Boing Boing 

Jamaica's new copyright means Jamaicans pay for reggae the rest of the world gets free


Jamaica now has the third-longest copyright term in the world, and the term extension has been imposed retrospectively, all the way back to works created in 1962, the year ska burst on the public scene.

The new term only binds on Jamaicans, meaning that the currently public domain Jamaican works that are going back into copyright will be free for foreigners long before they're free for Jamaicans again, a situation that will apply to all Jamaican works produced from 1962 onward.

Jamaica has also committed to enforcing copyright on foreign works that had entered the public domain in Jamaica, meaning that Jamaicans will have to pay for imports they currently get for free.

If Jamaica hoped that this measure would bring in additional royalties for its musicians from overseas markets, then the tactic that it chose to pursue was doomed to failure from the outset. Foreign users of Jamaican copyrights are not bound by the extended copyright term; only Jamaicans are; but conversely, Jamaicans are now obliged to honor foreign copyrights for the full extended term.1 As opposition spokesperson on culture Olivia Grange put it during debate on the new law, “what will happen is that we will, in fact, be paying out to foreign copyright holders in foreign exchange for the continued use of foreign works in Jamaica, while our own rights holders will only benefit up to the 50, 70 or 80 years that exist in other countries”. So all that this measure has accomplished is that citizens of Jamaica, a developing country, will be paying more money into Hollywood's coffers, while Jamaica's own rich cultural heritage draws in not a penny more in return. Yay?

This measure is so stupid on its face that it is a wonder it passed through parliament at all. But what pains us even more is that it was deemed a trivial enough change to the law that it went unreported in the press until it was already a fait accompli. We could've spotted it earlier, and we're not proud of missing it. But it also came as an unwelcome shock to all the other activists with whom we work, including the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, whose members in Jamaica have suffered a sudden and severe setback to their mission to preserve and disseminate the early written records of newly-independent Jamaica.

Anatomy of a Copyright Coup: Jamaica's Public Domain Plundered [Jeremy Malcolm/EFF]

Explosion at NIST offices was a meth lab


An explosion last weekend at a National Institute of Standards and Technology lab in Gaithersburg, MD threw a blast-shield 25 feet. Investigators found "pseudoephedrine, drain cleaner, and a recipe for meth" in the wreckage.

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London terror cops forced to admit they're still investigating journos who reported Snowden leaks


London Metropolitan Police anti-terror squad had refused to make any comment on whether they were investigating the reporters who broke the Snowden story for two years, but now a court has ordered them to answer -- and they've copped to it.

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TSA supervisor calls police on teen for videoing his father's pat-down

A 16-year-old boy was prohibited from video-recording his own pat-down at New Orleans airport -- something explicitly allowed by the TSA -- and when he recorded his father's pat-down, the TSA supervisor at his checkpoint called the police on him.

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When scientists hoard data, no one can tell what works


Peer review and replication are critical to the scientific method, but in medical trials, a combination of pharma company intransigence and scientists' fear of being pilloried for human error means that the raw data that we base life-or-death decisions upon is routinely withheld, meaning that the errors lurk undetected in the data for years -- and sometimes forever.

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Comcast's top lobbyist insists he isn't a lobbyist


Though his time is mostly spent whispering in politicians' ears, David L. Cohen narrowly escapes the contours of the highly specialized, counterintuitive US statutory definition of a lobbyist.

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Once again: Crypto backdoors are an insane, dangerous idea


The Washington Post editorial board lost its mind and called on the National Academy of Sciences to examine "the conflict" over whether crypto backdoors can be made safe: the problem is, there's no conflict.

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Lawrence Lessig on how to fix America's campaign finance corruption problem

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“Real reform will require changing the way campaigns are funded — moving from large-dollar private funding to small-dollar public funding,” writes professor Lawrence Lessig in a New York Times op-ed today. Basically, what if elections relied more on lots of little contributions from lots of different regular working people, instead of relying on a small number of huge donations from the rich and powerful, or the big and powerful institutions that serve their interests.

Democrats, for example, have pushed for small-dollar public funding through matching systems, like New York City’s. Under a plan by Representative John Sarbanes, Democrat of Maryland, contributions could be matched up to nine to one, for candidates who agree to accept only small donations.

Republicans, too, are increasingly calling for small-dollar funding systems. The legal scholar Richard W. Painter, a former “ethics czar” for President George W. Bush, has proposed a $200 tax rebate to fund small-dollar campaigns. Likewise, Jim Rubens, a candidate in the Republican primary for Senate in New Hampshire last year, proposed a $50 tax rebate to fund congressional campaigns.

Either approach would radically increase the number of funders in campaigns, in that way reducing the concentration of large funders that especially typifies congressional and senatorial campaigns right now.

The Only Realistic Way to Fix Campaign Finance [nytimes.com]

Chicago’s police review agency fires investigator for not exonerating cops

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Chicago's Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) was formed in 2007 to review police brutality. Since that time, IPRA has investigated nearly 400 civilian shootings by cops. It has found only one shooting to be unjustified. But then Lorenzo Davis, 65, a former Chicago police commander who became an investigator for the IPRA, found "a few cases in which he believed police had inappropriately fired their weapons." Suddenly Davis, who had previously been getting stellar reviews for his work on the IPRA, was fired.

Through most of his IPRA tenure, Davis’s performance evaluations showered him with praise. They called him an “effective leader” and “excellent team player.”

The final evaluation, issued June 26, said he “is clearly not a team player.”

Radley Balko of the Washington Post writes, "'Team player' of course meaning 'willing to side with cops who shoot people.'"

And of course this is the city where police were found to have tortured suspects for decades. Conveniently, the city managed to cover up the mess long enough for the statute of limitations to prevent all but one of the officers from facing any criminal charges. In 2008, the city’s most elite police unit was disbanded after officers were accused of a host of crimes from assault to theft to burglaries to conspiracy to commit murder. And just earlier this year, the Guardian reported new allegations of torture, beatings, and other physical abuse at an abandoned warehouse.

Just a thought: Maybe the Chicago PD needs fewer “team players.”

Image: Shutterstock

Watch a British prankster shower corrupt FIFA chief Sepp Blatter with fake bank notes

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“Controversial FIFA leader Sepp Blatter was showered with fake bank notes by British prankster Lee Nelson at a press conference today.”

Reuters


Reuters

Rare look at how big business defends "Investor State Dispute Settlements"

ISDSes are the most controversial element of secret trade deals like TPP and TTIP: they let giant international corporations sue countries to repeal environmental, safety and labor laws that interfere with their profitability.

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Boeing and disgraced malware firm Hacking Team planned flying spyware-delivery drones


An engineer at Boeing's Insitu subsidiary proposed that the disgraced malware company Hacking Team should add spyware-delivery tools to Insitu's drone platform.

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With faked degrees, U.S. tech official ran law enforcement data systems for years. Then he resigned, got a new gov job.

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A technology officer with faked college degrees resigned from the Interior Department after he was busted. He was then hired by the Census Bureau.

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UK's mass surveillance bill is illegal


High Court judges ruled that the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (#DRIP) was inconsistent with the European convention on human rights.

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State Department willing to overlook Malaysia's mass graves for the sake of TPP


The fast-track bill rammed through Congress last month lets the president walk right into any trade deal he wants, so long as it's with countries that have decent human rights records.

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UK schools' "anti-radicalisation" software lets hackers spy on kids


The spyware that Impero supplies to UK schools -- which searches kids' Internet use for "jihadi" terms -- uses "password" as its default password, and the company has threatened brutal legal reprisals against the researcher who repeatedly demonstrated their total security negligence.

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UK Tories launch quiet inquiry into privatising the NHS


David Cameron repeatedly promised to protect "our NHS" but now the world's most beloved healthcare system is on the chopping block, thanks to a quiet inquiry in the unelected House of Lords.

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