Weekly blog reboot: the end of free, vid-conferences and TPMs?

Kia ora!

Welcome to the (un)official resumption of the Issues team weekly blogs (well they were hardly official in the first place). This week we’ve been thinking about what free means online, whether we’ll be able to trust video conferences and we’re armpit deep in TPP implementation.

The end of free?

BBC Four’s Analysis (an excellent radio show / podcast by the way) recently examined online journalism, news and ad-blockers and asks two rather fundamental questions about online news. 
Can the industry persuade people to pay for what was previously available at no charge? And if not, can commercial online news services survive? Have a listen here and let us know what you think:

How much longer can we trust video?

A team of academic researchers from Stanford, the Max Planck Institute and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg have figured out how to edit video, in real time, to impersonate someone else in real time. The example they use is with a researcher’s facial movements and speech being put onto President George W. Bush’s face. 

It’s not perfect but combo this tech with the all-too common invoice fraud and CFOs might be having some very awkward conversations with their CEOs: “What do you mean you didn’t authorise that payment? We skyped to confirm…

TPP IP Implementation

Because we’ve been a bit quiet, we thought we’d draw your attention to the TPP Intellectual Property (IP) implementation process. We’ve already done one submission for the Select Committee examining the TPP. The next phase is responding to proposals on TPM “digital locks.”

Minister Goldsmith and MBIE have given Kiwis only 21 days to read and respond to their proposals in this technical area (submissions close 30 March). TPMs are locks on media like movies, music and games. A DVD might have promos which you cannot skip, or a game might “phone home” via the Internet so you cannot play offline. A website might be behind a paywall. Under the TPP, it would become illegal to open up these locks. Illegal, that is, unless we create an exception to cover the activity you’re engaged in. That’s the point of the current submission process.

With only nine days left, James is going like the clappers to propose a sensible set of exceptions. We don’t want copyright law to limit the benefits of the Internet! Last week he gave a talk summing up his work on copyright, at the Australian Digital Alliance Forum in Canberra. 

Our highlights for this week:

  • Tuesday finds us at another TPP related workshop
  • Wednesday and Thursday we’ll have someone attending the Future of Work conference in Auckland.