Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Cybercrime under control?

Back in August we reported on a surprisingly visionary paper from the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee, which requested urgent government action against cybercrime. Last Friday Blogzilla commented that the official government response was disappointing. The government's response has been that all is well, all legislation is fit for purpose, policing is good, and that the government is "formulating an information assurance strategy for Government". Beware regulators when they assure you that they are formulating strategies. That usually means that they are sitting around twiddling their thumbs, but I digress.

Today the BBC reports that the peers at the Science and Technology committee have not liked this reply, and we cannot really blame them. The Earl of Erroll (try saying that really fast) went as far as to mention heads and sand, and that cannot be a good thing.

Seriously though, according to APACS, card not present fraud in the first semester of this year reached 50% of all card fraud fraud, online banking losses had exceeded £7 million GBP (about $14.4 million USD), and they had handled 7,224 reported phishing incidents. Nothing to worry about indeed.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Virtual worlds bad for kids?

Virtual Worlds with commercial toy tie-ins may be bad for kids. This seems to be the message by Lord Puttnam in his opening address to the Virtual Worlds Forum in London (which unfortunately I'm not attending). He seems troubled by the ethical implications of virtual worlds designed specifically for small kids.

I seem to be this premise repeated often in debates regarding new technologies. Paraphrasing something I heard at a conference recently (I can't remember who said it), all technologies that come into being before you are 18 years-old are part of the natural order of things. All technologies that come into being when you are between 18-35 can be adopted and learnt. All technologies invented after you are 35 are the work of the devil and must be banned.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


It was meant to happen sooner or later....

No comments really.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

OiNK shut down

News sources here in the UK are reporting of another piracy site shut down by police, and its owner arrested. OiNK is a subscription-only site which shares pre-released music for a fee (never 'eard of it meself, subtle name though). The man has been arrested "on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and infringement of copyright law".

I have no qualms whatsoever in applauding such actions, I have no sympathy for subscription websites that charge for services that are never transferred to artists. The difference to cases such as TV-Links is evident. TV-Links and similar aggregators provide links to content hosted elsewhere, while services like OiNK host the content and charge for access to it.

Update: Apparently, news reports were wrong and OiNK is not a subscription service. I'm happy to admit when I've been wrong and withdraw the above comment.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

TV-Links clampdown

TV-Links, a website hosting links to TV Shows and movies, has been shut down, and the police have arrested the site's administrator. According to FACT, the man was arrested "in connection with offences relating to the facilitation of copyright infringement on the Internet." The man has been released pending further investigation.

TV Links is one of the growing number of websites who do nothing but aggregate links to TV shows. It is not a pirating site as such as it does not contain any content, but one could certainly argue that it serves to facilitate copyright infringement. The interesting legal question of the week is: does providing links to infringing material constitute copyright infringement? The ORG-Legal mailing list has been abuzz with legal analysis of just this question.

The question of linking has had a long and interesting history in copyright law. The issue has been the subject of some debate, but the assumption for the last ten years has been that links as such do not infringe copyright law. The two most cited linking cases have not actually dealt with the subject of linking. Coiepresse v Google was really mostly a trade mark dispute, and Shetland Times v Wills was mostly about deep linking and whether or not web pages were literary works.

One of the reasons why the linking question has been kept alive has been because of the WIPO Copyright Treaty, which reads in article 8 that "authors of literary and artistic works shall enjoy the exclusive right of authorizing any communication to the public of their works, by wire or wireless means, including the making available to the public of their works in such a way that members of the public may access these works from a place and at a time individually chosen by them." It seems clear that this article tries to cover online piracy, but as some commentators have remarked, it is not an easy fit against linking. Bittorrent in particular does not seem to be covered by the provisions on the communication to the public.

If the law on linking is so thin and tenuous, how is it possible that this man was arrested? We are not just talking about a civil lawsuit, we are talking about criminal liability here. Copyfighter extraordinaire Becky Hogge from the Open Rights Group phoned the Gloucestershire police, and they informed her that the man had been arrested under Section 92 of the Trade Marks Act 1994. Trade mark law? Yes indeed! Welcome to IP Maximalist land: when copyright law does not allow you to make a tenuous claim to an action that may or may not be illegal, use an entirely different area of Intellectual Property Law that allows you to get away with the most outrageous criminal claims.

I have now become so accustomed to abuses against copyright law that I thought nothing would ever surprise me, but this one has. I would believe that the criminal offence typified by s92 of the Trade Marks Act is very specific, the offender must commit the infringing act "with a view to gain for himself or another, or with intent to cause loss to another". I believe that the only part of s92 that would apply to this case might be paragraph 3:

"(3) A person commits an offence who with a view to gain for himself or another, or with intent to cause loss to another, and without the consent of the proprietor—
(a) makes an article specifically designed or adapted for making copies of a sign identical to, or likely to be mistaken for, a registered trade mark, [...]"
Even this would be an extremely convoluted reading of the act. Daithí Mac Síthigh has commented that apparently this is one of FACT's favourite criminal sections, as it is listed in their site, and also has been used before. Why? because it allows for some draconian sanctions:
"(6) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—
(a) on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or both;
(b) on conviction on indictment to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or both. "
Ouch! Perhaps FACT could suffer the fate of IFPI's dot com domain, which has been snatched by Pirate Bay.

Update: A search engine in China has been cleared of linking to infringing content, which lends strength to the proposition that linking is not infringement.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Three years of llamas

TechnoLlama is now three years old, my first post to this blog was on October 20 2004. In that period of time I've written 812 post at an average 5,000 words per month, have infringed copyright hundreds of times by in-lining pictures, and drank Cthulhu knows how many mugs of coffee upon the completion of each post.

Since I started gathering statistics, the blog has had 53,335 unique visits, with 68,012 hits. The largest number of visits on one single day were 1,805 as a response to a story about Facebook. The number of readers has also been increasing, from just over 20 per day back in 2005, to an average 300 readers per day on a weekday, 200 of which subscribe via RSS or email.

The search engine impact of the blog has also gone up. In November 2004 there were 3 sites linking to the blog in Altavista. In April 2006 the figure had increased to 1,700; while in November 2006 there were 2,590 links to the blog. At the start of the month Altavista listed 11,800 links, while today there are 15,600 (the word I've been looking for in my mind is 'momentum'). The Technorati impact appears to remain at an acceptable 57.

I really wanted to thank my readers (habitual and casual) for making it all worthwhile.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bragg v Linden Labs

The dust is starting to settle in the widely publicised case of Bragg v. Linden Research, which was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. However, one must assume that plaintiff Marc Bragg has done rather well out of the deal, as his alter ego Marc Woebegone has been restored to the virtual world.

Mr Bragg is an attorney who exploited a vulnerability in Second Life's land auction system, which he then used to purchase $8,000 USD (approximately $2 million Linden dollars) worth of land for only $300 USD investment. Linden Labs froze his in-game assets, confiscated the land and terminated his account. Bragg sued Linden Labs for breach of contract, unfair trade practices, and later expanded his claims in order to obtain an injunction disallowing Linden Labs to terminate users' accounts (more details here). The case generated considerable interest because it seemed to be the first suit involving virtual property.

The first important legal question solved was a ruling by Judge Robreno denying a motion to compel arbitration. Second Life's terms of service contained an arbitration clause which read:

"Any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with this Agreement or the performance, breach or termination thereof, shall be finally settled by binding arbitration in San Francisco, California under the Rules of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce by three arbitrators appointed in accordance with said rules (...)"
Judge Robreno adequately ruled that such clause was unconscionable as the agreement was an adhesion contract that imposed unduly punitive and expensive restrictions on user's remedies. As current and former students know, I always repeat that in this side of the Atlantic such clause is inherently unfair under the Unfair Contract Terms Regulations.

Besides the arbitration woes, this suit asked a couple of particularly interesting legal questions. Firstly, is virtual property analogous to real property, and therefore would property owners be owed some form of compensation in case of confiscation? Secondly, is the use of a game exploit reason enough to cancel an account? In other words, are game exploits hacking? It is a pity that we are not going to get a judgement on these questions. However, I have to say that I hold no sympathy for either party. Nic Suzor has made an excellent point about Linden Labs' behaviour, stating that "You simply can’t encourage people to invest and ‘own’ virtual land, run around telling them that they can make lots of money, and then act as if they have no interest in it whatsoever." Similarly, Bragg is a cheat, and I do believe that his behaviour is more akin to fraud and hacking than to innocently exploiting an in-game vulnerability. Normal game cheats do not allow you to obtain a profit of more than $7,000 USD.

Bragg's protestations sound hollow. He's on record saying that: "If they're not running their auctions properly to begin with ... the onus is on them to do that". Oh, really? Imagine a hacker using that excuse about a bank's security, or a phisher uttering such words about a consumer, and you will see how Bragg's behaviour is not only morally suspect, it could be even criminal.

Pah, who wants to buy land in Second Life anyway?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

One-click patent claims rejected

(via Lilian Edwards and Boing Boing) Several claims belonging to the infamous Amazon One-Click patent (U.S. 5,960,411) have been rejected by the USPTO. For those who have never heard of it, this patent is for a "method and system for placing a purchase order via a communications network" a broad claim on the inventive use of cookies to make consumer transactions faster and easier.

The third party re-examination procedure was brought by one Matthew Graham in 2006, and has just been decided. The claims rejected are 1-5 and 11-26, which completely eviscerates the patent. The examiner has decided that many of the claims are already covered by previous patents, and therefore have prior-art.

Just in case we are feeling smug about the madness sweeping through the other side of the Atlantic in an effort to patent anything under the sun made by man, I would suggest that people have a look at European Patents EP1678658 and EP1825357 held by Amazon. Computer implemented inventions are alive and well in Europa.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

ILAWS launch

I attended the launch for ILAWS, a new IT centre at the University of Southampton led by our very own PanGloss. The introductory lecture was given by Professor Chris Reed, who talked about making business online, where he concentrated on legal issues ranging from some of the traditional IT subjects to rather more interesting Web 2.0 issues.

As is usually the case with introductory lectures, the subject tends to be rather on the broad side, but there were some interesting points made. Particularly, flags of convenience for electronic commerce joints and risk management in an online environment. A point that I usually make is that a lot of activities online are probably a crime somewhere in the world, and assessing risk is usually a problem for users. Professor Reed made a point about the pitfalls of managing such activities online, and issued a word of warning.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mac migration blues

Most people would agree that Windows Vista has been an unmitigated disaster. I have finally taken the plunge and sold my old and trusty Toshiba laptop to a friend (although I forgot to photograph all of the swag). I have migrated to a MacBook Pro, and I must say that I'm loving it. The migration process has been relatively painless, and I've been impressed by Tiger's functionality and the range of quality open source software available to compliment the pre-installed applications. And yes, Keynote makes PowerPoint look like the second-rate bullet point churning nightmare that it is.

The migration has got me thinking about interoperability. One reason why I've found it easy to migrate is the fact that I have been using computers for years and years, and getting used to new interfaces and methods of doing things is just part of the process. In my time I have worked in an Apple Macintosh, DOS, Windows 3.x, Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, and XP; and in SuSE Linux 6-10.2, with a little bit of Ubuntu and Vista thrown in. These computing experiences have taught me the value of keeping all of my personal files ready to go, and in formats that are export-friendly. While it is early days with Mac OS, something that I find slightly frustrating is that I cannot look under the hood as I would do in Linux, and there seems to be less obvious control to customise the OS experience.

Having said that, I am seriously thinking of giving up on Linux altogether. I always kept a running version of Linux in my laptop, but with Mac OS, I have to wonder what's the point any more. I might install Ubuntu alongside Windows XP using Parallels just as a curiosity, but I do not think I'll use it that much. Let's be honest, the Linux desktop has failed to live up to its early promise, and Linux usage has not expanded outside of the geek communities despite the Vista fiasco. It seems to me that Mac is picking up those people in the middle. People who know enough to install Linux on their laptops and get it to work, but who cannot be bothered with the countless hours getting it to work and reading hardware compatibility tweaks and FAQs any more.

Now, I just need to get Leopard installed in my home PC, and the Kool-Aid will have been thoroughly consumed.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Linux patent infringement suit

(via Groklaw) Red Hat and Novell, owners of the two largest Linux enterprise distributions, have been sued in Texas (where else?) by patent troll IP Innovation, part of the troll tribe Acacia. The subject of the litigation is U.S. Patent 5,072,412, which protects a user interface with multiple workspaces for sharing display system objects. The abstract reads:

"Workspaces provided by an object-based user interface appear to share windows and other display objects. Each workspace's data structure includes, for each window in that workspace, a linking data structure called a placement which links to the display system object which provides that window, which may be a display system object in a preexisting window system. The placement also contains display characteristics of the window when displayed in that workspace, such as position and size. Therefore, a display system object can be linked to several workspaces by a placement in each of the workspaces' data structures, and the window it provides to each of those workspaces can have unique display characteristics, yet appear to the user to be the same window or versions of the same window. As a result, the workspaces appear to be sharing a window."
I went through the complaint to see if it could elucidate what this steaming pile of gibberish means, but there was little clue. It took me a while going through the entire claim in order to get an idea of what this entails, as I could not believe that such a broad patent could exist. I thought initially that they were talking about previews, or even application linking. However, it seems that this is all about user interfaces, and it could easily apply to any sort of graphical display using nested windows linked through an operating system. It is important to note that IP Innovation sued Apple using the exactly same patent (a case that was settled out of court).

Pam at Groklaw has put forward the theory that Microsoft is behind this case, but I disagree, as Novell still seems to be in their good books. However, the fact that this preposterously broad patent has been used against Apple and now Linux would seem to indicate some involvement from a certain large software corporation based in Richmond, WA. Nevertheless, what seems evident is that patent trolls may start turning their heads towards open source, and large Linux providers are the obvious targets.

I was also wondering about the terribly adequate choice of name for this particular troll. IP Innovation, a company that does not make anything, it only tries to find innovative ways to detach true innovators from their cash. I say that all open source developers should leave the United States and move to Europe, it is a little bit saner over here. Our patent trolls are very small.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Re-thinking virtual world strategies

A couple of separate pieces exemplify some of the problems and opportunities for virtual worlds.

Firstly, Reuters reports that several companies are re-thinking their virtual world strategy. Companies spent millions to jump into the Second Life bandwagon only to find that nobody visits the vast corporate environments ("if you build it they will come", they thought, ha!). The problem with hyped technologies is that bandwagon jumping rarely works, the first innovators reap the rewards, and then there is a vast number of imitators that intend to get their share of the rewards, but rarely do (and usually are the ones who disappear when the bubble bursts). This seems to be happening with companies who spent millions into Second Life, and now realise that what people want to do with the technology is "to log on to Second Life to hang out with friends and play casual games, not visit a 3-D version of a corporate Web site."

The BBC reports that IBM has partnered with Linden Labs in order to test an avatar export utility that will allow users to, you guessed it, use their avatars across virtual worlds. I am guessing that this will encompass some form of virtual avatar standard that will map certain characteristics that can be easily transferred to other virtual worlds. I have to admit that this is an appealing prospect. Could I bring my heroes into WoW or other games? The Metaverse could be around the corner, Hiro Protagonist beware.

The uniting theme in these two items is that beyond the initial rush, there are people seriously considering the real business potential of virtual worlds. IBM seems to be betting on serving as a standard provider, and I would wager that they own a patent or two on the technology (I was not able to find one for this specific application, but look at U.S. Patent 6271843). While avatar export tools have great potential, I wonder if competitors will see it that way. The saubscription system banks precisely on the fact that some games can keep their customers for as long as they possibly can, and would not like to promote cross-platform applications.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


(via EFF) Yahoo Music's general manager has had it with DRM. Just to refresh everyone's memory, the growing rebel alliance against technological protection measures now includes EMI, Apple, Universal, eMusic and Amazon.

There is also the growing phenomenon of the DRM-free online release band. Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails have found out that they are famous enough to bypass intermediaries, and are going to release their content online.

It does not take a genius to figure out that loading music with technological protection was a bad business model. Music is a shared experience in a level unlike other entertainment media. Music is to be shared, listened to in groups, discussed and talked about. The MP3 has been with us for more than a decade, why is it that the music industry has taken this long to realise that people prefer this format to all others?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Costa Ricans vote YES to CAFTA

Costa Rica held a referendum on Sunday October 7th to decide whether or not it would approve the Dominican Republic and Central America Free Trade Agreement with the United States, and the ayes have the day with 51.6% against 48.4% nays.

I have always been conflicted about DR-CAFTA. This is a TRIPS-plus agreement implementing an IP maximalist agenda of strict anti-circumvention measures, erosion of exceptions and enactment of parallel import measures that may hinder access to generic medicines. However, for small countries located in the trade shadow of the U.S., any competitive advantage could prove crucial in attracting or repelling fickle foreign investment. While all of our neighbours have voted the agreement and fully implemented it, Costa Rica has held out because of tremendous popular opposition to the agreement. Not voting the agreement could open the gates to a migration from high-tech companies vital to the Costa Rican economy (such as Intel). I also believe that Costa Rica needs a good incentive to break the public monopolies in some sectors, particularly telecommunications and insurance, and DR-CAFTA may very well be the kicking that we require.

Similarly, I have been troubled by the fact that the CAFTA trade struggle has become the latest battleground in the ongoing cold war between the United Stated and Venezuela. With many countries moving to the left as a response to decades of American intervention in the region (and Hugo Chavez and his big chequebook), I have seen my country of origin become a proxy in the Bush - Chavez struggle for the heart of Latin America. I do not like either of them... one an uneducated buffoon and the other a character from a Magical Realism novel.

Almost on cue, S&P has given a stable rating to the Costa Rican economy as a response of the referendum. For a more detailed look at some of the issues, see the report on CAFTA and e-commerce by Jordan Hatcher, Abbe Brown and yours truly.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Company sued in Scotland for listening to radio

(via BBC) Tyre and brake fitters Kwik-Fit have been sued in Edinburgh by the UK's Performing Rights Society. The subject of the action is the fact that according to the plaintiffs, Kwik-Fit employers have been playing their radios loudly, where it can be heard by other employees and customers. This is a public performance, and therefore subject to licence fee payment to the PRS (see a list of prices for shop owners here).

While the case is on its early stages, the Court of Session has issued a ruling denying a plea by the defendants to dismiss the case as irrelevant. Lord Emslie took the claim of copyright infringement seriously enough, and commented that:

"For the purposes of this debate, neither party saw fit to address me on the law as to what might properly amount to the public playing or performance of copyright works. Both maintained that difficult questions of fact and degree might arise in that area, depending on how the evidence turned out at any proof, and that there was thus little to be gained by considering such issues in any detail at the present time. At one point during his submissions, however, I understood counsel for the defenders to accept, in broad terms, that if copyright music was audibly performed to members of the public or to workers as a group that could well constitute infringement."
The PRS has produced recorded evidence starting in 2005 of pervasive and constant radio listening in Kwik-Fit garages across the country, loud enough that the music could be *gasp* heard by the customers. The public has heard music blaring from a commercial enterprise, someone must pay! I would laugh if it was funny, but I reckon PRS are going to win this one, it all comes down to volume levels, et cetera.

I'm curious as to why the action has been brought in Scotland and not in England. Could it be that Scottish courts are perceived as being more IP-friendly?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Open database licence

Jordan Hatcher has published a draft of the Open Database Licence, which is an agreement intended to allow users to "freely share, modify, and use" databases while maintaining the same freedoms for others.

I've gone through the draft, and it is pretty good stuff. The licence clearly helps to plug a glaring hole in current licensing solutions on content and software, and finally recognises that whether we like it or not, databases are subject to the database right in Europe, and although the existing sui generis right has been criticised extensively, the current regime is going to remain in place for the foreseeable future.

Friday, October 05, 2007

RIAA wins download case

Jammie Thomas, the Minnesota woman on trial for making music available in the Kazaa network, has lost her jury case and will have to pay the plaintiffs $220,000 USD (that's $248,000 AUS). The Duluth jury held her liable for $9,250 for each of the 24 songs that were subject to the lawsuit. This is perhaps the biggest victory for the music industry in their long fight against P2P file-sharing. Forget Grokster, this is the one that people will remember.

In case you are curious, the songs are:

  • Aerosmith "Cryin'"
  • Bryan Adams "Somebody"
  • Def Leppard "Pour Some Sugar on Me"
  • Destiny's Child "Bills, Bills, Bills"
  • Janet Jackson "Let's What Awhile
  • Gloria Estefan "Here We Are"
  • Gloria Estefan "Coming Out of the Heart"
  • Gloria Estefan "Rhythm is Gonna Get You"
  • Goo Goo Dolls "Iris"
  • Green Day "Basket Case"
  • Guns N Roses "Welcome to the Jungle"
  • Guns N Roses "November Rain"
  • Journey "Faithfully"
  • Journey "Don't Stop Believing"
  • Linkin Park "One Step Closer"
  • No Doubt "Bathwater"
  • No Doubt "Hella Good"
  • No Doubt "Different People."
  • Reba McEntire "One Honest Heart"
  • Richard Marx "Now and Forever"
  • Sara McLachlan "Possession"
  • Sara McLachlan "Building a Mystery"
  • Sheryl Crow "Run Baby Run"
  • Vanessa Williams "Save the Best for Last"
I will not comment on whether this list deserves a payout equivalent to 531 iPods. Heck, I even have some of these songs on my own play list (before BPI comes after me, I own the CDs). I may be accused of being a conspiracy theorist, but I'm certain that whoever compiled that list of songs was trying to make a point (they had more than a thousand to choose from) . Perhaps the RIAA will adopt "Rhythm is Gonna Get You" as their anthem. Take it away, Gloria...

Update: I was interviewed by the Duluth News Tribune. I like the fact that I'm part of the tech-savvy world now.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Virgin v Thomas continues

The trial of Jammie Thomas in Minnesota continues. Some very interesting revelations so far, including an RIAA spokesman claiming that making even one copy of a song is "stealing", and the prosecution proving conclusively that the KaZaa login subject of the trial is the same that Thomas used in several other sites, including and Yahoo. This should prove deadly for the defendant, who claims she was not the person sharing the songs.

A victory by the RIAA in this case may prove their best ever tool, as this case is likely to get wider coverage.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

VII World Congress of Computer Law

Erick Iriarte has sent this message for distribution:

VII World Congress of Computer Law / VII Congreso Mundial de Derecho Informatico
When: 3-7 December 2007
Where: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Steering Committee: University of Puerto Rico / Puerto Rico Bar Association / Inter American University of Puerto Rico / Alfa-Redi

About Congress:

The Puerto Rico Bar Association, the School Of Law of University of Puerto Rico, the Inter American University of Puerto Rico and Alfa-Redi, cordially invite you to the VII World Congress on Cyber Law to be held from December 3 to December 7 in the city of San Juan, Puerto Rico. The VII World Congress on Cyber Law is a continuation of the worldwide congresses held in the cities of Quito (Ecuador), Madrid (Spain), Havana (Cuba), Cusco (Peru), Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) y Edinburgh (United Kingdom).

These congresses have been the starting point of new proposals, the development of laws adopted in several countries, and laws that were welcomed as guidelines by different decision-making public and private organizations involved in the area of new technologies and the development of the information society. These international events are directed towards academic, regional and international stakeholders, government employees, and individuals representing organizations from the Civil Society involved in the processes related to Policies and Regulatory Framework of the Information Society at a regional and international level.

These spaces of dialogue are evoked to promote encounter, discussion and proposal developing in diverse topics of the Information Society, as can be shown in the different Web pages of past Congresses.

The subjects raised for this congress are:

1. Privacy and Personal Data Protection
2. E-Governance
3. Information and Communication Technologies in the Information Society
4. E-Commerce and Cyber-banking
5. Virtual Worlds
6. Copyrights and Intellectual Property
7. E-gaming

Given the global, international and transforming nature of the thematic relationship among policies and the regulatory framework of the information society, we consider of utmost importance the participation of international experts to provide a perspective to the participants of the event who will be able to make comparisons with their own experience, emphasizing on the harmonization processes that have been promoted by diverse international organizations.

This Congress will include workshops which will be imparted by international organizations interested in delivering lectures on specific subjects. These workshops will have a duration of one to two hours, being held during the first two days of the Congress, concerning issues such as Privacy and eGovernment, FTAs and Information Society, Licensing models of contents, Playing games in the net and E-commerce, realities and perspectives. If your organization is interested in delivering a lecture on any of the above mentioned subjects, please contact us.

More Information:

Monday, October 01, 2007

Mother v RIAA

(via Wired) Jammie Thomas, a 30-something mother from Minnesota accused by the RIAA of sharing 1,702 audio files, will go to court to defend her innocence this week. Welcome to Virgin v Thomas, the first jury trial in the RIAA's four year campaign to sue 20,000 of its potential customers, a move that has not deterred music sharing, and on the contrary, it has made them the target of animosity and ridicule from music fans across the world.

This case will be one to watch for several reasons. Firstly, the RIAA has gone for broke and is asking for almost $4 million USD in damages (that's 26 million Myanmar Kyats). After all, if you're going to get involved in an unpopular suit, you might as well get your money's worth, right?

Secondly, the case is likely to unearth some of the RIAA's investigative tactics, which should prove interesting reading for those involved in the copyfight. And the most interesting and relevant point will be to see what happens if the RIAA loses the case. This could really be an embarrasing defeat for them, and a result is not assured by all means.

You can follow the case here, and here.