Thursday, September 20, 2012 12:00 AM
Washington, DC – Today, the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus, which is chaired by Congressmen Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), and Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), unveiled the “2012 International Piracy Watch List.”  In an effort to fight copyright piracy and call attention to countries where it has reached alarming levels, the Caucus highlighted the high levels of piracy and the lack of legal protections for copyright in the following five countries: China, Russia, Italy, Switzerland and Ukraine.  The report also highlights Canada and Spain as countries in transition following the enactment of stronger legal frameworks for the protection of copyright in both nations.  full report
Copyright dependent industries – film, home video and television programming, music, books, video games, and software – play an enormous role in the American economy. According to a report from the International Intellectual Property Alliance, core copyright industries employed 5.1 million Americans in 2010 in jobs that paid 27 percent more than the average wage. These industries remain some of our most internationally competitive, collectively ranking as the second largest exporting sector in the U.S. However, as the Anti-Piracy Caucus Watch List highlights, they frequently do not compete on a level playing field due to the rampant levels of piracy in many major international markets.
The 2012 Watch List also highlights progress made in engaging cooperative private sector efforts to reduce piracy. In 2011, the Caucus noted the frequent appearance of advertising for legitimate brands on rogue websites dedicated to providing access to pirated material. These advertisements lend a false air of legitimacy to rogue sites while helping to subsidize their operations. The Caucus called on players in the online advertising ecosystem to take steps to prevent legitimate ads from appearing on rogue sites. In the 2012 Watch List, the co-chairs welcomed the recent release of a “best practices” document by the Association of National Advertisers and the American Association of Advertising Agencies urging their members to take affirmative steps to avoid the placement of advertising on pirate sites.
“Whether it is movie makers, music producers and app makers to entrepreneurs creating the newest must-have gadget, our economy is based upon the principle that property should be respected — not stolen –and this right does not end at the water’s edge. This is not only fair, but it is good economics,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). “That’s why we started the Watch List – to alert those pirates and the countries helping them that we are paying attention and we expect our trading partners to protect the intellectual property rights of creators. Our creative industries employ millions of Americans and are some of our most competitive exports. All we want is a level playing field where all nations live up to their obligations to protect intellectual property and enforce existing laws.”
“The recognition of an author’s ownership in an original creative work is one of our legal system’s core principles,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).  “If we allow people to take that work without paying for it, artists will no longer have any financial incentive to create new movies, software, video games, books and music.  The end result is the loss of billions of dollars in revenue for the U.S. each year and even greater losses to our economy in terms of reduced job growth and exports. While the U.S. is the world’s leader in intellectual property protections, the problem does not stop at our borders.  The only way to ensure the full protection of Americans’ creative works is to actively encourage other countries around the globe to enact and enforce strong intellectual property laws.”
“Innovation, hard work, and creativity long have fueled the American dream and are the reason for the continued worldwide demand for American movies, music, books, and software,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).  “Theft of our intellectual property undercuts the hard work of Americans in these industries and the U.S. economy as a whole.  Our trading partners must ensure that American intellectual property is appropriately protected.”
“I wish it could be said that the 2012 International Anti-Piracy Watch List contained some promising news,” said Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT). “Unfortunately, this year’s Watch List confirms that copyright piracy continues to spread at an alarming pace. Our copyright laws are designed to encourage the creation of new works that inspire and delight us. Conversely, IP piracy takes something for nothing – representing the largest transfer of wealth in history. Over time our artists may simply choose not to share their talents and creations with us. And who can blame them, especially if we cannot protect their intellectual property rights? This is a global cause worthy of our best efforts.”
The Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus, which was originally formed in 2003, is made up of over 65 members of Congress.  The goal of the Caucus is to provide briefings for Congressional delegations traveling to countries with significant piracy problems, staff and member briefings and forums on international intellectual property protection and piracy, demonstrations of new technologies and products designed to improve consumers’ entertainment experiences and to reduce piracy and to work closely with the committees of jurisdiction in the House and Senate on related hearings and legislation.

RIAA Hammers Google With DMCA Takedowns In Six Strikes Prelude

• enigmax
• November 20, 2012
Very soon the six strikes anti-piracy program will kick off in the United States but the RIAA isn’t just sitting back and presuming that it will be an anti-piracy cure-all. Since early November the recording industry group has massively upped the number of DMCA notices it issues to make content harder to find. From an average of between 200,000 and 240,000 URL requests sent every week to Google, the RIAA has just posted 463,000 and 666,000 in successive weeks.
The well-publicized six-strikes anti-piracy scheme is just around the corner.
The MPAA, RIAA and several large Internet service providers in the United States will work together to monitor file-sharers and send them warnings in the hope that they will start spending small fortunes on CDs, DVDs and digital downloads.
While the monitoring and warning-sending while be fairly widespread, there are limitations as to who can be reached. There is a distinct possibility that once they receive a warning, file-sharers will either take steps to hide their online identities through the use of anonymity technologies like VPNs, or will shift to cyberlocker type services that cannot be monitored.
So, to make things as difficult as possible for both sets of users, rightsholders have been sending ever-increasing volumes of DMCA takedown notices, not just to torrent, cyberlocker and other linking sites, but also to Google. They hope that when Internet users can’t find what they want through a Google search they will grow increasingly tired of looking and turn to official outlets instead.
Google has been receiving huge numbers of these takedowns. To date, anti-piracy company Degban has sent the most – a staggering 8.2 million in total. Microsoft has sent 5.5 million followed by Froytal who deal with the porn industry. Listed twice (once as copyright holders and once as reporting organizations) bed-fellows the BPI and RIAA have also been sending huge numbers of takedowns, but this month have broken all records.
To give an idea of the scale, back in June this year the RIAA was sending takedown requests to Google at the rate of around 100,000 per week, with the BPI sending around 70,000. At the end of the July the BPI suddenly started sending around 150,000, with the RIAA reaching a steady 200,000 per week.
As can be seen from the diagram above, early September the BPI boosted their volumes significantly, to around 244,000 takedowns a week, increasing to between 300,000 and 330,000 in the weeks that followed.
The RIAA maintained 200,000 to 230,000 steadily until the first week of November and then, pretty much out of nowhere, they massively turned up the heat.
In the week commencing November 5, the RIAA sent 463,000 URL takedown requests to Google, doubling their busiest week ever. Then the following week (last week), the recording industry group sent a mind-boggling 666,000 takedown requests to Google in just 7 days.
So who are they targeting with all these takedowns? Of course, the usual suspects are all there including the major torrent sites, but perhaps what is most surprising is that the most-targeted sites aren’t the ones the RIAA chooses to report to the USTR in its ‘notorious markets‘ review.
In the “non-P2P linking sites” section of the review, only the search engine is given a mention by the RIAA. However, although it is heavily targeted by rightsholders (and RIAA members individually), the site doesn’t appear in the RIAA’s top five most-targeted domains on Google.
The most DMCA’d sites are (396,094), (275,035), (253,942), (225,471) and (189,224).
Will the RIAA break one million URL takedowns a week by the end of the year? There’s only six weeks left to find out.



Friday, November 16, 2012 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) released the following statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) delayed decision to deny a waiver of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) despite severe drought conditions this year:
“I am greatly disappointed by the EPA’s decision to deny much-needed relief to American livestock producers, food producers, and consumers. With a steep decline in corn production this year and a sharp increase in corn prices, the economic harm of the RFS is undeniable.  For many farmers and businesses in the Sixth District who use corn to feed livestock or produce products, rapid increases in the price of corn weigh heavily on their bottom line.  But it doesn’t stop there – higher corn prices are ultimately reflected in the price of food on grocery store shelves.  However, the federal government is once again choosing to put more ethanol in gas tanks rather than food on the table.
“In the debate over ethanol, the government is picking winners and losers.  Livestock and food producers as well as consumers of these products are on the losing end.  A broad coalition of agricultural organizations, food producers, restaurants, grocery stores, environmental organizations, hunger groups, and consumer groups as well as 155 Members of the House and 34 U.S. Senators, joined me in asking the EPA to use their power to waive the RFS.  Yet, the EPA still refused. This decision has proven that the waiver provisions currently in law are inadequate.
“We will now turn to our colleagues in the House and the Senate to take up legislation to address this ongoing problem.  I support a complete elimination of the RFS, and have already introduced the Renewable Fuel Standard Elimination Act (H.R. 3098) to do just that.  Today’s decision makes the passage of this legislation even more important.”
Additional Information
For a PDF copy of the letter sent to EPA Administrator Jackson by Congressman Goodlatte and 155 other bipartisan Members of the U.S. House of Representatives in August requesting a waiver, please click HERE.

Senate bill rewrite lets feds read your e-mail without warrants

Senate bill rewrite lets feds read your e-mail without warrants

By Declan McCullagh
November 20, 2012
Proposed law scheduled for a vote next week originally increased Americans’ e-mail privacy. Then law enforcement complained. Now it increases government access to e-mail and other digital files.
A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans’ e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law.
CNET has learned that Patrick Leahy, the influential Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, has dramatically reshaped his legislation in response to law enforcement concerns. A vote on his bill, which now authorizes warrantless access to Americans’ e-mail, is scheduled for next week.
Revised bill highlights
✭ Grants warrantless access to Americans’ electronic correspondence to over 22 federal agencies. Only a subpoena is required, not a search warrant signed by a judge based on probable cause.
✭ Permits state and local law enforcement to warrantlessly access Americans’ correspondence stored on systems not offered “to the public,” including university networks.
✭ Authorizes any law enforcement agency to access accounts without a warrant — or subsequent court review — if they claim “emergency” situations exist.
✭ Says providers “shall notify” law enforcement in advance of any plans to tell their customers that they’ve been the target of a warrant, order, or subpoena.
✭ Delays notification of customers whose accounts have been accessed from 3 days to “10 business days.” This notification can be postponed by up to 360 days.
Leahy’s rewritten bill would allow more than 22 agencies — including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission — to access Americans’ e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant. It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge. (CNET obtained the revised draft from a source involved in the negotiations with Leahy.)
It’s an abrupt departure from Leahy’s earlier approach, which required police to obtain a search warrant backed by probable cause before they could read the contents of e-mail or other communications. The Vermont Democrat boasted last year that his bill “provides enhanced privacy protections for American consumers by… requiring that the government obtain a search warrant.”
Leahy had planned a vote on an earlier version of his bill, designed to update a pair of 1980s-vintage surveillance laws, in late September. But after law enforcement groups including the National District Attorneys’ Association and the National Sheriffs’ Association organizations objected to the legislation and asked him to “reconsider acting” on it, Leahy pushed back the vote and reworked the bill as a package of amendments to be offered next Thursday. The package (PDF) is a substitute for H.R. 2471, which the House of Representatives already has approved.

H.R.2471 – To amend section 2710 of title 18, United States Code, to clarify that a video tape service provider may obtain a consumer’s informed, written consent on an ongoing basis and that consent may be obtained through the Internet.

H.R. 2471 – To Amend Section 2710 of Title 18, United States Code, to Clarify That a Video Tape Service Provider May Obtain a Consumer’s Informed, Written Consent on an Ongoing Basis and That Consent May Be Obtained Through the Internet.

$$ Contributions by vote

One person participating in Capitol Hill meetings on this topic told CNET that Justice Department officials have expressed their displeasure about Leahy’s original bill. The department is on record as opposing any such requirement: James Baker, the associate deputy attorney general, has publicly warned that requiring a warrant to obtain stored e-mail could have an “adverse impact” on criminal investigations.
Christopher Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said requiring warrantless access to Americans’ data “undercuts” the purpose of Leahy’s original proposal. “We believe a warrant is the appropriate standard for any contents,” he said.
An aide to the Senate Judiciary committee told CNET that because discussions with interested parties are ongoing, it would be premature to comment on the legislation.
Marc Rotenberg, head of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said that in light of the revelations about how former CIA director David Petraeus’ e-mail was perused by the FBI, “even the Department of Justice should concede that there’s a need for more judicial oversight,” not less.

Greenpeace exposes hazardous chemicals in high street fashion

Greenpeace exposes hazardous chemicals in high street fashion

Press release – November 20, 2012

Beijing, 20 November, 2012 – High street fashion brands are selling clothing contaminated with hazardous chemicals that break down to form hormone-disrupting or even cancer-causing chemicals when released into the environment, according to a report released today by Greenpeace International.
Greenpeace investigations found hazardous chemicals in clothing from 20 leading fashion brands [1], while fashion retailer Zara is alone in the study for having clothes that can give rise to both chemicals that are hormone-disrupting or cancer causing [2].
Greenpeace International’s investigatory report, “Toxic Threads – The Big Fashion Stitch-Up”, covers tests on 141 clothing items and exposes the links between textile manufacturing facilities using hazardous chemicals and the presence of chemicals in final products.
“Major fashion brands are turning us all into fashion victims by selling us clothes that contain hazardous chemicals that contribute to toxic water pollution around the world, both when they are made and washed,” said Yifang Li, Senior Toxics Campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia.
One of the key findings is that all tested brands had at least several items containing NPEs, which break down into hormone disrupting chemicals, with the highest concentrations – above 1,000 ppm – in clothing items from Zara, Metersbonwe, Levi’s, C&A, Mango, Calvin Klein, Jack & Jones and Marks & Spencer (M&S). Other chemicals identified included high levels of toxic phthalates in four of the products, and traces of a cancer-causing amine from the use of cert ain azo dyes [3] in two products from Zara. The presence many other types of potentially hazardous industrial chemicals were found across many of the items tested.
“Some of the Zara items tested came out positive for substances that break down to form cancer-causing or hormone-disrupting chemicals which is unacceptable for both consumers and the people living near the factories where these clothes are made. How can Zara be sure that more of its clothing lines are not contaminated with these hazardous chemicals?” said Martin Hojsik, Detox Campaign Coordinator at Greenpeace International.
“As the world’s largest clothing retailer, Zara needs to take the lead and take urgent, ambitious and transparent action to Detox their clothes and supply chains,” he said.
The items tested were manufactured mainly in the Global South, and included jeans, trousers, t-shirts, dresses and underwear designed for men, women and children and made from both artificial and natural fibres. Hazardous chemicals are both incorporated deliberately within the materials or left as unwanted residues remaining from their use during the manufacturing process.
“The textile industry continues to treat public waterways as little more than their private sewers. But our fashion doesn’t have to cost the earth: Our clothes don’t have to be manufactured with hazardous chemicals,” said Yifang Li, Detox campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia.
Greenpeace demands fashion brands commit to zero discharge of all hazardous chemicals by 2020 – as brands including H&M and M&S have already done – and require their suppliers to disclose all releases of toxic chemicals from their facilities to communities at the site of water pollution.
For media enquiries:
Tristan Tremschnig, Media Relations Specialist, Greenpeace International (based in Beijing), ph.: +31 6 43 78 7393 (int’l) / +86 13 718 448 663 (China), email:
The report and factsheets can be downloaded at:
Photos: Contact Alex Yallop, Greenpeace International Photo Desk on: Email: , Mobile: +31 (0) 624 94 19 65
Video/b-roll: Contact Dannielle Taaffe, Greenpeace International Video Producer on: Email: , Mobile: +31 6347 38790
[1] The clothes were sold by the leading fashion companies Benetton, Jack & Jones, Only, Vero Moda, Blažek, C&A, Diesel, Esprit, Gap, Armani, H&M, Zara, Levi’s, Victoria’s Secret, Mango, Marks & Spencer, Metersbonwe, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and Vancl.
[2]   Amines are used in the manufacture of azo dyes and can be released when the dyes are chemically broken down. Some amines (that come from the breakdown of certain dyes) are carcinogenic. Phthalates were found in all 31 items that were tested: high levels in 4, and traces in the other 27. Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) were identified across all brands. Some phthalates, and chemicals released when nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) break down (in water treatment plants or in rivers), are hormone-disrupting chemicals. Some phthalates are toxic to the reproductive system.
[3] The release of amines were detected in two of the articles, above the detection limit of 5 ppm; both products were manufactured in Pakistan for Zara and sold in either Lebanon or Hungary.

The impact of Hurricane Sandy on K12 Schools

Hurricane Sandy Scholastic is donating one million books to schools and libraries in the hardest-hit areas of the tri-state region.

The impact of Hurricane Sandy on K12 Schools

The impact of Hurricane Sandy on schools (57 schools in New York City are too damaged to reopen, forcing the relocation of 34,000 students, and 14 schools in New Jersey are still closed) is a reminder of the need to build a comprehensive, all-hazards school emergency management plan that is framed by the four phases of emergency management — Prevention-Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery.  Two critical aspects include the continuity of education and the provision of mental health supports for students and staff experiencing trauma due to disasters or significant incidents. AND
Also, the emergency underscored the importance of facilities’ maintenance and environmental health, controlling utility costs, and schools serving as emergency shelters, as well as the need for effective environmental education.
Meanwhile, Scholastic is donating one million books to schools and libraries in the hardest-hit areas of the tri-state region.

DOD "The Department of Everything" Did Jesus die for Klingons too?

DoD will spend almost $68 billion on non-military goods and services over the next 10 years.

DOD “The Department of Everything”

Beef jerky, a microbrewery and windmills are among the hundreds of items the Defense Department is not only spending money on, but producing each year.
And Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) wants the Pentagon to cut it out.
Coburn said Thursday DoD will spend almost $68 billion on non-military goods and services over the next 10 years. Some recent examples included a smartphone app to help military members manage their caffeine intake, and the sponsorship of a workshop by the Defense Advanced Research Agency called the 100 Year Starship project, which included a session called, “Did Jesus die for Klingons too?”
Coburn released a new report, called The Department of Everything, in attempt to shine light on what he calls wasteful spending during a time of ever-tightening budgets.
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Report PDF @

AT&T's $14 Billion Dollar 'Bribe' to Get Rid of Telecom Regulations Is a Multi-Layered Hoax

call it extortion or a bribe or a bait-and-switch AT&T is holding 22 states’ economic future hostage.

AT&T’s $14 Billion Dollar ‘Bribe’ to Get Rid of Telecom Regulations Is a Multi-Layered Hoax

Continue reading “AT&T's $14 Billion Dollar 'Bribe' to Get Rid of Telecom Regulations Is a Multi-Layered Hoax”