Wednesday, February 13, 2008
London thinks that Internet providers should play a role in preventing illegal downloading. ISPs should take steps when they see illegal files being downloaded. The internet user should get an e-mail warning after the first illegal download, at the second illegal download a suspension and after the third time a termination of his internet contract.
The UK chooses to control illegal downloading through ISPs. Regardless whether ISPs are happy with this, the UK government takes that route. Of course the ISPs are very unhappy to be institutional policemen for the music and movie industry. In other European countries like The Netherlands the ISPs have to save traffic logs already, at their own expense, for a long period of time to assist, if needed, the police. On top of that they might get the policing task of controlling illegal music and movie downloads.
Besides this, is not the first model to combat illegal downloads which is using the ISP. During the introduction of internet it was proposed that the ISPs should pay the collecting societies for the music downloaded (movie downloads were still far off); the ISPs should organise their own way of recovering the fees paid, either by charging the individual downloader or sharing the costs among all subscription holders. This model of using ISPs to be the cash point for the collecting societies never made it, although the Swedish Performing Rights Society (STIM) has recently shown willingness to sign cooperation agreements with ISPs. STIM wants to sit down with the ISPs and discuss how it can work together to enable their customers to pay - via their internet subscription - for the music streaming through the providers' networks, thereby allowing them to become legal music surfers. According to STIM's model, an average user's monthly internet costs will rise in proportion to the total amount of music being downloaded. In return, internet users will be able to access and download all the music available on the internet at a given time; in time a similar measure would apply for movies. But STIM concedes that a number of technical, financial and legal barriers need to be overcome before their proposal gains general acceptance.
Of course it is unfair to push such a task to a party which is not part and parcel of the music and the movie industry. In the UK and Swedish cases, the ISPs become the cash points of the collecting societies and indirectly of the music and movie industry. This while this industry only assists in uncovering illegal download cases and has so far not put up a download service which offers easy access, reasonable prices and a fair policy for media shifting. They let Apple set up iTunes, but could not yet organise a decent download service themselves.
Blog Posting Number: 1007
Tags: copyright, media shifting
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
European Communities, presents a selection of statistics concerning internet activities, security concerns and virus attacks. The Safer Internet Day is part of a global drive to promote a safer Internet for all users, in particular younger people, and is organised by Insafe, a European internet safety network co-funded by the European Commission.
The data presented have been collected from the 2006 and 2007 surveys on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) usage in households and by individuals from 16 to 74 years in the EU27. The individuals use internet at least one time in three months.
e-Shopping: The percentage of individuals aged 16 to 74 in the EU27 who ordered goods or services over the internet increased from 24% in 2005 to 30% in 2007. The highest proportions of internet shoppers in 2007 were recorded in Denmark (55% in 2006), the Netherlands (55%), Sweden and the United Kingdom (both 53%), and the lowest in Bulgaria and Romania (both 3%) and Lithuania (6%). In 2006, 12% of the respondees in the EU27 had not ordered goods or services over the internet in the preceding 12 months because of worries about giving credit card or personal details online. These security and privacy concerns were most common in Spain (27%), Finland (26%) and Cyprus (20%).
e-Banking: In the EU27 internet users, meaning individuals aged 16 to 74 who had used internet in the last three months, increased from 52% of all individuals aged 16 to 74 in 2006 to 57% in 2007. During the same time period, the proportion of internet users who used internet banking grew from 38% to 44%. In 2007, this proportion was highest in Finland (84%), Estonia (83%) and the Netherlands (77%), and lowest in Bulgaria (5%), Romania (7%) and Greece (12%).
Safety: One quarter of EU27 internet users suffered a virus attack in the last twelve months
In the EU27 in 2007, nearly a quarter of internet users had had a computer virus in the preceding 12 months, which resulted in a loss of information or time. Virus attacks were most frequent in Lithuania (41% of users), Slovenia (35%) and Malta (34%) and least common in the Czech Republic (7%), Estonia (15%) and Sweden (16%). One way of protecting oneself against the loss of information is to regularly make a safety copy or a back up file of information. In the EU27 in 2007, nearly a quarter of internet users always or almost always made safety copies or back up files from their computer. The highest proportions of individuals making safety copies were found in Greece (43% of users), France (35%) and Malta (34%), and the lowest in Poland (13%), Estonia (14%) and Sweden (15%).
Blog Posting Number: 1006
Tags: privacy,security, safety, e-shopping, e-banking
Monday, February 11, 2008
Now users can add fragments to Hyves.nl pages concerned with specific programs from BNN or news or sports items to a Hyves.nl profile of a user. At the same time Hyves.nl users can start to broadcast with their mobile phone, as the site allows for example software from Livecastr.
The move of NOS was announced in November in an iMMovator cross-media café. It has some likeness with the move of the BBC, which offers also video fragments to users. But there are some differences with BBC and there are some unsolved questions.
The NOS offers actual news and sports items and items of the short term archive Program missed?. It does not offer any long term historical items. These video items are archived by the Institute of Image and Sound. In order to get a 3 minute item of 1980, the item can be retrieved by any internet user on a public database, but then a long way of negotiating starts. The item might still be on nitrate film and has then to be converted to a digital format. But before this is possible, permission is needed from the news staff. Once that is given and the conversion has been done, you will have to pay about 600 euro for the 3 minute item in order to show it on a site. It is not possible to make an embedded link to that particular video.
BBC has clearly limited the opportunity to use embedded video or a requested video to users in the UK. They have paid for the television license and can use it. I have not seen any country restrictions on the use of embedded video fragments. I will have to ask one of my tech savvy friends outside the Netherlands to try it out.
The public television allows now embedded video links. Of course the question rises again, whether money can be claimed by collecting societies for neighbouring rights or for art work rights. When a news item deals with a special concert like the Lohengrin concert opera a week ago, the collecting society for neighbouring rights can claim that embedded links are new publications. Or when someone gives an interview in front of a famous contemporary painting a collecting society for art work protection will send an invoice. I wonder when the first invoice will be on the doormat of a blogger, if only to start a test case.
At last NOS starts to experiment. It will be interesting to see how long it will take them to offer historical items.
Blog Posting Number: 1005
Tags: copyright, embedded link
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Yme Bosma told the audience that Hyves.nl friends are not always online. Especially in the weekend the pageviews jumped up and down and people used mobile to consult Hyves.nl. These are indications for Hyves.nl that the Hyves.nl users want to view Hyves.nl whenever and wherever.
Hyves.nl now wants to extend its movie content to digital television as well the Who What and Where info of users. TV viewers will be able to see movies and can call up user profiles. In the first instance Tele2 will transmit the pages trough its digital channel to a television set. Other digital channel operators will also be able to transmit this feature in due time.
The announcement brought back memories of webTV, for which Philips bought a European license and never used it. Yet this rendering of internet on television works differently. WebTV had a local converter box. Hyves.tv will use technology of Avinity, Technically this will mean that the ‘signal’ goes to the company Avinity, which will convert the signal to television format in size and pixels.
Yme Bosma also believes that the Hyves television community will start another trend. The group will be able to compose its own electronic program guide by voting for the best videos. The users can also show their relatives movies they put up on internet.
Hyves.nl willl have to be very active in the coming time. Although Yme Bosma did not say a word about the competition, MySpace launched a Dutch edition of MySpace including its own ad sales office. So far MySpace has experimented with a Dutch trial site and picked up some 400.000 users, but now it will aggressively go into the market. That is what Travis Katz, managing director of MySpace during his presentation. He does not see Hyves.nl as a problem, remarking that in every country so far they always found a competitor against them He referred to the situation in Germany where MySpace superseded the incumbent social network.
MySpace has developed a Dutch language site with its own content. It has its own music and video channels. It will also show content specially produced for MySpace in the Netherlands, just like the thriller series Beyond the Rave in the UK and the drama series Quarterback in the USA. MySpace Benelux will also organise offline events like small intimate surprise concerts with popular musicians, singers and entertainers.
It will be interesting to see, whether MySpace will make it in the Netherlands. MySpace does not possess the Dutch domain name; the site does mention that it is not related to Myspace.com. Recently a National Day Against MySpace was organised. MySpace users were called by the message: MySpace users fed up with glitchy pages, annoying banner ads and an abundance of spam may finally have the motivation to take the plunge and delete their accounts. Wednesday (February 7th,2008) is International Delete Your MySpace Account Day, an online protest geared at uniting users eager to ditch the popular social networking site. But also business wise, MySpace will have trouble to be profitable in the Netherlands. IT would not be the first international internet company that did not make it. Yahoo.com abandoned its sales offices in the Netherlands. It is a country with only 16,5 million inhabitants, with a language different from English and a television oriented advertisement market; on the other hand English is a second language to all Dutchmen and many people prefer to join the international edition of MySpace and Facebook due to their global orientation. And given the home grown social network of Hyves.nl, I still have to see that a Benelux office will survive.
Blog Posting Number: 1004
Tags: social network, webtelevision
Saturday, February 09, 2008
A number of music blogs received an e-mail from the collecting society. It said that Buma/Stemra had noticed that the sites actively offered material from the world music repertory, which is guarded by the collecting society. In order to continue legally with offering the music the bloggers would have to pay an annual fee to Buma/Stemra. One of the blogs was Myownmusicindustry.nl (MOMI), which promptly ask Buma/Stemra for an explanation.
The collecting society answered promptly with an explanation and statement about the e-mail. The explanation, which also was published by MOMI, made clear that it concerned movies from for example YouTube which were integrated in the site of the blogger. This was seen as a new publication, which should be licensed. Just linking to the respective movie is not seen as a problem, as the source is responsible for the use of the music.
Buma/Stemra said that the e-mail had been sent pre-maturely. The organisation has started up a new department dealing with online music and they are still researching the phenomenon of integrated music videos. The collecting society said that it is happy with the present licensing models, but that it had to look ahead and see what was possible in the future and feasible. It said that it is having meetings with organisations having experience with offering copyrighted material.
The discussion on the weblog MOMI is rather fierce. The collecting society is portrayed as a police ticketing machine. Some web loggers give advice not to answer as Buma/Stemra has asked for the their name and license number. And only a few web loggers analyse the problem. Buma/Stemra sees the integrated movie as a new publication, while the web loggers see it as an embedded link. Embedded video has become popular with website as YouTube. This video site picks up almost half of its traffic from third party blogs and sites. The embedded video is online video in which the video screen of the sender through html code is integrated with the webpage of third parties. In the meantime broadcast companies like BBC offer their video material to integrate video and audio in third party websites.
Embedded video bears some likeness with the problem of frames, whereby pages from a site were framed by a third party site in their site. It was a hype for some time as it could be created by a simple link. So in most cases no permission was from the original site owner. Framing eventually was legally contested and has disappeared as feature.
Update 11/02/2008: The Swedish Performing Rights Society (STIM) has shown willingness to sign cooperation agreements with ISPs. STIM wants to sit down with the ISPs and discuss how it can work together to enable their customers to pay - via their internet subscription - for the music streaming through the providers' networks, thereby allowing them to become legal music surfers. According to STIM's model, an average user's monthly internet costs will rise in proportion to the total amount of music being downloaded. In return, internet users will be able to access and download all the music available on the internet at a given time. But STIM also concedes that a number of technical, financial and legal barriers need to be overcome before their proposal gains general acceptance.
Blog Posting Number: 1003
Tags: copyright, publication, collecting society, embedded link, framing
Friday, February 08, 2008
Internationally media education or media literacy is also being discussed. In December 2007, the European Commission published a communication Media Literacy. It was accompanied by a study Current trends and approaches to media literacy in Europe, performed in the second half of 2007 by the Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain). I took time out to discuss this document with Hans.
What is the first impression of the study?
The study mentions that all 27 EU member states have been treated. And as a Dutchman you immediately start searching through the document for Netherlands and Dutch, and if you find nothing you might still try Holland. But the Netherlands does not show in the study, except for two footnotes. I am not sure whether this also happened to other member states. But in the study a number of front runners are named like Finland.
What did you think of the study?
The study is interesting for its content. However the historical approach is a limitation. The study does not go further than the sixties of last century. This can be justified, but no justification is offered. This is unsatisfactory.
The analysis produced is okay; it takes a broad approach. Many elements which are important to media literacy are addressed in the study. Given these elements an inventory of useful insights has been composed, which shows the forces around media literacy. Useful as well is the list of gaps, barriers and deficiencies (page 70), which hamper the development of a common media literacy policy. The first item on that list is, in my opinion, also the most important deficiency: the lack of a generally accepted theoretical and conceptual framework. Unanimity is still far off in as far as objectives, concepts, methods, sources, research and evaluation of research results is concerned.
What are the objectives of media literacy?
The researchers offer the position that two interests dominate media literacy: economy and active citizenship. These items are linked with other areas such as education and the home environment. I think that this is an acceptable approach. However it is remarkable that in the communication the European Commission only chooses for media literacy for:
- commercial communication;
- media literacy for audiovisual productions;
- media literacy for online use.
It is strange that in the beginning of the communication citizenship is mentioned as an important objective of media literacy, but it does not show in the recommendations. In this way the economic interests are very much stressed. This does not do justice to the study, which is richer than the communication leads to believe. Are policy tactics underlying this limitation? Are matters like citizenship and education so much a matter of member states when it comes to media literacy, that the EC will not touch it, afraid of being accused of neglecting the subsidiarity principle. Or is it simply a plain choice for the Market?
What is you general evaluation of the study?
Despite the fact that the study seems incomplete in country information, it offers a lot of information about policy plans and projects in a number of EU member states. For example, information like sources on policy and on practice of media literacy in Finland, Ireland, and Austria, is very useful for setting up projects nationally and in the European Union.
Blog Posting Number: 1002
Tags: media literacy, media education
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Q. Games for seniors have proven to be of great interest to blog readers of Buziaulane. Can you explain this interest?
I believe we can find several explanations for that. Economical, social, demographical and even medical explanations have been used to explain the raised interest for the elderly games or games for seniors as you put it.
Economical: game market is expanding. While core gamers brought 1000 x more revenues ago than casual gamers ten year, they will bring only four times more within two next years. Digital games have become main stream and a socially acceptable way for spending the spare time. Marketing departments of the game companies are targeting new audiences: seniors are already spending a lot time with digital media. The key issue is how to capture part of their time for gaming. There is a good chance for this since studies show that games can contribute to the health (i.e. medical explanation) but also socio-economical (savings in the health care etc.).
Social and demographical explanations are intertwined. Loneliness and solitude is a vast problem among the senior citizens. Mobility of the societies has caused situations where senior citizens are living far away from their relatives. Gaming and especially social gaming could bring in the active communicative element into the senior citizen’s everyday life.
At the same time the population pyramid is slowly turning upside down. There are more and more senior citizens living in the European societies and in some Asian countries. This increasing group is more and more an interesting target group for the marketers; at the same time society and politicians seek ways to keep this generation active as long as possible. More seniors mean more workers at the social sector and since the following generations are smaller and smaller there will not necessarily be enough therapists, home workers, nurses and so on – could gaming postpone the need for these services?
And then, obviously, there’s a personal explanation. Grandparents are of course interested in what their grandchildren are doing. Creating games which connect generations together will have a good chance to succeed.
Q. So far I have seen two kinds of games for seniors: games from Nintendo like Brain Training and More Brain Training as well as general games adapted for seniors. The Nintendo games look like memory drills; the general games adapted for seniors are just for past time.
Yes, Dr. Ryuta Kawashima’s Brain Training has sold over 17 million copies worldwide. He has recently worked with Toyota in order to make their cars safer for driving by senior citizens. Some critics claim that there is no evidence that these games really make a difference, while others say they contribute to activate alternative parts of the mind a person normally uses and thus activates the brain. There is a school, which believes that in therapeutic sessions with demented people one way is to use for instance memory games.
You are right with your statement that adapted generic games are something made for passing time. But is this bad or good compared to a passive television viewing?
In near future we will see more games for seniors who take a game in a more pervasive way: Nintendo Wii’s innovative gamepad with the movement control has already brought generations together. For instance, sales statistics from Japan show that seniors have actually been pretty eager to buy Wii games.
This opens a possibility to develop games which focus on physical excercises for the seniors. Studies show that English youngsters loose weight after getting Wii, likewise alternative game plays open huge opportunities to develop games for the seniors that really matter. Just think what the games like Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Dance Factory and different karaoke games have done for the gaming.
And of course there’s a social aspect as well. Games can bring people together. Combinations of communication, gaming, communities, and self authoring are all phenomena of Web 2.0 which have taken the world by storm. Isn’t Facebook with its many features also gaming?
Q. Presently more and more seniors start using PCs for entertainment/edutainment. Should we be developing games for them specifically and if so, what kind of games: crossword puzzles, sudoku, adventure games, arcade games, shoot them up, serious games, simulation games?
Lot of this was answered already earlier. As there are different tastes among youngsters, there are different needs and tastes among elderly people too: some like sudokus, others like to shoot on everything that moves. One of my good friends, a jolly 67 year old Englishman, enjoys advanced flight simulators – being much better than me or any youngster than I know. So question is not only if we produce games for the seniors specifically but also how we introduce good games to them which already are out there.
I believe that for the seniors the communicative aspect has a central role as well. How to connect with other users? How to keep in contact with far away relatives? How to meet new people? The gaming so far has been stigmatized that they make people a-social. I believe that the question should be posed how games can become social plays with a key role for seniors in it – but they can also affect younger generations. As Dr. Kawashima recently said: ”I do not believe that games are dangerous/bad by themselves, but they affect the youngsters in a way that they don’t do what they should do – like study and communicate with the family”.
Q. Do you know Timehunt? This was an animated virtual puzzle leading you through
mysteries of time and history; it included a time diary for visitors to write, a bulletin board, and a forum of sorts. It was a kind of encyclopaedic puzzle. It was terminated by the beginning of 2006. Would this type of encyclopaedic games work for a group of seniors?
I have heard of Timehunt but do not know that closer. I interprete that many of the issues you describe are characteristics which we attach to Web 2.0 solutions which have become extremely popular. The gaming industry all over world is working with implementing 2.0 characteristics for their games. As I have said earlier game mechanism (scores, competition, interaction, customisation) together with social media (like chat, friends, share, create) is the way how the future of the networked entertainment will be arranged. Nintendo has its own communication and social channel, so has SONY with its Playstation and we are only seeing the start of it.
Q. Do you know of any research in games for seniors?
Especially in the fields of Medicine, Psychology and somewhat in Pedagogy studies on games for elderly are made. The majority of these studies are focusing on the psychological and neurological benefits of the gaming but I expect that physiological research will take off shortly. So while research now is “Games help seniors to stay sharp”, in future they will also help seniors to keep fit.
Game research as an academic research within other disciplines is still young – Research is still marginal but the interest is rising because especially younger generations are spending less time with traditional media. Media researchers followed shortly by sociologists have become interested in the phenomenon – but this interest has been focused mostly on the major and most popular genres withing gaming. Seniors have been in the side line.
But there are many R&D projects in this area of games for seniors especially in Japan and South Korea. Norwegian SINTEF is participating to European wide project in elderly games and results can be expected soon.
Just a little anecdote: Dr. Ryuta Kawashima’s games have generated 15 Million Euros in royalties. Half of the amount belongs to his university, Tohoku in Sendai; the other half was reserved for Dr Kawashima. He could have cashed 7.5 Million Euros. Yet this 44 year old professor preferred to donate his part to his university.
Blog Posting Number: 1001
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Fiction over multiple media platforms
by Christy Dena (left on the photograph with Jak Boumans, owner of Buziaulane)
Over the years there has been much confusion about just what ‘cross-media’ is. For some it equates with multimedia, intermedia, multi-modality, while for others it simply refers to distribution techniques, or explains adaptations from traditional media to new media, or is a fancy word for franchises, what the TV and film industry in the USA are doing, what pervasive gamers in Sweden are doing, what convergent journalists are doing, is only a marketing strategy, is all about the changes to producer and audience relations, is the same as every other term or is completely different, is the latest thing or is centuries old. Although it is important to be aware of all of these perspectives and how they differ, it should also be noted that they are in fact all pointing towards the same (global) phenomenon…
To contribute to the conversation on this exciting topic, my PhD thesis will address a specific area: the ways fiction has changed when expressed over multiple media platforms. The scope is wide however: encompassing practices from film, TV, print, gaming and the arts; from both mass entertainment and independent practitioners. Acknowledging the diversity of practices, I do not just concentrate on (what could be described for now as) the continuation of a story across media. Instead, I address four key approaches to the expression of fiction over media platforms: replication, transformation, expansion and integration.
Replication refers to the practice of duplicating the same content in different media. This approach is commonly known as COPA (Create Once, Produce Anytime), repurposing, multi-platform gaming, distribution and so on. Although a technical rather than artistic issue in many circumstances, this thesis explores works of fiction that consider the replication of its content as part of its artistic expression. Transformation refers to works where practitioners adapt or remix or alter their own story or game in another media platform. While in the past adaptations were undertaken by different authors, now creators are implementing their own. Expansion refers to practices commonly known as ‘transmedia storytelling’, ‘cross-media communication’, ‘cross-media entertainment’, 360 content, synergistic content and so on. It is here that stories, games and works of art that provide new events in different media are explored. The final category of integration refers to works that are transmedial by nature: pervasive games, alternate reality games and so on.
How practitioners are co-creating these works, the influences on their design decisions, the audience/player/reader experience, the history of these practices and what these practices mean for the study of narrative, games and media will all be addressed. The thesis will be finished in the next few months, but in the meantime, you can stay up to date on my publications at www.ChristyDena.com, or participate in the discussion about design practices at www.UniverseCreation101.com. I welcome any thoughts!
Blog Posting Number: 1000
Tags: fiction, cross-media, multimedia, transmedia, intermedia, multi-modality
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
In summary the following conclusions are produced:
- Competitors will be able to damage the imago of Google, now that Google has left the ‘do not evil’ principle behind and has replaced this with commercial monopoly. In the market opportunities are created for an Open Source Search engine, when this initiative is supported by the Open Source Community.
- Mobile internet will be mainly used for local search questions and the fulfilment of an immediate information need.
- Due to the Google algorithm updates, the link structure itself will be less influential. More stress will be on the relevance of web pages in the link structure and the uniqueness of the content in the web page.
- Social bookmarking and personalised search will be the trends for the next five years.
- SEA campaigns need well converting landing pages, the use of images and user interaction.
- For SEO campaigns the relevance of the web pages in link structures and the uniqueness of content will be more important. The top 500 advertisers will choose for a holistic approach with optimised web sites.
- For the search engine marketing bureaus client loyalty will be a challenge due to the rising level of knowledge among advertisers.
The report comes at an interesting time. The proposed merger of Microsoft and Yahoo will become a challenge to Google; of course the question still is whether Yahoo wants to merge with Microsoft (a pioneer of internet with the slowest internet software provider).
The report sees opportunities for an Open Source Search Engine. The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, has started such an initiative under the name of Wiki Search. But the first trial was not impressive. Besides the search engine follows the same search principles as Google.
The report has a holy belief in Google’s algorithm, which is based on simplified Boolean operators and masses of results. I do not notice any research in other algorithms, which will deliver more precise results and less duplications. I take it also that internet users are becoming more and more versatile with searching and will be able to use the AND, OR and NOT as long as Boolean operators are in use.
Blog Posting Number: 999
search engine, search engine marketing
Tags: search engine, search engine marketingIdentity, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo
Monday, February 04, 2008
The occasion triggered many internet users to search for more personal details of the man. First stop is a social network. On Facebook there is one small profile. But as he is communiting between Aruba and the Netherlands, the Dutch social network with more than 5 million users is a logical place to look. Hyves was launched in October 2004by Raymond Spanjar, Koen Kam and Floris Rost van Tonningen.and is very popular among young people in the Netherlands, Dutch Antilles and Surinam.
The social network is a good barometer, telling what young people are thinking. So also last night. In the run up to the broadcast people on the social network started looking for the suspect. And yes there was a page; the question is of course, whether the page is owned by the real Joran van der Sloot. As in every social network people can show their friends on the page. Up to yesterday he had 953 friends; at the moment of writing the number has gone down 867 friends, who are mentioned by shortened or full name on the page, mostly embellished by photographs. Youngsters are rushing to get their pictures off the sight not to be associated with the suspect.
The site is now also used as a pillory for remarks, curses and other profanities. The writers are mostly disgusted by the immoral way he talked about girls, friends and even his farther, who due to his legal training is seen as partner in crime. More than ten thousand viewers of the program left their comments on the Hyves pages. During the broadcast, an anti Joran page was produces as well as a Joran Dead hyve; however these pages were taken off site by a moderator after a few minutes. It was clear that Hyves was prepared for eventualities and was guarding its reputation. On the other hand a page was prepared for the crime journalist Peter R. de Vries to compliment him with the undercover action, which led to a confession of some sort.
The Hyves site knows also the feature of spotting. In daily life this is a nice social way to indicate that you have remotely met a friend. But in this case the feature Spotting got another meaning. It meant last night that people were hunting for him and tried mto find the place, where he was supposed to hide.
In the time that I wrote this posting the Joran van der Sloot page was consulted 4.000 times, totalling 635504 views.
UPDATE 05-02-2008: The linked Hyvespage has been closed for the public; only friends indicated by the page owner, still can see the page. The number of friends had decreased to 804 when the page was closed. The moderator of Hyves had to interfere several times in the past days and had to remove barrages of abuse.
Blog Posting Number: 998
Tags: social network
Sunday, February 03, 2008
But now it looks like things are happening for example in the Netherlands. These days chicklit reading stuff is available as mobile novels, also called movels. Typical girls literature is converted into movels and distributed. Last week Gottmer publishers in Haarlem (The Netherlands) offered its Gossip Girl series as movels to movels.eu, a portal founded by mobile software manufacturer The Saints. Usually the manuscripts have to be adapted for mobile phone, but the Gossip Girl series did not need an adaptation. The leading lady exchanges gossips. The print series started in 2003 and now counts ten volumes, of which three volumes are now available as movels.
The movels are an experiment, a representative of Gottmer Publishers conceded. The publishing house is experimenting with all kind of digital formats such as games. They also thought about audio books, but decided to start with movels as the target group has always its mobile phone with them.
The reader can chooses from three font sizes and can select the background (black or white).The movels cost 4,50 euro each, while the first chapter is for free. The payment is in three instalments of three premium SMS of 1,50 euro each. A publisher or an author will receive 1 euro, exclusive of VAT, when the basic sum of 25 euro is reached. The main part of the rest, 3,50 euro, goes to the telephone operator and the minor part goes to the movel operator. Authors can upload their novel themselves without any interference of a publisher. The uploaded manuscript is converted in almost half an hour. The portal Movels.eu has about twenty movels available now; The Saints expect this number to be raised to eighty by the end of the year. Amongst others the Dutch publisher Lemniscaat hopes to have more than ten movels published this year. The movels are also promoted by the mobile web portal of the mobile operator T-Mobile and by T-Zones; payment is included in the telephone billing statement.
Blog Posting Number: 996
Tags: movel, mobile novels, pdamovel, mobile novel, pda
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Lohengrin is one of the most successful operas by Wagner, which was performed for the first time in Weimar (Germany) on August 28 1850, under the conductorship of Franz Liszt. The story is based on the Parcival epic by Wolfram von Eschenbach and the Medieval legends of the Holy Grail. The opera is often seen as fight between Christianity and paganism and between the artist and the society around him. (Tomorrow also Mozart’s opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail will be presented tomorrow in Amsterdam; this opera is a fight between Christianity and islam). The parts in the Lohengrin performance of February 2nd, 2008 are rendered by Anne Schwanewils, playing Elsa, Klaus Florian Vogt, playing Lohengrin and Eike Wilm Schulte playing Telramund.
The opera has been announced as unique in its crossmedia approach. So far no opera has been surrounded with so many media and features. The opera has its own URL and site (in Dutch). The basic story of the opera is summarised (in Dutch) The libretto text in German is available to follow during the performance; it is also translated in Dutch and dubbed live in the performance and the music score is available. There are videos and audio fragments available of interviews with the conductor and the singers as well as historic parts. There are biographies, blogs, guestsbook comments and even a puzzle available. The opera will be available in the very popular Missed broadcast section of the public broadcast system for on demand retrieval.
So far no broadcast music event has been surrounded by such a selection of media elements, which all contribute towards a better understanding and appreciation of the opera in question. Organisationally it also means that the various departments of the public broadcasting system are working together to develop new formats for this type of major events. The opera in question has become a media-rich event with various artefacts. The experience, even for someone participating remotely from home, is very informed and enjoyable.
Blog Posting Number: 996
Tags: cross-media, opera
Friday, February 01, 2008
The project team reached these conclusions after undertaking in-depth case studies, an online survey and reviews of other work in this field. It also engaged closely with many leading experts, practitioners and other eGovernment stakeholders. The Study Team consisted of:
- Oxford Internet Institute (OII), University of Oxford, which is the base of the Project Management Team;
- Centre de Recherches Informatique et Droit (CRID), University of Namur, Belgium;
- Gov 3 Ltd, an eGovernment Consultancy;
- Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT), University of Tilburg, Netherlands;
-Department of Administrative Law, University of Murcia, Spain.
The Internet and related electronic information and communication technologies (ICTs) are being used increasingly in Europe to enhance the delivery of public services and citizens’ democratic engagements with government. However, many such ‘eGovernment’ innovations that could benefit all citizens have been hampered by legal, organizational and other obstacles. For example, substantial differences between EU Member States and regions can create barriers to pan-European ePublic Services.
This overview highlights key solutions to help avoid or overcome these blockages, such as creating a network of eGovernment champions and establishing a citizen’s ‘eRight’ to access public services electronically. These recommendations are based on results from the European Commission’s ‘Barriers to eGovernment’ project.
Two main dimensions show the project results. Seven major barrier categories were identified by the project:
-- Leadership failures result in slow and patchy progress to eGovernment.
-- Financial inhibitors limit the flow of investment to eGovernment innovation.
-- Digital divides and choices where inequalities lead to differences in motivations and competences that constrain and fragment eGovernment take-up.
-- Poor coordination across jurisdictional, administrative and geographic boundaries holds back eGovernment networking benefits.
-- Workplace and organizational inflexibility impair adaptability to new networked forms of information sharing and service provision.
-- Lack of trust heightens fears about inadequate security and privacy safeguards in electronic networks.
-- Poor technical design leads to difficult-to-use eGovernment services and/or incompatibilities between ICT systems.
Eight key legal areas were analysed in detail:
-- Administrative law in many European countries that recognizes certain formal guarantees which can create legal ambiguities and obstacles for some eGovernment services.
-- Authentication and identification procedures for online users can become barriers if they are too costly, cumbersome or unreliable.
-- Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and copyright laws protect creative works but can also impair flexibility and fairness in some eGovernment applications.
-- Liability laws affecting new divisions of responsibility between government, businesses and citizens in online relationships can create anxieties and risks that impair eGovernment progress.
-- Privacy and data protection rights can facilitate or block information sharing in eGovernment activities.
-- Public administration transparency, such as Freedom of Information laws, can add costs to ePublic Services, as well as opening the possibility of greater access to government information.
-- Relationships between public administrations, citizens and other ICT actors can be difficult to manage, e.g. in contractual arrangements between public administrations and ICT suppliers.
-- Re-use of public sector information can raise complex legal issues when information from networked computer systems and databases are accessible from different jurisdictional and organizational contexts.
Visit the project website for comprehensive information about the project’s work and outputs. All deliverables are also available on epractice.eu.
Blog Posting Number: 995
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Blog: Buziaulane is a daily blog in English
Period: 1-1-2008 till 31-1-2008
Pageviews: 2079 pages (December: 1830 pages)
Visits: 1614 visits (December 1312 visits)
Unique Visitors: 1429 visitors (December 1146 visitors)
Countries: 78 countries (December 76 countries)
Top 10 subjects
Rank/URL/Percentage of Pageviews
1. other 45,66%
2. http://buziaulane.blogspot.com/ 13,20%
3. ...spot.com/2006/07/serious-games-for-seniors.html 2,41%
4. ...06/09/25-years-of-tcpip-internet-protocols.html 1,69%
5. ...pot.com/2005/10/memorial-day-for-mata-hari.html 1,49%
6. ...buziaulane.blogspot.com/2006_08_03_archive.html 1,20%
7. ...gspot.com/2006/02/games-for-seniors-needed.html 1,11%
8. ...006/05/netherlands-towards-one-big-hotspot.html 0,87%
10. Rest 31,5%
Pageviews from the following countries
Rank/country/percentage/last month’s rank
1. USA 29,24% (1)
2. Netherlands 26,20% (2)
3. UK 8,14% (3)
4. France 2,75% (6)
5. Germany 2,55% (7)
6. Canada 2,55% (5)
7. India 2,17% (13)
8. Australia 1,83% (12)
9. Belgium 1,78% (8)
10. Spain 1,59% (16)
11. Poland 1,30% (4)
12. Thailand 1,25% (27)
13. Italia 1,16% (11)
14. Australia 1,06% (12)
15. Mexico 0,87% (47)
Stats generated by Onestat
The testers were the pupils and educational staff of the Bonnefanten College in Maastricht, in the South of The Netherlands. The eReader was the iLiad of iRex Technologies. Publishers had promised support. Edupaper.nl was the organiser of the trial.
I learned more details about the trial. The trial was held with one class of 30 pupils in secondary school; to be precise, class 3 of the Gymnasium of the Bonnefanten College. Also the teaching staff has been heavily involved. The subject area was the Dutch language. The trial lasted six weeks. Three publishers, Malmberg, EPN and Thieme supported the trial by offering digital schoolbooks; especially Thieme put a lot effort in it.
The trial proved that the eReader works like a book, but can do more than a book. The interesting part of the eReader is that the theory book, the work book as well as the exercise book are in one device. One of the non tested situations was the home work. As the eReaders could not be insured under the trial, they had to stay in the classroom; so the use for homework could only be tested in a limited situation at school.
The pupils and the teachers were very enthusiastic about the trial, if only as a solution for the daily heavy schoolbag with books. Also parents were happy as they saw the difference between 450 grams and on average 7 kilograms of books. And the pupils themselves were cyber heroes for while as they were involved in the trial.
Technologically the trial also showed some technical difficulties. The iLiad is difficult to use in combination with a web browser: the iLiad can not browse the internet. Also, the iLiad software needed improvement to cope with the content float. The A5 size of the eReader is not optimal. Much printed content will have to be converted from A4 into A5. This can not be done automatically; so it is expensive. (That was the mean reason for not going on with the trial with other subjects). And organisationally it is needed to involve everyone, pupils and staff, in the introduction on the eReader.
Edupaper.nl got much publicity with the trial, not only from inside education, but also from outside and from abroad. Educational publishers sought contact. Authors offered their content for courses. The company learned much from the trial. The conclusion is that the iLiad is a step in the right direction of a proper educational tool, certainly as far the weight of the eReader goes. But the A5 of the iLiad is too small and too costly and cumbersome for converting educating material. Edupaper.nl is now developing an A4 eReader according to its own specifications, software and with colour.
Blog Posting Number: 994
Tags: e-education, e-reader, digital paper
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Flakplan Andes, Navteq (to be acquired by telecom manufacturer Nokia) and TeleAtlas (to be acquired by the navigation systems manufacturer TomTom), object to this procedure as they have collected their data for the databases at their own risk, while the government is just to hand out for free. The companies threaten even with legal procedures, as they fear damages and revenue losses. The manufacturers fear that other companies can start more easily, at less cost and in a shorter time.
All roads with a name and a number are stored and maintained in a national road database. This database has been available since 1998 and has so far been working with exclusive contracts. According to an EU directive of 2003 exclusive contracts on governmental content should be forbidden by January 1, 2009. However the whole affair around the map database has been an issue since 2000. Now the question has been posed whether civil servants should keep up a national map database or commercial digital map manufacturers. Offering the same basic information to anyone is an argument to have it maintained by the government. The state secretary has requested the opinion of an expert on governmental content to research the potential damage and costs to the digital map industry.
The Netherlands have a long history of digital maps. Philips automotive was already busy in the late seventies to look at navigation systems seriously. It developed a system by the name of Carin (Car Information and Navigation System), a system which used satellite positioning and stored the maps on optical media. The system was sold to VDO-Siemens before navigation systems took off. TeleAtlas was in fact started in 1986 in the Netherlands. By 1988 there was an experiment in Rotterdam whereby streets were filmed by travelling cars; the movies were digitalised and the maps were embellished with movies; it was a technical experiment using new media like ISDN (new at that time!) and CD-ROMs. The Rotterdam firm AND started to specialise in digital map manufacturing, calculating times for trips and transfers. As the map industry grew global, the companies had trouble to become profitable. In the meantime there is already an Open Street Map project in The Netherlands, in which users can refine the maps. The project uses digital maps, which were a gift by AND.
The issue of digital map information at technical costs for everyone is interesting question in as far as government content is concerned. Should government be a content producer in the first place or have commercial industries do the work by contract. Another question is of course the copyright: who is the copyright owner, when the content has been composed and maintained by government and paid for by tax payers. In the Netherlands we have a famous case of our national law database. Kluwer Legal in the Netherlands had started early in the race to record all the laws systematically, finding mistakes, duplications and omissions. When internet was on the rise in the late nineties, the government wanted to offer the law database to the citizens. But the content was in the database of Kluwer Legal. So a long, extended process of negotiations was started. In the end the Dutch State had to pay to have its own laws back in a database, which is available to citizens now.
Blog Posting Number 993
Tags: content, e-democracy, e-government, e-government
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Newspaper archives are a difficult business. Should a newspaper offer its increasing treasure for free or should payment be asked for usage. The argument that a consumer has to pay for the storage is not relevant any longer; storage costs have decreased exponentially over the years. Should users pay for the value of the content?
When I was in London in the beginning of the eighties, the formation of news archives was the latest fashion in online in town. Ten years earlier the New York Times started to build up it news archive. In the eighties the Financial Times (FT) and BBC World radio started to collect and store all their stories. Due to the graphical unions the newspapers had to have the newspapers retyped; also BBC World radio had to have their stories transcribed. In 1990 FT announced that its online newspaper archive was paying for itself.
The Dutch newspapers were late in changing over to digital typesetting. Het Financieele Dagblad was the first newspaper to start a news archive with BRS software. The archive was accessible: users had to pay for it and subscribers got a reduction. When internet was introduced Eindhovens Dagblad was the first newspaper company to go on internet with its archive under Rosetta software for free.
Dutch national consumer newspapers with online archives:
- de Volkskrant (PCM) online archive since 01-04-1994;
- NRC Handelsblad (PCM) online archive since 01-01-1990;
- Trouw (PCM) online archive since 01-01-1992;
- Het Parool online archive since 01-07-1992;
- Algemeen Dagblad (PCM/Wegener) online archive since 01-11-1991;
- Telegraaf online archive since 01-07-2001.
By 1995 the Belgian newspaper publishers took a remarkable initiative, called Central Station. They pooled all their content together at night and started a personal news service based on their profile for subscribers. The service had troubles in starting up as journalists claimed excessive copyrights, but eventually the service returned as Mediargus. In the Netherlands a working party was formed to study the introduction of such a service. However this service never came off the ground.
In 1988 an initiative was taken to start a central press archive in The Netherlands. In the framework of a promotion program for the Hague as a telecom city, the Nederlandse PersDatabank was founded with the help of the Chambers of Commerce, Bull and Cap Gemeni. None of the shareholders had any idea of the newspaper business and of the legal rights, while the management consisted of a civil servant of the municipality of the Hague.
By 1996 PCM bought de Nederlandse PersDatabank, changed its name into Factlane by 2001, but sold the service to LexisNexis in 2002. The agreement was to run for ten years and PCM stipulated that its subscribers to the printed version could get access. Now it looks like PCM will offer the online news archive for free. Is this sane management? You might expect that in 7 to 10 years time PCM will offer the service again through a news aggregator.
I think that it is smart for PCM to keep the online news archive itself. It has an internal function for documentation, but also a public one for retrieval. But an online news archive deserves a better managerial policy. Just offering an online archive for free to the public is not smart. An online archive can be a profit centre with a proper policy. One of the policy measures is to offer no more than one year of archive for free and let people pay for the rest. Money can also be made by offering people a paid personal profile service preferably every morning. Of course it would be even smarter when all the Dutch newspaper and magazine publishers would offer a common personal profile service. This service could produce for business, consumers and special interest.
Blog Posting Number: 992
Tags: newspapers, online archive
Monday, January 28, 2008
The Readius is designed around ease of use and mobility. The device can last for 30 hours of continuous reading without battery charge. The 3G HSDPA tri-band phone allows worldwide calls and high speed instant updates from personally selected news sources, email and other services. Standard POP3 and IMAP is supported for ISP e-mail and others such as Yahoo!Mail, Google Gmail and Microsoft Exchange. The Micro SD High Capacity storage ensures quick and easy access to e-books and valuable information. Readius also features audio capabilities, including MP3, for podcasts, audio books and music.
The Readius internet portal allows users to quickly and simply configure their Readius User Interface as well as select content and services to individual style and needs. With zero clicks, personal data and information is then ‘pushed’ whenever and wherever it is needed.
The portal presents content providers with a commercially attractive channel to offer their content and services to the high growth mobile consumer market. Polymer Vision is in discussion with numerous such providers to populate the portal and make a broad choice of content and services available to Readius owners.
So what is new after last years’ press announcement for the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona? Last year the announcement indicated that Telecom Italia would exclusively market the Readius. In one of the press releases even the deadline of one week after the Barcelona Congress was mentioned. Did Telecom Italia pilot the Readius or even market the device officially. The site of Telecom Italia only mentions one press release: Telecom Italia through TIM will co-develop and market in Italy the world’s first rollable display enabled personal device for digital content distribution while Polymer Vision will market the device in the rest of the world. Nowhere on the Telecom Italia site is an indication of a pilot or the availability of the Readius. Now one year later the manufacturer tells the mobile world that the Readius will be available for commercial launch mid 2008. IN the press release there is no mention of the Telecom Italia exclusive launch.
Rushing press releases to the market before finished devices is a bad policy. The following question will pop up: What went wrong between Telecom Italia and Polymer Vision; Was the device not ready yet; Will the device be ready for commercial launch mid 2008 (roughly July till October 2008)? Or is there a technical or production problem. From a person who has seen the Readius, I heard that there is a fault in the design. When you are called, you will have to open the mobile to take the call; there is no screen, receiver and speaker on the outside. This will be experineced by a user as very awkward and looks like a cardinal sin in mobile usability design.
Blog Posting Number: 991
Tags: digital paper
Sunday, January 27, 2008
has started from number 990 today to number 1000 on February 6, 2008.
On 1000 consecutive days since May 1, 2005 a blog posting has been
published on Buziaulane with items, reports and minis-series.
You will find logs on events such as WSA, Europrix, Mindtrek and iMMovator.
Just have a look you might find your name mentioned in one of the 1000
Or you might look into subjects such as crossmedia, digital paper,
serious games, games for seniors and content. And do not forget to look
at the mini-series of Dutch New Media History, Electronic Books and
In short, check the blog, have a look and celebrate this milestone with us.
We will have special postings on the most consulted subjects.
The collecting societies for musicians, actors, movie producers, authors, performing artists and other artists have become more aggressive towards entrepreneurs and consumers. These societies have collected 232 million euro last year, about 30 million more than the year before. But not only the revenues increased, also complaints have poured in. Recently the state secretary received 11.000 signatures of complaining entrepreneurs.
The question is whether such an arbitration board will work. Presently the fixing of the tariffs is not transparent; besides the rules are complex and the number of collecting societies is numerous. So an arbitration board could bring transparency. Yet a representative of BUMA/STEMRA, the collecting society for music, is not convinced as music is complex. Besides arbitration board can delay a decision just as much as a court case can.
Especially the tariffs are a problem. Recently in a presentation (in Dutch) one of the investors in Fabchannel, Foreman Capital, illustrated that the tariffs in the Netherlands are extremely high for streaming audio and video. He took the example of three persons who want to listen to the new album of Keane. All persons listen to the album 10 times in the first month, 10 times in the second month 2 and 8 times in the third month.
- Person 1 downloads the new album online (10 tracks) and pays in total 0,90 euro.
- Person 2 does not want to listen to studio version, but selects the special acoustic release performance in paradise and listen and watches those 10 tracks on Fabchannel. Person 2 pays over three months 10,50 euro.
- Person 3 has a subscription with a streaming service and listen to the album on that service. He pays over three months 3,00 euro.
The conclusion is that streaming audio and video services like Fabchannel are not in line with the download service and the audio streaming service. The difference is even more extreme, when the tariffs are compared with tariffs in Belgium, UK, USA. After three months a user of the video and audio streaming service Fabchannel pays 0,84 euro in Belgium, 0,70 euro in the UK, 0,16 euro in the USA and no less than 10,50 euro in the Netherlands.
It is clear that an arbitration board can start immediately as there will be no lack of cases.
Blog Posting Numbers: 990
Tags: copyright, collecting societies
Saturday, January 26, 2008
It is not uncommon that works in the public domain are offered, provided with a copyright claim by a publishers. Due to the complexity of the Copyright Act, citizens can waive their rights to use their rights. Typical examples are reprints of classic books or reproductions of art works. It is neither uncommon that publishers attempt to stretch the reach of copyright. With digital products publishers disregard the depletion doctrine and even state that resale is forbidden.
Proposal: make the right of public domain works a positive right and make unfair claiming of copyright on public domain works liable to punishment in the same manner as infringement on copyright is. Let every member of the public have the right to request termination of infringement on public domain works.
5. Levies are unworkable and injust
The present practice of collecting levies by the various societies is a disaster and the business should immediately be transferred to an independent state institution under control of the parliament and be inline with public administration rules. The Internal revenue service could be such an institution.
Besides the practice of execution, the system of levies is principally intolerable.
a. There is no just distribution code. Especially the small rights holders, who are not affiliated with the collecting society, suffer as they receive such a small remuneration, that the administration costs will exceed the proceeds. Collectively this group is most probably the largest group and this group should be supported in the framework of cultural diversity. Due to this system the group of small rights holders pays the largest costs. A systematic distribution of the revenues from the levies is hardly possible as the copyright framework is very large; copyright does not only cover pieces of art, but also utterances of minimal originality.
b. It is impossible to conclude to a reasonable criterion for levies. The number of bytes for storage of a work does not say anything about the costs associated with the realisation of the work. Classical music probably costs a manifold of a pop music production and one hour of a TV-quiz will hardly costs compare to the costs of a Hollywood blockbuster, not to mention the costs of a software program. The differences are so great that a reasonable average can not be set.
c. Costs of media are reduced exponentially. Every year the costs of a gigabyte of storage halves. This trend is going on for some thirthy years and will not stop. Would a levy on blank media be introduced on the basis of storage, the Dutch economy would be outclassed by an economy not charging levies. An example is the writable DVD, of which the levy is higher than the production price; so people buy them in countries not charging a levy or illegal imports.
d. Levies are extremely impopular. In fact levies are seen as legal theft by many. Under the present outdated system artists would have a right to a remuneration on every new copy. Especially music companies like to use criminal law to persecute every illegal copy.
e. Levies are arbitrarily determined and maintained. There is a levy on CDs and DVDs, but not on harddiscs and mp3-players. There is no technical reason to put a lower levy on DVD+R media than on DVD-media (the developer of DVD+R, Philips, is part of the organisation setting the levies in the Netherlands). Dutch consumer order DVD without a levy in Germany.
f. Levy systems are erroneously defended as less bad solution. DRM systems have been seen as means for enforcement of copyright. Yet DRM systems have been cancelled for many reasons. This should not lead to the conclusion that levies should be introduced on a large scale. There are other opportunities (like merchandising).
Conclusion: Levies cover only a very small part of the copyright market and are extremely unjust. Such a blunt means for rights holders can not be justified.
Proposal: abolish the whole system of levies immediately.
Blog Post Number: 989
Tags: copyright, blank media levy
Friday, January 25, 2008
1. The duration of copyright is too long
After many changes in the law copyright now till seventy years after the death of the author. This has many consequences.
a. Requests for re-use are not honoured, while re-use stimulates a strong and pluriform cultural development;
b. Most of the copyrighted works are not available, as it is not of interest economically;
c. No permission will be given for copying unique, vulnerable works;
d. Works are no longer available as the rights holders are no longer traceable;
e. Works are no longer available, even in the public domain, as the data about the death of the authors are not traceable.
The last round of prolongations from fifty to seventy years after the death of an author, has not yielded any extra culture; only extra costs for the readers.
Proposal: shorten copyright to twenty years after publication and create a transition period by twenty years. This will provide breathing space to change international treaties or cancel them.
2. The reach of copyright is too wide
For every minimal re-use permission is required. This puts a brake on creative re-use and causes an enormous administrative overhead. Dutch law knows a closed system of limitations. The US system on the other hand is one of fair use, which allows re-use within boundaries. It is remarkable that the European market with a database directive is seven times smaller than the US market.
Proposal: introduce fair use.
3. Copyright is extremely complex
The Copyright Act has become complex over the years. And when it is only the right of a small Group of specialists, this can be accepted. But with the introduction of internet citizens have become potential publishers. So copyright should be clear for large groups of people. So exceptions and exceptions upon exceptions should be excluded. No special treatment for specific categories; no distinction between copyright and neighbouring rights. The Act should fit on one A-4 and understandable for the average citizen. In order to establish whether there is copyright on a specific work, a public register should be set up.
A reformed copyright act should exclusively be aimed at the audience. The traditional, exclusive right of copying should be abolished and replaced with the already existing exclusive right of communication with the audience. Copyright should limit itself to publication; reproduction dates back to the time when technology was limited.
Proposal: make only communication to the audience an exclusive right.
Blog Posting Number: 988
Tags: copyright, neighbouring rights, fair use
Tags: copyright, neighbouring rights, fair use
Thursday, January 24, 2008
On an incidental basis measures are proposed for putting levies on mp3 players. And those measures are likened to the draconian measures proposed in the US, breaching especially privacy. And all this for the financial interests of the movie world or the software industry, led by Microsoft. These measures will have contrary effects.
But the open letter warns that the problems are not just in the maintenance of copyright. With internet the publishing and distribution of culture is democratised and gives everyone the opportunity to become a publisher. So in principle everyone will have to deal with copyright problems. Yet the present law mainly serves the interests of distributors such as publishers, music and movie companies; besides copyright has been brought into the sphere of criminal law. However internet has affected the activities of the distribution companies.
The copyright law was originally modest in penetration and duration, but has expanded due to amendments and jurisdiction to the extent that social support for it starts to crumble. Pirate parties in many European countries are signs on the wall. Groups of voters will support these one issue parties.
Copyright law should be re-directed to its original starting point: invest protection, promotion of cultural, scientific and political artefacts, recognition of the efforts and the personality rights of the creator and, last but not least, enrichment of our cultural heritage. The contemporary Copyright Act has become an obstacle for the creators as they are more often confronted with institutes clearing the rights of other creators who figure in their works; think only of the movie maker using the song Happy Birthday in movie.
The law maker should start to balance the interests. The prolongation of copyright mans some more years of revenues from royalty. In reality it also means hidden cultural damage for not created works or not enjoyed artefacts. Reform of the Copyright Act will lead to a cultural enrichment and growth in supply and demand.
The author of the open letter, Jeroen Hellingman, member of the board of Vrijschrift, notices that a dichotomy starts to show between innovative distributors, who are moving with the times and are grabbing the new opportunities, and , on the other hand, the conservative forces, which keep milking their successes and are using conservative politician to protect their business. This development has been predicted by economists like Dr Wilfried Dolfsma.
Blog Posting Number: 987
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
The discussion on copyrights and levies has never been away in the last few years. Recently at a seminar several suggestions were discussed. The collecting society NORMA suggested a new system of measures, enforcing levies on media, but tolerating non-commercial uploads (presently uploading copyrighted material is illegal in the Netherlands).
Sample-artist and vj Eboman said that the present copyright law is dated and can not respond to the new ways with images in which people communicate. Remixing and sampling is impossible by the legal squabbles of an industry which is only attempting to protect its revenues.
And the first written reaction, an open letter (only in Dutch), is already in sent by the Vrijschrift organisation (translated Free writing). This organisation promotes the awareness of the economic and social importance of free knowledge and culture for society. Internationally Vrijschrift.org co-operates with the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure, the Free Software Foundation Europe, the Project Gutenberg en many others.
In the open letter (copyrighted under creative commons) to the state secretary of Justice and the parliamentary commission of justice the organisation expresses that it is happy with the parliamentary investigation into copyright.
In the open letter Vrijschrift points to bottlenecks, which are caused by the abundence of copyright regulations. These bottlenecks can be summarised as:
- the length of copyright is too long;
- the reach of copyright is too wide;
- the copyright law is excessively complex;
- publishers claim copyright improperly (copy fraud);
- Levies are unworkable and unjust.
In the extensive open letter the organisation treats all these points. In the next instalments I will produce a digest of the open letter.
Blog Posting Number 986
Tags: copyright, creative commons
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
The EU institutions have more multilingual texts than any other organisation in the world because of the requirements that EU law exist in each of its 23 official languages. Their translation services work with 253 possible language pair combinations and produce around 1.5 million translated pages a year.
Whereas large amounts of translations of English or French texts can be found on the Internet, such resources are scarce for languages such as Latvian, Romanian or Dutch, and they are practically nonexistent for the combination of two languages for which few resources exist.
Through co-operation between its translators and its in-house scientists, The EC is releasing large collections of sentences from legal documents covering technical, political and social issues which are available in 22 languages (Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, German, Greek, Finnish, French, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish and Swedish). In this translation repository it is possible to find sentences with their equivalent in all other official languages . Only Irish translations are not yet available. This release of language data is a good example of the Commission's open policy of re-use of its information resources and follows the opening of the EU's documentary and terminological databases Eur-Lex and IATE.
The EC has extensive experience with the development of multilingual text processing tools and is at the forefront of multilingualism, offering publicly accessible news search sites covering up to 35 languages via its European Media Monitoring tool. The 7th Framework programme for research and development – in its Information and Communication Technologies strand – supports research on machine translation and other language related technologies.
Blog Posting Number: 985
Tags: machine translation, multilingualism