Copyright law is a complicated beast, full of difficult clauses, mitigations and loopholes, all of which would make you thinks that many would avoid getting embroiled in the topic.
Yet one British photographer, so enraged by a ‘selfie’ taken on his camera by a dexterous macaque, felt the need to assert his claim to its copyright when the self-shot monkey picture appeared on Wikipedia (above).
Unfortunately for photographer David Slater, Wikipedia refused to pull the image denying that the copyright belonged to him and not the snap-happy monkey. Cue the internet going ape over the story and attempting to out-do one another with simian-based puns.
Yet help is at hand for Slater, as a public draft of the third edition of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices has declared that it will only grant copyright to works created directly by human beings.
Forgetting that the world has much bigger problems to worry about, including global warming, war and economic despair, the US office went on to add that neither work created by plants, animals, or even ghosts – divine or otherwise.
“The Office will not register works produced by nature, animals, or plants. Likewise, the Office cannot register a work purportedly created by divine or supernatural beings, although the Office may register a work where the application or the deposit copy(ies) state that the work was inspired by a divine spirit,” stated the public draft.
Debating copyright law over a single shot of a smiling simian may seem like a gargantuan waste of time for all involved.
But regularly revised definitions of copywriter law is becoming more important, particularly given the growth of user-generated content being posted online and to social media networks. What the monkeys make of all this, though, remains to be seen.
V3 headed into the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday morning to witness one of the more challenging parts of BT's Superfast Cornwall project, bringing fibre to the Isles of Scilly. Situated miles off the shore of Cornwall, the islands needed an undersea cable to provide fibre internet.
The cable marks the first time fixed internet will be available on the islands, having relied on a radio link access service for many years, which offered just 2-3Mbps speeds. Once the fibre is up and running – likely before the end of the year – speeds of 60-80Mbps should be available.
While watching the deployment in progress, we snapped some pics as it unfolded, as the £3.7m project reached a milestone moment.
The deployment meant Porthcressa Beach was closed, but no doubt those on the islands were happy to forgo one day of sunbathing to let the internet come ashore.
Once the cable is on the beach it will be hooked into the network that is being built around the islands and then buried underground, to keep it safe and secure.
The Dibble & Grub café on the seafront of Porthcressa Beach is just one of many businesses to welcome the arrival of the fibre services. Gaz O’Neill, owner and vice chair of the Isles of Scilly council, said it would transform the lives of residents, and improve things for visitors, by finally offering fast, reliable internet access.
The deployment even drew a small crowd of onlookers, who watched the operation to bring fibre broadband to their island unfold.
For BT the rollout marked a major moment in its multi-year project to bring fibre to 95 percent of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, having spent three years planning the deployment, which involved dodging numerous shipwrecks around the islands.
Services should be online before the end of the year, as the residents of the five islands that make up the remote archipelago – St Mary's, St Agnes, Tresco, St Martin's and Bryher – can enjoy fixed internet access for the first time.
23 Jul 2014
Who would have thought that both mobile and internet services are now considered essential by UK consumers?
While Ofcom drew the line at revealing that grass is indeed green, the organisation did disclose that its latest study shows UK consumers believe they can't forgo the comforts of the web or a shiny smartphone.
While the term ‘essential' is banded around a fair amount – describing anything from desserts to hair products – the study reached a consensus that essential refers to the need to contact the emergency services, or just keep in touch with family and friends.
More than 60 percent of consumers rated voice services as the most essential, while 59 percent said mobile voice or text services were just as important. Fifty-seven percent of consumers claimed internet access was their most important communication service.
Ofcom also explored the adoption of essential communications services. Unsurprisingly, the research found that 95 percent of UK households have at least one mobile phone, while more than 80 percent have a landline and internet access.
Given that these communications services are considered essential, it is reasonably positive that only 14 percent of consumers claim to have difficulties paying for them. Although 45 percent of the people surveyed have admitted to cutting back on luxuries to ensure they can afford mobile and internet payments.
Claudio Pollack, Ofcom's Consumer Group director, declared that it was encouraging that the majority of people do not struggle to pay for various communications services. But added: "It's important that help is available for those who do."
While the US is benefitting from Google's 1Gbps fibre service, called Fiber, UK citizens will sadly be left behind as the search giant confirms that it has no serious plans to bring its Fiber service to British shores.
Last week, a (clearly unreliable) source informed The Telegraph that Google was in talks with British fibre specialist CityFibre, with the intention of extending the Google Fiber project beyond the US and over to Blighty.
Unfortunately, this discussion broke down as concerns were voiced that CityFibre's existing partnership with BSkyB would be threatened. Despite this curveball, optimistic fibre fans held out hope that Google would lavish the UK with its full-fibre network.
Rumours remained in circulation until a Google spokesperson shot them down telling Engadget: "We have informal conversations with other telecom companies all the time. But we've never had any serious planning discussions about bringing Google Fiber to Britain."
This is a shame as Google Fiber, currently operating in four US cities and with plans to extended it to cover another 34, is a service that could well appeal to those stuck with slow broadband.
What makes the Google Fiber networks so coveted is that they use fibre-optic cabling for the entire network to deliver speeds of 1000Mbps. Comparatively, most of BT's fibre network delivers a 'mere' 76Mbps and rely on old copper wires to connect homes to the street-based cabinets.
Nevertheless there are some fibre projects in the works. In a bid to reduce their dependency on BT Openreach networks, a joint venture between BSkyB, TalkTalk and CityFibre aims to establish a 1Gbps city-wide fibre networking in York.
While the three companies have a vision to roll out the service to other UK cities, for the immediate future Britain has no alternative except to mourn the lack of Google Fiber.
The moment the European Court of Justice ruled that the people of Europe do have a right to be forgotten, the warning bells sounded. What on earth would such a woolly, hard-to-define ruling actually mean in the digital age?
It turns out, as many warned, it’s effectively creating a strange, quasi-censorship system that is forcing Google to remove links to news articles that almost certainly deserve to be in the public domain.
Google protested hard against the ruling but ultimately it must comply with the law. So it has chosen to start removing articles from its indexes, and letting the firms involved know. So far the BBC and The Guardian have reported that pieces have been removed from Google, such as a column by Robert Peston commenting on bankers' woes during the 2007 financial crisis.
It is not clear who made the requests, or why, but Google has decided that it must remove them. It could have possibly deferred the decisions to a legal authority, but instead has chosen to become the judge and jury of the requests it receives.
In many ways this isn’t Google’s fault. With over 50,000 requests piling up, it probably felt compelled to start making some decisions. However, the precedent is worrying.
Like it or loathe it, Google’s reach is huge, and removing a result from the index is a very good way of ensuring bad news is hidden away. While for some there may well be a legitimate reason to want a result removed, for most cases the motives could well be more questionable.
It's already been reported that some have asked for links regarding stories of tax dodgers, paedophiles and dodgy doctors to be removed from the Google search index. Again, the motives for this could come from an honest, understandable stance, but the outcome is worrying.
In effect, the European courts seem to have ended up creating a system of censorship, but rather than being the state that controls it, it is the people that have the right to try and hide themselves, with Google seemingly happy to process requests without question.
There are two points to consider though: firstly, the pressure this situation is creating for the EU could force it to amend its ruling. Secondly, with so many online outlets writing about the articles that are taken down, we could well see the Streisand effect come into play.
Perhaps Google is hoping for both outcomes, in order to show the EU courts how absurd the decision is proving.
27 May 2014
Given that skies full of dark, forbidding rain clouds make up the majority of British summers, finding the weather to go out and visit some of the country’s cultural and historical sites can be pretty rare.
But with the announcement that popular tourist destinations will be added to Street View in Google Maps, sightseers will not need to wait for the sun to make an appearance before they can glimpse the majestic ruins of Byland Abbey (pictured above), for example.
Google has added famous destinations ranging from grand historical structures such as Alnwick Castle and Gardens, through to renowned racecourses including Epson Downs and Newmarket (below).
In order to fill Google Maps with 3D views of these tourist hotspots, the search giant needed to look beyond using its traditional Street Views cars as it had to get up close to some of the UK’s most popular attractions without damaging treasured parts of British heritage or alarming bemused onlookers.
So, working with partners, Google used a combination of trekker backpacks and trollies to capture many of the various sights and vistas of Britain, making them viewable on the screens of PCs, tablets and smartphones through its same Street View interface.
Now Google maps users can effectively tour the sights of Britain without even leaving the comfort of their own homes.
Plus, with virtual reality technology becoming more of a reality, thanks to the Oculus Rift and Sony Project Morpheus headset hardware, perhaps this could this be the end of real-world tourism?
It is now eight years since the world was given the ability to share what was on its mind in 140-character snippets. Since then world leaders, pop stars, sporting heroes and top tech talents have all joined the bandwagon.
To celebrate eight years of success Twitter has created a nifty tool to help you easily find your first ever post on the site. V3 thought it would be fun to use the site to find out what some of the tech luminaries had to say for themselves. Some are more inspiring than others.
Bill Gates was snappy and to the point.
"Hello World." Hard at work on my foundation letter - publishing on 1/25.— Bill Gates (@BillGates) January 19, 2010
Oracle's Larry Ellison was his usual bullish self.
Oracle's got 100+ enterprise applications live in the #cloud today, SAP's got nothin' but SuccessFactors until 2020— Larry Ellison (@larryellison) June 6, 2012
Apple CEO Tim Cook was late to the party and in typical business mode.
Visited Retail Stores in Palo Alto today. Seeing so many happy customers reminds us of why we do what we do.— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) September 20, 2013
Security hero Eugene Kaspersky set about offering pearls of wisdom on staying safe online.
Talk to your kids about privacy in social networks http://on.fb.me/lNFpvq Better late than never— Eugene Kaspersky (@e_kaspersky) May 13, 2011
We're not sure what was going on when Sir Tim Berners-Lee first posted, but as he invented the web, we'll forgive him.
Ooops confusing user interfxce. And no phones on on stage with radiomikes.— Tim Berners-Lee (@timberners_lee) October 22, 2009
We here at V3 can't criticise too much, though, as our first effort was hardly the stuff of legend. Still, we like to think we've got a little better since then.
Researcher slaps Apple with 'toxic computer' claim: Shaun Nichols in San Francisco, A French researcher cl.. http://tinyurl.com/4t7cjz— V3 (@V3_co_uk) October 2, 2008
Our favourite, though, is Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who kicked-off with a message about dancing and has never looked back.
Rare massage (for me), then dance practice. No pain, no gain. Awkward but fun, this dancing. I still can't do Macarena.— Steve Wozniak (@stevewoz) March 7, 2009
Happy birthday Twitter. Here's to the next eight years.
The computer used by Sir Tim Berners-Lee to write his proposal for the World Wide Web has been brought to the UK and is on display at the Science Museum. The NeXT cube has been brought over from Cern in Switzerland as part of celebrations to marks 25 years of the web.
Berners-Lee wrote his proposal at the machine in 1989, finally submitting it to the world on 12 March, with the terminal also acting as the world's first web server.
V3 went to the unveiling at the Science Museum to take a closer look at the machine and took some pictures of the historic piece of computing.
As you can see, Sir Tim's note to other Cern members warned them not to touch his machine as it was acting as a web server. The sticker is somewhat worn and torn, but it's still going strong. Credit must go to the pen makers too, as the writing has barely faded at all.
The impact of Cern on the world can't be overstated. While it may spend much of its time hunting for hidden particles, it's also the birthplace of the web, as noted by the rather stylish ownership marks stuck on the various items Sir Tim used when he was working there.
The NeXT computer may be a thing of the past now, but we can't help thinking its colourful logo and square design would actually look right at home in the world of Android and iOS 7 interfaces.
Ultimately the machine is not much to look at, but it is incredible to think that from just this one machine an almost unfathomable amount of change, disruption and revolution has occurred. And it was all given to use free of charge by a man named Tim.
The Science Museum will now display the historic machine to the public. In the autumn it will become one of the key exhibits in the new £15.6m Information Age gallery where it will sit alongside other major exhibits such as the first transatlantic telegraph equipment used in 1858, the BBC’s first radio transmitter 2LO and a giant tuning coil from the Rugby Radio Station.