Links for January 13th
Hapodi, the French agency that’s in charge of the country’s new anti-piracy scheme (if someone you live with is accused of three acts of infringement, your whole household is taken offline and added to a list of address to which it is illegal to provide Internet access) has been accused of pirating the font used it its logo. The font designer is talking lawsuit. Hadopi says it wasn’t infringement, just an “error of manipulation.”
Throughout 2010 we’ll be celebrating the music of Gustav Mahler as never before. Mahler was born 150 years ago, on July 7, 1860. Poignantly, he died only 51 years later, bringing to a sudden end a startling cycle of great symphonic works that journeyed from brilliant, ostentatious orchestral impressions of nature and folksong, through lengthy studies of emotional turmoil and finally, under the strain of the heart condition he knew was going to end his life still in middle age, in extraordinary last symphonies exploring the darker and more extreme reaches of what orchestral music can achieve.
In the UK, Business Secretary Peter Mandelson has tabled his “Digital Economy Bill,” a terrible piece of legislation that requires ISPs to police their customers on behalf of the music industry when the latter claims that its copyrights have been violated (no evidence necessary). The UK music industry blames piracy for £200 million in annual losses, and this is Mandelson’s excuse for abridging human rights and fundamental justice in his witch-hunt for pirates.
But the government’s own research shows that Mandelson’s plans will cost the UK ISP industry £500 million to implement, and when these costs are added to each customer’s bill (as they surely will be), the rise will be enough to knock an estimated 40,000 British families off the Internet.
Four hundred years ago tonight, a man from Pisa, Italy took a newly-made telescope with a magnifying power of 33X, pointed it at one of the brighter lights in the sky, and changed mankind forever.
The man, of course, was Galileo, and the light he observed on January 7, 1610 was Jupiter. He spotted “three fixed stars” that were invisible to the eye near the planet, and a fourth a few days later.
Thanks to the always vigilant eyes of Liz Ditz, Ratbags.com is reporting that pediatric immunologist and vaccine developer Dr. Paul Offit, writer Amy Wallace, and Condé Nast (publisher of Wired magazine) are being sued for libel in US District Court by Barbara Loe Fisher, founder and acting president of the so-called National Vaccine Information Center.
Readers will recall that Wallace’s article on Dr. Offit and the fear and misinformation propagated by anti-vaccinationists was the centerpiece of a feature in Wired magazine aptly titled, “Epidemic of Fear.”
My short take: The lawsuit is an attempt to silence or intimidate those who speak out against individuals and organizations that threaten public health. When scientific facts accumulate that refute their views, the response is to file frivolous legal action.
As I write this, it’s about -15 C outside where I live in Boulder, and even the snow looks like it’s shivering. So I’m not sure if I’m happy to share the grief or feel badly about the weather for folks in the UK, who generally don’t get (metric, I suppose) tons of snow. But then I saw this image from NASA’s Earth observing Terra satellite:
U2 frontman and humanitarian Bono had a page-long op-ed in this past Sunday’s New York Times, where he describes what he calls “10 ideas that might make the next 10 years more interesting, healthy or civil. Some are trivial, some fundamental. They have little in common with one another except that I am seized by each, and moved by its potential to change our world.” So let’s look at some issues that made the list…. a twist on cap and trade, fighting the rotavirus, new cancer research, the rise of Africa and… limiting the scourge of file sharing.
Yes, that’s right, file sharing, clearly one from the “trivial” category. Bono blames Internet Service Providers for “this reverse Robin Hooding” which he says hurts “the young, fledgling songwriters who can’t live off ticket and T-shirt sales….” His “big” idea for stopping the scourge? Enforcement of copyright through deep packet inspection and filtering
I just wanted to post this graph, which I found while researching vaccinations.
Bono, frontman of rock band U2, has warned the film industry not to make the same mistakes with file-sharing that have dogged the music industry.
Writing for the New York Times, Bono claimed internet service providers were “reverse Robin Hoods” benefiting from the music industry’s lost profits.
He hinted that China’s efforts prove that tracking net content is possible.
The editorial drew sharp criticism, both on its economic merits and for the suggestion of net content policing.
Bono: reinforcing the fact that so many people think he’s a DICK