Friday, July 31, 2009


About a month ago, a friend of mine decided to delete all her online social-networking accounts. (friendster, facebook, multiply, etc.) The reason: she was obsessed with stalking her ex-boyfriend. She had to choose between her real-life sanity and her web identity. I'm glad she chose the former.

This situation exhibits a looming ICT problem: cyber-stalking. What prevents one from stalking another on the net? Practically nothing.

For sites like facebook, a love-struck girl could stare at her crush's pictures the whole day, and he won't even know about it. A boy could use his sister's multiply account to gain information on her cute barkada. A mother could simply log onto the internet and do an instant background check on her daughter's suitor.

People's lives have become such an open book that one need not be a hacker or a genius or a private investigator to gather information on people anymore. All you need is a laptop and a connection and you've got all you need: pictures, family info., academic info., interests, vital statistics and even personal history and beliefs (through past blog posts).

Of course for stalkers, this isn't such a big deal. But for the stalked, this could mean intrusion into private lives.

We all know cyber-stalking exists. People don't just seem to care much. In the end, our apathy could prove costly. I guess such is the risk we all take.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

You can be kikay online, too!

Woke up at 6 am at my computer. What time had i slept last night? Or, more correctly, this morning? I hadn't noticed the time go so fast. I was having such a blast "window- shopping" on Polyvore allows users to create looks using scores and scores of dresses, shoes, accessories, and more. It allows users to create their own fashion spreads as they would fancy fashion magazines would do it. There are actually some great sets. What's even better is these fashion spreads are made by regular people. So you really get a feel of what people are wearing these days.

And the coolest part is you can buy the set you (or another user) made, complete with makeup and all. Or you can buy just the dress or shoes or whatever. It even displays the amount in Php! So there's no need to bring out the calculator to see how much a dress would set you back. The clothes and accessories are of different brands, so you really have a lot of choices.

Oh yeah, the Polyvore itself doesn't sell all those nice stuff. When you hit "BUY", you'll be led to the site that sells the particular item. It's still pretty convenient, especially since some items are surprisingly normal people range, price-wise.

I absolutely love the site. (Have i mentioned this enough?) I discovered it while thinking about what to wear to my friend's wedding in November. I can't afford my selections, but who said i was gonna buy online, anyway. I plan to have my seamstress copy the dress i like most. Now if only i could find the perfect knock off shoes and lose just enough weight to look good in it.

Big Brother

i read recently that the NRC Police Office is planning to acquire P15M worth of CCTV equipment to bebetter manage the cameras installed all around the Metro. ultimately, the goal is to lessen and control crime by instilling some sort of fear on would be crime doers or at least having an easier time finding out who the fearless are.

however, i have serious doubts about the effectivity of this new high tech security monitoring system. the simple reason is that everytime i see footage (on tv) of crimes caught on these cameras, i never see the faces of the suspects. the images are far from being clear.

in fact, studies show that kin the UK, only 3% of street crimes have been solved by camera data. it stated that aside from the difficulty of distinguishing the face of the criminals from the footage itself, they lack a system wherein the faces could be matched with their identity.

the same thing i think would happen here. i suggest they use the 15 million on around 40 Cherry QQ Patrol Cars. police visibility would do better in my opinion.

Santino meets Robson: Showdown of the Wonder Boys

When Santino speaks, the Filipino nation listens. Every suggestion or statement he makes, regardless of its veracity and basis, seems to be jurisprudence- the lives of the Pinoys change its courses of action in adherence to such. The phenom's incessant meddling into the affairs of the adults astoundingly receives positive responses. Not only is he revered, but the world seemingly revolves around him. Simply put, such fictional character draws the attention of millions of devout Filipino Catholics- with minimal effort.

A similar phenomenon exists at the other end of the world. This time, it is a reality.

On July 13, 2009, the lives of an ample number of middle-aged media executives and investors reached an unexpected turning point when Financial Times published on the front page of its issue a research report written by 15-year-old Matthew Robson detailing today's teenage internet and media usage habits. Deficient on evidence yet profuse on declarative sentences, the memorandum of the Morgan Stanley intern includes the following findings:

  • Teenagers find Twitter useless.
  • Teenagers are using more and more media, but remain unwilling to pay for it.
  • Traditional media – television, radio and newspapers – are losing ground.
  • Advertisements on websites – pop-ups and banner ads – are extremely annoying and pointless.
  • Teenagers support and enjoy viral advertisements, finding them humorous and interesting.
  • Money and time are instead devoted to cinema, concerts and video game consoles.
  • Downloading films off the internet is not popular as the films are usually bad quality and have to be watched on a small computer screen and there is a risk of viruses.

Indeed, such uncorroborated findings (a.k.a. opinions) generated a flurry of interest from people of different generations. The 15-year-old “expert” has been blogged on, twittered about and discussed earnestly in investment offices and boardrooms. The press has tendered money for his story. Certainly, it is a worthwhile summer internship experience for an adolescent aged 15 years and 7 months.

Perhaps, the hype of the report to mainstream media outlets can be elucidated by the so-called knowledge-abundance model in relation to the “digital immigrant-digital native” concept. Indeed, despite the abundance of knowledge and the ubiquity of its access, the ability to sift through the information is scarce. Older adults (“digital immigrants”), who by and large feel overwhelmed with media messages, are vigilant for anyone who would come out to convey intelligently sifted information with a display of confidence and credibility. The younger populace (“digital natives”), who are more adaptive and more competent of living with ease in a high-stimulus media milieu, make social media appear very simple- that people who ought to know better will absorb and be easily swayed by every statement pronounced by the younger generation.

As we live in a world of imperfect information, we tend to rely on people who promise to shed light and remove the confusion from the public. But how certain are we that these people are not in fact just as perplexed as everyone else?

The Public Domain and Fair Use

In order for a work to be deemed protectable by copyright law, an author’s work must be original in that he must have created it by his own skill, labor and judgment. Here, originality does not mean complete novelty or ingenuity, neither uniqueness nor creativity. On the other hand, a work is original, and therefore copyrightable, if it (a) is independently created by the author, and (b) possesses some minimal degree of creativity. (Feist Publications vs. Rural Te. Serv. Co.)

The Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines embodies the Doctrine of Fair Use. This doctrine permits a secondary use that serves the copyright objective of stimulating productive thought and public instruction without excessively diminishing incentives for creativity. The question, then, to be asked in such a case, is whether the use, in borrowing the protected expression of the original work, does so for purposes that advance the interests sought to be promoted by the copyright law. The determination of such issue revolves around four statutory factors, which are to be weighed together, in light of the purposes of copyright. (Amador, 2007) These factors are (a) the purpose and character of the use, (b) the nature of the copyrighted work, (c) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole, and (d) the effect of the use upon the potential market value of the copyrighted work.

With the increasing development of information technology and the proliferation of information in the public domain, one may ask how will a “work” be protected by copyright when it is based on something already available in the public domain, i.e. the Internet? A work may be protected by copyright even though it is based on something already in the public domain if the author, through his skill and effort, has contributed a distinguishable variation from older works.

Sidereel Sidetrack

When you cannot write, you criticize, and when you cannot criticize, you write about how to write.

I was thinking of what to write and I decided to write about the whole on-line writing process until I got side-tracked.

After that above line, I spent the whole of five minutes trying to find an open link and watch on-line streaming of the Simpsons (which season has evolved new edgier humor).

And as I write this line, the flash video is buffering.

I discovered last year when Heroes was the TV series to watch, now I am just waiting for the next season of HIMYM (How I Met Your Mother) and Entourage. I watch the former because I used to be a Barney but now I am a Marshall, and I watch the latter because Barack Obama said so. I digress, focus on the writing process.

As I blurted out the last paragraph, I peeked at my streaming episode and I realized that I may not need to buy a TV after all, this laptop will suffice with the proper DSL connection.

Now, about is a website which lists a lot if not all streaming links to virtually (and I use the term precisely) every movie or TV show you can think of. I even watched Remington Steele episodes because my dad said so. Another oldschool show I just realized I missed is MacGyver, which after searching is also available for streaming.

Sidereel disclaims that it does not host copyrighted material nor does it have servers for this purpose, all it has are links, like IMDb without the let-down (you can actually watch and not merely read about movies and TV shows).

Should the links not work, there's always the option of going straight to the megavideo website or in dire straits,

And to top it off, if I would like to watch the video again I could always save it through

Since I do not know how to end this blog entry, like all writing to create an open-endedness, I resolve to end it abruptly

PayEnemy maybe?

Some people say cash isn’t just working anymore. There are just too many transactions occurring between and among people and contracts consummated despite the separation of the parties involved. These days, a person can purchase an item from a vendor located a thousand miles away thru the internet. A person can even work in one country for another person located in another country, with the other person exercising full control and supervision over the other despite the distance. Obviously, in these transactions where face to face interaction simply is not possible, the payment of cash by one party to another simply will not do it.

One way by which parties can consummate these transactions is thru PayPal. What is PayPal?

Wikipedia defines it as:

“PayPal is an e-commerce business allowing payments and money transfers to be made through the Internet. PayPal serves as an electronic alternative to traditional paper methods such as checks and money orders.

A PayPal account can be funded with an electronic debit from a bank account or by a credit card. The recipient of a PayPal transfer can either request a check from PayPal, establish their own PayPal deposit account or request a transfer to their bank account. PayPal is an example of a payment intermediary service that facilitates worldwide e-commerce.”

Recently however, PayPal has been receiving criticisms for the way they manage the money which passes on in their customers’ transactions. One of the biggest problems with PayPal is they can easily adjudge a transaction as dubious or doubtful. And what are the consequences of this? For instance, you decide to buy an item from Columbia, and so you send money thru PayPal. The people in charge of PayPal then may think that something illegal has been going on. So what do they do? Not only can they freeze the amount which you passed on in the course of transaction. They can pretty much suck out the money in that account. The worse part of it is that you have to complain and rely on the investigation by the people who have adjudged your transaction to be dubious in the first place.

And some people say cash is problematic…

Catching up

For the longest time, law and policy has been playing catch-up with technology.

Just this week, the Senate approved on second reading Senate Bill 2357 or the Anti-Image Voyeurism Bill, its counterpart of the Anti-Cyber Boso Bill of the House. 

Under the proposed measure “The penalty of imprisonment of not less than one (5) years nor more than ten (10) years or a fine of not less than One Hundred Thousand Pesos (Pl00,000.00) nor more than Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00) or both at the discretion of the court shall be imposed against a person who shall: a) capture an image of a private area of an individual without his/her consent and knowingly does so under circumstances in which the individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy; or b) capture an image of a private area of an individual with his/her consent but broadcasts the said image without the written permission or consent of said individual.” 

The Bill also enumerates the meanings of the words “capture” and “broadcast”; and phrases “a private area of the individual”; “female breast”; and “under circumstances in which that individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy” under the proposed statute. 

I believe that this measure is long overdue.  I have heard many horror stories of trusting people who were lured to engage in user to user private adult activities online, only to find out later that they have been duped by a total stranger who has hacked into one’s boyfriend or girlfriend’s account.  The horror gets worse when they find out that they have been recorded on the other end, ending with the successful blackmailing and extortion of hundreds of thousands of pesos for the destruction of the videos. 

If this Bill becomes law, the penalties it provides would surely deter those enterprising people from exploiting the internet.  In this aspect, the law is catching up with the technology.

Testing the Right to Vote

It certainly was a privilege to have attended the oral arguments in the Supreme Court yesterday concerning the nationwide automation of the May 2010 elections. The Concerned Citizens Movement headed by Prof. Harry Roque had initially filed a motion for the issuance of a temporary restraining order. The motion was not granted but the Court ordered that oral arguments should take place between CCM and the COMELEC, TIM and Smartmatic.

Many issues emerged in the course of the oral arguments but one particular argument proffered by Prof. Roque involved Sec. 6 of RA 9369 which provides for the use of the AES (automated elections system) in at least two highly urbanized cities and two provinces each in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. CCM argued that the proviso was mandatory given the wording the law. In fact, Prof. Roque quoted Sen. Richard Gordon, one of the bill’s sponsors, for using the term “pilot testing.” The COMELEC was of the position that it was not mandatory and that even if it were, it had complied with the proviso by in its use of an AES in the recent ARMM election.

Statutory construction has offered three possible interpretations for the said provision which could support either view. However, in examining the said provision, I am of the position that the mandatory view finds its support in another realm apart from legal verbosity.

I do know from experience how tedious a systems project can be. The process itself is far from a walk along the Elyssian Fields. Before a system can be delivered to the end user, an important aspect is testing. Testing in itself has a number of stages such as unit testing to system testing to user acceptance testing with each stage undergoing a number of iterations. Factor in Murpy’s Law and you start feeling the need for a regular dose of Paracetamol. But the bad news comes when you realize that no matter how many times testing is done, glitches and bugs can still make their grand appearance in the actual environment.

I am supposing that Smartmatic has conducted hardware testing on its counting machines along with a systems testing of the software to be used by the machines. However COMELEC intends to go full blast with the implementation of the AES come May 2010 and that is where my reservations come in. The machines are essential in determining the outcome of the elections thus they should at least have some semblance of reliability. Reliability, in turn, is assured by a system which is stable and should perform according to its intended function. These are the very attributes which testing is going to highlight. The “pilot testing” intended by the law will reveal possible system problems which could be encountered including user difficulties, system defects, bugs, environment problems and the like.

Knowing that these counting machines are crucial in reflecting the choices I make as to who should comprise this government come 2010, it is therefore reasonable to demand integrity, reliability and stability. I don't think we should be entitled to any mistakes when it comes to election automation because there is a way for ensuring the system's reliability. The right of suffrage is the very cornerstone of our democratic society and I would certainly want to be assured that my vote was counted – and counted properly, at that. No matter how some pessismists argue that this is nothing but legal fiction, there is certainly no way that I would allow my voice to fall into a crevice, all thanks to a mere machine.

Power to the People

Last Sunday, July 26 I attended a forum hosted by CPU at Sofitel with speaker Obama New Media Operations Manager Mary Joyce. In attendance were politicians (traditional and non-tradional), NGO’s, lobby groups and a few curious fellows like me.

She started her talk by introducing herself and her role in the Obama campaign and warned the audience that she is not an expert in Philippine politics. The talk was brief, the content simplistic, commonsensical but all together brilliant.

As she went on and discussed the strategy they used in the Obama campaign, I saw the excited faces of the traditional politicians but their faces fell when Mary Joyce cleared that New Media is not a cure-all type of media for the election, the online Candidate is only as good as his off-line self. (Remember that not Mccain also had facebook fan pages)

We must remember that new media is media that we do not merely consume, we actually produce it. The content is not merely pushed down our throat, we decide what the content will be. We got a taste of this during the recent SONA, facebook walls were splattered with angered words (bad words after badwords) as people react to what GMA was saying in real time. You get to say what you want and broadcast it and your contacts read it and react to it as if you were conversing in the same room.
New media will bring about a change to Philippine politics, it will give greater and effective power to the people.

Your choice, your shout out.

Unproductive me.

No class today. Yipee. I opened my laptop and began cyberslacking around midday. I immediately came across certain links posted by one of my professors regarding the lack of “delicadeza” of the current administration regarding the National Artists awards and the desire to appoint the Secretary of Justice (who happens to be a part of the JBC) as a magistrate in the Supreme Court. Tsk tsk. This government sure has a lot of strings attached to it and strings that must be paid attention to when tugged at.

I proceed to taking my daily dose of silly quizzes and snooping and more quizzes until I came across another link posted by a friend of mine from the CNN website. Apparently, not only can a Facebook addict enjoy surfing away, he can be employed doing the exact same thing!

So here are the 5 Jobs for Facebook addicts:
1. Recruiter- (People are now more comfortable talking to recruiters over social networks. Whatever happened to human interaction…the up-close and personal kind? :p )
2. Strategist – (This job involves being the “face of social media” for the company.)
3. Enterprise architect – (The most exciting job in social media which could be the next most important role in a company in the next 5 years.)
4. User operations analyst – (This person will interact with users, answer queries, investigate problems and keep track of user habits.)
5. Director of social media – (This involves organizing company blogging, viral marketing, podcasting, etc.)

Who knew being consumed with mindless surfing can be productive as well? I wonder how much compensation these jobs offer. Imagine doing just that day in and day out and earning moolah out of it. Wait, isn’t that what most of us are doing already minus the cash? Ohh, enough internet for today. But wait, I just saw another interesting quiz I want to take. Ack, another day wasted. Uh –oh, someone might need to be checked into a rehab- FB junkie alert!

Electonic Notarization

Over the weekend I was thinking about the feasibility or the necessity of notarizing electronic documents of Republic Act No. 8792, the Electronic Commerce Act.

What exactly is notarization and its value to parties involved in a transaction?
Notarization converts a private document into a public document and renders the document admissible in court as evidence without need for further proof of its authenticity. Notarization also vests upon the document the presumption of regularity unless it is impugned by strong, complete and conclusive proof.
The primary purpose of notarization is the prevention of fraud. The Notary Public acts a witness to the subscription (signing) of legal documents and helps to protect the legal rights of the persons whose signature are being notarized. The Notary Public must assure the persons signing a document are who they claim to be and are signing the document willingly. Hence the document to be notarized must in fact be signed by he parties concerned in the presence of the Notary Public.
The very basis of electronic documents or transaction is the lack of a face to face negotiation and conclusion of the contract between or among the parties. This is done out of convenience for all concerned. Since there is actually no physical contact among the parties, it would be absurd to force said parties to appear before a Notary just to have the documents notarized.
I would posit that given the various provisions in Republic Act 8792 concerning authentication of the electronic document to ensure its integrity and reliability, notarization as a means of further authentication would be redundant. Notarization as previously noted is aimed at the prevention of fraud. As the law is currently worded, there are sufficient safeguards in place to frustrate or prevent the very act of fraud.


Yesterday, I was able to talk to a friend who I have not seen for years. We talked for hours and shared stories of our lives. All these became possible because of online chat.

Online chatting is primarily objected to because it is very impersonal. Though you can use the camera to see your friend, it is still not a substitute to actually having a face-to-face conversation. Well, it may be true, but when your friend is thousands of miles away, a face-to-face conversation is not an option. The internet world gives us the chance to stay in touch with people when the physical world has made it an almost impossibility. Also, economics dictates that internet chatting is cheaper than to make a call and a more effective tool to send message than the primitive snail mail.

I believe that there a lot more objections to online chatting—the disassociative effect, addiction, and the list goes on. However, it may have negative uses, it also has its share of positive uses. In many cases, you can catch up with old friends, find valuable information, promote your work and your business, support really important causes and meet people who can be real friends in the process. With a little self regulation, I believe their benefit outweighs the harm it could bring.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Crack Me Up

Until I was in second year in UP Law, I used only one email address, which I created back in Grade 6. I saw no need to change it because one, I did not use a schoolgirl nickname with my crush’s initials, and two, I wanted to spare myself of informing everyone of the change and conforming all my internet accounts with it.

But one Saturday afternoon more than a year ago, I was aghast and ready to cry after I’ve tried several times to open my email account, but always to no avail. Each time, I slowly typed my password, but after every enter came the notification that I gave the wrong password. Oh no. I was compiler for the block’s subject digests, and I had just asked my classmates to email their submissions instead of uploading it to the Groups account, and I had to distribute copies by Monday morning. Uh-oh.

I used a different laptop, hoping that it was just a computer or internet glitch. Nothing. Thinking it was a prank, I asked friends and family, but all denied participation. After all, I told no one of my password, and I changed often, so I couldn’t fault anyone.

I had no other choice but to create a new address, text each of my classmates to resend their digests, and eventually do the things I avoided in creating a new address. Whoever cracked, or hacked, into my account must really hate me to time it really well when I had a very important task to finish. If it was meant to crack me up, I didn’t laugh.

The internet is concededly an innovation that has its abundant share of pros. But there are of course several concerns that come with it, such as the issue of security and safety of data and information, among others. My account was relatively unimportant, so my trouble was nothing compared to what corporations and governments go through when the same happens to them. It will be no surprise when war will be waged because of a click of the mouse.

The New Phase of Conflict

A few weeks ago, a news article blaming North Korea for a cyber attack using viruses on South Korea and US networks came out. It was able to paralyze non hardened systems and thus affect the delivery of basic goods and services. As far as I can remember, attacks of the same type has always been by individuals usually out to prove a point or to pull a scam or to phish or to simply pull a prank. However, if it is indeed a state sponsored attack then we are entering a new phase of conflict on the world stage.

Conflicts between sovereign nations have traditionally involved disputed territories or dispute over resources. In this particular type of conflict, the new resource that is being fought over is information. And in this age where everything is stored digitally, it is a resource more valuable than all the oil combined in the world.

The new battlefield in this war is the information superhighways, be it the internet or the hardened networks of the military and the command and control networks of nation states. Here the laws of armed conflict hold little sway and thus it allows a no holds barred assault without fear of reprisals in international tribunals.

It is such a vast and complex system that it is almost impossible to trace the source of the attack or even if the source is traced, it is difficult to find out the funder of the attack. In this battlefield, outcomes are not determined by the number of divisions that you put out into the field but by the ingenuity of your programmers.

However, the loser in this developing war zone is still the same as an armed conflict. The citizens of the recipient of the attack are ultimately the one who suffers from the lack of deliverable services that is impaired whenever an event occurs. And adding insult to injury, our courts suffer from the inability to acquire jurisdiction over the perpetrators of crimes such as this. (Just look at all the machinations the US tried just to acquire jurisdiction over the creators of the "I Love You" virus.)

With this in mind and with this conflict mode's very international character, perhaps its time to create an international body can acquire jurisdiction over the different participants. However, the difficulties of this proposition is very real because it requires that States surrender some of their sovereignty so as to bind them and their citizens. Still, it's an idea worth thinking about.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

To You, I Give All My Property

I've always been fascinated with handwriting fonts. It's quite amazing how software could replicate your personal handwriting down to the last dot. But imagine the implications in relation to wills, or any other document. But let's take wills.

Let's say I'm fraudulent scheming person who wants to inherit from my "long lost relative," who is incidentally a gazillionaire and who has no other family members to speak of. What is in my arsenal to commit fraud? First, RA 8792 has elevated electronic documents to be the functional equivalent of a written document (Sec. 7). Second, the Rodelas doctrine in Succession says that a photostatic copy of a holographic will can be a substitute for the original in probate proceedings. Third, I have a friend who knows Photoshop (and she Photoshops really well...hehe hi Keisie!)

Using the software, I make a forged will, typing all the dispositions to my liking. Keisie then scans the signature of the dead guy and pastes it into the electronic will and Presto! We now have a copy of the "holographic will," which I could submit to probate. Let's just hope that no one opposes it. hehe.

Easy as pie, isn't it? Technology certainly has created more avenues for fraud. There will come a time when retina scans and DNA could be "copied" as well. Tsk. The world is no longer a safe place...bwahaha.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Do not say bad words in public

There was a surge of status messages and comments on the Facebook widget right after GMA uttered this now famous line during her recent State of the Nation Address, that I got distracted and lost track of what she said immediately afterwards. Totally fine with me, I can catch the replay later. The comments, on the other hand, gave me good laughs and a better insight as to what other Filipinos think of our President (and her strongly-worded speech).

I’m a self-confessed TV addict. This time though, I decided to skip the boob tube and watch the SONA via livestream on Facebook/ because I was looking forward to reading other people’s spontaneous (or its closest approximation) reactions to the SONA. The last time I watched via livestream on Facebook was during the Michael Jackson memorial and I felt that it was the best way to watch it—with other fans. I felt a sense of community and it made the experience more real. Plus, I got to exchange comments (and grieve) with a friend who was in Hong Kong. Well, it was the same great experience this time. I was not only watching things as they happen. I found myself intently listening and analyzing and reacting and arguing and being supportive and saying bad words (oops) in internet public. This is as good as it can get—interactive, real-time viewing. With clear images to boot!

Whoever invented the technology for livestreaming, thank you from the bottom of my heart. ♥

Thursday, July 23, 2009

48-Hour Days

Wishing that I had more time to do what I needed and wanted to do, which rarely coincide, I remember something a friend from an advertising agency shared in one of his client-pitches.

We have more that 24 hours in a day.

What did he mean? He was discussing multitasking. Although obviously work-quality and concentration diminishes a little due to focusing on two or too many things, we do live more than 24 hours in a day.

What was his point? His point was that a person has more time to receive information than 24 hours, which in his line of business, means that they can sell more things and not be bound by the typical limitations of an average person's attention span spread throughout the day.

So now, they advertise to almost all five senses, an example would be when one is driving, listening to radio ads, seeing a billboard and getting a text from a TelCo on a new promo. At that one instance the person received three advertising attempts on virtually the same time.

What does this mean to me? After working in print advertising for almost two years, I realize that it was a good decision to quit, the written media, however they argue for it, will eventually die or at the least most certainly wane-down. Then I remember what my best English professors, M.K. Guzman told us in one of her 7 a.m. classes: one should always have moments of silence in a day. These moments of silence are now becoming more and more difficult to have, as they have also come up with jingles.

Rah Rah Rah for (Intellectual Property) Rights

When sir Gigo assigned John Philip Sousa as one of the names we should be familiar with, for me, it was just another name. But when I found him on Wikipedia, I was obsessed. When I saw his picture, I realized that he (his music, mostly) had been featured in an episode in Playhouse Disney’s Little Einsteins, one of my daughter’s favorite shows. I’ve been hitting myself on the head trying to remember what song of his was featured. So, for more than a week now, I’ve been religiously watching the show with my 1- (almost 2-) year old not just for fun but to try to catch that episode to hear the music again.

I was on a mission, like Annie, June, Quincy, and Leo when they zoom through the sky with Rocket. I read on about him and his music compositions, to see if any title would ring a bell. None did, or the bells were rusty. Whichever it was, I just couldn’t place the music with the face (picture). But as I read on, I found out why this musician was assigned in the first place.

He thought very lowly about the emerging recording industry and thought that those “talking machines are going to ruin the artistic development of music in this country.” Lawrence Lessig cited Sousa in arguing that copyrights give the control of music to record labels.

The primary objective of having a system of copyrights is to encourage creativity, to increase knowledge. The economic rights granted to copyright owners are mere incentives. The point of having incentives is to give the copyright owner (usually the creator/author) control of how he will make money out of his creation. If a musician decides to go with a recording label and get paid in the process, well, there you go; that’s how he chose to control his economic rights.

I also disagree with Sousa. Recordings give a musician from one part of the world a chance to listen to music by other musicians from other parts of the world. And learn what lesson he can and reflect it in his work. Multiplied n times over, creativity and knowledge is increased n times (or some other mathematical function). But to have recordings in the first place, I think, requires a system of copyrights where he will have control of how he can personally benefit from his work. Otherwise, it will be scary for that musician to release a work if someone can make money out of it without him getting a choice piece of the pie, or any piece at all.


haha...oops pressed something by about the link:


Seems like one of the more well known file sharing sites is finally going legit. The Swedish software firm Global Gaming Factory X has recently announced that it would be buying the site and is coming up with a new 'GIVE and TAKE" model for file sharing.

Note first that the site is called for obvious reasons. In clearer terms: four men connected with the site have already been sentenced to one-year prison terms for abetting violations of copyright law, and ordered to pay a fine totaling 30 million kronor ($3.8 million). Second The PIRATE BAY is a free-for-download model and is very different from the pay-4-content(i-tunes and napster) sites.

From what i can grasp from the article the new model will be a mix of both. There will be a monthly fee but filesharers can "work of" the bill by lending out storage space and sharing downloaded content from their computers. Of course I'm guessing that some of the material will be for pay.

This is an interesting play on how a legit company will balance intellectual property rights in the peer to peer free for all file sharing scenario.

-paul dennis tangangco

But TV show actors are filthy rich anyway...

What’s your favorite TV show? Do you enjoy the show so much that you wish the seasons never came to an end? Do you love the show so much you hoped the producers would keep coming up with new episodes forever? Do you enjoy it so much you’d keep your computer running for a couple of days to download the entire season of it?

If you said yes to the last question, guess what, you’re not really helping the show. Yes, that’s obvious. But did you know that you’re actually contributing to the reduction of what the show’s actors and actresses earn from the show?

We all know that these major stars get paid astounding amounts for each episode they appear in. Who would ever forget that whopping one million dollars per episode EACH cast member of that TV show Friends got for the last two seasons of the show’s run? However, up to this moment, the show’s cast still enjoys the entry of money into their bank accounts from the show thru syndication.

What exactly is syndication? Syndication, in broadcasting, is the sale of the right to broadcast television shows and radio programs to multiple individual stations, without having to go through a broadcast network. It is common in countries where television is scheduled by networks with local affiliates, particularly in the United States. However, TV shows can be syndicated internationally, with the international broadcast networks selling the rights to broadcast to a local station in another country, and such station then becomes the affiliate. (Wikipedia) Whenever the major international broadcast network is able to sell the rights to air the program, the actors still get a certain percentage from the profit. After all, their extraordinary performance of amusing characters is a factor which boosts the show’s popularity. Can you imagine Friends with another cast?

How the stars’ income decreases is simple. When the affiliates in the other nations feel that the ratings are dwindling because of decreased viewership, the logical thing to do is either buy broadcast rights at a smaller price, or not to buy the rights at all. And yes, in addition to the competition that comes with bootleg DVDs, broadcasting networks now have to compete with the internet, given that entire seasons of TV shows can now be downloaded at absolutely no cost! (Well, maybe the internet dues and electricity bill, but otherwise…)

Yes it’s unfair.

But if the actors get paid one million dollars for an episode already, then what’s fair?


all-night party tonight at my house!

if i lived in the UK, four police cars, a riot van, and a force helicopter would greet my visitors. of course, they won't even get to go inside my house, and i would be forced to go out of it and head to the police station.

this is what happened when a 30 year old coach driver from Sowton, Devon, UK advertised his birthday party as "all-night" in facebook.

under their law, police are grated power to remove persons attending or preparing for a "rave" (defined as playing amplified music "wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats," during the night).

what to get out of this incident:
1)don't live in the U.K.

2)know your laws

3) UK police people are internet savvy... so don't go handing out invites on facebook. (only if you live in UK)

Blogging - thinking out loud.

Since we have been blogging for this class, I think it would just be apt to write a reaction on blogging itself. According to the article found here -,8599,1912249,00.html, in less than 15 years blogging has exploded. The article said that it started as small projects by certain individuals and now the term blogging has become a catch-all for any online communication.

I have never been a blogger. In fact, this class is the only time or at least excuse for me to start blogging. So in my case, blogging is a requirement for this course. But for others, blogging has really become their passion. There are various reasons why people blog but one thing in common with all of us is that the blog becomes a venue to express ourselves in public, to tell the public something about our lives and our experiences.

Play Money: Earning Real Money in Unreal Places

The thriving genre of Massively Multi-Player Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) fuses two species of fictions: the interactive fantasy sagas in the persistent world and the legal system of intellectual property.

Despite the imminent threat of “physical” social isolation, the “virtual” universe has witnessed real social interaction among the players. In fact, studies have uncovered that online gaming caused gamers attain the pinnacle of Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs”- self-actualization. Thus, the competition created is very much appreciated by the gamers. On-line players splurge immense amount of time inside these virtual battle-grounds to upgrade their characters by acquiring weaponry, armory, money, and gold. In view of the importance of these virtual items in making the characters more powerful and ultimately more competitive, the development of property rights within the game-world was thus inevitable.

In due time, the convoluted world of virtual property became a business opportunity for real money trade. As in-game items began to be sold for real world money, opportunistic entrepreneurs saw the prospect of making money by organizing teams of workers (usually situated in low- labor cost locations such as the Philippines and China) who would incessantly play these games, with the ultimate purpose of promptly earning the coveted virtual items, thereafter selling them online to gamers who don't have adequate time to acquire them. Thus, both the virtual and real worlds witnessed the emergence of the so-called “gold farms” or “sweatshops”. Indeed, being a high-risk venture which runs contrary to the spirit of the game and which destroys the “virtual economy” of the games, such practice of paying real world cash for accounts or in-game items is vehemently opposed by various games and gamers. These transactions are typically prohibited by the terms of use or end user license agreement (EULA); unfortunately, enforcement is costly, time-consuming, costly, and strenuous to pursue effectively.

As these virtual worlds create new forms of intellectual property and even new rights, legal predicaments in the real world such as fraud, theft, and ownership disputes emerge to complicate matters and to blur the line between the virtual and the real.

**** The title of this blog was taken from the title of an upcoming movie concerning the same topic. ****

Too Much Info

I continue to be amazed at the voluminous information that is being fed to us on an hourly, daily basis from all corners of the world. I do not really think I need to know that there was a fatality during the latest running of the bulls in Pamplona. And should I really care about the on-going investigation regarding the death of Michael Jackson. It bothers me however that North Korea continues to flaunt its nuclear missiles as we are within the Asia region. I also am worried about the fact that the economic recovery in the United States has not really began yet.

In the local scene, should I really care about the fact the Ate Glo had breast implants and that Randy David owns and drives a motorcycle? Do I really care how Manolo Lopez reacted when his elder brother, Oskie, decided to sell a major portion of his family’s holdings in Manila Electric Company ?

Advances in telecommunications and the proliferation of news networks have forced us to receive all these information. And most of these are not really important or necessary for us to live our lives. But nonetheless, they continue to intrude.

Life was a lot more simple when I was growing up. And it was more parochial, too. We were more interested in local community news. If one wanted entertainment, just go out of the house and friends would be there. I never heard my parents discuss the fact that the US & the USSR were locked in a deadly nuclear arms race. Even if they knew, they did not seem to be bothered by it. I doubt whether they knew the existence of all the gulags in Siberia. I would suspect that they did not really care if there were several hundreds of them. There lives revolve around the people around them and they really couldn’t be bother with news and information that do not directly affect their lives.

Sometimes, I wish for those go all days.

Fair Use

My IP professor always emphasizes that intellectual property laws are created to promote common good. IP laws strive to protect the creator’s property rights and their exclusive right to control use, distribution and reproduction of their work. Protection is given for the creators to maximize the economic benefits that they can derive from their works, thus, encouraging them to create more. However, IP laws also strive to give the public reasonable access to these creations to promote the art, literature and culture, and also encourage the formation of new ideas and concepts. Too much restriction to access will result to stagnation because ideas are recognized building-blocks of new ideas. Thus, our IP Code adopted the principle of “fair use” to maintain the balance between protecting private interest of creators and promoting the public interest. Use not falling within this criterion is considered an infringement.

According to Section 185 of our Intellectual Property Code, in determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is fair use, the factors to be considered shall include: (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for non-profit education purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or valued of the copyrighted work.

In the United States, the downloading of music by Napster users was found, in the case of A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc. to be a direct infringement of copyright held by the recording companies. The Court determined that, even though Napster was not charging for its service and users were downloading the music for their personal use, the downloading was not a "fair use" under the United States Copyright Act. It was found that "repeated and exploitative copying of copyrighted works, even if the copies are not offered for sale, may constitute commercial use." The copies were found to have been made to save the cost of purchase. This practice is cited particularly by the recording industries as a factor in the significant drop in music sales.

The concept of fair use has not been applied by our courts in resolving issues involving infringement committed through the use of technology. True, our IP jurisprudence has only ruled on infringement in our physical world, but with the rampant violation of intellectual property rights in the internet world, certainly, the wait will not be too long.

Tarheta OUT, Wallpost IN

How to win an election? Make a lot of friends. That will work, it worked for Obama. In the 2008 US election, Obama decided to be friends with everyone in cyberspace. He recognized the communication capabilities of social networking. The campaign had a website ( , it was on facebook, myspace, twitter, youtube, flickr, itunes, vimeo you name it, they’re there.

Facebook fans: 2.5 million
Election day wall post about Obama: 1.1 million
MySpace friends : 844,927
Twitter followers 118,107
Campaign Contribution raised: $600 million from 3million people

The thing about the internet is, unlike other media it is hinged on a technology that fosters communication, people do not simply publish, they communicate and the audience can communicate back. There is a direct engagement between contacts in these social networking sites such that when Obama (his campaign team) share information or ideas to contacts/friends the online contact/friend is able to reply,he then feels like he has spent so much time with Obama and that Obama is actually a person he knows, personally. This is the power of social networking that brought victory to Obama’s presidential bid.

The 2010 election is fast approaching and would be candidates are trying to replicate this campaign feat. Ms.Mary Joyce, the New Media Operation's Manager for Barack Obama's presidential campaign has even been invited to the Philippines to share strategies to maximize the potentials of New Media to win electoral campaigns.

Come February we will see who will launch (successfully) this Obama Strategy(for the 2010 election).

Spectacular Spectacles

I’ve always been proud of my 20/20 vision. It is so good that I could see even if it was dark. So back when people asked me why I wear contact lenses, my answer would be simple-for aesthetic purposes. However, when I renewed my license last year, my eyesight wasn’t as perfect as it was before to my horror! As I was made to read the eye chart (which by the way I used to ace), my left eye failed me. I couldn’t the last 3 letters which I couldn’t believe!

What does 20/20 vision even mean? Well, apparently, it means that when one stands 20 feet away from the eye chart, one would see what a “normal” person would see given that distance. Well now I know! Drat. Why? Because today I found out that from 50/20, my grade rose to 100/75 and that I have to wear glasses to correct my astigmatism. So this means that what I see when I stand 20 feet away (come to think of it, that eye chart wasn’t even 20 feet away or it was since it was digitally reproduced? Hmm.) from the eye chart, I see what normal people can see 100(and 75) feet away from it. Good thing my blurry eyesight hasn’t caused any accidents yet when I drive. While on this topic, what is the cutoff to be declared legally blind in this country again? I seriously have no idea. I heard that in the US, it is 20/200.

I guess I had it coming. I’m in front of the laptop all the time. Doing what exactly? Well, I readi some of my cases online, cyberslack while facebook-ing, watch (nay, do a marathon) online videos of my missed series episodes and digest cases. The time I spent in front of the computer has increased drastically over the past 4 years.The Internet and law school did my eyesight in! I still can’t accept the fact that I have to wear glasses already –earlier, I think, than the age my parents had theirs. C’est la vie. As I type in this blog entry, my font is at 12 and the zoom is at 120%.I hope I don’t have to zoom in to 500% any time soon. Woe to those with imperfect vision. Lasik surgery any one? =P

The Phenomenon that is Facebook

       It started when Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook on February 4, 2004 with two of his roommates and another computer science comrade from Harvard College. Their vision was to create a networking site where they could remain in touch with friends.  At first, this socialization network was exclusive to Harvard College students.  But in September 2006, the network opened to users worldwide.  By 2007, CEO Mark Zeckenberg has become an instant billionaire and was ranked by Forbes as the youngest billionaire at 23!

       According to Facebook’s own statistics, it is said that there are more than 250 million active facebook users worldwide, making it the largest socialization network in the world.  More than 5 billion minutes are spent on Facebook each day, worldwide.   30 milion update their statuses at least once each day and 8 million users become a fan every day.  One billion photos and 10 million get uploaded every month.  Indeed, everyone has been hooked to the phenomenon that is Facebook.  Even so much that there is now this thing called FAD, as in Facebook Addiction Disorder.  Apparently, some people have been so addicted to it that it has been disruptive to a persons normal activities in daily living.

Clues that you have facebook addiction:

- you lose sleep over Facebook

- you spend more than an hour a day on Facebook

- you become obsessed with old loves (ex. meeting up with bf/gf on   Facebook)

- you ignore work in favor of Facebook

- the thought of getting off Facebook leaves you a cold sweat


Are you a Facebook addict? :P

Piracy and the Music Industry

EMI invited some teenagers into its headquarters in London for a focused group session to talk to its top managers about their listening habits.  At the end of the session, the bosses thanked the group for their comments and told them that they can take as many free CDs as they wanted.  The teenagers didn’t take a single one!  

- This was the moment the company realized that “the game was completely up.”

The record industry’s main product, the CD, accounts for almost 80% of their total sales.  CD sales however has been rapidly decreasing in the recent years because of music piracy.  The companies thought that paid digital download would rescue the music business.  However, although paid digital download grew rapidly, it could not begin to make up for the loss of revenue from CDs.  

The record labels have tried to enforce measures to curtiail music piracy. Music IP is controlled by copyright.  Digital Rights Management (DRM) has been used to enforce licensing agreements on digital recording files.  However, the irony here is that, by restricting the use of the legally distributed digital music, DRM makes the legal product of lower quality than the illegal product, which makes the illegal product more preferable than the legal one.  

Lawsuits by major music labels and promises by the governments of different countries, such as China, to crack down on Internet piracy have failed to deter the practices as well.  Ninety nine percent of music downloaded in China country violates copyrights.  Ninety nine percent!

Now.. as reported in CNN, the world’s biggest record labels including EMI, Warner Music and Vivendi’s Universal Music have recently worked with Google by offering free downloads of music to anyone inside China, the country where piracy is arguably most rampant.  The record labels say that instead of earning money from each download, they will share advertising revenue with Google’s partner in the deal, a Chinese company called For the music industry however, which believes it has lost hundreds of millions of dollars to online piracy, they feel that this deal promises to deliver a steady stream of revenue.  Google has no plans of doing the same thing in other countries.  But the companies are looking closely at where this new scheme in making business would lead to. 

Pay Me Through G-cash

I buy stuff online through and Amazon only. Last week, though, my friend informed me that a collector’s item cookbook was on sale on her friend’s ebay store, so I decided to check it out. It was indeed the cookbook I was looking for, and it was a steal at P299. I made a bid, and tried to keep outbidding someone else who seemed to be coveting the book as much as I was. Finally, I got it for P610, plus P120 shipping fee.

In my excitement, I forgot that I was making a transaction via, and the payment methods were different from that in, where I pay through credit card. When I checked my payment options, there was no Visa or Mastercard icon; the seller only accepted G-cash. Oh, great. How does that work?

I asked a couple of persons regarding how it worked, and all were of little if no help. So I decided to call Globe Customer Service. The agent told me to visit any Globe business center and I could make my payment there. Great again. I chose to buy online primarily because of convenience. Now I still had to go out of the house to pay for it, at a time when Isang was ravaging Manila.

I checked other stores in, and I found no seller who accepted credit card payment. Most of them preferred bank deposits and G-cash or Smart Money payments. So much for buying stuff at just a few clicks; I still had to make a lot of steps.

Oh well, at least the problem of laziness and dwindling physical activity is still addressed by Philippine internet commerce. Haha.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Policing Internet Gaming

In the last couple of years, a few games in the internet have gotten me addicted. But never in the same intensity as MMORPGs like RF Online (RF) and Perfect World (PW). It's a good thing I have partially kicked the addiction or I would never have had the time to go to class or to actually get any work done.

However, having visited an old favorite hangout in Perfect World, I came across an interesting conversation or more accurately called argument in the World Chat. Two gamers were fighting over a transaction that went bad. It appears that they were supposed to trade for some materials but one of them had not received the promised goods.

It got me thinking that these MMORPG or Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games are really microcosms of society and that if there are thieves or "manduragas" here then it stands to reason that there would be scoundrels and scalawags in that world as well. However, how do you police a system such as PW or RF.

I decided to follow up on the posted world chat and see how the other character would be penalized for the fraud. Here the crim law maxim that flight indicates guilt seems to be controlling as the other gamer decided to teleport or "port" out of the vicinity.

It's a good thing that in that system, there are game managers (GMs) who are sort of a police and judge at the same time. I talked to the agrieved party (online ambulance chasing?) and we decided to report the scalawag to the GM.

Two days later, he messaged me on facebook and said that the other guys account was suspended and apparently because of the report we had filed, the GM looked at his past activities and found that he was a "scammer" who preyed on lowbies or low level characters who seldom reported such acts.

It seems that this is such an efficient system for a game but you have to wonder...does due process apply to the online world?