Simon Chamberlain's Techdirt Profile

Simon Chamberlain

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  • Aug 11, 2012 @ 11:12am

    I wish Spotify would do more to facilitate the connection between listeners and artists - i.e. show that the artists is playing nearby, or add links to buy music. It's early days, so maybe this will happen eventually.

    To a certain extent it does both of these already - the Songkick app will show you that artists you listen to are touring, and there are links beside songs and albums that let you buy them (OK, not all albums, and it's done through Spotify AKAIK, and the prices are too high - but it is there).

  • Mar 30, 2012 @ 08:18am

    Not really libel tourism....

    The judgment specifically argues that this isn't libel tourism, because:

    "[Cairns] went to school in England, as did his children, and he played county cricket in England for Nottinghamshire in 7 seasons during a period of 15 years. [Modi] has since mid-2010 been resident in England. A trial in India would have involved very long delays. No application was made to stay the proceedings on "forum shopping" grounds, and if it had been I consider that it would have failed. The case is properly before the court in England."

    I think the key point there is that Modi's solicitors didn't even try to get the trial moved ("no application was made to stay the proceedings...").

    Then there's the question of how different New Zealand and Indian libel law is from English law. Given that NZ and Indian law draws heavily on English law, I'd suggest that there isn't much of a difference.

    Which all suggests to me that this isn't as egregious as say a Russian suing a German in England.

  • Jun 09, 2011 @ 04:50am

    Re: Re: Here's what Curran said at the time

    "What action?"

    There's basically three ways laws come into force:

    1. The Act specifies "this Act comes into force on 1 April 2012" [all of these methods apply to sections of Acts as well, for example in the UK the Companies Act 2006 had sections coming into force in 2007, 2008, 2009]
    2. The Government brings it into force by a Regulation. (Parliament doesn't get to vote on this; it's purely an Executive branch thing, although a Parliamentary Committee has oversight of regulations, and there's a process that has to be followed to bring them in).
    3. The Government brings it into force by an "Order in Council". The Order is a very short document just saying that the Act is now in force. It's signed off by the Governor-General as representative of the Queen (who's still NZ's head of state). It's a formality that takes a few minutes, but the Minister has to actually go through with it, it doesn't happen automatically. That's the method that the disconnection rule will come into force in NZ.

  • Jun 08, 2011 @ 08:56am


    Well, Lee's from the National Party, Curran from Labour, so I doubt Lee has changed her mind.

  • Jun 08, 2011 @ 08:55am

    Here's what Curran said at the time

    Basically she said Labour supported the Bill only because they had negotiated some safeguards against the three strikes, which she criticised. She said that, if Labour hadn't negotiated these safeguards, the Bill would have passed in worse form. So on the face of it, it seems consistent to now be criticising it. (Worth noting that, as AC suggested at 8:09am, there's an election coming up).

    To put this in context, Labour are in opposition and don't have a lot of power in this instance. Unlike the USA, it is incredibly rare for politicians to vote against the party line - you won't get a Bill passing with 30 Labour MPs in favour and 10 against.

    The specific safeguard that she claims Labour negotiated is that the three strikes provision isn't actually in force. It's in the law, but a Government Minister would have to take a specific action in order to bring it into force. Parliament wouldn't be able to stop this happening, but it would mean the individual Minister would have to face the adverse publicity of doing so.

    The whole debate is interesting if you have time. Depressing to read Katrina Shanks' comments where she calls herself computer-savvy but doesn't have any idea about torrenting...

  • May 05, 2011 @ 08:30am

    Sounds like she could be mentally ill

    To be honest.

  • May 05, 2011 @ 05:52am

    Worth noting

    That this has already happened; at least in the UK. Facebook handed over log-in information, which proved that a particular defamatory page had been created from a certain computer.

  • Apr 28, 2011 @ 03:15am

    I've certainly seen...

    websites state 'don't link to us without permission', although this tends to be sites that want people not to deeplink to individual pages/articles. When I'm preparing newsletters at work, I sometimes get asked if we can link to articles on the free web. Not copy all their text, just link to them.

    I personally think this is nonsense, and not considered common courtesy by most web users, but it's certainly a minority opinion out there.

  • Apr 26, 2011 @ 08:30am


    "so-called footballers"? The man's a legend. Assuming it's who it's alleged to be.

    (I do like the Twitter comments "will she be flying Ryanair?" - seems like a clever and not-so-subtle way of naming the person involved.)

  • Apr 15, 2011 @ 05:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: NZ Party Politics

    On the government/opposition divide, it can be confusing in Westminster systems: whereas the Americans would talk about the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of Government, Brits and Kiwis (etc) talk about the Government when they mean the Executive. So from one way of looking at it, the opposition are part of the government (because they're part of the legislature); from another, they're not (because they're not part of the executive, which includes Ministers, and government departments)

    The Ministerial selection process is constitutionally under control of the Prime Minister. In practice, the PM will want support from his/her own party caucus, which means that they have to include a range of Ministers (e.g. from different parts of the country, male/female, the right and the left of the party). [This is why Lange had Douglas and Prebble in his Cabinet; the Labour right wanted them and he risked a leadership challenge if he sacked them].

    I think the Constitution is less flexible than you do, as well: while NZ is one of the few countries in the world to not have a specific written constitution, we do have several documents that make up the constituion: everything from the Bill of Rights Act and the Constitution Act to the Cabinet Manual and Standing Orders (and inherited bits like the Magna Carta and Bill of Rights). See

  • Apr 15, 2011 @ 04:55am


    It's 10 *hours* per month, and 5 plays/tune.

    Still not a good move, IMO. Seems like the free, ad-supported model was a good one.

    I have a paid subscription, mainly so I can use Spotify on my phone. Best ?10 I spend each month. And Mike's right: I don't pirate anymore. Why would I need to? I turn on my PC or my phone, and almost anything I want is right there. I even buy CDs of stuff that I can get on Spotify, to support the artists or to get a physical memento of a gig. Spotify is a big win/win for the labels; even the free subscription is a gateway to their music, a chance for people to discover their artists. I can't believe they are so short-sighted on this issue.

  • Apr 14, 2011 @ 03:12am

    Re: It wasn't attached to other legislation.

    And just to be clear, seperate pieces of legislation cannot be joined together in New Zealand, as they can in the US. (Any constitutional geeks can check Standing Order 256 "Except as otherwise permitted by Standing Orders, a bill must
    relate to one subject area only.", available here (PDF 841kb)).

    The issue here is that the Bill was put through under urgency, when there's no apparent need for that to happen (there's an election due later this year, but plenty of time before then to pass this legislation following due process).

  • Apr 07, 2011 @ 03:06am

    Re: Re:

    "corruption appears to be so bad, that bribes are being paid to receive government services that are entitled".

    Basically this, yes. Been a while since I was in India, but I was talking to an American cafe owner there, when he said 'sorry, got to go, need to get back to the shop - the police are coming round for their bribe'. It's just endemic. And seemingly not just for legitimate services, but to avoid being hassled.

    (Also heard anecdotally that police must pay big bribes to get plum jobs, e.g. Goa - where they can shake down tourists and take bribes in exchange for ignoring drug offences).

    So this seems like a good idea - though paying police and other officials more would reduce the demand for bribes, presumably.

  • Mar 24, 2011 @ 11:09am

    Can I be the first librarian pedant to mention that most libraries haven't used card catalogs for around 20 years? We've had online catalogs for quite a while ;-)

    Not quite so pedantically, what Google Books offered is kind of different, because it's full-text searching vs the metadata searching that you'd get in a catalog. Both have different uses, both valuable in their place (and to be clear, I think that Google Books is amazing from a technical/usage point of view, notwithstanding problems with the settlement...)

  • Feb 10, 2011 @ 05:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Dear Alan McGee,

    He *was* also responsible for releasing some amazing music back in the 80s - Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Super Furry Animals, Teenage Fanclub, many more. (I kinda like *some* early Oasis as well, but I see your point...)

    That's what makes me sad about this article. McGee was genuinely an independent voice, releasing stuff that other people wouldn't, that's still worth listening to today.

    He's completely wrong here though.

  • Feb 03, 2011 @ 09:18am

    You think Ryanair executives fly on their own airline? I sure wouldn't, if I was paid that much.

  • Jan 27, 2011 @ 04:59am

    Re: Kyiv Post?

    Likewise never heard of them. Their articles are in Nexis, but not since about December 2002, so I'm guessing that they aren't really a particularly important paper. Certainly not in the UK.

    (This looks a bit quixotic anyway: preventing me from accessing their website does zilch to change the laws here, all it does is lose them readers).

    As for lawsuits: I found an article from March 2008 which says "Ukrainian tycoon Rinat Akhmetov on Monday accepted a public apology and undisclosed damages [from the Kyiv Post] over false allegations that he stole billions of dollars by rigging share auction processes, according to AFP.". The article says an English law firm acted for Akhmetov. So I think that answers Mr. Oizo's question in post #1

  • Aug 24, 2010 @ 02:57am

    I used to play Panzer General all the time (as the Germans, obviously). Surprisingly enough, it hasn't turned me into a Nazi.

    Suspect PaulT is right that it will blow over in a few weeks.

  • Aug 05, 2010 @ 03:23am

    I was at that gig, and I agree 100% with Mike's post (one of my first thoughts was 'I bet Techdirt would appreciate this'...).

    It was great: no booking fees (so £30 meant £30, not closer to £40). A small venue, by Pixies standards (because they were marketing it direct to fans, rather than using mass advertising). An interesting setlist, because it was influenced by hardcore fans requesting more obscure songs. The email marketing was nice - it might have been better to offer a whole gig for download (even if they charged something for it) rather than 'just' a couple of songs, but at least they're trying something.

    I really hope to see more artists use this approach.

    Oh, and Songkick - mentioned in the Telegraph article - is brilliant, and it's how I found about the gig too.

    One thing: "the tickets were emailed within minutes" - this is pretty standard for UK gigs these days, I don't know about anywhere else. Many vendors give the option of emailing and printing tickets rather than mailing hardcopies.

  • May 19, 2010 @ 05:36am

    Agree with #1

    All it needs is a simple majority of Commons (and Lords). The government introduces a Bill called something like the DEA (Amendment) Bill 2010, it gets voted on, and it's law. Typically in Westminster democracies, party members are expected to vote along party lines (more so than in the US, from what I can tell). So if Cameron and Clegg (as leaders of Conservatives and Lib-Dems) instruct their MPs to vote in a certain way, they probably will.

    It would seem a little bizarre for the Conservatives to immediately repeal a law that they'd just voted for, but I guess it's not impossible (Rob from Oz at #3 has a good argument as to why).

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