Just before midnight on Thursday, Beyonce released her 5th album exclusively on iTunes. Collaborators on this self-titled "exclusive visual album" include Jay Z, Drake, Frank Ocean and daughter Blue Ivy. This, her first since 2011, arrived without any prior announcement.
Every song on the 14 track and 17 video collection is accompanied by a video, all of which are also available on iTunes. "Grown Woman," a promo video used during Beyonce' recent world tour is included as a bonus.
In the press release announcing the release, Beyonce said that she "didn't want to release my music the way I've done it" and wanted the album to come out when it was ready directly to her fans.
The release strategy is also an attempt to fight pre-release piracy:
“For an artist who has been the target of leaks, this is a fully designed preventative plan...
That the album is available on the day the world is learning about its release is an unprecedented strategic move by the artist to deliver music and visual content directly to her fans when she wants to and how she wants to, with no filter...
This unique approach allows music fans to be the first to listen, view, engage and form their own opinions void of any middleman. In the age of social media and an insatiable appetite for direct communication, this is the answer to the question asked over and over again, when is Beyoncé’s next album coming?… Stripped of gimmicks, teasers and marketing campaigns, this project is truly about art before hype.”
U2 has finalized their new management contract with Live Nation and Guy Oseary, and finally broken their silence on their split with longtime manager Paul McGuinness. As previously reported, McGuiness announced that he was stepping down as the band's manager in November after Live Nation announced that it was buying McGuiness's Principle Management and Oseary's management firm Maverick as part of a $30 million dollar deal. In a post on the band's website announcing that their new contract had been signed, a spokesperson for U2 wrote:
"The band now want to publicly thank Paul McGuinness for his extraordinary leadership, guidance and friendship over the last 35 years.
Paul has saved us from ourselves many times over and we would not be U2 without him.
Sometime soon, U2 will begin a new adventure around the world and we totally understand and respect Paul's desire to not run away with the circus – AGAIN.
Perhaps more than any music management operation in history, Paul, alongside Trevor, Keryn and the team at Principle Management has always fought for our rights, for our music, for our fans and for the principles that we and he believe in. His central lesson was that if you cared for your "art", you must also "take care of business" as historically with rock and roll bands, the latter has undone the former.
We are relieved he will remain on as the mentor-in-chief.
We've known Guy for a long, long time, and we're excited that with Paul's blessing he's agreed to take us on. He is a brilliant man with a lot of energy, and knows he has got some big shoes to fill."Related articles Live Nation To Buy U2, Madonna Management Companies For $30 Million
Music Business News & Views From Around The Web
Updated Continuously @ Hypebot's More News Tab
Aarron Walter adds a powerful hit to your Christmas cocktail in the form of advice on putting together user surveys to gather important data you can use to inform design decisions. If you build it, they will come.
As Yet Another Free Trade Agreement Fails To Deliver, Why Should People Believe USTR's Claims About TPP's Huge Benefits?
As the US applies more and more pressure to the other nations taking part in the secret TPP negotiations in an attempt to get them to accept its demands, one issue that is starting to be raised is the central one of benefits. Given the sacrifices the USTR is demanding from other countries in order to strike a deal, people in affected countries are rightly questioning what exactly they will get in return. The growing doubts about the value of TPP are presumably why at this late stage the USTR has just released a document touting its "economic benefits". There are two things worth noting about this.
First, that no evidence is offered to back up the big numbers being thrown around there, so we know nothing about the assumptions and methodology behind the figures. And secondly, as Burcu Kilic rightly points out, if the USTR wants people to consider the economic benefits, it should also produce a similar report on the economic damage that could result from TPP so that they can see whether on balance it is worth proceeding with the deal. Needless to say, such analyses are never conducted -- at least, not by governments.
Of course, predicting the economic effects of complex trade agreements that haven't even been concluded is nigh on impossible. But as an alternative, instead of trying to squint into the future, we can perhaps look back at what actually happened with previous free trade agreements. Techdirt has already written about two major deals, NAFTA and KORUS, both of which turned out to be disastrous for the US, but what about the others?
A small, bilateral FTA was signed between the US and Colombia just under a year ago. Recently, President Obama welcomed Colombia's President Santos to the White House, and referred to the trade deal as follows: We also had an opportunity to talk about the success so far of the Free Trade Agreement and its implementation. There's still some details that are being worked on. Nevertheless, what we've seen is a 20 percent increase in trade between our two countries since its signing. And that creates jobs in Colombia, it creates jobs here in the United States of America. That's the kind of upbeat assessment you'd expect during these visits, but not everyone agrees with it. For example, Oxfam has recently produced a study on the effects of the FTA on Colombian farmers, in which: [it] warned that of products important for Colombia's small-scale producers, especially whey, rice, white corn, milk powder and pork, were at greatest risk of being undercut by an increase in US imports and a fall in import prices. Specifically: It turns out that during the first nine months of the trade agreement, US exports to Colombia grew at a much greater rate than Colombia's exports to the US, leading to a 40 percent drop in Colombia's balance of trade with the US. Colombia's trade deficit with the US in processed foods deteriorated dramatically, and the country also fared poorly with regard to agricultural commodities, as its exports to the US declined while its imports from the US increased. In other words, Oxfam claims that the reality of Obama's "20 percent increase in trade between our two countries" is lop-sided, with the US selling more, and Colombia's small-scale producers suffering as a result, since they are unable to compete with the larger US agricultural and processed food companies and their cheaper products.
Cynics might say that you'd expect Oxfam to take this line, and it's certainly difficult to tell what is really happening in the country. But this BBC news story from a couple of weeks ago gives us a hint: Several thousand Colombian farmers have marched through the streets of Bogota to demand that the government comply with agreements reached in September.
Farmers' leaders said the Colombian government had breached 72 of 88 points agreed to end the previous protest.
"Things are as bad or worse than they were before," said one of their leaders, Cesar Pachon.
In August, the farmers had said the government's agricultural policies were driving them into bankruptcy.
They said that free trade agreements with the European Union and the United States, which had recently come into force, were flooding the market with agricultural products at prices they were unable to match. As an Oxfam post points out, undermining small-scale farmers may have a knock-on effect with serious consequences for US policy in the region: The US has invested a lot in Colombia -- more than eight billion dollars in US aid has gone to the country since 2000 to eradicate the illicit drug trade, promote alternative agricultural development and bolster the government's war effort. With peace talks now underway, comprehensive rural reform is the first item on the agenda of negotiations between the Colombian government and the [Marxist-Leninist terrorist organization] FARC.
Yet the evidence now shows that several of the agricultural products most important to Colombia's small-scale farmers -- dairy, rice, white corn, and pork -- are at greatest risk of being undermined by imports from the US in the first year under the agreement. In other words, not only is the US-Colombia trade agreement de-stabilizing key parts of Colombian society, but also could well start to undo a decade's worth of US efforts to combat drug production and terrorist activity there. So much for Obama's claim that the bilateral agreement was a "success". Participating nations may want to bear this in mind when considering the USTR's cheery projections about TPP's benefits.
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Zbigniew Karkowski - Live at the Generator, September 2, 1989
Dan Greenwood (aka Diagram: A) and Chris Dooley (aka Gastric Lavage) on a C16 from last year.
I can't remember what label this came out on and can't find any reference to this on t'internet.
Joseph Roemer and Rodger Stella on a 2003 CDr jointly released on Patrick O'Neil's Self Abuse Records and their own Mother Savage Noise Productions. This was originally a C60 tape from 1996.
Every minute of every day, file-sharing networks all over the globe are being monitored by anti-piracy companies on behalf of their copyright holder paymasters.
Much of the work carried out is for information gathering purposes. That data can be put to many uses by movie and music companies, including the development of marketing and lobbying strategies.
Needless to say, some of the harvested data is used to generate copyright takedowns and, on the more aggressive side of the business, to hunt down individuals engaged in piracy so that law enforcement can make an example of them.
After a week in the headlines due to the passing of Nelson Mandela, South Africa now has a brand new anti-piracy achievement to report. According to the Southern African Federation Against Copyright Theft (SAFACT), authorities have just arrested their first ever Internet pirate.
The individual, said to have been detained in Cape Town, stands accused of uploading to The Pirate Bay. SAFACT CEO Corné Guldenpfennig told MyBroadband that his investigation team, led by a “certified ethical hacker”, were able to identify, profile and trace the uploader. This in itself is an interesting development as up until recently ISPs have refused to play ball.
“Downloaders think they can hide on the Internet. Uploaders think they can hide, but they can’t no matter how smart they think they are,” Guldenpfennig said.
As it features the first ever arrest of an online pirate in South Africa the case is interesting enough, but curiosity is only being aroused further by SAFACT’s refusal to identify the movie in question. Perhaps understandably there is speculation that for such an important case there can only be one candidate, the Nelson Mandela chronicle ‘Long Walk to Freedom’, a movie set to be launched in the U.S. on Christmas Day but already a box office sensation in South Africa.
But could that really be the case?
To find out, TorrentFreak scoured The Pirate Bay for the movie, later moving on to several other torrent indexes and scene resources for good measure. Unfortunately, searches for the movie title in both English and Afrikaans produced similarly poor results. We also searched for other top South African-produced movies released in 2013 but drew a blank there as well.
The only thing that appeared were torrents for the Mandela autobiography and audio books of the same name, items that copyright holders have been trying to take down for some time.
Interestingly the only ‘hits’ we could find for the movie were fake uploads designed to trick users into downloading malware. But while the targets here are the inexperienced, anti-piracy company IP Echelon working on behalf of Sony can’t seem to tell the difference either. Despite no sign of the movie online, they are issuing regular takedowns for fake files.
The suspect in the case is due to appear in court later today, where presumably all will be revealed.
Committee That Grilled Guardian Editor Over Snowden Documents Won't Get To Question Intelligence Boss
Even worse, it appears that the UK leadership is working extra hard to keep trying to pass a hot potato to make sure no one has to testify on this particular issue: A similar request for Kim Darroch, the national security adviser, to give evidence to the committee's inquiry into counter-terrorism was also rejected in a letter from David Cameron. He said "it was not a good idea" because Darroch's role focused on providing private advice to him and the national security council and his appearance would "set a difficult precedent".
The prime minister said it should be left to the home secretary to give evidence to the MPs on their concerns about counter-terrorism and the Guardian's disclosures of mass digital surveillance by GCHQ and the US national security agency.
The decision prompted a furious reaction from Vaz, who said: "The prime minister has suggested that the home secretary should come before us to answer our questions and Theresa May is suggesting that it is a matter for the intelligence and security committee. We cannot play pass the parcel on the issue of accountability on these important issues. While the US process has been something of a joke, at least Congress has been able to get James Clapper, Keith Alexander and others out to testify a bunch of times on these issues. Some in the UK, however, would apparently like to sweep the whole issue under the rug.
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Yesterday, we published a blog post lauding an extremely important app privacy feature that was added in Android 4.3. That feature allows users to install apps while preventing the app from collecting sensitive data like the user's location or address book.The App Ops interface removed in Android 4.4.2
After we published the post, several people contacted us to say that the feature had actually been removed in Android 4.4.2, which was released earlier this week. Today, we installed that update to our test device, and can confirm that the App Ops privacy feature that we were excited about yesterday is in fact now gone.
When asked for comment, Google told us that the feature had only ever been released by accident — that it was experimental, and that it could break some of the apps policed by it. We are suspicious of this explanation, and do not think that it in any way justifies removing the feature rather than improving it.1
The disappearance of App Ops is alarming news for Android users. The fact that they cannot turn off app permissions is a Stygian hole in the Android security model, and a billion people's data is being sucked through. Embarrassingly, it is also one that Apple managed to fix in iOS years ago.
A moment ago, it looked as though Google cared about this massive privacy problem. Now we have our doubts. The only way to dispel them, frankly, is for Google to urgently reenable the App Ops interface, as well as adding some polish and completing the fundamental pieces that it is missing:
- Android users should be able to disable all collection of trackable identifiers by an app with a single switch, including data like phone numbers, IMEIs, information about the user's accounts.
- There should be a way to disable an app's network access entirely. It is clear that a large fraction of apps (including flashlights, wallpapers, UI skins, many games) simply don't need network access and, as we saw last week, are prone to abuse it.
- The App Ops interface needs to be smoothed out an properly integrated into the main OS user interface, including the Settings->Apps menus and the Play Store. There are numerous ways to make App Ops work for developers. Pick one, and deploy it.
In the mean time, we're not sure what to say to Android users. If app privacy is especially important to you — if, for instance, you want to be able to install an app like Shazam or Skype or Brightest Flashlight without giving it permission to know your location — we would have to advise you not to accept the update to 4.4.2. But this is also a catastrophic situation, because the update to Android 4.4.2 contains fixes to security and denial-of-service bugs. So, for the time being, users will need to chose between either privacy or security on the Android devices, but not both.
Google, the right thing to do here is obvious.
- 1. Many instances of apps "breaking" when they are denied the ability to collect data like a location or an address book or an IMEI number can easily be fixed by, for instance, giving them back a fake location, an empty address book, or an IMEI number of all zeroes. Alternatively, Google could document for developers that these API calls may fail for privacy reasons. A good hybrid would be to use fake data for old versions of the Android API and cleanly defined Java exceptions in the next API level. As with many other changes that occur across Android devices and Android versions, some app developers might have to do minor updates to keep up.
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Ex-FBI Agent, Trauma Surgeon Testify That Kelly Thomas' Death Was A Result Of Officers' Excessive Force
When we last checked in on the trial of two Fullerton police officers charged in the beating death of Kelly Thomas, the defense attorney (John Barnett) for Manuel Ramos (who is facing charges of second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter) argued that the responding officers didn't use enough force when subduing the 135-pound man (right into an irreversible coma). In his words, Ramos (and the other five officers) were "losing the fight."
The defense attorney argued that Thomas' death was his own fault, brought on by a "lifetime" of "bad choices." The defense also argued during opening statements that Thomas had died from a bad heart due to previous drug use (where have we heard that before?) and not from the combined application of force by six Fullerton officers.
The Orange County coroner's office pathologist testified earlier that Thomas had died of "of brain damage from lack of oxygen caused by chest compression and injuries to his face," but her testimony was somewhat undermined by some apparent confusion about what she had previously stated in a preliminary hearing. When challenged by Everett on her earlier claim that she had spotted a "single instance of compression" that led her to this conclusion, she stated that she had been "misinterpreted" and that the cause of death was a "constellation of injuries," not one single injury.
This "misinterpretation" cast some doubt on the prosecutor's assertions, but that reprieve for the defense was only temporary. Two other experts were brought in to testify and both came to the conclusion that Thomas' death was due to the actions of the responding officers.
The first, a retired FBI agent, was brought in to analyze the officers' use of force. Here are the conclusions he drew from the evidence. John Wilson, who spent 60 hours studying the gruesome, July 2011, police attack on an unarmed Thomas, said that officer Manuel Ramos began the minor encounter unnecessarily by immediately taking out his baton, swinging it in both hands and poking it at the victim, who hadn't been physically threatening.
But, according to Wilson, the most unprofessional moment prior to the killing occurred when Ramos mocked the schizophrenia-addled Thomas as stupid, dramatically put on gloves as he towered over him and said, "Now, you see my fists? They're getting ready to fuck you up."
District Attorney Tony Rackauckas played related portions of a surveillance tape of the brutality and, over Ramos defense lawyer John Barnett's incessant objections, asked Wilson if he considered the cop conduct appropriate under the circumstances.
"Clearly, no," replied the 26-year FBI veteran, who at one point served on the U.S. Attorney General's protection detail in Washington, D.C. "I have problems with everything that happened after Ramos put the gloves on." The defense responded by challenging the FBI veteran's lack of "street cop" experience, asserting that because he'd never "walked a beat" (although he had worked both bank robberies and homicide as an agent), he had no idea what he was talking about. The former agent further enraged the defense attorneys by stating that Kelly Thomas had every right to fight back once the officers deployed excessive force.
The other witness was Dr. Michael Lekawa, the trauma surgeon (and chief of trauma surgery at the UC Irvine Medical Center) who treated Thomas. His testimony discussed the horrific condition Thomas arrived in. When he arrived, Thomas was breathing through the tube, which was attached to an air bag that was squeezed by hand, Lekawa said. His blood pressure was extremely low and his PH score indicated that his body was producing so much acid that, the doctor said, he has never seen a patient with a similar PH score live.
"I've never seen a survivor, ever, in my 18 years," he said. Lekawa also added this damning statement: The cause of Thomas' death, Lekawa said, was inadequate oxygen to his brain. During the confrontation with police, "various persons were on [Thomas] and holding him down … preventing him from breathing," Lekawa said. "He was doing everything he could to breathe but becoming less and less mentally with it to do what he could to breathe," he said. During cross examination, Lekawa conceded that Thomas' broken ribs may have been caused by CPR attempts made during the beaten man's trip to the hospital (he flatlined during the ride). But he pointed out that he could not find evidence to back up another paramedic's assertion that there had been difficulty inserting a breathing tube at hospital, another aspect the defense attorneys pressed as potential evidence Thomas' death was due to actions taken by medical personnel.
All in all, not a very pleasant day for the defense. Of course, when an altercation between six cops and an unarmed, 135-lb. man begins with an officer announcing he's "getting ready to fuck you up," this tends to eliminate some of the "benefit of a doubt" that would be helpful in a trial like this.
On the other hand, this venue may not be all that advantageous for those hoping to see Thomas' brutalizers brought to justice. The Orange County Register's article closes with this rather depressing observation. What impact the testimony and defense moves are having on jurors is unknown.
Orange County juries historically have given police officers carte blanche to use deadly force even against unarmed citizens and to lie in official reports that coverup police corruption. If this is an accurate assessment, then it's little wonder the incident at the center of this trial escalated the way it did. Fullerton police officers have become fearless over the years, thanks to the protective powers of the blue line, and the restorative effect of compliant juries.
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- NASA microbiologists have classified a new genus (not just a species) of bacteria that can survive in the clean rooms designed to prevent spacecraft from contaminating the rest of the solar system with terrestrial organisms. The bacterium Tersicoccus phoenicis was first found in 2007 in a clean room made for the Mars lander Phoenix, and it's been seen again in another clean room 4,000 km away that housed the ESA's Herschel space telescope. [url]
- When the universe was just 15 million years old, the 'Goldilocks' conditions for supporting life might have existed nearly everywhere -- 10 billion years before life on Earth likely began. No one is actually certain if planets even existed when the universe was that young, but if there were, liquid water and nice ambient temperatures were probably not that hard to find. [url]
- The asteroid that killed off all the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago hit with such force that rocks from Earth could have been ejected out of our atmosphere -- to travel as far as Saturn. Rocks from our planet could have carried life to Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn (as well as the moons of those planets), so if we ever find life elsewhere in our solar system, it might have come from Earth. [url]
- Biomolecules may have formed on asteroids when our sun was much younger and warmer than it is now. The 'Goldilocks' zone for our sun may have included the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, but our sun has cooled with age and the asteroid belt isn't a very likely place to find liquid water anymore. [url]
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Music Industry Paper With '50 Years' At The 'Forefront' Of The Business Details Sentencing Of 'Copyright Thief'
I'm not in any hurry to call out the average person for the abuse of IP terminology. For many people, a copyright is a trademark is a patent. It all means a way of legally stating "I made this." But they're certainly not interchangeable terms, especially not when you're in the business of reporting on developments in IP-related cases. AFP, the world's third-largest newspaper, did exactly that while reporting on Kim Dotcom's threatened patent lawsuit earlier this year, claiming the Mega man was suing Google and others for copyright infringement.
A regrettable mistake to be sure. Even if the article was farmed out to a low-level staffer, it still behooves the news agency to ensure its writers do a minimum of fact-checking when using unfamiliar terminology. Regrettable, almost forgivable, but still disappointing.
What we have in front of us today is inexcusable. MusicWeek, an industry paper with "50 years" experience at the "forefront of the music business" under its belt, recently delivered this dumbfounding headline. Copyright thief given 18-month prison sentence For (what assuredly won't be) the last time, you can't steal copyright. You can infringe, but you can't steal. And when people use the word "theft" in these situations, they're usually referring to infringing copies of content, not copyright itself. (Also: infringement isn't theft, no matter how much the MPAA's lawyers wish it to be...) MusicNews has dumped out a headline that makes it appear as though the perp somehow hacked copyright registrations in order to list himself as the rights holder.
The article does go on to use the correct terminology (copyright infringement) but that's only because it's copying from a sentencing report -- and only after it repeats its claim of "copyright theft." A man who was found to be in possession of one of the largest hauls of hi-tech equipment for use in copyright theft ever found in the UK has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.
The sentence was handed to 52-year-old Keith Tamkin from Bognor yesterday (December 3) after previously pleading guilty to six offences - one offence of distributing articles infringing copyright, two of money laundering a total of £140,000, one of transferring criminal property - a computer - and two of possessing prohibited weapons – a pepper spray and a stun gun. So, as is cleared up later in the article, this was a counterfeiting operation. Tamkin burned games, movies and music to blank discs as one of (apparently) several criminal activities. The rest of the article is filled with statements from BPI (the UK's RIAA) and the Sussex police, congratulating each other on their fine work in shutting down Tamkin.
Tamkin's shuttered operation proves that people will still pay money for content, contrary to industry claims. (The laundering money charge suggests Tamkin wasn't doing this for free.) It just appears pricing is still an issue.
But returning to the original thrust of this post -- using terminology this poorly isn't excusable for an AFP intern, much less an industry-focused publication. I realize entities like the RIAA and MPAA would prefer to use the term "theft" rather than "infringement," but this desire shouldn't be indulged by reporters covering these industries. Using the industries' favored terminology to cobble together such a broken and nonsensical headline is inexcusable and it does no favors to the site publishing it or the industries it's trying to serve.
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While we've had stories in the past about incorrect items being shipped to buyers, those stories usually involve a complete disconnect from what was wanted to what was actually delivered. The story of a firearm being shipped is of particular note. That said, what happens when customers get a tangentially related item to what they actually purchased?
Take, for instance, the case of customers of one UK store, who gathered a list of people who pre-ordered the Playstation Vita game Tearaway and accidentally shipped them the Tearaway Playstation Vita bundle, which is comprised of both the game and the handheld console. So what did the retailer do when people happily found out they got brand new Vitas along with their game?
They asked for them back. And, when some of those customers failed to return the incorrectly shipped item, they let loose with the threats. This is our final notice to politely remind you that you did not order, or pay for, a PS Vita and if you fail to contact us by 5pm (UK time) on 10th December 2013 to arrange a convenient time for the PS Vita to be collected we reserve the right to enforce any and/or all legal remedies available to us. It's understandable that the retailer hoped for the best in the level of goodwill in their customers, but in what realm does it make sense to legally threaten your customers because you screwed up the shipping items? And, as far as legal remedies go, at least one customer rights group in Britain seems to think they're SOL. British customer rights website What Consumer says "if you've been sent unsolicited goods, you are entitled to treat them as an unconditional gift and do with them as you choose." Frankly, it's hard to understand what recourse is afforded a company that sends paying customers higher-valued items instead. Regardless, the combination of the response by the affected customers and the Streisand Effect is probably going to make this store instantly regret the decision to go legal.
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I have a feeling the readers of CSS-Tricks represent a fairly wide range of job types and skill levels. It would be interesting to know how frequently used command line usage is amongst the general web worker population.
Call it what you will:
Or specifics like Bash/Dash/Zsh/Etc. In this poll we'll just call it the command line for consistency. It's the thing where you type in text commands and a computer does something.OS X comes with a program called Terminal. But all operating systems have some kind of command line access.
I think probably the easiest metric to gather would be how much people use it. So let's make the question:
On average, how many commands do you run from the command line each work day?
Vote in the widget on the site itself. I broke the choices down into answers ranging from "not at all" to "pretty much your entire job" - but specifying actual numbers. Feel free to guess, but apparently there is a way to get an accurate count:
@chriscoyier Quick and dirty way to count: export HISTTIMEFORMAT="%d/%m/%y %T"; history | grep -c `date "+%d/%m/%y"`
— Brian McAllister (@brianmcallister) December 12, 2013
Feel free to discuss whatever you like in the comments, but the poll itself will be focused on quantity of use.
It would be interesting to hear how much you like using it, how comfortable you feel using it, what you can do to level up, if you think your (or general) usage is on the way up or down, etc.
San Francisco - Mobile app startup People+ and free technology-industry database CrunchBase have settled their dispute over data collected under the Creative Commons Attribution License, allowing both companies to continue their work.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) represents People+, a company making apps for iOS and Google Glass. In its iOS app, People+ used materials from the free CrunchBase database, which includes information on technology companies, people, and investors. The CrunchBase database was licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License, allowing anyone to use the data as long as the author receives credit. However, CrunchBase also claimed the right to shut down some uses of their materials – a position at odds with the Creative Commons license – and CrunchBase demanded that People+ stop using the data.
Fortunately, the norms and values of the open content community were a roadmap to resolving the argument. After discussions among CrunchBase, People+, and EFF, People+ will continue to use the material it has gathered under the Creative Commons Attribution License. Going forward, CrunchBase has revised its terms of service and now licenses its content under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which will require a separate license for commercial uses.
"Offering content under the most permissive CC license while claiming the right to shut down uses they didn't like was a bit misleading," said EFF Staff Attorney Mitch Stoltz. "CrunchBase's new terms of service are clearer and more in line with the best practices of the open content community. The new terms should allow developers to re-use and build on the CrunchBase dataset with greater confidence."
"We are thrilled with the outcome and are looking forward to continue growing the app and the company far beyond this controversy," said Peter Berger, People+ co-founder and CEO.
Creative Commons is a suite of standardized licenses for creative work, providing a simple way for authors and artists to keep "some rights reserved" – like the right to receive credit and the right to prevent commercial uses – while allowing their work to spread freely on the Internet and be re-used by others without the threat of legal trouble.
"We are grateful to the Electronic Frontier Foundation for playing an instrumental role in updating the CrunchBase Terms of Service," said CrunchBase President Matt Kaufman. "At their suggestion, we adopted Creative Commons 4.0 and open content best practices. These updates provide more clarity to our community and provide a stronger foundation from which to build and extend the CrunchBase dataset."
"We are very pleased we could work with People+ and CrunchBase to resolve this issue," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "Creative Commons licensing is a mainstay of creativity and collaboration in the digital age, and having the system work smoothly is to everyone's benefit."
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Senior Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
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The We the People petition to reform the ECPA in order to give email the same Fourth Amendment protection that snail mail enjoys narrowly passed the 100K signature threshold needed to (theoretically) prompt a response from the administration.
The last-minute push to hit the mark was impressive. Reminded by the post here yesterday that I hadn't actually signed the petition yet, I went and remedied that around 5 pm (CST) yesterday evening. At that point, it looked as though the petition would be an also-ran, having only gathered about 78,000 signatures with just a few hours remaining.
Needless to say, I was a bit surprised to read this morning that it had hit 100,000 signatures. The Hill rather hopefully states that the White House "must" now respond to the petition, but as we've seen in other cases, the response is either long-delayed (the Snowden petition is going on its fifth month of being ignored) or treated to an administrative pat on the head and a brief rehash of the Official Talking Points.
One would hope this one does prompt a serious response. The only reason this law hasn't been updated is because treating email 180 days old or older as "abandoned" cuts down on the requirements law enforcement and investigative agencies need to meet to access it. These entities obviously benefit heavily from the clearly outdated law and have no interest in seeing this convenient loophole in Fourth Amendment protection closed. The administration has long defended our nation's intelligence and investigative agencies, so it may have little interest in making their jobs "harder." On the other hand, this support has seen a marked decline over the past few weeks, and there are indications that some in the White House really do want to fix this, so there may be some hope yet.
On the plus side, The Hill reports that the DOJ has already weighed in on this topic. At a House hearing in March, Elana Tyrangiel, the acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Office of Legal Policy, agreed that updating ECPA has "considerable merit."
"We agree, for example, that there is no principled basis to treat email less than 180 days old differently than email more than 180 days old," she said "Similarly, it makes sense that the statute not accord lesser protection to opened emails than it gives to emails that are unopened." This step in the right direction was unfortunately tempered by a massive step backward. But she urged lawmakers to exempt civil regulatory investigations from the warrant requirement. She explained that regulators investigate conduct that is unlawful, but not necessarily criminal. She argued that because regulators often do not have access to the warrant power, the requirement would impede critical government investigations. This "exemption" basically defeats the entire purpose of ECPA reform, and in some ways, makes things worse. It takes a little loophole in the law, which came about because of changes in technology, then widens it and puts a giant stamp of approval on it. It goes from a little loophole that violates the 4th Amendment to a big official law that violates the 4th Amendment.
On top of that, frankly, I'm of the opinion that government investigations could use a few more impediments. And it's not as if regulators can't compel production of email through subpoenas. Just because they're not pursuing criminal charges doesn't mean they're completely out of options. When you're looking to close a loophole, it's hardly beneficial to create a giant open door in its place. Civil regulatory agencies should treat the email it seeks like it does any other document. If it can't just seize these because an arbitrary amount of time has passed, then it shouldn't be able to do so with email. The rules need to be standardized, not undermined by exceptions and justifications.
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