Lobby groups oppose plans for EU copyright extension

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Lobby groups oppose plans for EU copyright extension

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The European Commission currently has proposals on the table to extend performers’ copyright terms. Described by Professor Martin Kretschmer as the “Beatles Extension Act”, the proposed measure would extend copyright from 50 to 95 years after recording. A vast number of classical tracks are at stake; the copyright on recordings from the fifties and early sixties is nearing its expiration date, after which it would normally enter the public domain or become ‘public property’. E.U. Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services Charlie McCreevy is proposing this extension, and if the other relevant Directorate Generales (Information Society, Consumers, Culture, Trade, Competition, etc.) agree with the proposal, it will be sent to the European Parliament.

Wikinews contacted Erik Josefsson, European Affairs Coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (E.F.F.), who invited us to Brussels, the heart of E.U. policy making, to discuss this new proposal and its implications. Expecting an office interview, we arrived to discover that the event was a party and meetup conveniently coinciding with FOSDEM 2008 (the Free and Open source Software Developers’ European Meeting). The meetup was in a sprawling city centre apartment festooned with E.F.F. flags and looked to be a party that would go on into the early hours of the morning with copious food and drink on tap. As more people showed up for the event it turned out that it was a truly international crowd, with guests from all over Europe.

Eddan Katz, the new International Affairs Director of the E.F.F., had come over from the U.S. to connect to the European E.F.F. network, and he gladly took part in our interview. Eddan Katz explained that the Electronic Frontier Foundation is “A non-profit organisation working to protect civil liberties and freedoms online. The E.F.F. has fought for information privacy rights online, in relation to both the government and companies who, with insufficient transparency, collect, aggregate and make abuse of information about individuals.” Another major focus of their advocacy is intellectual property, said Eddan: “The E.F.F. represents what would be the public interest, those parts of society that don’t have a concentration of power, that the private interests do have in terms of lobbying.”

Becky Hogge, Executive Director of the U.K.’s Open Rights Group (O.R.G.), joined our discussion as well. “The goals of the Open Rights Group are very simple: we speak up whenever we see civil, consumer or human rights being affected by the poor implementation or the poor regulation of new technologies,” Becky summarised. “In that sense, people call us -I mean the E.F.F. has been around, in internet years, since the beginning of time- but the Open Rights Group is often called the British E.F.F.

Contents

  • 1 The interview
    • 1.1 Cliff Richard’s pension
    • 1.2 Perpetual patents?
    • 1.3 The fight moves from the U.K. to Europe
    • 1.4 Reclaiming democratic processes in the E.U.
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 External links

Albert Pujols ends his worst homerun drought

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Albert Pujols ends his worst homerun drought

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dominican baseball player Albert Pujols earned his first home run after joining the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Besides hitting his 446th Major League home run, Pujols ended a personal drought by claiming his first regular-season long ball after 33 games and 139 plate appearances, including his last St. Louis Cardinals at-bats. Pujols snapped back at Anaheim and capped a 4-3 home-team win against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

The Dominican first baseman now has a career 1,336 runs batted in and a .326 batting average. Previously, Pujols had played for St. Louis for 11 seasons.

Since playing for the Angels, Pujols has been booed by Anaheim fans after his hits slipped to a .194 average over the past month. Pujols came to his new team with high expectations after signing a contract worth US$240 million.

For his part, Pujols offered the following explanation for his performance: “This game is about making adjustments and being patient…”

Pakistan Navy fires test missiles

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Pakistan Navy fires test missiles

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Pakistan Navy has announced the firing of test missiles from ships, submarines, and aircraft during operations in the Arabian Sea.

Pakistani officials said that the tests were a display of commitment to the protection of Pakistan and sent “a message of deterrence to anyone harbouring nefarious designs against Pakistan”. The statement, released shortly after the operation, also said that the tests were designed to measure the “lethality, precision and efficacy” of the weapons.

Pakistan’s Naval Chief, Admiral Noman Bashir, was a witness to the event, and said that he was pleased with the tests, saying that he was satisfied with the state of the Pakistani Navy. He also commended the performance of the Navy personnel involved with the tests.

The maneuvers included tests of newly acquired missiles of a Chinese design, and came just a month after India tested a missile of similar design to some of the Pakistani weapons. India’s test involved a missile capable of carrying nuclear weapons, although it was unclear if Pakistan’s test included weapons capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

Wikinews interviews Frank Moore, independent candidate for US President

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Wikinews interviews Frank Moore, independent candidate for US President

Saturday, March 1, 2008

While nearly all coverage of the 2008 Presidential election has focused on the Democratic and Republican candidates, the race for the White House also includes independents and third party candidates. These parties represent a variety of views that may not be acknowledged by the major party platforms.

Wikinews has impartially reached out to these candidates, throughout the campaign. We now interview independent Presidential candidate Frank Moore, a performance artist.

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Car bomb defused in central London

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Car bomb defused in central London

Friday, June 29, 2007

A car containing an large explosive device has been defused in the Haymarket, London. A second device was later found in a car park in Park Lane.

A car, a light metallic green Mercedes-Benz E Class saloon (produced 1984-1995), parked near the nightclub ‘TigerTiger’, contained petrol, gas cylinders and nails. Police described it as a “potentially viable explosive device”.

Police carried out a controlled explosion at 2:00 a.m. BST and the car has been taken to a forensic explosives laboratory for further investigation.

Eyewitnesses saw the car driving “erratically” and colliding with bins before being abandoned. An ambulance crew in the area alerted police after seeing smoke inside the car.

Deputy Assistant Police Commissioner Peter Clarke said there could have been “significant injury or loss of life”.

A meeting of COBRA, chaired by new Home Secretary Jacqui Smith was held about the incident.

Police say it is too early to tell who is behind the threat. Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the country faces a “serious and continued security threat” and urged people to “be vigilant at all times”.

Disruption has been caused to transport in the area with roads closed and bus routes diverted. Piccadilly Circus tube station has reopened after an earlier closure

Police are reviewing major events to be held in London over the weekend.

CBS News has reported that a message appeared on the widely used jihadist Internet forum Al-Hesbah at 8:09 a.m. June 28, saying: “Today I say: Rejoice, by Allah, London shall be bombed.” The message went on to mention the recently announced knighthood of Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie.

Following an incident at Glasgow airport, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced the elevation of the UK’s national threat level from “Severe” to “Critical”, indicating that an attack could be expected “imminently”.

Two people have been arrested in Cheshire in connection with the Glasgow International Airport attack and attempted London car bombings.

Park Lane was closed to the public due to a suspicious car parked in the underground car park beneath Hyde Park. Police, who believed the two incidents to be linked, cordoned off Park Lane and Hyde Park to allow the bomb disposal unit access to the vehicle. The car was illegally parked on Cockspur Street and was towed to the pound on Park Lane, it was then discovered that the car contained an explosive device.

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Indian cricketer Sehwag announces international retirement

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Indian cricketer Sehwag announces international retirement

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag yesterday announced his retirement from international cricket matches and the next Indian Premier League season. Opener Sehwag played his last test match in March 2013 against Australia. He scored 8,586 runs, including 23 centuries, in 104 test matches, with a batting average of 49.34.

Sehwag, who turned 37 yesterday, said on Twitter “I hereby retire from all forms of international cricket and from the Indian Premier League. A statement will follow.” He stated he has not retired from first-class cricket matches, and he is also scheduled to appear in the Masters Champions League in February 2016.

Also known as the Nawab of Najafgarh, Sehwag is the only Indian cricketer to score a triple century in test matches, making 309 runs against Pakistan in 2004 and 319 against South Africa in 2008.

Sehwag stated, “I have always done what I felt was right and not what conformists thought to be right […] God has been kind and I have done what I wanted to do, on the field and in my life, and I had decided some time back that I will retire on my 37th birthday.”

Fellow Indian cricketers praised Sehwag when news of his retirement broke. Sachin Tendulkar referred to Sehwag’s “tremendous achievements” and “superlative performances”, V. V. S. Laxman called him “a pure entertainer”, and Ajinkya Rahane described him as “an inspiration to billions of cricket fans across the world.”

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US Senate committee investigates credit card practices

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US Senate committee investigates credit card practices

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

On Tuesday, the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs‘s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations held a hearing titled “Credit Card Practices: Unfair Interest Rate Increases.” The hearing examined the circumstances under which credit card issuers may increase the interest rates of cardholders who are in compliance with the terms of their credit cards. It was a follow-up to a March 2007 hearing.

Subcommittee Chairman Carl Levin said in his opening statement: “Today’s focus is on credit card issuers who hike the interest rates of cardholders who play by the rules — meaning those folks who pay on time, pay at least the minimum amount due, and wake up one day to find their interest rate has gone through the roof — again, not because they paid late or exceeded the credit limit, but because their credit card issuer decided they should be ‘repriced’.”

Present to testify on behalf of credit card issuers were Roger C. Hochschild of Discover Financial Services, Bruce L. Hammonds of Bank of America Corporation, and Ryan Schneider of Capital One Financial Corporation.

Much of the 90 minute hearing focused on specific cases where interest rates were raised, allegedly because credit scores of the debtor dropped, and not because they were delinquent or otherwise behind on payments. According to Levin, this practice made it so that almost all payments went towards finance charges with almost none toward repaying the principal. This, he felt, is an unfair practice, as the credit card companies were negligent in informing their customers of the rate hikes and the reason for such hikes.

Families find themselves ensnared in a seemingly inescapable web of credit card debt.

The collective credit card debt of Americans totals an estimated US$900 billion. Issuers have come under pressure to disclose their policies in regards to setting fees and interest rates. The US Truth in Lending Act requires that terms of a loan be set forth up front. Fluctuating interest rates on credit cards would, on the surface, appear to violate this act.

Roger C. Hochschild disagreed, arguing that “every card transaction is a new extension of credit … This makes it difficult — and risky — to underwrite, and price, the loan based solely on the borrower’s credit-worthiness at the time of application [for the card].”

Ryan Schneider, agreed: “The ability to modify the terms of a credit card agreement to accommodate changes over time to the economy or the credit-worthiness of consumers must be preserved.”

“Attempts to interfere with the market here … will inevitably result in less credit being offered,” warned Bruce Hammonds. “Risk-based pricing has democratized access to credit,” he added.

All three credit card executives also mentioned an ongoing Federal Reserve System review of credit card rules that already proposes a 45-day notification ahead of any rate changes.

Committee members criticized the industry for varying practices. Included in the criticism was the practice of mailing checks to card-holders, failing to notify applicants that obtaining additional cards could lower their credit score and raise their rates, and “ambushing” card-holders with raised rates.

Ranking minority member of the subcommittee, Norm Coleman said, “families find themselves ensnared in a seemingly inescapable web of credit card debt. They particularly report being saddled with interest rates that skyrocketed on them seemingly out of the blue.”

nJCuYQdn | Uncategorized | 12 8th, 2018 | No Comments »

Research In Motion financial probe becomes formal investigation

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Research In Motion financial probe becomes formal investigation

Friday, April 13, 2007

On Wednesday, Canadian BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Limited (RIM), reported preliminary fourth quarter and year-end financial results. Despite record profits, up from US$18 million in the same quarter last year to $188 million for the current quarter, the news was dampened by the revelation that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had formalized its investigation into RIM’s accounting practices.

An internal review by RIM, initiated eight months ago, revealed irregularities with how the company accounted for stock options. On March 5 of 2007, RIM co-chief executive and chairman, Jim Balsillie, resigned his position of chairman, due to the irregularities.

RIM had indicated, until recently, that the SEC probe into the company’s stock option granting practices was an informal inquiry. In a press release April 11, RIM suggested that “the informal inquiry has been converted to a formal investigation.”

In its press release, RIM indicated it would restate financials for the second and third quarters of fiscal 2007, and the fiscal year ended March 3, 2007 only. Through its internal probe, RIM had determined that the accounting irregularities for recently filed Canadian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) statements would not result in a material adjustment. It would not, therefore, restate Canadian GAAP financial statements, filed previously.

Aside from the record profits just reported, RIM indicated that it had shipped approximately 6.4 million BlackBerry devices in fiscal 2007 and that 1.02 million subscriber accounts were added in the fourth quarter. At the end of the quarter, the total BlackBerry subscriber account base had increased to 8 million.

On the news of the formal SEC inquiry, RIM’s stock price was down over 8%, Thursday, on the NASDAQ.

nJCuYQdn | Uncategorized | 12 5th, 2018 | No Comments »

Find me all the red balloons; MIT wins DARPA challenge

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Find me all the red balloons; MIT wins DARPA challenge

Monday, December 7, 2009

A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) won the challenge to find ten 8-foot (2.4 metre) weather balloons spread across the continental United States, just nine hours after the event’s start. In a test of the nation’s social networking skills, the US Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) offered US$40,000 (26,900) to the first team to identify the location of all ten balloons. The event marks the 40th anniversary of ARPAnet, the precursor to today’s Internet, a project developed by DARPA.

In a statement announcing the winner, DARPA said “the Challenge explores basic research issues such as mobilization, collaboration, and trust in diverse social networking constructs and could serve to fuel innovation across a wide spectrum of applications.” They also stated that they intend to “meet with teams to review the approaches and strategies used to build networks, collect information, and participate in the Challenge.”

The MIT team offered a reward scheme of its own as an incentive to public cooperation, offering US$2,000 to anyone who gave them the coordinates of a balloon. They also gave US$500 to whomever invited the person who gave the correct coordinates to join the challenge. They then gave the person who invited that person US$250, and so on, giving any left over or unclaimed money to charity. The MIT team hoped to ” […] find out how information spreads on the internet, and how online social networks help this spread”.

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India signs on to chemical patents to comply with WTO order

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India signs on to chemical patents to comply with WTO order

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

A bill passed by India’s Parliament put an end to the manufacture of many cheap generic drugs copied from products protected by foreign company patents. A Patents Amendment Bill (2005) has been condemned by foreign aid groups who expect a significant rise in drug costs as a result of the bill.

Drug compounds in India were previously not protected by patents, meaning that research and developement costs borne by the originating manufacturers were avoided by generic drug producers. The new bill “will move India toward the patent mainstream and support and encourage innovation and investment in research and development in India,” said Ranjit Sahani, managing director of Novartis India.

As the world’s fourth-largest manufacturer of drugs by volume, the pharmaceutical industry in India is valued at US$5 billion – but ranks as only 13th by value, reflecting the low costs to consumers of the products. “Because India is one of the world’s biggest producers of generic drugs, this law will have a severe knock-on effect on many developing countries which depend on imported generic drugs from India,” said Samar Verma, regional policy adviser at Oxfam International.

Around half of African, Asian and Latin American HIV patients needing anti-retroviral drugs rely on low-cost drugs from India, which are sold at one twentieth the price of similar drugs produced in the West.

More than 90 per cent of drugs listed as essentials in India are either unpatented or expired. Drugs patented before 1995 — when the World Trade Organization [WTO] set a 10 year deadline to enact protection — will not be eligible under the bill.

Some degree of protection was mandated by WTO in order for India to have greater access to international markets. Opposers of the bill say it goes too far.

The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights [TRIPS], under WTO, allows developing countries to not provide patent protection for uses of known drugs, new dosages and formulations, or combinations of known drugs.

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