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Scope of New Zealand copyright law changes limited to P2P file sharing

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 21-Jul-2011 11:59

Sharing a release received from InternetNZ today:

InternetNZ (Internet New Zealand Inc) has obtained clarification from the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) that the intention of the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011 is to cover copyright infringement by online file sharing using peer-to-peer protocols only.

The new notices and penalty regime introduced by these amendments is not intended to cover video/music streaming websites or online file lockers.

InternetNZ Chief Executive Vikram Kumar says, "What this means is that watching videos on YouTube or via blinkx, streaming music from Grooveshark, and downloading from online file lockers like MediaFire and 4shared will not be subject to the changes introduced by the amendments to the law coming into force on 1 September 2011. MED's confirmation addresses some of the questions that arose when we were looking at the law changes in detail".

"It keeps the scope of the changes narrowly focussed on copyright infringements by online file sharing via peer-to-peer networks and applications. This will be welcomed by many people. However, despite the intentions behind the law, the definitive interpretation will come from decisions made by the Copyright Tribunal and Courts if this aspect of the law is ever tested."

"Streaming websites and online file lockers typically provide copyright owners with a more direct means of enforcing their rights.

Generally, this is achieved by copyright owners providing a notice directly to the website that infringing content is appearing on the site and needs to be removed. For example, YouTube has tools like Content ID and a Copyright Verification Tool that enable copyright owners to easily identify, control, and even remove their content from the site."

"This clarification doesn't mean that copyright infringements by means other than peer-to-peer applications and networks aren't covered by the Copyright Act. The Internet Service Providers' liability provisions inserted by the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act 2008 of general infringement (92B), storing infringing material (92C), and caching (92E) still continue. Rights owners can continue to seek enforcement through the Courts. However, they can't use the new streamlined provisions of sections 122A to 122U for alleged infringements relating to Internet Service Providers' storage and caching of infringing content."

"This is a good time to emphasise that peer-to-peer technologies aren't in themselves bad. Quite the contrary. These technologies provide significant advantages for many legitimate uses, such as eliminating the single point of failure typical of client-server systems and distributing computing resources. For example, peer-to-peer technologies are extensively used by popular services like Facebook, Skype and Twitter as well as for efficient data distribution in scientific research and Linux distributions. So blocking peer-to-peer protocols rather than focussing on copyright infringement in response to the law changes is a bad response."

Explanatory note

"Streaming" is a technique for transferring data so that it can be processed as a steady and continuous stream. This allows a person to start watching online, say a video or TV show, without waiting to get the whole file. Typically, streaming is used in a one-to-many situation. "Peer-to-peer" on the other hand is a distributed architecture where peers are both consumers and suppliers. People can connect directly with other people and is therefore used in a many-to-many situation.

Examples of peer-to-peer protocols include Gnutella and BitTorrent.

Popular peer-to-peer software includes uTorrent, BitComet, FrostWire, Ares, LimeRunner, and Vuze.

Online file lockers are ways for storing and sharing a wide variety of files online. Examples of online file lockers include MediaFire and 4shared.

How Leica lenses are made

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 13-Jul-2011 11:58

A brilliant video showing the technology behind the manufacture of Leica lenses. It explains why lenses are still so expensive:

The (no) joy of FedEx logistics

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 13-Jul-2011 10:31

A friend sent me a box via FedEx. She's in Hawaii, where FedEx must have a hub. I think so because every time I track a FedEx parcel coming to New Zealand it goes through Honolulu before landing in Auckland.

When she sent me this parcel from her home state I thought "great, this will be even faster than other parcels coming from one of the other continental states". Just look at the picture, and  you will see how wrong I was:

FedEx logistics crazy routes...

Yep, from Hawaii, to two different locations in California, then back to Hawaii before coming to New Zealand. What a waste of time there. I guess it will not make it to the estimated delivery date, FedEx?

The HP Discover Blog Index

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Jun-2011 16:00

HP invited a group of bloggers (including myself) to attend the HP Discover 2011 conference in Las Vegas. The infrastructure provided was incredible: accommodation, transport, special blogger lounge on the exhibition floor, communications, gatherings, reserved seats to all keynotes (including power and ethernet connections), plus the opportunity to meet many HP and partners' executives at the lounge during "coffee talks" available to our group only.

The number of posts still coming out of the group is quite large. So I decided to put together a "link blog". The DiscoveringHP is a meta blog listing all posts I could find, coming from this group, plus a blogroll where you can find your way to their blogs' main pages.

I understand some are still working on other posts, and I will update the DiscoveringHP blog with more links as they become available. I will also try and keep it alive during the upcoming HP Discover 2011 event in Vienna (Austria) - the European version of HP Discover.

Mobile documentaries at Te Papa

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Jun-2011 15:59

This Thursday, 16 June 2011, Te Papa is hosting a one-off screening of a selection of creative works made for mobile phones, using mobile phones, by Laurent Antonczak and Max Schleser.

Thursday 16 June 2011
Soundings Theatre, Level 2
Te Papa
Free entry
Laurent will be presenting music videos designed for small screens, including New Day Interactive, a kinetic music video that responds to user's mobile phone movements, and Hamster Squaredance, an interactive music video that uses embedded QR codes (Quick Response barcodes that can be read by mobile phones).
Max will be showing two mobile-mentaries (mobile documentaries) made using mobile phones; Max with a Keitai, a film shot entirely on two mobile phones in Japan in 2006, and Ekaterinburg, a short mobile-mentary about the Heartbeat Festival in the Russian city of Ekaterinburg.
Both Laurent and Max will be present at the screenings to discuss their work, and will also be running a digital media workshop focusing on mobile film production at Massey University during the weekend following the Te Papa event (17th - 19th June).

More details here.

Back in New Zealand

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 13-Jun-2011 08:09

I am back in New Zealand (but not home yet)... What a journey. Thanks to Air New Zealand and not so much to United Airlines - big fail from them.

Windows Phone Mango: it will change the way you communicate

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 29-May-2011 09:26

This week I met a Microsoft New Zealand person who gave me a Windows Phone Mango demo... Lots of new features, but a picture (movie) is worth a thousand words:

Seriously, the integrated inbox (which allows you to select which inboxes are part of the integrated view, and allows you multiple integrated views) and the contacts groups are beyond anything you've seen in any other smartphone platform. Contacts allow you to see all communications with contacts - email, IM, social networks, etc.

And on communications, you can start a conversation via IM, and if the contact goes offline it will automatically send the next message via SMS, or via Facebook IM, or whatever is available. And you see all in a single thread, single application.

Best of all, Windows Phone Mango will be available for existing Windows Phone hardware.

My unofficial HP Discover 2011 blog

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-May-2011 13:23

I've created an unofficial HP Discover 2011 blog, to keep those topics related to the conference from personal ramblings here... Check it out, grab the RSS feed and make sure to follow it for behind the scenes information, and other non-personal ramblings.

DVD is dying...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-May-2011 09:04

A report going around says "studio shipment of DVDs fell 43.8% to 226 million discs last year". Some more numbers here.

Obviously, one would have thought, something needs to be done to prevent this industry to die! It shouldn't follow the steps of the LaserDisc VHS. Governments should implement three strikes law to prevent people obtaining entertainment from other, nefarious means. Isn't that right?

Then we stumble to this:

"Consumers are now opting to sign up for streaming and-or rental services such as Netflix," analyst Wade Holden wrote. "They are using video-on-demand services more and more as they discover these services can be cost-effective." His study did not look at sales of Blu-ray discs.

According to the Digital Entertainment Group though, including Blu-ray and digital total home video spending was down 3.1%.

Could this be the case of one new technology killing the previous one? Even if it is, remember how the entertainment industry likes to scream about the CD sales going down, but never talk about the online sales?

It's always convenient to forget these things, so it's good to repeat: the study is just pointing out that one old technology is going out, two different technologies are replacing it. Nothing to see here.

Governments don't need to create new three strikes laws to protect the industry, thank you very much. Perhaps they should create laws for police to go looking for counterfeit operations, you know, the ones where some people actual profit in crime? And perhaps the entertainment industry should think of expanding digital offers instead?

Recording industry could reach billions... But they aren't playing ball

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 13-May-2011 12:26

As per my previous post Is "lost sales to piracy" a fallacy, the problem is really coming down to the content industry not knowing what to do with the new dynamics of distributing content at light speed, to reach all those potential customers around the world.

The industry could reach an even larger number of customers, billions even, if partnering with the right digital media companies, and breaking geographical limitations. Services provided by these digital media companies include Apple iTunes, Amazon MP3 and a new kid in the block, Google Music.

Have you heard of Google? Apparently they reach every corner of the world, and they have a huge content distribution network, with lots of storage, switches, routers and that is needed for content distribution. Economy of scale! Distribution speed! Cheaper copies of bits! Instant money transfer!

And what does the music industry do? They turn greedy and lose their senses.

Labels of all sizes wanted upfront advances. Google was willing to pay upfront advances. But some labels wanted larger upfront advances than others. And then other labels would learn of the advances agreed to in those deals and then demanded similar rates. And the independent labels wanted to be treated on equal terms as the majors.

Obviously if you can create scarcity then you can control prices. But this is a false scarcity of a digital item that could actually be distributed over and over again, without the manufacturing costs required for LP 8 track compact cassete CD/DVD. Why not go for the volume instead of the limited market?

Another example of how this industry doesn't know what to do to keep up with the times. And a new copyright law is not the answer for their problems.

freitasm's profile

Mauricio Freitas
New Zealand

I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

I'm the Geekzone admin. On Geekzone we publish news, reviews and articles on technology topics. The site also has some busy forums. Also worth visiting is TravelTalk NZ, a community for travelers!

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