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  Blog Entries Under the Heading: "Digital Rights"      

Rise of the German Pirate Party

2011-09-08 12:32:38        Posted by: ragaman7        Category: Digital Rights

[from Cory Doctorow,] Germany's Pirate Party is kicking major electoral ass, holding 50 local elected offices across the country, and are now poised to win their first federal electoral contests:

“We are delighted that our demands for more transparency, participation and democracy for the people of Berlin are shared by the public. The Berlin people want change, and they recognize that a vote for the Pirate Party is not wasted,” Pirate Party’s Gerhard Anger said. “With this poll result we are not in the state parliament yet. However, it is an important step in the right direction. We have to work hard in the next four weeks. In order to see the results of this poll reflected in actual votes on election day, we still have to keep on going,” Anger adds.

Previously the German Pirate Party already held a seat in the national parliament when Jörg Tauss left the Social Democrats to join the pirates. However, having people voted into parliament through an election would be an even bigger accomplishment.    UPDATE

Free Culture Forum, Barcelona

2009-10-06 13:42:17        Posted by: ragaman7        Category: Digital Rights

From October 29 till November 1, the international Forum on Access to Culture and Knowledge in the Digital Age is organised in Barcelona. Exgae, Networked Politics and the Free Knowledge Institute, three renown and respected organisations working in the field of civil rights are behind this important event.

The Forum will be a major international meeting of the most relevant organizations and individuals working on the international scene, who are engaged in reflecting on the social and economic challenges of the dissemination of culture and knowledge in the digital age.

While the European Union discusses legislation and self-regulation proposals, at the state and community level, the forum aims to articulate the valuable proposals that are emerging from civil society, so that it too can participate in this legislative process. The forum is based on the idea of finding ways to harmonise the recognition of creativity, innovation and investment with the civil rights of access to knowledge and culture and with sustainable development.    UPDATE

Liberate the Airwaves

2009-05-14 09:35:05        Posted by: ragaman7        Category: Digital Rights

A message from Kalle Lasn, founder of Adbusters:


Every human being has the unassailable right to seek, receive and impart information without hindrance.

This right, enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is something for which we at Adbusters have been fighting since our inception. Our not-for-profit group, Adbusters Media Foundation, was born 20-years ago in response to broadcaster censorship that refused to run our citizen-produced ads. Over the last two decades, we have been censored by television networks all over the world and we have launched numerous legal actions in Canada against the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and private broadcasters (notably CanWest Global), fighting for the right of citizens to walk into their local TV stations and buy 30 seconds of airtime for a message they believe in. For 20 years we were knocked back at every stage: we were defeated in the lower courts and the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear our appeals. But last April, we finally scored a great legal victory. In a unanimous decision, the British Columbia Court of Appeal overturned previous court rulings and concluded that television airtime may indeed constitute public space. This crucial ruling allows Adbusters to proceed with its groundbreaking case against media conglomerates.

In order to take our fight to the next stage, we need an immediate injection of funds. We are asking for donations from people all over the world who believe that information rights are the key to a flourishing democracy and that those rights are now more imperative than ever in giving citizens a voice in navigating our path through the dangerous times ahead.

To donate, please visit ... or send a cheque to Adbusters Media Foundation ... or give us a call at 604-736-9401/1-800-663-1243 (toll free in North America). As Adbusters has subscribers in 20 countries around the world, we are also trying to get in touch with media lawyers in the US, Australia and the UK who are interested in launching Right To Communicate legal actions in their own countries.

If you have ideas, need more information or want to talk strategy, email

for the wild,
Kalle Lasn
Editor and Co-founder,
Adbusters Media Foundation     UPDATE

Important Win for Adbusters

2009-04-10 13:39:06        Posted by: ragaman7        Category: Digital Rights


After 15 years of legal tussling to bring democracy to the public airwaves, Adbusters has finally scored a great victory. The Supreme Court of British Columbia has granted us an appeal in our landmark case against Canada's CBC and Canwest Global, giving us the go-ahead to set a precedent and establish some public rights over the airwaves.

People are spending an unparalleled 8.5 hours per day in front of screens and even with the influx of new screen formats – cell phones, computers, Kindle – TV is still dominant. It’s the most powerful social communications medium of our time. And yet it is a place where commercial imperatives rule and dissenting voices are routinely censored. Adbusters’ attempts to purchase airtime from major commercial broadcasters for its socially-minded public service spots have been repeatedly denied over the years.

The airwaves are public property – just like city sidewalks or parks. They are a public space where freedom of speech must prevail. This is an inspiring idea for media activists and could pave the way for further legal victories down the road not only on the TV airwaves, but in cyberspace as well. Not surprisingly, none of Canwest’s 13 daily newspapers or 23 TV channels covered the appeal court ruling. The silence has been deafening. Canadians citizens should be aware that the largest media conglomerate in our country is censoring the news to suit its own interests.

Here’s who did cover the story: CBC Radio, the Globe and Mail, the Georgia Straight and the Tyee.

CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, MTV and the Food Channel have also repeatedly refused to sell us airtime over the past 15 years and we would like to launch a freedom of speech legal action in the US. If you know an American lawyer who may be interested in being part of our legal team then let us know, email

The endgame will be a series of lawsuits around the world forcing the half a dozen media megacorporations controlling the bulk of news and entertainment flows around the planet to return some control back to the public.

Email if you want to talk strategy or contribute to our legal war chest.    UPDATE

Asia Fights for Web Rights

2008-04-07 23:23:50        Posted by: ragaman7        Category: Digital Rights

"In November 2007, Yahoo! Inc. did what it could have done two years ago when it became known that the company had aided the 2005 conviction of Chinese journalist Shi Tao, now serving 10 years in prison for “revealing state secrets.” In a legal settlement, Yahoo pledged to provide an undisclosed amount of “financial, humanitarian and legal support” to the families of Shi Tao and Wang Xiaoning, another dissident jailed in 2003 for 10 years with the help of email data supplied by Yahoo. This came immediately after Yahoo cofounder and chief executive officer, Jerry Yang, made a dramatic public apology to Shi Tao’s mother, Gao Qinsheng, at a United States Congressional hearing. He bowed solemnly to her three times as tears rolled down her cheeks." MORE [by Rebecca McKinnon, Far Eastern Economic Review]     UPDATE

CG Artist Suffers DMCA Takedown

2008-03-22 19:03:05        Posted by: ragaman7        Category: Digital Rights

John MacNeill, a 3D CGI artist from Watertown, Massachusetts has recently found himself on the receiving end of a wrongful DMCA takedown claim. He recreated a World War II B-24 Bomber as a 3D model and uploaded it to the website, Turbosquid, a 3D image stock site. Lockeed Martin claimed that it was an infringement and wrongfully ordered Turbosquid to remove the file.

As John MacNeill states in his article about this: "A photographer can take a photo of any type of car and sell the photo; look at any car magazine. A painter can create a painting of anything and sell that, remember Andy Warhol's famous 1968 painting of a can of Campbell's tomato soup? But a CG artist cannot create a sculpture of a Ford Mustang and sell that, at least not on Turbo Squid. There is obviously a double standard here. So where does this leave CG artists? Until a stock company becomes willing to fight back against these takedowns, there seems little any individual artist can do." Also see what Cory Doctorow of has to add to this. LINK     UPDATE

Free Legal P2P Music?

2008-03-04 05:11:11        Posted by: ragaman7        Category: Digital Rights

From Wired:

The "world's first free, legal P2P service," Qtrax, has deals with EMI Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing and TVT Records, Listening Post has learned.

Qtrax raised quite the furor in January with its announcement of a free, legal, ad-supported P2P service, after reporters realized that the company didn't have active deals with enough labels and publishers to offer any songs. (We hear the Los Angeles Times had to stop its presses over the confusion.)

These new deals indicate Qtrax could eventually make good on its ambitious promise to offer all of the music available on P2P networks as free, legal downloads.

Downloads will be wrapped by Microsoft subscription DRM, as one might expect, considering that the plan is to offer unlimited major label music -- including everything that's available on LimeWire -- for free. Qtrax CEO Allan Klepfisz said plans are on hold to offer the music in an iPod-compatible format, and the company will instead focus for the moment on getting licensing deals in place. [by Eliot Van Buskirk]     UPDATE

Warner Music Drops DRM

2007-12-29 13:13:20        Posted by: ragaman7        Category: Digital Rights

LOS ANGELES — In the recording industry’s latest move away from its reliance on digital locks to reduce piracy, the Warner Music Group said on Thursday that it would sell songs and albums without anticopying software through Amazon’s fledgling digital music service. The shift by Warner Music is another step in the decline of copy-protection software, which has led to consumer confusion over the jumble of incompatible schemes governing the use of digital music players and downloaded songs. Warner is the third of the four major music corporations to reconsider its use of so-called digital rights management software, known by its initials as D.R.M., and offer its catalog in the unrestricted MP3 format. Sony BMG Music Entertainment has continued to hold out, though it is expected to experiment with selling MP3s through a promotion early next year. [Jeff Leeds - New York Times]    UPDATE

Libraries Say No to Tech Overlords

2007-10-24 14:14:05        Posted by: ragaman7        Category: Digital Rights

Several major research libraries have rebuffed offers from Google and Microsoft to scan their books into computer databases, saying they are put off by restrictions these companies want to place on the new digital collections. Instead, they have decided to go with the Open Content Alliance who do not put any restrictions on the distribution of the works involved. Google's deal contains a clause that prevents the libraries from sharing their books with any other commercial companies. Such restrictions are not healthy for the widespread distribution of ideas and so the Libraries are quite right to refuse to enter into a limited deal with either Google or Microsoft, whose main aim is to exploit these works for profit.     UPDATE

Bird Song - A Requiem for DRM

2007-08-30 23:48:49        Posted by: ragaman7        Category: Digital Rights

Truth Happens ar Red Hat Magazine have produced an excellent animated video signifying the imminent death of the tragically misguided Digital Rights Management fiasco. They have released the video under a Creative Commons share alike licence and are encouraging people to remix it. [ This is a prototype of a video designed to tell the story of DRM. The life and death, the rise and fall, the here today, gone-tomorrow story of DRM. ]    UPDATE

Freedom of Expression Trailer

2007-08-30 23:51:51        Posted by: ragaman7        Category: Digital Rights

Kembrew McLeod's documentary about Freedom of Expression makes for very compelling viewing.    UPDATE

Veoh Sues Universal

2007-08-30 23:53:08        Posted by: ragaman7        Category: Digital Rights

Universal have threatened to sue Veoh for copyright infringement but Veoh are actually suing Universal for making unreasonable threats. They believe they are protected by provisions in the DMCA and they hope to get a declaratory injunction to bar Universal from taking legal action. We will watch this one with great interest.    UPDATE

Online Videos by

DRM Cracked Again - Now We All Will Be Punished

2007-08-30 23:56:37        Posted by: ragaman7        Category: Digital Rights

It would appear that some enterprising individuals (hackers) have managed to circumvent the latest encryption technologies for audio files... Big Media Oppression: 0. Grassroots Freedom: 1.    UPDATE




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