Friday, May 15, 2009

What is Democracy? Democracy is ... Voting has Begun : Cast Your Vote at YouTube in the Worldwide Democracy Video Challenge : 6 Geographic Regions

What is Democracy? Democracy is ...


As written at

"Vote for the Video that Defines Democracy Best

The Democracy Video Challenge is an online video contest in which contestants submitted videos that explore the nature of democracy. People worldwide can select a winner by voting between May 15 and June 15 for the video that best captures the nature of democracy."

Richard Engel at the Democracy Video Challenge has opened the voting starting today.

Cast your vote at YouTube.


What is Democracy? : PUBLIC Online YouTube Voting in the Worldwide Democracy Video Challenge Final Begins May 15 and Runs to June 15 staff writer Tanya Brothen has an article on the Democracy Video Challenge, an online video contest which was launched at the United Nations on September 15, 2008 and for which online voting beings on May 15, running to June 15, 2009, i.e. voting begins TODAY. In Films Highlight Hundreds of Definitions of Democracy, Brothen wirtes:

"Filmmakers from more than 90 countries submitted about 900 videos, displaying a variety of opinion, vision and creativity." [900 videos represent 580 applicants]

There were 196 video semifinalists, viewed on May 7 at the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C and 21 finalists will be selected today, May 15, of which seven will receive prizes in the voting. See the contest rules. See also Facebook.

As Brothen informs us:

"Award-winning filmmaker and documentarian Michael Apted and Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto will oversee the competition’s selection of 18 finalist videos, to be announced May 15. They will select three films from each of six regions (Western Hemisphere, Europe, Middle East/North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, South and Central Asia and East Asia/Pacific).

The public will select the winning videos by voting online from May 15 through June 15 at The winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, New York and Hollywood, where they will spend time on television and film sets; meet with film professionals, democracy advocates and government officials; and attend special screenings of their videos."

There are actually 18 world geographic finalists plus three anonymous finalists, for a total of 21 finalists, as the Video Challenge Rules write as follows:

"Round 2: An independent panel of judges comprised of film experts and democracy and youth organizations will evaluate the semifinalists. They will choose three finalists from each of the six world geographic regions as defined by the U.S. Department of State (Western Hemisphere, East Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, Near East, South & Central Asia) and three anonymous finalists for a total of twenty-one finalists, which will be revealed on the Contest site ( on or about May 1, 2009.

Round 3: The twenty-one finalist Videos will be posted on the Contest site in mid-May 2009, and the general public will have one month to vote for their favorite videos using YouTube’s rating system. One grand prize winner from each of the six world geographic regions and one anonymous winner will be announced on or about June 15, 2009."

The demvidchallenge is using Twitter, where one can keep up on what is happening. See

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Update of the Paul, Weiss Reference Guide to U.S., European (EU) & Global Legislative and Regulatory Measures to Deal with the Financial Credit Crisis

Paul, Weiss has just issued a comprehensive updated edition (May 6, 2009) of A Reference Guide to the Financial Crisis Rescue Efforts, such as are being taken via legislative and regulatory measures in the United States, Europe (European Union, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, The Netherlands, & Other European Countries) and also on a Coordinated Global basis. As written at the 124-page Guide:

"In view of the multifaceted and evolving nature of the U.S. government’s response to the financial crisis, we have developed this reference guide to the principal regulatory programs and initiatives that have been announced to date. The guide summarizes the U.S. Treasury programs implemented under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, the administration’s Financial Stability Plan and other key programs implemented by the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The guide also summarizes the principal actions taken by European governments and the G-20 in response to the global credit crisis. This guide should be read in conjunction with the update alerts and other materials posted on our web site portal dedicated to the financial crisis."

View the full text of the PWFCRG.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

France Defies European Union and Passes Controversial Anti-Piracy Three Strikes and You're Out Creation and Internet Law Against Illegal File-Sharing

The French National Assembly of the Fifth French Republic, the lower legislative chamber in the bicameral Parliament of France, has passed the "three strikes and you're out" anti-piracy "Creation and Internet Law", also called the "Three-Strikes Law" against illegal file-sharing and it is expected that the upper house, the French Senate, will also pass the law tomorrow.

As written at

"Today the French National Assembly formally passed the controversial “Creation and Internet” law by a narrow 296 to 233 margin.

The legislation, backed by President Nicolas Sarkozy, and surprisingly defeated in the same body last month, calls for the creation of the Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des Oeuvres et la Protection des droits sur Internet (HADOPI), a new govt agency whose task it would be to sanction those accused of illegal file-sharing."

The law is controversial in the European Union because it directly defies efforts of the EU Parliament in recent weeks to make the Three Strikes Law illegal through telecom law amendments which make internet access a fundamental right of EU citizens. As reported by La Quadrature du Net:

" "A formidable campaign from the citizens put the issues of freedoms on the Internet at the center of the debates of the Telecoms Package. This is a victory by itself. It started with the declaration of commissioner Viviane Reding considering access to Internet as a fundamental right. The massive re-adoption of amendment 138/462 rather than the softer compromise negotiated by rapporteur Trautmann with the Council is an even stronger statement. These two elements alone confirm that the French ‘three strikes’ scheme, HADOPI, is dead already." explains Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net."

It thus has all the makings of an upcoming confrontation between the French Parliament and the Parliament of the European Union.

The passage by the French Assembly had an immediate reaction in the United Kingdom, as reported by Nigel Kendall, Technology Editor at the Times Online, who writes that the UK is the latest country in Europe to formulate a strategy to combat illegal online file-sharing:

"A group representing the UK's creative industries today called for the UK government to intervene to prevent the spread of illegal file-sharing of copyrighted content such as music and film.

The group, a loose coalition that includes The British Phonographic Industry and the Film Distributors' Association, as well as trades unions such as the National Union of Journalists and the Musicians' Union, issued a joint statement following a meeting in London on May 12."

There is in the long term of course no question that the days of illegal fire-sharing are numbered, since large parts of the world economy are built on intellectual property rights which have to be defended. The French law is taking the logical approach by providing for the tracing of illegal file-sharers and a three-strikes and you are out policy toward them, leading to the cutting of their Internet connections. As written at the Hollywood Reporter:

"The "Creation and Internet" law, nicknamed the "Hadopi" because it involves the the creation of a Hadopi (High Authority for the Broadcast of Content and the Protection of Rights on the Internet) committee, authorizes the tracing of illegal downloaders through their IP addresses."

Once illegal downloaders are faced with the consequence that their Internet connections will be cut off, illegal file-sharing will drop quickly since the average citizen will not want to take that risk and will thus no longer engage in what he or she knows to be illegal file-sharing, but which currently has little risk of detection or penalties.

We presume that a compromise political and legal solution will be the recognition of Internet access as a fundamental right of EU citizens, provided that they do not engage in illegal activities via that very same Internet. We see no direct confrontation to be necessary here.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Brandz Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands : Consumers are Angry with Governments, Institutions, and Economic Sectors but not Brands

The BrandZ Top 100 ranking of brands by brand value was created by Millward Brown Optimor to identify the world's most valuable brands by dollar value. Their 2009 Press Release regarding this year's ranking is found below:


Google is the world’s first $100 billion brand, number one for the third year running

New York, New York, 29th April 2009
— the fourth annual BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking published today by Millward Brown Optimor reveals that brands sustain their value, despite the tough economic environment.

The BrandZ Top 100 ranking identifies the dollar value of brands. It does this by combining financial data with research on consumers and business-to-business users from BrandZ, the world’s largest brand equity study.

The value of the top 100 brands has held its value at $1.95 tn (a marginal increase of 1.7 percent). Google is number one with a value of $100 bn, Microsoft is number two at $76.2 bn, and Coca-Cola enters the top three for the first time at $67.6 bn.

There are 15 new brands entering the ranking this year. Pampers is the highest entrant at no. 31, followed by Nintendo (no.32) and VISA (no.36). Trends identified from this year’s rankings are:

— Brands that represent good value for money have done well, this is about quality as much as price, for example Wal-Mart (+19 percent), ALDI (+49 percent) and Auchan (+48 percent). H&M (+8 percent) is now the number one apparel brand.

— People still reward themselves with little treats when money is tight. Brands such as McDonald’s (+34 percent), Marlboro (+33 percent) and Budweiser (+23 percent) have all done well.

At Home
— Brands that can be experienced at home have shown strong growth. This includes home shopping: Amazon (+85 percent) and eBay (+16 percent); Coffee that can be prepared at home: Nespresso (+27 percent) and Nescafe (+23 percent); and gaming — Nintendo jumped into the ranking for the first time at no. 32.

— The increased popularity of using the internet on the move through devices such as the iPhone and BlackBerry has led to huge increases for the mobile operators category as a whole, driven by demand for data services. Vodafone enters the top 10 for the first time this year (+45 percent)....

About Millward Brown

Millward Brown
( is one of the world's leading research agencies and is expert in effective advertising, marketing communications, media and brand equity research. Through the use of an integrated suite of validated research solutions — both qualitative and quantitative — Millward Brown helps clients build strong brands and services. Millward Brown has more than 75 offices in 48 countries. Millward Brown Optimor focuses on helping clients maximize the returns on their brand and marketing investments. Millward Brown is part of Kantar, WPP's insight, information and consultancy group.


Outside of North America

Miquet Humphryes
+44 1926 826179

U.S. and Canada

Lauren Raisl

See the full report, where there are also lists of the Top 15 by Brand Contribution (Emotion), Top 10 by Brand Momentum (short-term growth prospects), top 20 Risers (greatest year-to-year value increase) and Newcomers to the Top 100 list.

There are top 10 lists by region:
Asia, Europe (including the UK), United Kingdom, and North America.

Featured Top 10 lists are also found for the following economic sectors:
Apparel, Beer, Bottled Water, Cars, Coffee, Fast Food, Financial Institutions, Gaming Consoles, Insurance, Luxury, Mobile Operators, Motor Fuel, Personal Care, Retail, Soft Drinks, Spirits, and Technology.

But perhaps the most interesting and significant list of all is the last one in the report, 10 Key Take Outs, of which we quote Number Four:

"4 Stay Positive

Consumers are angry – with government, at large institutions, with entire sectors. But they are not angry at your brand. Brand strength is stable over time. It is disrupted only when something new enters the market or when the brand upsets the relationship with consumers. It takes a lot to make that happen. A recent Millward Brown study of the financial sector revealed that consumers are likely to aim their current displeasure at the sector or at certain high-profile individuals. The displeasure consumers feel, however, does not seem to dramatically alter their
experience with their individual brand."

Montblanc Trademark for Stationery Goods Not Protected against Mont Blanc Tobacco Products in Latvia : Latvian Supreme Court Senate Decision : EU

Class 46 summarizes a note written at the World Trademark Review by Valentina Sergeyeva of Strahlberg & Partners in Riga, Latvia, relating to a decision of the Senate of the Latvian Supreme Court concerning a "Mont Blanc" tobacco and cigarette trademark registration application by the Polish company Zaklady Tytoniowe w Lubline SA, which was opposed by Montblanc-Simplo GmbH, now owned by the luxury goods conglomerate Richemont, as holders of the famous MontBlanc pen and stationery trademark. Opposition to registration of the mark was dismissed on the grounds that there were already other goods named Mont Blanc (e.g. Mont Blanc car roof racks in Sweden, the UK, Ireland and Germany) and there was no reason to think that Latvian consumers would confuse marks which applied to completely different sets of products, i.e. stationery items vs. tobacco products and cigarettes.


Jānis Rozenfelds at Rozenfelds & Partners in his January 21, 2008 article at Mondaq titled Latvia: Court System In Latvia explains the current Latvian judicial system for those who are interested.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day with a Maywood Medley and Mother How Are You Today?

Mother How Are You Today? Medley by Maywood. Happy Mother's Day!

See more of MayWood.

Friday, May 08, 2009

OECD Snapshot Country Statistical Profiles for 2009 are NOW Available for its 30 Member Countries plus Six Large Non-Member Economies

Do NOT believe everything you read in the media. To fully understand this world, it pays to look at hard facts available online.

In this vein, one should now look at the Country Statistical Profiles for 2009 which have just become available from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). As written at the OECD:
  • "The Country Statistical Profiles provide, for each of the 30 member countries, and, to the extent possible, for the 6 big non-member economies (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russian Federation and South Africa) and the accession countries Chile, Estonia, Israel and Slovenia, a broad selection of indicators, illustrating the demographic, social, economic and environmental developments. The user can easily compare each indicator for a country with those of other OECD countries."
Current country profiles are available for Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Brazil, Chile, China, Estonia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Russian Federation, Slovenia, and South Africa.

The OECD informs us that these statistics are a STAT EXTRACT for each country since:
  • "[t]his statistical profile, updated yearly, is a snapshot of data selected from more than 40 statistical databases available on SourceOECD, our online library. The red i's in the second column provide links to the sources of the data, where more up-to-date data and longer time series can be found."
The OECD stats are quite a bit more soberly realistic than a lot of the sensational hype pandered in newspapers, radio and television.

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