Just Say No… to Downloading

From Boing Boing:

The RIAA has just released a back-to-school propaganda video called “Campus Downloads” that is full of lies, half-truths, omissions, and intimidation aimed at convincing students to stay away from file-sharing.

This is so utterly reminiscent of the Just Say No campaign of the 80’s and the pre-Bush-era policy of educating the youth on the importance of safe sex. I just began taking a grad school course on DRM and copyright in the Internet age, etc, taught by Cory Doctorow, who opened the class by screening the aforementioned video, interspersed with his own p.o.v., the facts and a brief introduction into the saga of DRM and emerging copyright implications and developments in technology and the internet.

A recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal of all places pointed out the utter ridulousness of these so-called “legal” file-sharing systems to which access is purchased by Universities, and of course then factored into students’ tuition fees.

Assuming you haven’t already seen this scare-piece — produced by the RIAA’s own campus outreach propaganda wing, stylishly named CampusDownloading — at freshman orientation, it is provided below in the spirit of helping the blood-money-hungry RIAA (though they did drop their suit against a dead man) in illegally disseminating their BS.

And just in case they come for you, Grant Robertson recently published “A Layperson’s Guide to Filesharing Lawsuits.”

Ahmadinejad: Blogger, Hypocrite

ahmadinejad blogIran’s president and chief oppressor/Holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has started writing a blog.

The blog is in Arabic, French and English and encourages comments. This, as Iran continues a nationwide crackdown on bloggers. Read the Brian Murphy’s AP report.

Mike Wallace’s interview with Ahmadinejad airs tonight on CBS’ 60 Minutes. A preview is on the ’60’ Web site.

Free Josh Wolf

free joshua wolfEarlier this week, Joshua Wolf, a 24-year-old freelance journalist and blogger, became the first journalist to be jailed for refusing to disclose information in a court of law since Judith Miller. These are hardly the “Scooter” Libby “Flame” top secrets revealed over a snazzy Georgetown meal, however, as Wolf would be the first to proclaim that he is no friend of the administration.Wolf had been blogging his experience here, until the 1st of August, when, as his mother wrote: “Although the July 20th hearing seemed promising, today the judge, Judge Alsop ruled against all motions including 5th amendment rights, rights coming under freedom of the press, against bail or a stay. Josh is in Dublin federal prison, in the East Bay area of the San Francisco Bay.”

It makes no difference that the video he withheld was of self-proclaimed anarchists at an anti-G8 summit — the “crime” it supposedly captured was a “riot” that grew out of the protest. Surely, one would think there were other camerapeople documenting the event.

This is a direct attack on freedom of speech and the expression of dissent that one often hears about in countries with extensively repressive governments such as China. Surely an appeal will be filed and the case will go to the 9th Circuit, but it may not be until next summer.

The SF Chronicle attests to these journalistic freedoms in an editorial titled “Free Josh Wolf.”

Netscape Buys Into the Social-Bookmarking Pyramid

Jason Calcanis, CEO of Weblogs, Inc. and now heading up the “new” Netscape.com announced the first 10 Netscape “Navigators”:

We’ve hired three of the top 12 DIGG users, the #1 user from Newsvine, the #1 user from Reddit, and a bunch of Weblogs, Inc. folks…

If nothing else, this is a smart PR move in that it calls out the growing masses of Digg / Newsvine / Reddit users early in the game, before there is a hands-down go to socially-bookmarked news portal. Digg, arguably the industry leader in this field has only been around since December 2004 after all.

Perhaps this is the safest and smartest way to go — we shall see — but many people who felt they caught the early wave on the revamped Netscape portal will surely be bummed to know that these selections were based on these numbers: 60% of Digg’s front page content is from the top 0.03% users.

Richard MacManus is not surprised by the imbalance of digg-posting wealth. But I must wonder if Digg will be at all affected negatively and whether or not Netscape will truly benefit from bringing the formerly faceless top Diggers on board.

It’s probably a good idea for portals driven by social bookmarking to hire talented aggregators, but why must Netscape be so non-organic in doing so? In going head-to-head with Digg (and its publisher, John Battelle’s Federated Media), the era of Netscape vs. the World (1994-~2003) is clearly dead.


P.S. I’m also a bit curious as to why the screenshot on the page explaining the new Netscape features photos of both Donald Rumsfeld and Ann Coulter…. jus’ wonderin’ 😉

U.S. Radio Goes Global With Yahoo! Widgets

Surprised to find a Radio SAWA widget today, while scrolling through the latest additions to the Yahoo! Widget Engine Gallery (download the Engine / View the Gallery).

Simply load into your widget engine and it will begin streaming… great way to touch up on your Arabic. (Sawa’s Web site: Arabic | English)

Bengali speaker? Try the Bangla Live New Radio widget, which offers BBC Bangla, Voice of America Bangla, Radio Japan Bangla and BBC Asian Network.

Take it even further East with Radio Tuner Singapore and tune into 23 Singapore-based radio stations streaming in English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil.

Plenty more radio ’round-the-world in desktop widget format here.