Friday, 13 March 2009

Friday catch-up (well, I started it on Friday)

The material just keeps flooding in, and I can't keep blogging fast enough, so here are a few items that have come to my attention in the last week or so and that seem to me to deserve a wide readership (not that publicising them here is likely to make a huge difference).

First, interesting to note from Tomasz Rychlicki's blog that Poland raises a levy on recording equipment and shares it out between the creators, the producers and the performers, but perhaps unsurprisingly it doesn't seem to be without controversy.

Second, The Register reports another instance of Trading Standards Officers in Cardiff payig visits to companies to check that the software they are using is properly licensed. Another good reason for going open-source, perhaps. This is the fourth in Cardiff, but the outcome is not yet known. I imagine that if they'd found offences being committed, FAST would have let the world know.

The same source also carries a report about the Featured Artists Coalition, a diverse collection of more-or-less popular musicians including Billy Bragg, whose involvement causes me to think that this is something worthy of attention, especially as he co-produced the Mutter Slater Band's new CD. They are lobbying against criminalising downloading of music, and for educational activities: and if they are for the performer and against the "music industry", it can't be a bad thing.

The Christian Science Monitor has a story about patent reform in the US, citing some of teh worst excesses of the present system. It makes entertaining reading, at least, as do articles like this one from Wikipedia about sandwich patents. There are also many more thoughtful (less entertaining) pieces about the reforms to be read, including this one by Dan Leckrone, chairman and chief executive of IP boutique The TPL Group, who argues that the reforms would destroy the incentive to innovate and are merely concerned to make the patent system cheaper for big businesses.

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