Mirror Magazine


Techno Page
By Harendra Alwis
Of plagiarism and piracy

Sri Lanka web ring
A Web ring which is a way of grouping sites with similar links on each page in the ring enables you to move from one site to the next, allowing you to eventually traverse the entire ring. Web rings are an excellent way of increasing traffic to your web site!

The Sri Lanka web ring is an inter-connected network of web pages which relate to Sri Lanka. To join the ring, you should be willing to insert an HTML tag into the page you submit for registration. You don't have to know HTML to join the Sri Lanka Web Ring, so don't worry.

Who is eligible to join the Sri Lanka Web Ring?

First of all, you should have a web site or page which is in some way related to Sri Lanka. Personal homepages of Sri Lankans, sites of governmental/non governmental organisations, private companies, educational institutions etc. to name but a few, are more than welcome into the ring as long as they relate in some way to Sri Lanka.

If you have any doubts whether your page is eligible to be a part of the Sri Lanka Web Ring, please feel free to ask the ring master by emailing him at c@lankaworld.com. The Sri Lanka Web Ring is a free service.

The Sri Lanka Web Ring will not register any page which has pornographic content or does not relate to Sri Lanka. While the Sri Lanka Web Ring welcomes sites with diverse and sometimes opposing points of view, the decision of the ring master will be final in case of any disputes.

All you have to do is visit the following link and click on add my page. http://p.webring.com/hub?ring=lankaring
Sent in by
Sennan Constantine
Ring master
Sri Lanka Web Ring

Many readers complained that the Techno Page of September 29 was practically unreadable. So here is a summary of what was discussed.

The discussion on plagiarism received a broad response from our readers. The general consensus was that plagiarism was unethical, but a few argued, as did Sidhath that; "The information that is published in the Internet is there to be used by anybody, so it is ok to copy that information..."

Others were of the view that copyright laws that apply to books should also apply to digital media. There is no such thing as an international copyright that will automatically protect one's writings throughout the world. Protection against unauthorised use of your work in a particular country depends on the national laws of that country. However, most countries do offer protection to foreign works under certain conditions, and they have been simplified by international copyright conventions. In theory this makes it possible for someone to reproduce your work (and profit from it) in a country that does not ratify such treaties. Two prominent treaties covering copyright issues worldwide are the Universal Copyright Convention (UCC) and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.

Apart from the debate about the 'poor' stealing from the 'rich', questions were raised about the practical aspects of enforcing such laws. It was widely accepted that it was 'virtually' beyond impossible to implement such 'trivial' laws as those regarding copyrights and intellectual property in Sri Lanka.

"Sri Lanka does not have the resources or a trained police force to combat software piracy. Even if we did have those, if all such matters were brought before the courts, the caseload that it brings with it will bring our justice system to a standstill."
- Janith

"...Introducing legislation on information technology will only profit the enforcers of any such measure. It might be much wiser to pass on this benefit to the end user who is going to 'pirate' software regardless of whether there are laws or not..."
- Mustapha

In order to enforce such laws in a country such as ours, the government will have to spend a large amount of its resources on equipment and hiring IT professionals for the job. It is debatable whether the amount of digital and Internet crimes in Sri Lanka is a threat to our society or not, and the impact of such crimes on our economy has not yet been estimated accurately.

Those who support software piracy present two note-worthy arguments. One is that it is justified that the citizens of poor countries such as ours pirate software from the rich.

"Companies like Microsoft earn twice the amount of money than the whole of Sri Lanka in one year. If piracy of software makes those companies run at a loss, then it is bad. But they don't even feel it"
- Mahendran

"I read your article about software piracy and I do not agree with you at all."
- Utopia

The logic is that these software companies won't be able to sell their products in these countries at such high prices. So it is all right to let those people have the software for free anyway, because that would not result in lost sales. On the other hand, if someone who can afford that piece of software decides to use a pirated copy, then the soft ware company will lose a potential sale, and thus it could be considered a loss.

"...if you don't let the poor use computers and good software, then they will become even poorer and the rich who can afford them will use that technology to become richer. Then the 'digital divide' you mentioned in your newspaper a few weeks ago will grow and become a very big social problem."
- Chamila

There is no clear-cut right or wrong in this issue and arguments could be drawn both in favour of the piracy of intellectual property and against it. But very few of us have ventured to think about how software piracy affects our own economy and the local software market.

For now I will take it upon myself to make a case for the local software industry. It is true that most home PC users are not in a position to spend $200 or close to Rs. 20,000 on software that would get outdated very soon. So some resort to piracy. With or without the knowledge that they are technically stealing somebody else's work, they buy the desired software CD for Rs. 90 or less from a wayside shop, and happily use it. If the relevant laws were applied in our country, the manufacturer could sue them for up to the entire development cost of that particular piece of software; which of course could amount to billions of dollars! If such laws were enforced here, there are two possibilities.

One is that nobody or only an elite few would be able to afford the luxury of a computer even though it is the age of Information Technology and computers. The other possibility is that the local software companies will be able to produce the necessary software for the local market without the fear of having to compete with multi-national giants like Microsoft.

This would boost the local industry and eventually bring them to a level where they can be competitive even in the international market and generate billions of dollars in foreign exchange for our country.

Those of you who use branded PCs such as IBM, Dell and Compaq machines and Apple Macintoshes would claim that the notion that "licensed software costs a fortune" is not entirely true either.

Amidst claims that software giants like Microsoft are deliberately allowing their products to be pirated, just to eliminate potential future competition such as Linux, we are strangled between our own morals, basic needs and wallets. The discussion is still open for your views and counter arguments.

Robbie in messy songwriter split
Robbie Williams recently signed a record breaking deal with EMI. The £ 80 million deal is for four albums. Shortly after the signing, Williams parted with his songwriting partner Guy Chambers.

The two have worked together since Williams went solo. Chambers has written some of his finest songs for Robbie which earned loads of money as both singles and albums. The writing skills of Guy Chambers covered five Robbie Williams albums.

Williams on signing with EMI wanted Chambers to sign a deal where he would write exclusively for the star. Since that was rejected, Robbie walked out leaving the songwriter very upset and shocked.

It is believed both Robbie and Guy were very good friends. Chambers is of the opinion that Williams was misled by his management - who apparently were concerned about his relationship with the singer. Guy Chambers described Robbie Williams as 'a coward' for caving into the request of the management and described his attitude as 'disgusting'.

Meanwhile, it is said Chambers has written 12 of the 14 tracks on Williams' forthcoming album, Escapology.

U2's Bono has been rated the most powerful person in the music industry. Bono is a strong campaigner against poverty and AIDS. He has been campaigning on other issues such as the closing down of the Sellafield nuclear reactor in England and is an advocate of human rights. Early this year Bono was the subject of a cover story in the Time magazine.

Bono, whose real name is Paul Hewson was placed at the top of powerful personalities in the music business according to a poll published in the British music magazine Q.

Other famous musicians who figured in the top 10 were Eminem at No. 3, the late Kurt Cobain at No. 5, Sir Paul McCartney at No. 9 and Spice Girls founder Simon Fuller.

An album of unreleased Aaliyah material is due for release next month in the US. According to a report, the untitled album will include the Timbaland produced track Try Again and several other remixes.

Aaliyah died in a plane crash more than a year ago while filming a video in the Bahamas. At the time of her death, she had recorded material enough to fill another album.

Meanwhile, the late R 'n' B singer was honoured at the MOBO Awards in the UK recently in the category Best Video for the song More Than A Woman.

The Long And Winding Road/Suspicious Mind by Will Young and Gareth Gates held on to the top spot on the UK singles chart for a second week. For the moment Will Young has totalled 7 weeks at the No. 1 position while Gareth Gates total at the top now stands at 9 weeks.

There was no proper challenger to the Will Young/Gareth Gates single this week. Despite the unfavourable comparisons to the originals, the youth market prevails giving the Pop Idols another chance at continuing their reign of the chart.

Australian singer Holly
Valance, was the highest new entry of the week at No. 2 with Devon Boy. The visuals to this song - that is the video seems to more decent than the semi-nude outfit of Holly in her No. 1 hit Kiss Kiss.

Irv Gotti is producer/remixer and CEO of the rap label Murder Inc. Gotti's single Down 4U, debuted in the chart at No. 4. On this track which a Jah Rule piece the vocalists are Vita, Ashanti and Charlie Baltimore.

Jakatta is in the chart this week at No. 6 with My Vision. This club track features the vocals of Seal. The man behind Jakatta is Dave Lee who remixed Monsoon's Ever So Lonely. Jakatta's debut chart hit was American Dreams which peaked at No. 3 in 2001.

For Seal, My Vision via Jakatta is a major comeback. Seal was last in the top 20 with Kiss From A Rose/I'm Alive, which peaked at No. 4 in 1995. Earlier he notched up entries in the chart in the top 20 with Crazy, Future Love-EP, Killer-EP, Prayer For The Dying - between 1990 and 1995.

A light hearted reggae track, Underneath It All by No Doubt checked into the chart at No. 18. The recently married Gwen Steffani comes out very clear in this song which happens to be one of the most popular songs on radio here in Sri Lanka. No Doubt have cited the Ska British reggae acts such as Madness and the Specials by whom they were inspired. The current single is the third to be taken from the Rock Steady album. The song features a guest rap spot by Lady Saw.

Beyonce Knowles will sing on the lead off single from Jay-2's new album Blueprint 2 - The Gift And The Curse. The single Bonnie & Clyde will see Beyonce sampling Tupac Shakur's Me And My Girlfriend. The single to be released on November 12 will be produced by Kayne West.

UK Top 20
Tw Lw
1 1 The Long And Winding Road/Suspicious Minds - Will Young & Gareth Gates
2 - Down Boy - Holly Vallance
3 3 Complicated - Avril Lavigne
4 - Down 4 U - Irv Gotti
5 4 Just Like A Pill - Pink
6 - My Vision - Jakatta Feat: Seal
7 2 Little By Little/She Is Love - Oasis
8 5 The Tide Is High (Get The Feeling) - Atomic Kitten
9 - Bunsen Burner - John Otway
10 7 What I Go To School For - Busted
11 - Life Goes On - LeAnn Rimes
12 6 Gangsta Lovin' - Eve Feat: Alicia Keys
13 8 Cleanin' Out My Closet - Eminem
14 - Come Back Around - Feeder
15 - Try - Ian Van Dahl
16 - Days Go By - Dirty Vegas
17 10 Nessaja - Scooter
18 - Underneath It All - No Doubt
19 12 When I Lost You - Sarah Whatmore
20 11 Got To Have Your Love - Liberty X

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