From March 15 to 17, the Canadian city of Toronto played host to the tenth Furnal Equinox, an annual event dedicated to the “furry fandom.” Wikinews attended. Programming ranged from music to gender, science to art, covering dozens of aspects of the varied subculture. The event’s featured guests were visual artists Moth Monarch and Cat-Monk Shiro, as well as the co-owners of US fursuit costume builders Don’t Hug Cacti.
The event raised nearly CDN$11,000 for Pet Patrol, a non-profit rescue organization in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, run by volunteers. This exceeded their goal of $10,000, the funds needed to finish a rural sanctuary. The furry community is well-known for their charitable efforts. Along with direct donations, the funds were raised through a charity auction offering original artwork, and a fursuit design by guests of honour “Don’t Hug Cacti.” Last year, Furnal Equinox raised funds for a farm animal sanctuary.
While only 10–15% of people within the fandom own a fursuit according to a 2011 study, event organizers reported this year 908 of the 2240 attendees at Furnal Equinox brought at least one elaborate outfit to the event. The outfits are usually based on original characters, known as “fursonas”.
Guests of Honour Cherie and Sean O’Donnell, known within the community as “Lucky and Skuff Coyote”, held a session on fursuit construction on Saturday afternoon. The married couple are among the most prominent builders in the fandom, under the name Don’t Hug Cacti. The scale of their business was evident, as Sean had made over a thousand pairs of “handpaws”, costume gloves.
The couple encouraged attendees to continue developing their technique, sharing that all professional fursuit makers had developed different techniques. They felt that they learned more from failed projects than successful ones, citing the Chuck Jones quote that “every artist has thousands of bad drawings,” and that you have to work through them to achieve. Cherie, known as Lucky, recalled receiving a Sylvester the Cat plush toy from a Six Flags theme park at age 10. She promptly hollowed the toy out, turning it into a costume. Creating a costume isn’t without its hazards: the company uses 450°F (232°C) glue guns. They’re “like sticking your hand in an oven.”
Other programming included improv comedy, dances, life drawing of fursuiters, a review of scientific research by a research group at four universities called FurScience, a pin collector’s social, and workshops in writing.
The “Dealer’s Den” hall was expanded this year, with even more retailers and artists. While many offered “furry” versions of traditional products, at least one business focused on “pushing the boundaries of fursuit technology.” Along with 3D printing a bone-shaped name tag when Wikinews visited, Grivik was demonstrating miniature computer screens that could be used as “eyes” for a fursuit. The electronic displays projected an animation of eyes looking around, blinking occasionally. The maker has also developed “a way to install a camera inside suit heads, to improve fursuiter visibility.” He hopes the tech would reduce suiting risks and accidents. Without the need for eyeholes, fursuit makers would have “more options for building different eyestyles.”
Image: Nicholas Moreau.
Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Fur_fans_flock_to_Toronto%27s_Furnal_Equinox_2019&oldid=4564835”
In the new computer age, We don’t always log on from home where our PC’s are thoroughly protected. (You took care of that already, right?) Cyber cafes, libraries, airports, hotels and other places offer use of a public terminal for those on the go. But, unfortunately, those computers may not always get secured well nor checked regularly. And, since others use them, they can get infected only minutes before it’s your turn.
Here are a few tips for how to protect your information while using a public computer.
Most of the email clients nowadays allow you to forward email from one account to another, just as you forward your phone calls. Take advantage of this feature to enhance your security.
If you plan to be away from home for a few days – but aren’t using your regular computer or laptop – try to forward your email to an account you set up especially for the trip. This helps protect your information a lot.
Both the account and the password are much less likely to be known to scam artists. Yet, you can retrieve any email sent while you’re away from your regular PC. Also, if the userid and password do get cracked, your ongoing risk is low, since you’ll be abandoning this temporary account shortly.
If you have to log in to a public computer with one of your regular username change the password the first time you use it away from home. Then change it back when you get back home, This limits your exposure time.
Public computers can contain a specific kind of spyware/trojan called ‘a key-logger’ that records your every keystroke. Apart from getting your logins and passwords, that also allows the thief to access anything else you typed in during your session. So, you must avoid making credit-card transactions online or accessing your online banking and credit-card accounts.
Before you go to any site that would require a username and/or password, disable any auto-complete or password storing feature. If you can because some public computers have these features locked down by the administrator.
Avoid unfamiliar sites, if practical, while you are away. Most online hacks come from auto-downloads of spyware, viruses, etc. Few of the sites you visit regularly are likely to have those. Just as you would avoid talking to unsavory strangers while on a trip, avoid dicey websites.
Defer clicking on ads while you’re away from home. Those can lead to just the kinds of sites mentioned above.
Once you are done using the public computer, erase – if you can – here again administrators may not allow you to access the feature – any Temporary Internet files, cookies, etc. This helps protect not only you, but leaves the computer in a better state for the next user.
Needless to say, don’t leave any downloaded files on the computer and never allow anyone to look over your shoulder while you are typing in a password or other sensitive information.
Paranoia isn’t needed. But a little awareness and sound judgment while using a public computer will help keep your information secure – then and after you get back home.
One last tip would be to use a better secure browser like Firefox or Opera while surfing on your home PC as well as a public computer.
About the Author: Deepesh Agarwal is author of several award-wining software’s, most of them being distributed under free ware software license. You can download his best free software at
In Vancouver, a 20-year urban success story may yet have a sad ending. The city’s downtown population has doubled to 80,000 in the last 20 years thanks to Vancouver’s “Living First” policy – a planning strategy that favors residential development over commercial. And planners are expecting the population to reach more than 120,000 by 2030. But while downtown booms with people, business is busting. The International Herald Tribune reports that the city’s recently-released jobs and land-use study is estimating that downtown Vancouver may run out of commercial and office space within 5 years.
The ‘Vancouver problem’ is one that many cities in the United States could only hope to have. On the contrary, much effort has been put into bringing residential life back into the city centres. In Los Angeles, San Diego, Miami, and Washington, D.C. there has been a condominium boom in recent years, but these cities are far from the situation Vancouver faces now.
To counter the trend in Vancouver, planners are proposing changes to the city’s zoning regulations, including the passage of more lenient building height restrictions. But because residential developments are so much more profitable than commercial and office space, some public officials are proposing offering better incentives to the developers willing to build commercial. Another option is to expand the moratorium that was placed on new housing development in the central business district two years ago.
Translink is currently involved in a major expansion of the 49.5 km (30.8 mi) Skytrain system centred on downtown Vancouver. Construction of the Canada and Evergreen lines is underway. The former will be complete in 2009, and the latter in 2011.
What are plastic pallets? Plastic pallets are plates which are used for loading and unloading. It facilitates cargo handling, transport, storage and distribution. A plastic pallet consists of load surface which can carry a certain number of cargo and sockets designed for forklift. Plastic pallet is the most obscure logistics apparatus but it exists everywhere and it is the primary means to change cargo from static to dynamic. Although maybe the size of plastic pallets is only one square meter, but it can move the Earth. So the plastic pallet is also called the active ground, mobile dock. The development of plastic pallets: In recent years, logistics industry has developed rapidly with an annual growth rate of more than 15%. Experts predict that, in the coming years, the logistic market will maintain an average annual rate of 20%, the amount of plastic pallets will exceed 20 million. high efficiency, energy saving, environmental protection, low cost is the main characteristics of logistic industry in the future. This is a development opportunity but also a great challenge for plastic pallets manufactures. Why plastic pallets industry develops so rapidly? The development of plastic pallets benefits from several factors. First of all, the plastic pallets have superior performance. Then, for a long time, the pallet in logistic industry is made of wood. However, with increasing environmental pressure, railway transport issues a regulation of disabling wooden pallets. Europe, America, Japan and other countries proposed near-stringent fumigation and quarantine requirements on the import of wood packaging (including wooden pallets). In addition, the processing equipments of plastic pallets have high degree of automation and large output. With the improvement of plastic mechanical properties and the decrease of raw materials cost, the cost of plastic pallets is no longer the bottleneck which restricted the use. One side is the development of the logistic industry drives the increase of the plastic pallets demand, the other side is the main force wooden pallets tend to failure, all these indicates that plastic pallets are facing enormous opportunities. What are the advantages of plastic pallets when compared with wooden pallets and steel pallets? Durability: the life of plastic pallets is about 10 times longer than wooden pallets. Reliability: the reliability of the structure of plastic pallets significantly reduces the damage consumption of plastic pallets, as well as the cargo damage caused by the broken pallets. Plastic pallets are lighter than the wooden pallets in the same size, it reduce the weight and cost of transport. Health: plastic pallets can be washed and reused. Global trends: plastic pallets are free of fumigation and quarantine, can be export to Europe and other countries directly. European Community requires all food, beverage and medicine transport must use plastic pallets. Specific: plastic pallets are more and more popular in some special commodity market, such as: food, beverage, pharmaceutical industry. And according to the requirements of different plants, plastic pallets can be made of a variety of colors, coupled with the appropriate company logo and mark. It makes 5S management easy for enterprises. Insurance: due to detrimental resistance of plastic pallets, a corresponding reduction in workers compensation claims, and the reduce use of wood in factory is equal to the reduction of fire insurance premiums. Residual value: the used plastic pallets can be sold at 30% of the original price, because plastic pallets can be sold back to manufacturers or other entities in order to reuse. Environmental protection: plastic pallets are environmental friendly products, because they can all be recycled and reuse, greatly reducing the waste and disposal cost. Protection of forests: the use of plastic pallets can prevent hundreds of thousands of acres of forest loss each year. Types of plastic pallets: Plastic pallets have two types: single sided type and double sided type. Double sided type can be divided into monolithic and assembled. At present, plastic pallets are mostly made by injection moulding, followed by the extrusion-hollow blow moulding. Extrusion products are not too much, vacuum forming is rarely used. SINO MOULD is one of the leading Pallet mould companies in China, who has been widely recognized as the professional Pallet mould company. (edit by SINO MOULD firstname.lastname@example.org )
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 188.8.131.52, 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 email@example.com 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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An Amnesty International report released Thursday says that China put more people to death last year than the rest of the world combined, and the group called on the Chinese government to make public the total number of executions in the country.
According to Amnesty International, China executed “thousands” of people in 2009, but the exact total is a state secret. Executions in the rest of the world totaled 714, of which 388 were in Iran. Death sentences totaled at least 2,001 in 2009. According to the group’s 2008 report, China executed at least 1,718 people, more than three-quarters of the world total that year. While Chinese authorities claim the number of executions is decreasing, Amnesty challenged that claim, saying that “If this is true, why won’t they tell the world how many people the state put to death?”
In a statement, the organization said that “The time is long overdue for China to fall into line with international law and standards on the death penalty and be open and transparent regarding its use of capital punishment.” The organization said it was especially concerned about the executions of those in Tibet and Xinjiang after political violence, as well as people convicted of financial fraud, and a British man who was executed despite claims of mental illness.
Amnesty also criticized the legal system in China, which allows the death penalty to be used for nearly 70 offences, including non-violent ones. According to the report, many of the executions were based on evidence given during torture, and many defendants were given insufficient access to legal counsel.
The organization has long criticized the death penalty, saying that it is “cruel and degrading, and an affront to human dignity.” Amnesty also claims that executions are frequently used for exclusively political purposes, and are used “disproportionately against the poor, minorities and members of racial, ethnic and religious communities.”
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A robotic system at Stanford Medical Center was used to perform a laparoscopicgastric bypass surgery successfully with a theoretically similar rate of complications to that seen in standard operations. However, as there were only 10 people in the experimental group (and another 10 in the control group), this is not a statistically significant sample.
If this surgical procedure is as successful in large-scale studies, it may lead the way for the use of robotic surgery in even more delicate procedures, such as heart surgery. Note that this is not a fully automated system, as a human doctor controls the operation via remote control. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a treatment for obesity.
There were concerns that doctors, in the future, might only be trained in the remote control procedure. Ronald G. Latimer, M.D., of Santa Barbara, CA, warned “The fact that surgeons may have to open the patient or might actually need to revert to standard laparoscopic techniques demands that this basic training be a requirement before a robot is purchased. Robots do malfunction, so a backup system is imperative. We should not be seduced to buy this instrument to train surgeons if they are not able to do the primary operations themselves.”
There are precedents for just such a problem occurring. A previous “new technology”, the electrocardiogram (ECG), has lead to a lack of basic education on the older technology, the stethoscope. As a result, many heart conditions now go undiagnosed, especially in children and others who rarely undergo an ECG procedure.
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Leader of the Manson Family cult Charles Manson, who has tried to get parole 11 times, will have another opportunity to seek it again Wednesday, for his life sentence for his 1969 slayings of actress Sharon Tate and six others. The 77 year old’s last parole hearing occurred in 2007.
Manson didn’t go to his last parole hearing in 2007, saying that he was a “prisoner of the political system.” He isn’t expected to attend the Wednesday hearing either, according to a spokesperson at Corcoran State Prison.
The district attorney’s office in Los Angeles said it strongly opposed Manson’s release.
“We consistently (opposed parole) and will continue to do so,” spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said.
Manson has hoarded cell phones in his cell, and they were confiscated by the guards. Thirty days were added to his sentence for this offence. In 2009, Manson called people in California, New Jersey, and Florida with an LG flip phone found under his bed.
Guards found a second cell phone a year later, and a homemade weapon was found as well.
Manson was found guilty of telling a group of his followers to break into the home Roman Polanski and his wife Sharon Tate were renting in a town near Beverly Hills. The followers killed Tate and all six of the people at her home.
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Yesterday morning near the international airport located on Weno island of Chuuk state of the Federated States of Micronesia, Oceania a passenger airplane of model Boeing 737-800 flown by the Air Niugini carrier crashed into sea as its pilot missed the runway. All 47 people on board — by differing reports, 36 passengers and eleven crew or 35 passengers and twelve crew — survived.
The report by the international commercial aviation safety organization Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre indicated the crash coincided with a sudden intensification of the weather conditions. timeanddate.com-supplied data from CustomWeather reported rain showers at 9:40 a.m. local time, following cloudy conditions at 8:50 a.m.
The airplane reportedly landed around 9:30 a.m. local time, short of the runway by about 160 m to 200 m (about 525 to 650 feet), according to reports. Locals immediately began to rescue the passengers and crew on fishing boats. Officials arrived after about ten minutes, according to a witness quoted by The Guardian.
In an interview, a passenger alleged the crew started panicking and yelling, The Guardian reported. A first responder, Dr James Yaingeluo, also said the airplane crew were in panic. He said, “There was a little bit [of] chaos at first because everybody was really panicked and tried to get out of the plane […] other than that we were doing as much as we can. Luckily there are no casualties.”
Yaingeluo said nine people were taken to a hospital. Four people remained in hospital, one “seriously injured”, according to reports recounted by ABC News on Friday evening.
Flight 73 was coming from Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia. Its destination was Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, with a stop at the Chuuk state.
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New Orleans, Louisiana —After Category 4 storm Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans, on the night before August 29, 2005, several flood control constructions failed. Much of the city flooded through the openings. One of these was the flood wall forming one side of the 17th Street Canal, near Lake Pontchartrain. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is the primary agency for engineering support during such emergencies. A USACE team was assessing the situation in New Orleans on the 29th, water flow was stopped September 2nd, and the breach was closed on September 5th.
2 August 27: Before the storm
3 August 29: Day of the storm
4 August 30: Flood
5 August 31: Recovery begins
6 September 1: Construction
7 September 2: Water flow stopped
8 September 3
9 September 4: Almost done
10 September 5: Breach closed
11 September 6: Pumping and moving on
12 See also
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