Aerosmith sued over late cancellation of gig in Maui, Hawaii

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fans of the American hard rock band Aerosmith have launched legal action against the band in response to a late cancellation of a scheduled concert on the Hawaiian Island of Maui.

Attorney Brandee Faria filed a class action suit in Hawaii Circuit Court on October 19. The suit alleges that the band’s cancellation cost fans between US$500,000 (€349,944) and $3 million (€2.1 million) in travel and accommodation costs, as well as other related expenses.

The sold-out September 26 Maui concert – originally planned months before as the final show of a world tour that began in Brazil in April – was canceled by the band on the basis that they could not make it to the island in time after a September 24 concert in Chicago. The Chicago concert, which attracted 18,000 people, was rescheduled at the last minute after the original September 10 concert date had been postponed due to illness.

The band canceled the show at Maui’s War Memorial Stadium, which was set to be attended by 9,000 people, and apologized to fans. The band’s management company, HK Management Inc., gave no initial reason when they canceled on September 20, but blamed logistical reasons by the next day.

However, just days later, on September 29, the band traveled to the neighbor island of Oahu to play a corporate event in Honolulu for Toyota car dealers and private guests. An audience of 6,000 people celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Japanese automobile manufacturer at the University of Hawaii, with Toyota paying $500,000 (€349,944) to hire the campus. Aerosmith received $1 million (€700,000) to perform at the event. Faria alleges that Aerosmith abandoned the scheduled public concert on Maui in favor of the more lucrative corporate event on Oahu.

“…Defendants simply canceled the only public performance by Aerosmith in favor of the larger Chicago venue and the lucrative, private concert for the Toyota car dealers,” the complaint states.

Local officials had hoped the concert would attract other big names to the island.

Faria said that “I’ve had people contact me being out of pocket at much as $800 or $900,” adding that if the cancellation is found to be deceptive ticket holders may be eligible for a minimum of $1,000 each. The complaint also says that those aged 62 or over should receive at least $5,000 each. Currently about a dozen ticket holders are involved with the suit. If the action is approved by a judge, steps will be taken to contact everyone who purchased a ticket.

Smoke from massive warehouse fire in Buffalo, New York USA can be seen 40 miles away

Monday, May 14, 2007

Buffalo, New York —A massive warehouse complex of at least 5 buildings caught on fire in Buffalo, New York on 111 Tonawanda Street, sending a plume of thick, jet black colored smoke into the air that could be seen as far away as 40 miles.

As of 6:40 a.m., the fire was under control, and firefighters were attempting to stop it from spreading, but could not get to the center of the fire because of severe amounts of debris. Later in the morning, the fire was extinguished.

“The fire is mostly under debris at this point. It’s under control, but it’s under some debris. We really can’t get to it. We’re just going to have to keep on pouring water on it so it doesn’t spread,” said Thomas Ashe, the fire chief for the North Buffalo based fire division who also added that at one point, at least 125 firefighters were on the scene battling the blaze. One suffered minor injures and was able to take himself to the hospital to seek medical attention.

Shortly after 8:00 p.m. as many as 3 explosions rocked the warehouse sending large mushroom clouds of thick black smoke into the air. After the third explosion, heat could be felt more than 100 feet away. The fire started in the front, one story building then quickly spread to three others, but fire fighters managed to stop the flames from spreading onto the 3 story building all the way at the back.

According to a Buffalo Police officer, who wished not to be named, the fire began at about 7:00 p.m. [Eastern time], starting as a one alarm fire. By 8:00 p.m., three fire companies were on the scene battling the blaze. Police also say that a smaller fire was reported in the same building on Saturday night, which caused little damage.

At the start of the fire, traffic was backed up nearly 4 miles on the 198 expressway going west toward the 190 Interstate and police had to shut down the Tonawanda street exit because the road is too close to the fire.

At one point, traffic on the 198 was moving so slow, at least a dozen people were seen getting out of their cars and walking down the expressway to watch the fire. That prompted as many as 10 police cars to be dispatched to the scene to force individuals back into their cars and close off one of the 2 lanes on the westbound side.

One woman, who wished not to be named as she is close to the owner of the warehouse, said the building is filled with “classic cars, forklifts, and money” and that owner “does not have insurance” coverage on the property. The building is not considered abandoned, but firefighters said that it is vacant.

Officials in Fort Erie, Ontario were also swamped with calls to fire departments when the wind blew the smoke over the Niagra River and into Canada.

It is not known what caused the fire, but a car is suspected to have caught on fire and there are reports from police and hazmat crews, that there were also large barrels of diesel fuel being stored in one building. Firefighters say the cause of the blaze is being treated as “suspicious.” The ATF is investigating the fire and will bring dogs in to search the debris.

Wikinews Shorts: August 13, 2009

A compilation of brief news reports for Thursday, August 13, 2009.

Contents

  • 1 Paris suffers second night of violence
  • 2 No concrete progress but North American leaders express solidarity
  • 3 Mexican federal police foil plot to assassinate President Calderón
  • 4 Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to another three years of house arrest
  • 5 Four Rio Tinto employees formally arrested for bribery
  • 6 Michael Jackson to be the star one last time

The French capital Paris has seen a second night of violence by demonstrators, who have blamed police for the death of a motorcyclist on Sunday.

On Sunday night youths in the eastern suburb of Bagnolet, set 29 vehicles alight and threw stones and petrol bombs at police. Monday night was “relatively calm” according to Samira Amrouche, spokeswoman for the regional administration, the authorities having depolyed 40 vans of riot police only 8 vehicles were burnt.

The motorcyclist, a pizza deliveryman, was killed when he fled police attempting to examine his documents, dying when he was struck by a pursuing police vehicle according to the youths,however in the police version his death was a result of him crashing into barriers.

The current violence has echoes of the unrest in 2005, with again dissaffected youths of Arab and black descent venting their anger and frustration.

Sources

The leaders of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) met in Guadalajara, Mexico on Sunday and Monday. The leaders of the three countries (Barack Obama of the United States, Felipe Calderón of Mexico, and Stephen Harper of Canada) promised to work together on swine flu, organised crime and green issues.

Despite disputes in a number of areas remaining unresolved, the three leaders succeeded in presenting an amiable Three Amigos image. The three leaders expressed solidarity, and an understanding of each others position.

The unresolved issues include the buy American clauses in the US stimulus package, tit for tat reprisals by the Mexican authorities over Canadian visa restrictions on Mexican travellers, and the US ban on Mexican trucks from crossing the border.

Risking the ire of human rights activists back home President Obama expressed support for President Calderón’s war against drugs saying he had “great confidence” in the Mexican authorities.

Sources

Mexican Federal Police (Policía Federal) have foiled an alleged plot to assasinate the President of Mexico Felipe Calderón. Acting on intelligence gathered over a year the Federal Police arrested five drug cartel members on Sunday and publicly paraded their captives and a number of weapons ,including automatic rifles, on Monday. Speaking during a summit of North American leaders Calderón played down the threats on his life, saying that the cartels are being destroyed by his policies.

Some 11000 have died since President Calderón’s took office in 2006 and made the war on drugs a cornerstone of his administration.

Sources

Aung San Suu Kyi has been sentenced by a court in Burma to a further three years of house arrest for violating the terms of her previous sentence. However her sentence was immediately commuted to 18 months on the orders of Burmese head of state Senior-General Than Shwe out of respect for her father General Aung San and out of a desire for “national reconciliation”.

The period of her arrest will prevent Aung San Suu Kyi from participating in the general elections scheduled for 2010. The sentence was immediately condemned by Western leaders, and breaking from their usual silence, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) through its current chair Thailand issued a statement expressing disappointment. The ASEAN statement and talk of further European Union and United States sanctions are unlikely to have any impact on Southeast Asian country given the support of India and China.

The Chinese issued a statement calling for the world to respect Burmese sovereignty and laws, and is seen as an indication that China, a veto power will not support any United Nations actions.

John Yettaw whose unauthorised visit led to Aung San Suu Kyi’s prosecution has himself been sentenced to seven years imprisonment, four of which will be for hard labour.

Sources

Four employees of the Rio Tinto Group have been formally arrested in China on charges of bribery and using improper practises in its negotiations with Chinese companies. The Chinese accuse the men of improperly learning the negotiating position of Chinese companies wishing to buy iron ore, and through this charging 700 billion yuan (US$102.46 billion) more then they would otherwise have been able to

The four were initially held on espionage charges and have been held since early July. The formal charges allows the Chinese authorities to hold the four a further seven months as it prepares its case against them. Their arrests followed the collapse of an attempted by Chinese owned Chinalco to raise its stake in the Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto Group to 18%.

Sources

Michael Jackson will be the star of a film to be released on October 28, some four months after his death. The film will be primarily cut from footage of Jackson rehearsing for the series of concerts that would have taken place at the O2 in London, but will also feature interviews with Jackson’s family and friends.

The film becomes possible after AEG Live, the promoter of the O2 concerts, reached an US$60 million agreement with Columbia Pictures for over 100 hours of footage of Jackson preparing for his swan song.

“He was the architect of ‘This is it‘, and we were his builders…” said Kenny Ortega, Jackson’s collaborator on the project “…it was clear that he was on his way to another theatrical triumph.”

Sources

Woman finds human finger in bowl of chili at Wendy’s restaurant

Thursday, March 24, 2005

San Jose, California — A woman eating a bowl of chili at a Wendy’s restaurant bit into a chewy bit that turned out to be a human finger. She immediately spat it out, warned other patrons to stop eating, and upon recognizing the object as a finger, vomited.

“I’m more of a Carl’s Jr. person,” the 39-year-old Las Vegas woman, Anna Ayala, told Knight Ridder. She said this incident was her first visit to a Wendy’s restaurant. Ayala described how she found the finger, “Suddenly something crunchy was in my mouth,” she continued, “and I spit it out.”

According to Devina Cordero, 20, after Ayala found the finger, she ran up to her and Cordero’s boyfriend and said, “Don’t eat it! Look, there’s a human finger in our chili.”

“We went up to the counter and they told us it was a vegetable,” Cordero continued. “The people from Wendy’s were poking it with a spoon.”

The restaurant is located at 1405 Monterey Highway, just south of downtown San Jose.

Wikinews reporter David Vasquez drove his car up to the drive-thru menu and found that chili was still on the menu, at a price of US$1.19 for a small serving. He also witnessed workers unloading supplies from a semi-trailer truck in the restaurant’s parking lot, and carting them into the back door of the establishment.

According to Ben Gale, director of environmental health for Santa Clara County, the finger did not come from any of the employees at the restaurant. “We asked everybody to show us they have 10 fingers and everything is OK there,” he said. The found portion of the finger likely belonged to a woman because of its long and manicured fingernail, also found in the food.

Officials seized the food supply at the restaurant and are tracing it back to the manufacturer, where they believe the finger may have gotten mixed in with the raw ingredients used to prepare the chili. The restaurant’s operators were later permitted to re-open after preparing new chili prepared from fresh ingredients.

As this story was filed, there was no mention of the incident on the Wendy’s corporate web site. Wendy’s issued a statement through a spokesman.

“Food safety is of utmost importance to us,” said Wendy’s spokesman Joe Desmond. He referred to the incident as an “unsubstantiated claim.”

“We are cooperating fully with the local police and health departments with their investigation. It’s important not to jump to conclusions. Here at Wendy’s we plan to do right by our customers,” Desmond said.

According to county health officials, the unfortunate woman who bit into the finger is doing fine, despite her initial reaction. Officials also noted that the finger would have been cooked at a high enough temperature to destroy any viruses.

The Santa Clara county medical examiner reported that the finger had a solid fingerprint, although investigators did not say if a search of fingerprint databases would be performed to find the owner of the finger.

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

Ten Scam Free Ways To Make Money Fast Online

Submitted by: Brock Hamilton

There are endless opportunities to make money fast online. By understanding the type of work that is available and what is required you too could earn your income from your home computer without ever having to leave the comforts of your home. This is something that is considerably more important to those who are trying to raise a family while still trying to earn an income. There are so many scams on the internet that promise a way to get rich quick or earn a steady income that one could easily find themselves in debt if they were to listen to them all and follow them. However below are the ten ways to make money online and these are all scam free.

(1) One great way to make money fast online is through Amazon s Mechanical Turk. Basically you sign up for free and complete a bunch of basic or simple tasks in which you earn a little bit of money. There is not a lot of income potential and the work is considered to be time consuming but you are still earning and income. (2) Selling stock photographs is another way to make money online and one that is increasingly popular. Basically you post your photographs and with each download you make money. (3) Cleaning out your closets and basements and getting rid of old things on Ebay is another great way to earn an income.

YouTube Preview Image

(4) Freelance article writing is something else that is becoming increasingly popular. It is simple to get started and most of the time requires little real talent but rather a great attention to detail and understanding of English. (5) If you are a more talented writer than you could write articles for magazines or journals. Many of these have strict requirements that must be followed so understanding these up front will help you to have a higher income potential. (6) Also there is the opportunity to become a virtual assistant online. Basically this a personal assistant who works online.

(7) Another great writing website is eHow.com. By writing how to articles that have a good keyword search you can have endless income potential online and can make money fast. (8) Another great way to make quick money is to transcribe audio files. Depending on the number of words per minute that you type this type of income could be great for the time that is put in.

(9) Another way to make money fast is by doing affiliate videos online. These videos are something that are quite simple to create and in the end they offer a great way to produce additional income for the producer. (10) A final way to make money fast online is by creating an ebook that focuses on how to do something. These types of ebook are the most popular and are something that people will read in a number of different ways and that will be usable by the majority of people.

By looking into these ways to make money fast you could find yourself with an additional income or possibly working full time from your home.

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Flash floods kill over a hundred in India, 500 missing

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Five hundred people are missing and as many as 150 are reported to have been killed by flash floods in India, caused by a sudden cloudburst that hit Indian-controlled Kashmir on Friday. The downpour struck the town of Leh and several surrounding villages, and reportedly caused a mud slide that hit the refugee-populated village of Choglamsar.

Associated Press reported that at least five foreign tourists were among those killed. Their nationalities are not known but New Delhi Television (NDTV) reported that 110 tourists, half of them foreigners, were being looked after at an Army transit camp on the Leh-Manali road. NDTV also said that the tourists had been given food, medicine and phone connections to their embassies. Flights have been arranged by the Indian government to bring affected foreign tourists back home.

Massive relief efforts are continuing; Farooq Ahmad, who is Inspector General of Police in Kashmir reported on Sunday today that “63 bodies had been identified so far and that rescue teams were fanning out to six villages near Leh that had not yet been reached during relief operations.” Believed to contain 5000 people, Choglamsar, on Leh’s outskirts, is one of the villages that rescuers have been clearing roads to reach.

The army has been called in to assist in rescue work. Thousands of troops, police and paramilitary soldiers were clearing roads in order to reach isolated villages. Those living in the upper reaches, whose housing was not adequate to provide protection, will have borne the full impact of the mud slides caused by the 12 mm of rain that fell on Friday in just a few minutes.

Officials said that rescuers were digging through crushed homes and piles of mud to search for survivors. The hundreds of reported injured are being treated at an army hospital and several makeshift clinics. Mohammed Deen Khan, a social activist who has been assisting in rescue work, said the mud was 15 feet high in some places. Heavy earth-moving equipment has been brought in to move the tonnes of mud and boulders blocking roads.

The rescue officials have faced a serious problem due to the severe damage of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) office, a telecommunication enterprise, leading to the complete disruption of communication in the Leh region. The general manager of BSNL reports that the damage has caused a loss of 120 million INR. Another telecommunication enterprise, Airtel, has provided SIM cards to local administration for setting up hotlines that people can call for assistance.

The major problem is due to the communication breakdown. If communication is restored it will help in co-ordination of rescue operations in a better way.

Pashi Tsetan, a local administration development wing (deputy director) said, “The major problem is due to the communication breakdown. If communication is restored it will help in co-ordination of rescue operations in a better way.” Other institutions like Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR), the ITBP camp, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and others have also been affected.

1,314 people, mostly tourists, have been airlifted from Leh to Delhi. Three additional Indian Airlines flights from Jammu and Delhi have been planned. Three IL-76 and four AN-32 aircraft carried relief material to Leh this morning, and four more by Jet Airways and Air India and three by Kingfisher Airlines will carry relief material and doctors to Leh.

The ITBP has sent water tankers containing drinking water to affected areas. Medical camps have been set up in villages like Saboo. The bodies of eleven persons were transported to Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, and Rajasthan this morning.

India’s crisis comes as Pakistan is experiencing the worst floods in the country’s history.

U.K. National Portrait Gallery threatens U.S. citizen with legal action over Wikimedia images

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

The English National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in London has threatened on Friday to sue a U.S. citizen, Derrick Coetzee. The legal letter followed claims that he had breached the Gallery’s copyright in several thousand photographs of works of art uploaded to the Wikimedia Commons, a free online media repository.

In a letter from their solicitors sent to Coetzee via electronic mail, the NPG asserted that it holds copyright in the photographs under U.K. law, and demanded that Coetzee provide various undertakings and remove all of the images from the site (referred to in the letter as “the Wikipedia website”).

Wikimedia Commons is a repository of free-to-use media, run by a community of volunteers from around the world, and is a sister project to Wikinews and the encyclopedia Wikipedia. Coetzee, who contributes to the Commons using the account “Dcoetzee”, had uploaded images that are free for public use under United States law, where he and the website are based. However copyright is claimed to exist in the country where the gallery is situated.

The complaint by the NPG is that under UK law, its copyright in the photographs of its portraits is being violated. While the gallery has complained to the Wikimedia Foundation for a number of years, this is the first direct threat of legal action made against an actual uploader of images. In addition to the allegation that Coetzee had violated the NPG’s copyright, they also allege that Coetzee had, by uploading thousands of images in bulk, infringed the NPG’s database right, breached a contract with the NPG; and circumvented a copyright protection mechanism on the NPG’s web site.

The copyright protection mechanism referred to is Zoomify, a product of Zoomify, Inc. of Santa Cruz, California. NPG’s solicitors stated in their letter that “Our client used the Zoomify technology to protect our client’s copyright in the high resolution images.”. Zoomify Inc. states in the Zoomify support documentation that its product is intended to make copying of images “more difficult” by breaking the image into smaller pieces and disabling the option within many web browsers to click and save images, but that they “provide Zoomify as a viewing solution and not an image security system”.

In particular, Zoomify’s website comments that while “many customers — famous museums for example” use Zoomify, in their experience a “general consensus” seems to exist that most museums are concerned with making the images in their galleries accessible to the public, rather than preventing the public from accessing them or making copies; they observe that a desire to prevent high resolution images being distributed would also imply prohibiting the sale of any posters or production of high quality printed material that could be scanned and placed online.

Other actions in the past have come directly from the NPG, rather than via solicitors. For example, several edits have been made directly to the English-language Wikipedia from the IP address 217.207.85.50, one of sixteen such IP addresses assigned to computers at the NPG by its ISP, Easynet.

In the period from August 2005 to July 2006 an individual within the NPG using that IP address acted to remove the use of several Wikimedia Commons pictures from articles in Wikipedia, including removing an image of the Chandos portrait, which the NPG has had in its possession since 1856, from Wikipedia’s biographical article on William Shakespeare.

Other actions included adding notices to the pages for images, and to the text of several articles using those images, such as the following edit to Wikipedia’s article on Catherine of Braganza and to its page for the Wikipedia Commons image of Branwell Brontë‘s portrait of his sisters:

“THIS IMAGE IS BEING USED WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER.”
“This image is copyright material and must not be reproduced in any way without permission of the copyright holder. Under current UK copyright law, there is copyright in skilfully executed photographs of ex-copyright works, such as this painting of Catherine de Braganza.
The original painting belongs to the National Portrait Gallery, London. For copies, and permission to reproduce the image, please contact the Gallery at picturelibrary@npg.org.uk or via our website at www.npg.org.uk”

Other, later, edits, made on the day that NPG’s solicitors contacted Coetzee and drawn to the NPG’s attention by Wikinews, are currently the subject of an internal investigation within the NPG.

Coetzee published the contents of the letter on Saturday July 11, the letter itself being dated the previous day. It had been sent electronically to an email address associated with his Wikimedia Commons user account. The NPG’s solicitors had mailed the letter from an account in the name “Amisquitta”. This account was blocked shortly after by a user with access to the user blocking tool, citing a long standing Wikipedia policy that the making of legal threats and creation of a hostile environment is generally inconsistent with editing access and is an inappropriate means of resolving user disputes.

The policy, initially created on Commons’ sister website in June 2004, is also intended to protect all parties involved in a legal dispute, by ensuring that their legal communications go through proper channels, and not through a wiki that is open to editing by other members of the public. It was originally formulated primarily to address legal action for libel. In October 2004 it was noted that there was “no consensus” whether legal threats related to copyright infringement would be covered but by the end of 2006 the policy had reached a consensus that such threats (as opposed to polite complaints) were not compatible with editing access while a legal matter was unresolved. Commons’ own website states that “[accounts] used primarily to create a hostile environment for another user may be blocked”.

In a further response, Gregory Maxwell, a volunteer administrator on Wikimedia Commons, made a formal request to the editorial community that Coetzee’s access to administrator tools on Commons should be revoked due to the prevailing circumstances. Maxwell noted that Coetzee “[did] not have the technically ability to permanently delete images”, but stated that Coetzee’s potential legal situation created a conflict of interest.

Sixteen minutes after Maxwell’s request, Coetzee’s “administrator” privileges were removed by a user in response to the request. Coetzee retains “administrator” privileges on the English-language Wikipedia, since none of the images exist on Wikipedia’s own website and therefore no conflict of interest exists on that site.

Legally, the central issue upon which the case depends is that copyright laws vary between countries. Under United States case law, where both the website and Coetzee are located, a photograph of a non-copyrighted two-dimensional picture (such as a very old portrait) is not capable of being copyrighted, and it may be freely distributed and used by anyone. Under UK law that point has not yet been decided, and the Gallery’s solicitors state that such photographs could potentially be subject to copyright in that country.

One major legal point upon which a case would hinge, should the NPG proceed to court, is a question of originality. The U.K.’s Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 defines in ¶ 1(a) that copyright is a right that subsists in “original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works” (emphasis added). The legal concept of originality here involves the simple origination of a work from an author, and does not include the notions of novelty or innovation that is often associated with the non-legal meaning of the word.

Whether an exact photographic reproduction of a work is an original work will be a point at issue. The NPG asserts that an exact photographic reproduction of a copyrighted work in another medium constitutes an original work, and this would be the basis for its action against Coetzee. This view has some support in U.K. case law. The decision of Walter v Lane held that exact transcriptions of speeches by journalists, in shorthand on reporter’s notepads, were original works, and thus copyrightable in themselves. The opinion by Hugh Laddie, Justice Laddie, in his book The Modern Law of Copyright, points out that photographs lie on a continuum, and that photographs can be simple copies, derivative works, or original works:

“[…] it is submitted that a person who makes a photograph merely by placing a drawing or painting on the glass of a photocopying machine and pressing the button gets no copyright at all; but he might get a copyright if he employed skill and labour in assembling the thing to be photocopied, as where he made a montage.”

Various aspects of this continuum have already been explored in the courts. Justice Neuberger, in the decision at Antiquesportfolio.com v Rodney Fitch & Co. held that a photograph of a three-dimensional object would be copyrightable if some exercise of judgement of the photographer in matters of angle, lighting, film speed, and focus were involved. That exercise would create an original work. Justice Oliver similarly held, in Interlego v Tyco Industries, that “[i]t takes great skill, judgement and labour to produce a good copy by painting or to produce an enlarged photograph from a positive print, but no-one would reasonably contend that the copy, painting, or enlargement was an ‘original’ artistic work in which the copier is entitled to claim copyright. Skill, labour or judgement merely in the process of copying cannot confer originality.”.

In 2000 the Museums Copyright Group, a copyright lobbying group, commissioned a report and legal opinion on the implications of the Bridgeman case for the UK, which stated:

“Revenue raised from reproduction fees and licensing is vital to museums to support their primary educational and curatorial objectives. Museums also rely on copyright in photographs of works of art to protect their collections from inaccurate reproduction and captioning… as a matter of principle, a photograph of an artistic work can qualify for copyright protection in English law”. The report concluded by advocating that “museums must continue to lobby” to protect their interests, to prevent inferior quality images of their collections being distributed, and “not least to protect a vital source of income”.

Several people and organizations in the U.K. have been awaiting a test case that directly addresses the issue of copyrightability of exact photographic reproductions of works in other media. The commonly cited legal case Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp. found that there is no originality where the aim and the result is a faithful and exact reproduction of the original work. The case was heard twice in New York, once applying UK law and once applying US law. It cited the prior UK case of Interlego v Tyco Industries (1988) in which Lord Oliver stated that “Skill, labour or judgement merely in the process of copying cannot confer originality.”

“What is important about a drawing is what is visually significant and the re-drawing of an existing drawing […] does not make it an original artistic work, however much labour and skill may have gone into the process of reproduction […]”

The Interlego judgement had itself drawn upon another UK case two years earlier, Coca-Cola Go’s Applications, in which the House of Lords drew attention to the “undesirability” of plaintiffs seeking to expand intellectual property law beyond the purpose of its creation in order to create an “undeserving monopoly”. It commented on this, that “To accord an independent artistic copyright to every such reproduction would be to enable the period of artistic copyright in what is, essentially, the same work to be extended indefinitely… ”

The Bridgeman case concluded that whether under UK or US law, such reproductions of copyright-expired material were not capable of being copyrighted.

The unsuccessful plaintiff, Bridgeman Art Library, stated in 2006 in written evidence to the House of Commons Committee on Culture, Media and Sport that it was “looking for a similar test case in the U.K. or Europe to fight which would strengthen our position”.

The National Portrait Gallery is a non-departmental public body based in London England and sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Founded in 1856, it houses a collection of portraits of historically important and famous British people. The gallery contains more than 11,000 portraits and 7,000 light-sensitive works in its Primary Collection, 320,000 in the Reference Collection, over 200,000 pictures and negatives in the Photographs Collection and a library of around 35,000 books and manuscripts. (More on the National Portrait Gallery here)

The gallery’s solicitors are Farrer & Co LLP, of London. Farrer’s clients have notably included the British Royal Family, in a case related to extracts from letters sent by Diana, Princess of Wales which were published in a book by ex-butler Paul Burrell. (In that case, the claim was deemed unlikely to succeed, as the extracts were not likely to be in breach of copyright law.)

Farrer & Co have close ties with industry interest groups related to copyright law. Peter Wienand, Head of Intellectual Property at Farrer & Co., is a member of the Executive body of the Museums Copyright Group, which is chaired by Tom Morgan, Head of Rights and Reproductions at the National Portrait Gallery. The Museums Copyright Group acts as a lobbying organization for “the interests and activities of museums and galleries in the area of [intellectual property rights]”, which reacted strongly against the Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp. case.

Wikimedia Commons is a repository of images, media, and other material free for use by anyone in the world. It is operated by a community of 21,000 active volunteers, with specialist rights such as deletion and blocking restricted to around 270 experienced users in the community (known as “administrators”) who are trusted by the community to use them to enact the wishes and policies of the community. Commons is hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation, a charitable body whose mission is to make available free knowledge and historic and other material which is legally distributable under US law. (More on Commons here)

The legal threat also sparked discussions of moral issues and issues of public policy in several Internet discussion fora, including Slashdot, over the weekend. One major public policy issue relates to how the public domain should be preserved.

Some of the public policy debate over the weekend has echoed earlier opinions presented by Kenneth Hamma, the executive director for Digital Policy at the J. Paul Getty Trust. Writing in D-Lib Magazine in November 2005, Hamma observed:

“Art museums and many other collecting institutions in this country hold a trove of public-domain works of art. These are works whose age precludes continued protection under copyright law. The works are the result of and evidence for human creativity over thousands of years, an activity museums celebrate by their very existence. For reasons that seem too frequently unexamined, many museums erect barriers that contribute to keeping quality images of public domain works out of the hands of the general public, of educators, and of the general milieu of creativity. In restricting access, art museums effectively take a stand against the creativity they otherwise celebrate. This conflict arises as a result of the widely accepted practice of asserting rights in the images that the museums make of the public domain works of art in their collections.”

He also stated:

“This resistance to free and unfettered access may well result from a seemingly well-grounded concern: many museums assume that an important part of their core business is the acquisition and management of rights in art works to maximum return on investment. That might be true in the case of the recording industry, but it should not be true for nonprofit institutions holding public domain art works; it is not even their secondary business. Indeed, restricting access seems all the more inappropriate when measured against a museum’s mission — a responsibility to provide public access. Their charitable, financial, and tax-exempt status demands such. The assertion of rights in public domain works of art — images that at their best closely replicate the values of the original work — differs in almost every way from the rights managed by the recording industry. Because museums and other similar collecting institutions are part of the private nonprofit sector, the obligation to treat assets as held in public trust should replace the for-profit goal. To do otherwise, undermines the very nature of what such institutions were created to do.”

Hamma observed in 2005 that “[w]hile examples of museums chasing down digital image miscreants are rare to non-existent, the expectation that museums might do so has had a stultifying effect on the development of digital image libraries for teaching and research.”

The NPG, which has been taking action with respect to these images since at least 2005, is a public body. It was established by Act of Parliament, the current Act being the Museums and Galleries Act 1992. In that Act, the NPG Board of Trustees is charged with maintaining “a collection of portraits of the most eminent persons in British history, of other works of art relevant to portraiture and of documents relating to those portraits and other works of art”. It also has the tasks of “secur[ing] that the portraits are exhibited to the public” and “generally promot[ing] the public’s enjoyment and understanding of portraiture of British persons and British history through portraiture both by means of the Board’s collection and by such other means as they consider appropriate”.

Several commentators have questioned how the NPG’s statutory goals align with its threat of legal action. Mike Masnick, founder of Techdirt, asked “The people who run the Gallery should be ashamed of themselves. They ought to go back and read their own mission statement[. …] How, exactly, does suing someone for getting those portraits more attention achieve that goal?” (external link Masnick’s). L. Sutherland of Bigmouthmedia asked “As the paintings of the NPG technically belong to the nation, does that mean that they should also belong to anyone that has access to a computer?”

Other public policy debates that have been sparked have included the applicability of U.K. courts, and U.K. law, to the actions of a U.S. citizen, residing in the U.S., uploading files to servers hosted in the U.S.. Two major schools of thought have emerged. Both see the issue as encroachment of one legal system upon another. But they differ as to which system is encroaching. One view is that the free culture movement is attempting to impose the values and laws of the U.S. legal system, including its case law such as Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp., upon the rest of the world. Another view is that a U.K. institution is attempting to control, through legal action, the actions of a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil.

David Gerard, former Press Officer for Wikimedia UK, the U.K. chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation, which has been involved with the “Wikipedia Loves Art” contest to create free content photographs of exhibits at the Victoria and Albert Museum, stated on Slashdot that “The NPG actually acknowledges in their letter that the poster’s actions were entirely legal in America, and that they’re making a threat just because they think they can. The Wikimedia community and the WMF are absolutely on the side of these public domain images remaining in the public domain. The NPG will be getting radioactive publicity from this. Imagine the NPG being known to American tourists as somewhere that sues Americans just because it thinks it can.”

Benjamin Crowell, a physics teacher at Fullerton College in California, stated that he had received a letter from the Copyright Officer at the NPG in 2004, with respect to the picture of the portrait of Isaac Newton used in his physics textbooks, that he publishes in the U.S. under a free content copyright licence, to which he had replied with a pointer to Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp..

The Wikimedia Foundation takes a similar stance. Erik Möller, the Deputy Director of the US-based Wikimedia Foundation wrote in 2008 that “we’ve consistently held that faithful reproductions of two-dimensional public domain works which are nothing more than reproductions should be considered public domain for licensing purposes”.

Contacted over the weekend, the NPG issued a statement to Wikinews:

“The National Portrait Gallery is very strongly committed to giving access to its Collection. In the past five years the Gallery has spent around £1 million digitising its Collection to make it widely available for study and enjoyment. We have so far made available on our website more than 60,000 digital images, which have attracted millions of users, and we believe this extensive programme is of great public benefit.
“The Gallery supports Wikipedia in its aim of making knowledge widely available and we would be happy for the site to use our low-resolution images, sufficient for most forms of public access, subject to safeguards. However, in March 2009 over 3000 high-resolution files were appropriated from the National Portrait Gallery website and published on Wikipedia without permission.
“The Gallery is very concerned that potential loss of licensing income from the high-resolution files threatens its ability to reinvest in its digitisation programme and so make further images available. It is one of the Gallery’s primary purposes to make as much of the Collection available as possible for the public to view.
“Digitisation involves huge costs including research, cataloguing, conservation and highly-skilled photography. Images then need to be made available on the Gallery website as part of a structured and authoritative database. To date, Wikipedia has not responded to our requests to discuss the issue and so the National Portrait Gallery has been obliged to issue a lawyer’s letter. The Gallery remains willing to enter into a dialogue with Wikipedia.

In fact, Matthew Bailey, the Gallery’s (then) Assistant Picture Library Manager, had already once been in a similar dialogue. Ryan Kaldari, an amateur photographer from Nashville, Tennessee, who also volunteers at the Wikimedia Commons, states that he was in correspondence with Bailey in October 2006. In that correspondence, according to Kaldari, he and Bailey failed to conclude any arrangement.

Jay Walsh, the Head of Communications for the Wikimedia Foundation, which hosts the Commons, called the gallery’s actions “unfortunate” in the Foundation’s statement, issued on Tuesday July 14:

“The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally. To that end, we have very productive working relationships with a number of galleries, archives, museums and libraries around the world, who join with us to make their educational materials available to the public.
“The Wikimedia Foundation does not control user behavior, nor have we reviewed every action taken by that user. Nonetheless, it is our general understanding that the user in question has behaved in accordance with our mission, with the general goal of making public domain materials available via our Wikimedia Commons project, and in accordance with applicable law.”

The Foundation added in its statement that as far as it was aware, the NPG had not attempted “constructive dialogue”, and that the volunteer community was presently discussing the matter independently.

In part, the lack of past agreement may have been because of a misunderstanding by the National Portrait Gallery of Commons and Wikipedia’s free content mandate; and of the differences between Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation, the Wikimedia Commons, and the individual volunteer workers who participate on the various projects supported by the Foundation.

Like Coetzee, Ryan Kaldari is a volunteer worker who does not represent Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Commons. (Such representation is impossible. Both Wikipedia and the Commons are endeavours supported by the Wikimedia Foundation, and not organizations in themselves.) Nor, again like Coetzee, does he represent the Wikimedia Foundation.

Kaldari states that he explained the free content mandate to Bailey. Bailey had, according to copies of his messages provided by Kaldari, offered content to Wikipedia (naming as an example the photograph of John Opie‘s 1797 portrait of Mary Wollstonecraft, whose copyright term has since expired) but on condition that it not be free content, but would be subject to restrictions on its distribution that would have made it impossible to use by any of the many organizations that make use of Wikipedia articles and the Commons repository, in the way that their site-wide “usable by anyone” licences ensures.

The proposed restrictions would have also made it impossible to host the images on Wikimedia Commons. The image of the National Portrait Gallery in this article, above, is one such free content image; it was provided and uploaded to the Wikimedia Commons under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licence, and is thus able to be used and republished not only on Wikipedia but also on Wikinews, on other Wikimedia Foundation projects, as well as by anyone in the world, subject to the terms of the GFDL, a license that guarantees attribution is provided to the creators of the image.

As Commons has grown, many other organizations have come to different arrangements with volunteers who work at the Wikimedia Commons and at Wikipedia. For example, in February 2009, fifteen international museums including the Brooklyn Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum established a month-long competition where users were invited to visit in small teams and take high quality photographs of their non-copyright paintings and other exhibits, for upload to Wikimedia Commons and similar websites (with restrictions as to equipment, required in order to conserve the exhibits), as part of the “Wikipedia Loves Art” contest.

Approached for comment by Wikinews, Jim Killock, the executive director of the Open Rights Group, said “It’s pretty clear that these images themselves should be in the public domain. There is a clear public interest in making sure paintings and other works are usable by anyone once their term of copyright expires. This is what US courts have recognised, whatever the situation in UK law.”

The Digital Britain report, issued by the U.K.’s Department for Culture, Media, and Sport in June 2009, stated that “Public cultural institutions like Tate, the Royal Opera House, the RSC, the Film Council and many other museums, libraries, archives and galleries around the country now reach a wider public online.” Culture minster Ben Bradshaw was also approached by Wikinews for comment on the public policy issues surrounding the on-line availability of works in the public domain held in galleries, re-raised by the NPG’s threat of legal action, but had not responded by publication time.

Fifteen players leave Bolton Wanderers F.C. after relegation

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A total of fifteen players have left Bolton Wanderers F.C. after the club was relegated from England’s Premier League at the end of the season. Eleven of the players were released after their contracts expired while Nigel Reo-Coker activated a clause in his contract that allowed him to leave the club. A further three players ended their loan spells and returned to their parent clubs.

The players who have been released from the club are Ivan Klasnic, Gretar Steinsson, Ricardo Gardner, Paul Robinson, Robbie Blake, Tope Obadeyi, Sean Davis, Mark Connolly, Rhys Bennett, Dino Fazlic, and Tom Eckersley.

Striker Ivan Klasnic had one of the higher wages at the club and his departure was expected regardless of whether the club was relegated or not. He said on his website “I hope they get promoted next year to the Premier League because this team belong to the Premiership. I’ll leave the club but want to say thank you for three years. I’ll keep Bolton in my heart.”

Jamaican Ricardo Gardner, on the list of released players, had been with the club for fourteen years and manager Owen Coyle commented personally on his release. He said “One of those [players released] is Ricardo Gardner, who has been with the football club for 14 years. He has offered incredible service to Bolton Wanderers and I’d like to personally thank him for all of his efforts, particularly during the time I have worked with him.”

Nigel Reo-Coker left the club on his own accord after activating a release clause in his contract. Coyle said “I was clear with Nigel. I asked him straight away whether he wanted to be a part of what we are going to do next season. He was honest and up front with us, because that is the type of man he is, and said that he wanted to exercise the clause in his contract, and so we wish him well.”

The other three players to leave Wanderers are Tuncay, Ryo Miyachi, and Dedryck Boyata who all spent time with Bolton under loan agreements. The three players have returned to their parent clubs.

However, striker Kevin Davies has a new contract for one year, while defender Sam Ricketts added a two year extension to his contract. Veteran goal keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen and Zat Knight are still currently in contract negotiations.

Coyle said in a statement on behalf of the club that “I would also like to thank the players that are leaving the club for their work at Bolton Wanderers. We wish them all well.”

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Ivan Klasnic leaves after three years with the club

Nigel Reo-Coker activated a release clause in his contract

Defender Gretar Steinsson is one of many to be released

Tuncay’s loan spell expired at the end of the season

As did Ryo Miyaichi’s

and Dedryck Boyata’s

Jussi Jaaskelainen is still in neogotiations over a new deal

Zat Knight’s Bolton future isn’t certain yet

Kevin Davies has signed a new one year deal

Team New Zealand to challenge Alinghi for America’s Cup

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Team New Zealand has beaten Luna Rossa Challenge 5-0, thus having the right to challenge current America Cup holder, Alinghi.

Team New Zealand racing in NZL-92, beat Italian team, Luna Rossa five times in a row and won the Louis Vuitton Cup.

NZL-92 completed the race 22 seconds ahead of ITA-94, the Italian’s yacht.

In the 24-year history, Team New Zealand has become the first team to defeat another team five times in a row, without losing once. Dean Barker, helsman, said that they are very proud of what they have achieved.

Both teams had not been changed for the yacht race, though Luna Rossa did make an approved change to ITA-94.

On June 23 the best-of-nine challenge for America’s Cup will start. The fourth time straight New Zealand will be competing.

Australian government to censor 3G mobile content

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Helen Coonan, Australia’s communications minister announced on Wednesday that the Howard government planned on introducing legislation into parliament restricting access to inappropriate or harmful material on so-called “emerging content services”. The government considers 3G mobile communications and subscription-based Internet portals to be emerging content services.

Senator Coonan said in a statement that the government was supportive of new technology, but felt that the technology requires safeguards to ensure that children are not exposed to inappropriate content.

“The Government supports the development of innovative new communications services which provide access to the Internet, email, games, instant messaging, chat rooms, video clips and television programs,” she said.

“However, these new content services may also potentially carry offensive or harmful content and we need to ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place to protect children from exposure to content that might be harmful.”

Senator Coonan said the government intends to prohibit material rated X18+ and restrict access to other services based upon the subscriber’s age and content classification. Speaking of the proposed legislation, the minister said “It will extend the current safeguards that apply to content delivered over the Internet or television to be applied to content delivered over convergent devices,”

“This will include prohibition of content rated X18+ and above, requirements for consumer advice and age-restricting access to content suited only to adults.”

The announcement comes as the government released a report into the effectiveness of the current regulatory framework and how it applies to new delivery methods.

The report, received by the government in April, found that the differences between television, print, radio and Internet media would be blurred by devices such as 3G mobile phones and wireless Internet access. It suggested that the government regulate based on the amount of control service providers have over content instead of via the method used to access it.

It also found that much of the content available via emerging content services was based upon that of other mediums, where censorship already takes place.

The report did however express concern about mobile chat services, claiming they could be used by pedophiles to target children. The report found it would be more difficult for parents to supervise their children’s mobile chat behaviour as they would have access to the service from anywhere. The report said this could be countered by the fact that mobile users are easier to identify than users on the Internet, making pedophiles less likely to use the service.

The report also suggested that Internet access via mobile telephones be limited to customers over the age of 18, unless minors have permission from their parent or guardian. Under current Australian law, a minor is unable to sign up for an account with an Internet service provider, but is able to access WAP based Internet services without restriction.