Interview: PRS, the UK’s music royalty collection society

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

PRS for Music is the UK’s music royalty collection society tasked with working on behalf of copyright holders, specifically authors and music publishers. Founded in 1914, the PRS is a non-profit organisation with 350,000 UK businesses holding PRS licenses. The society works in conjunction with PPL which collects fees on behalf of the copyright holders of the actual recording.So, if a cover version of a song is played on UK radio, PRS collect a fee on behalf of the original writer and publisher, whilst PPL collect a fee on behalf of the record company of the cover. In a recent Wikinews interview, Paul Campbell, founder of Amazing Radio, an unsigned UK radio station, lambasted PRS for their “barmy standard contract” and their outdated equipment. That interview can be found here.

The music industry is changing and the way we use music is continually changing

Wikinews reporter Tristan Thomas interviews PRS, following up on Campbell and others’ criticism as well as finding out about future plans.

((Wikinews)) Firstly, thank you for the time in doing this interview.

((WN)) Last year, you were involved in a high profile dispute with YouTube. Can you briefly explain to our audience what that was all about and the final outcome of it?

((PRS)) PRS for Music was the first collecting society in the world to license the YouTube service, meaning if music videos were watched online then our members – who created them – would receive a small royalty payment. When we went to renew the licence that YouTube held we couldn’t agree as to how much should be paid and exactly what should be covered within it. We believed that music had become a much larger part of the YouTube service and that YouTube/Google should reflect the increased use of our members’ creative talent in the amount they paid.

The great thing is that we kept talking to YouTube throughout the dispute and managed to reach an agreement in September which meant that the videos could be accessed again by UK YouTube users and that our 65,000 songwriter, composer and music publisher members would be paid.

((WN)) How many artists do you represent and how much did you collect during 2009 for them?

((PRS)) We represent 65,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers. We haven’t released our 2009 figures yet but in 2008 we collected over £600m for them. The main sources of revenue come from recorded media (CDs, DVDs etc), international use, public performance use and use in television, radio and online.

((WN)) Paul Campbell in a recent interview with us said the following:“PRS has a barmy standard contract for using their members’ music online. It requires us to pay them a fixed percentage of ALL revenue from that website – whether or not the revenue is derived from their members’ work. So if we had 100,000 songs from non-PRS artists on amazingtunes.com, and one song from a PRS artist, we’d have to pay them a percentage of the revenue from ALL 100,000 songs. I.e., we’d have to take money out of the pockets out of non-PRS artists to pay to PRS. That would be immoral.”How do you respond to that?

((PRS)) Anyone using music in a commercial way – such as a radio station – is required to obtain the permission of those that created the music. This could be numerous writers, publishers and a record label for each song, possibly in different countries around the world. By obtaining a PRS for Music and PPL licence in the UK you are ensuring you have those permissions for over 10million musical works. Obviously much of the music used on radio comes from non-UK writers who may not be members of PRS for Music. Radio and television stations give us almost 100% accurate reports of their music use through their own playlists; this data then enables organisations such as ours to work out who should be paid and how much. PRS for Music has 144 agreements in place with similar societies around the world, resulting in us representing almost 2 million writers worldwide. If French, American, Spanish, Australian or any other writer’s music is used we will pay the respective societies so they can pay their members.

HAVE YOUR SAY
Is PRS’ standard contract “barmy” as Paul Campbell asserts?
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Similarly a writer of musician may be ‘unsigned’ by that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t earn from their music when it is used by others. Many bands, writers and performers are currently unsigned but by being members of PRS for Music they ensure that they can begin earning vital royalties that allow them to continue with their musical career.

((WN)) How does the PRS ensure that artists outside the UK are properly compensated when their music is used within the UK, such as Thai or Chinese restaurants paying their PRS dues and exclusively using music which is from outside Europe?

((PRS)) As mentioned before PRS for Music has agreements in place in over 90 countries around the world to ensure that when music is used the right creators are rewarded. The system – built up over the last century – works both ways and when UK music is used internationally, PRS for Music receives royalties from foreign societies so we can pay our members. In 2008 £139.8m was collected from UK music use abroad, with the UK being one of only a few net exporters of music in the world.

((WN)) There have been a few cases in which PRS have been forced to apologise, exemplified by the threat of prosecution and a fine towards “singing granny” Sandra Burt, a shelf-stacker who sung to herself whilst stacking shelves. How has PRS moved forward from these incidents in order to ensure they do not happen again?

((PRS)) If we have made mistakes we will of course put our hands up and say so. For example when we were approached about the Sandra Burt case – by a journalist incidentally and not Sandra – we did give out slightly incorrect advice, although the questions were a little ambiguous. Once we realised our mistake we contacted Sandra to explain that she wouldn’t need a licence to sing to her customers and offered our sincere apologies. As an organisation we are very quick to admit where we get things wrong and ensure they are put right. We’re proud of our record with our customers and currently have 350,000 businesses choosing to use music in the UK.

Once we realised our mistake we contacted Sandra

To put the complaints in context we have only have 1 for approximately every 5,000 customer contacts we make. This is an exceptionally low ratio and there are many firms who would be envious of a record like this. During 2009 our complaints fell by 50% and we appointed an independent ombudsmen who could handle any complaints if they were not resolved internally. As of January 2010 no complaints have needed to be passed on to the ombudsmen.

((WN)) How does the PRS work with musicians who are not signed to major labels, may make music available for download via their own websites or MySpace, and do not have the financial resources to protect their copyright?

((PRS)) Many of the PRS for Music membership is not signed to a major record label and we represent creators from all genres of music in the UK and abroad. By joining PRS for Music, which only costs £10 deferred to your first royalty payment, you ensure you can begin earning royalties whenever your music is played, performed or reproduced. We have worked hard to license such sites as YouTube, MySpace, Spotify and Sky Songs to name a selection to ensure our members can be rewarded when their work is used.

Our membership team also work hard to support our creators holding showcase events, offering advice of how to get their music used as well as legal and financial advice.

((WN)) Finally, what future plans do you have as an organisation in order to further protect and enhance your members work as new technologies emerge over the next few years?

((PRS)) PRS for Music will continue to be at the forefront of licensing new digital and online services to ensure creators are paid. We aim to get the balance right to ensure new products and music services can launch and develop, but that also they pay for the music they use.

The music industry is changing and the way we use music is continually changing (it always has) but we’ll still be at the forefront enabling people to use music whenever they want, and rewarding those that have created that music.

((WN)) Thank you for taking the time out for this interview. Good luck for 2010.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Interview:_PRS,_the_UK%27s_music_royalty_collection_society&oldid=4567872”

Malaysia to investigate suspected plane debris washed ashore on several Maldives islands

Monday, August 10, 2015

After published reports stated suspected plane debris washed up on several Maldives islands, Malaysia has stated it will send a team of investigators to examine it. Investigators are to try to determine if the debris came from a plane before taking any further action.

“I urge all parties to allow for the verification process to take its due course. Once it is determined to be aircraft debris, discussions will be held to determine next steps in terms of the process of analysis. Undue speculation will only stress the families and loved ones, anxiously awaiting news on this matter,” said Liow Tiong Lai, Malaysia’s Transport Minister in a statement.

An investigation into the debris was launched after an photos of the debris were uploaded to the social networking website Facebook on, reportedly, May 31, by an employee of a beach resort. Some of the debris is reported to have washed ashore as early as May 31 and was found on a beach owned by the Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru resort, located in Kaafu Atoll. In the past few days, several other pieces of debris were recovered on at least three other islands. Authorities are trying to determine if it may be part of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (MH370).

Last week, a piece of a wing known as a flaperon was found washed ashore on Réunion Island. The Malaysian government stated it’s from MH370, but according to Chinese officials, the piece has yet to be confirmed to be from MH370 because managers were on leave from the Spanish manufacturer of the part.

However, before most of the debris could be examined, it had already been taken away for disposal. The photographs showed a large white object, possibly two, stained with algae and appear to be made of a fiberglass and honeycomb material. The objects appear to be several feet in length and width and in one photo where the paint is severely peeled, red letters “IC” can be seen. Those pieces, along with others, were taken away and disposed of as trash. When authorities discovered the photographs, they returned to the site, but only found a small, five to seven inch (about 13–18 cm) piece of debris they say doesn’t appear to be part of a plane.

Some of the debris may not be from a plane. Abdulla Rasheed, a captain of a cargo boat which recently capsized in the waters off the Maldives, stated, “From the pictures of the debris found on most of the islands, I can almost certainly say that they are from the cargo we were carrying”. Despite this possibility, any debris located is being gathered up and stored in a warehouse until Malaysian authorities can examine it.

“We are collecting any unidentified debris and storing them in a warehouse so that the Malaysians can carry out tests and determine if it is from their plane or not,” said the office of the Maldives President in a statement reported by Haveeru Daily.

MH370, while flying from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China, vanished without a trace on March 8, 2014. All 239 passengers and crew are believed to be dead. On the day the plane went missing, residents on the small Maldive island of Kudahuvadhoo claimed to have seen a very “low flying jumbo jet” crash into the Indian Ocean. Some also noted the colors appeared to resemble that of a Malaysia Airlines plane. “I’ve never seen a jet flying so low over our island before. We’ve seen seaplanes, but I’m sure that this was not one of those. I could even make out the doors on the plane clearly”, one resident was quoted as saying to the newspaper Haveeru Daily. Some claim the plane appeared to he headed in the direction of Diego Garcia, but Malaysian authorities have discounted those claims.

“Based on the monitoring up to date, no indication of Flight MH370 has been observed on any military radars in the country [Maldives]. Furthermore, the data of radars at Maldives airports have also been analysed and shows no indication of the said flight,” said Malaysia’s transport ministry at the time of the report.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Malaysia_to_investigate_suspected_plane_debris_washed_ashore_on_several_Maldives_islands&oldid=3848606”

Looking To Build Your Career In Healthcare Sector?

By Greg Garner

If you have passion to help people, there is no other field better than healthcare. This field not only allows you to show your love towards people but enables you learn new meaning of helping people. In order to make a foray into this sector, the very first thing you need to do is to join one of the healthcare courses to gain the professional knowledge and skills needed to do your job effectively.

Training in healthcare

The training in healthcare means that you are ready to handle necessary tasks that include getting up early morning and working till late at night. You may also need to work at a stretch with your patients to ensure they quickly get back to their normal health.

Before you take a look on the available healthcare courses, you should check what the necessary educational qualifications you need to take to become eligible for the course. Not only classroom training but practical training is also needed to get the real experience. After completing the course, you need to update yourself on latest health issues and events.

Another most important thing to ensure is to join a reputed medical college to get the best-in-class medical education that will help you serve the people in the best possible way.

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Basic information about healthcare

Every one of us comes across the word healthcare in our daily life. It is the care given by doctors, practitioners, nurses or practically anyone related to healthcare. It not only includes treatment and diagnosis of diseases but also for injury or other physical or mental problems faced by us. It also includes the care given for prevention of diseases. The economic and social conditions of a country decide the quality of healthcare given to its citizens. Each country has its own policy regarding health care.

Governments have complete control over the health care sector in some countries whereas in other countries, private enterprises control the healthcare sector leading it into competition and making it a business.

Just like food, water and shelter, healthcare is also one of the basic necessities of an individual. It is considered very important and that is why World Health Organization was formed by the United Nation Organization. It has assisted in providing health care to all the countries of the world especially the third world countries. It played an eminent role in wiping away small pox completely. It is working on many other diseases especially the communicable ones. They not only provide healthcare but also educate people about various diseases.

Many sides of health care units

Various types of healthcare units are present which provides services for the good health of people.

The system of health care changes from nation to nation.

Doctors, nurses and other medical staffs are employed in these healthcare industries.

The clinic members are appointed to take care of their patients and to check for the amount of drugs provided to the patient.

Research members of these industries carry out various types of treatments which will help in curing diseases that might crop up in future.

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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.

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Internet posting says al-Qaeda plans dirty bomb attack in New York City

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A posting on the internet has stated that al-Qaeda is planning a dirty bomb attack on New York City, New York (NYC) in the United States.

In a statement to the press, NYC police stated that the posting was an “unverified radiological threat” against New York City. Police also stated that the city’s threat level will remain at “orange” and will not be changed. NYC police have also stepped up security at bridges, tunnels and subways as a precaution.

Debka.com or DEBKAfile, an Israeli website, was claiming the that they picked up the threat by “a rush of electronic chatter on al Qaeda sites Thursday, Aug. 8.” DEBKA also claims that one of the threats states that “trucks loaded with radio-active material [will be used] against America’s biggest city and financial nerve center.”

The site also claims that other cities such as Miami, Florida and Los Angeles, California as targets for dirty bomb attacks.

No date or time has been reported for the attack. On August 2, a terrorist advertisement posted on the internet by the As-Sahab propaganda campaign for al-Qaeda, warned of a coming “big surprise.” No date was specified for that claim either.

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Custom Wine Cellar Doors Insulated Glass Is An Ideal Choice

Custom Wine Cellar Doors Insulated Glass is an Ideal Choice

by

Juliette Johnson

Do you wish to have a custom wine cellar door with the glass panes made of insulated glass? If you do, then you will be giving yourself two benefits in one functionality and uniqueness. Why? Just continue reading this article and youll know exactly why as I will be discussing the different features of an insulated glass that make it the ideal choice for wine cellar doors.

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Toughened Glass The glass panes used in manufacturing insulated glass are in fact toughened or what they call tempered glass. Controlled heat and certain chemical treatments are applied to make this glass tougher than any ordinary type of glass, and this also makes the glass safer to use since when it is broken by accident, dull, pebble-sized fragments will be produced instead of sharp shards. A popular trend nowadays in glass manufacture is the use of low-e glass. Low-e is short for low-emissivity which refers to low radiant heat transfer. Sunlight is the chief source of radiant heat and UV or ultraviolet light, so low-e types of glass are preferred for exterior glass windows or doors where sun exposure is inevitable. This means that wine cellar doors do not necessarily have to have low-e glass panes since most wine storage rooms are located in dark areas or at the interior of houses and business set ups. One important thing to remember though, some wine cellar manufacturers use lighting fixtures and lighting equipment that emits UV light which can cause harmful changes in wines and wine bottles alike, so UV-free lights are much preferred for use in wine cellars. The Space between Glass Panes and its Insulating Property The space that is created when attaching two or more glass panes secured by a spacer is the one responsible for the insulating and non-condensing properties of the insulated glass. There are four key features that this space has to hold in order to get the efficiency it is expected to have. Space fillingsSpacerSealantsDesiccants First, let me talk about space fillings. Space fillings are extremely important since they possess low heat transmission rates making the insulation very effective. Dry or dehydrated air, thermal performance gasses, or a vacuum can be used as space fillings. Among the three, thermal performance gasses have greater advantage since these gasses have lower heat transfer rates, are chemically inert, clear, odorless, non-toxic, and non-flammable. The most commonly used inert gasses are Argon, Krypton, and Xenon with Argon having a much lower cost. A vacuum on the other hand is very difficult to achieve thus the more expensive price. Secondly, spacers are the ones that anchor the glass panes in order to leave a space in between them and different spacer materials include metals, structural foams, and fiberglass. Metallic spacers like aluminum have high heat transfer rates so using this type defeats the purpose of insulation. Structural foams and fiberglass are the most efficient because of their very low heat transfer rates. Third, sealants are used to seal the edges to make sure no air or gas fillings can escape from the space thus they play a vital role in maintaining insulation and preventing condensation as well. Sealants are especially manufactured to resist moisture and vapor transmission and also shield the space from cleaning or glazing substances. Butyl is a primary sealant commonly utilized for insulated glass due to its strong adhesion to glass surfaces and its sealing capacity can be further enhanced by using a secondary sealant such as Silicone. Lastly, absorption of moisture that may be present within the thin layer of space and preventing any unwanted chemical reaction with the gas filling are made possible with the use of desiccants. Silica gels are extensively used as desiccants as they are considered to have a very high capacity in absorption of water and hydrocarbons thus preventing condensation. A Space with Sound Insulation Insulated glass products have soundproofing capacity. Does this matter? Yes and wine collectors should be very particular with this topic because of the damaging effects of vibrations coming from sound waves. Sediments inside the wine bottles may be stirred up due to vibrations and in turn can alter the taste and smell of wines, which you surely dont want to happen so dont waste those years of carefully preserving and aging your wines by not choosing insulated glass for your wine cellar door. A Space with a Unique Stylish Feature A more interesting feature that insulated glass can give is transforming the plain look of the glass into a more stylish one by utilizing the spaces between glass panes. Art pieces can be inserted into these spaces as long as those art materials dont cause any damaging reaction with the gas fillings inside. Wine cellar door designers may suggest using stained glass for a more striking appeal.

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Custom Wine Cellar Doors Insulated Glass is an Ideal Choice

Author Amy Scobee recounts abuse as Scientology executive

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wikinews interviewed author Amy Scobee about her book Scientology – Abuse at the Top, and asked her about her experiences working as an executive within the organization. Scobee joined the organization at age 14, and worked at Scientology’s international management headquarters for several years before leaving in 2005. She served as a Scientology executive in multiple high-ranking positions, working out of the international headquarters of Scientology known as “Gold Base”, located in Gilman Hot Springs near Hemet, California.

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California meat packing firm recalls 143M pounds of beef

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I am dismayed at the in-humane handling of cattle that has resulted in the violation of food safety regulations at the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company.

In a press release today, California-based Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co. indicated that it has voluntarily recalled just over 143 million pounds (65 million kilograms) of raw and frozen beef products, which is considered to be the largest single recall of beef products in U.S. history. The move follows an investigation by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) into allegations of animal cruelty and mishandling of cattle destined for the human food chain.

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) had determined that beef products produced by the Chino, California company were unfit for human consumption as the cattle had not received “complete and proper inspection.”

The recall has been designated as Class II, which the USDA describes as “a health hazard situation where there is a remote probability of adverse health consequences from the use of the product.”

On Friday, Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer indicated that charges had been laid against employees of the plant alleged to have taken part in the mistreatment of cattle. “Today [Friday], the San Bernardino District Attorney filed felony animal cruelty charges against two employees who were terminated by Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company,” said Schafer. “It is regrettable that these animals were mistreated and I am encouraged and supportive of these actions by the San Bernardino District Attorney in response to this mistreatment.”

The USDA learned of the possible inhumane handling of non-ambulatory (disabled) cattle at the packing plant on January 30 and has since suspended activities at the plant. “We continue to conduct a thorough investigation into whether any violations of food safety or additional humane handling regulations have occurred,” said Secretary Schafer in a press release. “On February 8, our Office of the Inspector General took the lead on the investigation. At that time, USDA extended the administrative hold on Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company products for the National School Lunch Program, the Emergency Food Assistance Program and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations while the investigation continues,” said Schafer.

The FSIS reported that Hallmark/Westland had not contacted the FSIS public health veterinarian, as required, when cattle became ill or disabled after undergoing ante-mortem (slaughter) inspection, putting the company out of compliance with FSIS regulations. “Because the cattle did not receive complete and proper inspection FSIS has determined them to be unfit for human food and the company is conducting a recall,” explained Secretary Schafer.

The cruelty charges stem from an undercover video that reportedly showed sick cattle being moved by crews using forklifts.

“Words cannot accurately express how shocked and horrified I was at the depictions contained on the video that was taken by an individual who worked at our facility from October 3 thru November 14, 2007,” said Steve Mendell, President, Westland Meat Co. and Hallmark Meat Packing. “We have taken swift action regarding the two employees identified on the video and have already implemented aggressive measures to ensure all employees follow our humane handling policies and procedures. We are also cooperating with the USDA investigators on the allegations of inhumane handling treatment which is a serious breech of our company’s policies and training.”

The USDA stressed that it is “extremely unlikely” that the cattle involved were at risk for Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad-cow disease due to the employment of multiple safeguards. The USDA felt the recall was required, however, as the plant had allegedly violated USDA regulations.

The recall involves raw and frozen beef products produced on various dates from February 1, 2006 to February 2, 2008. For further information about the recall, consumers, media, and distributors are encouraged to contact Hallmark/Westland’s Plant Manager Stan Mendell or Food Safety Consultant Steve Sayer at (909) 590-3340 or the FSIS website, www.fsis.usda.gov.

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Oklahoma trooper on leave after altercation with ambulance personnel

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

An Oklahoma police officer is on paid administrative leave, following an altercation with ambulance personnel while they were transporting a patient to the hospital. Trooper Daniel Martin, a member of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP), was caught on video by his police vehicle’s dashboard-camera in a physical struggle with paramedic Maurice White, Jr. after Martin pulled the ambulance over. Martin had previously passed the ambulance while en route to another call, but came back and pulled over the ambulance. The incident occurred on May 24, and footage from the police dash-cam was released following a tort claim filed by paramedic White.

It has also been suggested that the previous call had in-fact been to pick up his wife from a police station who was then present in the car during the incident between Martin and the ambulance.

Footage by the OHP released Friday shows the ambulance personnel repeatedly informing Trooper Martin that they have a patient in the back of the ambulance that they are in the midst of transporting to the hospital. Martin yells at the ambulance driver for making what he claims was an obscene gesture – the ambulance driver asserts he raised both hands signalling confusion at the police officer’s actions. Trooper Martin can be heard telling the ambulance driver “I’m going to give you a ticket for failure to yield, and when I go by you saying ‘What’s going on?’ you don’t need to give me no hand gestures now, I ain’t going to put up with that [expletive], do you understand me?”

The video from the police dash-cam is eight minutes long, and paramedic White can be seen twice being pushed up against his ambulance by Trooper Martin. In one instance, Martin shoves White up against the ambulance while gripping his neck tightly with his other hand. In a written statement, paramedic White described the hold placed on him by the Trooper, stating “he engaged my trachea in a claw-like grip digging his nail into my neck while partially shutting off my air supply.”

[Paramedic Maurice White, Jr.] never once became aggressive to that trooper.

The sister of the patient in the ambulance, Clara Harper, was following the ambulance and witnessed the incident. Harper later viewed the footage from the police dash-cam, and she stated to Tulsa World paramedic White “never once became aggressive to that trooper.” She asserted that “He did nothing wrong.” After the ambulance was allowed to continue transporting the patient to the hospital, Harper got into the ambulance to be with her sister. “She was scared, and I was trying to calm her down and telling her everything was going to be all right,” said Harper.

My biggest concern was for the patient. If there’s any nightmare from this, it’s because of what that mother, that patient, had to go through.

Paramedic White was interviewed by KOKI-TV, and recounted his thoughts as the incident was taking place. He stated his main concern was for his ambulance patient: “It was surrealistic because I’ve never had such an experience. My biggest concern was for the patient. If there’s any nightmare from this, it’s because of what that mother, that patient, had to go through.” White’s attorney told KOKI-TV that if White deemed the arrest to be unlawful, he had the right to resist it. White is a paramedic for Creek Nation Emergency Medical Services in Oklahoma. He told FOX News he was surprised at the actions of the police trooper. “He’s taken an oath, just as I have, to protect and serve. I could not believe that this was happening,” said White.

The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety decided to release the police dash-cam video publicly after amateur video of the incident was posted to the video-sharing website YouTube. Captain Chris West, spokesman for the OHP, explained why the video was not released earlier. “We’ve been well aware of the fact that this incident has drawn enormous attention, but made the decision to protect the integrity of the investigation, any and all relevant evidence, as well as the rights of the department employees,” said West. Prior to the release of the dash-cam video, a relative of the patient had posted video of the incident to YouTube. The son of the ambulance patient can be seen in a video stating to the camera “Highway patrolman pulled over my mom’s ambulance because he’s mad we didn’t pull over, and he tried to arrest … the EMT from taking my mother to the hospital.”

One man is there protecting a patient and one man is there abusing his authority and throwing his weight around.

Richard O’Carroll, the lawyer for paramedic White, said that Trooper Martin abused his authority as a police officer. “Everything on this needs to relate back to why are we here? One man is there protecting a patient and one man is there abusing his authority and throwing his weight around,” said O’Carroll. White’s attorney filed a tort claim on behalf of his client in order to get the video of the police vehicle’s dash-cam released. Trooper Martin’s lawyer says he did not realize a patient was in the ambulance at the time of the incident.

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O’Carroll explained the decision of paramedic White not to use sirens while transporting his patient to the hospital: “There was a reason he wasn’t running sirens. There was a suggestion of chest pains and a heart condition and sirens aggravate these conditions by increasing the blood pressure.” However the attorney for Trooper Martin, Gary James, said that the ambulance was not exempt from regulations because it did not have its sirens on. “If they’re not running their sirens or lights, they don’t get afforded any emergency vehicle exemptions,” said James. The OHP chief is handling an internal review into the incident. As of June 1, Trooper Martin has been on paid administrative leave.

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