Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not purported as fact|
Yes, it's the end of the week already and time for a little levity by way
of the weekly "Lighten Up" section.
You may be aware that somewhere in the USA lives the world's largest ball
of string -- but I bet you never knew they had a
giant bra ball.
If you thought that was weird, you might be wrong -- it seems as if making
large balls out of discarded undergarments is the "in thing" right now. Just
to prove my point, here's another one
While sticking wit the theme of feminine products, perhaps a visit to
might be worthwhile. Obviously this person has an active imagination and
far too much time on their hands. Would you spend the price of a domain
name and hosting on something like this?
Tying Up Loose Ends
It's been an interesting week with a lot of focus on the law and the Net so
I thought I'd summarise and tidy up some of the loose ends today.
First up: copyright.
I've had some feedback from people who are in a position to know what they're
talking about and they tell me that by and large,
my interpretation of the
copyright laws as they apply to digital media are not too far off the mark.
In respect to making backup copies of your CDs for use in the car or just
to protect the original disk I'm told that this would be a technical
infringement of the Act but, since there's no loss of royalty involved,
there would be no remedy levied by the courts.
This perhaps explains why the recording industry, to the best of my knowledge,
has never prosecuted anyone for making such backups.
I've also been informed that despite what the recording industry might say,
from a strictly legal perspective, copying a CD or any other intellectual
property is not "theft" -- it is a copyright infringement.
So, maybe if the recording industry were a little more honest and open about
this sort of thing they'd get more public sympathy.
It also appears that my assertions regarding Sony promoting its Mini Disk
player as a device for ripping CDs being a breach of section 37 of the Act
were right on the mark
This leaves me asking: If the local recording industry is so very worried
about people ripping/burning CDs, why aren't they taking action against
Sony for promoting a device specifically to perform this type of piracy?
Once again it would appear as if the recording industry isn't telling us
all the facts here and are being very selective about who they choose
to target as an enemy of their recording artists.
In short, I'd say that the recording industry have blown their credibility
over the issue of casual music copying completely to hell.
Now what about the issue of illegal links?
Well, as I predicted, someone posted a link to the online news story
allegedly carrying the name of "Mr X" -- and later, someone actually
posted the name to a local newsgroup. It seems however, that Mr X's
lawyer is saying that the news story got it wrong -- but if you were trying
to protect the identity of your client that's what you'd be expected to
say wouldn't you?
If the story is actually correct, will the courts take action to identify
the person or persons who breached the suppression order? If not, doesn't
this simply verify the assertion that such orders are a joke in this
Remember, to be just, the law and its application should also be fair. If
those who breached the suppression order are allowed to get away with it this
time but perhaps someone else is prosecuted the next time this happens -- how
could that be considered fair or just?
Now here's the totally ridiculous thing...
Kiwis can link directly to stories on news websites in the EU, but EU
residents are just discovering that it's
not legal for them to do so.
That's right -- they can publish a suppressed name with immunity but they
can't link to it from another site. We can link to the story but we can't
publish its contents.
What a mess!
Once again I have to say that it's time some international treaties were
put in place to provide some consistency of legislation and reciprocity of
enforcement across geographical borders. Until this happens then lawmakers
in all countries will find their efforts to control the flow of information
will be continuously thwarted. The end-result could be that all governments
might eventually end up using the same type of filtering proxies that China
and a few other countries force on their Net users.
Have your say.
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