Thursday, June 28, 2012

Justice and the Dotcom case

Maybe it is no yet too late for the New Zealand justice system to win back some ground that the country's police force wrongfully eroded so shamefully in the raid on Kim Dotcom's property and, subsequently, when they meekly acceded to US demands and allowed the FBI to clone material.

With luck Justice Helen Winkelmann's ruling will carry some serious force in future proceedings. Who knows, maybe it will help ensure some justice for Megaupload

Well spoken, Helen. Fearless, as always.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Limits to copyright

Following the link from I checked out this great story of a Chinese company cloning a UNESCO World Heritage-listed town in Austria.

Minmetal Land Inc. had the replica of the 900AD town built within a year, to serve as a housing estate.

Residents of the original town, Hallstatt, were simultaneously 'miffed' and 'proud'. Representatives said they would prefer to have been asked. The bottom line is, I guess, that an ancient town can't be copyrighted.

That is a perfectly intelligible proposition. We wonder if permission had been sought how it would have been negotiated. And if, at some 'official' level permission had been declined, could it have been policed?

What strikes us as a cute irony is the fact that unlike the original Hallstatt -- a cultural creation that has evolved over centuries -- Minmetal's creation will have detailed plans and could conceivably be reproduced, in which case the creators of the clone might have more valid bases for resisting reproduction than the present day 'owners' of the original.

Are Minmetal's design and plan copyrighted, we wonder. Could they be? Would it be in anyone's interests?

Meanwhile, we guard our pages and paragraphs .....

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

A lucky bus and the Transit of Venus

As luck would have it, there is no bus at 6.30am from Coatepec to Mexico City. I thought they ran daily at that time, but only Saturdays and Mondays it transpires.

So I booked myself onto the bus that leaves at half past midnight and got everything finished up here in time to have a bit of an evening rest before the bus ride.

I logged onto an Australian online newspaper to check how the transit of Venus was going and they had a live stream of the event -- an event which, as one New Zealand wag put it, is like watching paint dry.

I watched it for 4 and a half hours, and it has just completed. Seeing the last little edge of Venus disappearing and thinking "that won't come around again for another 117 years" was pretty special. Having watched paint dry earlier in the day I was well primed for watching the Venus marathon.

I'm so glad I saw it. Meanwhile, there is a bus to catch and I am right up against the time. But I would not have missed that transit for anything. In this case it takes a transit to catch a transit.

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