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Latest update : 2013-02-28

New anti-piracy program launches in US

A new anti-piracy program launches in the US. Swiss web users are campaigning against excessive executive salaries. And a lovers' tiff has been put together featuring lyrics from songs by The Beatles.

New anti-piracy program launches in US

A new anti-piracy program has launched in the US: a copyright alert system aimed at combating illegal downloading, developed in collaboration with the media industries and the country’s leading Internet service providers. Content and rights owners will able to monitor “peer to peer” file sharing networks to see if any of the content they have made available is being shared without permission and in violation of the nation’s copyright law. The ISP will then notify any subscribers caught red handed with an initial warning.

A graduated six-stage response system and consequences will increase with each infringement. And for the final two “strikes” Internet providers may choose to slow down the Internet speed or indeed prevent users from accessing download sites until they have completed an online copyright education program. Developers say the scheme is focused more on customer education than punishment and contrary to France’s three strikes Hadopi law, violators will not be fined or face criminal charges, although rights holders may decide to press charges.

The highly controversial system will apply to around 75 % of web users in the US. Online freedom groups like “Demand progress” have condemned the scheme as a sort of private monitoring system where rights holders and Internet providers are acting as both judge and jury.

Swiss to vote on executive salaries

An end to the excessive pay and bonuses enjoyed by senior company executives, especially when they are not performance related or fairly earned : this is aim of the “initiative against abusive salaries”, launched by Swiss entrepreneur Thomas Minder, and Swiss voters will finally cast their ballots on March 3rd, when the so called “Minder initiative” is put to popular vote. If the referendum passes then shareholders will decide how much executives earn and golden handshakes and other such severance packages will be criminalized.

Supporters of the scheme, and their numbers keep on growing, say it is high time to tackle the greed of many CEOS, and limit their “fat cat” pay? A recent poll shows that 64% of Swiss citizens support the measure. “Minder initiative” advocates are running all sorts of campaigns to raise public awareness, both online via social networks, and also on the streets, as we can see here.

But the project has also been met with fierce resistance, with critics also taking to the web to voice opposition. A site called “non-minder” has been set up to condemn a popular initiative which detractors say could have a negative impact on the country’s economy and will lead to the loss of many jobs because it won’t just be targeting the highest earners, but also directors of more modest companies. The government also opposes the scheme as it stands and has created a less rigid proposal which it says will also see restrictions on executive pay without negatively impacting the country’s competitive economy. Will this be enough to sway public opinion ? We’ll find out on Sunday. 

Now trending on social networks

American director and actor Ben Affleck has opened an account on photo sharing platform Instagram to celebrate his film “Argo” being awarded the Oscar for best picture on Sunday night. The page currently hosts five shots, all taken during the prestigious awards ceremony in Los Angeles, giving us a glimpse of the event through the eyes of the Hollywood star. The page is proving pretty popular indeed, in less than a week it already has over 7,800 followers.

Pictures of hipsters taking pictures of food

One web user, weary of the growing number of people taking pictures of food and posting them on social networks, has set up a Tumblr blog documenting the phenomenon. The page is called "Pictures of Hipsters taking pictures of food"… and is to be consumed in no moderation whatsoever. 

Video of the day

Here’s the latest offering from CDZA, the group which creates musical video experiments: a lovers tiff featuring a mash up of lyrics from Beatles tracks only. The aptly named and totally novel “Beatles Argument” almost makes you want to pick a row with your other half…

By Electron Libre

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