Information Technology & Content-Based Industries

ITU meeting revives the net debate

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This week’s meeting of the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in Dubai, aimed at revising its international communications treaty, has revived the debate on “network neutrality” and management of Internet traffic.

Although management of the flow of online content is not a stated objective of the meeting or revision efforts, the intention to enhance the framework for encouraging investment in network infrastructure inherently raises these issues. On one hand, telecoms argue that the costs of facilitating a free flow of Internet ...

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Growing the paid-for music market in Asia

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New initiatives to reduce unauthorized, free access to music that mirror efforts in developed countries are springing up in India and Vietnam.

Saavn, a digital music service for Bollywood and regional Indian music, which offers an ad-supported free service as well as a premium offline service, is much like Spotify. Saavn has licensed more than 1 million tracks and has launched a mobile app aimed at growing users in India as well as in other countries where Indian music is popular, ...

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Permission to pin?

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The rapid growth of the online curating site, Pinterest, over the last few months – it acquired 17.8 million unique users in February 2012 alone – is raising a handful of issues, including whether online ‘curation’ constitutes ‘fair use’ of online content? The site enables users to collect images, ideas and concepts they encounter on the web and ‘pin’ or curate them on online boards, which other users can view and ‘re-pin’.

Its recent bombardment of new users is bringing front and ...

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ACTA protesters – do they have the wrong target?

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The week of February 6, 2012 saw fresh opposition to the ACTA treaty across Europe, including an online petition which received over 2,000,000 signatures and more than 100 protests in major cities on Saturday, February 11. Protesters are calling for the European Parliament to reject the treaty, which they say restricts fundamental rights.

Yet, a thorough look shows that when it comes to the internet, ACTA may not be as radical as critics claim, and that it is the application of ACTA’s principles ...

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Taming the wild west at the expense of the online frontier?

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ACTA implies a role for internet service providers as gatekeepers for the spread of illegal content online. But the fiery issue of defining actual responsibilities for ISPs – if any – is left to national policymakers.

The US Congress has jumped into the fray with the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (put forth by the House and Senate, respectively). But as it stands, it’s a zero sum game for either content providers or ISPs.

Do policymakers have ...

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Defensive patenting the answer?

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Amazon is the latest in a long line of technology companies to see a marked increase in the number of patent and IPR lawsuits launched against it. Last week the BBC reported that the global retailer’s Kindle and online sales system is being accused of infringing other companies’Def IP.

Will Amazon, like Google, now start a patenting spree of its own to better protect itself from future claims?

To read more, see http://tinyurl.com/5w6n7pt.

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Patently engaged – Microsoft vs. Google – a commercial clash or a philosophical one?

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The dispute between Microsoft and Google over the Android operating system appears to have entered a new phase. Microsoft is reported to have signed licensing deals with 10 manufacturers who now pay a user fee for every smartphone and/or table that is sold. Google disputes the validity of Microsoft’s claims and the patents that underpin it.

The broader question remains whether or not these disputes are solely based on legal and commercial grounds, or are they part of a deeper philosophical ...

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