The Internet

Recording industry giants vie for Napster user base

By Mike Ingram, 3 May 2001

As the online music swap service Napster attempts to comply with the terms of an injunction brought by the recording industry, a number of strategic alliances are underway aimed at harnessing the mass user base that it has attracted.

Yahoo's capitulation to right-wing pressure groups sets dangerous precedent

By Mike Ingram, 19 April 2001

Following a barrage of e-mail protests from the Christian fundamentalist American Families Association (AFA), the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and portal Yahoo has pledged to remove all pornography from its shopping and auction channels and reject requests for related advertising. Yahoo has further agreed to censor home pages created by members of its Geocities service. Yahoo said it would restrict “inappropriate material” and make it more difficult to use the popular search engine to find listings of pornographic Web sites.

Napster seeks to block access to copyrighted music

By Mike Ingram, 5 March 2001

Confusion reigned over the weekend following a hearing Friday March 2 to determine how to formulate a new injunction against the online music swap company Napster.

AOL-Time Warner threatens children running Harry Potter fan sites

By Mike Ingram, 28 February 2001

A 15-year-old girl from West Yorkshire, England has found herself at the centre of a raging battle being waged by media conglomerate AOL-Time Warner against young fans of the “Harry Potter” books.

Napster offers record companies a new commercial arrangement

By Mike Ingram, 24 February 2001

The Internet music swap service Napster and its 50 million-plus users face a new court injunction that may effectively close down the service as it presently exists. Whatever the eventual fate of Napster, however, the naked economic interests that lie behind the invocations of artistic copyright and intellectual property on the part of the music industry giants are increasingly clear.

US Court rejects Napster appeal

By Mike Ingram, 15 February 2001

After three months of deliberation, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the major record labels that the online music swap service Napster must prevent its users from exchanging copyrighted material.

Ten years of the World Wide Web

By Mike Ingram, 18 January 2001

As the new millennium gets underway, there are many anniversaries that could and probably should be marked. The 20th century was packed with tumultuous events that changed the world, including two World Wars and the Russian revolution. Alongside such great happenings, the commemoration of the invention of a system to aid the reading of electronic documents may seem a little out of place. But the creation in 1991 of what became known as the World Wide Web was a technical innovation that has profound social, economic and political implications.

Yahoo bans sale of Nazi memorabilia from its Internet auctions

By Mike Ingram, 5 January 2001

The Internet portal Yahoo has decided to ban the sale of Nazi memorabilia from its on-line auctions. The company has denied that the move was in response to a court ruling in France that it must prevent Internet users in that country from accessing Yahoo websites that sell such material.

Microsoft appeal against break-up, claiming judge was biased

By Mike Ingram, 2 December 2000

US software giant Microsoft filed a 150-page brief with a court of appeals this week, in an attempt to halt a planned break-up of the company.

Recording giants could join Bertelsmann's embrace of Napster

By Mike Ingram, 30 November 2000

After an initial period of shock at Bertelsmann's decision to break ranks with the rest of the recording industry and enter into an alliance with Napster, there are indications that the major players are ready to do business.

French court rules that Yahoo must block access to auction site

By Mike Ingram, 24 November 2000

A landmark ruling on Monday November 20 could have serious consequences for Internet freedom and privacy internationally.

China imposes censorship of news reports and Internet chat rooms

By Mike Ingram, 10 November 2000

On November 7, the Chinese government announced new restrictions on Web sites offering news reports and requiring chat rooms to use only officially approved topics.

Online music-swap firm Napster forms strategic alliance with media giant Bertlesmann

By Mike Ingram, 4 November 2000

An October 31 announcement showed light at the end of the tunnel for beleaguered Internet company Napster. As legal action against the online music-swap firm continues, Napster announced a strategic alliance with media giant Bertelsmann.

The Internet: US Congress to consider Web filtering in schools and libraries

By Mike Ingram, 23 October 2000

Support is said to be growing within the US Congress for a bill requiring schools and libraries with Internet access to install software to lock out sites deemed to contain pornographic, obscene or other material considered harmful to minors. If passed the bill would require schools and libraries that receive funding under the E-rate program, which provides subsidies for Internet connection, to install filtering software or lose financial support.

The Internet: US court challenges online anonymity

By Mike Ingram, 18 October 2000

A Florida appeals court ruled Monday that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must divulge the identities of people posting messages on their servers that are deemed to be defamatory.

What is the significance of the delay in the Napster ruling?

By James Brewer, 17 October 2000

An October 2 hearing to decide whether to lift a stay on the injunction against Napster, the Internet music sharing service provider, concluded without making a decision, stating the need for further information and deliberation. Whatever the final outcome of the case, the delay in the ruling will provide time for deals to be struck by financial interests that have a stake in the dispute.

British firms given right to spy on employees' e-mail and phone calls

By Mike Ingram, 12 October 2000

From October 24, companies in Britain will be free to spy on their employees' e-mail and telephone calls, when legislation introduced by the Labour government takes effect.

Napster offers deal to recording industry

By Mick Ingram, 10 October 2000

Digital music company Napster has made an offer to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) that could end long-running court battles over alleged copyright infringements. Napster has said it would introduce a $4.95 fee for subscribers to its service, which allows users to swap digital music or mp3 files online. A portion of the charge could then go the music industry as compensation for losses due to the file sharing software.

Conclusion to Microsoft anti-trust case delayed: Supreme Court decides against expedited hearing

By Mike Ingram, 2 October 2000

Last week's decision by the US Supreme Court not to hear the anti-trust case against Microsoft before it has gone through the appeals court has been hailed as a victory for the software giant in its battle against the US government's proposed break up of the company.

World Internet usage grows to 300 million

By Mike Ingram, 15 September 2000

Almost three hundred million people access the Internet worldwide according to a report released this month by the Internet monitoring service Nielsen/NetRatings. face up to $250m penalty for music copyright infringements

By Mike Ingram, 12 September 2000

US District Judge Jed S Rakoff ruled last week that had wilfully violated the copyrights of music companies. The ruling will cost a penalty of around $25,000 per CD. Depending on the number of CDs the court decides are subject to the fine, will be forced to pay between $118 to $250 million.

Microsoft ordered to pay $1 million to US software firm

By Mike Ingram, 6 September 2000

A US federal judge has ordered Microsoft to pay $1 million to a small Connecticut company, declaring that the software giant had engaged in “wanton, reckless” and deceptive business practices.

LinuxWorld Conference highlights corporate interest in alternative computer operating system

By Mike Ingram, 18 August 2000

This years' LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in San José, California took place as US software giant Microsoft faces a court-ordered break-up and only days after the European Union served notice of a number of antitrust actions against it in Europe.

Pro-Napster protesters vandalise web sites

By Mike Ingram, 17 August 2000

According to a report by on August 15, Internet vandals have defaced a number of web sites around the world in protest at the court action being taken against music file-swapping service Napster.

Yahoo! granted reprieve in French court's attempt to block access

By Mike Ingram, 16 August 2000

The August 11 judgement by a French court, widely anticipated, ordering Internet portal Yahoo! to block access to its US web site from France has been delayed for a further two months, pending reports on its technical feasibility.

European Union widens anti-trust case against Microsoft

By Mike Ingram, 9 August 2000

American software giant Microsoft faces anti-trust action by the European Union (EU) following a complaint by Sun Microsystems that the company engaged in discriminatory licensing and refused to supply essential information on its Windows operating system.

Clinton administration plan for FBI spying on email

By Patrick Martin, 2 August 2000

The Clinton administration announced July 17 that it would seek broad powers to compel Internet Service Providers to allow FBI monitoring of email messages, using a powerful software package devised by the police agency and given the ominous title of “Carnivore.”

Temporary injunction granted against Napster

By Mike Ingram, 28 July 2000

A federal judge in San Francisco granted a temporary injunction Wednesday against the Internet music company Napster. US District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel issued the order at the request of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Napster has been given until midnight on Friday, July 29 to shut down the computers that allow millions of users to share music on the Internet.

British parliament set to adopt law enforcing police access to encrypted email

By Mike Ingram, 19 July 2000

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill (RIP) will be presented to the Commons for the final reading Wednesday after amendments made in the House of Lords.

Chinese government backs development of Linux operating system

By Mike Ingram, 15 July 2000

Similar reports have emerged several times this year. In January, Jon Hall, Linux International executive director, said that it was government policy in China to use the operating system across all ministries. Speaking at the Linux World Asia conference, Hall said Wu Jichuan, China's Minister of Information Industries, had told him this during a visit to Beijing in July 1999.

A comment and clarification on the Napster controversy

28 June 2000

Dear editors,

US Judge orders break-up of Microsoft

By Mike Ingram, 9 June 2000

US District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ordered Microsoft split in two in his final judgement, issued June 7. In a ruling that was almost a word-for-word reprint of proposals filed by the Justice Department and 17 plaintiff states, Judge Jackson also imposed sweeping restrictions on the software company's business practices.

Judge grants more time to government in Microsoft anti-trust case

By Mike Ingram, 2 June 2000

In an unexpected move Thursday, the US government asked for more time in the anti-trust trial against Microsoft, saying that it might incorporate several of the suggestions made by the company into its proposal to split Microsoft in two.

A glimpse behind the veil of business secrets

Microsoft lawsuit reveals predatory corporate practices

By Mike Ingram, 23 May 2000

The anti-trust action against Microsoft by the US Justice Department has brought to the surface a virtual state of war between major corporations in the fields of computer technology, telecommunications and the media.

New email virus potentially more damaging than "Love Bug"

By Mike Ingram, 20 May 2000

A new computer virus was reported May 18 which is said to be potentially more damaging than the so-called "Love Bug" which caused up to $10 billion worth of damage to world-wide computer networks earlier this month.

New Internet spy agency to be set up in Britain

By Mike Ingram, 18 May 2000

The British Labour government is planning to set up a new spy centre that can track all email and Internet communication, including encrypted messages.

More than 20 countries affected

"Love-Bug" virus damage estimated at $10 billion

By Mike Ingram, 10 May 2000

It is estimated that the so-called "Love-Bug" email virus has caused some $10 billion in losses in as many as 20 countries.

Email virus wreaks havoc on corporate networks throughout Europe and America

By Mike Ingram, 6 May 2000

A computer virus, which has become known as the "love bug," has spread rapidly across corporate networks connected to the Internet.

Metallica joins recording industry's attack on Napster

Rock band launches suit against Internet music downloads

By James Brewer, 5 May 2000

The giant conglomerates of the recording industry have come by a new spokesman in the person of Lars Ulrich from the heavy-metal group, Metallica. In December of last year, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) filed a suit against Napster to prevent the California company from providing the software which enables computer users to exchange music files across the Internet.

The Microsoft law suit, software development and the capitalist market

By Mike Ingram, 2 May 2000

The US government proposal to break up Microsoft, dividing its operating system (Windows, NT etc.) from the Office suite (Word, Excel etc.), raises fundamental questions concerning the development of computer software and its relationship to the capitalist market.

Internet free speech under attack in San Francisco libel suit

By Mike Ingram, 18 April 2000

A libel trial taking place in San Francisco could have major implications for freedom of speech on the Internet, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

French anti-racist group sets dangerous precedent in court action against Yahoo!

By Mike Ingram, 17 April 2000

A Paris-based anti-racism group is taking legal action against the Internet portal Yahoo! over the auction of Nazi memorabilia on its web site. Yahoo! runs public auctions in which users can post items for sale on which others users then bid.

Growing concern over Internet privacy

By Mike Ingram, 25 February 2000

A number of lawsuits currently underway in the US have drawn attention to privacy issues raised by the use of “cookies” or strips of data sent to an Internet user's browser by a web site.

Montreal Internet service provider raided by FBI

By Mike Ingram, 18 February 2000

In the wake of a series of attacks blocking access to some of the largest and best known Internet web sites, the US government is seeking to use popular concern over the denial of services to push through new legislation that could affect the democratic rights of millions.

Internet vandals threaten access and expression on the World Wide Web

By the Editorial Board, 11 February 2000

The source of the coordinated attacks that crippled major Internet web sites earlier this week and the motivations of those responsible remain unclear. But whoever carried out these actions, and whatever their subjective purpose, the objective content of the assault on the Internet was a reactionary attack on democratic rights.

Surveys show significant growth in British Internet use

By Mike Ingram, 29 December 1999

Several recent surveys indicate a significant growth of Internet access in Britain in the last 12 months. According to a Guardian/ICM poll published Monday December 20, more than one in three British adults now have access to the Internet either at home or at work.

Social inequality and the World Wide Web

By Michael Conachy, 17 August 1999

Those who are "on line" know that the Internet is a tool with astonishing potential. With the click of a mouse, anyone anywhere in the globe can access a vast amount of knowledge. For the cost of a local telephone call, a user can interact, converse, exchange ideas and information with people thousands of kilometres away instantaneously.

Internet produces conflict between commerce and censorship

By Mike Ingram, 16 August 1999

A 96-page report was issued in June by Human Rights Watch (HRW) entitled The Internet in the Mideast and North Africa: Free Expression and Censorship. The HRW report stated:

White House plan for FBI Internet spying

By Martin McLaughlin, 10 August 1999

A vast new computer monitoring system, controlled by the FBI, would be established under a plan being discussed with the Clinton administration, it was reported last week. According to a draft document obtained by a civil liberties group opposed to the plan, and leaked to the New York Times, the FBI would be given sweeping new powers to spy on all computer-related activities by federal government employees.

New techniques to boost the Internet's capacities

By Luciano Fernandez, 16 July 1999

The rapidly increasing demands being placed on international communications networks are fueling some remarkable technical developments in the field of fibre optics.

Censorship in the Information Age

How the British government failed to suppress list of MI6 agents

By Mike Ingram, 18 May 1999

The speed with which a list of purported MI6 agents spread across the Internet last week confirmed the worst fears of the powers-that-be regarding the development of the Internet as a medium of mass communication.

UK Internet libel case could set dangerous precedent

By Mike Ingram, 16 April 1999

Demon Internet, one of the oldest UK Internet Service Providers (ISP), is currently fighting a legal battle against a libel case brought by scientist Laurence Godfrey. Its origins lie in a previous action brought by Godfrey against Michael Dolenga, a Canadian citizen who is reported to have posted libelous messages in a Usenet discussion group. Godfrey claimed to have asked Demon to remove this and another offending material posted in groups hosted by Demon. He claims the present action stems from the ISP's refusal to do so.

Privacy rights threatened by Intel's new computer chip

By James Brookfield, 5 March 1999

Electronic privacy advocates have filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and launched a boycott campaign against Intel over the company's introduction of a new computer chip that threatens to compromise the privacy and democratic rights of computer users.

Hackers shut down East Timor Internet addresses

By Mike Ingram, 3 March 1999

A concerted attack involving simultaneous hacking from five countries caused an Irish Internet Service Provider (ISP) to switch off its systems last month. Connect-Ireland, the company affected, believes the Indonesian government is behind the attack.