, that users are sick and tired of international agreements regulating their Internet through overprotective intellectual property provisions... In response, the lead negotiator for the US stated that the standard for copyright regulation in international agreements has been the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). They claimed that the DMCA was legislated fairly and is an effective model for copyright enforcement in the US. The representatives' answer contradicted the fact that EFF and others have been arguing for years that the DMCA is fraught with problems. Sutton responded that based upon what we saw in the recent leaked text on fair use, developing countries would not be able to implement such copyright laws as soundly given that the three-step test language restricts signatory nations from determining and establishing fair use as they see fit.

So, the end result is that we have a completely secret back-room process, where the USTR pretends to listen to the public, but won't talk to them about what's in the actual negotiations, and refuses to comment on the little we actually know is in the document thanks to leaks. And because of that, we have completely clueless negotiators pushing something they think is sensible, totally ignorant of the reality.

This could be solved pretty easily: make the US positions and negotiating documents public and allow public comment on them. The USTR still hasn't given a reason why this can't be done. Though, the answer seems kind of obvious: actually being transparent would mean having to listen to the public and various experts point out where they're completely clueless. If USTR negotiators are so insecure in their positions, they shouldn't be in that job.

IainB

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Useful factual input to the debate?
There's quite a lot been said/written about opinions as to how or why we need all this regulation for copyright or control or whatever for the Internet, and opinions to the contrary. However, it generally seems to have been all a bit light on transparent and rigorous reasoning. (Too much secrecy and made-up stuff on the Pro side, and not enough information on the Con side.)

Here is what appears to be some open and genuine research/thinking - the first that I have seen on the subject - and it presents a reasoned contrarian view and argues for rational, evidence-based policy on the matter.
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks.)
Quote
Stopping the Campaign of Misinformation: New Study Affirms Less Copyright Restrictions Benefit the Economy

A new study from Australia presents the latest evidence that loosening copyright restrictions not only enables free speech, but can improve an economy as well. The study, published by the Australian Digital Alliance, indicated that if Australia expanded copyright exceptions like fair use, along with strengthening safe harbor provisions, the country could potentially add an extra $600 million to their economy.

In addition, the report details how vital copyright exceptions are to the Australian economy as a whole. As ADA’s executive officer and copyright advisor Ellen Broad told EFF, "Australia's sectors relying on copyright exceptions currently contribute 14% of our GDP, around $182 billion and they're growing rapidly. It's essential that Australia's copyright policy framework adequately support innovation and growth of these sectors in the digital environment.”

Given how much Australia’s burdensome and confusing copyright law has held up innovation, EFF is encouraged by the fact that copyright reform is being considered and debated in the public sphere.

But more broadly, this is just the latest evidence disproving a major talking point used by the MPAA and RIAA anytime copyright laws come up for a vote: that tough copyright laws are good for the economy. During the SOPA debate, organizations such as the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) claimed over and over again that the restrictive law are needed to save and create jobs. Yet the Australian study confirms similar research done by CIAA in the US, showing how important fair use exceptions are to the economy. In fact, fair use accounted “for more than $4.5 trillion in annual revenue” in the US and exceeding the economic benefits of copyright laws themselves.

Unfortunately, this new evidence probably won’t stop the MPAA and RIAA from continuing to peddle misinformation about the economics of copyright law in Australia, the US, or elsewhere. Currently, the MPAA is distributing materials to members of the US Congress—perhaps in another attempt to gin up support for SOPA 2.0—extolling how important new, restrictive laws will allegedly to help them create jobs.

But these new talking points are short on statistics—perhaps for a reason. MPAA and RIAA have used drastically exaggerated numbers and discredited studies for years to claim that laws like SOPA and PIPA—or agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership—are vital for the economy. In reality, SOPA would’ve cost many more jobs than it saved, given it would have weakened or eliminated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) safe harbors that have allowed Internet companies like Google and Facebook to thrive for the last decade. That’s why when a survey was taken of venture capitalists, they “overwhelmingly” indicated they would stop investing in tech companies—the one of the economy’s fastest growing sectors—if SOPA were to pass.

Since the economic numbers don’t add up, advocates for draconian copyright laws have resorted to other misleading arguments. For example, this week, a Fox News editorial erroneously argued that intellectual property protection is a “forgotten” constitutional right and “it is the obligation” of Congress to pass laws like SOPA to protect rightsholders. Of course, the problem with SOPA was that it was written so broadly it would’ve ended up censoring millions of Americans who never even thought about copyright, but that’s beside the point. The US Constitution does mention intellectual property but not in the context of an individual right or mandate to Congress. Specifically, it says:

Quote
   Congress shall have power . . . To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.
A plain reading of the clause indicates Congress has the authority to use copyright law to promote creativity—if they so choose. There’s no mandate for Congress to pass any copyright law that comes their way, and there’s no clause guaranteeing the rights of movie studios and record labels to maximize their profits. Meanwhile, creativity—far from being stifled without more copyright laws on the books—is currently thriving. There’s been a market increase in the amount of movies, music, and books produced over the last decade, as this comprehensive study done by CCIA and Techdirt’s Mike Masnick shows.

So while huge legacy corporations may find it harder to keep a grip on their market share, it’s not because people have stopped creating and selling art. It’s quite the opposite: they’re creating more by incorporating fair use, cutting out the middlemen, and bringing their art directly to their fans through the Internet.

Unfortunately, all too often copyright maximalists, like the author in the Fox News editorials, put forth the idea that “lawlessness” prevails on the Internet, even though in the US and abroad there are many copyright laws already on the books. In the US alone, Congress has passed fifteen separate laws in the last thirty years alone strengthening the powers of rightsholders.

Most notably, the US DMCA gives power to copyright holders to force websites to take down any of their protected material. In fact, the DMCA gives disproportionate power to the rightsholders, often leading to abuse, and in turn, censoring material that is clearly protected free speech. As Techdirt noted, in Australia, their outdated and burdensome copyright system “is ill-equipped to cope with key Internet activities like search and indexing, caching and hosting, since they all involve incidental copying.”

Both countries would be better served by evidence-based policy that promoted the intended balance of copyright. After decades of unbalanced legislation, the evidence is clear, and points to relaxing copyright restrictions, not strengthening them.

For more on the debate over the economics of copyright see here and here.

IainB

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I often wonder:
  • Why do governments increasingly seem to be so Hell-bent on instituting regulation and control over the Internet freedoms that previously existed?
  • Surely it can't all be only because the **AA are lobbying for it?
  • What are the drivers for it all?
  • If one main objective is (the usual) money/power, then what does it (regulation/control over the Internet) achieve for governments in that regard?

I subscribe to a website called GaryNorth.com, mostly to pick up any thoughts he may have on economics on his public pages (he has a members-only paywall for other pages). He often has interesting comments in his public pages, and I thought this post (copied below) was particularly interesting due to its relevance to the effect of Information Technology on the communication of Establishment propaganda. (Echoes of George Orwell's 1984.)

Digital Technologies vs. Truth Suppression
(Copied in the spoiler below as-is, with some emphasis of mine. There are no embedded hyperlinks. The website is worth a look as well.)
Spoiler
Quote
Digital Technologies vs. Truth Suppression
Gary North
Reality Check (Sept. 21, 2012)

I am going to tell you some stories. To make it interesting, I will begin with one which could make one of my readers the deal of a lifetime. It ends on September 30. He who hesitates is lost.

I begin with the obvious: the falling cost of Internet communications is revolutionizing the spread of knowledge. In doing so, it is undermining every establishment. Every establishment rests mush of its power on official views of the past. This is seen in the novel by George Orwell, "Nineteen Eighty-Four." The tyrant who enforces the totalitarian state says this. "Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

The cost of controlling the past has risen exponentially since 1995: the year that the graphics browser was introduced. Then came Google.

I know Orwell said this, because I just verified it on several websites. That took under one minute. There is some debate over punctuation: period, colon, or semicolon. I think I will not go to the trouble of looking it up in my library, which is in a special room miles away.

The cost of research is a tiny fraction of what it was in 1995. The Web has changed everything.

This leads me to my special offer. In the late nineteenth century, only those people who lived near Boston could research the history of American Puritanism. Only there were the primary sources available: Harvard University's library and the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society. You had to go to Yale after you were finished in Boston. There were other collections that were scattered across the region. The main one was at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts. According to the AAS,

Quote
    Clifford K. Shipton, who became librarian in 1940, improved access to primary sources through partnerships with technology companies. The Early American Imprints microprint edition provided scholars with images of pages of books and pamphlets printed in America before 1801. Researchers around the world were soon eagerly reading the contents of imprints housed in libraries miles away.

Understand what this means: everything printed in colonial America from 1639 to early 1801. Then a follow-up collection was published: 1801-1811. I wrote my PhD. Dissertation in Riverside, California, based mainly on that microcard collection. That was over 40 years ago. I do not know how much the University of California's library paid for that set. I think it was a lot.

Then came microfiche. You could make crude photocopies of these microfiche. You could not with microcards. You had to take notes by hand. I still have mine in one long note card box. Historians never toss out their notes.

The price of the microcards fell to zero. A man I knew 20 years ago found out that the publishing firm was going to use the sets for land fill. They did not want competition for the microfiche edition. He made the company a deal. He would buy them. He wiuld sell them only to research organizations and private high schools that would not buy the microfiche sets. The company agreed.

My Institute for Christian Economics bought the set for $10,000. It paid $8,000 for a complete set of all the newspapers, 1780-1800. I got five readers. In today's money, that is at last $30,000. I overpaid.

Then came digitization and online searching. The microfiche are worth nothing.

ICE gave the microcard set to a private Christian day school. But it has run out of space in its library. It is going to give the set away. For the price of a trip to northwest Arkansas and renting a 16-foot truck, someone can own the set.

If no one wants it, it will return to land fill. Ashes to ashes, plastic to plastic.

With this set, you can train students to do primary source research. Or you can do such research yourself.

You have all the newspapers of the American Revolution. You can verify anyone's footnotes.

You get a complete index. This is an ideal tool for any day school that focuses on America's Christian history.

For a private high school that advertises itself as an academic institution for college-bound students. This set on the library's walls says "this institution is serious."

Deadline to apply: September 30, 2012. That is the email inquiry date deadline. If you are interested, send a note to Art Cunningham, art-sharon@cox.net.

CRITICS WITH DIGITS
It is getting close to impossible for any establishment group to get its version of the past accepted. There are rival sites that provide links to evidence that undermines the establishment's view.

In the good old days -- pre-1995 -- an establishment did not face a major challenge. It cost too much to research the facts. It cost too much to typeset a book, print it, store it, advertise it, and get distribution. The few that did this got a tiny market. It could be easily dismissed: "conspiracy theory." The old tactic is still used: "conspiracy theory." But it's a hard sell, because so many documents are online disproving the establishment's view. Too many people are not buying it.

The common man may not have an opinion about what did happen, but he has doubts about the official view. In the case of 9-11, people ask: "Where is the evidence that a plane crashed in one spot in Shanksville?" There was zero debris. There is video evidence of an empty hole. "Let's roll!" is inspiring. A missile shot by an Air Force jet isn't. But debris scattered over miles conveys a message: "This plane fell apart in the sky, not on the ground."

Conspiracy theory? You bet!

If the official view is clearly impossible regarding 25% of 9-11, how about 50%? Where was the debris at the Pentagon? Why was the hole so small? How did anyone navigate the required turn?

If we get to 50%, what about New York City? Why did Building 7 come down so fast? Why did a tiny paper fire bring down this building? And so forth.

Conspiracy theories? You bet!

Doubts regarding the official stories lead to doubts regarding all official stories. Doubt undermines legitimacy. Without legitimacy, an establishment must substitute power for authority, external government for self-government. The cost of forcing people to behave is too great for any government. Without widespread self-government to enforce its demands, an establishment becomes just another competing interest group.

This is why the World Wide Web is the biggest threat in history to every government-supported special-interest group. They all know this. There is hardly anything they can do about it. They rail against conspiracy theories, but the mantra is not working any more. It worked when the average person did not have access to books. He did not have access to supporting evidence one click away. Now he does. There is nothing that the various establishments can do about this, other than invoke the mantra: "Conspiracy theory."

It is a case of a government-subsidized pot calling a privately funded kettle black.

THE MISES INSTITUTE
The Ludwig von Mises Institute was the first comprehensive website to make available a comprehensive alternative to the Keynesian/monetarist establishment in the economics guild. It offers books, articles, and videos produced by scholars who reject this establishment view of economic cause and effect.

The department titled "Literature" offers hundreds of classic rejections of the Keynesian/monetarist outlook: in theory, in policy, and in economic history. Only the largest research libraries have even half of these books. These books are in PDF format and other e-book formats. The student can download all of them free of charge.

The student can also buy print-on-demand copies for about $20 each. This printing technology has broken the cartel of the book publishers. They never had to burn books. They only had to return the manuscripts to authors. This was so much more urbane than book-burning. Book-burning was so "National Socialist, 1936. "These days, any author can typeset his book with Microsoft Word $100) or Open Office Write (free). Or, if he wants to go big-time, he can buy a copy of inDesign and climb the learning curve. The point is, the barrier is merely a cheap software program and learning time. The barrier is no longer money.

"Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." That was what radical activist A. J. Liebling said in the 1950s. Now anyone with an Internet connection who wants one can lease one free of charge. You can post anything on Scribd. It stays up, free of charge.

The Mises Institute has found that giving way PDFs of books sells lots of printed books. Book readers suffer from what I call Picard's syndrome. They just have to hold a book to enjoy it. A PDF or a Kindle is not good enough. (http://www.lewrockwe.../north/north228.html)

Even worse from the Keynesian/monetarist establishment's outlook is the power of YouTube. The Mises Institute posts all lectures delivered at its meetings. Then the video manager uses the YouTube embed feature to post it on the Institute's site. Somehow, I never see any ads. The videos begin at the beginning of the lecture session.

Videos are a good way for people to get a quick overview of any topic. The student can decide if it's worth pursuing. If he thinks it is, he can use the Literature section of the site to get started.

People like videos. They watch lots of them. They can more easily and more rapidly pick up new information in a well-delivered speech than in a book. The speeches stay on the site permanently.

The traffic that the Mises.org site receives is greater than the traffic on the site of the American Economic Association, the most important academic organization in the field of economics. Its site is rated as 140,000 on Alexa. The Mises site is rated at 17,000. There is no comparison.

The strategy of the Mises Institute is to give everything away. This strategy is working.

CONCLUSION
The Internet has overcome the establishments' distribution systems. Information delivery systems present numerous outlets to anyone with an Internet connection. Very skilled communicators can now overcome what would have been nearly impenetrable barriers to entry in 1995.

The quality of the broad mass of digits is low, but the quality at the top is very high. Open entry has produced outlets for people with very great skills in both research and expression.

This process will accelerate. Every establishment will come under fire intellectually and rhetorically. They will eventually suffer major reversals.

It is happening today. The ability of any establishment to manipulate the relevant climate of opinion among younger Web users is limited and shrinking. As these users get older, they will pay less heed to the opinions of the establishments.


I could be wrong, of course, but I optimistically interpret the last line of the conclusions as suggesting that a real/potential benefit of Internet freedoms is that people using the Internet could tend to become better able to think critically for themselves (independence of thought) and form opinions based on good information and reason rather than on the dumbed-down propaganda they get fed, thus making them less amenable to manipulation by others (including the State).

kyrathaba

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onlinePiracy.jpgInternet freedoms restrained - SOPA/PIPA/OPEN/ACTA/CETA/PrECISE-related updates

TaoPhoenix

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Heh drop-in-ocean and all, but I just set my user agent string to a big complicated "Creative Commons original work Non-Commercial-No Derivatives".

So if I did that right, a site can sniff it, but then they can't package it and sell data attached to it, right?

IainB

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Well, it could have been an M.C. Hammer song: "You can't stop this!"
If this post (see below) is true, then I am unspeakably annoyed by it as it looks like US Totalitarianism. Generally the only way to fight Totalitarianism is by revolt.
Just more of @Renegade's "cockroaches", I suppose.
(I've only copied just the start of the post to give you some idea. You can read the rest at the link if you are interested.)
Quote
Simulated Cybersecurity Threats That Pave the Way for Internet Restrictions
by Activist
Susanne Posel, Contributor
Activist Post

Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, spoke to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee meeting this week and confirmed that the Obama administration is circumventing Congress and drafting an “inter-agency process” which is “close to completion depending on a few issues that need to be resolved at the highest levels.”

John Brennan, assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism and chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation has planted the concept that a cybersecurity executive order will give the Obama administration power over the future of the internet in ways the passage of legislation would never be able to provide. In a letter to Senator Jay Rockefeller, Brennan said that Obama is “exploring issuing an executive order to direct federal agencies to secure the nation’s critical infrastructure by working with the private sector to develop security standards.”
(Read the rest at the link.)

IainB

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The only positive thing about this EFF.org post that I can think of is that, for a change, it confirms that it is the EU and not just the US that seems to be so Hell-bent on eroding Internet and other freedoms - but then, we probably already knew that. (Sigh.)
(Copied below sans numerous hyperlinks - so please see the actual post for those.)
Quote
Cleansing the Internet of Terrorism: Leaked EU Proposal Would Erode Civil Liberties
by Jillian C. York and Katitza Rodriguez

A new project aimed at “countering illegal use of the Internet” is making headlines this week.  The project, dubbed CleanIT, is funded by the European Commission (EC) to the tune of more than $400,000 and, it would appear, aims to eradicate the Internet of terrorism.

European Digital Rights, a Brussels-based organization consisting of 32 NGOs throughout Europe (and of which EFF is a member), has recently published a leaked draft document from CleanIT.

On the project’s website, its stated goal is to reduce the impact of the use of the Internet for “terrorist purposes” but “without affecting our online freedom.”  While the goal may seem noble enough, the project actually contains a number of controversial proposals that will compel Internet intermediaries to police the Internet and most certainly will affect our online freedom. Let’s take a look at a few of the most controversial elements of the project.

Privatization of Law Enforcement
Under the guise of fighting ‘terrorist use of the Internet,' the “CleanIT project," led by the Dutch police, has developed a set of ‘detailed recommendations’ that will compel Internet companies to act as arbiters of what is “illegal” or “terrorist” uses of the Internet.

Specifically, the proposal suggests that “legislation must make clear Internet companies are obliged to try and detect to a reasonable degree … terrorist use of the infrastructure” and, even more troubling, “can be held responsible for not removing (user generated) content they host/have users posted on their platforms if they do not make reasonable effort in detection.”

EFF has always expressed concerns about relying upon intermediaries to police the Internet.  As an organization, we believe in strong legal protections for intermediaries and as such, have often upheld the United States’ Communications Decency Act, Section 230 (CDA 230) as a positive example of intermediary protection. While even CDA 230’s protections do not extend to truly criminal activities, the definition of “terrorist” is, in this context, vague enough to raise alarm (see conclusion for more details).

Erosion of Legal Safeguards
The recommendations call for the easy removal of content from the Internet without following “more labour intensive and formal” procedures. They suggest new obligations that would compel Internet companies to hand over all necessary customer information for investigation of “terrorist use of the Internet.” This amounts to a serious erosion of legal safeguards. Under this regime, an online company must assert some vague notion of “terrorist use of the Internet,” and they will have carte blanche to bypass hard-won civil liberties protections.

The recommendations also suggest that knowingly providing hyperlinks to a site that hosts “terrorist content” will be defined as illegal. This would negatively impact a number of different actors, from academic researchers to journalists, and is a slap in the face to the principles of free expression and the free flow of knowledge.

Data Retention
Internet companies under the CleanIT regime would not only be allowed, but in fact obligated to store communications containing “terrorist content,” even when it has been removed from their platform, in order to supply the information to law enforcement agencies.

Material Support and Sanctions
The project also offers guidelines to governments, including the recommendation that governments start a “full review of existing national legislation” on reducing terrorist use of the Internet. This includes a reminder of Council Regulation (EC) No. 881/2002 (art. 1.2), which prohibits Internet services from being provided to designated terrorist entities such as Al Qaeda. It is worth noting that similar legislation exists in the US (see: 18 U.S.C. § 2339B) and has been widely criticized as criminalizing speech in the form of political advocacy.

The guidelines spell out how governments should implement filtering systems to block civil servants from any “illegal use of the Internet.”

Furthermore, governments’ criteria for purchasing policies and public grants will be tied to Internet companies’ track record for reducing the “terrorist use of the Internet.”

Notice and Take Action
Notice and take action policies allow law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to notify and act against Internet companies, who must remove “offending” content as fast as possible. This obligates LEAs to determine the extent to which content can be considered “offensive.” An LEA must “contextualize content and describe how it breaches national law.”

The leaked document contains recommendations that would require LEAs to, in some cases, send notice that access to content must be blocked, followed by notice that the domain registration must be ended. In other cases, sites' security certificates would be downgraded.

Real Identity Policies
Under the CleanIT provisions, all network users, whether in social or professional networks, will be obligated to supply their real identities to service providers (including social networks), effectively destroying online anonymity, which EFF believes is crucial for protecting the safety and well-being of activists, whistle-blowers, victims of domestic violence, and many others (for more on that, see this excellent article from Geek Feminism). The Constitutional Court of South Korea found an Internet "real name" policy to be unconstitutional.

Under the provisions, companies can even require users to provide proof of their identity, and can store the contact information of users in order to provide it to LEAs in the case of an investigation into potential terrorist use of the Internet. The provisions will even require individuals to utilize a real image of him or herself, destroying decades of Internet culture (in addition to, of course, infringing on user privacy).

Semi-automated detection
The plan also calls for semi-automated detection of “terrorist content.” While content would not automatically be removed, any searches for known terrorist organizations’ names, logos or other related content will be automatically detected. This will certainly inhibit research into anything remotely associated with what law enforcement might deem “terrorist content,” and would seriously hinder normal student inquiry into current events and history! In effect, all searches about terrorism might end up falling into an LEA’s view of terrorist propaganda.

LEA Access to User Content
The document recommends that, at the European level, browsers or operating systems should develop a reporting button of terrorist use of the Internet, and suggests governments draft legislation to make this reporting button compulsory for browser or operating systems.

Furthermore, the document recommends that judges, public prosecutors and (specialized) police officers be able to temporarily remove content that is being investigated.

Banning languages
Frighteningly, one matter up for discussion within the CleanIT provisions is the banning of languages that have not been mastered by “abuse specialists or abuse systems.” The current recommendation contained in the document would make the use of such languages “unacceptable and preferably technically impossible.”

With more than 200 commonly-used languages and more than 6,000 languages spoken globally, it seems highly unlikely that the abuse specialists or systems will expand beyond a select few. For the sake of comparison, Google Translate only works with 65 languages.

At a time when new initiatives to preserve endangered languages are taking advantage of new technologies, it seems shortsighted and even chauvinistic to consider limiting what languages can be used online.

What is terrorism, anyway?
While the document states that the first reference for determining terrorist content will be UN/EU/national terrorist sanctions list, it seems that the provisions allow for a broader interpretation of “terrorism.” This is incredibly problematic in a multicultural environment; as the old adage goes, “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” Even a comparison of the US and EU lists of designated terrorist entities shows discrepancies, and the recent controversy in the US around the de-listing of an Iranian group shows how political such decisions can be.

(Conclusion)
Overall, we see the CleanIT project as a misguided effort to introduce potentially endless censorship and surveillance that would effectively turn Internet companies in Internet cops. We are also disappointed in the European Commission for funding the project: Given the strong legal protections for free expression and privacy contained in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union [PDF], it’s imperative that any efforts to track down and prosecute terrorism must also protect fundamental rights. The CleanIT regime, on the other hand, clearly erodes these rights.

Tinman57

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New bill attempts to curb Big Brother’s ability to snoop and squelch free speech online

http://www.pcworld.c...e-speech-online.html

IainB

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New bill attempts to curb Big Brother’s ability to snoop and squelch free speech online
http://www.pcworld.c...e-speech-online.html
Wow! Let's hope they go through OK. Looks like it might be two seriously intelligent and hopeful pieces of proposed legislation:

If I was an American, their proposer, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (California Democrat) would get my vote for that.

Renegade

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New bill attempts to curb Big Brother’s ability to snoop and squelch free speech online
http://www.pcworld.c...e-speech-online.html
Wow! Let's hope they go through OK. Looks like it might be two seriously intelligent and hopeful pieces of proposed legislation:

If I was an American, their proposer, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (California Democrat) would get my vote for that.


Hmmm...

Quote
The text of this bill is not yet available. Please check back soon.

Now let's see, what was that other little bit:

Quote
This bill seeks to establish a formal process for the U.S. government to evaluate policies that "pose threats to Internet users and online services".

Kind of makes me think that "pose threats to Internet users" means "give them privacy", and "threats to online services", means "the possibility of disabling or disrupting surveillance"...

Not sure whether I'm being cynical or not.

Isn't the purpose of legislation to create a Trojan horse to slip in another step in the totalitarian tip-toe? Or am I being cynical?

But seriously - why can't the text of the bill be made available? What is there to hide? Oh... right... Greek soldiers... ;)
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Tinman57

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New bill attempts to curb Big Brother’s ability to snoop and squelch free speech online
http://www.pcworld.c...e-speech-online.html
Wow! Let's hope they go through OK. Looks like it might be two seriously intelligent and hopeful pieces of proposed legislation:

If I was an American, their proposer, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (California Democrat) would get my vote for that.


Hmmm...

Quote
The text of this bill is not yet available. Please check back soon.

Now let's see, what was that other little bit:

Quote
This bill seeks to establish a formal process for the U.S. government to evaluate policies that "pose threats to Internet users and online services".

Kind of makes me think that "pose threats to Internet users" means "give them privacy", and "threats to online services", means "the possibility of disabling or disrupting surveillance"...

Not sure whether I'm being cynical or not.

Isn't the purpose of legislation to create a Trojan horse to slip in another step in the totalitarian tip-toe? Or am I being cynical?

But seriously - why can't the text of the bill be made available? What is there to hide? Oh... right... Greek soldiers... ;)

That's not being cynical, that's being realistic!  The U.S. gov't is the best that money can buy...

  Heck, my own senator is taking money from Louisiana casino's for voting to outlaw gambling in Texas.