Category: Internet

Declaration of Internet Freedom

In an attempt to stop censorship in the internet, organizations, companies and ordinary internet users from all over the world are joining their forces today, by creating The Internet Declaration Of Freedom.

The Internet Declaration Of Freedom will prevend five basic principles which are: expression, access, openness, innovation and privacy.


We stand for a free and open Internet.
We support transparent and participatory processes for making Internet policy and the establishment of five basic principles:

Expression: Don’t censor the Internet.
Access: Promote universal access to fast and affordable networks.
Openness: Keep the Internet an open network where everyone is free to connect, communicate, write, read, watch, speak, listen, learn, create and innovate.
Innovation: Protect the freedom to innovate and create without permission. Don’t block new technologies, and don’t punish innovators for their users’ actions.
Privacy: Protect privacy and defend everyone’s ability to control how their data and devices are used.

You can support or participate by signing the participation here.

ACTA: The New Agreement That Threatens Internet

After SOPA and PIPA (the two bills that were about to be voted from the American Congress recently), another agreement, known as ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) is about to be signed, this time by countries all over the world.

This international “trade agreement” is negotiated by European Union, U.S, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Australia and other countries with main goal to restrict copyright violations and to create an international legal framework for targeting counterfeit goods and generic medicines. The truth is that if this agreement pass, internet service providers (ISPs) will be the new “internet copyright police”, knowing your every move ,any time, by checking all data going in and out of your personal computer and this is only the beginning…

Several organizations that defend human rights and freedom of speech, have started to mobilize, complaining that the whole discussion of ACTA, is been made without any public consultation and fearing that it will bring stifling conditions, both to freedom of expression online, access to medicines, but also in culture and knowledge. It is important to mention that ACTA has been negotiated in secret for the last 4 years by 39 countries and by people that are not democratically elected representatives.

Among the countries that have already signed this agreement are: U.S., Japan, South Korea, Australia, Morocco, Singapore, New Zealand, France, Poland, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Greece and Romania, while European countries that didn’t signed it are: UK, Germany, Holland, Cyprus, Estonia and Slovakia.

Signing the agreement does not mean that it has been finalized though. The agreement must pass from a vote in the European Parliament this June. The activist group La Quadrature du Net has released a statement, urging everyone to put pressure on every country’s members of parliament and members of the European parliament to fight ACTA, before it is voted in the European Parliament.

What is ACTA:

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Although these laws supposed to be about stopping online piracy, the vast majority of people and internet companies (including Google, Mozilla,Wikipedia) are afraid that they will be used in a way that it will place free expression in jeopardy and eventually hurt internet in total.

What SOPA and PIPA will actually do.

PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) : It will force U.S. internet providers to block websites that violate copyright laws while taking legal action (in order to remove the links to those black listed sites) against search engines, directories and any other kind of website including advertising services. Companies will also have the power of suing any website (launched after the specific bill is passed) that is believed that it didn’t take the necessary measures of preventing infringement.

Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) : Companies will have the power to create their own black list of websites they feel are violating their copyright policies. Payment processors will also have the power to block those same sites if they can provide a reason of why they believe that those sites are violating copyrights. The U.S. Attorney General will be able to force search engines, DNS providers, servers and payment processors from having any contact with websites that seem to violate copyrights.

In a sentence, these two bills will give greater power to law enforcement to filter the internet, while making sure that there will be no possible way to get around them. This actually means that personal blogs, Facebook, Youtube and Twitter accounts along with many other websites and services, are in danger of getting blacklisted or blocked. The truth is that the entire web will be censored.

Of course, the above bills will not only influence U.S. but the entire world. Additionally, it is almost certain that piracy will not be able to dealt with, despite all these hard measures.

Wikipedia, WordPress, Reddit, Mozilla and Google are some of the major companies that took a clear stance against these bills and participated in the strike by “blacking out” their pages. Google, more specifically, blacked out its logo and created a page with the title:

..these bills would censor the Internet and slow economic growth in the U.S.

encouraging all people to sign a petition urging Congress to vote NO on PIPA and SOPA. (Google also stated that SOPA protests will not cause problems with Googlebot which will crawl at much lower rate for this specific day.)

Although Facebook was not closed down, Mark Zuckerberg stated:

The internet is the most powerful tool we have for creating a more open and connected world. We can’t let poorly thought out laws get in the way of the internet’s development. Facebook opposes SOPA and PIPA, and we will continue to oppose any laws that will hurt the internet.

Let us hope that with everyone’s help, these bills will be rejected and Ιnternet will eventually come out unscathed from this test.
More information about ACTA :

The Story Of Youtube

The Birth of YouTube

youtubeYouTube was founded in early 2005 by 3 PayPal employees , Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim . As another great garage invention it started out when they got frustrated trying to send a video through email.

They saw the opportunity and offered a solution to the problem. After the official launching they secured external funding from Sequoia Capital all of which was used to improve the infrastructure and add needed features. From then on it kept growing, getting bigger and bigger. It was sold to Google 18 months after it’s lunch for the sum of 1.65 billion USD.

It recently surpassed the 4 billion views per day and is currently the third most popular site on the internet (under Google and facebook). It constitutes one of the most powerful components of Google.

Why YouTube Chose Flash

It’s biggest ingredient is flash. A major decision with great effects in the software industry and the “battle of the codecs” . Beside the bad quality of the video it has the – much more important – advantage of availability and flexibility. You can embed or link a video and be sure that the other end will have no problem watching it. Only thing necessary is a web browser and a hyperlink. Back in the old days you had to search through a variety of sources to find the files you needed , download them, find the right codec to play them in something like Windows Media Player, or QuickTime, which you had to have installed in your computer and it was pretty complicated. YouTube offered something much easier. There wasn’t even the need to get registered…

YouTube and Copyright

A major issue for YouTube is copyright rights. Virtually everything of interest on YouTube is copyrighted content. 90% of the videos in YouTube is breaking that rule! Reading YouTube’s copyright tips page you get the idea that anything other than 100% original content is strictly forbidden . Yet there was a “window” out of this that made YouTube what it is today. It’s name is “fair use”. What this says is that you can use content from another source without permission as long as it satisfy the the four factors of fair use . These are

  1. the purpose of the use
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work
  3. the relative amount of the portion used
  4. the market effect of the use on the copyrighted work

What these rules obligate is that with your video you somehow offer a new interpretation of the data you are using and you only use the content in ways that they are producing something new. A new knowledge sort of speak. Like when you comment part of a show in the news report. Another classic example here is the parody videos. Although the visual content is 100% copy, it is used for entertaining purposes giving a completely different purpose to the original video. So with the banner of fair use the copyrighted content stays up until someone complains. It is only then that it is taken into consideration to be removed.

YouTube is the leading video sharing service on the web from it’s beginning till now. It is a “visual information” database recording everything happening in the world around us. The fact remains though that Google is spending million of dollars to be able to keep up with the amount of video uploaded every minute (that is about an hour long) and it is still no able to bring earnings back. The way it’s going to evolve is only remain to be seen..