This article (MG Siegler, TechCrunch) talks about Steve Jobs's position on applications on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad that have to do with sexually explicit images (a.k.a. prXn). He has said that Apple will not allow such applications, so if one wants to do such things, one should buy a device with competitor Google's Android OS to fulfill such desires.
Follow the jump to see my take on this, as well as my take on India's new copyright bill.
It's not quite the same as the discussion of net neutrality, but it's close.
(For those of you who are unaware, net neutrality refers to the idea that ISPs should not be allowed to restrict users' uses of the Internet - i.e. everyone on the Internet has equal rights. This means that ISPs can't be blocking sites of competitors or throttling people's connections for downloading large files. The debate has come in the news again with the court case on whether Comcast was allowed to throttle a user's connection for frequently downloading large files, thus hogging bandwidth. For now, the court has ruled in Comcast's favor and has said the FCC can't restrict Comcast's policies towards users.)
The situation here is slightly different, as Apple isn't necessarily blocking searches of prXn but is disallowing developers from making prXn applications for Apple's newest mobile platforms.
I think Apple is within its rights to do this (I don't condone people trying to flood the Internet with prXn, etc.), but obviously, if people want their prXn, they will move to Android (or other devices).
That said, it's part of a more trouble trend with Apple, and quickly follows a scandal regarding Apple's rejection of an application that displays the cartoons of political cartoonist Mark Fiore. That was out of hand, as it shows that Apple is willing to block applications that have political views different from its own. Another recent development is of Apple mandating all application developers to use basically just 2 programming languages when creating applications, thus severely limiting the choice in applications on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. It's all part of Apple's desire to possess ever-greater control over its products.
But as I think about it more, with Google wanting to lay actual fiber-optic Internet hardware for a few towns in this country, I'm not sure Google will be any better when its products generate even more sales. It will be important to follow the situation closely as it further develops.
The other article (Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing) deals with India's new copyright bill that is making its way through Parliament.
Upon reading the linked/referenced articles further, I wasn't too pleased to see further extensions of copyright terms (and I paraphrase here) "in order to keep up with WIPO [World Intellectual ["Property"] Organization] standards". Oh well, I guess.
The better news is that now, artists get to make money directly from sales (without having to go through a recording label). Naturally, the recording companies are very unhappy with this. The development is a good thing, though, as it allows for more independent music to come out and for their artists to benefit (without running the risk of being rejected from a major label).
The even better news is that India is implementing fair use provisions (or, as they call it, "fair dealings") that are actually fair. For example, the bill specifically says that copying for personal/private use is fair use. Even better, the bill recognizes that DRM essentially exists for its own sake, as DRM is there to prevent users from...breaking DRM, which is punishable by a number of years in jail as well as fines running up to the millions of US dollars. This bill, however, says that breaking DRM is punishable if and only if copyright is broken as well. This means that breaking DRM to better understand how a device works (for personal use or for cryptographic studies) is not criminal (as it was when a bunch of foreign cryptographers got arrested in the US for breaking DRM as a means of testing and analyzing current forms of cryptography).
I'm happy with this, and I think it would be a great step forward if Western countries like the US and UK adopted these 2 measures in their current copyright laws. Of course, given that most major labels are located in the US and they have enormous influence on Congress, that's about as likely to happen as Tuesday coming one day before Monday.