Copyright law amended, passed in

The amendments to the Australian Copyright law have themselves been amended and re-submitted. Failing some extraordinary event, they will become law in January 2007.

The reservations of many groups about some aspects of the new bill were at least partly appeased with the changes. Most of these seemed to be with the on-the-spot penalties for non-commercial copyright infringements, which appear to have been removed.

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A good sign on copyright laws

This looks like a definite step in the right direction on copyright:Protecting precious parody. The article is mostly about the parody protection laws (which I actually thought we already had), but for me the kicker is half way down the page:

There are other elements to the Copyright bill, that are aimed at ensuring consumers are not treated like copyright pirates and copyright pirates are not treated like consumers. They include:

Making it legal for people to record TV or radio programs in order to play them at a more convenient time.

Legalising ‘format shifting’ of material such as music, newspapers, books – meaning people can put CD’s they own onto their iPods or MP3 players;

Giving schools, universities, libraries more flexibility to use copyright material for non-commercial purposes; and

Helping people with disabilities access copyright material.

As we know, the devil is in the details, which can been seen here (pdf document of the Senate Bill). I’ll be having a read of that & seeing what they’re actually suggesting.

[tags]Copyright, Music, Australia, Politics[/tags]

Penrith in the list of free Wi-Fi zones

ZDNet is reporting that the NSW state government is promising free Wi-Fi for major CBD areas around the state. This is great, and what’s even better is that Penrith is included on the list! The report has just come out, no details yet, and we all know what political promises are worth. But still, this is at least a sign that the Australian governments are starting to see the benefit of new technology.

The NSW state government will in early 2007 go shopping for suppliers to establish “universal coverage” of free Wi-Fi in Sydney’s central business district, in addition to the suburbs of Parramatta, Penrith and Liverpool and outlying cities Newcastle, Wollongong and Gosford.

The report in the Australian IT also mentions some other policies that seem promising:

Mr Iemma also announced the government would set up an Innovation Council and secretariat to look at ways of improving the innovation capacity of buyers in key industry sectors.

The industry sectors are logistics and transaction services, financial services, entertainment, design and media, manufacturing and resources.

Nice to see a bit of investment in innovation. I’m tired of Australians inventing great stuff, only to have the US actually implement it.

Update: Some more details come to light

The three-year plan, announced by NSW premier Morris Iemma today, will use existing service suppliers to provide free wireless internet coverage in the main business districts of Sydney and North Sydney, Parramatta, Liverpool, Newcastle, Wollongong and Gosford.

It was likely that a “basic”, download-restricted service, possibly supported by advertising, would be provided for free, with higher speeds and greater download allowances available to paying customers, a spokesman for NSW Commerce Minister John Della Bosca said.

Not sure how the advertising would work? What are they going to do, force you to use their special browser that has built-in banner ads? Or do a http rewrite at the gateway and plaster ads all over the pages you look at?

[tags]Australia, Wireless, Internet, Politics[/tags]

Flt Lt Pardoel, I salute you

I would like to take a moment to recognise Flight Lieutenant Paul Pardoel.

AN Australian airman has become the nation’s first military casualty in Iraq, killed while serving with Britain’s Royal Air Force.

Flight Lieutenant Paul Pardoel, a 35-year-old father of three from Melbourne, died when a British C-130 Hercules transport plane crashed or was shot down north of Baghdad overnight (AEDT), killing 10 troops, an Australian Defence Department spokesperson said.

Flt Lt Pardoel leaves behind a wife and three kids, who’s photos we are already seeing plastered all over the papers and TV. He was working for the RAF, as he held dual Australian-UK citizenship.

While nothing can lessen the grief for his family, they should know that he died for a reason. That he should die during the elections should highlight the importance of the cause. Kids, your father did not die for oil or Halliburton profits. He died trying to make sure these elections could happen, so that the Iraqi people could be free. Something like this.

If I see one anti-war protestor, commentator or journalist try and use Flt Lt Pardoel’s death as emotional leverage for their ’cause’ there will be hell to pay. To exasperate this family’s grief by lessening the value of his sacrifice for cheap politics would be unforgivable.

(Note: This, obviously, doesn’t include Pardoel’s family. They can grieve anyway they want, and I’ll be equally angered by any supporters of the war who criticize Margaret Pardoel for her statements.)

Family First's internet Policy

Family First have been called many names in the Australian media in the last few months, ranging from Political newcomer and right-wing conservative to a conspiratorial setup and the lunatic Right. To these colourful titles we can now add Simon Hayes and Jennifer Foreshew’s bogeyman for the IT industry.

CONSERVATIVE Christian party Family First has emerged as a new bogeyman for the IT industry, which is worried a reinvigorated Howard Government will trade the full sale of Telstra for a package of measures including mandatory internet filtering.

Internet Industry Association chief executive Peter Coroneos is promising to speak to Family First on the "realities of internet governance" in an effort to stymie the filter plans.

"We are highly concerned about statements that this party has made regarding the internet and we think it is particularly unhelpful and uninformed," he said.

Being a conservative Christian myself, I thought I’d have a bit of a look at this policy (pdf, 211KB), and see if it wasn’t just a bit more media beatup. The answer is: no, it’s not.

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