New Zealand Government to repeal Electoral Finance Act

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Zealand’s National-led government will repeal the Electoral Finance Act by February next year, according to Justice Minister Simon Power.

“As part of its first 100 days’ commitment the Government intends to repeal the Electoral Finance Act 2007 and replace it with an interim regime by 26 February 2009”, Power said. However, the precise date would depend on the cooperation of other parties in the House.

The promise was made in Parliament yesterday in response to a question from ACT MP John Boscawen.

The Electoral Finance Act was passed in 2007 by the then-Labour government. It requires greater transparency around donations to political parties and places a financial cap on “third party” campaigning by other groups. Opponents of the law consider it a serious restriction of civil liberties, and further consider that spending private money on political campaigning is a democratic right. National promised to repeal the law during the recent election campaign.

Parliament is expected to begin next year’s sitting on February 10, 2009. Given the tight deadline, the repeal will almost certainly be conducted under urgency and without a select committee phase.

The National government has come under fire in recent days for its use of urgency to pass bills without sending them to select committee.

 

Live 8 concerts around the world to “End Poverty Now”

Saturday, July 2, 2005

Massive music concerts took place around the planet under the Live 8 banner in an effort to put pressure on the leaders of the eight richest countries in the world to end global poverty.

All concerts were timed to take place between noon and 10pm local time, with over a million people expected to attend concerts in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the US, Canada, South Africa and Russia. The events were broadcast to a potential audience of five and a half billion people world-wide.

The largest concert was in the US in Philadelphia where, over the course of 7 hours, hundreds of thousands of people gathered to watch Stevie Wonder, Kanye West, Destiny’s Child, Dave Matthews Band, and Black Eyed Peas among others. Philadelphia native Will Smith both performed and was the opening presenter. Peak attendance, the maximum amount of people believed to be watching Live 8 on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at a given time, is estimated to have been between 600,000 and 800,000.

In Hyde Park in London, 205,000 people watched acts including Elton John, Madonna, Coldplay, Robbie Williams and Pink Floyd. The concert was opened by Sir Paul McCartney and U2 playing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – the first time the song has ever been performed live by a Beatle. It ended at 11.58pm with all of the acts coming on stage to sing one last time.

Bill Gates – founder of Microsoft and the richest man in the world (owning $46.5 billion) – appeared on the London stage to discuss the challenges facing the world, before introducing Dido. Later, Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the UN addressed the audience, thanking them for their support.

However, the first concert to open – in Japan – only drew 10,000 spectators, disappointing many.

The concerts follow on 20 years after the Live Aid concert organised by Bob Geldof, which was created to raise money for famine victims in Ethopia.

By contrast, the aim of Live 8 – also organised by Geldof – is not fund-raising but instead to apply pressure to the leaders of the G8 to end world poverty, which claims the lives of 50,000 every day.

The Live 8 organisers are urging the G8 to:

  1. Double the aid sent to the world’s poorest countries,
  2. Fully cancel their debts,
  3. Change the trade laws so that they can build their own future.

The Finance Ministers of the G8 agreed a plan last month to cancel the debt of 18 of the poorest countries to the IMF, the World Bank and the African Development Fund, but are requiring other countries to end political and financial corruption before they become elegible for debt relief.

On Thursday the President of the United States, George W. Bush, announced that the US will double US aid to Africa by 2010 – increasing to $8.6 billion a year. Bob Geldof welcomed the news, saying “This is the first time we have heard this sort of language.

“This is very, very positive indeed.”

Contents

  • 1 Line-up
    • 1.1 London, United Kingdom
    • 1.2 Berlin, Germany
    • 1.3 Philadelphia, United States
    • 1.4 Paris, France
    • 1.5 Rome, Italy
    • 1.6 Moscow, Russia
    • 1.7 Barrie, Canada
    • 1.8 Johannesburg, South Africa
    • 1.9 Tokyo, Japan
    • 1.10 In Cornwall
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 External links
 

Calpine declares bankruptcy, cites natural gas prices

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Electrical power generator Calpine Corporation declared bankruptcy on Tuesday. The San Jose, California based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Federal Court, to facilitate debt restructuring and to allow for normal operations to continue. Calpine has obtained secured debtor-in-possession financing from Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse First Boston totaling $2 billion. The company announced that some of its Canadian subsidiaries would also file for creditor protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. Calpine and its subsidiaries operate natural gas and geothermal electricity generating plants in 21 U.S. states and 3 Canadian provinces.

The recent rise in natural gas prices due to Hurricanes Rita and Katrina has pushed Calpine’s cost significantly above the locked in selling price for its long-term contracts. Calpine has asked the court to void eight long term contracts, including a 20-year contract entered into with the State of California‘s Department of Water Resources and Pacific Gas and Electric Company in 2001.

The company received permission on December 21 from the Federal Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York to use $500 million of its financing to continue operating and to keep paying its employees’ salaries and benefits.

 

Make More Money With Online Real Estate Marketing}

Click Here For More Specific Information On:

Make More Money With Online Real Estate Marketing

by

Stephanie Martin

A couple of years ago we saw the real estate market crashed and burn. People were losing homes to foreclosure for non payment due to loss of job. Right now, times are starting to look up again and so is the market. Many people are coming out of the woodwork as realtors and making a decent living doing it. Online real estate marketing is one of the best ways for you to achieve online success!

Many people turn to the internet on a daily basis. It is important for anyone looking to get into online real estate marketing to understand the client. Make sure that you research the market and look at how many people are searching for homes online. The online home buying business has definitely started to rise. The cost of this process is significantly lower and easier.

Anyone looking to succeed in this business needs to have the right website laid out and ready to go. This is what your clients are going to see before they even meet you. Make sure that you create a site that is designed so the client can get whatever they need. A contact page needs to be included when the client has nay questions or wants to get the process started!

Anyone dabbling in the internet knows about search engine optimization. It does not matter what type of site that you have, when you want people to see it, you need to choose the right keywords. With online real estate marketing you will have to do the same thing for your website. Choose keywords that are easy to search for. This way clients can see you on the first set of search pages!

Email lists and newsletters will not only keep your clients updated, but will draw in referrals as well. When you create these tools for online real estate marketing, you will be giving yourself a bit of a boost. Look for software that will help you layout and create the perfect online newsletter.

Video marketing is the cutting edge of online real estate marketing. Right now Google and YouTube have both teamed up in order to provide video advertisements to clients. If you can sign on to this you can easily post a few ads up and get started. You can even create your own ads for your company if you have the right technology!

When it comes to making money in the real estate world, you need to have the internet on your side. Online real estate marketing is easy for those who have all of the right tools. Start your marketing campaign today and see how you can benefit from it!

http://www.agentbuilderinc.com/wordpress/2010/03/16/make-more-money-with-online-real-estate-marketing/

Article Source:

Make More Money With Online Real Estate Marketing

}

 

Chula Vista, California becomes model for blight control laws in the US

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The San Diego, California suburb of Chula Vista has responded to the recent housing crisis with an aggressive blight control ordinance that compels lenders to maintain the appearance of vacant homes. As foreclosures increase both locally and throughout the United States, the one year old ordinance has become a model for other cities overwhelmed by the problem of abandoned homes that decay into neighborhood eyesores.

Chula Vista city code enforcement manager Doug Leeper told the San Diego Union Tribune that over 300 jurisdictions have contacted his office during the past year with inquiries about the city’s tough local ordinance. Coral Springs, Florida, and California towns Stockton, Santee, Riverside County, and Murietta have all modeled recently enacted anti-blight measures after Chula Vista’s. On Wednesday, 8 October, the Escondido City Council also voted to tighten local measures making lenders more accountable for maintenance of empty homes.

Lenders will respond when it costs them less to maintain the property than to ignore local agency requirements.

Under the Chula Vista ordinance lenders become legally responsible for upkeep as soon as a notice of mortgage default gets filed on a vacant dwelling, before actual ownership of the dwelling returns to the lender. Leeper regards that as “the cutting-edge part of our ordinance”. Chula Vista also requires prompt registration of vacant homes and applies stiff fines as high as US$1000 per day for failure to maintain a property. Since foreclosed properties are subject to frequent resale between mortgage brokers, city officials enforce the fines by sending notices to every name on title documents and placing a lien on the property, which prevents further resale until outstanding fines have been paid. In the year since the ordinance went into effect the city has applied $850,000 in fines and penalties, of which it has collected $200,000 to date. The city has collected an additional $77,000 in registration fees on vacant homes.

Jolie Houston, an attorney in San Jose, believes “Lenders will respond when it costs them less to maintain the property than to ignore local agency requirements.” Traditionally, local governments have resorted to addressing blight problems on abandoned properties with public funds, mowing overgrown lawns and performing other vital functions, then seeking repayment afterward. Chula Vista has moved that responsibility to an upfront obligation upon lenders.

That kind of measure will add additional costs to banks that have been hit really hard already and ultimately the cost will be transferred down to consumers and investors.

As one of the fastest growing cities in the United States during recent years, Chula Vista saw 22.6% growth between 2000 and 2006, which brought the city’s population from 173,556 in the 2000 census to an estimated 212,756, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Chula Vista placed among the nation’s 20 fastest growing cities in 2004. A large proportion of local homes were purchased during the recent housing boom using creative financing options that purchasers did not understand were beyond their means. Average home prices in San Diego County declined by 25% in the last year, which is the steepest drop on record. Many homeowners in the region currently owe more than their homes are worth and confront rising balloon payment mortgages that they had expected to afford by refinancing new equity that either vanished or never materialized. In August 2008, Chula Vista’s eastern 91913 zip code had the highest home mortgage default rate in the county with 154 filings and 94 foreclosures, an increase of 154% over one year previously. Regionally, the county saw 1,979 foreclosures in August.

Professionals from the real estate and mortgage industries object to Chula Vista’s response to the crisis for the additional burdens it places on their struggling finances. Said San Diego real estate agent Marc Carpenter, “that kind of measure will add additional costs to banks that have been hit really hard already and ultimately the cost will be transferred down to consumers and investors.” Yet city councils in many communities have been under pressure to do something about increasing numbers of vacant properties. Concentrations of abandoned and neglected homes can attract vandals who hasten the decline of struggling neighborhoods. Jolie Houston explained that city officials “can’t fix the lending problem, but they can try to prevent neighborhoods from becoming blighted.”

HAVE YOUR SAY
Does Chula Vista’s solution save neighborhoods or worsen the financial crisis?
Add or view comments

CEO Robert Klein of Safeguard, a property management firm, told the Union Tribune that his industry is having difficulty adapting to the rapidly changing local ordinances. “Every day we discover a new ordinance coming out of somewhere”, he complained. Dustin Hobbs, a spokesman from the California Association of Mortgage Bankers agreed that uneven local ordinances are likely to increase the costs of lending. Hobbs advised that local legislation is unnecessary due to California State Senate Bill 1137, which was recently approved to address blight. Yet according to Houston, the statewide measure falls short because it fails to address upkeep needs during the months between the time when foreclosure begins and when the lender takes title.

 

City of Edinburgh Council seek to improve local music scene

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

  • 1
  • 2

Yesterday evening saw the Usher Hall in Edinburgh host a meeting between representatives of the City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) and the local rock and pop music scene. The meeting was dominated with local musicians’ complaints over the “zero tolerance” policy Edinburgh is viewed as having adopted towards amplified music. The meeting began with the leading panel — Norma Austin Hart, vice-convener for Culture and Sport; John Stout, promoter from Regular Music; Kevin Buckle, of local store Avalanche Records; and Karl Chapman, manager of the Usher Hall — introducing themselves and outlining the purpose of the meeting. This being best-summarised as a desire to emulate the vibrant music scene of places as far-flung as Austin, Texas and Sydney, Australia.

Councillor Hart indicated officials from Austin had already offered to get involved in improving the live music scene in the city; although none were present from Austin, US-born local musician Pat Dennis provided his frank opinion on where Edinburgh fails to nurture the local music scene: that failure to support a grass-roots, small venue, music scene prevents the city being capable of organising events similar to Austin’s South by Southwest festival outwith August, when Edinburgh hosts the Festival and Fringe.

HAVE YOUR SAY
How do you think live music should be balanced against resident noise complaints?
Add or view comments

Coming in for the lion’s share of criticism, staff from CEC’s Licensing Board were visibly uncomfortable when the topic of the “single complainant” was brought up time and time again. Unlike any other business within the city, or residential properties, noise pollution within premises permitted to sell alcohol is not managed by environmental health staff. That responsibility is bundled with the alcohol license, which leaves publicans fearful that their premises will be forced to close if they do not comply with demands to cease use of any amplification, or hosting live music. This was characterised as a ‘tyranny of the minority’, a most-undemocratic approach where one person — for example, recently moved into a property adjacent to a long-established premises hosting live music — could force the closure of a business which has hosted local talent for 30+ years.

Taking heed of the strength of feeling from the majority present, Councillor Hart made a number of personal commitments towards the end of the meeting. Those included setting up a working group, Music is Audible, to look at how the council could better work with venues, and to have a follow-up meeting in March next year.

 

U.K. National Portrait Gallery threatens U.S. citizen with legal action over Wikimedia images

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

The English National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in London has threatened on Friday to sue a U.S. citizen, Derrick Coetzee. The legal letter followed claims that he had breached the Gallery’s copyright in several thousand photographs of works of art uploaded to the Wikimedia Commons, a free online media repository.

In a letter from their solicitors sent to Coetzee via electronic mail, the NPG asserted that it holds copyright in the photographs under U.K. law, and demanded that Coetzee provide various undertakings and remove all of the images from the site (referred to in the letter as “the Wikipedia website”).

Wikimedia Commons is a repository of free-to-use media, run by a community of volunteers from around the world, and is a sister project to Wikinews and the encyclopedia Wikipedia. Coetzee, who contributes to the Commons using the account “Dcoetzee”, had uploaded images that are free for public use under United States law, where he and the website are based. However copyright is claimed to exist in the country where the gallery is situated.

The complaint by the NPG is that under UK law, its copyright in the photographs of its portraits is being violated. While the gallery has complained to the Wikimedia Foundation for a number of years, this is the first direct threat of legal action made against an actual uploader of images. In addition to the allegation that Coetzee had violated the NPG’s copyright, they also allege that Coetzee had, by uploading thousands of images in bulk, infringed the NPG’s database right, breached a contract with the NPG; and circumvented a copyright protection mechanism on the NPG’s web site.

The copyright protection mechanism referred to is Zoomify, a product of Zoomify, Inc. of Santa Cruz, California. NPG’s solicitors stated in their letter that “Our client used the Zoomify technology to protect our client’s copyright in the high resolution images.”. Zoomify Inc. states in the Zoomify support documentation that its product is intended to make copying of images “more difficult” by breaking the image into smaller pieces and disabling the option within many web browsers to click and save images, but that they “provide Zoomify as a viewing solution and not an image security system”.

In particular, Zoomify’s website comments that while “many customers — famous museums for example” use Zoomify, in their experience a “general consensus” seems to exist that most museums are concerned with making the images in their galleries accessible to the public, rather than preventing the public from accessing them or making copies; they observe that a desire to prevent high resolution images being distributed would also imply prohibiting the sale of any posters or production of high quality printed material that could be scanned and placed online.

Other actions in the past have come directly from the NPG, rather than via solicitors. For example, several edits have been made directly to the English-language Wikipedia from the IP address 217.207.85.50, one of sixteen such IP addresses assigned to computers at the NPG by its ISP, Easynet.

In the period from August 2005 to July 2006 an individual within the NPG using that IP address acted to remove the use of several Wikimedia Commons pictures from articles in Wikipedia, including removing an image of the Chandos portrait, which the NPG has had in its possession since 1856, from Wikipedia’s biographical article on William Shakespeare.

Other actions included adding notices to the pages for images, and to the text of several articles using those images, such as the following edit to Wikipedia’s article on Catherine of Braganza and to its page for the Wikipedia Commons image of Branwell Brontë‘s portrait of his sisters:

“THIS IMAGE IS BEING USED WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER.”
“This image is copyright material and must not be reproduced in any way without permission of the copyright holder. Under current UK copyright law, there is copyright in skilfully executed photographs of ex-copyright works, such as this painting of Catherine de Braganza.
The original painting belongs to the National Portrait Gallery, London. For copies, and permission to reproduce the image, please contact the Gallery at picturelibrary@npg.org.uk or via our website at www.npg.org.uk”

Other, later, edits, made on the day that NPG’s solicitors contacted Coetzee and drawn to the NPG’s attention by Wikinews, are currently the subject of an internal investigation within the NPG.

Coetzee published the contents of the letter on Saturday July 11, the letter itself being dated the previous day. It had been sent electronically to an email address associated with his Wikimedia Commons user account. The NPG’s solicitors had mailed the letter from an account in the name “Amisquitta”. This account was blocked shortly after by a user with access to the user blocking tool, citing a long standing Wikipedia policy that the making of legal threats and creation of a hostile environment is generally inconsistent with editing access and is an inappropriate means of resolving user disputes.

The policy, initially created on Commons’ sister website in June 2004, is also intended to protect all parties involved in a legal dispute, by ensuring that their legal communications go through proper channels, and not through a wiki that is open to editing by other members of the public. It was originally formulated primarily to address legal action for libel. In October 2004 it was noted that there was “no consensus” whether legal threats related to copyright infringement would be covered but by the end of 2006 the policy had reached a consensus that such threats (as opposed to polite complaints) were not compatible with editing access while a legal matter was unresolved. Commons’ own website states that “[accounts] used primarily to create a hostile environment for another user may be blocked”.

In a further response, Gregory Maxwell, a volunteer administrator on Wikimedia Commons, made a formal request to the editorial community that Coetzee’s access to administrator tools on Commons should be revoked due to the prevailing circumstances. Maxwell noted that Coetzee “[did] not have the technically ability to permanently delete images”, but stated that Coetzee’s potential legal situation created a conflict of interest.

Sixteen minutes after Maxwell’s request, Coetzee’s “administrator” privileges were removed by a user in response to the request. Coetzee retains “administrator” privileges on the English-language Wikipedia, since none of the images exist on Wikipedia’s own website and therefore no conflict of interest exists on that site.

Legally, the central issue upon which the case depends is that copyright laws vary between countries. Under United States case law, where both the website and Coetzee are located, a photograph of a non-copyrighted two-dimensional picture (such as a very old portrait) is not capable of being copyrighted, and it may be freely distributed and used by anyone. Under UK law that point has not yet been decided, and the Gallery’s solicitors state that such photographs could potentially be subject to copyright in that country.

One major legal point upon which a case would hinge, should the NPG proceed to court, is a question of originality. The U.K.’s Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 defines in ¶ 1(a) that copyright is a right that subsists in “original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works” (emphasis added). The legal concept of originality here involves the simple origination of a work from an author, and does not include the notions of novelty or innovation that is often associated with the non-legal meaning of the word.

Whether an exact photographic reproduction of a work is an original work will be a point at issue. The NPG asserts that an exact photographic reproduction of a copyrighted work in another medium constitutes an original work, and this would be the basis for its action against Coetzee. This view has some support in U.K. case law. The decision of Walter v Lane held that exact transcriptions of speeches by journalists, in shorthand on reporter’s notepads, were original works, and thus copyrightable in themselves. The opinion by Hugh Laddie, Justice Laddie, in his book The Modern Law of Copyright, points out that photographs lie on a continuum, and that photographs can be simple copies, derivative works, or original works:

“[…] it is submitted that a person who makes a photograph merely by placing a drawing or painting on the glass of a photocopying machine and pressing the button gets no copyright at all; but he might get a copyright if he employed skill and labour in assembling the thing to be photocopied, as where he made a montage.”

Various aspects of this continuum have already been explored in the courts. Justice Neuberger, in the decision at Antiquesportfolio.com v Rodney Fitch & Co. held that a photograph of a three-dimensional object would be copyrightable if some exercise of judgement of the photographer in matters of angle, lighting, film speed, and focus were involved. That exercise would create an original work. Justice Oliver similarly held, in Interlego v Tyco Industries, that “[i]t takes great skill, judgement and labour to produce a good copy by painting or to produce an enlarged photograph from a positive print, but no-one would reasonably contend that the copy, painting, or enlargement was an ‘original’ artistic work in which the copier is entitled to claim copyright. Skill, labour or judgement merely in the process of copying cannot confer originality.”.

In 2000 the Museums Copyright Group, a copyright lobbying group, commissioned a report and legal opinion on the implications of the Bridgeman case for the UK, which stated:

“Revenue raised from reproduction fees and licensing is vital to museums to support their primary educational and curatorial objectives. Museums also rely on copyright in photographs of works of art to protect their collections from inaccurate reproduction and captioning… as a matter of principle, a photograph of an artistic work can qualify for copyright protection in English law”. The report concluded by advocating that “museums must continue to lobby” to protect their interests, to prevent inferior quality images of their collections being distributed, and “not least to protect a vital source of income”.

Several people and organizations in the U.K. have been awaiting a test case that directly addresses the issue of copyrightability of exact photographic reproductions of works in other media. The commonly cited legal case Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp. found that there is no originality where the aim and the result is a faithful and exact reproduction of the original work. The case was heard twice in New York, once applying UK law and once applying US law. It cited the prior UK case of Interlego v Tyco Industries (1988) in which Lord Oliver stated that “Skill, labour or judgement merely in the process of copying cannot confer originality.”

“What is important about a drawing is what is visually significant and the re-drawing of an existing drawing […] does not make it an original artistic work, however much labour and skill may have gone into the process of reproduction […]”

The Interlego judgement had itself drawn upon another UK case two years earlier, Coca-Cola Go’s Applications, in which the House of Lords drew attention to the “undesirability” of plaintiffs seeking to expand intellectual property law beyond the purpose of its creation in order to create an “undeserving monopoly”. It commented on this, that “To accord an independent artistic copyright to every such reproduction would be to enable the period of artistic copyright in what is, essentially, the same work to be extended indefinitely… “

The Bridgeman case concluded that whether under UK or US law, such reproductions of copyright-expired material were not capable of being copyrighted.

The unsuccessful plaintiff, Bridgeman Art Library, stated in 2006 in written evidence to the House of Commons Committee on Culture, Media and Sport that it was “looking for a similar test case in the U.K. or Europe to fight which would strengthen our position”.

The National Portrait Gallery is a non-departmental public body based in London England and sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Founded in 1856, it houses a collection of portraits of historically important and famous British people. The gallery contains more than 11,000 portraits and 7,000 light-sensitive works in its Primary Collection, 320,000 in the Reference Collection, over 200,000 pictures and negatives in the Photographs Collection and a library of around 35,000 books and manuscripts. (More on the National Portrait Gallery here)

The gallery’s solicitors are Farrer & Co LLP, of London. Farrer’s clients have notably included the British Royal Family, in a case related to extracts from letters sent by Diana, Princess of Wales which were published in a book by ex-butler Paul Burrell. (In that case, the claim was deemed unlikely to succeed, as the extracts were not likely to be in breach of copyright law.)

Farrer & Co have close ties with industry interest groups related to copyright law. Peter Wienand, Head of Intellectual Property at Farrer & Co., is a member of the Executive body of the Museums Copyright Group, which is chaired by Tom Morgan, Head of Rights and Reproductions at the National Portrait Gallery. The Museums Copyright Group acts as a lobbying organization for “the interests and activities of museums and galleries in the area of [intellectual property rights]”, which reacted strongly against the Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp. case.

Wikimedia Commons is a repository of images, media, and other material free for use by anyone in the world. It is operated by a community of 21,000 active volunteers, with specialist rights such as deletion and blocking restricted to around 270 experienced users in the community (known as “administrators”) who are trusted by the community to use them to enact the wishes and policies of the community. Commons is hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation, a charitable body whose mission is to make available free knowledge and historic and other material which is legally distributable under US law. (More on Commons here)

The legal threat also sparked discussions of moral issues and issues of public policy in several Internet discussion fora, including Slashdot, over the weekend. One major public policy issue relates to how the public domain should be preserved.

Some of the public policy debate over the weekend has echoed earlier opinions presented by Kenneth Hamma, the executive director for Digital Policy at the J. Paul Getty Trust. Writing in D-Lib Magazine in November 2005, Hamma observed:

“Art museums and many other collecting institutions in this country hold a trove of public-domain works of art. These are works whose age precludes continued protection under copyright law. The works are the result of and evidence for human creativity over thousands of years, an activity museums celebrate by their very existence. For reasons that seem too frequently unexamined, many museums erect barriers that contribute to keeping quality images of public domain works out of the hands of the general public, of educators, and of the general milieu of creativity. In restricting access, art museums effectively take a stand against the creativity they otherwise celebrate. This conflict arises as a result of the widely accepted practice of asserting rights in the images that the museums make of the public domain works of art in their collections.”

He also stated:

“This resistance to free and unfettered access may well result from a seemingly well-grounded concern: many museums assume that an important part of their core business is the acquisition and management of rights in art works to maximum return on investment. That might be true in the case of the recording industry, but it should not be true for nonprofit institutions holding public domain art works; it is not even their secondary business. Indeed, restricting access seems all the more inappropriate when measured against a museum’s mission — a responsibility to provide public access. Their charitable, financial, and tax-exempt status demands such. The assertion of rights in public domain works of art — images that at their best closely replicate the values of the original work — differs in almost every way from the rights managed by the recording industry. Because museums and other similar collecting institutions are part of the private nonprofit sector, the obligation to treat assets as held in public trust should replace the for-profit goal. To do otherwise, undermines the very nature of what such institutions were created to do.”

Hamma observed in 2005 that “[w]hile examples of museums chasing down digital image miscreants are rare to non-existent, the expectation that museums might do so has had a stultifying effect on the development of digital image libraries for teaching and research.”

The NPG, which has been taking action with respect to these images since at least 2005, is a public body. It was established by Act of Parliament, the current Act being the Museums and Galleries Act 1992. In that Act, the NPG Board of Trustees is charged with maintaining “a collection of portraits of the most eminent persons in British history, of other works of art relevant to portraiture and of documents relating to those portraits and other works of art”. It also has the tasks of “secur[ing] that the portraits are exhibited to the public” and “generally promot[ing] the public’s enjoyment and understanding of portraiture of British persons and British history through portraiture both by means of the Board’s collection and by such other means as they consider appropriate”.

Several commentators have questioned how the NPG’s statutory goals align with its threat of legal action. Mike Masnick, founder of Techdirt, asked “The people who run the Gallery should be ashamed of themselves. They ought to go back and read their own mission statement[. …] How, exactly, does suing someone for getting those portraits more attention achieve that goal?” (external link Masnick’s). L. Sutherland of Bigmouthmedia asked “As the paintings of the NPG technically belong to the nation, does that mean that they should also belong to anyone that has access to a computer?”

Other public policy debates that have been sparked have included the applicability of U.K. courts, and U.K. law, to the actions of a U.S. citizen, residing in the U.S., uploading files to servers hosted in the U.S.. Two major schools of thought have emerged. Both see the issue as encroachment of one legal system upon another. But they differ as to which system is encroaching. One view is that the free culture movement is attempting to impose the values and laws of the U.S. legal system, including its case law such as Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp., upon the rest of the world. Another view is that a U.K. institution is attempting to control, through legal action, the actions of a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil.

David Gerard, former Press Officer for Wikimedia UK, the U.K. chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation, which has been involved with the “Wikipedia Loves Art” contest to create free content photographs of exhibits at the Victoria and Albert Museum, stated on Slashdot that “The NPG actually acknowledges in their letter that the poster’s actions were entirely legal in America, and that they’re making a threat just because they think they can. The Wikimedia community and the WMF are absolutely on the side of these public domain images remaining in the public domain. The NPG will be getting radioactive publicity from this. Imagine the NPG being known to American tourists as somewhere that sues Americans just because it thinks it can.”

Benjamin Crowell, a physics teacher at Fullerton College in California, stated that he had received a letter from the Copyright Officer at the NPG in 2004, with respect to the picture of the portrait of Isaac Newton used in his physics textbooks, that he publishes in the U.S. under a free content copyright licence, to which he had replied with a pointer to Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp..

The Wikimedia Foundation takes a similar stance. Erik Möller, the Deputy Director of the US-based Wikimedia Foundation wrote in 2008 that “we’ve consistently held that faithful reproductions of two-dimensional public domain works which are nothing more than reproductions should be considered public domain for licensing purposes”.

Contacted over the weekend, the NPG issued a statement to Wikinews:

“The National Portrait Gallery is very strongly committed to giving access to its Collection. In the past five years the Gallery has spent around £1 million digitising its Collection to make it widely available for study and enjoyment. We have so far made available on our website more than 60,000 digital images, which have attracted millions of users, and we believe this extensive programme is of great public benefit.
“The Gallery supports Wikipedia in its aim of making knowledge widely available and we would be happy for the site to use our low-resolution images, sufficient for most forms of public access, subject to safeguards. However, in March 2009 over 3000 high-resolution files were appropriated from the National Portrait Gallery website and published on Wikipedia without permission.
“The Gallery is very concerned that potential loss of licensing income from the high-resolution files threatens its ability to reinvest in its digitisation programme and so make further images available. It is one of the Gallery’s primary purposes to make as much of the Collection available as possible for the public to view.
“Digitisation involves huge costs including research, cataloguing, conservation and highly-skilled photography. Images then need to be made available on the Gallery website as part of a structured and authoritative database. To date, Wikipedia has not responded to our requests to discuss the issue and so the National Portrait Gallery has been obliged to issue a lawyer’s letter. The Gallery remains willing to enter into a dialogue with Wikipedia.

In fact, Matthew Bailey, the Gallery’s (then) Assistant Picture Library Manager, had already once been in a similar dialogue. Ryan Kaldari, an amateur photographer from Nashville, Tennessee, who also volunteers at the Wikimedia Commons, states that he was in correspondence with Bailey in October 2006. In that correspondence, according to Kaldari, he and Bailey failed to conclude any arrangement.

Jay Walsh, the Head of Communications for the Wikimedia Foundation, which hosts the Commons, called the gallery’s actions “unfortunate” in the Foundation’s statement, issued on Tuesday July 14:

“The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally. To that end, we have very productive working relationships with a number of galleries, archives, museums and libraries around the world, who join with us to make their educational materials available to the public.
“The Wikimedia Foundation does not control user behavior, nor have we reviewed every action taken by that user. Nonetheless, it is our general understanding that the user in question has behaved in accordance with our mission, with the general goal of making public domain materials available via our Wikimedia Commons project, and in accordance with applicable law.”

The Foundation added in its statement that as far as it was aware, the NPG had not attempted “constructive dialogue”, and that the volunteer community was presently discussing the matter independently.

In part, the lack of past agreement may have been because of a misunderstanding by the National Portrait Gallery of Commons and Wikipedia’s free content mandate; and of the differences between Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation, the Wikimedia Commons, and the individual volunteer workers who participate on the various projects supported by the Foundation.

Like Coetzee, Ryan Kaldari is a volunteer worker who does not represent Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Commons. (Such representation is impossible. Both Wikipedia and the Commons are endeavours supported by the Wikimedia Foundation, and not organizations in themselves.) Nor, again like Coetzee, does he represent the Wikimedia Foundation.

Kaldari states that he explained the free content mandate to Bailey. Bailey had, according to copies of his messages provided by Kaldari, offered content to Wikipedia (naming as an example the photograph of John Opie‘s 1797 portrait of Mary Wollstonecraft, whose copyright term has since expired) but on condition that it not be free content, but would be subject to restrictions on its distribution that would have made it impossible to use by any of the many organizations that make use of Wikipedia articles and the Commons repository, in the way that their site-wide “usable by anyone” licences ensures.

The proposed restrictions would have also made it impossible to host the images on Wikimedia Commons. The image of the National Portrait Gallery in this article, above, is one such free content image; it was provided and uploaded to the Wikimedia Commons under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licence, and is thus able to be used and republished not only on Wikipedia but also on Wikinews, on other Wikimedia Foundation projects, as well as by anyone in the world, subject to the terms of the GFDL, a license that guarantees attribution is provided to the creators of the image.

As Commons has grown, many other organizations have come to different arrangements with volunteers who work at the Wikimedia Commons and at Wikipedia. For example, in February 2009, fifteen international museums including the Brooklyn Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum established a month-long competition where users were invited to visit in small teams and take high quality photographs of their non-copyright paintings and other exhibits, for upload to Wikimedia Commons and similar websites (with restrictions as to equipment, required in order to conserve the exhibits), as part of the “Wikipedia Loves Art” contest.

Approached for comment by Wikinews, Jim Killock, the executive director of the Open Rights Group, said “It’s pretty clear that these images themselves should be in the public domain. There is a clear public interest in making sure paintings and other works are usable by anyone once their term of copyright expires. This is what US courts have recognised, whatever the situation in UK law.”

The Digital Britain report, issued by the U.K.’s Department for Culture, Media, and Sport in June 2009, stated that “Public cultural institutions like Tate, the Royal Opera House, the RSC, the Film Council and many other museums, libraries, archives and galleries around the country now reach a wider public online.” Culture minster Ben Bradshaw was also approached by Wikinews for comment on the public policy issues surrounding the on-line availability of works in the public domain held in galleries, re-raised by the NPG’s threat of legal action, but had not responded by publication time.

 

Tips For Parents On Teaching Healthy Habits To Your Kids}

Click Here For More Specific Information On:

Tips For Parents On Teaching Healthy Habits To Your Kids

by

Efrain Aguilar

As parents, I think we can agree that when it comes to encouraging kids to make healthy choices, it’s not an easy task. So what’s a parent to do?

It begins by creating healthy choices without being too obvious about it. After all, for many kids if you say the word healthy, they’ll turn up their nose in disgust! It isn’t uncommon for kids to push aside healthy options for the “fun” food, which is heavily promoted through television.

“If I don’t buy the food they like, they won’t eat anything!” is a common myth among parents. The reality is if they get hungry enough, they will eat. You have never heard of a child starving to death because his mother refused to feed him “junk food”, have you?

Children will choose to eat healthy food. It’s a process that takes time and creativity. There are plenty of healthy foods that your kids can learn to enjoy. It’s simply a matter of making gradual changes and allowing their taste buds to adjust to the changes. Kids are used to eating foods high sodium and fat, and need to adjust to eating new healthier foods. This process takes awhile. Making small changes to the normal routine is key.

YouTube Preview Image

Follow these tips to help your child make healthy choices that will last a lifetime.

1) Have healthy foods ready and easy to grab in the kitchen.

Stock your kitchen with fruits, vegetables, complex starches, yogurt and lean protein. By default you are changing your child’s food choices simply because your are limiting the availability of “junk food” and increasing the availability of “healthy foods”.

Kids need an after school snack. I remember my Mom always having pre-portioned snacks ready for us and as kids my sister and I always looked forward to our after school snack of the day, it was a treat and a way for our family to bond. Try having these healthy and easy snacks ready for your kids. A smoothie with yogurt and fruit, baked tortilla chips and salsa, sliced apple with peanut butter, string cheese and crackers, yogurt with granola or salt-less pretzels with peanuts.

2) Put your kids in charge of packing their own lunch.

Make a rule that when your kid enters 5th grade they are responsible for making their own lunch and can pack anything they want as long as they pack food from all of the food groups.

This was the strategy that my Mother used. By the time my sister and I were in the 5th grade the anticipation of “being in charge” of our own lunch made us really want to do it. It was a win-win because we felt grown-up and Mom didn’t have to pack lunch!

3) Involve your children in making the grocery-shopping list.

Explain that they are allowed to choose one “treat” and beside that they have to choose their fruit, yogurt, bread, cereal and type of lunchmeat they want. And they can use these foods to pack their own lunch!

On the refrigerator we always had a pad of paper with the grocery list. I remember being able to write down one treat I wanted every week as well as what flavored yogurt, lunchmeat and fruit that I wanted for my school lunch. I was given the responsibility of making food decisions for myself, which definitely helped me develop into a responsible adult.

4) Make physical activity a part of your family’s routine

Be active yourself and share your activity with your kids. You can play with them, such as football, cycling, skating, and swimming or take family walks and hikes. Being more active as a family will improve physical and emotional health. Help your kids to find activities that they enjoy by showing them different possibilities.

During the summer it was a tradition for my family to go for a bike ride every Friday night after dinner. We would sing songs and plan games together; sometimes we would be having so much fun that we would be out riding until 11pm. I also remember my parents using it as a disciplinary tactic, if we didn’t clean our rooms that week we would not be able to ride out bike in the street with them.

5) Have your entire family take part in preparing/planning family meals.

The more your kids can participate in family meals, the better choices they will be willing to make. Healthy eating is a family project and everyone should get involved. You can begin by choosing one night a week where the entire family can come together and prepare and eat together.

Before our bike rides on Friday we would have a family dinner night. Often the meal of choice was pizza. Together we would make a homemade pizza with pepperoni and vegetables that we would strategically place on the pizza. Sometimes we would create a model of our house, we each were able to make our bedrooms and come together as a family to the living room and kitchen.

Learn about

post operative depression

,

postnatal yoga

and other information at the

Health And Nutrition Tips

site.

Article Source:

Tips For Parents On Teaching Healthy Habits To Your Kids

}

 

Gay Talese on the state of journalism, Iraq and his life

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Gay Talese wants to go to Iraq. “It so happens there is someone that’s working on such a thing right now for me,” the 75-year-old legendary journalist and author told David Shankbone. “Even if I was on Al-Jazeera with a gun to my head, I wouldn’t be pleading with those bastards! I’d say, ‘Go ahead. Make my day.'”

Few reporters will ever reach the stature of Talese. His 1966 profile of Frank Sinatra, Frank Sinatra Has a Cold, was not only cited by The Economist as the greatest profile of Sinatra ever written, but is considered the greatest of any celebrity profile ever written. In the 70th anniversary issue of Esquire in October 2003, the editors declared the piece the “Best Story Esquire Ever Published.”

Talese helped create and define a new style of literary reporting called New Journalism. Talese himself told National Public Radio he rejects this label (“The term new journalism became very fashionable on college campuses in the 1970s and some of its practitioners tended to be a little loose with the facts. And that’s where I wanted to part company.”)

He is not bothered by the Bancrofts selling The Wall Street Journal—”It’s not like we should lament the passing of some noble dynasty!”—to Rupert Murdoch, but he is bothered by how the press supported and sold the Iraq War to the American people. “The press in Washington got us into this war as much as the people that are controlling it,” said Talese. “They took information that was second-hand information, and they went along with it.” He wants to see the Washington press corp disbanded and sent around the country to get back in touch with the people it covers; that the press should not be so focused on–and in bed with–the federal government.

Augusten Burroughs once said that writers are experience junkies, and Talese fits the bill. Talese–who has been married to Nan Talese (she edited James Frey‘s Million Little Piece) for fifty years–can be found at baseball games in Cuba or the gay bars of Beijing, wanting to see humanity in all its experience.

Below is Wikinews reporter David Shankbone’s interview with Gay Talese.

Contents

  • 1 On Gay Talese
  • 2 On a higher power and how he’d like to die
  • 3 On the media and Iraq
  • 4 On the Iraq War
  • 5 State of Journalism
  • 6 On travel to Cuba
  • 7 On Chinese gay bars
  • 8 On the literary canon
  • 9 Sources
 

Wikinews interviews U.S. Libertarian Party presidential candidate R. Lee Wrights

Monday, June 20, 2011

File:R. Lee Wrights LPNC 2012 State Convention.jpg

R. Lee Wrights, a candidate for the U.S. Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination, took some time to speak with Accredited Wikinews Reporter William Saturn about his presidential campaign and positions on political issues.

Wrights, a native of North Carolina, is an activist and lifetime member of the Libertarian Party who currently serves as the editor of several Libertarian publications. He previously worked as a medical technician in the United States Air Force and earned degrees in History and Journalism at Willmar College.

He is currently being challenged for the nomination by National Guard officer R.J. Harris, radio host Jim Duensing, former Nevada Libertarian Party chair Jim Burns, marketing executive Roger Gary and attorney Carl Person. 2008 Vice presidential nominee Wayne Allyn Root is also expected to make a run.

Contents

  • 1 Interview
    • 1.1 Personal
    • 1.2 Policy
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources