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November 2021
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Does Copyright Give Companies The Right To Search Your Home And Computer?

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One reason why copyright has become so important in the digital age is that it applies to the software that many of us use routinely on our smartphones, tablets and computers. In order to run those programs, you must have a license of some kind (unless the software is in the public domain, which rarely applies to modern code). The need for a license is why we must agree to terms and conditions when we install new software. On Twitter, Alvar C.H. Freude noticed something interesting in the software licence agreement for Capture One: "world-class tools for editing, organizing and working with photos" according to the Danish company that makes it (found via Wolfie Christl). The license begins by warning:

if you do not agree to the terms of this license, you may not install or use the software but should promptly return the software to the place where you obtained it for a refund.
That's normal enough, and merely reflects the power of copyright holders to impose "take it or leave it" conditions on users. Less common is the following:
Capture One or a third-party designated by Capture One in its sole discretion has the right to verify your compliance with this License at any time upon request including without limitation to request information regarding your installation and/or use of the Software and/or to perform on-site investigations of your installation and use of the Software.
If you use Capture One, you must provide "without limitation access to your premises, IT systems on which the Software is installed", and "Capture One or an Auditor may decide in their sole discretion to apply software search tools in accordance with audits."That is, thanks to copyright, a company is perfectly able to demand the right to access a user's premises, the computer systems they use, and to run search tools on that system as part of an audit. Although this applies to business premises, there's no reason a software license could not demand the same right to access somebody's home. In fact, there are really no limits on what may be required. You're not obliged to agree to such terms, but most people do, often without even checking the details.The fact that such requirements are possible shows how far copyright has strayed from the claimed purpose of protecting creators and promoting creativity. Copyright has mutated into a monster because it was never designed to regulate activities, as it does with software, just static objects like books and drawings.Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter, Diaspora, or Mastodon.Originally published on the Walled Culture blog.

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posted at: 12:01am on 16-Nov-2021
path: /Policy | permalink | edit (requires password)

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[UPDATED]: Myanmar's Military Junta Sentences American Journalist To Eleven Years In Prison

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[UPDATE]: Well, that was quick. Fenster has been released, which hopefully indicates Myanmar's unelected government is discovering it's a bad idea to pick fights with most of the rest of the world. However, I'm sure it will continue to brutalize its own citizens because those advocating for their rights on a local level won't have the leverage of the US State Department. Here's the statement by the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken celebrating Fenster's unexpected release:

We welcome the release of American journalist Daniel Fenster from prison in Burma, where he was wrongfully detained for almost six months. I commend Ambassador Tom Vajda and his team at U.S. Embassy Rangoon, Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens, the expertise of Consular Affairs and the dedicated partners, including Governor Bill Richardson, who helped facilitate Danny’s release.We are glad that Danny will soon be reunited with his family as we continue to call for the release of others who remain unjustly imprisoned in Burma.
[Original article continues below:]An American journalist is just one of many victims of a coup that overthrew Myanmar's actual elected government and replaced it with the country's military, which had claimed the election its favored party didn't win had been, in effect, stolen. No election irregularities were discovered, but that didn't matter much to the military, which had the might (but not the right) to seize power.Along with the new government came new rules. Many of those targeted opponents and critics of the unelected government. Plenty of those targeted were journalists. Newspapers that had been at least tolerated under the previous regime were now deemed illegal operations.One of those caught in the new government's net was American-born journalist Danny Fenster. Fenster wrote for a news outlet the coup perpetrators declared illegal shortly after they took power. Thumbing its nose at sanctions imposed on it by dozens of countries, the government hauled Fenster into its kangaroo court and decided the actual facts were too inconvenient to be given any credence by the prosecution.
Much of the prosecution’s case appeared to hinge on his being employed by Myanmar Now, another online news site, that was ordered closed this year. But Fenster left his job at Myanmar Now in July last year, joining Frontier Myanmar the following month.Prosecution witnesses testified that they were informed by a letter from the Information Ministry that its records showed that Fenster continued to be employed this year by Myanmar Now.Both Myanmar Now and Frontier Myanmar issued public statements that Fenster had left the former publication last year, and his lawyer said defense testimony, as well as income tax receipts, established that he works for Frontier Myanmar.
The prosecution was going to get what it wanted. It threw everything it could at him and got all of it to stick.
The court found him guilty on Friday of spreading false or inflammatory information, contacting illegal organizations and violating visa regulations, lawyer Than Zaw Aung said.
Those charges alone will lock this journalist up for eleven years in a hard labor prison. But the newly non-elected government of Myanmar isn't through making its point to critics, journalists, dissidents, and members of opposition parties. The government wants to put Danny Fenster away for life.
Fenster, the managing editor of the online magazine Frontier Myanmar, is still facing additional terrorism and treason charges under which he could receive up to life in prison.
The US State Department has condemned this prosecution by Myanmar's military government. We'll see how much that condemnation will actually matter in the coming weeks.
The Burmese military regime’s sentencing of U.S. journalist Danny Fenster is an unjust conviction of an innocent person. The United States condemns this decision. We are closely monitoring Danny’s situation and will continue to work for his immediate release. We will do so until Danny returns home safely to his family.
That's where Fenster was headed when he was arrested -- at the airport, hoping to fly home and see his family. Now he's being used as a test case for the newly installed government's power. It's staring down most of the rest of the world at this point and waiting to see who will blink first.It's still dangerous everywhere for journalists, especially those who put their own lives and liberty at risk to provide reporting in areas where governments directly control press outlets and subject those not under its control to massive amounts of oppression.

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posted at: 12:01am on 16-Nov-2021
path: /Policy | permalink | edit (requires password)

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