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2011: July-Sept

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23rd September   

Region Zero...

Playstation Vita to be free of region locking nonsense
Link Here

Sony has confirmed that the PlayStation Vita will be free from region coding.

Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida released the information via his Twitter feed, replying, Yes, it is, when quizzed on the issue by one of his followers.

Without region locks the Vita could theoretically be imported by gamers in outside of Japan when it launches there on December 17.

However, Yoshida subsequently discouraged those considering this option, saying, I personally do not recommend that. As an example, Yoshida offered the traditional difference in the use of the X and O buttons in Japanese games, where O typically means yes and X means no - in European and American games the opposite is generally the case.


19th September   

Update: Boarding Party...

Pirate Party takes 9% of the vote in for seats in the Berlin Parliament
Link Here
Full story: Pirate Party...The Pirate Party starts up arund the world

For the first time in history, a Pirate Party has managed to enter a state parliament. With an estimated 9% of the total vote the Pirate Party exceeded the 5% floor needed to enter the Berlin parliament with several seats. For the international Pirate Party movement this is the second major success after the European elections of 2009.

9% of the votes will translate into 15 parliamentary seats.

The initial results show that the Pirates received the most support from younger voters. 15% of people under 30 voted for the Pirate Party, but even among voters aged 60 years and up, a few percent voted for the Pirates.

TorrentFreak asked Sebastian Nerz, Chairman of the German Pirate Party, what this success means for the party. He told us that due to an increase in funds and influence the Pirate Party will have a greater chance to make its mark.

At the moment the Pirate Party of Germany does not have any paid employees, Nerz says. Everyone working for the party -- including myself -- is working in an honorary capacity. In contrast, Members of Parliament are paid for their work. In addition they receive state money to pay for assistents and co-workers. This will enable those Pirates to work full-time for the party, thus giving us much more work force.

Another very important benefit is, that citizens and media are taking parties with access to the parliament much more seriously. A number of times I've heard, Your party is not relevant because it does not have members of parliament. Following this weekend's successes, in this respect the party's position will be greatly improved.

In addition the Pirate Party expects that their heightened profile will lead to an increase in members and more people working for the party. As for the party's ideals, they want to be as transparent as possible, secure the privacy of citizens, abolish patents and limit the ever growing control of copyright exploiting organizations.


18th September   

Update: Sharing Ideas...

Jeremy Hunt outlines measures against file sharing for the 2015 Communications Act
Link Here
Full story: Sharing in the UK...UK Government stick and carrot for file sharing

NUK Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has delivered a speech, calling on net firms, advertisers and credit card companies to cut ties with websites that link to unlawful content.

In a speech to the Royal Television Society, he said he wanted to make it harder for such sites to prosper.

Ideally the government would like to see Google remove pirate sites from its search engine completely. But Google's response suggested this was unlikely. Without a court order, any copyright owner can already use our removals process to inform us of copyright infringing content and have it removed from Google Search, the firm said in a statement.

In his speech, Hunt denied that blocking access to pirated content was an attack on net neutrality:

Unlawfully distributing copyrighted material is theft - and a direct assault on the freedoms and rights of creators of content to be rewarded fairly for their efforts

We do not allow certain products to be sold in the shops on the High Street, nor do we allow shops to be set up purely to sell counterfeited products. Likewise we should be entitled to make it more difficult to access sites that are dedicated to the infringement of copyright.

Hunt outlined measures for the new Communications Act which is due to become law towards the end of the current Parliament in 2015.

  • A cross-industry body, perhaps modelled on the Internet Watch Foundation, to be charged with identifying infringing websites against which action could be taken
  • A streamlined legal process to make it possible for the courts to act quickly
  • A responsibility on search engines and ISPs to take reasonable steps to make it harder to access sites that a court has deemed contain unlawful content or promote unlawful distribution of content
  • A responsibility on advertisers to take reasonable steps to remove their advertisements from these sites
  • A responsibility on credit card companies and banks to remove their services from these sites.

Jim Killock, chief executive of the Open Rights Group, said the proposals set a dangerous precedent:

It is pretty dangerous to ask credit card companies or Google to decide who is guilty.

Once again Mr Hunt has listened to the lobbyists and has made no attempt to work out the scale of the problem. We are back where we were with the DEA, which is proving unworkable and an expensive nightmare.


10th September   

Update: On the 3rd Stroke...

New Zealand 3 strikes file sharing law now in effect
Link Here

New Zealand's long-delayed three-strikes law has taken effect.

The law allows for fines of up to NZ$15,000 ($12,000) and Internet account suspensions for up to six months.

The law takes effect despite a UN report that concluded disconnecting Internet users, regardless of the justification provided, is a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights because it limits the type of media individuals are allowed to use to express themselves.

UN Special Rapporteur Frank La Rue said that he was alarmed by disproportionate Internet disconnection proposals, and that individuals should never have their Internet access terminated for any reason, including copyright infringement.


7th August   

Update: Oops...Ofcom Kindly Detail Site Blocking Work Rounds...

DCMS ask Ofcom to delete part of their Site Blocking report
Link Here

Ofcom have recently written a report, Site Blocking to reduce online copyright infringement, as part of a feasibility study into measures contained in the Digital Economy Act.

For the moment Ofcom has come out against the use of website blocking and explained some of the difficulties in the report. Particularly the current ease with which both websites and readers may circumvent current blocking techniques.

According to The Register, the Department of Media, Culture and Sport weren't too impressed by Ofcom letting the public be aware of the limitations of current website blocking technologies and asked Ofcom to censor the information.

Ofcom deleted the offending but some of the censored information was left in the document presumably in the document history. It was published and some clever people were able to restore the deleted text. Ofcom have now properly implemented the censorship but not before it was published on scribd and internet commentators had pointed out some of the sensitive work rounds to site blocking techniques. eg:

  • Websites providing encrypted access to their websites via SSL/HTTPS
  • Websites using a network port other than the usual port 80
  • Websites changing the IP address and bypassing the network routing announcements
  • Websites registering a new domain name and letting users know via email and social networking
  • Websites using page naming to defeat individual page blocking perhaps by having arbitrary search strings that lead to the blocked page
  • Readers using Virtual Private Networking (VPN)
  • Readers using anonymous web proxies

In general the authorities are not going to be very keen on large numbers of internet users being encouraged to use hard to monitor web routings that make life difficult for policing the net for more serious issues.


7th August   

Update: Shared Charges...

Government confirms procedures leading up to internet cut off for file sharers
Link Here

People who illegally put music or films on the internet for others to download could have their web access cut off under new copyright rules announced by the Government.

Record labels and studios will be able to send a list of those suspected of illegal file-sharing to internet service providers and demand that their accounts are switched off.

But consumer groups fear innocent families could be targeted. Parents have been caught up in allegations of piracy after their teenage children uploaded music without their knowledge. Others have been wrongly accused after pirates hijacked their home wi-fi.

Under the new rules, it will cost £ 20 to appeal against the allegations.


6th August   

Recording Cable...

Ripping up outdated law
Link Here

Vince Cable, the UK Business Secretary,  has given his broad backing to a review by Professor Ian Hargreaves of copyright law, claiming it would stimulate innovation:

We are removing the barriers to the intellectual property system to encourage innovation. We need a legal framework that supports consumer use rather than one that sees it as regrettable.

The suggested changes would make it legal for individuals to make digital copies of their CDs and DVDs.. As well as legalising format shifting , it also suggested relaxing rules on parody and creating an agency to licence copyrighted content. The change would not make it legal to make copies and then share them online.

The changes are expected to pave the way for Google and Amazon to launch cloud music storage systems for UK consumers - although there was still some confusion over whether this could run into conflict with European law. A government spokesman said any conflicts would be dealt with during the consultation period, but Cable said he was confident there would not be problems.

The shake-up will also allow anyone to apply data-mining technology to published journals, making it easier for the scientific community to access research. However, the move was met with hostility by publishers, who see data-mining as a major source of growth.


4th August

 Offsite: Un-Blacked Out...

Link Here
Censorship Fail Reveals Big Music ISP Spying Plan

See article from


5th July

 Offsite: Creative Commons...

Link Here
Content made available for internet use but with attribution required and with restrictions

See article from


4th July

 Offsite: Kind of Screwed...

Link Here
Unlicensed pixellated album cover art gets the lawyers calling for ludicrous damages

See article from


1st July   

Not So Pally...

Paypal closes accounts of pirate DVD sellers
Link Here

PayPal has closed down the accounts of a number of retailers who had been collecting money through the online payment method for DVDs which turned out to have been pirated.

It is also co-operating with the Motion Picture Association of America in a joint investigation of these sellers, who are mostly based in China.

Julie Bainbridge, PayPal's head of global brand risk management, told the Los Angeles Times: Our action today sends a strong message to all criminals that PayPal does not tolerate such illegal activity on our global pay platform.

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