Thursday, November 04, 2004

The Next Wave: Liberation Technology BY JOHN M. UNSWORTH Lovely overview of the choices the education sector face on questions of openness.
Cliff Richard is not happy that his pension fund is getting robbed by the expiry of the copyright on his earlier music recordings.

“As I get older I am told that I have achieved many chart ‘firsts’. Now I am the first person to be deprived of income simply because I have outlived the copyright on my sound recordings.”

I don't doubt that having been briefed by his record label he's believes what he is saying but "deprived of income", Sir Cliff? How much money have you already made during the 50 year monopoly over these recordings?

"Many artists rely on one hit record as their sole source of income, but now they will earn nothing. I feel a responsibility to speak out for them.”

I don't know how much actual work artists put into delivering a hit but I'm sure it varies. Suppose it amounts to a month, including 2 days recording, some spots on TV and radio to promote the hit and some concerts. I wouldn't mind retiring comfortably on the proceeds of a month's (or even a year's) work.

"IT IS the greatest pension fund raid of all time." is the line that opens the piece, so presumably that was written by a music industry PR person? More blind/lazy publishing, by the media, of propaganda from copyright extremists this time at the industry end of the scale.

So much for maintaining a sense of proportion and balance.
Mexico are extending the term of copyright to life of the author plus 100 years. Watch out, in the next few years, for entertainment industry lobbyists calling for the US and EU to "harmonise" their terms with Mexico's.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

It seems I misspoke when I said the detailed study on Safe Harbour had not been released yet. It has.
The EU have released a report on the workings of the EU and US agreement on privacy "Safe Harbour" provisions. The report and the detailed study it has been based on (which has not yet been released) seem to find significant shortcomings in the compliance of self certifying companies with the requirements of the agreement. The report reaches a number of conclusions:

1. They're pleased that more than 400 US organizations are using Safe Harbour but would like more involved.

2. They're concerned that many of the companies involved either have not published a privacy policy or have privacy policies which do no comply with the Safe Harbour Principles. This means the Federal Trade Commission who are supposed to police companies compliance with their own polices can't do this. The report at this point also suggests the US Department of Commerce could be a bit more careful in scrutinizing self certifying organisations.

3. The Department of Commerce should provide facility on their website to let organizations "state their commitment to comply with the advice given by the EU panel in the event of a dispute without which the FTC would be unable to enforce compliance with the advice of the EU panel."

4. Mechanisms of recourse available in the case of non compliance exist but are weak and in some cases fail to comply with the Safe Harbour Principles.

5. "...given that up to 30 per cent of the companies that subscribe to the Safe Harbour Principles do so to import human resources data clear guidance is needed as to whether the FTC is competent to enforce the Principles in this area is needed."

Not exactly a ringing endorsement then.