Thursday, March 20, 2008

Kits and Mortar – our new blog!

by Suw on March 20, 2008

Kevin and I have started ourselves a new blog – Kits and Mortar. As you might have guessed from the title, it’s about building an eco- and cat-friendly house, something that Kev and I dream of. Right now, we know really very little about self-building, or even about what we want or where we want it. We’re not entirely sure what “cat-friendly design” means either, although I suspect that it’s going to involve providing our future moggies with somewhere from where they can look down upon us.

So Kits and Mortar really is going to be a voyage of discovery. If you’re into house building or cats (or both), please do pop over and have a look, or add our feed to your RSS reader.

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Set your browser to ‘nag’

by Suw on March 20, 2008

Yes, Flock. I know.

Yes, Flock. I know. Now please leave me alone to enjoy Twitter.

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We – ORG and a number of other groups – have been campaigning against the extension of copyright term on sound recordings for quite a while now. My last big campaign as Executive Director of the Open Rights Group was Release The Music, wherein we called on the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property to reject calls by the music industry to extend the term. We were successful.

Not only does extending the term not make sense economically, it doesn’t make sense for musicians either, as only a tiny, tiny minority of them will actually benefit. The rest will just have to sit and watch their back catalogue recordings sit and rot in the vaults of record companies who don’t want to be bothered to re-release or promote them. Sir Cliff will rake in the cash whilst jobbing musicians will get nothing.

Now the fight has moved to the EU: Commissioner Charlie McCreevy announced in February that he intends to extend the copyright term in sound recordings from 50 to 95 years. In response, ORG and EFF Europe have put together a petition, which I strongly urge you to sign. It’s says, very simply:

The following individuals state their opposition to a copyright term extension for sound recordings.

We ask the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers to ensure that policy in this area reflects all concerned stakeholders, including consumer and public interest organisations, and not just the commercial rights-holders who advocate for extended copyright term.

ORG’s briefing pack will be helpful if you want to understand the issues more thoroughly, as will the posts on the ORG blog.

But please do sign the petition – it only takes a moment to do, and it’s really very important.

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