Archive for Government

China bans gold farming

Posted in Government, Piracy with tags , , , , on June 30, 2009 by Bradley Hall

Gold, gil, republic credits, whatever the currency is in your Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, odds are you’ve come across gold farmers.

Gold farmers are typically those characters who have a “board smash” name like “XXyyzzz” and do nothing but fish, or fight rare monsters, or something else that generates a ton of in-game currency. These people then sell the gold they obtain via their playing to other players. Of course, people often sell their gold to the gold farmers as well.

In ever MMO I’ve ever played, this was against the terms of service as it made the game unfair to those who did not have buckets of real world money to use to buy in-game money so they could purchase things like the Lizard Harness Set +1.

The majority of the farmers are in Asia, mostly Korea. However, according to Information Week, China has banned gold farming.

“Since 2007, virtual money trading has drawn official attention, with the government demanding tighter controls as such trading became an avenue for gambling and illicit trade.

Under the new rules, using virtual money for gambling will be punished by public security authorities, and minors may not buy virtual money.

The Ministry of Culture also vowed to step up supervision on money laundering via virtual credits and other illegal online activities.” – From the press release issued by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

Information week article

Ministry of Commerce press release.

Banned Hyperlinks, large fines, INKlings

Posted in Government, Privacy with tags , on June 16, 2009 by Bradley Hall

Now, when you ban something you usually have a list of titles of the banned substances so people know what is and isn’t banned.

There’s a list of banned drugs and even banned books. Australia has banned publishing hyperlink links to banned websites. It’s legal to go to the sites, there’s just a $11,000 (Australian money) fine for linking to them.

There can’t be a list of the sites because creating such a list of links would violate the law…

So right there one can say “I didn’t know it was banned” when asked.

This is insane.

WA Today link

Journalists caught in North Korea

Posted in Commentary, Government with tags , on June 8, 2009 by Bradley Hall

According to Hillary Clinton, two US journalists caught in North Korea have been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor. Clinton went on to say that the US is trying to get them free.

CNN article

Governement Motors

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on June 2, 2009 by Bradley Hall

When I arrived home from school yesterday, I picked my mother up and took her out. I figured she could use an outing.

I asked her to pick where she wanted to eat lunch at. Of all places, she picked McDonald’s.

While I was eating, I noticed they had a television affixed to Fox News, not my usual choice for news, but whatever.

That was when I found out that I, along with 300 million other people in the US were part owners of General Motors.

The United States bought a 60% stake in the company while Canada bought a 12% stake.

This was the first time I’d heard that Canada’s government was throwing bailout money at General Motors as well.

I thought about it for a minute and figured it made sense as several of their cars are created in Canada.

“Great,” I thought. “I always wanted to own a car company…”

Advisors

Posted in Government with tags on March 14, 2009 by Bradley Hall

What does an IP counselor for Time-Warner have to do with the government’s ACTA documents? These documents are classed as a matter of national security.

The TW person isn’t the only weird thing here. Several other people listed as “cleared advisors” are nothing more than lobbyists for several places heavily involved with Intellectual Property creating enterprises.

Fair Copyright in Research Works Act

Posted in Commentary, Government, Intellectual Property with tags , , on February 17, 2009 by Bradley Hall

After a nearly uneventful weekend, I wake up and find various reports of the newly introduced Fair Copyright in Research Works Act. The act was introduced to the House of Representatives by Michigan representative, John Conyers.

From the title, it seems almost like a good thing, who wouldn’t like fair copyrights in research? But the text of the bill reveals a darker truth.

Currently, any document published by the United States federal government is effectually in the public domain. This bill, if made into law, would seek to change that.

(From OpenAccessBlog): [This bill would] Prohibit all U.S. federal agencies from conditioning funding agreements to require that works resulting from federal support be made publicly available if those works are either: a) funded in part by sources other than a U.S. agency, or b) the result of “meaningful added value” to the work from an entity that is not party to the agreement.

Clearly this is a bad thing.

Full text of the bill

Copyright Filtering

Posted in Commentary, Intellectual Property, music with tags , , , , , , on February 10, 2009 by Bradley Hall

From Public Knowledge:

Hollywood’s lobbyists are running all over the Hill to sneak in a copyright filtering provision into the stimulus package. The amendment allow ISPs to “deter” child pornography and copyright infringement through network management techniques. The amendment is very, very controversial for a couple of reasons:

1. First, infringement can’t be found through “network management” techniques. There are legal uses for copyrighted works even without permission of the owner.

2. Second, it would require Internet companies to examine every bit of information everyone puts on the Web in order to find those allegedly infringing works, without a hint of probable cause. That would be a massive invasion of privacy, done at the request of one industry, violating the rights of everyone who is online.

(my words now below)

If this were to go through, it would be a grave miscarriage of justice. I understand that illegally downloading and sharing music and movies isn’t good for the economy, but treating everyone like a criminal and blindly going through everyone’s data is not the answer.

The Public Knowledge website has more information on who to fax and email to have this clause removed.

Public Knowledge Site.