Archive for the ‘news’ Category

What the Ban of The Pirate Bay could mean for The Netherlands

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

This afternoon a Dutch court ruled in favour of Dutch copyright protectors, BREIN, in a case versus The Pirate Bay. Within ten days, The Pirate Bay must block access to all Dutch users. BREIN’s head honcho, Tim Kuik, is happy about the verdict, because The Pirate Bay (TPB), according to him, is simply illegal.

What does this verdict change though? Internet users can make TPB’s servers think they’re not in The Netherlands simply by using a proxy. The less tech-savvy users can simply use one of The Pirate Bay’s clones. Those that are getting paranoid can be relieved that people are constantly working on increasing the quality of filesharing and making it harder to track (see this article about HydraTorrent, which, by the way, has already copied all of TPB’s torrents). Now that The Pirate Bay is gone, will the market for music in The Netherlands suddenly be a little bit bigger? No, no, no. Only the lawyers are profiting from this.

So what does it achieve? It makes it easier for people to get websites banned if they disagree with the content. The Pirate Bay doesn’t host any copyrighted content, it links to it. It also hosts a lot of legal content, I personally use it to distribute my DJ sets, so thanks BREIN for killing one of my best distribution channels.

While living in Turkey I witnessed horrible web censorship. I couldn’t use YouTube, one of the most popular sites on the web, unless I used a proxy or some other workaround that simply kills the user friendliness. Why was YouTube banned? Because the Turkish government didn’t like the content of one of the movies on YouTube, because it was against the law in Turkey. When YouTube didn’t remove it, the government had ALL of YouTube blocked via the courts. For years! In an older post I already mentioned that the whole YouTube ban is pointless anyway. Research in Alexa.com’s traffic ranking system has shown that YouTube is the 10th most popular site in Turkey. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan surprised everyone when he stated that even he uses YouTube.

Not only was YouTube banned, at some point ALL of blogger/blogspot was banned, because some blogs contained copyrighted material. The website of atheist Richard Dawkins was blocked, because somebody found it to be offensive.

In Holland, blasphemy is also illegal, so is disturbance of the peace, or insulting people. These could all be precedents to take down websites now that that door has been opened. Tim Kuik is proud, but he’s only keeping lawyers paid and limiting the freedoms of the citizens of The Netherlands.

The Pirate Bay’s Peter Sunde wants to appeal, but they’re looking for a lawyer that can do the job for free, since they’re out of money. Besides that, they’re suing Tim Kuik for slander, because he accused them of hacking BREIN’s website, which was a hoax by the way, BREIN was never hacked.

Help us out. Spread the word. Understand that blocking sites like this does not help artists make more money, it only helps LAWYERS make more money. When they killed Napster, 10 things came in its place. There is no more stopping it. The business model needs to change. That’s the only way.

Besides that, don’t buy from artists that support this. I personally won’t buy anything anymore from any artist supporting or represented by BREIN. Especially artists shouldn’t align themselves with freedom-infringing practices like this. Art is about expression, not repression and free expression only happens in free environments.

Blogger/Blogspot unblocked in Turkey while court awaits missing evidence

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Right now, Blogger and *.blogspot.com domains are available again while courts await further evidence backing Digiturk’s claims. Great. Let’s hope it stays that way. After YouTube got unbanned, it got banned again, so who knows what will happen.

The ban has been lifted by the Turkish court that previously blocked Blogger last Friday. They have requested “missing evidence” but made it clear that the ban could be reintroduced after the legal procedure is completed by the prosecutor.

Digiturk, Turkish license holder for the broadcasts of Turkish football league games, asked for blogs with links to pirated streams to be removed. Blogger did not reply and Digiturk went to court, getting millions of innocent blogs blocked. The statement that “Blogger did not reply” makes me think all Digiturk did was send out an email – and as some of us know, if you email Google services, be prepared to wait two weeks. They should have called.

The law that allows for the blocking of domain names still stands. Many popular sites are still blocked. Blogger can be blocked again. It’s not over, but at least Blogger’s available again. Yet still we can expect to see more of this:

And the protest banner posted on Turkish (as well as international) blogs hosted at blogspot.com:

Thanks to Hans for his useful tip!
Thanks to the Istanbulian for further information.

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Georgia affected by Turkey’s ban on Blogger

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

Apparently Caucasus Online, an internet provider in Georgia, uses Turkey’s service network, as it is reported that internet users in Georgia are now also unable to visit sites from Blogger and *.blogspot.com domains.

A solution for Windows users to “unblock” Blogger and YouTube has been posted here:

Find the file named “hosts” under windows/system32/drivers/etc/
folder.
Open this file with Notepad

Append those lines

72.14.207.191 blogger.com
209.85.165.191 www.blogger.com
208.117.236.69 youtube.com www.youtube.com
208.117.236.70 youtube.com www.youtube.com

Save and close it.

This solved my problems, I posted as if there is no ban.

More about this solution can be read by clicking here.

So, no more this:

This is bad though. It’s one thing that Turkey decides to ban a whole domain based on poor logic, but it affecting people in another country makes it a lot worse.

Some useful links to unblock YouTube/Blogger (blogspot)/other blocked pages in Turkey (and Georgia):

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Digiturk causes Turkish ban of Blogger/Blogspot

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

Since Friday, it’s been impossible to access popular blogging platform Blogger or any *.blogspot.com domain from a Turkish IP address, due to a ban imposed by a court in the south east of Turkey.

Previously it was rumoured that Adnan Oktar, by some considered the leading Muslim advocate for creationism, might have caused the new ban, since he successfully got WordPress and Google Groups banned in the past, as well as evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins’ website. However, this rumour was refuted by someone pointing out that Oktar operated in Istanbul courts and the verdict banning Blogger was passed in Diyarbakır, at the other side of Turkey.

 

Blogger's banned in Turkey screenshot 

Click to enlarge.

It’s now reported that it is not Oktar that got Blogger banned, but Digiturk, a subscription based digital TV platform that owns the rights to the live broadcasting of Turkish football league games. Apparently, Digiturk asked Blogger to take several blogs or blog entries down containing links to pirated transmissions of the live games. Blogger did nothing, Digiturk went to court and under Turkish intellectual property law, they managed to get Blogger banned completely, effectively banning millions of websites that have nothing to do with Turkish football or pirating.

Digiturk’s court cases in the past have managed to block Justin.tv and MyP2P TV for the same reasons.

Turkey’s NATO membership and EU ambitions seem paradoxical to the infringement on the freedom of press and speech of its citizens, residents and visitors by banning sites like Blogger and YouTube. The EU’s making a blacklist of censoring countries and are creating software for people in these countries to use to bypass the censorship (see: Global Online Freedom Act).

Thanks to safak for his tip about Digiturk!

Some useful links to unblock YouTube/Blogger (blogspot)/other blocked pages in Turkey:

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Turkey Bans Blogger

Friday, October 24th, 2008

UPDATE!! — It is now known why Blogger is banned in Turkey. Click here for the new article.

Since today, whoever tries to access Blogger or any *.blogspot.com domain from Turkey will get the following message on my screen:

Blogger's banned in Turkey screenshot

Click to enlarge.

This is the same message we get if we try to visit YouTube, which is also banned in Turkey. In the past blogging platform WordPress.com has been banned as well (read more), to much dismay of many Turkish bloggers.

It was suspected that the reason for this has something to do with Adnan Oktar, by some considered the leading Muslim advocate for creationism, who has in the past managed to get WordPress, Google Groups, as well as Richard Dawkins’ website banned. It was then suggested however, that Oktar was active in Istanbul courts and this verdict was passed in Diyarbakır in South East Turkey.

UPDATE – It is now known that it was Digiturk, not Adnan Oktar, that caused the ban. Read the new article here: 
http://www.basbasbas.com/blog/2008/10/26/digiturk-causes-turkish-ban-of-bloggerblogspot/

Turkey’s EU ambitions seem paradoxical to the infringement on the freedom of press and speech of its citizens, residents and visitors by banning sites like this. This is not China. This has to stopped. Good thing the EU’s making a blacklist of censoring countries and are creating software for people in censoring countries to use to overcome the censorship (Global Online Freedom Act).

The court order of the ban on Blogger is also in very stark contrast to yesterday’s court approval of gay and group sex. Turkey’s a country of opposites.

Some useful links to unblock YouTube/Blogger (blogspot)/other blocked pages in Turkey:

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Activism meets Web 2.0

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

Rethos.comSeems like activists are catching on to the power of web 2.0. I assume most of the readers here are familiar with Avaaz.org and their emails calling on people to sign petitions and send emails to representatives. Their method is rather conventional however and (dare I say) dated.

Good news. Rethos.com has opened up their beta to the public and aim to create a social environment for change, on a system that learns from its users. Users can read, post and share news articles, get organized, find jobs an opportunities, all in the name of change. Whether you care about ecology, human rights, freedom of speech or other issues, Rethos will let users work together for change on these points. I myself signed up because of them saying the following:

It is our duty to not let others turn a blind eye to pressing social and environmental issues. If enough people unite, change is inevitable.

This is exactly the way I felt when I was posting about Burma like 3 times a day (psst… the monks are protesting again). I hope this convinces you and you will sign up and come and add me as a friend. What really did it for me however, was their video. Have a look at it below.

So sign up now and visit my profile.

What’s going on in Burma?

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

A selection from Burmanews‘ postings.

Posted 21 October

Reports say that Junta is arresting students and civilians, who were believed to be involved in International Campaigns against SPDC, on arrival at the Yangon Airport.

Posted 25 October

http://irrawaddy.org/protests/video/ngwekyaryan.php – Video of Ngwe Kyar Yan monastery after troops raided on Sept 27, 2007

Led by comedian Zarganar, who was recently released from prison, a group of Burmese artistes offered alms (food) to 80 monks and 30 nuns at Bar-Ga-Ya monastery. This monastery has been refusing all form of alms from the military junta. Zargarnar and his group of friends will continue to offer alms to all monasteries which refuse to accept anything from the military junta.

(note that the junta forbade people to offer alms to the monks!)

On 23rd Oct, more than 200 people carried out a peaceful protest in Kyar Inn Township of Karen State. They peacefully asked for the release of political prisoners, democracy for Burma and supported the 3-way discussion between DASSK, junta and UN. No action has been taken against them yet.

Posted 28 October

On 26th Oct, there were around 1000 people at Shwe Dagon Pagoda to celebrate the full moon festival. Though there were a lot of soldiers and police, people did not seem to be afraid of them. It seemed that burmese people are ready for another wave of events towards freedom for Burma.

Posted 30 October

The words, “Killer Than Shwe”, was written on the Pagoda Road near to a police station with white paints in ZeeGone Township (which is on Yangon-Pyay Highway), Bago Division. Papers with the words, “Killer Than Shwe”, was also found. Later, police took photo and destroyed the words.

Please take a second to Stumble this post and make sure to visit Burmanews and Stumble + Bookmark it. Keep the attention on this, if we don’t… the Burmese people will have suffered in vain!

This put a smile on my face…

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

Rumsfeld flees France fearing arrest
Sat, 10/27/2007 – 08:45

Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld fled France today fearing arrest over charges of “ordering and authorizing” torture of detainees at both the American-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the US military’s detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, unconfirmed reports coming from Paris suggest.

US embassy officials whisked Rumsfeld away yesterday from a breakfast meeting in Paris organized by the Foreign Policy magazine after human rights groups filed a criminal complaint against the man who spearheaded President George W. Bush’s “war on terror” for six years.

Under international law, authorities in France are obliged to open an investigation when a complaint is made while the alleged torturer is on French soil.

According to activists in France, who greeted Rumsfeld shouting “murderer” and “war criminal” at the breakfast meeting venue, US embassy officials remained tight-lipped about the former defense secretary’s whereabouts citing “security reasons”.

Anti-torture protesters in France believe that the defense secretary fled over the open border to Germany, where a war crimes case against Rumsfeld was dismissed by a federal court. But activist point out that under the Schengen agreement that ended border checkpoints across a large part of the European Union, French law enforcement agents are allowed to cross the border into Germany in pursuit of a fleeing fugitive.

“Rumsfeld must be feeling how Saddam Hussein felt when US forces were hunting him down,” activist Tanguy Richard said. “He may never end up being hanged like his old friend, but he must learn that in the civilized world, war crime doesn’t pay.”

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) along with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), and the French League for Human Rights (LDH) filed the complaint on Thursday after learning that Rumsfeld was scheduled to visit Paris.

From: wor.ldne.ws

Great to see achievements popping up left and right through activism. “The time is always right to do what’s right” – MLK

Burmese not backing down

Friday, October 19th, 2007

In Mawlamyaing, SPDC (government) asked the people to show support for their national reconciliation by making it compulsory for each household to send someone to attend. During the event, it started to rain and the people (mainly teachers) refused to go down to field arena and continued sitting at their seats. They also refused to say out the propaganda slogans. Soon after the event started, many people left the event and even threw away the flags on their way out.

From: Burmanews

Good to read this. Don’t forget people! Media attention is declining. Keep your eyes on the situation. Inform yourself! Keep other people’s attention on it. If we don’t forget, governments around the world will be forced to make a decision.

Dutch minister of health to ban “magic mushrooms”

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

After discussing the item for months, minister Klink (member of the Christian-Democrat party) has decided to ban the sale of magic mushrooms.

Dried mushrooms were already illegal to sell and own and were considered harddrugs. With the ban of sales, minister Klink is also consulting minister of Justice, Ernst Hirsch Ballin, if they could declare all mushrooms as harddrugs. This discussion leading up to this decision was mainly caused and influenced by incidents involving tourists whose irresponsible behaviour amounted to a lot of fear in the eyes of the public. Cohen, mayor of Amsterdam, already proposed a way to decrease spontaneous purchases of mushrooms by tourists, by giving them a certain waiting time before they could get the mushrooms. During this time they could inform themselves about the effects.

It’s a very bold move by the minister and although the majority of the parliament is for a ban, it still comes unexpected to many. Previous research into mushrooms has shown that the risks when taking mushrooms in a responsible way are very minimal. The Dutch organisation for smartshops have warned the government repeatedly of the risks involved of people buying mushrooms in an underground market.

It is expected that many groups will contest and protest the decision, since some view the mushroom as an entheogen and see the plant as capable of invoking very powerful spiritual and philosophical experiences.

Also see:
“Klink gaat paddo’s verbieden” – nu.nl (Dutch article)


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