In 1971, the Australian indigenous artist Harold Thomas created the iconic Australian Aboriginal Flag which has since been named one of the "official flags of Australia," which resulted in Thomas successfully suing to assert copyright over the design.
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As of this writing, the petition opposing Article 13 -- the part of the EU's new Copyright Directive that mandates copyright filters for online communities, services and platforms -- has 4,920,535 signatories, making it the largest petition in the history of our species (edging out this one from 2017).
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At the end of March, the European Parliament will sit down to vote on the new Copyright Directive, an unparalleled disaster in the history of internet regulation with the power to wipe out the EU's tech sector, handing permanent control of the internet over to US Big Tech, all in the name of protecting copyright (while simultaneously gutting protection for artists).
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Katarina Barley, the German Minister of Justice, is set to receive this petition, now signed by more than 4.5 million Europeans, opposing the include of mandatory copyright filters (AKA Article 13) in the new EU Copyright Directive. The petition is the second largest in internet history (after this one) and looks set to surpass it. The Copyright Directive negotiations collapsed last week due to hard-liners in the French delegation, and there are persistent rumours that the German and French negotiators are still trying (and failing) to find common ground. So it's really important that Europeans sign this petition, to show the German ministers that they have the backing of the European people! Tell your friends!
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For years, a secret Google team planned a Chinese search-engine that would censor search results and spy on users for the Chinese state authorities; when the existence of this plan was leaked, thousands of googlers objected to the plan, senior staff quit (then others followed), and things have only gotten worse since, with the company being outed for lying about the project when they claimed it was just a pilot program and nowhere near launch.
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Ruth from Openmedia writes, "This Thursday legislators in the EU Parliament are voting on proposals in the EU for mass content filters, and restrictions on links, all in the name of 'updating copyright. Read the rest
Fritz Moser, director of the documentary A Good American, about NSA whistleblower Bill Binney who blames the 9/11 attacks on the NSA's capture by corporate contractors who sold it an expensive, useless, self-perpetuating mass-surveillance system, writes, "Since 6 Sept A GOOD AMERICAN is on Netflix and since then I am getting between 10 and 20 emails per day of people telling me how shocked they were by the film and how angry they are, asking what they could do to help. So we came up with this petition. The petition is hosted by a member of Sascha Meinrath's cross-party Civil Liberties Coalition we are working with in Washington DC, backing the cross-party anti-surveillance Caucus in Congress on a grassroots level." Read the rest
Paul Brown writes, "The FSFE's 'Public Money? Public Code!' campaign wants to convince
lawmakers that software created with public funds should be made
available to the public under Free Software licences. Read the rest
Manatee County, Florida has a Confederate monument, but a local resident hopes to get it replaced with a memorial to Snooty the Manatee, a legendary manatee who recently died in an accident just after his 69th birthday. Read the rest
In 2008, Starbucks publicly acknowledged that the plastic coatings it used on its paper cups made them impossible to recycle using the kinds of equipment deployed by municipalities around the world, and kicked off an annual competition to improve the cup design -- but five years later, it shut the competition down, went on using the unrecyclable cups, and adopted the line that the world's taxpayers should foot the bill for upgrading recycling plants to accommodate its cups. Read the rest
Timothy from Creative Commons writes, "The purpose of copyright is to empower -- not frustrate! -- creativity and knowledge production. Nowhere is a balanced copyright more important than in education. But 15-year-old EU copyright laws don't take into account modern digital and online teaching methods, tools, and resources." Read the rest
A Parliamentary petition to rescind the invitation for Donald Trump to make an official state visit has received nearly 1.3 million signatures in a matter of days, making it the fastest-growing such petition in Parliamentary history. Read the rest
The petition to "immediately release Donald Trump's full tax returns, with all information needed to verify emoluments clause compliance" has received more signatures (385,845 so far) than any other petition in the White House's We the People petition system's history.
From Huffington Post:
As of Thursday afternoon, the petition had over 368,000 signatures, surpassing the previous record of 367,180. The previous record-holder called for the United States government to “legally recognize the Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group.”
President Donald Trump spoke at the GOP Congressional retreat in Philadelphia on Thursday. He did not bring up his tax returns.
Trump has kept in place former President Barack Obama’s online petition system, which was created in 2011 to increase accessibility to government. The site also still states that a petition with at least 100,000 signatures will get an official response.
A spokesman for the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the petition.
Spoiler alert! The response will be: "All the signatures were forged by someone sitting on their bed who weighs 400 pounds." Read the rest
Charlie from Open Rights Group writes, "'I have made it clear in my campaign that I would support and endorse the use of enhanced interrogation techniques.' - Donald Trump, 15/2/2016." Read the rest
Documentarians and news-gatherers who record sensitive material from confidential sources live in terror of having their cameras seized and their storage-cards plundered by law-enforcement; they struggle to remember to immediately transfer their files to encrypted laptop storage and wipe their cards while dodging bombs in conflict zones, or simply to remember to have robotically perfect operational security while they are trying to get a movie made. Read the rest
Evan from Fight for the Future sez, "Chelsea Manning has already spent more time behind bars than any other whistleblower in U.S. history. She's been systematically mistreated, subjected to torture, and denied access to desperately needed health care while serving a 35 year sentence in an all-male military prison." Read the rest
Evan from Fight For the Future sez, "This is one of those bad ideas we just have to stop before it has time to spread. A GOP State Senator in Washington has proposed a law that would allow authorities to charge people and groups who engage in "disruptive" protests with "economic terrorism." It wouldn't just apply to vandalism or rioting. Broadly interpreted, this proposal could be used to slap felony terrorism charges and jail time on activists who engage in time honored free speech traditions like boycotts, picket lines, and civil disobedience. Right now, this is just a bad idea. Let's keep it that way before it becomes a bad law. Sign and share the petition here. Read the rest