Less than a day to save the internet

19/06/2018

On 20 June 2018, less than 24 hours from now, the European Parliament votes on whether to adopt the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market – a $60 million filter to automate takedown of copyrighted material from Youtube.  This is a compromise measure that no one really wants:

Big rightsholders say that it still lets crucial materials slip through the cracks. Indie rightsholders say that it lets big corporations falsely claim copyright over their works and take them down. Google hates Content ID because they spent $60,000,000 developing a system that makes everyone miserable, and YouTubers and their viewers hate it because it overblocks so much legit content.

But all of this has escaped the EU’s notice. Under Article 13 (which will be voted up or down in a key committee on June 20), every EU platform will be obliged to filter everything users post — not just videos, but stills, audio, code, games, text, everything.

No filter exists that can even approximate this, and the closest equivalents are mostly run by American companies, meaning that US Big Tech is going to get to spy on everything Europeans post and decide what gets censored and what doesn’t.

But we can stop it, by contacting the members of the committee and telling them what a mistake it would be to vote for the Directive.  You can tweet and email the committee members using this online tool.

So if you want to automate internet censorship and destroy the creative media, do nothing.  But if you’re not a colossal idiot, contact the MEPs and tell them to vote against Article 13.

hulk-against-article-13

Learn more about Article 13

Contact the MEPs

 
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Download Windows for FREE!!

28/04/2018

Do you use a Microsoft Windows operating system (eg Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10) but you’ve lost the installation DVD? Or maybe your computer came with Windows pre-installed and you never had the DVD?  This may have never presented a problem before, but if something goes wrong with your computer you may need that disk to fix it.  And I’m sure you realise just how expensive Windows software can be.

Fortunately Windows installation media can be downloaded for free.  And I’m not talking about “pirate” software from a dodgy torrent uploaded by someone in Uzbekistan.  No, you can download Windows operating system DVD images – Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 – from Microsoft’s website, for free, zero, nada, and it’s not a crack, a “hack” or a hijack!

Of course we’re talking about Microsoft here, which means you ain’t really getting something for nothing.  You can download the installation disk image, and it even comes with the disk-burning software to put it on a DVD or USB stick – but to install the operating system you need to already have a product key/license for the computer you wish to install it on.  But hey, this is pretty good nonetheless.  I know people who have bought a new Windows DVD because their computer got screwed up and they needed to re-install the operating system.  If we’d known about this at the time we could have saved our friends a pretty penny (as new Windows DVDs cost many pretty pennies!).

So, here are the links to the download pages – Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10.  Remember, to re-install your OS you will need to know your product key – so find out what it is now, don’t wait until your computer is screwed up!  There’s a guide at this link that describes how to discover your product key (a 25-character alphanumeric code that looks like this -> PRODUCT KEY: XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX). It can be as simple as copying the code from a sticker on the bottom of the laptop, or as involved as writing and executing a powershell script. My preferred method is the command prompt method:

  • open up a command promp with administrative privileges (done by right-clicking the cmd icon and choosing “Run as administrator”
  • paste in this command wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey
  • you’ll get the product key in a response that looks like this:

OB6xOriginalProductKey
6XX6X-8XX88-XXX2X-44XXX-XX33X

However, although all this is perfectly legal and even encouraged by Microsoft, you must remain aware and beware the nasty proprietary software pushers!  PC reseller and recycling advocate Eric Lundgren was sent to prison for 15 months for copying and selling these DVDs.  Officially his crime was “conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods and criminal copyright infringement”.

The tech-ignorant judge, and the patently-disingenuous prosecution and Microsoft-supplied “expert” witness, made out that he was selling pirated software even though the software is available legally on Microsoft’s own website.

Afterwards Microsoft and the court said this was about infringement of copyright because Lundgren had printed Microsoft logos on his DVDs.  But  if that was the issue, why didn’t they prosecute him for this charge?

What it boiled down to, was this: these disk images can be downloaded free of charge.  But Microsoft also make money on the side by selling these disks to resellers for $25.  This can’t make Microsoft a huge amount of money.  But there are resellers who can’t be bothered to download and burn the disks themselves so they buy these ridiculously expensive disks and pass the cost on to their customers.  Lundgren saw a way to make himself some cash as well as encourage reuse of old computers.  But (in my opinion) Microsoft saw this as leveraging their own petty-cash-on-the-side racket and went after him in court, painting him as a pirate and counterfeiter, with the aid of a dishonest prostitute I mean prosecutor, and a judge who is at best pig-ignorant and at worst also in Microsoft’s pocket.  (In my opinion.)

Anyway.  Although this free download service may save you some money, make sure it doesn’t save you too much money. Or Microsoft and its paid-for lackeys in the legal profession might come after you.  After all we can’t be allowed to threaten Microsoft’s bottom line can we?  There are far too many vested interests there.

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You wouldn’t download a car…?

25/10/2015

MOOHOOHAHA!!!

image stolen from Jason Scott, Defcon 18

image stolen from Jason Scott, Defcon 18


Pop “star” Rhianna wins court case against Topshop… in other news she needs a new hats to fit her swollen head

27/01/2015

Really annoys me when “celebrities” kick off cos a photo of them has been used without permission.  In the Rhiannha v Topshop case, the mediocre singer complained because the shop was selling t-shirts bearing her photograph.  She claimed that Topshop were making out that she had endorsed the use of the photo. Rihanna won because the High Court decided that despite the copyright licence a substantial number of purchasers would have believed that Rihanna endorsed the sale of the product shirt with her image– because the image was taken from her current album – Talk That Talk – and Topshop had collaborated in the past with trend setting celebrities (from www.fashionlaw.co.uk).

This kind of crap is ridiculous, and demonstrates how $$$ is more important than the facts and the law in courts.  When a photographer shoots a photo of an individual, the copyright belongs to the photographer, whether the subject of the photo likes it or not (this is English law).  As for this nonsense that the public might think Rhianna endorsed the t-shirt in question – that has nothing to do with it.  The t-shirt did not bear any lettering suggesting that the crap pop star liked the t-shirt.

Rhianna, probably realizing that she would be broke in a few years, decided to get a few extra bucks suing Topshop.  Stupid (as you might expect from a pop bimbo with less brain than a stick insect) – instead of taking Topshop to court, she could have got her lawyers to arrange for her to be paid royalties.  But no: the twat tries to occupy the moral highground (and how in hell did she manage that?).

Rhianna after taking a beaten from partner Chris Brown.  Such a pretty look...

Rhianna after taking a beaten from partner Chris Brown. Such a pretty look…

At Shmoosmiths.co.uk,  it was reported that Judge Justice Birss was at pains to point out that no new law was being developed as a result of his findings:

Unlike other jurisdictions (including many US states) there is no such thing in English law as ‘image rights’. In some jurisdictions it is possible for celebrities to rely on extensive statutory protection for their personal brand covering everything from their voice to their signature. In Guernsey it is possible to register such rights. However, in the UK the courts have refused to extend the law to prevent the use of a celebrity’s image if they consider that the use is simply fair competition without misrepresentation.

In the UK celebrities may be able to use existing law to protect their images and reputations in certain circumstances.

So, were those “certain circumstances” met in this case?  I think not.  Basically, Rhianna’s singing skills are leaving fast.  All the silly cow has going for her are her looks.  It won’t be long before those fail her and she ends up looking like the back end of a bus.  So she’s making the most of them while they last.  Hence the court action.

As a photographer, I have the right to take pictures of just about anyone I want to, so long as I am standing on public roads/areas or have permission of the landowner that I’m standing on, and so long as the subject of my photography does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy (as far as I can tell, Rhianna did not have a reasonable expectation.  And, also very important, Topshop had obtained a licence of the copyright in the photograph. Topshop owned the copyright, the photo was taken legally… yet Rhianna still won.  English courts are ridiculous.  Rhianna (and her legal team): a bunch of pillocks.  Fuck Rhianna and all who sail in her.

Another pic of the beautiful Rhianna.  I like in particular that sneer/growl.  What a looker eh!!

Another pic of the beautiful Rhianna. I like in particular that sneer/growl. What a looker eh!!

Here’s another blog post about Rhiana from Mind of Malaka “What do Rhianna and my daughter have in common?” It’s not about this story on the photos… but if you don’t want your kids to grow up seeing Rhianna as some kind of role model, click of the link and read it. Stupid dopey Rhianna fool, she is one big mass of idiocy-with-money…

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Attention all bloggers: Copyright trolls giving you trouble? WordPress.com are watching your back!

12/04/2013

Attention all bloggers: Copyright trolls giving you trouble? WordPress.com are watching your back!.


Attention all bloggers: Copyright trolls giving you trouble? WordPress.com are watching your back!

02/04/2013

copyleft-logo-5

Copyright trolls are a nasty phenomenon of the internet age. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation EFF):

Copyright trolls try to make money by suing Internet users under various copyright laws. Their tactics include targeting large groups of anonymous “John Doe” defendants for downloading files on BitTorrent, seeking their identities, and exploiting the massive damages in copyright law in order to pressure defendants into settling quickly.

Copyright trolls are currently targeting two blogs caught up in a bizarre lawsuit filed by Paul Duffy and Prenda Law LLC, Duffy’s copyright troll law firm. The complaints claim the bloggers and their commenters defamed Duffy and his firm, despite the First Amendment’s right to freedom of speech. At the same time, they Duffy served a subpoena on Automattic Inc., the company that owns the WordPress blogging platform. The subpoena seeks the IP addresses of everyone who ever visited the two websites, threatening the privacy of the bloggers and their readers. On Friday, Automattic rejected the subpoena in a letter to Duffy, calling it “legally deficient and objectionable” and a violation of the First Amendment right to speak anonymously. In other words, WordPress aren’t folding at the first sight of an aggressive subpoena from Duffy, they are saying NO!!! to Duffy’s scare tactics.

“Not only is the subpoena improper under the First Amendment, it fails to comply with the simple rules for pre-trial discovery,” EFF Staff Attorney Nate Cardozo added.

A lot of blog and website hosting companies back off as soon as letters from lawyers are unleashed. But not WordPress/Automattic.inc. They recognize the first amendment rights to freedom of expression, and are prepared to take this before a judge.

Automattic has stated unequivocally that it will not turn over any information until the bloggers’ challenge to the lawsuit has played out in court. In order to protect this right to anonymity, EFF and the Mudd Law Office will not publicly release the names of their clients in this suit.

“Critics of the copyright troll business model have the right to speak anonymously without their identities being exposed to the trolls,” said Kurt Opsahl, EFF Senior Staff Attorney. “These sweeping subpoenas create a chilling effect among those who have spoken out against Prenda.”

Infamous copyright troll John Steele previously filed a similar lawsuit against the two blogs but dropped the suit last week without giving any reason why. I suspect it’s because he knows he doesn’t stand a chance in court. So I urge all bloggers to say NO!!! to the trolls. They won’t take their frivolous cases before a judge as they know they’ll just be handed back their asses. Don’t let the copyright trolls take your hard-earned bucks. Screw ’em. They’ve got nothing.

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Aaron Swartz and the Guerilla Open Access Manifesto

03/02/2013


Aaron Swartz before they killed him… Look, he’s smiling

Don’t you know who Aaron Swartz was? Shame on you! Go read about this modern-age hero now!! Aaron Swartz believed in free access to publibly-funded science and other documents. He helped fight SOPA. And now he’s dead.

He wrote “The Guerilla Open Access Manifesto” which clearly outlines why it’s wrong to commodify knowledge. Rather than give you a link, I decided to reprint the Manifesto here.

Guerilla Open Access Manifesto

Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for
themselves. The world’s entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries
in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of
private corporations. Want to read the papers featuring the most famous results of the
sciences? You’ll need to send enormous amounts to publishers like Reed Elsevier.

There are those struggling to change this. The Open Access Movement has fought
valiantly to ensure that scientists do not sign their copyrights away but instead ensure
their work is published on the Internet, under terms that allow anyone to access it. But
even under the best scenarios, their work will only apply to things published in the future.
Everything up until now will have been lost.

That is too high a price to pay. Forcing academics to pay money to read the work of their
colleagues? Scanning entire libraries but only allowing the folks at Google to read them?
Providing scientific articles to those at elite universities in the First World, but not to
children in the Global South? It’s outrageous and unacceptable.

“I agree,” many say, “but what can we do? The companies hold the copyrights, they
make enormous amounts of money by charging for access, and it’s perfectly legal —
there’s nothing we can do to stop them.” But there is something we can, something that’s
already being done: we can fight back.

Those with access to these resources — students, librarians, scientists — you have been
given a privilege. You get to feed at this banquet of knowledge while the rest of the world
is locked out. But you need not — indeed, morally, you cannot — keep this privilege for
yourselves. You have a duty to share it with the world. And you have: trading passwords
with colleagues, filling download requests for friends.

Meanwhile, those who have been locked out are not standing idly by. You have been
sneaking through holes and climbing over fences, liberating the information locked up by
the publishers and sharing them with your friends.

But all of this action goes on in the dark, hidden underground. It’s called stealing or
piracy, as if sharing a wealth of knowledge were the moral equivalent of plundering a
ship and murdering its crew. But sharing isn’t immoral — it’s a moral imperative. Only
those blinded by greed would refuse to let a friend make a copy.

Large corporations, of course, are blinded by greed. The laws under which they operate
require it — their shareholders would revolt at anything less. And the politicians they
have bought off back them, passing laws giving them the exclusive power to decide who
can make copies.

There is no justice in following unjust laws. It’s time to come into the light and, in the
grand tradition of civil disobedience, declare our opposition to this private theft of public
culture.

We need to take information, wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with
the world. We need to take stuff that’s out of copyright and add it to the archive. We need
to buy secret databases and put them on the Web. We need to download scientific
journals and upload them to file sharing networks. We need to fight for Guerilla Open
Access.

With enough of us, around the world, we’ll not just send a strong message opposing the
privatization of knowledge — we’ll make it a thing of the past. Will you join us?

Aaron Swartz

July 2008, Eremo, Italy

The name Aaron Swartz should never be forgotten. Neither should the date 11 January 2013, the day he died. We should remember Aaron Swartz every day, by following his manifesto. Copy and distribute documents and other material as part of a global struggle against those who would keep us down and teach us our “station in life”.

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