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Feb 02
2010

ACTA and Fair Use

Posted by Bruce Robinson in technology , rights , policy , nonprofit orgs , news , media , legislation , international , government , finances , economy , Congress , business , arts , activism

Bruce Robinson

An international trade agreement on counterfeiting, currently being negotiated in secret, may actually impose strict new enforcements of expanded copyright protections.

While it’s not unusual for international trade treaties to be negotiated behind closed doors, most of the rationales for doing so don’t apply in the case of ACTA. There are 37 nations involved in the talks, and they freely share materials among themselves; it has been the public—in all of those countries—that has been excluded from the process. The high degree of secrecy surrounding the ACTA negotiations are additionally suspicious, says the Electronic Frontier Foundation's International Policy director, Gwen Hinze (left) , when contrasted with the way other similar pacts were developed in recent years.

Extending the stringent protections of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act to written work that is published online has already been tried in several of the countries that are party to the ACTA negotiations, says Gwen Hinze. But everywhere that has been tried, it has prompted enormous public outcry.

Requiring Internet service providers (ISPs) to enforce a “three strikes” policy against anyone accused of three violations of the new, tougher copyright protections, is being advocated by the film and music industries—who are being consulted in the ACTA negotiations—and opposed by the ISPs, who are on the outside. The Electronic Frontier Foundation agrees with the ISPs, because, as Hinze observes, there are too many ways such an enforcement policy can go wrong.

There's additional background information on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement here. EFF is also mounting a letter-writing campaign to urge that  Congress demand the ACTA process be opened to public scrutiny.

 

Jan 26
2010

Nonviolence

Posted by Bruce Robinson in women , students , rights , protest , policy , peace , nonprofit orgs , news , media , law enforcement , justice , journalism , international , Ideas , history , government , families , education , activism

Bruce Robinson

 

Conflict doesn’t have to be violent. In fact, proactive non-violence can be used to force change, and those skills and tactics can be taught and practiced. That’s what Cynthia Boaz is doing at an international conference in India this week.

Cynthia Boaz, a Sonona State University professor of political science, has studied the mechanics and practices of non-violence, and is presenting on that subject this week at an international conference hosted by War Resisters International. All true and effective non-violent movements for change must first gain a measure of popular support within the repressed indigenous populations, she explains, then as the movment gains strength, the oppressor is left with nothing but force to try to sustain itself.

Ghandi and the Rev. Martin Luther King are often seen as exemplars of non-violent leadership, but Boaz says the high-profile charismatic individual at the head of a movement is atypical, and not necessarily the most effective model.

But just as grassroots leaders can study and learn the skills and tactics of nonviolence, Boaz observes that oppressors, too, can and do try to understand and deflect those efforts.

 

International Center on Nonviolent Conflict

Jan 14
2010

Earthquake Alerts

Posted by Bruce Robinson in technology , Science , public safety , planning , news , media , international , government , gadgets , California

Bruce Robinson

Electrons move faster than earthquakes, giving new automated alert systems a few key seconds to warn outlying areas that some shaking is on the way.

This project is moving forward as quickly as possible, says Doug Given, but to be fully effective it requires the installation of many more sensors along the biggest known fault lines.

In setting all this up, priority has been given to the San Andreas Fault, one of the longest and most active in all of California.

Read more here about plans for broadcasting earthquake alerts to cell phones in Japan.

Jan 08
2010

After Copenhagen

Posted by Bruce Robinson in youth , waste , technology , Sonoma County , resources , research , protest , politics , policy , nonprofit orgs , news , media , international , Ideas , Green , government , go green , events , environment , employment , education , climate change , carbon , business , alternative energy , activism

Bruce Robinson

A Santa Rosa social activist has returned from the climate summit in Copenhagen eager to implement some new ideas, and with a deeper appreciation for Sonoma County’s actions on the issue.

In addition to the most visible benefits of her trip, Evelina Molina says it also served to reinforce an important message for the youth she works with at the North Bay Institute of Green Technology, which she recently co-founded in Santa Rosa.

Seeing what other nations and local communities around the world are doing to address climate change was inspiring, says Molina. But it also changed her perspective on what is being done here at home.

Evelina Molina, Kevin Danaher,  and Sean Holt will be part of a panel, moderated by Norman Solomon, that will report back to the local community on the experience and outcomes of the Copenhagen Climate Conference. The free public session will be at the Finley Community Center (2060 West College at Stony Point) in Santa Rosa on Saturday, Jan 9, 2-4:30 pm.

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