My Thoughts On Copyright

Copyright word cloud
Picture retrieved from here 18/04/2016

This week in ITC501, our guest tutor talked about Copyright. Well, it certainly got my brain working! To be honest, I’ve never really been the sort of guy that cares about Copyright, however, as I dive into this wonderful world of It, I know there will come a time where it will quite possibly mean everything to me, who knows, in the future I may develop the ‘next big thing’ in the IT world and I can certainly tell you, I’d be pissed if someone stole it.

Issues and Problems with Digital Copyright Today

As I said above, I’ve never really cared about Copyright in the past. From what I do know, I understand that its a real issue and it will become even more of an issue as the world wide web grows further and more people have better access to more content.

I think the biggest issue at this time and age is ease of access. I mean, think about it! If you want the newest System of a Down album and you don’t want to pay for it….simple, go online and torrent it. There, boom, all yours in as little as ten minutes without costing you a cent. The same can be said about movies, e-books, video games, TV shows, porn…..the list goes on and on. Its all online and at the fingertips of anyone that wants it without paying.

I believe Copyright is a great thing, it protects someone’s ideas, designs, inventions and inspires innovation, however, I also know that’s its a murky subject that in my opinion needs ‘fixing’. The reason I say it needs fixing is because of the cases we have all heard of people attaining massive court cases and debts over copyright infringements. I’m not saying people convicted of copyright infringements should get a slap on the hand, they still should be punished, but at the moment I think the punishments are too high. I mean, Jail time and huge debts for the rest of their life’s is a bit harsh in my opinion in particular when people have not intentionally breached those copyright infringements.

A Simple Solution

I’m afraid there is no solution, well, certainly not a simple one anyway! I do believe there is a need for a solution and the biggest obstacle as far as developing a solution goes is just about every country in the world needs to work together to solve this problem. What? You seriously think that’s possible? Well, it may be but let me put it into perspective like this.

The world has been at  ‘peace’ for a total of 268 years out of a recorded 3400 years, another words, 8% of recorded history.

That’s not a good number as far as world peace goes. We cant even stop killing each other or bombing one another yet, we need to come to an agreement regarding worldwide copyright law? Not likely in my opinion.

Why you may ask do we need to work together to solve this problem? Let me explain, here’s a simple example.

Netflix. I’m assuming you know what Netflix is, but for those that don’t, Its a streaming service that for a small for of about $12 a month lets you stream a tonne of TV shows, Documentary’s and Movies.  The interesting thing is, that different country’s have different content to stream because of Copyright laws.

Same with YouTube actually. I’m a huge fan of UFC (Cage Fighting), I can stream it live through the Fight Pass app for $10 a month, however I cant watch highlights on YouTube because of copyright laws in New Zealand.

Such examples are evidence that Copyright is a murky subject and there needs to be a solution to it. Maybe the solution is just a simple worldwide Copyright law that all country’s that it’s applied in agree on? What do you think ?

My Opinion of New Zealand and Copyright

New Zealand has a 3 Strikes system. It was established in 2011 and the intention of the law changes is to crack down on peer-to-peer file sharing.

copyright
Snip retrieved from here 18/04/2016

I believe the 3 Strikes  system New Zealand has established is a step in the right direction. This act in my opinion protects everyone, from the artist or producer all the way to the person who breached copyright infringements. The fact the person identified as someone breaching copyright infringements gets two warnings is a great factor, it not only identifies individuals or groups of people  who may constantly breach copyright laws, it actually protects someone that may have breached a copyright infringement on accident, I know of someone that this has happened to personally.

More information on New Zealand’s 3 Strikes law can be found at http://3strikes.net.nz/

Fair Trading

After evaluating the issues I’ve outlined above, I think its right to identify some company’s that do ‘copyright’ right.

Spotify. Spotify is a music streaming app. Customers subscribe for a small fee of about ten dollars a month and are able to stream just about any song or artist they want to, Spotify then pays the artists a small fee per stream. Spotify is also available for free, although customers will have less access and have to put up with ads.

Netflix. Much like Spotify, Netflix is a streaming app where customers can stream Movies, TV shows and Documentaries for a fee of about $12 a month. Netflix then make a small payment for every stream to the applicable producers, companies and owners of said content.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What is Real ?

(Video retrieved from here 10/04/16)

In the modern age where Technology is advancing at an astonishing rate, we really start to wonder what are the possibilities? Did you know 5 years ago, the general thought of people in the IT world was that the technology we have now would be available in roughly 20 years, that’s how much technology has evolved in the last 5 years, and its only evolving faster!

What is Real?

What is real? that’s a good question when it comes to the IT world. With the arrival of technology such as Microsoft Hololens, this question will become harder to answer in the future, before I explain, I recommend you watch the video below or  go and visit the Microsoft Hololens website to get a understanding of what technology I’m talking about.

(video retrieved from here 10/4/16)

http://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-hololens/en-us

After visiting the above link or watching the video, do you find yourself asking yourself ‘what is real’?

Its such a hard question to answer as people will always have their own opinion on what’s real, but to some context all of those answers are right. Some people will answer if they can see it, it’s real, well that’s right but in virtual reality are you seeing real objects? Some people answer if I can touch it it’s real, well that’s also right but when using the Microsoft Hololens, are the objects your touching real? See…its an extremely hard question to answer, and I’ve only lusted a few examples.

For me, the best way I can answer what is real is, if you experience it, it’s real.

whats-real-836
Picture retrieved from here 10/04/16

Microsoft Hololens

Here are a look at what is in my opinion of both positive and negative aspects of Microsoft Hololens.

Positives

  • Gaming….oh imagine the awesomeness that could happen.
  • Learning, Why pay massive school fees when you can have your own personal teacher teaching you one on one….in your home.
  • Watching your favourite TV show, sports event of movies…..wherever you want.
  • The Hololens may be able to assist people that suffer from disabilities, these people can do things with the Hololens that would otherwise be impossible.
  • Productivity within such sectors in the IT industry, for example imagine how much a 3D designer could accomplish using an Hololens.

Negatives

  • This ties into a positive I’ve listed but its a consequence of that positive. Learning, if people are using augmented reality in their schooling, what is to happen of the ‘real’ teacher’s job?
  • Teaching is just one of the many occupations I believe may be in jeopardy because of the Microsoft Hololens.
  • Socialising skills. This is already evident with the technology we have at the moment in my opinion. When I say socialising skills I mean socialising in ‘person’.
  • Having kids always makes me think of their future and personally I worry about the possibilities with things such as the Hololens. I’d much rather my children go and play outside than ‘bring’ outside inside.

Oculus Rift

Before I get started on the Oculus Rift, I suggest if you have no idea what it actually is you go and visit their website. Here’s a link https://www.oculus.com/en-us/

Now we have been asked if we believe the Oculus Rift would have a life outside gaming?

Personally I believe yes, the reason being is simply at this point of time in the Oculus Rift’s lifetime, its only the start and who knows how it will evolve. At it’s current state, it’s amazing and the sky is the limit.

I see a future where people will be able to visit popular tourist destinations from the comfort of their own home with technology such as the Oculus Rift. Now imagine how great that would be for someone who was unable to ever visit such places such as people suffering from disabilities.

The Sky is The Limit

As the title says, The sky is the Limit with the Technology and in particular the Microsoft Hololens. I truly believe the Hololens will change the world and it will affect everyone. I’m going to show you a awesome video of the Microsoft Hololens and I can guarantee you will be not only amazed at what it does, but it will open your imagination up on what are the possibilities with such technology!

Video Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgakdcEzVwg

Now tell me…..are you not excited???

 

 

Evolution of Laws in the IT world.

 

Watch the movie first:

(movie retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCwjDuoJK0E 3/4/2016)

Introduction

I’m going to start off by introducing you to this weeks topic in ITC501, The internet’s Own Boy, The story of Aaron Swartz.

The Internet’s Own Boy is a documentary released on June 27th of 2014. The film is about the life of Aaron Swartz, an programming prodigy and information activist who took his own life at the young age  of 26.

quote-with-enough-of-us-around-the-world-we-ll-not-just-send-a-strong-message-opposing-the-aaron-swartz-84-97-35
(picture retrieved from here on 3/4/2016

As a student studying information technology, this documentary blew me away! In my opinion, this film is pure evidence that as computer technology  is ever changing, the laws regarding the use of computers need to change with the technology.

After watching this documentary, I’m sure you will also share my point of view.

Here are some interesting questions out tutor asked us to answer after watching the film.

Q1: What did he do that got him into trouble?

Aaron did a few things that got him into trouble with the law, people will argue that what he did was good or bad, depending on who’s side they’re on. According to the documentary, The two main things that Aaron did that got him in trouble were ‘hacking’ into JSTOR (an online Academic Library) through MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and downloading millions of Academic Journals and papers, and ‘hacking ‘ into PACER (pubic access to court electronic records) and downloading millions of federal court documents.

Aaron was caught on camera  hardwiring his Acer laptop into the MIT network to download the entire archive of academic records from JSTOR. He was caught and arrested on the 6th of January 2011.

Q2: What were the possible motives mentioned in the film for his so called “crime”?

There are two possible motives for his so called crime, and they are both unprovable as Aaron took his own life before a motive for these possible crimes could become certain.

  • To start a new website to compete with JSTOR and sell the documents for profit.

or

  • To liberate the information and make it free to access for everyone. As he suggests it should be in his “Guerilla Open Access Manifesto” blog post.

 

Q3: What does each motive imply from a MOREL and LEGAL point of view?

From a moral point of view, I totally understand where Aaron was coming from. He wanted public access to the public domain, another words, Aaron wanted everyone to be able to have access to information that SHOULD be free.

On the other hand, I understand from a legal point of view that what Aaron was actually doing was theft.  He stole the “property” of JSTOR, and if he had the intention to sell it he would be selling fraudulent copies of stolen files.

Q4: Why were understanding his motives so important ?

Because understanding his morals really make this case so interesting! If Aaron had the intention of selling the academic Journals and papers then he was absolutely in the wrong. However, upon understanding his morals and points of view that information such as the information he ‘stole’ SHOULD be free, you start to see why this case is so interesting.

Was he going to sell the documents or was he going to ‘give’ them to the people?

After reading his manuscript, I’m sure many of you , like myself, will believe Aarons intentions were to do good, and not sell them fraudulently.

Q4.1: How many charges did this end up giving him?

Aaron faced a total of 13 charges, 2 charges of Wire Fraud and 11 charges for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act 1986 (CFAA) which could have landed him up to 35 years imprisonment and a fine of up to one million US dollars.

Q5: What was wrong with the SOPA bill ?

The SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) was a controversial United States bill that was introduced by U.S. Representative Lamar S. Smith. The aim of the bill was to combat online piracy and if successful, the bill would enable the US government and rights holders the ability to effectively shut down websites relating to copyright infringements.

The US government and rights holders would have the right to seek court orders against any site accused of “enabling or facilitating” piracy. This could theoretically involve an entire website being shut down because it contains a link to a suspect site.

(Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-16596577   3/4/2016)

In short, if passed, the bill had the potential to literally break the internet!

Q6: Why did It look like the bill would be impossible to stop from passing?

Because in a country where the deciding factor on whether or not a bill will be passed, is normally money, SOPA looked like it was a sure thing. It was being backed greatly by a majority of members of US congress as well as large entertainment companies. These people have a lot of power and influence.

Q7: What were some of the significant factors that helped raise awareness for dismissing the SOPA bill?

In protest to SOPA, people organised protests, rallies and petitions. Others called congress to voice their opinions about the proposed act. The most significant factor I believe in bringing awareness  for dismissing the SOPA bill was a  coordinated “Service Blackout” on January 18, 2012. Websites such as Wikipedia and Reddit showed their support for dismissing the SOPA act by going ‘black’.

Q7.1 What’s the important message about this victory to those of us in the “new world”

The message is clear, even if we as a majority face obstacles that look impossible to beat, if we stick together we can rise and conquer.

Q8: “Bringing public access to the public domain”, “books are our cultural legacy”.  What do these statements have to do with Aaron Swartz’s passion?

Since Aaron was a small child he loved to read books and learn, He knew that reading was a great way to attain knowledge. As written in Aaron’s  Guerilla Open Access manifesto, he believed information is power, and there are people out there who want it to be keep for themselves.

Aaron
(Snip retrieved  from Aaron Swartz’s ‘Guerilla Open Access Manifesto 3/4/2016. The full document can be found here

 

Q9: What does q8 have to do with Jack Andraka?

Jack Andraka is known for his award-winning work on a potential method for detecting the early stages of pancreatic and other cancers, he discovered this method by studying free online Academic Journals. If jack couldn’t gain access to online free academic journals, he would not have been able to make the discovery!

Q10: What’s the most important question on this list. Why?

When there’s a whole list of equally important questions, to pick just one to be the most important is a difficult task. However, if I have to narrow id down to just one, I’d say question 9 is the most important, the reason being simply the fact that someone was able to discover a possible method to discover early signs of some cancer due to having access to FREE online academic journals!

Now image what we as humans could achieve by simply…..sharing! It truly makes you wonder, imagine what else we could achieve if we shared a lot more than just online academic journals!