31 May 2005: Piracy - Part II

As a follow-on to piracy below, there appears to be a lot of uncertainty about these rumours of a 30-day limit on keeping video tape recordings. Is this 30-day limit true? Does it also apply to hard-disk, or DVD storage? Surely if I'm bound by my government's rulings, I should expect to be able to get a clear answer to these questions, without having to pay a solicitor to find out for me. I am bound by traffic laws, and expected to know, for example, what roadsigns mean, and so the government make such information publically available, both through the printed Highway Code, and the highwaycode.gov.uk website (which is easilly found via Google). Can I find such information about my rights and responsibilities regarding copyright? No. Maybe that is my failure, but I have made a genuine, honest attempt to find out, and I cannot find anything about how long I may retain recordings of TV (or other) broadcasts, nor upon which media I can save them. Where is this information to be found? If I can't find the regulations, and genuine searching (such as this) does not produce them, can I be held liable for any possible infringement? Of course, I have sent a copy (and link) of this to Mr. Blair. From the bounces I've received, it seems that tony.blair@labour.org.uk doesn't bounce, though anything@gov.uk does bounce.

29 May 2005: RIP Patsy Calton

Patsy Calton MP died yesterday, after a long struggle with cancer. She was my MP in this session of parliament, as well as the previous session (when she beat the long-standing Tory candidate by a mere 33 votes). I just want to wish Clive and the children all my love, and to let them know that they are in my prayers at this time.

29 May 2005: Oh, Kimi!

Kimi Raikkonen dominated today's race at the Nurburgring until the final lap, when his front-right tyre, which had been on the limit for a few laps, broke the suspension and sent him hurtling towards the barriers at top speed, barely missing Jenson Button's BAR Honda on the way.
Recent rule changes mean that the teams have to use a single set of tyres for the entire weekend; an already-punctured tyre may be replaced with a used tyre, but if it has not already gone, the team are encouraged to keep it. The rules appear to allow a team to replace a duff tyre if they so choose, but with a 4 second advantage over the current title favourite Fernando Alonso, McLaren were disinclined to lost a potential 10 points for first, in order to replace the tyre and accept 6 points.
Teams and drivers cannot be trusted with safety decisions, as they are (or should be!) focussed on winning races, and do naturally take risks. The FIA have introduced a lot of safety regulations in the past few years, but in an attempt to make the formula economically viable for the more cash-strapped teams, have also introduced a number of cost-cutting measures, including this single-tyre-per-weekend rule. If the FIA take safety seriously (which they must - the teams will take great risks for the huge benefits available, and put safety in second place, as demonstrated today by McLaren's decision to take the risk and plough on with a bad tyre) then they need to revisit this new cost-saving rule, and allow (even force) the teams to change tyres during the race without having to demonstrate a failure in the old tyre to justify the change.
The police would not allow a driver to use public roads with a tyre in such a state as Kimi Raikkonen's by the end of his race, for his own safety, and that of other road users. Kimi was lucky that when the tyre broke the suspension, he was at the start of the main straight, and he had enough space to slow down sufficiently to not harm himself; Button was lucky that Raikkonen missed him by a moment. If the tyre had given in at a different point of the track, we could have seen another fatality in the name of Formula One.
The FIA need to change this ruling immediately, before F1 suffers any more deaths.

29 May 2005: Piracy

There is a lot of fuss recently about DVD 'piracy', amongst other formats, such as music. I think I'm pretty clear about where I stand on this - it is wrong to take something without paying for it, unless the creator has explicitly granted such a right.
That's pretty simple, isn't it? I understand that UK law says that I may record a TV broadcast, and keep that recording for 30 days (although Graham Cornish's guidelines (seems dead; google HTML copy) doesn't explictly mention any such rights. That may be a red herring, though, since it appears to be concentrating on digital issues, not the UK law in general on broadcasting.
What brings this to mind, is that BBC Three have just broadcast Pulp Fiction and I just caught the end of it. I don't have a copy, but if I'd have known sooner that they were going to broadcast it, I could have recorded it and kept a copy of that recording (even if only for a limited amount of time). Since this means that I have the right to a copy, as it has been broadcast by the BBC, and I have paid my license fee, surely nobody could reasonably object if I took the alternative route and downloaded the DVD in order to get the media to which I now have a right?
Just a thought...

12 May 2005: Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Despite the review at www.planetmagrathea.com (which is now 'closed') ... mirror of the long review (with spoilers) and short review (without spoilers), I went with a couple of friends tonight to see H2G2: The Movie.
Read the full review.

05 May 2005: We've Moved!

The transition seems to have gone pretty smoothly; many thanks to Shane at webqualityhost.net. We're starting to see some traffic at the new site now, so that looks like a transition succesfully made.

02 May 2005: We're Moving!

We're moving! webqualityhost.net have kindly offered to cover the hosting of this site. The content has been transferred, and the DNS will be updated shortly. As DNS records can take up to three days to propagate over the internet, you may see the new site or the old site over the next few days. This shouldn't cause a big problem, although unless I'm careful, some forum posts could get lost. There's also the possibility of some email getting lost, too - use the webform to email me if you want to be sure that I'll get it, as the webform is currently configured to send the email to an external address as well as the DNS-dependent steve-parker.org address.

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