Category Archives: This is, err… Misc

NIPL: New IP Lawyers

NIP(p)L(e), ostensibly standing for “New IP Lawyers” is a new network for those involved in the various fields of intellectual property law (and questionable acronyms), in particular for early career researchers and newly qualified lawyers. The initiative was co-founded by Mathilde Pavis and Hasan Kadir Yilmaztekin at the University of Exeter, with Joshua Wabwire as network representative at the University of Oxford, and since has been joined by members from a number of academic institutions around the UK. The mission of the network is to encourage and facilitate discussion of the issues surrounding IP Law both by lawyers and non-lawyers: Continue reading NIPL: New IP Lawyers

Why Sony is way out on a limb with legal threats against Twitter

Gigaom

The ripple effects of the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack continue to spread, and one of the latest — and also arguably the least plausible — is Sony’s attempt to threaten Twitter with legal action if it doesn’t remove tweets that contain content from the company’s hacked emails. Sony may have hired superstar attorney David Boies, who led the Justice Department’s antitrust case against Microsoft in the 1990s, but the consensus in the legal community is that the company’s blustering is all sound and fury, signifying little.

The full extent of Sony’s claims can be read in the letter that Boies sent the company, but in a nutshell the movie studio is asking Twitter to suspend the account of anyone who posts information from the hacked emails, and it specifically mentions the account @bikinirobotarmy — which belongs to rock singer Val Broeksmit, who has a band of the same name —…

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Secondhand ebookstore Tom Kabinet can stay online, Dutch court rules

Gigaom

A Dutch secondhand ebookstore has successfully defended a court case brought about by the country’s publishers’ association, which argues that ebooks cannot be legally resold.

The site, Tom Kabinet, opened shop a few weeks ago, basing its legality on a 2012 ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the case of UsedSoft v Oracle. That case had to do with the resale of licenses for downloadable software, but Tom Kabinet contended that the CJEU’s ruling in favor of resale extends to digital media such as ebooks as well.

The Dutch Publishers Association (NUV) disagreed, pointing to a 2013 ruling by a court in Bielefeld, Germany, which held that the CJEU ruling only applied to software.

On Monday, the Amsterdam district court sided with Tom Kabinet – sort of. The court refused to give the NUV an interim order shutting down the site, saying the implications…

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Natural Philosophy: Falsifiability and Pseudo-science 

Once again, this subject choice is brought to you courtesy of Coursera, this time spurred on by an assignment in the course I’m currently undertaking on Philosophy and The Sciences, given in conjunction with the University of Edinburgh and EIDYN: The Edinburgh Centre for Epistemology, Mind and Normativity. Perhaps one of the key contributions which modern philosophy and philosophical thinking (I use this distinction, as our current understanding of physical sciences can be understood as having evolved from “natural philosophy” in the first place) can make to the physical sciences is a better and more rigorous understanding of the underpinnings of scientific paradigms by way of falsifiability, and the use of such criteria to better differentiate “real” science from pseudo-science. Many consider this differentiation a key factor in the difficulties facing science education, particularly in the US, regarding the inability of students, as well as the population at large, to differentiate between popular pseudo-scientific ideas and accepted scientific theories.[1] Continue reading Natural Philosophy: Falsifiability and Pseudo-science 

The Bay Area gets the European internet exchange model Netflix hopes will spread

Gigaom

The Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) said today that it’s establishing an internet access point in the San Francisco facility of Digital Reality, a collocated data center provider. With the new point of presence (POP), AMS-IX is bringing its European internet exchange model, one that Netflix supports, to the Bay Area.

Last December, [company]Netflix[/company] became the first customer of AMS-IX’s New York facility, which was a big deal because that signaled the rise of the European internet exchange model in the U.S., something Netflix has supported.

In this type of model, the internet exchanges—the places where the networks of ISPs, content providers, telecoms, and others congregate to swap traffic—are owned by all the members that participate; this could possibly account for the reason why European cross-connect prices are way lower than what you see in the U.S. in which data center owners like Equinix or the ISPs can dictate the…

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Has The Animal-Rights Movement Overlooked Fish?

The Dish

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Biologist Culum Brown suggests so:

Every major commercial agricultural system has some ethical laws, except for fish. Nobody’s ever asked the questions: “What does a fish want? What does a fish need?” Part of the problem comes back to the question of whether fish feel pain. But for the last 30 years, the neurophysiologists have known that they do, and haven’t even argued about it. …

I think, ultimately, the revolution will come. But it’ll be slow, because the implications are huge. For example, I can’t think of a way to possibly catch fish from the open ocean in a massive commercial way to meet demand that would be anyway near our standards for ethics if we think of them like other animals. Currently, you go out, you catch a bunch of fish, you crush most of them to death in a net, you trawl them up from…

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Twitter and Taboos: The Land Where Logic and Objective Discussion Dare Not Tread

I’m sure many of you by now might have heard about the most recent flare-up, a twitter controversy no less, regarding comments made by the ever-controversial Richard Dawkins – comments which, depending on who you ask either a) suggested violent rape or abuse is worse than “milder” versions, or that b) making such an distinction (for example) does not automatically mean that the comment is tacitly endorsing the “less bad” of the two. I’m of the opinion that this was more an example of an unfortunate misunderstanding of the point Dawkins was trying to make rather than him trying to make any particularly controversial statement about either rape or child abuse, but I certainly think that this debate has raised the serious issue of whether certain subjects should be so taboo that they should not be objectively analysed or discussed. Continue reading Twitter and Taboos: The Land Where Logic and Objective Discussion Dare Not Tread

SKINHEAD: The Evolution of a Subculture and Society’s View Thereof

Well, June was a quiet month here at The Undisciplined, what with work and me running away from responsibilities for a while to spend some time in Malta. But I’m back now and working on the second installment about Catholicism, Conservatism and Irish Law. Until then, I thought I might fall back to my tactic of posting old essays I wrote from my earlier college days. This one is one of my favourites. The topic of the skinhead subculture and how it can mean very different things to different people was one I found particularly interesting, and thankfully this odd sentiment was shared by my excellent lecturer in Criminology, Ivana Bacik, the Barrister, Senator and Reid Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology at Trinity College Dublin. You can follow her and her ceaseless work in areas close to her heart such as human rights, equality and in particular the protection of children at her website www.ivanabacik.com or on Twitter @ivanabacik. Anyway, the following is a somewhat updated version of the original paper I wrote sometime around 2008, and it doesn’t seem to have aged all that badly: Continue reading SKINHEAD: The Evolution of a Subculture and Society’s View Thereof

The invasion of Leinster House (via the male jacks)

Research for an article I’m writing on Catholicism and Irish Law. Equal parts tragic and comic.

Come Here To Me!

The Irish Independent, April 1st 1971.

On March 31st 1971, a small protest by activists from the Irish Women’s Liberation Movement grabbed nationwide media attention. Angered by the decision of the Seanad not to allow a reading for Senator Mary Robinson’s Contraceptive Bill which could have led to the legalisation of contraception, fifteen women who were accompanied by children made their way to the gates of Leinster House, forcing their way into the grounds. Shortly after 3pm, the women made their way through the Merrion Street gates, before a few of them snuck into the building through the open window of the male bathrooms!

Among the women who partook in the protest were the journalist Mary Kenny, Sinn Féin secretary Mairin de Burca and Margaret Gaj. Gaj was a fascinating character, born in Glasgow to Irish parents in the year 1919, she was a veteran of the women’s movement and…

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Google Spain, What It Means and What It Doesn’t.

Fergal Crehan makes some interesting points on the Right to Be Forgotten argument here, including my favourite, – the distinction between the right to Freedom of Expression (which to be fair, isn’t really endangered by this ruling, as the original uploader wasn’t forced to remove the content) and the Right to Freedom of Information. “The idea that we have a right to access to all published information about any other person is a new one.”

Fergal Crehan BL

Yesterday’s decision of the Court of Justice of the EU in C-131/12, Google Spain v. Agencia Española de Protección de Datos, has generated quite a lot of media commentary, some of it, in my opinion, a bit overheated. I thought it was worth doing a quick overview of what the decision does, and more importantly does not say, and to consider the implications for the future of your information privacy.

 What’s It About?

In 1998, a Spanish newspaper, La Vanguardia  published a report of a court-ordered foreclosure auction to pay social security debt. In 2009, having paid off his debt, the debtor, Mr Costeja González, discovered that Googling his name led to a link to the report.

Relying on the Data Protection principles that data should, inter alia, be kept up to date, be relevant and not excessive to the purposes for which they are processed, and be…

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