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In late May, the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies published my paper on the implementation of transnational voluntary forestry standards in Russia in its discussion paper series (From Transnational Voluntary Standards to Local Practices: A Case Study of Forest Certification in Russia. MPIfG Discussion Paper 11/7). In the paper, I attempt to deconstruct the process of implementation and suggest that the current literature has paid little attention to two social processes that accompany – or even constitute – the implementation of transnational voluntary standards: collective learning and stakeholder interest negotiation. Basically, I argue that previous research examines carefully various factors that explain why certain companies in certain countries commit to voluntary environmental standards, but has so far mainly assumed that once standards are adopted, the improvements in practices will occur (if there is a gap between standards and practice, which is most often the case, as some research shows). Instead, I suggest that implementation should not be taken for granted and propose a framework for understanding how companies and activists translate transnational voluntary standards into on-the-ground practices, particularly in a difficult context of non-advanced industrial countries. Empirically, I apply this framework to the analysis of the implementation of the Forest Stewardship Council’s forestry standards in Russian forest enterprises. Read the rest of this entry »

A few days ago, the German collecting society GEMA was criticized by CEOs of leading music labels such as Universal or Sony Music for not being able to negotiate an agreement with Google, the owner of YouTube, that would allow their music videos to be featured on the site (see “Cracks in the Content Coalition: Corporations vs. Copyright Collectives“).  Today the German branch of the hacktivism group Anonymous weighed in and launched a campaign against GEMA (see the video message below).

At the time I am was writing this post, the GEMA homepage is was down, most likely because of a distributed denial-of-service attack – the standard form of online protest organized by Anonymous. The rationale for the attack given in the video explicitly refers to the recent criticism by major label representatives and reads as follows (my translation): Read the rest of this entry »

In April this year, broadcasters, collecting societies, and representatives of the music and film industry in Germany publicly announced the foundation of the “Deutsche Content Allianz” (“German Content Alliance”) at a press conference in Berlin:

Member sof the German Content Alliance

Source: Stefan Krempl / heise.de

Harald Heker, CEO of the leading German collecting society GEMA, even praised the initiative as an “important closing of ranks” among rights holders (via heise.de, German only).

Only two months later, this coalition exhibits some severe cracks. And the reason for these cracks is the extensive blocking of YouTube videos demanded by GEMA – something we have repeatedly discussed on this blog (see, for example, “Viral Web Videos and Blocked Talent” and, most recently, “Art Across Borders“). Originally, blocked videos only delivered a page stating that the video was not available “in your country” and referring to the rights holder – the latter mostly being one of the leading media corporations such as Universal, Warner or Sony. Read the rest of this entry »

The series “Tagged Tabs” is short list of commented links in a recurrent attempt to clean my browser from open tabs containing interesting articles on governance across borders in the field of copyright regulation published elsewhere.

(leonidobusch)

"This Painting is Not Available in Your Country" A recurrent theme on this blog is how the seemingly global online world is still  – and in some fields even increasingly – divided by barriers, which are still tied to national borders. In this context, about eight months ago our article “This Post is Available in Your Country” featured a painting by the Hungarian artist Paul Mutant that ironically addressed the omnipresence of blocked video content on the web. Actually, very recently a Berlin based copyright expert told me that, for example, in Germany the majority of videos on YouTube were blocked because of (alleged) copyright infringements.

In an exhibition in the Három Hét Galéria in Budapest, Mutant now takes his idea to the extreme, as is evidenced by the pictures below (all photos provided by the artist).

Wall full of "This painting ..." paintings

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s great to know that people take note of the ideas we share on this blog. In April, I posted an entry introducing a paper I had recently presented in Croatia, called “Attempting the Production of Public Goods through Microfinance: The Case of Water and Sanitation“. The argument was that water and sanitation, because they have the characteristics of public goods, cannot be provided adequately via private individual credit like microfinance loans.

In a thoughtful article on microfinancefocus.com Katya Jenkins recently re-iterated this point (and quoted the paper). Her basic argument: some organisations are reporting successes, but we have good reasons to be skeptical, and it might not work in every case.

Jenkins makes one very important point at the end, which is that there may be a better case for small self-financing in water and sanitation if we were talking about community systems. Agreed. But microfinance organisations would have to adapt their business models a lot, giving out much larger loans (€ millions rather than hundreds), being far more patient with repayments (slower repayment means slower turnover means lower profits), and actually bothering to “know” their clients’ business (instead of easy and cheap “no questions asked” lending). That’s a long shot from today’s microfinance, even if a select few organisations like ProCredit have taken the step into SME finance; and probably “microfinance” would be the wrong name for it. Read the rest of this entry »

Today YouTube announced on its official blog the introduction of Creative Commons support:

Have you ever been in the process of creating a video and just needed that one perfect clip to make it pop? Maybe you were creating your own music video and needed an aerial video of Los Angeles at night to spice it up. Unless you had a helicopter, a pretty powerful camera and some fierce editing skills, this would have been a big challenge. Now, look no further than the Creative Commons library accessible through YouTube Video Editor to make this happen. Creative Commons provides a simple way to license and use creative works.

Actually, YouTube had tested the implementation of Creative Commons licenses already more than two years ago (see Creative Commons blog) but has shied away from introducing it as a general feature until today. That this has now finally happened is celebrated by many Creative Commons sympathizers in the blogosphere under headings such as “Why YouTube Adopting Creative Commons Is a Big Deal” and, of course, Creative Commons officials. Read the rest of this entry »

Markus Beckedahl, blogger, digital rights activist and one of the representatives of Creative Commons Germany, inspired a raging controversy within the German blogosphere with the following simple statement:

“Anyone, who actively uses the Internet and shows media literacy, constantly infringes copyright.”
(German original: “Jeder, der das Internet aktiv nutzt und Medienkompetenz zeigt, begeht die ganze Zeit Urheberrechtsverletzungen.”)

David Ziegelmayer, lawyer at CMS Hasche Sigle, immediately cast doubt whether Beckedahl were serious and admits to be swept off his feet by that statement. He claims that, on the contrary, uneducated users are responsible for copyright infringments such as unauthorized copying of pictures and texts, not the media literate ones.

Simon Möller, law blogger at Telemedicus, however supports Beckedahl’s claim and gives the following five examples:

  1. Commented links in blogs: the media literate blogger copies passages of texts, includes the links and a short comment. such a behavior is not covered by the citation exemption of copyright due to the unqeual ratio between cited text and comment.
  2. Embedding videos in blogs, since this would often require a license.
  3. Using ID pictures:  the rights for publishing ID pictures online is normally not acquired from the photographer.
  4. Unclear terms in open content licenses such as, for example, the Creative Commons NonCommercial clause (see also “Standardizing via Polling” on this blog).
  5. Using cloud services, which are not necessarily covered by extant copyright exemptions, at least in Europe. Read the rest of this entry »

The Book

Governance across borders: transnational fields and transversal themes. Leonhard Dobusch, Philip Mader and Sigrid Quack (eds.), 2013, epubli publishers.
June 2011
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All texts on governance across borders are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany License.