Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Latvian musicians take New York’s finest stages by storm - Learn Latvian Online

On the world stage there is no doubt that people of Latvian origin seem to excel best in the artistic world. Perhaps the LawPundit should sing his postings as podcasts.

See e.g. Latvian musicians take New York’s finest stages by storm - Learn Latvian Online

The Fashion Industry and IP Reform? Are Copyright-Unfettered Industries More Efficient than Other Copyright-Plagued Industries Such as Music, TV and Movies?

Johanna Blakely, the Deputy (Assistant) Director of the Norman Lear Center, a think tank at the USC Annenberg School for Communication, has a thought-provoking video comparing the immensely successful copyright-unfettered fashion industry with other - monetarily much less successful creative industries such as music, TV and movies, which are all in the middle of copyright wars. The presentation relates to the Lear Center's Ready to Share landmark conference on Fashion & the Ownership of Creativity, which asks "whether the fashion industry offers a compelling model for other creative industries to explore and emulate.

Voices from the Web about this video are found at:

Slashdot -  The Fashion Industry As a Model For IP Reform

BoinbBoing - Why the absence of copyright is good for fashion

popurls®, A Buzz Aggregator with a Business Edition

One of the major problems faced today is information overflow and knowledge management.

A user arrived recently on LawPundit via popurls®, a popular buzz aggregator, so we thought we would take a look at it, also the popurls® brown edition for business, which aggregates some of the major players in news publishing.

There are many things to like about popurls, especially some of the customization options, which allow the viewer to either retain the blue on black graphic interface or switch to a white-backed interface, or select a larger text font than the smaller default font. It would be helpful if other services adopted these kinds of simple and yet effective and sometimes necessary customization options.

The user can organize the aggregated default sites by news topic, by news source or by chronology and can choose to open the clicked objects in the same or new window. A popurls live feature shows new postings on a map of the world as they come in.

What we do not like is that we can not add custom feeds of our own taste to the default feeds, although the search function does locate some of our Law_Pundit at Twitter postings.

For a quick overview of what is generally happening, however, popurls is OK.

Citigroup Sees a EURO Rally Because of EU Bailout of Greece : Joschka Fischer in SPIEGEL Interview Assesses German Chancellor Merkel and European Union Fiscal and Political Situation

Citigroup has closed its recommendation to buy the Norway Krone and sell the Euro as Euro Poised For ‘Sustained Rally’ on Reform, Aid.

The European Union (EU) bailout package for Greece and the EU plan for helping other member countries in fiscal difficulty have removed the pressure from the Euro, a fiscal danger to the Euro driven primarily by speculative money markets.

Obviously, the EU can not leave any of its members floundering at the abyss of fiscal destruction as easy victims for money speculators, thus destroying the Euro. At the same time, measures have to implemented and enforced to keep the weaker EU Member States from borrowing themselves into hopeless situations from which there is no unaided extrication.

We ourselves are familiar with some young people in newer EU Member States, for example, who have borrowed themselves to the hilt for new cars and technology (PCs, smart phones, etc.) - debts which are all well payable if these people keep their jobs and continue working, which for some is proving difficult in the current job market, with layoffs and the like.

Nevertheless, in the symbiotic relationship in which EU Member States finds themselves, those same purchases have a silver lining, since they help to drive the economies of other EU Member States, who produce the goods bought on credit by the purchasing borrowers. Hence, the EU problem is -- in the last analysis -- a problem of EU integration and should be solved in an integrated way.

Former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer in an interview with SPIEGEL has criticized the way that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has handled the fiscal crisis, but we do not agree entirely with that view.

It is true that Merkel has been very slow and careful in her management of the situation, as is her style of problem solving, leaving the center stage open for the more ebullient Sarkozy and Berlusconi, but we think this is more a matter of personality and character of the three country political heads rather than an issue of competence or, as Fischer calls it, national embarrassment for Germany, given the fact that Germany foots the lion's share of the bill but leaves the hero's celebration to France and Italy.

Germany's dominant economic position in the European Union does not mean that German EU policy always has to be geared to being the openly dominant player. Everyone knows, one way or the other, that Germany is the core country of strength in the European Union.

What we like about Fischer is his analysis about European integration, which is very forward-looking -- quoting from the SPIEGEL interview:
"Fischer: ... It was always said that we couldn't talk about a United States of Europe anymore. It was said that the euro could function solely on the basis of the Maastricht criteria, without further political integration. The markets merely made it clear to us that it doesn't work that way. This is why we must now take a courageous step forward.

SPIEGEL: And where would this step go?
Fischer: Now that we have the €750 billion guarantee, the monetary union has transformed itself into a community of solidarity. That's what has to be implemented now, which means substantially more and not less integration.

Part 2: 'Germany has Benefited the Most From the EU'

Fischer: What nonsense! The European Union was a transfer union from the very beginning. The common market and the agrarian market were and still are primarily transfer guarantees for Germany and France! And Germany has benefited the most by far. Without the euro, many countries would have devalued their currency. We, as an exporting nation that depends mainly on Europe, would have paid the price, because our products would have become more expensive. Now we have to make up for this a little. There is no way around it.

SPIEGEL: Solidarity means answering for those countries that, like Greece, have lied to the community?

Fischer: Solidarity is a two-way street. This means that, in the future, one country in the euro group cannot send its workers into retirement at 67 while another does so at only 55. It will also not be an option for some countries to accumulate debts as they please, while others save. There are several countries that have to become more competitive. We know now that the euro cannot function without all of this.

SPIEGEL: In other words, Europe has to become more German.

Fischer: No, more competitive. In terms of social policy, taxes and economic policy, the EU members must coordinate their activities more effectively, even becoming largely integrated."
Read the whole SPIEGEL interview with Fischer for even more critical questions and insights into the European Union situation.

Facebook Privacy Policies Have Litte Impact on Users as the Strategy of the Lowest Common Denominator -- also found in Blogging, Publishing, Academia and the Law - Captures the Mainstream

Privacy concerns about Facebook have few teeth in the absence of laws which impose a stricter regimen on what customer data social networking sites are permitted to make public and what not. As written in a Business Week headline,Facebook Privacy Woes Make Little Impact on Site’s Popularity:
"While privacy is a consideration for users, many are wedded to Facebook’s features, such as messaging, social gaming and running feeds of friends’ status updates. The average user creates 70 pieces of content monthly and is connected to 60 pages, groups and events, according to Facebook."
The strategy of Facebook seems to approximate the same basic philosophy as followed by the major surviving Hollywood film studios, in fact the main reason for their survival, which was a strategy geared to pleasing the lowest common denominator, the same market group that drives mainstream television. Indeed, this strategy is the one which is successful for nearly any "mainstream" direction, including blogging, publishing, academia (academic schools of thought and "peer group pressure", also via "peer review") and yes, even the law (mainstream precedents represent the lowest common denominator, not the highest). To capture a "crowd" you have to pander to that crowd and Facebook is doing this better than anyone else at the moment.

Oil Drill Rig Deepwater Horizon Showed Signs of Trouble Hours Before Explosion writes that there were signs of trouble at the Deepwater Horizon oil drill rig already hours before the explosion that sank the platform and indications that a "blowout preventer" may not have done its job.

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