DADVSI, a new threat to our freedom

Probably you have heard about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), in USA. In European Union is a DMCA-like directive called EUCD (the French version is called DADVSI), on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society.

Only Czech Republic, France and Spain have not implemented this Directive to date, but the French government wants now to implement it fast in the 22-23 December night. I tell you about this bill here because you can help EU citizens, and because this kind of bill will probably comes to your country one day.

Why do we fight the DADVSI bill ? An answer is on the http://eucd.info site : « Creating your own compilations from a CD, extracting your favourite piece of music to listen to it on your computer, transfering it on a MP3 player, lending a CD to a friend, reading a DVD with free software or duplicating it to be able to enjoy it at home and in your country house : many common practices, perfectly legal, which the French government plans to forbid in fact. The copyright and neighbouring rights in the information society bill (DADVSI) (n°1206) which the French government will try to force through in the coming weeks by using an emergency procedure, actually legitimates the technical devices installed by CD and DVD editors and producers to control their use. And above all, the bill plans criminal penalty against people who would dare to remove those. »

There is a petition, some big groups signed it, such as Mandriva or Sun Microsystem. Perhaps your organizations could sign it too, and all of you who want to fight against this kind of restrictions against citizen’s freedom, free software and free art. The petition is there (at the top it is for individuals, at the bottom for organisations).

Iranuclear

Some days ago the USA accused Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons. First, Iran always claimed that its nuclear program is peaceful and that it has the right to civilian nuclear energy. Iran ratified the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1970, and since February 1992 has allowed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect any of its nuclear facilities. Prior to 2003 no IAEA inspections had revealed Tehran’s violations of the NPT. Iran’s nuclear program was supported by a lot of countries around the world, including USA in the early time. Some offers was made to Iran to help in his civilian nuclear program and in 1993, Iran and Russia signed an agreement for the construction of Russian reactors at Bushehr. The thing is, all experts are explaining that it’s very easy to develop nuclear weapons when you control the art of producing civilian nuclear energy. But the possession of nuclear reactors is not a proof of having nuclear military intentions. For example, a lot of nuclear capable states such as Japan or Canada are using nuclear technology only for civilian purpose.

But, even if Iran plans to have nuclear weapons – and it’s probable that the mullahs want nukes – it’s not necessary bad. I find that the Nonproliferation Treaty is not really fair. Why some countries should have the right to possess nuclear weapons and not the others? Who are USA, Russia, France, UK and China to tell their neighbours what to do? When USA and Soviet Union started to developed their first nuclear weapons in the 40’s, they opened a Pandora’s box. Since this treaty, some new countries have developed those weapons, such as Israel, India, Pakistan or North Korea. Why not Iran? In my view, the best thing to fight against nuclear proliferation is to start nuclear disarmament, that is undeployment and dismantling of nuclear weapons. Plus, Iran has many foreigners with nuclear weapons: Israel, Russia, India, Pakistan and China.

I don’t know if the claim of USA about Iranian weapon is right. It could be a pretext to fight against Iran, such as weapons of mass destruction were for Iraq invasion. Iran is not in Bush’s so-called « axis of evil » for nothing. Since many years, Iran are deriding USA. And for USA, Iran is the big uncontrolled area in Middle-East. In fact, United states have military bases all around, in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Georgia, Iraq, Koweit, Kyrgyzstan, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan. So the power in Middle-East is in the hands of USA, Israel and Iran. If Iran had nuclear weapon, it would change all geopolitical influences in this area, and USA will lost a part of is power.


Note: Thanks to Sholeh & Dawood.

Madonna frozen out

On November 18, the Belgian court of Mons found the singer Madonna guilty of plagiarising some of the contents of her single Frozen. The song, which is taken from her 1998 album Ray Of Light, has been withdrawn from all record shops in Belgium, as has the album itself. She was sued by Salvatore Acquaviva, who claimed Frozen contained four bars of his own song Ma vie fout l’camp. According to Acquaviva, Madonna first came in contact with his song back in the 70’s when she was working as a backing singer for Patrick Hernandez in Belgium.

First of all, Madonna says that she has no knowledge of the Acquaviva song. It is probably true, because nobody knows Ma vie fout l’camp, Acquaviva is a totally unknown singer, even in Belgium! Secundo, Madonna did not composed the bars of music under question herself, they were written for her in 1996 by Patrick Leonard. But the thing incredible, is the four bars. I listened to the two songs. The intro is just a little bit similar, it is not the same music nor the same speed, lyrics are different. It is most probably just a coincidence and Acquaviva wants cash.

How many songs in the world have one second in common? How many songs in the world have four bars in common? If I am a singer and I find a good melody for a song, should I verify that all singers (famous one, but also those who are playing in the subway and those who are singing under the shower) all around the world, in Peru, in Estonia, in Japan, have never sing a part of this melody before? I am sure that every four bars have already played somewhere.

United states of the third world

Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, hurricanes or tsunamis make often a disaster. However, hurricane Katrina was very special. Everything happened as if USA was an underdeveloped country. Flash-back on this catastrophe.

According to the Louisiana evacuation plan, evacuation was mainly left up to individual citizens to find their own way out of the city, even if it was known that many residents of New Orleans lacked cars. It is also believed that many citizens, having survived previous hurricanes, did not anticipate the impending catastrophe and chose to ride out the storm. Even so, a 2000 census revealed that 27% of New Orleans households, amounting to approximately 120,000 people, were without privately-owned transportation. Additionally, at 38%, New Orleans has one of the highest poverty rates in the United States. These factors may have prevented many people from being able to evacuate on their own. Consequentially most of those stranded in the city are the poor, the elderly, and the sick. It’s a shame that US government hasn’t organized an evacuation, with military or firefighting forces! Evacuation was left up to citizens, like in ‘Survivor’ reality show. If you are rich and with a good health, you will be safe; else, America doesn’t really matter of you, you have to die!

On August 28, as Hurricane Katrina grew into a category 5 storm that had yet to make landfall, some « refuges of last resort » were established for citizens who could not leave the city, including the massive and now-famous Louisiana Superdome. On September 1, it was counted that as many as 60,000 people had gathered at the Superdome for evacuation, having remained there in increasingly difficult circumstances. Air conditioning, electricity, and running water all failed, making for very unsanitary and uncomfortable conditions. In the Superdome have been widespread reports of murders, beatings, robberies etc. The Superdome was only completely evacuated by September 6.

But, the complete anarchy wasn’t in the Superdome, it was worse outside! Shortly after the hurricane ended on August 30, some residents of New Orleans who remained in the city, including police officers, began looting stores : drug, food, convenience, clothing, jewelry stores etc. Several shootings occured between police and New Orleans residents. Thousands of national guard and federal troops were mobilized and sent to Louisiana. When I saw this on the news, national guards, refugees, gunmen, misery, looters, I found that is was looking like Iraq. In fact, when the hurricane was on Louisiana and Mississipi, most of national guards of those states were precisely in Iraq. Louisiana was looking both like Western America in cowboys times and a third world country, but… it was in USA, a modern country in the 21st century.

All over the USA, people were surprised by the power of Katrina. In the same time, the USA were drowning worldwide criticism for failing to adopt the greatest international agreement for the reduction of some greenhouse gases, the Kyoto Protocol, which has been accepted by nearly every other country. Why forget that a connection could exist between pollution and a category 5 storm? The US alone accounted for 36.1% of worldwide greenhouse emissions in 1990, so that the USA is the world’s biggest polluter. Emissions in America have continued to rise and are now 11% higher than in 1990. All searchers on environmental issues tell that global warming is the result of a strengthening greenhouse effect caused primarily by man-made increases in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. And this global warming provokes a change of the climate models, for example, it increases the power of storms. US people should think about it.

All those events seemed to happen without any control of US government and administration. But all that Bush administration did, was all nonsense. Bush said that we must pray God to help the victims. The United States had been reluctant during several days to accept donations and aid from foreign countries other than Canada and the United Kingdom, even if France and Russia were one of the first nations to offer aid. However, this policy was reversed, and as the reports of damage grew more grim, the United States has slowly started to accept the foreign aid… a week after the disaster. As the military and rescue services regained control over New Orleans, Bush made restrictions on the activity of the media to hide to citizens his failure in the disaster management.

So, with Katrina we saw a very big disaster but also a side of the American society and the way in which Bush administration govern its country. I can’t end this article without telling that I want to express my sincere condolences to the 1080 victims and their family. I hope that the early French city of New Orleans will be rebuilt quickly and that we will have soon an happy Mardi Gras like in the past !

Michael Jackson found not guilty

Michael Jackson leaves the Santa Barbara County Courthouse after being found not guilty on all ten counts of child molestation in Santa Maria, California June 13, 2005.

The only thing I could say, is that Mr. Jackson was the ideal victim for rumors or accusations of pedophily.

First, he says at the TV and in the news that he likes sleeping with children. In fact, Michael Jackson is known as being fond of children, and, apart from having his own, he has had friendships with a number of other children, ranging from disadvantaged children to child celebrities – including the actor Macaulay Culkin. He has invited many groups of children to his big ranch and has sponsored a variety of charitable activities. His Neverland Ranch (California, USA), named after the magical kingdom Neverland featured in the children’s story Peter Pan, is a real little amusement park for children. His passion for children could perhaps be explained by the lack of « child’s life » that he had himself. Born in 1958, he was the lead singer of The Jackson 5, who signed their first recording contract with the local Steeltown label in 1967. Mr. Jackson doesn’t count for his love for children, so that he made some eccentric things, for example he helped develop a Sega video game ‘Michael Jackson in Moonwalker’ in 1990 where the player controlled the ‘king of pop’ in an effort to save the world’s children from an evil criminal mastermind. He denies having had sex with any of the children who slept in the same bed as him, but the fact of sleeping with children seems inevitably suspicious.

A second point is his eccentric lifestyle, who can disturb a lot of conservative people in the USA. His curious appearance, his physical operations, his strange skin, his angelic voice makes him very suspect. Perhaps there is a little bit hate against his eccentricity too.

Anyway, his passion of children, his eccentricity and his legendary fortune, makes him a very good subject for a trial. I don’t know the truth, but, for the Courth, he’s not guilty. I’m satisfied about this decision, cause the trial wasn’t equal. The prosecutor was partial – he was very aggressive against Jackson in his interviews – and the accusers had ‘strange’ arguments (false?). If he’s not guilty, all those rumors, accusations and the four-month trial have probably strongly hurted the artist. Could he continue his career?

PS: for francophiles, a wordplay : ‘Michael Jackson a été blanchi’ (blanchi means both cleared and whitened).