Tag Archives: copyright

Good News for Book Lovers

With hackers, surveillance, and security flaws everywhere, there seems to be little good news about the Internet these days. Therefore, when anything truly positive happens, it should be posted everywhere, if not actually shouted from the rooftops. Today, that rare positive event is that the Second Appeals Court has ruled that Google has won the right to scan books and not have to pay the Authors Guild — or anybody else — a single dime for the privilege. But how is that a good thing? Wasn’t the Authors Guild fighting for the rights of writers to make a living, and the big evil corporation trying to rip them off? That is, indeed, what the Authors Guild contends. They have vigorously opposed the search engine giant’s plan to scan and digitize the content of all the libraries of the world since it was first announced a decade ago. They were afraid that Google would “amass an unrivaled digital library, using these books to draw users to its website, strengthen its dominance of the search-engine market, and increase its advertising.” So they felt compelled to act, in the name of protecting copyright and the little guy. It’s true, of course, that Google is only doing it to further increase market share. So the lawsuit the Guild filed with a group of individual writers, along with one by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) was to get their fair share of the pickings … Continue reading

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The Right to Internet Access

How essential is the Net? How vital is access to the Internet at all times? Does being cut off impair or maybe even threaten modern life? If you’re one of the many who would argue that yes, the ability to get online is absolutely basic to life, work, society, and entertainment, you’re not alone. And in a landmark ruling, the highest court in Germany agrees with you. Recently, the German Federal Supreme Court ruled that consumers can demand damages – financial compensation – for service outages. The case involved a suit by a man who lost his DSL connection for 2 months. For Germans, the decision places Internet access in the same small class of assets protected because they are necessary to survive and function in modern society. These  include homes, telephones, and automobiles. Consider that: loss of Internet access is deemed as big an inconvenience as losing a car! This means that sanctions denying access may not be applied. German Federal Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said, “The judgment of the Federal Court shows that for an informed life, the network has become  fundamental. It is a realization that the use of the Internet is a civil right.” This is not the first time a government had declared Internet access is a basic human right. France was first to do so back in 2009. Finland went even further later that year when it declared it would provide each citizen with … Continue reading

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The 3D Replicator Revolution Is Here

While the world has been suffering through the Great Recession and many still worry about all the manufacturing jobs lost overseas, the next industrial revolution was quietly launched in garages, basements, and labs right here at home. This new method of producing goods will cause greater changes and more social upheaval than anything since Henry Ford started up his assembly line. This new technology is called 3D printing and it will change how we make everything from what we wear and what we eat to the vehicles we drive and the jobs we perform. 3D printing will give the average person the freedom of expression and specialty crafted goods which was once the exclusive realm of royalty and the super-rich. Not just in the abundance of “bespoke” objects available as customized products or reproductions of rare artworks, either, but in terms of the sheer variety of things also. The ability to render mathematical expressions in solid form gives designers, engineers, and architects a tool of incredible power. Since the 1980s, expensive professional devices have been able to prototype new gadgets. But the tech is now finally poised to enter the consumer market. 3D printing is, of course, the latest step in the digitization of the world. It may be helpful in imagining the effects of this new way of doing things by recalling how digital 2D printing altered everything. Before the invention of the personal computer, printing was an established … Continue reading

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