Recently in Internet Policy Category

AlterNet
Senator Ted Stevens: The Remix

Posted by Melissa McEwan at 6:57 AM on July 11, 2006.

Last month, Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) gave a rather stunning speech on the issue of net neutrality, in which he made such clueless statements as: "I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o’clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday," and "[T]he internet is not something you just dump something on. It’s not a truck. It’s a series of tubes."

Now, the good folks at Boldheaded have turned his "skillful fusion of political doublespeak and perplexing ignorance on how the Internet works" into the DJ Ted Stevens Techno Remix: "A Series of Tubes." [Stream or Download above]

All I can say is just go listen. And then laugh and laugh and laugh.

(ChezLark, Boldheaded)

I DID NOT KNOW that the Internet was a series of tubes.

Very funny. ;-)

You can download it from the Bold Headed Broadcast site.

via Scott via Deb

By

Europeans seem to be taking their real-world battles online with different views on domain names.

Wrote on it today: Cyberspace Unity Eludes Europeans

The EU wants people to use the newly launched .eu, while the national domain registries want people to use country domain names.

Neat fact:

The second largest domain suffix after .com is .de for Germany, according to Verisign.

Do domain names matter? Hasn't Google killed the need for them?

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. ;-)

Lawrence Lessig
“Free Culture” is

Thanks to the lessons explained by others (Cory), and the courage of a great publisher (Penguin), Free Culture launches today with a free online version of the book, licensed under a Creative Commons license. You can get the book here, though at the moment, only the bittorrent version is apparently up. Later today, there will be a direct download available from the Free Culture site, and from the Amazon site.

Sorry, a bit late in blogging this...

As we start working on the details involved in the launch the sampling license over at Creative Commons, we find, as always, that God is in the details. The idea behind the sampling license is that many artists don't mind if their music is sampled by other artists as long as there is attribution. The Creative Commons is currently proposing two sampling licenses. The normal sampling license which allows other artists to transform the work even for commercial use, while prohibiting distribution of verbatim copies of the entire work. The Sampling-Plus license offers the same rights but allows verbatim sharing of the entire work for non-commercial purposes.

This license would help those genres of music that rely heavily on sampling which have been getting a beating recently by record company lawyers.

It starts to get a bit sticky when one begins to explore some of the extremes of what are called "moral rights". In the article 6bis of the Berne Convention, the "moral rights" of authors includes the "right of integrety: mutilation or distortion that would prejudice the author's honor or reputation is not permitted." These rights are not protected under US Copyright Law but many countries elsewhere protect this. The question is, when does a remix "prejudice the author's honor or reputation" and do the Creative Commons licenses allow people to use the works in ways that "prejudice the author's honor or reputation".

This is where The Kuleshov Effect comes in. danah boyd blogged about it today. The Kuleshov Effect is when an image is perceived very differently depending on what other content is juxtaposed with the image. The question that danah raises is, how much control should / can an artist have of the context in which their material is used? How much of this should be made explicit in the Creative Commons licenses and should there be a waiver of these "moral rights" in countries outside the US where such rights are actually protected.

The ultimate outrage: Rusty Lewis of VeriSign says this is a test for the Net, to see whether the infrastructure can be innovated. It's a threat: Let us do what we want or we won't invest in upgrading infrastructure, he implies.

In response to a question, he bascially indicates that ICANN doesn't have the power to keep VeriSign from doing what it's done. The company will have a dialogue with whoever wants to talk, but it plans to "reintroduce" Site Finder.

I think VeriSign has already won the key part of this war. It has persuaded reporters to call Site Finder a "service" instead of what it truly is, a misuse of its monopoly.

This sounds really bad. How can a company that tries to sell trust act in such a blatantly untrustworthy way...

I had just finished reading Philip Jacob's piece and was preparing my thoughts for a panel on spam that I THINK I'm on in January when I saw this piece by Larry. It's great. It's right on and he's putting his job on the line. I totally agree. We CAN NOT give up the stupid network just to stomp out spamming. I think that the label/punish idea is great. I only worry that the punishment loop is more difficult internationally. Maybe you'll end up with a lot of spam from Japanese, Chinese and Russian spammers. ;-) Larry will still keep his job though, because it will still be siginificantly less spam than you get now.

Lawrence Lessig: putting my job where my mouth is

Lawrence Lessig
A kind-hearted email and a nice analysis of spam have given me an idea:

First the analysis: Philip Jacob has a great piece about spam and RBLs. The essay not only identifies the many problems with RBLs, but it nicely maps a mix of strategies that could be considered in their place. But, alas, missing from the list is one I've pushed: A law requiring simple labeling, and a bounty for anyone who tracks down spammers violating the law.

Then I got an email from a kind soul warning me about my work—"do you know how powerful your enemies are?" this person asked. No, I thought, I don't, but let's see. If I've got such powerful enemies, then I've got a good way to do some good.

Here goes: So (a) if a law like the one I propose is passed on a national level, and (b) it does not substantially reduce the level of spam, then (c) I will resign my job. I get to decide whether (a) is true; Declan can decide whether (b) is true. If (a) and (b) are both true, then I'll do (c) at the end of the following academic year.

So: Is there anyone else advancing a spam solution who would offer this kind of warranty?

PS We've had this discussion on spam on this blog before and my current position considering the technologies we have is that we use local whitelists (I use tmda) instead of central blacklists.

saw this on David Winer's Scripting News

Dave Winer
Press release: Yahoo to acquire Inktomi. Clearly they're getting ready to kick Google off their portal.
Yahoo! to Acquire Inktomi
Monday December 23, 9:19 am ET
Creates the Most Comprehensive Search Offering on the Web with Largest Global Audience, Unmatched Breadth and Depth of Online Services and World Class Technology
I had heard rumors that Yahoo was trying to steal stuff from Google and was being generally un-supportive even though they were an investor. (Unconfirmed theory. Will edit this if someone tells me this is wrong...) But I think that Google News probably shocked everyone who though that search mean... search. To a blogger, everything looks like a blog. To a search company, everything is search. ;-) Well, it will be interesting to see what happens when Google vs. Yahoo becomes no-holds-barred.

P504iS01289.jpgSo yesterday's discussion with Hiroo Yamagata and Lawrence Lessig went well. It was a lot of fun and I think a constructive discussion. Hiroo was in good form. But he usually is... in person. ;-) He had written something negative about Mr. Ikeda in the afterward of translation of "The Future of Ideas" and had gotten in a dispute with Mr. Ikeda. He had just finished the battle and I guess they have both gotten over it now. Maybe Hiroo was just tired from that. I do generally agree with Hiroo's position, although maybe not the way he said it. I think Mr. Ikeda and others had inferred that Larry was against privacy policies. In a mailing list Mr. Ikeda had said that my efforts to stop the National ID were futile and that we didn't have any privacy anyway. The struggle for privacy is a struggle of data structures and can be achieved without destroying the end-to-end nature of the Net. It think it is simplistic to equate privacy with control of the Net. I just finished reading Hiroo's English translation of his afterward. It's quite good. He should post it on the Net.

Hiroo Yamagata
Freedom is supposed to be a good thing. People say Communism died and Freedom prospered, so freedom should be good. But when you ask these people to explain the actual benefits of freedom, hardly anyone can give you a meaningful answer. This isn't (necessarily) because they are stupid. It's because freedom itself doesn't do anything. Freedom is just an environment that allows you to do something.

We talked about the issues from the book and the Japan context. When is going to happen to physical layer, code layer and content layer in Japan?

Are the wires, the spectrum and fiber going to be opened up in Japan? It sure looks like we're headed that way. The government seems quite incapable of stopping the ADSL players from eating NTT's lunch and there is serious discussion of opening up the spectrum.

The code layer is a mess. I talked about the National ID and the fact that lack of understanding about the architecture of the Net is causing Japan to launch itself into a direction without much discussion about the policy of code. We talked about how many people talk about end-to-end, but don't really understand it's high level political ramifications. On the other hand, it's better to have people believing in it and writing code with that philosophy to fight off the circuit-heads who try to make the Network smart and make connections look like circuits. I think education and discussion about the political ramifications of architecture and code are essential, but having a lot of people educated with the right philosophy vis a vis network architecture, security, privacy, and free software (even if they don't understand all off the political issues) is better than nothing.

Content... We don't have MS or Hollywood and most patents and copyright extensions hurt Japan economically. It is very frustrating that Japan tries to "harmonize" with the US and doesn't realize that if they are going to give up something that is a net loss for Japan, they should negotiate for something in return. This is at the government level. At a more basic level, I think Japan should try to run an end-run around these guys with some new idea about how to deal with content. I guess the fact that Sony has a content business in the US and that big Japanese technology companies have "figured out" the patent thing puts these guys in a neutral to hostile position on this issue and doesn't help move this forward...

I gave a copy of Dogs and Demons to Hiroo who knows the construction industry well. It will be interesting to see what he thinks of it.

I think the Japanese are very non-active right now and has Hiroo points out in his afterward, Japan didn't have "the Framers" like Thomas Jefferson who "got it" to inspire the legal professionals to pound the table like Larry. I think it's going to take a lot of luck to get it right in Japan... but for better or for worse, the "other side" is not very smart either so we just MIGHT get lucky. Does this sound depressing?

Bill Thompson on why Europe has to take back the web from US hegemony. A bit emotional but very interesting position. Something I feel some empathy for.

From The Register
First sighted on David Farber's List

Damn the Constitution: Europe must take back the Web
By Bill Thompson
Posted: 09/08/2002 at 14:01 GMT

Guest Opinion I've had enough of US hegemony. It's time for change -and a closed European network.

Today's Internet is a poor respecter of national boundaries, as many repressive governments have found to their cost. Unfortunately this freedom has been so extensively abused by the United States and its politicians, lawyers and programmers that it has become a serious threat to the continued survival of the network as a global communications medium. If the price of being online is to swallow US values, then many may think twice about using the Net at all, and if the only game online follows US rules, then many may decide not to play.

We have already seen US law, in the form of Digital Millennium Copyright Act, used to persuade hosts in other countries to pull material or limit its availability. US-promoted 'anti-censor' software is routinely provided to enable citizens of other countries to break local laws; and US companies like Yahoo! disregard the judgements of foreign courts at will.

Congressman Howard Berman's ridiculous proposal to give copyright holders immunity from prosecution if they hack into P2P networks is the latest attempt by the US Congress to pass laws that will directly affect every Internet user, because no US court would allow prosecution of a company in another jurisdiction when immunity is granted by US law.

Unless we can take back the Net from the libertarians, constitutional lawyers and rapacious corporations currently recreating the worst excesses of US political and commercial culture online, we will end up with an Internet which serves the imperial ambitions of only one country instead of the legitimate aspirations of the whole world.

While this would greatly please the US, it would not be in the interests of the majority of Internet users, who want a network that allows them to express their own values, respects their own laws and supports their own cultures and interests.

US domination has been going on for so long that many see it as either inevitable or desirable. 'They may have their problems but at least they believe in democracy, free speech and the market economy', the argument goes. Yet today's United States is a country which respects freedom so much that if I, a European citizen, set foot there I can be interned without any notice or due process, tried by a military tribunal and executed in secret.

It has a government which respects free speech yet tries to persuade postal workers to spy on people as they delivered their mail. Its Chief Executive illegally sold shares when in possession of privileged information about an impending price crash. ICANN, the body it established to manage DNS, had to be ordered by a court to let one of its own directors examine the company accounts for fear he may discover something untoward. And elected representatives -like the aforementioned Howard Berman -are paid vast amounts by firms lobbying for laws which serve their corporate interests.

These are clearly not the people who should be setting the rules for the Net's evolution. Unfortunately today's Internet, with its permissive architecture and lack of effective boundaries or user authentication, makes it almost impossible to resist this technological imperialism.

Full Text Here

So it is a fight to be the most simple? Goggle beat Infoseek by being more simple and user oriented. Web services take that to the next level. If companies start competing to be easier to integrate, more open and more simple that's a great thing for us!

Quoted from the Goggle Weblog:

Google tells Amazon Light to Cease and Desist

Amazon Light, a very cool new use of the Amazon Web Services recently introuced (and clearly inspired by Google's Web API) provides a cleaner-than-Amazon interface to the same data. However, they recently report that they've been asked to cease-and-desist by Google's lawyers. The site was very much like Google's (screenshot) but it was clearly in good taste. I'm not sure why Google is so testy about it. Is a books.google.com coming soon?

I wonder if they'll go after Whois Report next.

[Thanks to Kevin Burton for alerting me to this.]

Posted by Aaron Swartz on July 19, 2002 07:33 AM

The Internet Multicasting Service and the Internet Software Consortium are two well respected non-profit public engineering organizations on the Internet. I recently talked to Carl Malamud since he's in Japan for IETF doing his thing. He is one of principles of IMS and according to the IMS web page "created the first Internet radio station and put the SEC's EDGAR database on-line. A serial social entrepreneur, he's helped run a number of nonprofit organizations and committed two Silicon Valley startups. Carl is the author of 8 books, numerous articles, a few RFCs, and takes up way too much space in Google."

I first met Carl through Jun Murai when we worked on the Internet 1996 World Expo together.

Anyway, he asked for my support for their bid and talked me through it. I think it's great and am very supportive. I think it's by far the best bid and the best structure and I think could be come a model for many other TLD's.

From: Carl Malamud To: jito@neoteny.com Date: Mon, 15 Jul 2002 23:43:42 -0400 (EDT)

Our proposal for .org is not only the only pure non-profit bid, it is the only one that treats the .org registry as a public trust. We're proposing a fully-open, transparent operation: all statistics, finances, and source code will be published. We consider .org to be a public trust, not a public trough: that means that all revenues will be devoted to the .org domain and to public infrastructure.

We'll also make some real changes to how this crucial piece of public infrastructure runs. For example: our performance specifications meet or exceed each of the other bids. (E.g., zone files for the DNS will be published in 5 minutes or less in contrast to the current 24 hours.) We'll be deploying secure DNS. We've got some advanced development work already published that shows how small namespaces (e.g., personal namespaces like Whois) can be changed.

Our team has been doing this for 10 years+. In contrast to the other bids, ours is about people. We're personally signing up to run .org, not promising that some newly-formed organization or some opaque MIS staff will do this.

Bottom line: a rock-solid public infrastructure based on our extensive experience doing this. Most importantly: the first truly open and transparent registry. It doesn't matter if you think there should be a million TLD's or ICANN should be abolished or whatever: the first step is to create a reference implementation so everybody knows how registries should operate. We're proposing to run and then document a best current practices registry.

Their proposal http://trusted.resource.org/
Their "show your support page" http://not.invisible.net/signals/bin/000055.shtml
News and information about the .org bid http://not.invisible.net/signals/memes/org.shtml
ICANN .org Reassignment: Request for Proposals http://www.icann.org/tlds/org/rfp-20may02.htm

Bloggers will already be aware of this, but web publishers are trying to make it illegal to link to pages on their site. The logic from some people is that it subverts the efforts of the publisher to manage the traffic, sell advertising and control the user. National Public Radio say that they just wanted to know who was using their stuff. The great debate following their taking this position seems to have changed their minds. The form one had to fill out in order to link to their page is no longer online and one day after the OJR article, June 27, NPR updated their Terms of Use Page which now says this about linking:

Links to NPR Web Sites
NPR encourages and permits links to content on NPR Web sites. However, NPR is an organization committed to the highest journalistic ethics and standards and to independent, noncommercial journalism, both in fact and appearance. Therefore, the linking should not (a) suggest that NPR promotes or endorses any third party痴 causes, ideas, Web sites, products or services, or (b) use NPR content for inappropriate commercial purposes. We reserve the right to withdraw permission for any link.

Anyway, as co-founder of Infoseek Japan (I'm still on the board), as a newbie blogger and as someone who believes that the contextual flexibility of the Internet is one of its most important attributes... I am horrified by the idea of limiting deep linking. It goes against the basic idea that brought us this medium in the first place.

A court in Copenhagen, Denmark ruled in favor of the Danish Newspaper Publisher's Association against the online news aggregator Newsbooster who was deep linking into the Newspaper's site. This is the first court ruling deep linking to be illegal.

I testified in a case in Japan where an Osaka court ruled that someone who linked to an illegal pornography site was actually running a pornography site and found guilty which has similar legal ramifications, but didn't seem to have the impact that the current deep linking debate has.

Sen proposes an interesting technical solution. (I always like technical solutions more than legal solutions.)

Frankly, I think that if people don't want to allow deep linking, people should just configure their software (probably requires some implementation work and may be some access control depending on how strict the site wants to be) to not permit browsers to reach portions of their site directly w/o a "legal" referer.

It's not a perfect solution, but I bet it would prevent 99% of people from reaching certain parts of websites directly...

Here are some links:

NPR's Mixed Messages - Online Journalism Review
NPR's brutally stupid linking policy - Boing Boing
Public Protests NPR Link Policy - Wired News
Danish Court Rules Deep Linking Illegal - Slashdot
Web site barred from linking to Danish newspaper Web sites - DigitalMASS.com

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