Thursday, December 18, 2003

Internet Law 2004

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society is pleased to offer the
Internet Law Program at Harvard Law School on May 13-15, 2004. This
dynamic, innovative three-day seminar will bring together the leading
experts in the field with participants from all over the world to
explore today's most pressing Internet issues.

The outstanding team of educators includes Larry Lessig of Stanford,
Yochai Benkler of Yale, and William Fisher, Charles Nesson and
Jonathan Zittrain of Harvard. On the agenda: recent reforms in
intellectual-property systems, privacy versus security on the Net, the
changing shape and role of ICANN, "open" versus "proprietary" software
systems, regulating pornography, jurisdictional problems, cybercrime,
addressing the digital divide, and more.

The program is intended for a broad audience, and no previous
experience with Internet law is necessary. Past participants have
included entrepreneurs, policymakers, educators, technology
professionals, and journalists who write about technology. American
lawyers in some states may be eligible for Continuing Legal Education
(CLE) credit.

Register online beginning January 12 at <>.

Questions? Please contact Robyn Mintz at

An excerpt from interview with Yochai Benkler...

A Reference to the interview with Yochai Benkler that I made during "i-law 2003"!

Mr. Yurtsan Atakan, the leading ICT columnist of Hurriyet Daily, quoted the interview that I made with Prof. Yochai Benkler during the "i-law 2003" course in Stanford for the "Open Radio" ("Aç?k Radyo" in Turkish). He underlined that the well-known "Indian miracle" on creating software is a "fairy-tale" and referred to what Benkler told on creativity and innovation by the transition countries!

For the Turkish translation of my interview click on here...

And... I am enclosing the original decoding of the said interview below:

A.TANSUG- Dear Professor Benkler, what would you tell us for the rest of the world in terms of their positioning in the information society?
J.BENKLER- I think we’ve been seeing too much focus in the US, in Europe, on securing high-speed Internet connections and the information economy based on purely market behavior, based on strong property rights. This has been true for a radio frequency spectrum policy, this has been true for broadband wire policy, and this has been true for intellectual property policy and we see in this regard both the US and Europe moving in the same direction...

The problem and the problems are divers for each of these particular layers of the communication system; the problem with exclusively lies on the property based approaches is that they are leading us towards missing the opportunity of an open, decentralized Internet and straightening into re-concentrate or to shift the Internet to a broadcast model where you still have one primary or one small set of primary owners of the means of communication, of the contents of communication, who then can control the flow of information and society.

I think for any country now and I say this one I speak in the US, and I say this one I speak in Europe and I say this one I speak to people or interested in development in all sorts of places in the world, beat as a matter of policies of freedom, beat as a matter of policies of development and there is a series of strategies that are committed to open communication systems that can be implemented. At the physical layer this means using a variety of strategies of unlicensed wireless communications, things we now see primarily in the wire Fay market in communications devices and don’t have the government licenses to operate but are in fact permitted to operate wherever within a range of frequencies but permitted to offer whatever but these enable is the development of a network that is owned by no one and the network that is owned by its end users, built and by its end users and provides no bottle-neck over which anyone can exercise control in the way that the cable operator controls, the cable head in and whether the broadcaster control the transmit so that’s are the physical.

3-11- 3.43 (Noise)
At the logical layer, what we have today is increasing opportunities. For use of open source software or free software that is not controlled by any single company that is open and free for any country to use as its primary software infrastructure for critical infrastructures, it is being deployed by parts of the US government simply because its better, it is being deployed widely in businesses, because its better.
But from the perspective of creating an open network, it is crucial that the logical layer, that the layer of software and standards that allowed machine to let people speak to each other and make culture together. Be such that no one company can control it that and no one person can say, “you may speak and you may not speak this particular kind of uses permitted and that particular kind is not”. And so it is a matter of speech and openness and innovation. It is important to adopt a strategy that supports open source software up to an including I think every government needs to look at procurement policy of actually using free software for its own operations both to cut the costs of government software systems. But no less importantly to create a practice and a habit and a market within the nation of people who have the facility to work with free software. And who can then participate in the international network of computer programmers who contribute to this. And who by building skills can then also become valuable contributors to the large service industry there has been built around free software and it prevents tremendous opportunities for nations that are outside the economy to have to develop a set of programmers who are educated in materials that allowed them to participate in the core economies from a distance.


And finally intellectual property we know that intellectual property increases costs of innovation and this is so particularly for countries that are net-importers of cultural and innovation products. And so I think we have a very strong agenda driven by both US and the EU towards international expansion of intellectual property rights across all domains, patent, copyright, trademark... I think this a trend that works to the decrement of all developing nations. It works as the decrements of the all nations that are net-importers of innovation and cultural products because it raises their cost without at the same time increasing as much their ability to appropriate the benefits and so I think its is important for any country that in the position of being a net importer of innovation and cultural products and information. To collaborate with other nations to co-operate with other nations in this framework to bring the interests of these countries outside the core information economies, to bear on international trade negotiations and to permit a greater flexibility and designate any quality in the obligations of countries that are net-importers vis-à-vis those who are not net-exporters because otherwise we see a re-distribution from the periphery of the information economy into its core and in this regard usually from the less wealthy to the more wealthy nations which doesn’t seem to be either good development policy or just in matters of distribution. Well at the same time not at all the in clear that it is important as a matter of innovation policy because patents and copyright and trade mark though continuously strengthen the straight policy or questionable as innovation policy...

AT – So can we outline the matter as “to be just consumer or not to be”?
JB- Exactly!

The possibility of being not purely a passive consumer but also an active participant in the creation of information of knowledge and culture is embedded in the widely decentralized open Internet.
And its the possibility of having a society of active participants as supposed a society of the passive consumers. That is the promise of the Internet and that promises being threatened by the excessive focus on purely property based commercial provision of all the layers of the information environment...
AT- Thanks a lot...

Later on, Prof.Dr. Emre Kongar published an article referring Atakan's:

Cumhuriyet Daily

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Draft Plan of Action WSIS-03/GENEVA/DOC/0005

Draft Plan of Action WSIS-03/GENEVA/DOC/0005

This is the final version of the Plan of Action agreed to by the World
Summit on the Information Society. December 12, 2003. The Plan is
available in Arabic, Chinese, English. French, Russian, and Spanish.

Advocacy Handbook for the Non Governmental Organisations: The Council of Europe's Cyber-Crime Convention 2001

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties releases report on the CyberCrime Convention

Leeds, 01 December, 2003 - Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties, released today an Advocacy Handbook for the Non Governmental Organisations: The Council of Europe's Cyber-Crime Convention 2001 and the additional protocol on the criminalisation of acts of a racist or xenophobic nature committed through
computer systems, December 2003.

The Cyber-Crime Convention 2001 and its additional protocol has been
developed by the Council of Europe, an international and well respected
organisation with a primary mission to strengthen democracy, human rights,
and the rule of law throughout its member states. Although the Cyber-Crime
Convention states in the preamble that a proper balance needs to be ensured
between the interests of law enforcement and respect for fundamental human
rights, the balance resolutely and regrettably favours the former claimes
Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties.

While the CoE's concerns in relation to cyber-crimes and its desire to
address criminal law and mutual assistance in criminal matters are shared
by many, any co-ordinated policy initiative at an international level
should ideally aim to offer the best protection for individual rights and
liberties. Lamentably, this has not been the case.

This advocacy handbook for the NGOs written by Dr. Yaman Akdeniz, the director of Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties provides a policy analysis of
the Cyber-Crime Convention 2001 and its first additional protocol from a
human rights perspective for policy specialists, NGOs, and human rights
activists within the 45 member states of the Council of Europe.
Compatibility problems with the European Convention on Human Rights and
implications for freedom of expression, privacy of communications and data
protection will be the main focus of this critical analysis. The appendices
include other useful information that could be relied upon while NGOs and
policy activists lobby their individual governments in relation to the
implementation of the Cyber-Crime.

The Report is released as a pdf file and can be obtained through

For further information contact: Dr. Yaman Akdeniz
Director, Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties
Tel: +44 (0)7798 865116 Fax: +44 (0)7092199011 /

Sunday, December 14, 2003

A paper:

published by an Internet law scholar examines ICANN's experimentation in
running a representative and open corporate decision-making, and
concludes that the process has largely failed. ICANN relies more on
staff recommendations and input from the Supporting Organizations,
rather than on direct broad-based input from the Internet user


See also Response to Paper and Study:

Open source's local heroes

Dec 4th 2003, The Economist

Software: If the commercial sort does not speak your language, open-source software may well do so instead
ITS POPULARITY is growing around the world, but open-source software has particular appeal in developing countries. In China, South Korea, India, Brazil and other countries, governments are promoting the use of such software which, unlike the proprietary kind, allows users to inspect, modify and freely redistribute its underlying programming instructions. The open-source approach has a number of attractions. Adopting open-source software can reduce costs, allay security concerns and ensure there is no danger of becoming too dependent on a foreign supplier. But there is another benefit, too: because it can be freely modified, open-source software is also easier to translate, or localise, for use in a particular language. This involves translating the menus, dialogue boxes, help files, templates and message strings to create a new version of the software.

Large software vendors have little incentive to support any but the most widely spoken languages. Microsoft, for example, provides its Windows 2000 operating system in 24 languages, and Windows XP in 33. The company also supports over 20 languages in the latest version of its Office software suite. Yet for many languages, commercial vendors conclude that producing a localised product is not economically viable.

The programmers who produce open-source software operate by different rules, however. The leading desktop interfaces for the open-source Linux operating system—KDE and GNOME—are, between them, available in more than twice as many languages as Windows. KDE has already been localised for 42 languages, with a further 46 in the pipeline. Similarly, Mozilla, an open-source web browser, now speaks 65 languages, with 34 more to follow. OpenOffice, the leading open-source office suite, is available in 31 languages, including Slovenian, Basque and Galician, and Indian languages such as Gujarati, Devanagari, Kannada and Malayalam. And another 44 languages including Icelandic, Lao, Latvian, Welsh and Yiddish are on the way.

Localising software is a tedious job, but some people are passionate enough about it to resort to unusual measures. The Hungarian translation of OpenOffice was going too slowly for Janos Noll, founder of the Hungarian Foundation for Free Software. So he built some web-based tools to distribute the workload and threw a pizza party in the computer room at the Technical University of Budapest. Over a dozen people worked locally, with about 100 Hungarians submitting work remotely over the web. Most of the work—translating over 21,000 text strings—was completed in three days.

Dwayne Bailey of, an open-source translation project based in South Africa, says localising open-source programs into Zulu, Xhosa, Venda, Sesotho and other African languages makes computers more accessible. With translated software, “these languages are suddenly players in the modern world.” Neville Alexander, a former South African freedom-fighter, agrees. “An English-only or even an English-mainly policy necessarily condemns most people, and thus the country as a whole, to a permanent state of mediocrity, since people are unable to be spontaneous, creative and self-confident if they cannot use their first language,” he says.

A similar approach is being taken in India, where there are 18 official languages and over 1,000 regional dialects. Shikha Pillai is one of the leaders of a team in Bangalore that is translating open-source software, including OpenOffice, into ten Indian dialects. She, too, feels that introducing Indian languages will help to foster a far deeper penetration of information technology. “Localisation makes IT accessible to common people,” she says. “And Indian-language enabled software could revolutionise the way our communications work; even the way computers are used in India.”

In May, Thailand's government launched a subsidised “people's PC” that runs LinuxTLE, a Thai-language version of Linux. In September, Japan said it would join a project established by China and South Korea to develop localised, open-source alternatives to Microsoft's software. Computer users around the world are discovering that open-source software speaks their language.