mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)

The Problem

In 2010, a Select Committee unanimously recommended that software be excluded from patentability. Clause 10A(1) of the Patents Bill will achieve this.

Unfortunately, the Government has decided to add clause 10A(2) at the last minute. While intended to preserve the availability of patents for inventions containing embedded software, this clause actually undermines the intended exclusion of software patents.

The Remedy

In order to preserve the exclusion of software patents, but still preserve patents for inventions containing embedded software, we request the following replacement for clause 10A(2) of the Patents Bill:

10A(2):  Subsection (1) does not prevent an invention that makes use of an embedded computer program from being patentable.

This change fulfils these crucial requirements:

  1. it preserves the Select Committee's unanimous recommendation that software be excluded from patentability.
  2. it ensures that patents are still available for inventions containing embedded software, such as Fisher & Paykel washing machines.
  3. it avoids the controversial, counter-productive and unwanted "as such" proviso in the current clause 10A(2).

Take Action

If you agree with the proposed remedy, and you are a New Zealander-based software developer or a supporter, please add your signature to the list using the form below.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
So it seems Stephen Joyce, along with Chris Finlayson is planning to pass ACTA, and planning to keep section 92a which allows for the disconnection of individuals from the internet upon the mere accusation that they have violated copyright.

Finlayson, despite being a lawyer, seems to feel that there is no need for there to be any proof that a person is infringing the law before punishing them for that alleged infringement, and despite the fact that both his and Joyce's websites contain enough infringing material for people to lay complaints against them as soon as the law comes into effect. It's almost humorous, two politicians planning to put forward a law that will result in them being it's first victims. Talk about "being hoist by one's own petard!"

Even the UK, known for it's draconian police state, has refused to go anywhere near this far, backing off of keeping similar, though still less draconian, arrangements in their version of ACTA.

People need to realize that copyright breaches are not the issue here.

Regardless of one's beliefs about the validity of intellectual property, the thing that both I and the good folk at The Creative Freedom Foundation are annoyed at here is that S92a of the act brings in a provision that will require ISPs to cut the internet connections of people if someone else (anyone else) makes a formal complaint against them, regardless of whether that complaint is actually well founded, and without giving the accused the chance to defend themselves from the complaint. This is a fundamental change to our law.

At present there are one or two other places in law where guilt is assumed, and people can be punished without trial, but all of those at present relate to national security, such as the ability of the Director of the SIS to put people like Ahmed Zaoui in prison without a trial.

ACTA is fundamentally worse, as while one might expect that the Director of the SIS would understand the danger of his powers, and would normally, at least in his mind, have good reason to use them, here, we're talking about giving similar (though admittedly not so draconian) powers to every member of the public who can fill out a complaint form. Does anyone really want that? Imagine the potential for extortion and harrassment that the Mongrel Mob and other criminal organizations will now gain.

The other bad thing, and the reason that the UK dropped these sorts of provisions, is that they require your ISP to act as an arm of law enforcement. Not to co-operate with law enforcement, as they do now, but to be law enforcement. All of a sudden a bunch of geek network operators will become policemen without training. But real policemen have some legal protection to act in this manner, and are given money by the government to enforce laws.

ACTA will require ISP''s to take up this job without additional pay, and without legal protection, meaning that they could get sued for doing it. This will necessarily drive up the already outrageous cost of internet access in New Zealand, which in turn will act us a brake on our already stumbling economy.

So, email and, and point out to them that this is not a copyright issue, it's a legal and economic issue that affects the whole country, not just those naughty file-sharers.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
So I went to see Richard Stallman this afternoon. Lots of people have told me he's crazy, but he seemed pretty reasonable to me, maybe he only sounds crazy to people who buy into the whole "intellectual property" lie.

Anyway, I picked up a pile of, Gnu, & FSF stickers. One of them made me laugh! It's obvious what it's trying to say, however the image it uses says something completely different to me! Is it just me or.. ? )
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
Through a few interesting turns, I discovered that the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office in Tampa Florida provides a public service that allows anyone to access arrest records.

Here's a random example. Let's ignore the person themselves and look at how it is presented. The test at the top says :
The data on this site provides only arrest and booking information and should not be relied upon to determine an individual's actual criminal record. This data may not reflect charging decisions made by the State Attorney's Office or the outcome of criminal trials. An acquittal or dismissal of a criminal charge does not necessarily negate the validity of an arrest.
The first line is reasonable enough. But the following two lines indicate to me that the sheriff's department are saying "we arrest them, but the State Attorney doesn't always prosecute and win. So don't blame us, we're doing our job properly. Even if they are acquitted."

And have a look at the way the info is filled out. Race is "W", presumably for "white". Ethnicity is "N" presumably for "None". A classic example of institutionalized racism. Still it is Florida, so perhaps thats unsurprising.

Note that if this person was still being held, you'd be able to identify their cell location. How handy if I wanted to kill someone who was in jail with a rocket launcher. Note that it has the arrested person's address information and while they aren't filled out in this example it has entries for the addresses of next of kin and their legal representation. How handy if I wanted to intimidate or otherwise affect the arrested person, regardless of whether they were arrested for an actual crime.

I decide to search for "Bush, W, M" and got 79 matches, though I was warned that only information for the last five years was displayed!

No wonder identity theft is so easy with all this information available on anyone who gets arrested!
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Sumomo cheer)
New tech via /. :

The world's first succesful ornithopter flight!

Admittedly it only flew for fourteen seconds, but as they point out that's longer than the Wright brothers first flight!

Also, sailing ships to return to the oceans, only with a bit of a difference :

SkySails' system consists of an enormous towing kite and navigationsoftware that can map the best route between two points for maximumwind efficiency. In development for more than four years, the systemcosts from roughly $380,000 to $3.2 million, depending on the size ofthe ship it's pulling. SkySails claims it will save one third of fuelcosts.

And in further bad news about the British police state, an older one from El Reg, Goth gets fined £80 for calling a metal detector a "piece of shit".
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Morpheus)
Very important article by Doc Searls up at the Linux Journal :

Saving the Net: How to Keep the Carriers from Flushing the Net Down the Tubes

It's long, the Doc says it's possibly the longest thing he's ever put on-line, and it's US-centric. But, of course, what ever happens in the US will forced onto everyone else, so the US is the front-line.

Distribute widely!
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Forever)
Several people have started writing novels on the net using software like blogger to allow people to provide criticism and corrections, and releasing the content under the Creative Commons license.

Here's a couple I've been reading recently :
Dingo by Michael Alan Nelson
Mistress of Dakao by Remittance Girl
( note Remittance Girl writes erotica, so may not be work-safe )

And of course there is always the Baen Free Library, which includes works by Andre Norton, Lois McMaster Bujold, David Drake , Mercedes Lackey, Keith Laumer, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, John Ringo, David Weber, and others

Combine quality writing released for free or directly under Creative Commons, freely available on the web, with cheap, throwaway, net-capable devices, such as this one being produced by Nicholas Negroponte for distribution to the third world (via [ profile] yeldarb_smaillw), using electronic paper as a display, will this spell the end of the publishing industry?

For that matter, with the growth of sites like OpSound, does it spell the end of the concept of controlled content distribution?
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
Don't look at these links if you want to stay happy, or are already suicidely depressed.
Third one is not worksafe. You have been warned.

Via Billmon, is this Nation article discussing

I'm not going to comment, except to say that Billmon expresses most of my thoughts and he has a greater right to express them than I.


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February 2016

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