Articles by date

19 January 2007

uk: Music firms talk tough on file-sharing (The Times)

The music industry has threatened to sue internet service providers that allow customers to share digital music files illegally

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Businesses too scared to switch to VoIP: But should they be? (Silicon)

Companies are missing out on the long-term benefits of VoIP because they're too afraid of the short-term pain of putting in the systems, a new survey has revealed.

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Internet Extends Reach Of Bangladeshi Villagers (Washington Post)

The village doctor's diagnosis was dire: Marium needed immediate surgery to replace two heart valves. The 28-year-old mother of three said she was confused and terrified. She could barely imagine open-heart surgery. She had no idea how her family of farm laborers could pay for an operation that would cost US$4,000.

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U.S.: No Net governance changes expected (CNet)

Are tensions related to the United States' historic influence over key Internet management functions a thing of the past? At a meeting in Washington DC organized by the Federal Communications Bar Association, U.S. Ambassador David Gross and Assistant Secretary of Commerce John Kneuer said they view the question as settled: no United Nations body will be exercising additional control over tasks like handing out numeric Internet addresses or operating the root servers that power the Internet anytime soon.

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MySpace developing parental-notification software (CNet)

Under fire from both the U.S. government and parental organizations, MySpace.com has announced that it is creating software to give parents a window into what their children are putting on their online profiles.

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Motorola, Nokia expect payoff in bridging the digital divide (USA Today)

It feels perverse to meet amid the spectacle of 108-inch TV screens, automatic scalp massagers and cars with 20,000-watt stereos and talk about the digital divide. It's like ordering a seven-course spread at Spago and then discussing world hunger. But for at least two of the CEOs at this month's Consumer Electronics Show -- Ed Zander of Motorola and Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo of Nokia -- the billions of unconnected, undigitized, underserved people around the globe are often top of mind.

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IT drives wedge between workers (IT Week)

A lack of user-friendly technology in the marketplace is exacerbating a digital divide in the workforce between those who can use technology effectively and those who can't and is likely to provoke a backlash among users, according to a new Technology Predictions for 2007 report from consultancy Deloitte.

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us: Union Calls For Several New Internet Policies (Information Week)

The United States has fallen behind smaller and once less-advanced countries and risks falling further behind unless lawmakers work to improve Internet access for all, a new paper by the Communications Workers of America suggests. Schoolchildren, healthcare providers and media across the U.S. are on the have-nots' side of the digital divide, according to the union.

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Digital music sales nearly doubled in 2006 (Sydney Morning Herald)

Global digital music sales almost doubled in 2006 to around $US2 billion, but have not yet reached the industry's "holy grail" of offsetting the fall in CD sales.

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18 January 2007

Businesses too scared to switch to VoIP: But should they be? (Silicon)

Companies are missing out on the long-term benefits of VoIP because they're too afraid of the short-term pain of putting in the systems, a new survey has revealed.

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Why Spam Won't Go Away (Forbes)

Spam is filling up the Internet, and it's not going away anytime soon. It's not just e-mail. We have voice-over-IP spam, instant message spam, cellphone text message spam, blog comment spam and Usenet newsgroup spam. And, if you think broadly enough, these computer-network spam delivery mechanisms join the ranks of computer telemarketing (phone spam), junk mail (paper spam), billboards (visual space spam) and cars driving through town with megaphones (audio spam). It's all basically the same thing--unsolicited marketing messages--and only by understanding the problem at this level of generality can we discuss solutions.

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Convergence Convergence! (Forbes)

More than 140,000 people were expected to flood Las Vegas for the 40th annual Consumer Electronics Show, where the industry traditionally shows off its latest and greatest--and some stuff that never will be. Then many turned their attention to San Francisco, where Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs was set to show off his own set of wonder-gadgets at Macworld. By following this link you can go to the Forbes coverage of both events.

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17 January 2007

Skype founders move into net TV (BBC)

The firm that made its name with free net calls is making a grab for the lucrative market of internet TV.

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us: Documents Borne by Winds of Free Speech (New York Times)

Eli Lilly is trying to stop Web sites from publishing internal documents on its antipsychotic drug Zyprexa: A showdown is scheduled for a federal courtroom in Brooklyn tomorrow afternoon, where words like "First Amendment" and "freedom of speech" and "prior restraint" are likely to mix seamlessly with references to "BitTorrent" and "Wiki."

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Attack of the Zombie Computers Is Growing Threat (New York Times)

In their persistent quest to breach the Internet's defenses, the bad guys are honing their weapons and increasing their firepower. With growing sophistication, they are taking advantage of programs that secretly install themselves on thousands or even millions of personal computers, band these computers together into an unwitting army of zombies, and use the collective power of the dragooned network to commit Internet crimes.

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us: FBI warns of twist in extortion phishing scam (CNET)

FBI officials are warning users of a new phishing scam that plays off a recent round of bogus extortion threats.

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Google's Top-10 Search Terms Dominated By Trademarks (Circle ID)

According to Google's 2006 Year-End Review, dubbed Zeitgeist, or the cultural climate of an era, a majority of the top-ten search terms for 2006 were trademarks. Topping the list is the registered BEBO mark which is held by Bebo.com LLC, a California company that runs a social networking website. Second on the list was MYSPACE, the registered mark associated with Newscorp's $580 million social-networking giant. Next, as a result of a majority of the world catching soccer fever over the summer, "world cup" ranked as the third most searched term.

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Hollywood Asks YouTube: Friend or Foe? (International Herald Tribune)

YouTube can help studios build tremendous buzz for films and TV shows, driving Hollywood to try to work with it instead of against it.

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UN Will Not Control The Internet (WebProNews)

This story in WebProNews notes a bloggers who says "Perhaps what Toure's agency - and ICANN - should consider is taking another look at the registrant side of the web. If ICANN is the final word in IP address assignments then why are there so many fly-by-night registrants who are not sanctioned by ICANN? Godaddy and other legitimate ICANN sanctioned registrants have voiced that complaint - both in Europe and here in the U.S., but it seems to fall on deaf ears."

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15 January 2007

UN telecom not eying Internet control (The Guardian)

The United Nations will not try to take the lead in determining the future of the Internet, the head of the UN telecommunications agency has said. Hamadoun Toure, a Malian who was elected director-general of the International Telecommunication Union in November, said the agency would be just one of many organizations involved in shaping the Internet's development.

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ae: etisalat to hand over .ae domain (Zawya)

etisalat will hand over control of the .ae domain name to the government in the second quarter of this year, according to the nation's telecom regulator.

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Social Networking Websites and Teens: An Overview (Pew Internet & American Life Project news release)

A social networking site is an online place where a user can create a profile and build a personal network that connects him or her to other users. In the past five years, such sites have rocketed from a niche activity into a phenomenon that engages tens of millions of internet users. More than half (55%) of all online American youths ages 12-17 use online social networking sites, according to a new national survey of teenagers conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The survey also finds that older teens, particularly girls, are more likely to use these sites. For girls, social networking sites are primarily places to reinforce pre-existing friendships; for boys, the networks also provide opportunities for flirting and making new friends.

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The Action Bias in American Law: Internet Jurisdiction and the Triumph of Zippo Dot Com by RICHARD K. GREENSTEIN (Temple Law Review)

Abstract: American law reflects the stories we tell ourselves about who we are as a nation. To illustrate the effect of America's stories on the law, I identify and describe in this essay a particular characteristic of American law: an "actionbias" - a propensity to bestow disproportionately greater legal significance upon affirmative acts than on failures to act - and I argue that this bias reflects, in turn, a powerful myth at the core of the self-image of the United States, a myth I call the "Immigrant's Tale". To illustrate this thesis, I give a number of instances of the action bias, but focus primarily on the career of an important federal district court decision: Zippo Manufacturing Company v. Zippo Dot Com, the case that formulated the framework now used almost universally in the determination of personal jurisdiction in Internet cases.

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Censorship by Proxy: The First Amendment, Internet Intermediaries, and the Problem of the Weakest Link by SETH F. KREIMER (University of Pennsylvania Law Review)

Abstract: The rise of the Internet has changed the First Amendment drama, for governments confront technical and political obstacles to sanctioning either speakers or listeners in cyberspace. Faced with these challenges, regulators have fallen back on alternatives, predicated on the fact that, in contrast to the usual free expression scenario, the Internet is not dyadic. The Internet's resistance to direct regulation of speakers and listeners rests on a complex chain of connections, and emerging regulatory mechanisms have begun to focus on the weak links in that chain. Rather than attacking speakers or listeners directly, governments have sought to enlist private actors within the chain as proxy censors to control the flow of information. Some commentators have celebrated such indirect methods of governmental control as salutary responses to threatening cyberanarchy. This Article takes a more jaundiced view of these developments: I begin by mapping the ubiquity of efforts to enlist Internet intermediaries as proxy censors. I emphasize the dangers to free expression that are likely to arise from attempts to target weak links in the chain of Internet communications and cast doubt on the claim that market mechanisms can be relied upon to dispel them. I then proceed to explore the doctrinal resources that can meet those dangers. The gambit of enlisting the private sector to establish a system to control expression is not new in the United States. I argue that the First Amendment doctrines developed in response to the last such focused effort, during the McCarthy era, provide a series of useful starting points for a First Amendment doctrine to protect the weak links of the Internet.

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Governing Cyberspace by DAVID G. POST (Wayne Law Review)

Abstract: What is the source of those law(s) that will govern our interactions in cyberspace? What body of rules will participants in cyberspace transactions consult to determine their substantive obligations and who is to make those rules? This paper sketches out two alternative models for the way in which order can emerge in this environment, models I refer to as Hamilton and Jefferson. Hamilton involves an increasing degree of centralization of control, achieved by means of increasing international coordination among existing sovereigns, through multi-lateral treaties and/or the creation of new international governing bodies along the lines of the World Trade Organization, the World Intellectual Property Organization, and the like. Jefferson invokes a radical decentralization of law-making, the development of processes that do not impose order on the electronic world but through which order can emerge, in which individual network access providers, rather than territorially-based states, become the essential units of governance. The normative choice is a significant one, and I argue that mobility users' ability to move unhindered into and out of individual networks with their distinct rule-sets is a powerful guarantee that the resulting distribution of rules is a just one; indeed, that our very conception of what constitutes justice may change as we observe the kind of law that emerges from uncoerced individual choice.

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