15
Nov

Category:May 16, 2010

? May 15, 2010
May 17, 2010 ?
May 16

Pages in category “May 16, 2010”

15
Nov

New environmental housing regulations for Western Australia

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Western Australian Government has announced that after September 1, 2007 all construction approvals for new homes must comply with new Environmental regulations. The new regulations known as Five Star Plus will be implemented in two stages.

Michelle Roberts, minister for Housing and Works, announced that the first stage would increase the cost of a new house by approximately AU$1000 with a second stage to commence next year, at a further cost to homeowners of $1000. “People building new houses should remember these costs would be offset by ongoing savings in water and energy bills of up to $750 per year,” she said.

The first stage aims to reduce greenhouse gas omissions by 129,000 tonnes over five years. “This is the equivalent of taking 30,000 cars off the road, and (has) the same benefit achieved by planting 15 trees per household,” said Roberts. The first stage will require house to have a range of measures including Solar, or five star rated gas or heat pump hot waters systems.

“It is estimated that if all homes in Western Australia upgraded to the Five Star Plus standards, there would be water savings of 30 gigalitres over five years,” said Roberts. The standards will require water efficient taps, showerheads and dual flush toilets. As well, all new swimming pools will be required to have a pool blanket to reduce evaporation.

The second stage of Five Star Plus will require the design to include alternative water supplies such as rain water tanks and grey water diversion systems.

Concerns from staff within government have been raised about the influence of the Housing Industry Association (HIA) on the government’s environmental initiatives. According to news source, The Age, a senior government official suggested that a more rigorous “building sustainability index” had been developed, but was dropped after intensive lobbying by Western Australia’s HIA. “It was canned at the last moment after huge lobbying,” said the anonymous government employee. “The HIA was very obstructionist.”

9
Nov

Australia: Victorian government to trial driverless vehicles on public roads

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Yesterday, the state government of Victoria, Australia announced their decision to trial self-driving vehicles on two of the state’s major connecting motorways, the CityLink and Tullamarine Freeway. The trial is to use autonomous vehicles from automobile companies including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and Tesla. The two-year trial is to have three phases.

The cars are to drive alongside commuters, but in public testing a driver is always to be present, as Victorian law requires drivers always keep a hand on the steering wheel. However, in occasional closures of the Burnley Tunnel, with no other drivers to endanger, the cars are to be tested with nobody in the vehicle.

Lane assist, cruise control, and recognition of traffic signs are in the trial’s first phase, expected to complete before the end of the year. This includes monitoring how the driver-less cars respond to road conditions, including lane markings and electronic speed signs.

“Victoria is at the forefront of automated vehicle technology — we’re investing in this trial to explore ways that this technology can be used to reduce crashes and keep people safe on our roads”, said Luke Donnellan, the Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety. He noted, “Ninety per cent of the fault of accidents is human error […] so we know that if we can take out human error we will have less accidents”.

Tim Hansen, Victoria Police’s Acting Assistant Commissioner, said that police had founded a project team to investigate how self-driving vehicles would change policing on roads. “Can we intercept vehicles more safely to avoid pursuits and ramming?”, he asked.

The trial is a partnership between the state government, Victoria’s road management authority VicRoads, owner of the CityLink toll road Transurban, and insurance company RACV.

5
Nov

Puppies used to smuggle heroin

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Ten puppies with bags of liquid heroin surgically implanted into their bellies were having seizures in a drug bust in Medellin, Colombia, said authorities.

“They utilized a wide range of smuggling, the most repulsive of which was the use of puppies,” said John P. Gilbride, head of the DEA’s New York office.

“There have been cases of animal cruelty that have led to the discovery of drug labs, but not to the extent of an animal being used to carry drugs, especially a puppy,” said ASPCA spokeswoman Jo Sullivan.

Investigators believe that the dogs were used to smuggle heroin into New York on commercial flights. The drugs were then to be distributed and sold along the East Coast.

“Ten puppies, including Labrador retrievers, were rescued during a 2005 raid on a farm in Colombia,” said the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) on Wednesday. The Agency also announced that they had made more than 30 arrests.

Authorities believe that a veterinarian, Andres Lopez Elorez (who is also believed to be a fugitive in Spain), opened the bellies of at least six of the ten puppies, inserted 500 mL bags of liquid heroin, and then stitched them back up. Three puppies had died due to infections after the drugs were removed. A total of 3 kg of heroin were recovered from six puppies. The bags were found using ultrasound.

“The surviving dogs are still alive and well, we’re told,” said Gilbride. “I think it’s outrageous and heinous that they’d use small, innocent puppies in this way. This investigation identified the individuals who were responsible for overseeing and smuggling millions of dollars worth of heroin from Colombia to the East Coast.”

The investigation revealed that the smugglers, whose ring was based in Medellin, not only used people and puppies to conceal their drugs, but also body creams, aerosol cans, and the linings of purses and luggage.

A tipster is said to have led authorities to the puppies.

It is not known how many puppies were actually used in the smuggling operation.

Three dogs were adopted by Colombian police. At least one of those puppies will be trained to sniff for drugs.

About 24 kilograms of heroin was seized in recent raids in Colombia which have resulted in more than 20 arrests and another ten in custody in New York. A total of at least 24 kilograms have been seized in these raids.

30
Oct

UK general election, 2005

Thursday, May 5, 2005

The United Kingdom General Election
Results:

Labour Conservative Lib Dems
355 197 62
DUP SNP Sinn Féin
7 6 5
Plaid Cymru SDLP UUP
3 3 1
RESPECT IKHH Ind.  
1 1 1  

Wikinews will have coverage of the election results at:

  • Results of 2005 United Kingdom General Election
Background:
Wikipedia, Wikinews’ sibling project, has in-depth background articles on:

The 2005 UK general election was held on Thursday 5th May. The election resulted in a third term for Tony Blair’s Labour Party.

Below are the latest Wikinews stories on the campaigning parties and candidates.

30
Oct

Catch Attention With A Full Car Vinyl Wrap

Submitted by: Eliz Guide

Full car vinyl wrap catches the attention of children and adults alike. It is amazing to see the artwork that can be overlaid on a car using full car vinyl wrap. It appears to be part of the original paint job.

Incredible detail is possible with this thin plastic that adheres to the surface of the vehicle. This head-turning vehicle graphic is a splendid way to enhance the appearance of any transportation even as it protects the paint itself. It also is an excellent way to display information for large upcoming events or businesses promotions.

Many city buses and some private vehicles sport this new type of artwork on the streets these days. Just the sheer beauty of the graphics are a benefit to society by their culturally stimulating effects.

Instead of drab, plain vehicles, we have lovely designs and images that greet our eyes along city boulevards and avenues. They perk up our spirits and encourage us to continue on in our healthy pursuits of a better life for all and help us while away the frustration of sitting in urban traffic.

Even a poorly designed vehicle can be transformed into be a thing of beauty with the application of a full car vinyl wrap. These make a personal statement about the owners as well.

YouTube Preview Image

Just as the orchard rancher who plants rose bushes all along the road by their orchard to bring a sense of class and beauty to the community, so the owner of a vehicle using this artistic medium improves their surroundings wherever they go.

Not only is it a wonderful way to show self-expression, but it is very effective as an educational tool for the public about large social events or public health issues. Many exclamations of I didn’t know that! can be heard from vehicle windows as they drive by transportation that sports this medium as an advertising device to announce an upcoming community event or vital health info.

Keeping the public abreast of what is happening around town gives the people a sense of security in their surroundings. People like to be informed. A full car vinyl wrap can fulfill that basic human need in a city or town.

As a business promotion, this signage is the furthest reaching. It provides the graphics to catch a potential customers attention, as well as the lettering to deliver a lot of information.

Using the entire vehicle for the advertisement allows for a large surface to cover with important information regarding the businesses services and products. In addition, the mobility of the instrument for delivering this information allows it reach a diverse population in a short amount of time.

Crossing cultural and geographic barriers is a significant breakthrough for a company. It can mean an increase in the demographics that they are able to serve. This can, in turn, mean a substantial rise in revenue.

Businesses looking to expand, governments desiring to inform the public, and people wanting to express themselves all benefit from the use of mobile art. Lovely and eye-catching artwork surrounding clear writing covering a moving vehicle is sure to get a lot of attention.

Add to this the uniqueness of viewing your vehicle wrap on a passing car or bus and it becomes the perfect mode for advertising and making a statement. Ask a reputable sign company about the perfect design for a full car vinyl wrap for your vehicle or fleet today.

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30
Oct

Barack Obama presents rescue plan after GM declaration of bankruptcy

Monday, June 1, 2009

In a televised speech from the White House at 16:00 UTC today, President of the United States Barack Obama presented a reorganization plan following the 12:00 UTC announcement by General Motors that it had filed for bankruptcy and Chapter 11 protection from its creditors, the largest bankruptcy of a U.S. manufacturing company.

Describing the problem with the company as one that had been “decades in the making,” Obama explained the rationale behind his proposed reorganization plan for General Motors. He stated that his intent was not to “perpetuat[e] the bad business decisions of the past,” and that loaning General Motors money, when debt was its problem, would have been doing exactly that. His plan, he stated, was for the United States government, in conjunction with the governments of Canada and Ontario (which he thanked for their roles alongside the government of Germany which he thanked for its role in selling a corporate stake in GM Europe), to become shareholders in General Motors. The United States government would hold a 60% stake. The government will give GM a capital infusion of US$30 billion in addition to the funds it has already received.

Of the government ownership he stated that he refused “to let General Motors and Chrysler become wards of the state”, and described the bankruptcy of Chrysler, and the bankruptcy of General Motors that he envisioned as being “quick, surgical, bankruptcies”. He pointed to the bankruptcy of Chrysler as an example of what he envision for General Motors, but stated that General Motors was a “more complex company” than Chrysler.

Responding to challenges voiced by political opponents, before the speech, that the federal government would actively participate in the affairs of the restructured company, he stated that he had “no interest” in running GM, and that the federal government would “refrain from exercising its rights” as a corporate shareholder for the most part. In particular, he stated that the federal government would not exercise its rights as a shareholder to dictate “what new type of car to make.” He stated that he expected the restructured GM to make “high quality, safe, and fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow,” and several times described what he anticipated as “better” and “fuel-efficient” cars, after a streamlining of GM’s brands.

He said to the general public that “I will not pretend that the hard times are over.” He described the financial hardship that some — shareholders, communities based around GM plants, GM dealers, and others — would undergo as a “sacrifice for the next generation” on their parts, so that their children could live in “an America that still makes things,” concluding that one day the United States might return to a time when the maxim (a widely-repeated mis-quotation of what Charles Erwin Wilson once testified before the U.S. Senate when nominated for the position of Secretary of Defense) would once more be true that “what is good for General Motors is good for the United States of America.”

30
Oct

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.

18
Oct

Wikinews interviews spokesman for Greek far-left party Xekinima

Monday, May 3, 2010

Wikinews reporter Iain Macdonald today interviewed Petros Tzomakas, a Greek far-left activist and member of Xekinima, which is the Greek division of the Committee for a Workers’ International. The party is a member of Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA).

Tzomakas also sits on his local 5th Athens Municipal District committee, which is a joint effort by left-wing parties including SYRIZA, the Anticapitalist Left Cooperation for the Overthrow and a number of other political parties to oppose austerity measures proposed by the government. All left-wing parties in the country except the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) are involved. Tzomakas explained that the KKE prefers not to co-operate with other radical left-wing groups.

The interview comes amid tensions in cash-strapped Greece, where the government is introducing controversial austerity measures to try to ease the nation’s debt-problem. An international rescue package has been prepared by European Union member states and the International Monetary Fund – should Greece require a bailout; protests have been held against government attempts to manage the economic situation.

10
Oct

Wikinews attends 2018 Bangalore ComicCon

Thursday, November 29, 2018

On November 17 and November 18, Wikinews attended the 2018 Bangalore Comicbook Convention, in Karnataka, India. Beginning on Saturday morning, the ComicCon continued till Sunday. Organised by ComicCon India, who organised Comic Con in Hyderabad in October, this event was held at Karnataka Trade Promotion Organisation (KTPO)’s convention hall. Wikinews spoke to convention’s international guests Ryan O’Sullivan, Dan Watters, and Vanesa Del Ray.

UK-based freelancer comicbook writer Ryan O’Sullivan, who has worked for Image Comics and Vault Comics, and wrote video game comics including Eisenhorn, Warhammer 40,000, and Dark Souls, was one of the guests attending ComicCon. Along with him, London-based freelance comic book writer Dan Watters was also one of the attendants. Watters has worked with Image Comics on Limbo, as well as Lucifer for Vertigo Comics. Watters has also written comics for Assassin’s Creed, Wolfenstein and Deep Roots. Cuban comic book artist Vanesa Del Rey was also one of the guest attendants, who has illustrated Scarlet Witch, Daredevil Annual, and Spider-Women Alpha for Marvel Comics; and Redlands for Image Comics.

The convention started at 11 AM. Crossing between the genres of science fiction, horror, anime, fantasy and comics, the event sprawled throughout all corners of the facility. Marvel Zone, Amazon Video zone, AXN Live RED Special Session, Warner Bros’ Aquaman and Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald experience, and Sony Pix zone attracted large number of audience.

On day two, Sumit Kumar, creator of Chin Chin, inspired by Chacha Chaudhary and Tintin, had a panel in the afternoon.

At 1:30 PM, there was a video presentation by Yali Dream Creations. The video was about The Village. Yali Dream Creations’ Shamik Das Gupta said the story of their comic The Village is “supernatural, social, horror”. Later, there was another presentation about their other comic, Rakshak ((hi))Hindi language: ?Protector — A Hero Among Us, about a masked vigilante in India. The first part of the four-part comic was released in 2016’s Delhi ComicCon, Gupta said. Gupta also added “Delhi gang rape story pushed me”. The session ended around 1:45 PM.

After Yali Dream Creations, there was a comic launch by Rahil Mohin. Mohin had previously launched Sufi Comics in 2008, The Wise Fool of Baghdad and two comics about Persian poet Rumi and now Blame it on Rahil. While he was on the panel, he was sketching cartoon, while the host was asking questions that Mohin had prepared, focused on the 90s cartoon themes. The questions were “[What was the] breed of Courage the Cowardly Dog?”, “Catchphrase of Flintstone”, and “Arch nemesis of Dexter”. His session finished by 2 PM.

At 2 PM, there was a session with AXN, and questions about AXN shows. Musician Shrey also played scores of various AXN shows on guitar, which audience had to guess. At 2:30 PM, there was a session with Cuban comic artist Vanesa Del Rey. She said it was her first convention in India, and said, “It is like any major convention in the US”. This year, Vanesa Del Rey was nominated for an Eisner Award. During the discussion, she said she wanted to do sci-fi epic,romance, mystery and thriller comics in future. Regarding romance genre in comics, she said it is “something worth exploring”. And regarding her career choice, she said her grandmother was an artist and her “family was very supportive”.

Later, there was a session with Sony PIX, with Minions appearing on the stage.

The event finished around 8 PM.

Contents

  • 1 Interviews
    • 1.1 Interview with English comic book writer Ryan O’Sullivan
    • 1.2 Interview with English comic book writer Dan Watters
    • 1.3 Interview with Cuban comic book artist Vanesa Del Rey
  • 2 Photos from the ComicCon
  • 3 Cosplayers
  • 4 Sources