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Modchipping the Australia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement

Today I went to a meeting at QUT's Gardens Point campus which was centred in particular around the recent case of Sony v Stevens in Australia, and its implications in light of the recent Australia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA).

Brian Fitzgerald from the QUT Law School begins by outlining the case. Sony alleged that Stevens, who operated a computer shop, had sold a circumvention device for a technological protection measure - that is, mod chips for the Sony Playstation 2 console. These chips enabled the console to play games from regions other than Australia, as well as backup or unauthorised copies. Playstations are coded (similarly to DVD players) for regional access; this is controlled by a Boot ROM chip in the console. This allegation hinges on the definition of a technological protection measure as defined by WIPO and encoded into Australian law by the Copyright Act - TPMs prevent or inhibit the infringement of copyright.

The Day That Wouldn't End

Ugh. Having been at work since 7.30 a.m. to make some solid progress on the edgeX ("Mapping the Missing Grassroots") project and develop up some tech specs for the site we'll build for it, I got home at 6.30 p.m. only to move right on to producing the next issue of M/C Journal, which I'm happy to say is online as of now (that is, 1 a.m.) - and there'll be a formal announcement shortly. From what I've seen of the articles during the production process, editors Henk Huijser and Brooke Collins-Gearing have done excellent work, and I look forward to reading some of the articles in more detail.

Gatewatching Makes the Semis

A little while ago I mentioned that my book Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production had been nominated for the Communications Policy Research Award at Fordham University's Donald McGannon Communication Research Center. My publisher Peter Lang now informs me that it's made the semi-finals of the award process. While I don't exactly know what this means - are there four books left from the initial field, and do these now get evaluated against one another in a two-step elimination process? will there be slow-motion replays on ESPN6? - it sure does sound good. Fingers crossed.

Back to the West Wing

The West Wing is back on Australian TV screens - back being the operating word here, with episodes restarting with the "Twenty Hours in America" two-parter from the Bartlet re-election campaign which originally screened in the U.S. on September 2002. Australians will know that this is due to the show's move from the commercial Nine Network, which buried the show in the 23:30 timeslot, to the publicly funded ABC; there, at least it's on at 21:30 for the time being, and without commercial breaks (now if only we could continue to get double episodes every week to catch up with the action!).

Proposals In - Now to Find Time for Research...

We went on a nice but all-too-short post-V-day getaway to North Stradbroke Island last weekend, but I'm afraid any sense of relaxation went out the window quickly when I saw on Monday that numbers in my Creative Industries unit had risen to nearly 370 students by Monday morning. This meant quickly adding a couple more tutors and giving them an induction to the material, and elsewhere too I've been playing catchup all week already - not because I've been slack in the lead-up to the semester, but because there's just so much to do at the moment.

State of (Uses of) the Blogosphere

David Sifry has posted the latest "State of the Blogosphere" report, extracted from Technorati data. Plenty to digest here, and discussion on what the findings may mean has already started on Sifry's blog as well as elsewhere, and perhaps one of these days I'll even find the time to add my own views on this.

In other news, though, we've just received the copyeditor's comments on the Uses of Blogs manuscript. No major edits required, so hopefully we'll be able to turn it around pretty quickly. Warm up the presses, Peter Lang!

Well Met, Hello Again, and Vale

Phew. I have spent four out of the last five working days virtually in non-stop meetings on a wide variety of issues - from research and teaching planning sessions to team meetings for the ACID Press project (which has a very outdated outline on the ACID Website, I'm afraid), meetings of the AoIR 2006 conference organising team, preliminary work for a new book project, and a PhD confirmation presentation by Creative Industries student Stephen Harrington - and tomorrow is looking no better, with an all-day meeting of the team of our teaching and learning project using blogs and wikis at QUT. In between all the meetings about what work needs to be done, it would be nice to find some time to actually do some work... (At least I did find the time to accept an invitation to join the editorial board of New Media & Society, and I look forward to being part of it.)

Tagged by Greatness

Heh. I've been tagged by Jean, who'd herself been tagged by Mel, I think. So, in the blogosphere's best version of a not-for-profit pyramid scheme, lessee:

Four jobs I've had:

  1. Listening into Soviet Red Army transmissions in Eastern Germany, from the West German border
  2. Hardware import agent
  3. Helpdesk dude (these two both for VillageTronic when they were still doing Amiga hardware)
  4. Translator

Four movies I can watch over and over:

Media Regulation

Saw this on the AoIR mailing-list today - looks interesting:

From: David Brake <d.r.brake[at]>
Subject: [Air-l] Literature review of harm and offence caused by various media inc. Internet, mobile phone, computer games

Sonia Livingstone and Andrea Millwood Hargrave have just published a comprehensive review of recent (last 5 years) academic and regulatory literature across a range of media including the Internet, mobile phones and computer games as well as TV, radio, film and print media (I was one of the contributors to the review- particularly on the Internet, mobile phone and computer games areas). Links to the 40 page executive summary (free), the press release and ordering information for the 256 page paperback are available from this Media@LSE blog posting:

Extended CFP: Association of Internet Researchers Conference, Brisbane 27-30 Sep. 2006

We've just sent out a notice to extend the call for papers for the 2006 Association of Internet Researchers conference in Brisbane in September - paper proposals are now due on 21 February (there were a number of requests for extension from people who are only now getting back from their holidays). So, if anyone hasn't submitted a paper yet, now's the time to do so!

Also, some good progress on sponsors and keynote speakers over the last couple of weeks - hopefully I'll be able to say more about this soon... Other than that, this has been a week of meetings for me so far - yesterday I think I had only about one hour in my entire working day outside of meeting rooms. It would be nice to get some work done occasionally, rather than just to talk about what work needs to get done!


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