Aussie rules get tough on players

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By  Published  December 3, 2006

Have you got ripped songs on your iPod that do not belong to you legally? Best not go Down Under then. Australian senators are currently debating changes to the country’s 2006 Copyright Amendment Bill, which will hit you with huge fines and even a jail term if the police decide to take a closer look at what is on your digital music player, cameraphone or DVD recorder.

The amendments in the bill, claims Dale Clapperton, vice-chairman of the non-profit organisation Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA), look set to substantially lower the standard of proof needed for charging someone with copyright infringement. It is a view shared by Professor Brian Fitzgerald, head of the Queensland University of Technology’s school of law.

In an article submitted to the Online Opinion journal, he wrote: “These new provisions have the potential to make everyday Australians in homes and businesses across the country into criminals on a scale that we have not witnessed before.”

A person will commit an “indictable offence” if they possess “a device, intending it to be used for making an infringing copy of a work or other subject-matter” under Section 132AL(2) of the bill.

This is the most serious offence for an individual technology user, as it means they’ve intentionally broken copyright law. It is subject to a penalty of five years in jail, a fine of up to $65,000, or both. An iPod, or any other piece of recording technology that could possibly be used to infringe copyright falls into this bracket.

Under the proposed new copyright laws, loading tracks onto a music player, which have been copied from a CD, would also be classified as infringing copyright. This would apply even if that CD was legitimately purchased.

If the amendment is passed other countries could follow suit. Already senators from both the Labor and Democrat parties have noted that the government is trying to push the complex bill through parliament before it’s been properly examined.

Netpicking fans

As you will no doubt be aware, James Bond is back and the tech world is jumping on the bandwagon (See IT Weekly, 11-17 November 2006). Yes, the popular British secret agent’s image has been given a makeover in the latest 007 film outing Casino Royale.

By all accounts the film is pretty good, but that hasn’t stopped internet pedants from jumping on the minor mistakes in continuity and insignificant factual errors in the film.

Mistakes such as barely visible Czech signs in restaurants during scenes shot in Montenegro and different watches worn by Bond in the same scene.

You have to ask, are these the same pedants that started up anti-Daniel Craig web sites as soon as the actor was announced as the new James Bond — because he is blonde.

Craig has acquitted himself well in the role to such an extent that those nay-sayers have disappeared from the web.

Lets hope these nerds highlighting Bond movie mistakes go the same way too.

Open the Gates

With the mid-term elections delivering a bodyblow to the incumbent US president George W. Bush, and the real presidential elections just under two years away, the race is on to find a suitable candidate for the US presidency.

Well Scott Adams, the creator of IT comioc strip hero Dilbert, has the answer. No, it is not Dogbert, it is Bill Gates. Adams doubted that Gates was considering a presidential run, because he believed it was hard to make a difference as President.

But he claimed that Gates would have done so much good for the world through his charitable works by the next two terms that, combined with his business success, he’ll appear more qualified than any other candidate. Adams also claimed that voters would know he wouldn’t be in it for the money. However, as the Inquirer points out the public would be very worried if he decided to pick Steve Ballmer as vice president.

Engineering feet

Okay, you’ve finally managed to get your hands on the new Sony PlayStation3 (PS3) console.

You guess that makes you the talk of the town. But have you got a pair of Sony-endorsed PlayStation training shoes to go with it? Not content with pushing its wares into the higher price bracket, out of reach of most mortals, the electronics giant has teamed up with Nike to release a limited edition of 24 — yes 24 — pairs of these trainers. These sneakers come with a hologram slash that changes colour when viewed from different angles, the inside cuff has mechanical drawings on it and the sock liner says Play Beyond, the tag line of the PS3.

Dedicated sneaker and PS3 junkies are advised to scour the internet auction sites to snap up a pair quick.

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