Categories

Archives

">
French ‘iPod bill’ seeks digital music player interoperability

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Legislation pending in the French Parliament would require that music purchased online for use on digital music players be compatible across all players. It has become popularly known in France as the “iPod bill,” after the popular music player made by Apple Computer, and could pit France against Apple and other distributors of online music.

The National Assembly (lower house) and Senate (upper house) have passed two separate versions of the legislation. Both would reduce the penalties for piracy, require software companies to provide details on how their programs work, and create an agency that would have jurisdiction over digital copyright issues, including how often music can be legally copied by a customer for personal use and ensuring compatibility across devices.

Unlike the Assembly version, the Senate version does not contain provisions that would require manufacturers such as Apple and Sony to open all music sold on their platforms to work on players other than their own. Currently, the stores for Apple and Sony sell music only for use on their own players. Critics of the changes say that the Senate’s changes would defeat the purpose of the bill.

The two versions must now be reconciled in conference committee, a process that could take months.

Speaking in support of the bill, Assembly member Christian Paul said, “We oppose the idea that the seller of a song or any kind of work can impose on the consumer the way to read it, forever, and especially in the consumer’s home. Can we allow a couple of vendors to establish monopolies tightly controlling their clients and excluding competition?”

Christian Vanneste, the National Assembly sponsor of the iPod bill, said, “In France, there are two distinct mentalities. On one side is the backwards left, which is anti-American, and on the other is the right, which thinks that the U.S.A. shouldn’t be the only one with good ideas, and who want to compete with them.”

After the National Assembly’s vote in March, Apple denounced the measure as “state-sponsored piracy.” They refused to comment on the legislation after the Senate’s vote on May 10.

Francisco Mingorance, European policy director for the Business Software Alliance, said that the Assembly’s proposal is “about ripping off technology from those who developed it and putting it in the public domain.” The Business Software Alliance represents Apple, Dell, Microsoft Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and other major computer hardware and software companies.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Oct
10

Kenya government fires health worker strikers over failure to ‘report back to work’

">
Kenya government fires health worker strikers over failure to ‘report back to work’

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Kenyan government has dismissed 25,000 striking health workers, mostly nurses, citing failure to heed government orders to recommence work and concern for the welfare of hospital patients. Speaking on behalf of the government, Alfred Mutua stated the workers were dismissed “illegally striking” and “[defying] the directive … to report back to work”, which he called “unethical”. The government asks that “[a]ll qualified health professionals, who are unemployed and/or retired have been advised to report to their nearest health facility for interviews and deployment”, Mutua stated.

The workers, who had been on strike for four days, were wishing to have improvements made to their wages, working conditions, and allowances. The strikes have caused a significant number of Kenyan hospitals to cease operations. According to Kenya Health Professionals Society spokesperson Alex Orina, the average monthly wage plus allowances for health workers in Kenya is KSh25,000 (£193, US$302 or €230) approximately. With an increasing number of reports of patients neglected in hospitals emerging, two trade unions met with the Kenyan government yesterday and negotitated a return to work, although a significant proportion of demonstrators defied the agreement, The Guardian reported.

Orina told Reuters the dismissals were “cat-and-mouse games, you cannot sack an entire workforce. It is a ploy to get us to rush back to work, but our strike continues until our demands are met”. Frederick Omiah, a member of the same society, believed the government’s actions would “make an already delicate and volatile situation worse”, expressing concern that demonstrations may continue in the capital Nairobi, amongst other locations. Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union chairperson Dr. Victor Ng’ani described government actions as “reckless”.

Mutua said the health workers were “no longer employees of the government” and had been eliminated from the payroll. While Ng’ani told the BBC of difficulties with finding other workers as skilled and experienced, Mutua reportedly stated that this would not be an issue. “We have over 100,000 to 200,000 health professionals looking for work today,” Mutua commented. “There will be a lag of a day or two … but it is better than letting people die on the floor, at the gate, or suffer in pain”.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »