Over 100 NGOs ask WIPO to postpone secretive South Africa meeting

Over 100 NGOs have asked the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization to postpone a summit in South Africa on the grounds that notice of the meeting was not published, the agenda has been set without any transparency, and the speakers all favor a single, narrow view on copyright and patents.

In a letter to the WIPO director general Francis Gurry, more than 100 international NGOs expressed their concern over co-organising the summit in partnership with US, France and Japan which are known for advocating TRIPS plus agendas in developing countries in the interests of their own industries and priorities. For instance these countries are proponents of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), a plurilateral treaty that is widely criticized for its secret negotiating process and the detrimental impact on public interest issues such as access to medicines, freedom of expression over the internet and access to knowledge.

To make matters worse the Summit is being sponsored by the private sector in particular the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP), Pfizer, Eli Lilly and Company etc., that clearly have a strong stake in a pro-IP protection and enforcement agenda. The involvement of the private sector also raises issues of conflict of interests.

Besides, the NGOs said, the summit lacks a development and public interest dimension. The summit concept paper suggests a programme that undermines the spirit of Development Agenda. It is premised on the notion that heightened IP protection and enforcement will deliver development and protect public interest. This distorted approach has no historical or empirical basis and has been clearly rejected by the Development Agenda process. Important development issues such as the different levels of development, the importance of flexibilities (e.g. LDC transition periods, exceptions and limitations e.g. parallel importation, compulsory licensing,) in meeting developmental objectives, examining and addressing the impact of IP on critical public interests issues such as access to affordable medicines, and access to knowledge, appear to be disregarded.

Over 100 international NGOs ask WIPO to postpone forthcoming IP Summit in South Africa


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Make: Talk 004 – Steve Lodefink, Broad-Spectrum Hobbyist

Atomic-Clock-1

Here’s the fourth episode of MAKE‘s podcast, Make: Talk! In each episode, I’ll interview one of the makers featured in the magazine.

Our maker this week is Steve Lodefink. An inveterate tinkerer and “broad-spectrum hobbyist,” Steve just can’t say no to a cool project. At 3, he was already reverse-engineering the peanut butter and jelly sandwich: “I figured out where all of the parts were, found a good tool, and built one. I’ve been doing it ever since.” He lives in Seattle with his wife and two sons, two cats, five tarantulas, and 24 African cichlids, and thinks that one of life’s great pleasures is a really sharp aged cheddar cheese. “I’m a simple man,” he says. He looks at life’s debris at finkbuilt.com.

I talked to Steve about his Easy Sunburst Guitar, Atomic Ball Clock, Soda Bottle Rocket, and more.

And, at the beginning of the episode, Maker Shed Marc de Vinck describes our new Tiny Wanderer Robot Kit, an autonomous robot with a $2 microcontroller brain.


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U Washington’s best-of-breed 3D printing lab shuts down knowledge sharing after administration introduces sweeping patent-grab

Michael sez, “The Open 3DP lab at UW has been doing some amazing things with 3D printing. More amazingly, they have prioritized sharing what they are learning with everyone else in order to make 3D printing better. A change to UW’s intellectual property policy has essentially forced them to stop sharing what they are up to with everyone else. That strikes me as shortsighted and a real shame. The folks who run the lab say that the best thing to do is to email Provost Ana Mari Cauce at provost@uw.edu and tell her to let the lab share again.”

The UW lab is the source of some of the most amazing and relevant 3D printing research in the field today. This is an absolute travesty.

Since approximately, October 17, 2011, we’ve been a little bit more guarded about what is going on in our lab and perhaps a little less helpful or open to some of you. We’re sorry. Our University has decided, with no faculty involvement to change our consulting/engagement forms…

This “minor” change in our consulting form has produced a claim of total University ownership of any and all intellectual property (IP) associated activity paid or unpaid (in which one should or might have gotten paid). Thus, if we help you, or offer advice (free consulting), we put you at risk of losing any and all of your IP in the transaction.

Sorry we’re not so Open lately

(Thanks, Michael!)


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Insurer offers discounts to customers running in-car GPS telemetry

Writing in PC Pro, Stewart Mitchell describes a partnership between GPS vendor TomTom and Fair Pay insurance, an auto insurer, to offer discounts to people whose GPS devices report low incidences of sudden stops and unsafe turns. I rather like this idea, the idea that your device could offer testimony on your behalf, but a lot depends on how it is implemented.

On the one hand, TomTom could generate trustworthy readings by completely locking its device so that users can’t inspect or modify their operations, which would open up the possibility that your device was recording and transmitting information about your location and movements without your knowledge or permission. On the other hand, TomTom could produce a stats-gathering app whose workings were publicly disclosed, but which used a TPM-style module to verify that it hadn’t been modified for the purposes of gathering and signing information that you can pass on to the insurer.

This would give TomTom owners the choice of booting their device into a known, publicly verifiable state that respected their privacy, but also produced statistics that third parties could trust. It would also give TomTom owners the choice of booting into alternative environments that did different things.

“We’ve dispensed with generalisations and said to our customers, if you believe you’re a good driver, we’ll believe you and we’ll even give you the benefit up front,” said Nigel Lombard of Fair Pay Insurance.

“If you think of your insurance as your car’s MPG – the better you drive, the longer your fuel will last. Good drivers get more for their money and in that sense they will pay ultimately less.”

Drivers on the scheme will be given a TomTom PRO 3100 as part of the package, and the device will include Active Driver Feedback and LIVE Services to warn drivers when they were cornering too sharply or braking too hard.

The TomTom will also have a LINK tracking unit fitted in their vehicles, allowing driver behaviour and habits to be monitored.

TomTom tech to set driver insurance premiums

(via /.)


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Tool for finding out what information your apps are leaking

mitmproxy, “an SSL-capable man-in-the-middle proxy,” is a useful little free software utility that can sniff the traffic between your computer or mobile device and its servers and determine what data the apps you’re running are leaking to the mothership.

mitmproxy is an SSL-capable man-in-the-middle HTTP proxy. It provides a console interface that allows traffic flows to be inspected and edited on the fly.

mitmdump is the command-line version of mitmproxy, with the same functionality but without the frills. Think tcpdump for HTTP.

* Intercept and modify HTTP traffic on the fly
* Save HTTP conversations for later replay and analysis
* Replay both HTTP clients and servers
* Make scripted changes to HTTP traffic using Python
* SSL interception certs generated on the fly

mitmproxy

(via O’Reilly Radar)


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Every Apple Design Ever in 30 seconds

I thought this week could do with some more “fanboy”, so cobbled together this blast of Every Apple Design Ever (ish) in 30 seconds. I’m a Sony guy, at heart, but even if each of its products were given only a single frame of animation, such a video would not end before the heat death of the universe. Also, times have changed.

Image and sourcing credits go to The Shrine of Apple, Apple-History, Edwin Tofslie, MacTracker, Ed Uthman, operating-system.org, and Apple itself.

BONUS FEATURE! After the jump, Every NeXT Design Ever in 30 seconds!

Image credits: NeXT and Alexander Schaelss


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Video: when hip young technophiles become alter kakers

Social Media Week’s “Future Hipsters” video imagines today’s young technophilic changesurfers as old farts in 2062, wearing out-of-date fashion and telling rambling stories about being embarrassed by videos of themselves passing out at dubstep gigs. It’s a nice illustration of the parenting advice Bruce Sterling once gave me: “No matter how outre and bohemian you are, when your child is fifteen, you will epitomize contemptible bourgeois normacly to her.”

Future Hipsters

(Thanks, Eli!)


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William Gibson on aging futurism

In the latest Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast, William Gibson talks in depth about his terrific new essay collection, Distrust That Particular Flavor, and explains how he feels about doomsaying by elderly futurists:


“Futurists get to a certain age and, as one does, they suddenly recognize their own mortality,” Gibson says in the Wired premier of The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “And they often decide that what’s going on is that everything is just totally screwed and shabby now, whereas when they were younger everything was better. It’s an ancient, somewhat universal human attitude, and often they give it full voice.”

Why William Gibson Distrusts Aging Futurists’ Nostalgia, MP3 link


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People in a bathroom sing "I Wanna Be Like You"

Here’s a perfectly delightful cover of I Wanna Be Like You from the Disney film “The Jungle Book,” performed by a group of young people crowded into a bathroom. Good acoustics and fine choreography!

JUNGLEBOOOK – I Wanna Be Like You (cover)

(Thanks, Bethany!)


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Cyclists would rather ride a bike than have sex

In a recent survey of 5000 Bicycling magazine readers, 50% of men and 58% of women said that—if pressed to choose between sex or bikes—they’d pick the bikes.(Via Maria Popova)


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