piracy

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ABC logoAnother series of Game of Thrones is released, which means another series of radio spots talking about Australia’s reputation for (allegedly) massive levels of illegal downloads.

This spot is from Tuesday 8 April, a chat with ABC 720 Perth afternoon presenter Gillian O’Shaughnessy, triggered by the news that the first episode of Game of Thrones series four had seen record levels of illegal downloads, with Perth topping the list — although Angus Kidman at Lifehacker disagrees.

One highlight of this conversation is when I suggest that the entire Australian content distribution industry should just get out of the way, retire and go play on their yachts.

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The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

ABC logoThe third radio spot I did about Attorney-General George Brandis’ comments on digital copyright was with ABC 105.7 Darwin on Wednesday 19 February. Here it is.

(“Third” you ask? There’s only been one other posted so far. That’s true. The second spot was with Dom Knight on ABC 702 Sydney on Tuesday 18 February. But I don’t have a recording for you. Sorry.)

This is roughly the same discussion I had on Spoke on Tuesday, but with presenter Kate O’Toole and after I’d drank a bottle of Sangiovese Barbera after I got angrier about the issues. So the concept of graduated response is a thing again, I allude to the iiTrial and so on. And yes I mentioned Rebecca Giblin’s research.

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The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

3555 logoMy recent critique of Attorney-General George Brandis’ comments about copyright reform in the digital age attracted plenty of positive comments — and also some media attention.

That critique was my ZDNet Australia column on the day of Brandis’ speech, Friday 14 February, What the Dickens will Brandis do to copyright in the digital realm?

The first piece of media interest was from Michelle Bennett, presenter of Spoke, the weekly social issues program on Melbourne community radio station 3RRR. The interview was recorded on Sunday 16 February and broadcast in the Spoke episode of Tuesday 18 February.

The conversation wasn’t just about Brandis’ comments, but also some of the background — including the so-called iiTrial between the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) and internet service provider iiNet, the graduated response or “three strikes” rules for tackling copyright infringement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty, and the idea that internet access can be considered a basic human right.

I also mentioned Dr Rebecca Giblin’s research paper, Evaluating Graduated Response, which looked at those three strikes rules. The conclusion was that “there is little to no evidence that that graduated responses are either ‘successful’ or ‘effective’.”

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The interview is ©2014 Triple R Broadcasters Ltd. Over at their website you can listen to the full program.

Sydney airport before dawn: click for original imageMy week of Monday 10 to Sunday 16 February 2014 isn’t quite finished, but today is effectively the start of a new working week so… well, here we are. Before breakfast at Sydney Airport. Or right next to it. Call it a wrap of Monday to Saturday.

It seems that I switched from early-month torpor to late-month productivity around mid-week. We’ll see how that pans out over the next few days. But I do think I’m starting to identity a clear pattern here.

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Media Appearances

5at5

I suppose I should give better prominence to 5at5, the “email letter” that I started two weeks ago. I’ve actually managed to stick to the daily routine — albeit with some wobbliness in the “around 5pm Sydney time” part of the deal — and it seems like people are liking it. Enjoy.

Corporate Largesse

  • Today I’m heading to the Gold Coast for the three-day Tech Leaders Forum 2014, formerly known as Kickstart Forum, an event I’ve attended in previous years. The event organisers cover my airfares and accommodation, and there’s usually plenty of food and drink and various freebies from the vendors who pay for it all. I’ll list all of the largesse next week so it’s all in the one place.

The Week Ahead

I’ll be on the Gold Coast through until Tuesday evening, fully occupied with the aforementioned event. I’ll then return to the Blue Mountains for a solid week of writing. There’s nothing locked in for Sydney at this stage, but of course that may change.

[Photo: Sydney airport before dawn, taken shortly before the post was published.]

"Shut up, I'm eating this flower": click to embiggenThe week of Monday 25 to Sunday 31 March 2013 was hectic and varied — lecturing at a university, appearing on TV and being reminded how easily internet technology can fall apart.

The various media things are listed here, of course. What’s not listed is a sudden and unexpected day full of geekery that began at 0100 on (Good) Friday and ran well into the evening. A server software upgrade went pear-shaped. and I had to coordinate work between the server team in India and the data centre team in the US. Given that they had different responsibilities and authorities, I had to sign off on their plans. There’s some lessons in there that’d make an interesting blog post — but not yet.

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Corporate Largesse

  • On Monday, I paid a visit to Vertel in Alexandria, Sydney, to find out about what they can do with high-speed wireless internet links. They offered me a beer. I accepted. It was a Peroni. It was rather nice.

The Week Ahead

This’ll be an interesting one because tomorrow, which is both the public holiday for Easter Monday and the start of a new quarter, I’m planning to kick off a series of changes in my little world. Or at least try to. I’ll write about that tomorrow morning afternoon.

I’ve also got plenty of writing lined up, including two pieces for Technology Spectator, one for CSO Online, one for Crikey and my usual column for ZDNet. This both pleases and stresses me. I may rearrange this a bit, because that’s rather a lot for a short week.

At this stage it’s looking like I’ll be in Wentworth Falls for the first part of the week, before heading down to Sydney on Friday morning to record Marc Fennell’s Download This Show for ABC Radio National.

[Photo: Shut up, I'm eating this flower, yet another photograph of a crimson rosella (Platycercus elegans) at Bunjaree Cottages. I feel like I've posted a few too many Bunjaree bird photos lately, but I couldn't resist the seemingly-cheeky look this guy threw me while he ripped apart and ate the eating a mountain devil (Lambertia formosa) flowers from a nearby plant.]

[Update 1 April 2013, 1145 AEDT: Updated the ETA for the post about my plans to reflect the unfolding reality.]

Modern economics explained: click to embiggenThe week of Monday 11 to Sunday 17 February 2013 was a strange one, beginning in Wentworth Falls and ending in Queensland, with a brief sojourn in Parramatta.

It was in Parramatta that I met my new friend (pictured), whose name is Taiga. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you’ll have seen a lot of him over the weekend. You’ll see more today and tomorrow, I’m sure.

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Podcasts

None. But wait, I told you! Be patient!

Media Appearances

None.

Corporate Largesse

The Week Ahead

Kickstart Forum on Monday and Tuesday, returning to Sydney on Tuesday night. On Wednesday VMWare is launching the new end-user computing platform in Sydney at Altitude Restaurant in The Rocks. I haven’t locked in my plans beyond that. Please place your bids.

[Photo: Modern economics explained, being a photograph of Taiga looking eastwards from the Parkroyal Parramatta.]

Welcome to the People's Democratic Republic of Burwood: click to embiggenThe week of Monday 4 to Sunday 10 February 2013 was… in the past. Shit, it’s already Wednesday night! I’ll just post this here now, with little commentary.

Well, one comment. We do seem to be getting back into the writing thing for 2013.

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Podcasts

None. But wait.

Media Appearances

  • On Thursday I spoke about Twitter and TV on ABC Radio National’s Media Report.
  • Also on Thursday, I spoke about various internet things with Dom Knight on ABC 702 Sydney. I may or may not post the audio. Although I recorded it, there’s a chunk missing because mobile internet.
  • On Friday, I spoke about The Global Mail on Radio 2SER’s Fourth Estate.

Corporate Largesse

Still none. Was it something I said?

The Week Ahead

It’s half gone, and I’m making it up as I go along. But Sunday morning I fly to Maroochydore for Kickstart Forum 2013, so I’ll probably be in Sydney on the weekend.

[Photo: Welcome to the People's Democratic Republic of Burwood, being a picture of a building in Sydney's suburbs that disturbs me, photographed from a moving train.]

Crikey logoMy Crikey story today on Telstra’s plan to trial the “shaping” of peer-to-peer internet traffic includes quotes from network engineer Mark Newton — but he said so many interesting things I though you should see his entire email.

Mark Newton writes:

From Telstra’s point of view, it’s a good thing: ISPs are a bit like electrical networks, in that they need to provision capacity for peak even though peak is only ever used for an hour or two per day (or, under adversity, a day or two per year: consider capacity planning for the ABC’s ISPs during flood events, or CNN on Sep 11 2001).

P2P users push the peak up, so in electrical network terms that’s like servicing a bunch of customers who leave their air conditioners on all the time.

Anything a telco can do to “squash” the peak is going to have an immediate impact on their bottom line.

If, by side effect, it inspires a bunch of the heaviest-using customers to migrate to other ISPs, that’ll reduce the profitability of those other ISPs and improve Telstra’s margins, so that’s a net positive. Why “fire” your worst customers when you can convince them to resign?

From a user’s point of view it’s more dismal, and the impact will depend on how Telstra uses their systems.

Read the rest of this entry »

My week from Monday 23 to Sunday 29 April 2012 covered the entire continent from Sydney to Perth and (at least later today) back again.

That’s Perth in the photo, with the Swan River just visible between the apartment buildings of East Perth. The photo was taken with my bashed-up HTC Desire phone and processed through Instagram.

Heck, if Zuckerberg reckons it’s worth a billion dollars I might as well have a look, right?

I’ll comment on Instagram itself later, and figure out a better way to integrate the photos into this website. Meanwhile, here’s a gallery of my Instagram photos, updated automatically.

And now on with the show…

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 135, “iiNet wards off AFACT, but what next?” A summary of the High Court’s decision in Roadshow Films and others versus iiNet Limited, the initial reactions, and a wide-ranging discussion with Dr Rebecca Giblin, a copyright academic and geek from Monash University’s law school, who literally wrote the book on this subject: Code Wars: 10 Years of P2P Software Litigation. Keywords for the other things we mention are SOPA/PIPA, peer-to-peer production,

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Corporate Largesse

  • I wasn’t paid to present at DigitalMe, they did cover travel from Sydney to Perth and one night’s accommodation at Aarons Hotel including breakfast. Wine by Brad provided booze for the welcome drinks, as well as a bottle to take home. Food was supplied by Sorrento Restaurant, Northbridge.

The Week Ahead

A busy week of writing lies ahead, including a story for CSO Online and my presentation for the Saasu Cloud Conference the following week. I’ll also continue work on the feature story I’m writing for ZDNet Australia

I believe I’ll be back in Wentworth Falls for most of the week, but this could change at short notice. The Dopplr widget on the left-hand side of every page of my website is usually updated within an hour of plans changing, so always check there first — but bear in mind it has odd ideas of what day it is.

Elsewhere

Most of my day-to-day observations are on my high-volume Twitter stream, and random photos and other observations turn up on my Posterous stream (or they used to before my phone camera got a bit too scratched up). The photos also appear on Flickr, where I eventually add geolocation data and tags.

In February the Federal Court ruled that Optus TV Now, which recorded free-to-air TV on behalf of customers for more convenient playback later, was legitimate personal timeshifting as allowed under section 111 of the Copyright Act 1968. Yesterday the Full Federal Court overturned that decision.

This case has interesting implications. Originally, Justice Steve Rares said, effectively, that someone using a recorder-in-the cloud was still making a personal copy for domestic purposes. The fact that they’re using a recording device that’s provided as a service rather than sitting on the shelf under their television is irrelevant. The Full Court is saying, effectively, that the cloud provider is complicity in the action, which means it’s no longer personal, and in some cases may even be the sole actor.

This interpretation could have massive implications for providers of other cloud services. Could they be found to be copying data that they’re not entitled to? I’m no lawyer, so don’t ask me. But I can at least see that the law is having to deal with situations that are very different from the circumstances imagined when it was written.

Paragraph 100 of the Full Court’s decisions does say:

We should emphasise that our concerns here have been limited to the particular service provider-subscriber relationship of Optus and its subscribers to the TV Now Service and to the nature and operation of the particular technology used to provide the service in question. We accept that different relationships and differing technologies may well yield different conclusions to the “who makes the copy” question.

Will this decision be appealed? You bet.

Last night I spoke about the decision and its implications with Dom Knight on ABC Local Radio nationally — well, except for the analog transmitters that were broadcasting the cricket. I also spoke about the material I presented yesterday at DigitalMe in Perth.

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[Update: I just noticed that there's a couple of little audio gaps. I was recording off the stream, y'see. I'll fix them later.]

Personally, I stand by what I said in the opinion piece I wrote for the Sydney Morning Herald in February: Sport has to think outside the box.

If you’re in Perth today, the DigitalFamily event starts at 1000 local time at Northbridge Piazza. It’s free.

The audio is of course ©2012 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, but as usual I’m posting it here as an archive.

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