March 2005 Archives

Long trip ahead. I'm off to Mar del Plata, Argentina today for the ICANN meeting. It's a long trip involving flying from Tokyo to Chicago San Francisco, Washington DC, Buenos Aries, then meeting some people there and taking a car for 400 km or so...

UPDATE: I picked the fastish looking line coming through immigration out of Tokyo. The extremely efficient agent looked familiar and I confirmed from her stamp that she was agent 1128 that I had when I was departing in January as well. Kudos agent 1128.

I was in Taiwan for one day and am at the airport on my way back to Tokyo now. Even though the bloggers at the bloggers meeting probably came mostly for the iPod Shuffle give-away, it was a great turnout and it was a treat to meet the vibrant Taiwan bloggers community. The talk the next day to the somewhat more sober, but venerable TWNIC audience was also interesting. It was great to meet Paul Wilson from APNIC and listen to John Klensin who was almost as convincing on video as he is in real life.

Special thanks to Ching Chiao for organizing a wonderful trip and the excellent meals. Taiwan is right up there with Italy now in my "best food overall" category.

I'm off to Taiwan today. Tonight I'm giving a talk at the TW Blogger BoF and tomorrow morning I'm giving a talk at the TWNIC Annual Seminar. I haven't been to Taiwan for over 20 years so I'm looking forward to visiting, albeit briefly.

UPDATE: Video of Jedi, the father of Taiwan blogs. (312K .3gp taken with my Nokia 7610) I have no idea what he is saying.

UDPATE 2: They gave away 3 1G iPod Shuffles at the end. No wonder so many people showed to the talk. Maybe I should make it a condition of future speaking engagements. I'll speak if you give way 3 iPod shuffles at the end of my talk. ;-)

New York Times
Growing Number of Lawsuits Could Hurt Google's Ad Revenue

PARIS, March 27 -

[...]

This month, Mr. Dariot triumphed in his year-and-a-half-old lawsuit against Google's French subsidiary, which has been ordered to pay him $97,000 in fines and legal costs.

Dariot and his travel companies, Luteciel and Viaticum, successfully challenged Google's practice of selling Internet advertising from rivals designed to appear with Web searches for his trademarked Web site name, Bourse des Vols, which means flight exchange.

[...]

Mr. Dariot's company is one of the first to win against Google; similar cases in the United States and Germany that challenged the search engine's use of keywords have failed.

But more companies are piling on. France is home to as many as 15 cases, according to lawyers involved.

[...]

In a recent California case, Norm Zada, the chief executive and founder of Perfect 10, a publisher of nude photographs and adult material based in Beverly Hills, said he started sending legal notices to Google about the unauthorized use of his images in 2001.

"After 16 notices, they said they couldn't do anything," Mr. Zada said.

Since then, he said, his attorney has issued a blizzard of 44 notices in the past two years that covered 9,000 unauthorized images. In January, he sued Google in United States District Court in Los Angeles.

Google is in an amazing position to be the target of tons of lawsuits that will set precedent for many important things for us on the Internet. I personally like that Google is pushing the envelope on fair use and other issues. For instance, I think Google Images "thumbnails" are no larger than 150x150 pixels. Because of this, I use 150x150 as my own "safe zone" for "fair use thumbnails". If someone sues me, at least I can point at Google. The other thing that Google, Yahoo and others are involved in is transborder lawsuits, which are a very interesting issue from an Internet governance point of view.

Maybe Google should get into the legal advisory business too. ;-)

I'm in New Delhi airport on my way back to Japan. It will be nice to be home but unfortunately, I'm only going to be home for three nights and then I'm off again to Taiwan... I'm sorry to miss the Holi Day today where people throw paint colored water at each other, but I need to get home. New Delhi was excellent. Thanks again. India's an amazing place. I must come back.

I realize this is a bit old, but in the context of my post yesterday on "What would Gandhi do?"... I googled around and apparently this aired on Air America and a number of other places, but I can't find an audio or video file, just references to it. (If anyone has a link to the video or audio, let me know so I can update this post.)

President Bush explaining his Social Security plan - Tampa, Florida - Feb. 4, 2005

Woman in audience: I don't really understand. How is it the new [Social Security] plan is going to fix that problem?

President Bush: Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculated, for example, is on the table. Whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the -- like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate -- the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those -- if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.

I wonder if President Bush also feels he can't say exactly what he means when he knows that his words will end up on the Internet...

originally via Markoff

UPDATE: Transcript on Whitehouse site. Thanks Rod.

Lessig Blog
Yahoo!

Late last night, Yahoo! launched a Creative Commons search engine, permitting you to search the web, filtering results on the basis of Creative Commons licenses. So, as I feel like I've said 10,000 times when explaining CC on the road, "Show me pictures of the Empire State Building that I can use for noncommercial use," and this is the first of about 13,000 on the list.

Excellent news. So who's next? Google? Nokia? Apple? Come on folks... ;-) Hardware, software and services that support Creative Commons is key for creating the sharing economy. Creative Commons was designed to enable machine readable encoding and this is a great example of why. Congrats to all who worked to make this happen.

Update from Boing Boing: DeWitt sez, "I added a Creative Commons search as one of the very first columns on A9 during our launch of OpenSearch last week at ETech."

In the last post I talked about wanting to break up monopolies and I was accused of being a hypocrite. The accusation was that ICANN was a monopoly. I responded by saying that ICANN is not a monopoly. One of the ideas behind ICANN was to break up the Network Solutions monopoly and encourage competition among registrars and registries. Also, if you want globally-consistent references, you need a root and an administrator of the root. ICANN is a non-profit and the board members do not benefit directly from the ability to regulate the delegation of top level domains (TLDs) and IP addresses. I think the trick is not to figure out a way to avoid anyone being administrator, but to figure out how to make that administrator fair. ICANN tries to address many of the issues by having a board composed of neutral members and members which represent the various constituencies. ICANN exercises a strict conflict of interest policy. Because of this, the board is very difficult to "capture" although a very broad group, such as the intellectual property lobby could feasibly have a great deal of influence over a number of the constituencies.

Anyway, having responded a bit defensively that ICANN is not a monopoly... and in the spirit of the soul searching from my last post, I do want think about what could make ICANN better. Even if I don't believe it is "a monopoly" in the sense of monopoly that I was talking about, it does have a monopoly over a particular aspect of Internet governance. I am going to Argentina next week to participate in the ICANN meeting so I suppose this is a good time to think about ICANN constructively and think about how I should try to contribute next week.

Just to frame this a bit more. I'm less concerned about what "evils" ICANN has done in the past and am more interested in what ICANN is doing now or should do in the future. ICANN is changing and fighting about the past is interesting, but not as productive.

A few things that I currently believe:

1 - The ITU can not manage names and numbers as well as ICANN and it's affiliated groups and I can't see anyone else who can.

2 - The basic architecture of ICANN - multi-constituent, multi-lateral with various working groups is correct.

3 - ICANN should and will eventually become independent of of the US Department of Commerce. The current goal is 2006.

4 - A completely distributed peer to peer directory service is technically feasible, but would be impossible to implement without causing complete chaos for people using the Internet today and isn't practical. Having said that, a more distributed directory system that sits on top of DNS may be useful, but that doesn't replace the DNS.

5 - ICANN should focus on names and numbers.

6 - ICANN should not become bigger than necessary to fulfill it's mandate.

Yesterday evening, Marko and I ran the closing session for Doors of Perception in India. Frankly, it was an amazing conference. There were minor logistical gripes like no wifi in the conference center (my excuse for not blogging for the last few days), but it was really incredible. Hats off to the whole team that pulled this together. Presentations ranged from self-organizing networks of manufacturers in slums to alternative currencies to the latest things going on on the web.

In the wrap-up session, I talked a lot about role of the open Internet in allowing bottom-up innovation and edge-inward work. I talked about the barriers created by monopolies. I said that it was the role of government to break up these monopolies and that we couldn't do it alone. I also talked about how Creative Commons was for providing choice and that we weren't saying that tradition media or content production models should go away.

Later, an elderly man stood up and said that all knowledge should be available to everyone and that he didn't think we should compromise on the copyright issues. He then said that the people are ready to fight and march in the streets and turn over the monopolies and we didn't need to sit around and wait for government. It turns out he used to live with Mahatma Gandhi's at his Ashram.

I felt a sudden pain. I realized that I was compromising and in fact evening softening my words assuming that the video of my presentation might end up on the Internet and that I would have to defend any hardline positions I took. I remember watching the movie about Gandhi (Irony alert. It was a Hollywood movie.) and thinking about the power of sticking to your principles and how this purity can move nations without violence or compromise and questioning myself and my methods.

I have always viewed my role as a sort of ambassador or bridge between groups to help provide a dialog. In talks to telephone operators or other somewhat old-school companies, I talk about their "challenges". To left-wing artists, I talk about the tyranny of the monopolies. The irony is that the recent trend of people posting audio or video files of my speeches online has made it difficult for me to maintain this split-personality / facade. I think it's a good thing that these things go online, but it reminds me a bit of politicians being criticized for what they have said at parties or "among friends"... or the Enron telephone calls. I have always encouraged this and poked fun myself. Being on the receiving end of this chilling effect is interesting. The core message I deliver doesn't change but delivery is slightly dampened.

I haven't been "outed" yet and I'm sure most people would understand what I was saying in the context in which my talks are delivered, but I sometimes say things that I'm sure I would say differently on my blog. In my mind, this is translated to words the audience understands in their frameworks in order to be constructive, but in a sense I'm being a bit dishonest. I also pull back on the "radical" throttle when I think it is going to offend my audience so much they will reject everything I say. Having said that, I've had a number of people get really upset. One publisher in Finland called my presentation about Creative Commons "disgusting".

My blog is probably the most "balanced" version of my position so just imagine that I'm slight more radical when I'm talking to the radicals and slightly more "soft" when I'm talking to conservatives. But my question is, am I compromising by adapting my words for the audience and where is the line beyond which I am not adapting words, but changing my position? What would Gandhi do? I suppose everyone does this to a certain extent but I was suddenly conscious of this gap last night.

UPDATE: Related post. "What would GW do?"

I'm at the airport in Amsterdam waiting board my flight to New Delhi. I'll be there for almost a week to attend and speak at Doors of Perception. The doctor in Amsterdam said that I didn't need malaria pills even though many of my friends are taking them. I hope they're right.

See you on the other side. This is only my second time in New Delhi and I'm looking forward to meeting everyone and getting to know the city better.

Blogads has done another survey of blog readers. This year the sample size is 30,079.

via Loic

Dave Sifry has a three part series of posts about blog statistics. (Part 1 - Growth of Blogs, Part 2 - Posting Volume, Part 3 - The A-List and the Long Tail). I've posted some of the charts below. More information and charts on his blog.

Daveslide1

Daveslide2

Daveslide3

Daveslide4

Blogger Jeremy Wright was denied entry to the United States and was strip searched by the US Department of Homeland Security. One of the reasons for the suspicion was that the officer didn't believe blogging was a profession. "Blogging ain’t a job," said the officer. (Maybe I should modify my last post about amateurs and blogging...) Jeremy has posted a followup entry which is sober and balanced. He quotes from memory part of the exchange with the DHS officer.

Him: Why would you visit someone in the states you’d never met (I mentioned I was planning to visit several people whilst down there)
Me: Well, I have met most of them, but I’ve talked to them dozens or hundreds of times online.
Him: Do you have any of their phone numbers?
Me: No, but I talk
Him: You can’t talk to someone without a phone number. Stop lying to me.
Me: No, really, I can talk from my computer to theirs
Him: Don’t be a smartass. If you don’t have their phone number, and you’ve never met them, how can you have ever talked to them.
Me: … (at this point I’ve learned that sarcasm doesn’t help, nor does answering questions he doesn’t want to hear the answer to)
Him: So, you’re trying to tell me that you’re going to visit someone who you’ve never met, never talked to and who knows nothing about you? And I’m supposed to believe this?
Good point about sarcasm. On my blog I talk tough about DHS and immigration, but in front of a DHS officer, I'm very polite and try to say "yes sir" a lot... Immigration is definitely not a good play to practice your sarcasm.

via NevOn via Politech.

In yesterday's discussion and in Charles Leadbeater's discussion the day before, there was a lot of talk about the rights of amateurs, the "pro-am revolution" and other arguments about how amateur content and creativity was important. I described how in the blogging world, it's mostly the people who create content who "pay" in contrast to the professional content world where it is the creator who gets paid. I talked about how Creative Commons was really helpful for amateurs who were more passionate about having their works widely accessible than making money. This is not to say that Creative Commons isn't useful for other things of course.

There was a bit of slippage in the discussion in the afternoon when several people pointed out that maybe I was suggesting that amateurs shouldn't/couldn't become professionals. The point, if I understood it correctly, assumed that most amateurs wanted to be professionals and that somehow amateurs were proto-professionals or professional wannabes. At least some of them.

I think this is a mischaracterization and maybe a reason to dump the word "amateur". I think that in the case of many amateurs such as many bloggers, Wikipedians and most open source developers, the amateurs are happy being amateurs and don't feel that they are in any way inferior to their professional counterparts. Many of the heads of open source projects have a day job, but probably believe that they are superior to comparable professionals at Microsoft or other software companies. I doubt that many Wikipedians wish that they could get paid for what they do. There are very few people who prefer professional sex to amateur sex. (I think I got this example from Steve Weber's book.)

My sister pointed this out to me last week by IM as well. I think the answer lies in the mode of production. Money creates a power relationship between the payer and the payee. I think cases where the production is happening in some sort of enterprise or a "firm" where having a manager and having access to resources allows production to be more efficiently, financial relationships and "professionalism" seem to "feel OK." On the other hand, when working in what Yochai Benkler calls "commons-based peer-production," the "professionalism" is replaced by amateur passion as a primary driver.

I pointed out several times yesterday that I don't want to impinge on the rights of professionals, but I believe that monopolistic professional organizations such as rights collection agencies, the Hollywood lobbies and Microsoft are hurting the ability for amateur artists from participating by creating technology and legislation that focuses exclusively on protection instead of the sharing of creativity. I think it is the role of government to call into question the practices of these monopolies which are the unfortunately byproduct of an unchecked free market economy and prevent the passing of legislature that increases the power of these monopolies such as software patents and extension of copyright terms. Instead, they should be focusing on activities that make it more difficult for such monopolies to form such as focusing on open standards and open source and whenever possible, preventing proprietary standards from being funded by public funds.

Cccbanner
I'm now at the Creative Capital Conference. Free WiFi. Yay! The DNS from the DHCP didn't work though so you have to find one and enter it directly... anyway.

It looks like a very interesting conference. Some of my favorite speakers are here including Charles Leadbeater and Pekka Himanen (who I was just with in Madrid). The other speakers sound interesting too and I look forward to their presentations. I will be giving a keynote on the 18th at 11:00, doing at Q&A at 11:30 and will be on the "Publicly Financed Content" panel at 13:00.

Today, the 17th, there will an all-afternoon gathering of Creative Commons projects from across Europe. This is the first time they've assembled in one meeting and I look forwarded to hearing about all of the projects.

The mayor of Amsterdam is speaking now kicking off the talk with a quote from Richard Florida talking about how businesses seek out creative people, but people seek out cities with other creative people. He is talking about the creative capital of cities.

I've been using Richard Florida's "Creative Class" to identify the new class of people who are anti-establishment, proactive, creative, connected... you know... us. Francesco Cara and Jyri Engeström turned me on to Richard Florida's work. (Everyone else in the world appears to already have known about him once I started to get excited.) I just read Karrie Jacobs's criticism of Richard Florida and his Creative Class quoting a discussion with John Thackara, the organizer of Doors of Perception, the conference I will be speaking at next. (via Gen Kanai) It's an interesting criticism and it argues that "In other words, Florida has taken something qualitative and turned it into something quantitative." I agree with some of the points, but I think that there is a class of people who seem to have more similarities across countries than other people in the region. If you look at the proliferation of things like social networking software and blogs in countries like Brazil and Iran, I think that broadband users in these countries have more similarities to the creative class in other countries than to their parents. I think that from a social software and remix culture perspective, this is very interesting.

I'm at the airport in Milan after being allowed to talk almost non-stop for three days. Thanks to everyone for listening. The spectrum of locations was exciting ranging from squats to universities to a industry press conference. Thanks to Donatella and Laura for organizing everything and managing the trip. Thanks also to everyone for the arguments, suggestions and questions. I have a lot to think about and it also helped me tie a bunch of new things together in my head.

I'm off to Amsterdam to attend the Creative Commons meeting tomorrow and speak at the Creative Capital conference. See you there.

Thanks to everyone in Rome for great food and wonderful discussions. I'm off to Milan today... more later.

Bugs
Yesterday, I had a meeting with some of the Italian Indymedia community at a squat. In most countries squatters are considered criminals and local law has very little tolerance for them. In Italy, the squat scene is the center of a lot of the sub-culture and alternative media. After years of resistance, many of the squats on property which was owned by the local government have been officially recognized by the municipalities in various degrees. The squats have events including debates and parties. They have kitchens, living quarters, and in the case of the squat I went to last night, a computer lab (called "hacks" this one named "bugs") that teaches people how to switch from Microsoft to Linux and allows free Internet access to anyone who wants to drop by.

After the chat in the bugs hack, we went to dinner at a centro sociale called Casale Podere Rosa. It was similar to a squat except the people don't live there. The place we went to was on the upscale end. The food was excellent and they had lots of posters and pamphlets describing the organic farming methods they used to grow their produce.

Internet penetration in Italy is quite low and the Berlusconi media machine controls most of what people see. On the other hand, the left wing are fighting hand and fist (literally) with the right wing radicals. Free speech was something that people were fighting for, in many cases outside of the law. At a tactical level, my discussion about freedom of expression and our "Infrastructure of Democracy" idea of fighting bad speech with more good speech sounded a bit idealistic. What was interesting to me was the power and the energy of the alternative media movement. It reminds me of my theory on good alternative music. When there is a huge force pressing down on freedoms, sub-cultures with more creativity and power are likely to form.

Thanks to everyone in Madrid for all of the hospitality and excellent company.

I'm off today to Rome. See you on the other side.

UPDATE: Just arrived in Rome. I had asked for a hotel with Internet. I realized when I arrived at the Hotel Hassler that I had stayed here once before with my mother and sister around 20 years or so ago. I remember it being an excellent hotel. However, I remember that they didn't take credit cards back then. Now they have Internet. I remember this was my late mother's favorite hotel in Rome...

Click image to see flickr image
including notes on the objects.
whatsinyourbag Originally uploaded by Joi.

I saw this fun whatsinyourbag flickr tag on Minami's blog so I decided to dump the contents of my shoulder bag on the floor (at 5AM) and take a picture.

Expatica
Al-Qaeda tells Madrid: 'We will defeat all the infidels'
11 March 2005

DUBAI- Al-Qaeda's frontman in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, vowed to defeat "infidels and apostates" in response to a Madrid conference on terrorism.

"We tell the infidels and apostates, the enemies of God: whatever you do, you will be defeated. God promised us victory," read the statement from the Organization of Al-Qaeda of Jihad in the Land of Two Rivers, in a statement published on the Internet.

The authenticity of the statement could not be verified.

"How many times will the infidels and apostates meet to fight against Islam and combat the Jihad... They have other worries than to fight the Muslims and mistreat them," it said.

On the other hand...
CBS News
Spanish clerics issue fatwa against bin Laden

Last Updated Fri, 11 Mar 2005 10:34:46 EST
CBC News

MADRID - Clerics representing the majority of Spain's one million Muslims have issued what they say is the world's first fatwa against Osama bin Laden.

The edict by the Islamic Commission of Spain, which represents about 70 per cent of the approximately 300 mosques in the country, called bin Laden an apostate and asks Muslims to denounce him.

Hi Howard,

Congratulations. I have great respect for Mr. Idei and wish he could have completed his mission, but I'm sure the decision for him to resign was something that was thoroughly thought through. Personally, I'm glad that they chose you to run the company. I think you understand Sony and have many of the things that Sony needs to become the global company that Mr. Idei wanted it to be. My main concern is that you are quite immersed in the entertainment side of the business and I really believe that Hollywood is taking an unreasonably strong position on the copyright issue and is impinging on the rights of users and amateur creators. In your new role as the head of Sony, I urge you to try to take a more balanced and long-term view on the copyright issues. I suggest you at least listen to the rhetoric of the "other side" and maybe start by reading "The Future of Ideas" by Lawrence Lessig.

I hope you will still do the Sony Open Forum in Hawaii and let me continue to challenge you and your executives. (I promise to practice my golf too.)

Anyway, I look forward to seeing you again and hope your new job doesn't take away your sense of humor. ;-)

- Joi

It should be noted that as with fingerprinting, some countries MAY demand similar action from our citizens entering their country.

Dave

------ Forwarded Message
From: rose
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2005 08:49:32 -0800 (PST)
To: dave
Subject: "1984" has arrived! DHS demanding on site acccess to email accounts of selected incoming aliens

Hi Dave,

As an attorney, practicing in the areas of international business and immigration law, it has come to my attention through discussions with other attorneys, that DHS is pulling aside "selected" aliens at entry checkpoints and bringing them into a separate room which contains a DHS computer connected to the internet. The aliens are told to bring up their various email accounts on the screen and enter their passwords. DHS then reads the emails for information pertaining to possible unauthorized work or other matters and questions the aliens on these findings. Of course, no attorney can be present at these interrogations! People travelling to the U.S. should be aware that a possible search of them by DHS now also means a search of their email accounts!

Regards,

Rose Robbins, Esq.

This means that I should probably be careful not to have any suspicious looking email on my computer either. This also creates a vulnerability for aliens entering the US because someone could send them a bunch of sketchy email that would get them in trouble when they are about to enter the US...

UPDATE:

From: Kevin Murphy
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2005 12:38:08 -0500
To: dave
Subject: RE: [IP] comments "1984" has arrived! DHS demanding on site access to email accounts of selected incoming aliens

I find this very difficult to believe.

How many people can remember the hostname, IP address or URL used to access their email, without the benefit of bookmarks or an preconfigured mail client? How many can even remember their password? For most people, their account and client would be set up by their employer or their ISP. They boot up Outlook and it just works. I know I couldn't provide this information, particularly after a long-haul flight, nicotine withdrawal, and standing in line at passport control for an hour.

And how would DHS know what email accounts you have, anyway?

Kevin Murphy

US Bureau Chief
ComputerWire
San Francisco, CA 94103

Atochastation
Atocha Station
Joshua Ramo who was moderating a panel at the Atocha summit asked the question, is the world more democratic since 9/11. Clearly most people thought no. One person in the audience stepped up and said that the elections in Iraq were a good sign and that Iraq was more democratic. A young man from Iraq jumped in and said that he didn't believe that the elections had made Iraq more democratic citing the low turnout and the problems they were having getting started. Then a young Iraqi woman who was working on monitoring elections jumped in and said that she believed it was getting more democratic and that it would take time and people had to be patient. What was striking was the passion that both of these young Iraqi's had and the strength of their words which were based on experience rather than analysis or speculation.

One of the problems with the question about whether the world is more democratic or not is that it is very difficult to measure and the word "democratic" has so many meanings and is ill-defined. What is more interesting, which Kenneth Roth from Human Rights Watch pointed out was to talk about human rights. He made the point that the Bush administration talks about liberty, freedom and democracy, but avoids talking about human rights. Liberty, freedom and democracy are very fuzzy words, but human rights is very specific. It would be easy to define terrorism as attacks against human rights and international humanitarian law forbids attacks against innocent non-combatants which is often the definition used for terrorism. Roth points out that the US has a terrible position on human rights in the name of the war on terror. He pointed out that Alberto Gonzales told the Senate committee the Senate Convention Against Torture treaty doesn't prohibit the use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading" tactics, which makes the US the only country which is not upholding the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment as a matter of official policy. How can a country which is not upholding basic human rights expect to be respected and supported internationally?

One of the people in the audience mentioned that it was too easy to waste time Bush bashing and maybe there was a bit too much of that. However, someone noted that at yesterday's summit only George Soros criticized George Bush by name.

I just heard some excellent comments by Kumi Naidoo on a panel. I was going to blog them, but I'm sitting next to Rebecca MacKinnon and I looked over her shoulder and noticed that she's taking better notes and is about to post something so I'll link to her instead.

One of the things I'm going to talk about on the panel today is the addition of al-Manar, the satellite TV station of Lebanon-based Hezbollah to the Terrorist Exclusion List on December 17, 2004. The TEL limits immigration for foreigners associated with organizations on the list. This is not the worst of the various lists to be on, but according to Jack Shafer, they are the first media company to be added to this list. My understanding is that al-Manar represents the Hezbollah party in Lebanon. It is an official party with democratically elected politicians. While the content of al-Manar may be objectionable to many people, stifling the voice of a democratically elected party in a foreign country by calling them terrorists goes against the spirit of freedom of expression. The US constitution's First Amendment rights only cover Americans, but I believe that in a democracy the competition of ideas and free speech should combat beliefs that it does not agree with - more speech and debate, not censorship.

Another issue is the chilling effect that this has. Although talking about or talking to people from al-Manar might not land you on the Terrorist Exclusion List, it could easily land you on the no-fly or similar list and cause you to be perpetually harassed when traveling in the US. I imagine that people from al-Manar will have a very difficult time finding anyone to talk to or have lunch with. I feel a chill running down my spine just writing this post.

Today I'll be attending the Atocha Workshop.

On March 11th 2005 the Atocha Workshop on Global Terrorism, hosted by the Safe Democracy Foundation, will create a repository of original thinking on Global Terrorism that will continue to be fed weekly in the form of a weblog by creative thinkers on the subject from around the world.

The launching event will take place at the Atocha Train Station on March 11th, 2005 at the restaurant Samarkanda. Here, in in an atmosphere that will encourage creative thinking, around 200 people will participate as policy proponents, webloggers or as public; all will be engaged in the discussion of the proposed policies.

The program is online. It should be quite interesting. I heard a rumor that it will be broadcast live on CNN, but I'll try to confirm this.

I will be on a panel from 15:10-15:55 about Media Misperception and The War on Terror (Conference Room). The other panelists are: Mario Bettencourt Resendes - Publisher Diario de Noticias, Nick Fielding - Senior Reporter of the London Sunday Times, Rebecca MacKinnon - Fellow at the Berkman Center at Harvard University, Ahmed Rashid - Author of ‘Taliban’ and ‘Jihad’, Dr. Steve Gorelick - Vice President for Institutional Advancement of The CUNY Graduate Center.

Kofi Annan is speaking now. He says that terrorism is a direct attack on human rights and the rule of law. If we destroy human rights and rule of law in the response to terrorism, they have won. Many responses to terrorism, even by those among members of the UN damage human rights. Upholding human rights is not merely compatible with fighting terrorism, it is essential. He is going to work on UN guidelines to responding to terrorism while following International human rights guidelines.

UPDATE: full text of speech. via Alvy

I am at this moment co-moderating the Democracy, Terrorism and the Open Internet panel at the Club de Madrid International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security with Marko Ahtisaari. We worked all day yesterday drafting a document we are calling "The Infrastructure of Democracy". The draft is currently available on the Global Voices wiki. Please give us some feedback.

Special thanks to Martin Varsavsky for giving us the opportunity and to John Perry Barlow, John Gage, Dan Gillmor, Chris Goggans, Pekka Himanen, David Isenberg, Rebecca MacKinnon, Andrew McLaughlin, Desiree Miloshevic, Jeff Moss, Ejovi Nuwere, Kazuhisa Ogawa, Marc Rotenberg, David Smith, Wendy Seltzer, Gohsuke Takama, Noriko Takiguchi, Paul Vixie, David Weinberger and Ethan Zuckerman who came all the way to Madrid to work on this. Thanks also to the other people in the room who contributed.

UPDATE: Transcripts of IRC discussion with Ethan Zuckerman's transcript of most of the comments. Thanks Ethan!

The official summary of the session is on the conference site.

UPDATE 2: Here is the full text of the recommendation draft:

The Infrastructure of Democracy
Strengthening the Open Internet for a Safer World
March 11, 2005

I. The Internet is a foundation of democratic society in the 21st century, because the core values of the Internet and democracy are so closely aligned.

1. The Internet is fundamentally about openness, participation, and freedom of expression for all - increasing the diversity and reach of information and ideas.
2. The Internet allows people to communicate and collaborate across borders and belief systems.
3. The Internet unites families and cultures in diaspora; it connects people, helping them to form civil societies.
4. The Internet can foster economic development by connecting people to information and markets.
5. The Internet introduces new ideas and views to those who may be isolated and prone to political violence.
6. The Internet is neither above nor below the law. The same legal principles that apply in the physical world also apply to human activities conducted over the Internet.


II. Decentralized systems - the power of many - can combat decentralized foes.

1. Terrorist networks are highly decentralized and distributed. A centralized effort by itself cannot effectively fight terrorism.
2. Terrorism is everyone's issue. The internet connects everyone. A connected citizenry is the best defense against terrorist propaganda.
3. As we saw in the aftermath of the March 11 bombing, response was spontaneous and rapid because the citizens were able to use the Internet to organize themselves.
4. As we are seeing in the distributed world of weblogs and other kinds of citizen media, truth emerges best in open conversation among people with divergent views.


III. The best response to abuses of openness is more openness.

1. Open, transparent environments are more secure and more stable than closed, opaque ones.
2. While Internet services can be interrupted, the Internet as a global system is ultimately resilient to attacks, even sophisticated and widely distributed ones.
3. The connectedness of the Internet – people talking with people – counters the divisiveness terrorists are trying to create.
4. The openness of the Internet may be exploited by terrorists, but as with democratic governments, openness minimizes the likelihood of terrorist acts and enables effective responses to terrorism.


IV. Well-meaning regulation of the Internet in established democracies could threaten the development of emerging democracies.

1. Terrorism cannot destroy the internet, but over-zealous legislation in response to terrorism could. Governments should consider mandating changes to core Internet functionality only with extraordinary caution.
2. Some government initiatives that look reasonable in fact violate the basic principles that have made the Internet a success.
3. For example, several interests have called for an end to anonymity. This would be highly unlikely to stop determined terrorists, but it would have a chilling effect on political activity and thereby reduce freedom and transparency. Limiting anonymity would have a cascading series of unintended results that would hurt freedom of expression, especially in countries seeking transition to democratic rule.


V. In conclusion we urge those gathered here in Madrid to:

1. Embrace the open Internet as a foundation of 21st Century democracy, and a critical tool in the fight against terrorism.
2. Recognizing the Internet's value as a critical communications infrastructure, invest to strengthen it against attacks and recover quickly from damage.
3. Work to spread access more evenly, aggressively addressing the Digital Divide, and to provide Internet access for all.
4. To protect free speech and association, endorse the availability of anonymous communications for all.
5. Resist attempts at international governance of the Internet: It can introduce processes that have unintended effects and violate the bottom-up democratic nature of the Net.

The International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security organizers have restricted press access. The press are restricted to a separate area and don't have access directly to the conference. This is one case where bloggers are lucky not to be considered "press". Having said that, I think they should give the press access to this conference. I guess they can join the IRC channel or read our blogs...

Unfortunately, I'm too busy participating to be blogging it well right now. I hope SOMEONE is blogging this.

David Weinberger: As Jon Stewart would say, "Washington Post - You read it here 12th."

UPDATE: I appears that too many press were invited and the couldn't all fit. It appears that the root of the problem is a logistical one rather than restriction for the sake of it...

Our workshop on Friday is supposed to be broadcast live on CNN. I'll post more details when I have them.

Victor is organizing a bloggers meeting on Saturday in Madrid. I'll be going. Anyone who wants to come, please sign up on the wiki page. It is on Saturday 12th, March 2005 at 21:00. The location is La Giralda restaurant, Calle Maldonado 4.

I've set up an IRC channel that we will use to backchannel during the Madrid conference on Terrorism and Open Democracy. It is #madridopendemo on Freenode.

UDPATE: We are now in session...

Lessig Blog
the "democracy" that is Europe

So despite the fact that the EU Parliament has rejected software patents for Europe, and despite the fact that there is not a qualified majority of member states supporting it, the EU Council has now endorsed their draft of the "Directive on the Patentability of Computer-Implemented Inventions."

This struggle continues to astonish me. There's no good economic evidence that software patents do more good than harm. That's the reason the US should reconsider its software patent policy.

But why Europe would voluntarily adopt a policy that will only burden its software developers and only benefit US interests is beyond me.

They call it a "democracy" that they're building in Europe. I don't see it. Instead, they have created a government of bureaucrats, more easily captured by special interests than anything in the US.

I guess this is "free" as in free markets, not free software or free beer. I am a capitalist, but looking at the damage that monopolies and strong commercial interests are wreaking on the world, I begin to question the "sanity" of our markets. Now that our media companies and it appears are policies are traded for cash, what is there to check the continuing consolidation of power and diminishing of democracy?

Mark Frauenfelder @ Boing Boing Blog
U.N. landmine commerical won't air in US.


A U.N. commercial depicts American girls playing in a soccer match. A girl steps on a landmine and there's a big explosion. Kids get blown apart. CNN and other networks don't want to air the ad.

 Images2 Landmines2The explosion appears to kill and injure some girls, sparking panic and chaos among parents and other children. Shrieks of horror are heard through much of the spot, and a father is shown cradling his daughter's lifeless body, moments after celebrating a goal she had scored.

It closes with a tag line reading: "If there were landmines here, would you stand for them anywhere? Help the U.N. eradicate landmines everywhere."


You can view the ad here. (Here's a torrent file). Link and another Link
First, there was news that:
But on Monday, the Americans created turmoil by announcing that the United States would not join an otherwise universal consensus unless the document was amended to say that it did not create "any new international human rights" or "include the right to abortion."
(via Jonas)

Now this.

I remember at a recent meeting, a senior diplomat we were meeting with said that the U.N. Personnel Landmine Treaty would not have happened if it weren't for Internet and email. He talked about how the Net opened many of these previously closed treaty making processes to NGOs and individuals. It appears that the US is doing what it can to marginalize these multilateral processes. This also reminds me of how important video is. You can say landmine all you want, but a video has impact beyond words. I really think that video blogging will evolve into an important part of our dialog. I wish more news agencies would provide us with material to use to create citizen video commentary. Maybe CNN can ban it, but we can still distribute it on the Internet.

From: John Parres Date: Mon, 07 Mar 2005 00:15:18 -0800
To: dave
Subject: NASA using BitTorrent

I just noticed the cool WIRED story "Around the World in 80 Clicks" http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.03/start.html?pg=7 about NASA's World Wind open source app that displays 10 terabytes of Earth imagery on demand so I thought I would give it a spin (heh).

The story says "...When project manager Patrick Hogan unleashed World Wind, one of NASA's servers collapsed under a deluge of downloa requests - 100,000 a day - and the service went offline. This spring, it's back, with a bigger server..." and a BitTorrent link!http://worldwind.arc.nasa.gov/download.html

It's nice to see USA government scientists making use of P2P to save
taxpayers' money.

JP

Excellent. I have been pushing local governments in Japan to use BitTorrent and other P2P technologies for community video projects. Many government and commercial video projects are crushed under the bandwidth and server costs of serving video. P2P allows the cost to be shared by the community of people who want to download the files. From a taxpayer perspective, this makes a lot of sense and adds yet another example of non-infringing use of P2P technologies.

via IP

I'm posting this in full because it's important.

Cory @ Boing Boing Blog
Does "the Long Tail" mean we need longer copyrights?

Chris Anderson's brilliant Wired article, The Long Tail, talks about how indie, obscure and midlist/backlist material is more valuable, in aggregate, than all the glitzy, mainstream top-forty stuff is.

However, when Lawrence Lessig argues for shorter copyright terms, he bases his stuff, in part, on the fact that old stuff is all out of print and can't be brought back into print because of the cost of clearing the copyright to the work.

Are Lessig and the Long Tail irreconcilable? Anderson says no:

Many of those extracting new value from old content are not the original creators or rights-holders. Some of them are repurposing older material, and others are aggregators who have found ways to find new markets for material that's fallen beneath the commercial radar. Either way, they typically aren't the original record label, film studio, publishing house, TV production company or any of the other names that might be on the copyright declaration. They are someone else, probably someone entirely unexpected. This is, after all, the dawn of Remix Culture.

What's changed is the presumption that the primary rights-holder is the best at extracting the commercial potential of creative material. Instead, anyone can do it: the advertising company that remixes an old movie to sell a car; the Linux t-shirt done Warhol-style, or just plain old DJ magic. What you need to encourage this multiplicity of commercialization potential is tiered alternatives to one-size-fits-all copyright, from allowing derivative works (good marketing!) to shorter terms for the sake of the remix-culture social good. I can't think of a better example of that than Lessig's own Creative Commons, which has already become the license of choice for the right side of the Tail, where the commercial imperative is less all-consuming.

Link

(via Copyfight)

Another way to look at this is to look at the marketing cost of promoting some piece of content. It is nearly impossible for someone to sustain a marketing campaign for most content for the lifetime of the copyright. In the past, it is likely that old content would get lost in the archives or disappear all together. With digital technology and remix culture, new creators can discover old music and bring it back. This is what Disney has done with many of their stories. When Disney takes an ancient myth or story and spends money to animate it, it's building on the past, but involved a great deal of creativity. In the same way, many of the people who dig into the tail and discover lost songs and books and are tuning them or putting them in context often add a great deal of creativity in the process. The notion that there is an "origin" of an idea or work and that the creativity stops there is silly. Most creative work is a process of people passing ideas and inspirations from the past into the future and adding their own creativity along the way.

Also, I'm not against businesses making money. I just believe that the cost of marketing is going to increase and the cost of delivery is going to decrease as the Net gets stronger and mass media gets weaker. In a world where discovery is more important than delivery, it's the people who find, remix and direct attention to old stuff that should be rewarded, not the people who deliver it or sit on it waiting for someone to show up.

This site will be down for maintenance from March 7, 0300 GMT for about six hours or so. That's in about one hour.

It's moved and back up. Thanks Jason!

Thanks to some help from Boris, I have moved the moblog resource page to the wiki. Apologies to everyone who had sent me changes and additions. I had been unable to edit my old resource page because I had accidentally deleted the source files. Now you can register on my wiki and add and make changes yourself. I would make the changes myself, but I think I've lost the email that I receive in the entropy of my inbox.

The page is quite dated, but it is referenced in various places so I decided that I should keep it alive. If anyone wants to bring it up-to-date, that would be wonderful.

Just started packing and charging up my gadgets for a longish trip ahead. I'm leaving tomorrow to participate in the International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security and the Atocha Workshop in Madrid. Then I'm going to Rome to give a talk there in a few places. After that I'm going to Milan to give a talk at the Università Milano Bicocca and attend the press conference to launch the 2005 edition of IBTS. Then I'm going to Amsterdam to give a keynote at the Creative Capital Conference and meet with the iCommons folks. Finally, I'm going to New Delhi to attend and speak at Doors of Perception 8. Then I'm back in Japan for one day to give a talk at the Internet Advertisers Association and off again the next day to Taiwan and other places... People have complained about my contribution to global warming through the jet fuel exhaust I help emit into the atmosphere. I think the first six months of this year will be the most pollutive that I can remember. I just noticed that between now and May, I will be on every single continent except Antarctica at least once.

Singing... It's a small world after all. It's a small world after all.

For the gory details, see my travel page on my wiki.

Xeni at Boing Boing linked to a flash movie on a North Korean site promoting vacations to North Korea. The North Korean Friendship Association was not pleased. Read the funny updates.

I just got my copy of MAKE:. I read it in one sitting cover to cover. What an excellent mook. There were a lot of great articles. In the section Life Hacks: Overclocking your Productivity, there was fun little article called Yak Shaving by Danny O'Brien and Merlin Mann. "Yak shaving is the technical term for when you find yourself eight levels deep - and possibly in an recursive loop - in a stack of jobs." The example they give is:

You start out deciding to tidy your room and you realize that in order to do that you'll need some more trash bags, so you need to go to the shops, which will involve you getting out the car, but the car needs gas, so you'll need to go to the gas station first, which means you should probably find your gas discount card, which involves finding your keys, which are in the room somewhere...
They talk about many hackers spending a lot of their time "lost in life's subroutines" and that "some of us like solving puzzles a bit more than we like solved puzzles." They suggest that super-efficient hackers "learn when to say no to the temptation of endless fiddling." Veeeery interesting. So this is what I've been doing all my life. Shaving Yaks.

I can fit most of my life into this metaphor. I remember the moment when I was working in television, music promotion and motion pictures and decided that IP and the Internet would solve many problems that I had with the control that big companies had on the flow of information. I helped set up the first ISP in Japan, helped set up Infoseek Japan, started one of the first web companies in Japan... but it still didn't solve the "problem." I realized that there were some basic problems in society and the market was broken. I noticed that democracy was broken and tried to work on fixing that in Japan. Then I realized that it was broken all over the place and decided to work on that too.

Blogging was another important way of solving the freedom of expression and flow of information I was after and there was Six Apart. Then I realized that that we needed a better way to organize blogs and there was Technorati. But copyright was broken and there was Creative Commons. And Internet governance... and ICANN. Oh no! Suddenly I have no time and am totally immersed in the "subroutines" of my life. Acutally, my whole life is just one big yak shaving exercise. Luckily, these subroutines ARE my life and are very rewarding.

I do agree with the article that you have to learn when to say no to the temptation of "endless fiddling" but it is through this fiddling that I sometimes find myself in a new place, sometimes slightly before the rest of the pack. If it weren't for this fiddling, I'd be spending my life solving boring problems for boring bosses.

I recently agreed to be an advisor to Civiblog, a project to give free blogs to people working on global civil society. This ties in well with Global Voices. The project is run by Citizen Lab (home of the infamous Catspaw) and is sponsored by Tucows and the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation.
Welcome to Civiblog, a one-stop-site for global civil society. Canadian to the core — ever-devoted to peacekeeping and “globalist” foreign policies — it is our aim to showcase all communiqué in the sector, at home and abroad, onsite and by way of links and RSS syndication to partner sites. We are tapping into two explosive movements at once: 1) the growth of the citizen sector and 2) blogging, which is an increasingly popular tool with the potential to empower citizens the world over, one post at a time.
The site just launched and still needs some tweaking so feedback would be appreciated. Obviously using Technorati to show popular posts and breaking news on the top page and making blogs easier to find is on the agenda.
David Weinberger
The news from NYTimes.com

The NY Times famously moves stories from their original links to new ones in the for-pay archive after a week. As a result, important stories exit the public sphere, and the newspaper of record becomes the newspaper of broken links. [See Note at end.] So, starting in April, NYTimes.com is going to publish thousands of topic pages, each aggregating the content from the 10 million articles in its archive, going back to 1851, including graphics and multimedia resources. Topics that get their own page might include Boston, Terrorism, Cloning, the Cuban Missile Crisis and Condoleeza Rice. News stories will link to these topic pages. And — the Times must hope — these pages, with their big fat permanent addresses, may start rising in Google's rankings.

Very interesting. The problem is, these topic pages will link to articles you still have to pay for to see. It feels like a big tease. On the other hand, it's better than nothing and they do need to experiment with business models. See David's post for more analysis. I look forward to seeing what they have in store for us. Anyway, good for them for giving something new a shot.

Cory Doctorow @ Boing Boing Blog
Help rat on people who sing Happy Birthday!

Mako sez, "Unhappy Birthday is a website/project commenting on the fact that the song "Happy Birthday To You" is under an actively enforced copyright held by Time Warner. The site offers tools and information to report unauthorized public performances of that work. If educating people and upholding the principle of copyright means risking a DoS of ASCAP's licensing enforcement infrastructure, that's a risk I'm willing to take."

Link

(Thanks, Mako!)

I didn't realize I was engaging in copyright infringement when I sang Happy Birthday in public without paying. Better stop doing that and rat out anyone else who sings it without paying.

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