What you should know about DRM

Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) is a technology that affects all users of computers, media players, mobile phones and other devices. DRM affects you. You may have seen it discussed as “Digital Rights Management” (DRM) or “Technological Protection Measures” (TPM). These terms suggest what DRM proponents believe to be the use and justification of Digital Restrictions Management, but hide what the technology must do to achieve this end: Imposing third-party restrictions on the users of a computer or other device, with or without the users consent. The Campaign DRM.info tries to show how DRM affects your life. It aims to boycott DRM-based devices and to protest against DRM initiatives.

Science 3.0 meta-blog

Science 3.0 is a meta-blog that combines the hypothesis based inquiry of laboratory science with the methods of social science research to understand and improve the use of new human networks made possible by today’s digital connectivity. This website is a community where those interested in the advancement of research can share ideas, tools and build connections. With Science 3.0 it is easier to find net pearls like Maitri Erwin’s always entertaining ‘A Pirate Scientist’s Life For Me’ focusing on public access to science education and open publishing.

OpenOffice goes LibreOffice – not only free but independend from Oracle

The Document Foundation released the beta of LibreOffice, to speed up the rate of changes to the notoriously slow OpenOffice office suite software project under the lead of the software corporation Oracle. This suggestion received support from all the major open-source and Linux powers: Red Hat, Novell, and Ubuntu. Even Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, announced that they’d place LibreOffice in next spring’s update of Ubuntu. Only Oracle does not like the fork and insists of keeping the name OpenOffice for its own free office suit. Read more

Czech Republic: Law against commons

A leaked draft of the new Czech Copyright Act was obtained by Pirate News at the beginning of August 2010, after the Ministry of Culture has initially declined the request of Czech Pirate Party to have access to the document three days after the draft was sent out for feedback to organizations affected by the proposal. The draft presents a storm of “improvements” which grant millions of euro from public sector budgets to collecting societies. Read more

New Book: Commonwealth by Negri/Hardt

Negri/Hardt: Common WealthCommonwealth is the latest collaboration between Michael Hardt, a Duke University professor who specializes in Italian literature, and Toni Negri, an original member of the radical Autonomia group in Italy. Negri is the more colorful of the two, having at one time been accused of being the intellectual leader of the Red Brigades terrorists who in 1978 kidnapped and murdered former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro. Negri fled to France and lived in exile before returning to Italy in 1997 to serve out the remainder of a reduced prison sentence on a lesser charge.)Commonwealth concludes the trilogy that started with Empire (2000) and continued with Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire (2004), both also from Harvard University Press. Read more

Visualizing Consolidation in the Global Seed Industry: 1996–2008

agThe commercial seed industry has undergone tremendous consolidation in the last 40 years as transnational corporations entered this agricultural sector, and acquired or merged with competing firms. This trend is associated with impacts that constrain the opportunities for renewable agriculture, such as reductions in seed lines and a declining prevalence of seed saving. To better characterize the current structure of the industry, ownership changes from 1996 to 2008 are represented visually with information graphics. Since the commercialization of transgenic crops in the mid-1990s, the sale of seeds has become dominated globally by Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta. In addition, the largest firms are increasingly networked through agreements to cross-license transgenic seed traits. Read more

Open Cola and Cube Cola

Cube Cola PosterThe principle of Open Source now set Cola free from monopolist capital. It was reconstructed via reverse ingeneering, published as Open Cola under the GPL and since then optimized by global community under the conditions of free cooperation. One of the approaches is Cube Cola: Besides working on the recipe a group of artists from the “Cube” in Bristol produces “information material” like a poster and a tea towel with the recipe, as well as a hand book and a set of tools necessary for the production of free cola. Finally it is distributed besides other goods via Feral Trade Courier. That is a live shipping database for a freight network running outside commercial systems. The database offers dedicated tracking of feral trade products in circulation, archives every shipment and generates freight documents on the fly.

Conference: Surviving in the »Creative Industries«

Creative IndustriesThe »Creative Industries« are considered key to the city development in the 21st Century. Cities such as Berlin put them at the center of image and location policy. The debates are mainly of benefit to the economy and capital development at the forefront – the changed living and working conditions of creative people are in contrast scarcely taken into view. They will be the topic of the congress. The digital revolution in production and distribution, the struggles for intellectual property and realization rights, more flexible corporate structures and labour relations, the project form of work and the privatization of cultural institutions have changed jobs and lifestyles as subjectivities. An unwieldy number of opportunities face enormous competition for jobs and contracts, increased chances of expression the pressure of conformity by the market, more self-determination the self-exploitation in informal and precarious employment relationships and with unfettered income at the same time. Read more

NGO warns against biopiracy of climate-resilient crops

Navdanya, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in India, has sought government intervention to stop biopiracy of climate-resilient crops by global gene giants who are reported to have applied for patents on farmers’ innovation of seeds that are resistant to drought, floods and salinity. By attempting to patent farmers’ innovations, the multi-national gene companies are not only out to make profits but also want to position themselves as saviours of the world against climate change said Vandana Shiva, the founder of Navdanya.