Have you ever wondered why Have I got News For You or Mock The Week is so utterly barren when it comes to footage from Parliament? Ironically, the rest of the world can laugh at our politicians all they wish but we Brits aren’t afforded that right. In fact, it took 50 years before any form of broadcast from Parliament whatsoever was permitted on our screens. Today, Parliament can be broadcast only if it is not appearing on satire or comedy programmes. Furthermore, clips can not be broadcast anywhere that might cast doubt upon the “dignity of the House”. This is why episodes of satirical shows broadcast abroad such as the Daily Show are occasionally silently banned from being aired on British TV. Similar rules apply regarding royal matters, the BBC have even ordered foreign broadcatsers to censure humorists that make use of their coverage of the Royals.
Here’s a snapshot of what we could be missing out on, taken from the Irish Parliament. The following clip is perfectly legal in the UK but if you’re reading from Ireland you’d better turn away now as the Irish have a similar law, making it effectively illegal to broadcast this clip in Ireland unless you can somehow manage to fail to construe it as humorous. So just to clarify, if you are reading from Ireland, this clip containing “most unparliamentary language”, is not a joke.
Graham Lineman: Get a load of this ridiculous thing I found the fuck out last night! (major hat tip)
What Do They Know: Televising Parliament (See Section 4)
New Statesman: Why our parliament is literally beyond satire
Snapstream: It’s illegal to use government footage on TV for comedy/satire in the UK & Australia!
BoingBoing: Daily Show episode yanked from UK TV because Brit law prohibits using Parliamentary footage in satire
Digital Spy: ‘Chaser’ royal wedding show banned
Today we may well be witnessing, for better or for worse, the dawn of a new era in patenting. The UK Government yesterday begun the trialling of peer to patent, a system that will be run via a tumblr blog (yes, really). Peer to patent is unapologetically acronymysed with the same oh so 20th century acronym of “P2P”. (Is acronymysed a word? No? Well it is now). Peer to patent, well let’s just call it “P2” for now, for simplicity, takes the revolution in the internet age for another spin by allowing the public to view and pass formal comment on patent applications. This really should, if properly administrated present a huge step forward for innovation and freedom of information. A decade on from the fallout of the genetic patent war it’s hard to tell what the impact of a wide open patent review process will have for technological progress.
Peer to patent has been given an initial trial period of until the end of the year but the assumption is that the scheme will be extended and expanded. With similar agreements ongoing in the US and Australia this revolution seems set to make waves. It’s very hard to predict what way these waves will head. In the worst case we may be witnessing the beginnings of a fully globalised patent industry which extends the tradgedy of unaffordable new medical treatments out of the USA and further in to Europe, Africa and the East. In the best case we may see an end to unjust and ill thought out patents. Another possible advantage of an open and informed system would be to help ensure patents actually go somewhere and don’t end up floating in a see of thousands of dead patents in a big-pharma filing cabinet as can currently be the case. Which ever direction p2 takes, technophiles now have an exciting new hangout.
In semi-related news tomorrow at 9am Pacific time, YouTube will reportedly offer the option to license videos with creative commons licences, finally potentially allowing aspiring Lynch’s in the making to knock films together without fear the sound will be pulled by youtube. (This news is from a statement leaked by boingboing, apparently the official youtube statement will be online “in the AM”.)Follow Simon on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, RSS, or join the mailing list.
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