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The Standards Paywalls Fall: Everyone Benefits

Yesterday -- in a unanimous decision of the US Federal Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit (CADC) in ASTM v. Public.Resource.Org --- some of the worst standards paywalls came tumbling down. The court definitively determined that where governmental authorities incorporate private organisation technical standards into law by reference, non-commercial dissemination of those standards "constitutes fair use and cannot support liability for copyright infringement." more

Shaky Consensus at the OEWG on ICTs: Where Next for UN Discussions on State Behaviour in Cyberspace?

On 24-28 July, states convened in New York for the fifth session of the UN First Committee's Open ended Working Group on ICTs (OEWG), which aims to establish a common understanding of - and further develop the framework for - responsible state behaviour in cyberspace. This session marked a critical juncture in the process, with states negotiating the OEWG's annual progress report... more

The Internet Archive Hops Out of the Copyright Frying Pan Into a New and Different Fire

In 2020 a group of book publishers sued the Internet Archive over their Controlled Digital Lending program, which made PDF scans of books and lent them out from the Archive's website. For books still in copyright, the Archive usually limited the number of copies of a book lent to the number of physical copies of the book they had in storage. Several publishers sued with an argument that can be summarized as "that's not how it works." more

The EU AI Act: A Critical Assessment

The proposed new European Union (EU) Artificial Intelligence Act has been extolled in the media as a bold action by a major legislative body against the perceived dangers of emerging new computer technology. The action presently consists of an initial proposal for a Regulation with annexes from 2021, plus recent Amendments adopted on 14 June. This regulatory behemoth exists entwined among a multitude of other recent EU major regulations... more

EU Standards Must Be Freely Available

In 2019, two organisations - Public.Resource.org of Sebastopol, California, and the Right to Know GLC of Dublin - brought suit against the European Commission for violating the fundamental rights of citizens to access the standards they are required by law to know, and attempting to protect intellectual property by copyright which lacked originality because it was, inter alia, provided by public governmental and industry sources. more

AI, Human Rights and the Rise of the Global South

As the current global geopolitical space becomes less friendly to Human Rights1, are there potential offsetting trends supporting them? Yes, but... it will require initiatives from the Global South for AI data-driven policies supportive of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), demonstrating the value of SDGs and Human Rights combined. more

Can Large Language Models Use the Contents of Your Website?

Large Language Models (LLM) like GPT -- 4 and its front-end ChatGPT work by ingesting gigantic amounts of text from the Internet to train the model and then responding to prompts with text generated from those models. Depending on who you ask, this is either one step (or maybe no steps) from Artificial General Intelligence, or as Ted Chiang wrote in the New Yorker, ChatGPT Is a Blurry JPEG of the Web. more

Spam Filtering and Social Media Moderation Are the Same Thing

CDA Section 230 has been called "The 26 Words that Created the Internet". While it is obvious how Sec 230 protects the World Wide Web, it is equally important for e-mail. A recent Pennsylvania court case emphasizes this point. Dr. Thomas, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, forwarded an article about another professor Dr. Monge to an online e-mail discussion list. Dr. Monge claimed the article was defamatory and sued Dr. Thomas, the university, and many others. more

Blockchain Domains and What They Could Mean for Online Scams and Brand Protection

Blockchain domain names, domains that are stored on blockchain or cryptocurrency exchanges, are part of a growing, unregulated, and decentralized internet. Right now, blockchain domains are used mostly by cryptocurrency users, but they are growing in popularity - the Ethereum name service reported over 2.2 million .eth domain name registrations in 2022. At the same time, crypto scams are also exploding, reaching a total of $3.5 billion in losses in 2022. more

Independent Study Shows Very Low Number of Geographical Indications Disputes Within European Domain Names

The EU is reforming its legal framework concerning geographical indications (GI) protection and has put forward provisions expanding GI protection to domain names in two recent legislative proposals concerning agricultural products and craft/industrial products. In order to support greater GI protection on the internet, both proposals mandate the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) to establish a "domain name information and alert system." more