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Blogwatch: Courting the Lawyers

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe meets with Se...

Image via Wikipedia

Google good, Wikipedia bad, and the RIAA is just too big and ugly to say anything really nasty about; that’s lawyers for you. And will the new US President be able to match the President of Columbia for Telecoms Knowledge? No.

On the eve of the US Presidential elections, Tomi Ahonen writes on his Communities Dominate Brands blog that “Finally a President who truly understands. And I mean President of a Country…”

Colombia is the country. You heard it here first – Colombia is propelling itself into that position of leader in the digitally converging space – that it will soon in the next decade be called the “South Korea of Latin America”. I kid you not – and the driver of that transformation will be how much Colombia will evolve into a true “information society” and eventually even rival Singapore, Japan and Finland.

Tomi was speaking at the Andicom telecoms event in Colombia. The event was opened with a keynote from Dr Alvaro Uribe Velez, President of Colombia, who spoke for 90 minutes.

He knows his stuff … President Uribe is fully fluent in the finer points of telecoms and how it impacts a nation on the macro level … This is the first time ever, that I have heard of a head of state, who truly “gets it” about how critical the investment in telecoms and IT is to any country’s development, in any Industrialized Country, or any Developing World country. And he is not only personally convinced about it, he is so committed to it, that he flies 2 hours to visit this techno-geeky nerd conference of telecoms propeller-heads, to speak 90 minutes and fly back to Bogota to continue running his country.

The Internet Cases blog last week gave us the great news that a Texas appellate court has held that it should not take judicial notice of a Wikipedia article. We all love Wikipedia, but this ruling at least puts its importance and impartiality into perspective:

Defendant was tried and convicted for cocaine possession … Defendant apparently objected to the method investigators used to interrogate him, because he asked the appellate court to take judicial notice of the Wikipedia entry for the John Reid technique. Citing to a Wall Street Journal article from earlier this year, the court declined to treat Wikipedia as a “reliable website,” instead invoking the overworn observation that Wikipedia’s greatest strength (its open platform) is also its greatest weakness.

Lawrence Lessig writes a lengthy analysis of the legal settlement between Google and the US Authors Guild and American Association of Publishers over the controversial Google Book Search service:

IMHO, this is a good deal that could be the basis for something really fantastic. The Authors Guild and the AAP have settled for terms that will assure greater access to these materials than would have been the case had Google prevailed. Under the agreement, 20% of any work not opting out will be available freely; full access can be purchased for a fee. That secures more access for this class of out-of-print but presumptively-under-copyright works than Google was initially proposing. And as this constitutes up to 75% of the books in the libraries to be scanned, that is hugely important and good.

And whilst we’re still on the legal beat this week, the Recording Industry vs the People blog reports on a rare set-back for the powerful RIAA. Ray Beckerman writes about:

The RIAA’s attempt to monopolize digital music by redefining copyright law, through the commencement of tens of thousands of extortionate lawsuits against ordinary working people. In the massive consolidated Boston case, termed London-Sire v. Does 1-4, where Judge Nancy Gertner has been presiding over 5 years worth of default judgments and forced settlements, we have learned that the Judge held a conference on June 17th covering a number of the cases. Among the remarks made by Judge Gertner:

There is a huge imbalance in these cases. The record companies are represented by large law firms with substantial resources … counsel representing the record companies have an ethical obligation to fully understand that they are fighting people without lawyers … to understand that the formalities of this are basically bankrupting people, and it’s terribly critical that you stop it.

Interesting and controversial thought-piece on the PBS site last week by Robert Cringely entitled “Why Windows Mobile will die”.

If I had to bet right this moment on the mobile of 2011 I’d say iPhone, Android, then RIM, Symbian, or something completely new from behind Door Number Three … Symbian is simply too old. The OS is getting slower and slower with each release … And where will Windows Mobile be in 2011? There way things are headed now, given that Microsoft can’t really afford to be anything but first or second on the platform that supplants Windows, I’d say Windows Mobile will be dead.

Symbian’s VP of Research David Wood tackled the criticism:

On the contrary, many parts of the operating system are humming much quicker in the newer releases, as a result of a specific and pervasive focus on performance across the whole system. I don’t expect significant changes in mindset until there are more Symbian devices in the hands of North Americans. In the meantime, the Symbian Foundation has a big mountain to climb, in public perception. But it’s a mountain well worth climbing!

And finally, we return to the US Elections. Whilst the prospects of six-hour voting queues and more Hanging Chads fills us non-Americans with awe and wonder, we cannot help but ponder on how the process could be improved by using electronic voting. Well, ponder no more, Social Signal bog has the ICT Geeks Topical Cartoon of the Week: go have a laugh right now.

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Monday, 3 November 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment