Weekly News Roundup (23 February 2014)

A very short WNR this week, and that’s partly my fault. I took part last night in Melbourne’s second annual White Night festival, and that and other distractions during the week meant that I just didn’t have time to scour the interwebs for interesting news stories. So as compensation, I present to you these creative commons licensed, rather common and uncreative photos of my own taking, of some scenes at White Night. This is probably the most interesting part of the WNR for this week, unfortunately.

IMG_20140223_001123 IMG_20140222_234614 IMG_20140222_213839

Here’s goes anyway.


The Pirate Bay ship may soon sail unencumbered in the waters of the Netherlands, after the country’s second largest ISP forced anti-piracy agency BREIN to agree to a lifting of a ban on visits to the notorious piracy website. This comes after January’s ruling by The Court of The Hague which found that the banning was ineffective and anti-business.

The Pirate Bay

The Pirate Bay blocking may be about to become history in the Netherlands

Other ISPs will probably follow suit (nobody wants to be at a competitive disadvantage), and could be the clearest signal yet that Dutch anti-piracy BREIN may be throwing in the towel when it comes to its website banning ambitions.

The Court of The Hague’s ruling was based on a report that found website bannings to be ineffective in stopping piracy, and also unfairly restricts ISPs’ freedom to conduct business. BREIN has yet to decide to appeal the ruling, but even if they do, it could take years for a final decision. To continue to ban The Pirate Bay during this time, when a court has already ruled against the banning, would not be in the best interest of anyone involved, even BREIN, and perhaps this is why BREIN agreed to the lifting (even though this court decision did not apply to the ISP in question, UPC).

I’m hoping this court ruling sets the right precedent and forces anti-piracy groups to rethink their strategy on website bannings, but I suspect it won’t. It’s not the first time that these anti-piracy crusaders have ignored facts and common sense in their pursuit of a victory against piracy, and so I don’t expect anything different this time.

High Definition

You know it’s a slow news week when I have to talk about bacteria and other microorganisms in the HD/Blu-ray section. Ironically, this was actually the most interesting story of the week, as scientists have discovered a new way to use a Blu-ray player: for lab work!

Using a standard commercial Blu-ray disc and the Blu-ray player’s laser, scientist have found a way to use these to identify the type and concentration of bacteria, and to a degree of accuracy that matches much more expensive lab equipment.

I don’t know about you, this is one feature that I will demand to be part of my next Blu-ray player!

Well, that’s that for the week. I’ll try harder next week. I promise!


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