Will a denial of broadcasting service to digitally non-compliant households constitute a violation of the constitutional right to receive information and ideas?

 

Digital broadcasting has emerged as a globally accepted standard for next-generation mass media. It presents a method of relaying radio and television signals with various advantages from analogue broadcasting. It enables a more efficient use of bandwidth and the bundling of multiple channels in one frequency. Moreover, digitally broadcast images, video and audio have a higher quality than their analogue counterparts. The transition from digital to signal broadcasting is arguably the most significant technological cross-over for television and is only closely rivaled, if not slightly surpassed, by the invention of colour television.

 

At the stroke of midnight at the end of 17th June 2015, all nations will cease all analogue broadcasts of radio and television signals and switch over to the transmission of digital-only signals with the exception of

digital migration
digital migration

some developing countries for which the transition period will end on 17 June 2020. On that date, all analogue television sets for which the owners will not have installed a digital signal converter will go black.

In Kenya however, the communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) have new self-imposed datelines. They will carry out the analogue switch-off exercise in 3 phases to wit; Nairobi on 13th December, 2013; Mombasa, Malindi, Nyeri, Meru, Kisumu, Webuye, Kisii, Nakuru and Eldoret on 30th March, 2014 and the rest of the country on 30th June, 2014.

Consumers of analogue television services and members of the public in general through Consumers Federation of Kenya (COFEK) have opposed the move by CCK to switch off analogue television frequency signals by 13th December 2013 or any other date before June 2014. They contend that this notice is too short and inappropriate considering that December is a festive season, immediately after which school re-opening calendar together with prevalent economic challenges facing Kenyans puts financial pressure on poor households not to forget the need for Kenyans to follow important national developments which include devolution and constitutional implementation processes, among others.

CCK’s decision, in the event that it is sustained, will lock out millions of Kenyans from following important national matters such as legislations, government policies, and matters of national interest, among others as envisaged under Article 35 of the Constitution of Kenya. While they claim , that so far 500,000 set boxes have been sold in Nairobi, there is no similar evidence and goodwill to demonstrate that the over 3,500,000 remaining television owners will purchase the compulsory and prescribed gadgets

The consumers and general public right to information will be severely infringed because current free-to-air channels, some paid for by the taxpayer, are being forced into pay-TV bundles vide a set-top box which are not free of cost. The specific case in which consumers of television services cannot access NTV, Citizen TV and KTN on the StarTimes platform is one such discrimination, against Article 27(4) of the Constitution of Kenya, which is being perpetuated with untold impunity as CCK maintain their loud silence. It should be a requirement that all set-top boxes/integrated digital TVs must be able to receive all non-encrypted free to air TV. In Denmark, the Ministry of Research and Communication has determined (Danish Ministry of Research, departmental order no. 709 of 25 June 1996) that “Digital decoders must be constructed in a way that allows non-encrypted digital TV signals to pass transparently through them.”

Further, there has been no sufficient public information, education and communication campaign to raise awareness on digital migration to allow consumers the freedom of choice as envisaged in Article 46 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and the Consumer Protection Act, 2012.

digital 2
The foregoing concerns are not the bitter pill of new technology that a society must take at a certain time in its development. Rather, once resolved, they will be the relish with which the consumer will find the transition to digital broadcasting more appetizing. The national digital broadcasting switchover programme will need to anticipate and resolve these concerns.

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Copyright Alert System Begins

Astronomy and Law

The Copyright Alert System officially has begun. The system, also referred to as the “Six Strikes” program, is intended to deter copyright infringement committed through illegal file sharing.

The Center for Copyright Information (CCI) operates the alert system. Members of the coalition include the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc., the Recording Industry Association of America, and major ISPs, including AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon.

The system allows content owners to notify Internet service providers (ISPs) when they believe their copyrights are being infringed. The ISP will then notify the subscriber that his/her account may have been misused for potentially illegal file sharing. If the activity continues, the warnings issued to the subscriber will escalate and can ultimately result in “mitigation measures,” which include slowing the subscriber’s Internet connection.

Now that the program is officially underway, content holders can begin sending notices of alleged copyright infringement to…

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The Atlantic: Why Martin Luther King’s ‘Dream’ Speech Is So Hard to Find Online

Murray State Business

Students often assume everything they need is available online. Here’s an example of why that isn’t the case: Why Martin Luther King’s ‘Dream’ Speech Is So Hard to Find Online by Dustin Volz for The Atlantic.

Photo source: Library of Congress

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The Atlantic: Why Martin Luther King’s ‘Dream’ Speech Is So Hard to Find Online

Murray State Business

Students often assume everything they need is available online. Here’s an example of why that isn’t the case: Why Martin Luther King’s ‘Dream’ Speech Is So Hard to Find Online by Dustin Volz for The Atlantic.

Photo source: Library of Congress

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How New Zealand banned software patents without violating international law

Should Dr. King’s family be able to control his “I have a dream” speech?

The New Zealand Solution

karlspain

By Karl Spain

There are a lot of theories about what’s wrong with our economy and most of them contradict each other, leaving the public with no clear sense of what to do about our sluggish growth rate.

My theory about what is fundamentally wrong with our growth rate is a little obscure so please, please, bear with me. The key to my theory about what will improve the economy goes like this, the economy produces wealth (the sum of all the work done and product produced) as a function of overall productivity, which is a cumulative factor that can be influenced most easily, and quickly, by innovation.

Innovation doesn’t just improve the overall marginal productivity of the people using improved tools, the actual products produced by innovative processes, which lower their costs, have the same net effect. Conversely, when products get more expensive from a productivity point (productivity here…

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Do Trademark Lawyers Matter?

Briskin, Cross & Sanford - Business Law Blog

This is not an existential question, but the title of a new research study by Deborah Gerhardt and Jon McClanahan, soon to be published in the Stanford Technology Law Review, 2013.

It is no secret that non-lawyers can file federal trademark applications, just as individuals can incorporate companies and perform any number of legal tasks for themselves.  The question is, is it really smart for them to do so?  Lawyers are often asked, if the online, self-help sites file all the documents you need for a whole range of legal services, all at what seem like reasonable prices, what do you gain by hiring a lawyer to do these things for you?

Gerhardt and McClanahan provide empirical evidence that may help to make the decision simpler.  On average, they discovered, only 42% of trademark applications filed by pro se (i.e., “do-it-yourself”) applicants were ultimately successful in registering.  When they…

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How to answer the ‘patent protection’ question?

VentureLynx

by Kamal Hassan

I sometimes answer questions at OnStartups. One recent questioner asked “what intellectual property protection do you have (for your web application)?” This was the same question that I got asked over a year ago on BNN’s ‘The Pitch‘. It was especially funny to me because the investor who asked it turned me down in a previous hardware business which had five patents. As you can imagine, I have replayed that moment over and over in my mind trying to come up with a great answer. I haven’t been able to come up with one.

I think this question says something about the investor rather than about your business.  

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