Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

The RIAA Wants Members of the House to Share Music Over Spotify, A File-Sharing Network

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, January 31 2013

The Recording Industry Association of America on Thursday implored the chief administrative officer of the U.S. House to allow its members to stream and share music using Spotify, a legal music sharing service that's the direct descendant of Napster.

"Spotify is a licensed, secure online music streaming service. In fact, it is one of the dozens of authorized digital services that the music community is partnering with to offer a catalogue of millions of songs to fans, however they want it, whenever they want it – including members of Congress and their aides," wrote Cary Sherman, the RIAA's chairman and CEO, to the House' Chief Administrative Officer Daniel J. Strodel in a Wednesday letter. "We appreciate your need to ensure that the House network is secure, and we would welcome the opportunity to work with you to develop a new policy that ensures that users of the House network will be able to gain access to these new legal services."

Sherman sent the letter off after reading a report in POLITICO about the ban. Those who have been following congressional debates over filesharing over the years will appreciate the irony: For years members of Congress have equated file-sharing services as cesspits of evil, declaring them the prime networks of exchange for child pornography. Now they're begging their network administrators for access to services like Skype and Spotify.

Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.

GO

wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.

GO

The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.

GO

tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.

GO

Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.

GO

monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.

GO

More