August 19, 2011
Private Investigator Files Suit Against News International Over Refusal To Pay Legal Fees
PI Glenn Mulcaire has filed a lawsuit against Rupert Murdoch's News International in an attempt to continue collecting legal fees to defend himself against past, current and future criminal and civil complaints arising from the phone hacking investigations. NI had been paying Mr. Mulcaire's attorneys but has recently pulled out of an agreement to do so. More here from Hollywood Reporter. A court has ordered Mr. Mulcaire to reveal who at News of the World told him to hack the phone of six celebrities, including model Elle MacPherson.
From NBC: a story about the preponderance of blonde UK A-level success stories in the papers.
August 17, 2011
Former NOTW Editor Says NOTW Executives Knew of Hacking; Execs Deny Knowledge
Despite the release of a letter from Clive Goodman, a former News of the World editor convicted of phone hacking, who alleges that NOTW higher-ups knew of the practice, NOTW officers still deny that they were aware of phone hacking. Here's a timeline of denials from the Guardian.
BBC Reporter Goes On Trial In Tajikistan
A BBC World Service journalist is on trial in Tajikistan, accused of membership in Hizbut-Tahrir(Party of Liberation), a banned group that advocates the creation of a pan-Islamic caliphate that would rule all Muslim states. Here is more from Trend, discussing the first day of the trial.
Copyright and P2P Technology
M. Sakthivel, Inter University Center for IPR Studies, CUSAT, has published Peer-to-Peer Technology – Is it Covered by Copyright?, at 16 Journal of Intellectual Property Rights 309 (July 2011). Here is the abstract.
This article highlights the legal issues that have developed since the advent of the fourth generation peer-to-peer (4G P2P) Internet file transmission technology especially in the copyright regime. A right over third generation peer-to-peer technology for communicating work to the public has already been extended to authors and also recognized by most of the countries. However, extending authors’ right over 4G P2P is too complex because of the nature of the technology i.e., the method of transmission is entirely different from the other generation P2P. While examining the technology, one can very well understand that the method of file transmission has some characteristics similar to that of traditional broadcasting. Therefore, broadcasting organizations and some of the streaming companies seek protection for such transmission just like broadcasters’ protection. In this paper, it is argued that without studying the technology as well as defining rights of the author over the 4G P2P, extension of rights to the broadcasters as well as streamers (webcasters in a limited context) is impossible.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.
Of Governments and Social Media
Philip N. Howard, Sheetal D. Agarwal, and Muzammil M. Hussain, Department of Communication, University of Washington, have published When Do States Disconnect Their Digital Networks? Regime Responses to The Political Uses of Social Media, as an APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper. Here is the abstract.
While there have been many studies of the different ways regimes censor the use of social media by their citizens, shutting off social media altogether is something that rarely happens. However, it happens at the most politically sensitive times and has widespread - if not global - consequences for political, economic and cultural life. When do states disconnect their digital networks, and why? To answer this question, we build an event history database of incidents where a regime went beyond mere censorship of particular websites or users. We draw from multiple sources, including major news media, specialized news services, and international experts to construct an event log database of 566 incidents. This rich, original dataset allows for a nuanced analysis of the conditions for state action, and we offer some assessment of the impact of such desperate action. Comparative analysis indicates that both democratic and authoritarian regimes disable social media networks for citing concerns about national security, protecting authority figures, and preserving cultural and religious morals. But, whereas democracies also disable social media with the goal of protecting children, authoritarian regimes also attempt to eliminate what they perceive as propaganda on social media.We cover the period from 1995 to the first quarter of 2011, and build a grounded typology based on regime type, what states actually did to interfere with digital networks, why they did it, and who was affected.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.
August 16, 2011
BART Under Fire For Cell Phone, Station Closing Decisions, FCC Launches Investigation
Because Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) has restored cell phone service to commuter stations in the area, the ACLU now says it will probably not file a lawsuit over the agency's actions, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation is "likely" not to do so. BART originally suspended cell phone service to prevent people communicating via social media and then gathering in the stations to protest the killing of Charles Hill July 3 in a BART station.
However, BART's actions have resulted in unforeseen consequences. The group Anonymous launched a cyberattack on the BART website, and the FCC is now investigating BART's action in suspending cell phone service. In addition, action in closing some commuter stations temporarily caused consumer discontent. More here from the San Jose Mercury News.
If You Can't Stand the Heat, Get Out of the...Well, You Know...
A Welsh court has heard evidence that the chef of the River Cafe, Brecon Beacons, "snapped" after hearing influential restaurant critic A. A. Gill refer to the food he was served as "disgusting." Charlie McCubbin then assaulted an employee. Mr. McCubbin told the court he subsequently apologized and the employee, Keith McVaigh, said he did not want to press charges. Mr. McCubbin's attorney defended his client's actions by explaining that in addition to the high stress of preparing food, the chef had to deal with the knowledge that Mr. Gill was in the restaurant. Mr. Gill is known for his rather ascerbic comments concerning eating establishments, such as this one for an unlikely dining spot.
It's like eating a home-economics history project, a National Trust re-creation. This restoration or reconstruction of both building and menu is a mule born gelded, a sterile exercise that bears nothing, fires blanks, leads to nothing but more of the past. It's an exercise in sentimental hindsight. To remake the past, either as a carpet or a pie, is not to relive its glory, it's to deny the present its moment. There is no vivacity here. No optimism. No elan or panache. No fecundity. This food is just a passing regret, the taste of loss in an edible museum.
More here on the McCubbin court appearance from The Independent.
August 15, 2011
The Real Business of Internet Cat Videos
Explained here. But I have my suspicions that these people don't work at a genuine studio. Where's the legal department?
Scientific Journals and Retractions
Misconduct or various kinds seems to be increasing in research-land. Read a discussion of the incidence of retractions, and what to do about it, by publishers of a couple of scientific journals here.