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Digital civil liberties groups on Tuesday said that a trade deal being thrashed out between Europe and Canada is an attempt to introduce the controversial anti-piracy agreement ACTA by the back door.

Leaked documents have shown that the part of the text of the Canada-EU Trade Agreement (CETA) that relates to intellectual property rights enforcement is almost identical to ACTA. Also, it’s a little-known deal that is being trick to bring back ACTA through the backdoor is in line with Trade Commissioner De Gucht’s declaration after the vote on July 4, that he has no consideration whatsoever for citizens and the Parliament and is just the copyright lobbies’ lapdog. CETA must be opposed and defeated, just like ACTA,” said J鲩mie Zimmermann, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net, in a statement.

But is this really an attempt by the European Commission, which negotiates such deals, to override the European Parliament’s decision last week to reject ACTA? Leading member of Parliament Marietje Schaake says no.

“I am concerned about some of the alarmist emails I have received already,” said Schaake. “This deal, although the text is indeed a copy and paste from the ACTA agreement, is not a backdoor attempt by the Commission, since the current draft was drawn up before ACTA was thrown out. At the time the Commission still anticipated that ACTA would be passed.”

Even Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge, a vocal opponent of ACTA, also pointed out on his blog that CETA was drafted long before the European Parliament voted against ACTA. The Commission assumed that ACTA would be rubber-stamped he said. “This was more than a reasonable assumption from the European Commission in February 2012; it was even the way I would have expected them to do their job, whether I liked it or not,” added Falkvinge.

CETA is still in the early stages and will not be put before the European Parliament until the beginning of 2014. The text leaked this week dates from February. In the meantime there will be the usual legal checks and text revisions.

“It’s too early to say this is a new ACTA. If the Commission is wise, it will modify the chapter before it comes before the Parliament or I see no reason why the same concerns wouldn’t be raised,” said Schaake. In this sense the left the door open for countries to force ISPs to police their own customers. Others said that digital and tangible goods cannot be treated in the same way.

“It is high time for a reform of intellectual property rights enforcement. One of the alarm bells for me with ACTA was the Commission’s promise that it wouldn’t change anything! Things need to change. But I think we currently

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Marketing Christmas Through The Ages

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly

Yes, even now Christmas is being hijacked by people like me – hence the headline. And it’s this marketing exercise of Christmas that especially fascinates me.

The marketing started in 300AD when in the Rome of the Emperor Constantine (recently converted to Christianity) the celebration of Christ’s birth was made to coincide with Saturnalia. The feel- good of a great blow-out got the Christian bandwagon rolling along nicely.

This coincidence of celebrating Christ’s birth and roll-out-the barrel party time continued happily until typically the mean old sod, Mr Austerity Cromwell banned Christmas. Back to normal and a lot more when Charles 11 returned to England.

Enter the four great apostles of Christmas early in the 19th century, first Washington Irving in America and his “Old Christmas” and the virtual invention of the Christmas that we know.

Then Clement Moore – a Theology Professor whose “The Night before Christmas” was written for his children, was then picked up by the New Yorker and has become a defining Christmas idea. Dickens and Cruikshank, his illustrator, followed in 1836 and 1843 with Pickwick Papers and a Christmas Carol.

Around the same time Prince Albert, gluhwein king and Victoria’s husband brought us German Christmas – snow, sleigh bells, decorated trees and Victorian Christmas was born.

Washington Irving put it like this in his efforts to create a ‘marketing’ campaign (he wouldn’t have called it that) to quell social violence brought on by the hopelessness of winter and appeal to everyone’s good nature:

“In the depth of winter, when nature lies despoiled of every charm, and wrapped in her shroud of sheeted snow, we turn for our gratifications to moral sources. The dreariness and desolation of the landscape, the short gloomy days and darksome nights, while they circumscribe our wanderings, shut in our feelings also from rambling abroad, and make us more keenly disposed for the pleasures of the social circle. Our thoughts are more concentrated; our friendly sympathies more aroused. We feel more sensibly the charm of each other’s society, and are brought more closely together by dependence upon each other for enjoyment. Heart calleth unto heart; and we draw our pleasures from the deep wells of living kindness, which lie in the quiet recesses of our bosoms; and which, when resorted to, furnish forth the pure element of domestic felicity”.

It has something else which enthrals me. It evokes and sustains such great stories and the felicitous layering of Christian, pagan, commercial and romantic stories and myths from many different geographies. Christmas stories are like Christmas cake, mixed and rich.

The pageantry and the atmosphere of this time never fail to astonish even hardened cynics and make those two words “bah humbug!” sound wonderfully festive too.

Have great ideas, have fun and be immoderate. Happy Christmas

Thanks to Richard Hall for this festive post. Richard has been CEO at FCO for 10 years – voted most creative Agency in London and Deputy Chairman at Euro RSCG when it bought FCO. Over the last 17 years Richard has chaired six Marketing Services companies, mentored scores of senior executives, written 10 books (including second and third editions and revisions) that have been translated and published in 24 countries. Chairman of Showcase Presentations, the Friends St Nicholas (local charity), RH&A (consultancy) and a creative think-tank called

Thanks to Richard Hall for this festive post. Richard has been CEO at FCO for 10 years – voted most creative Agency in London and Deputy Chairman at Euro RSCG when it bought FCO. Over the last 17 years Richard has chaired six Marketing Services companies, mentored scores of senior executives, written 10 books (including second and third editions and revisions) that have been translated and published in 24 countries. Chairman of Showcase Presentations, the Friends St Nicholas (local charity), RH&A (consultancy) and a creative think-tank called Colourful Thinkers . You can connect on LinkedIn or read his blog.

His new book is Solve Problems, Make Brilliant Decisions.

Is Microsoft Crossing The Line By Pushing Security Essentials?

Microsoft has offered free protection with Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) for some time, and it recently expanded the availability of the antivirus protection for small businesses. A recent move to push out Microsoft Security Essentials to Windows systems that don’t have any antivirus protection, however, has some rival security vendors up in arms. From Microsoft’s perspective, though, it’s a little “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”.

Panda Security’s Pedro Bustamente explains in a blog post, “We agree with Microsoft; it’s better to have some protection than not having any at all. However the way the guys in Redmond are executing the idea is risky from a security perspective and could very well make the malware situation much worse for Internet users.”

Bustamente then goes on to detail his arguments–not crying that Microsoft is using its operating system monopoly to squash competition, but making the case for why Microsoft’s approach might cause more harm than good.

I have worked with Pedro, and I respect his opinion, but I must differ on a few points. First, Bustamente points out that MSE is only pushed to Windows systems that are validated as authentic licensed copies. However, an estimated 40 percent of the Windows systems out there are not legally licensed, and malware infections are more prevalent on the pirated systems, so Microsoft is leaving a major segment of the Windows culture unprotected.

That is true, but so what? Even if Microsoft offered MSE for unlicensed copies of Windows, many would reject it out of fear that Microsoft would use to it detect and hunt down the illegal Windows systems–possibly disabling them remotely. Panda and other third-party security vendors already offer free solutions that would work for that 40 percent. The very fact that those 40 percent aren’t using the free tools that are available suggests they’re simply not interested.

Pedro then explains how Microsoft pushing MSE to all unprotected systems creates an AV monoculture where all systems are running the same AV protection, and any attack that can exploit or circumvent that protection will spread–unchallenged–and cripple the entire Internet.

The list goes on, and the fact is that even if Microsoft protected every Windows system not currently running a competing AV solution, there are still millions upon millions of Windows systems running the various other AV products available–and vendors such as Symantec and McAfee may very well present a larger security monoculture environment than Microsoft.

Bustamente asserts that Microsoft should save the time and effort dedicated to pushing free MSE to unprotected systems, and instead focus all of its resources on just developing more secure software in the first place so there wouldn’t be a be a need for security software. However, if that Utopian vision were actually possible, security vendors like Panda and Trend Micro would be out of business.

Is MSE the best security protection available? Probably not. Is it adequate? Yes. Is it better than nothing? Without a doubt.

Microsoft should constantly be working on simply making more secure products in the first place. However, it is hard to fault Microsoft for also providing the protection that today’s Windows systems need, and proactively pushing it to Windows users too naïve or ignorant to implement baseline security measures on their own.

Securities And Exchange Commission (Sec)

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

The US federal agency responsible for responsible for implementing federal securities laws and proposing securities rules

Written by

CFI Team

Published April 7, 2023

Updated July 7, 2023

What is the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)?

The US Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, is an independent agency of the US federal government that is responsible for implementing federal securities laws and proposing securities rules. It is also in charge of maintaining the securities industry and stock and options exchanges, as well as regulating electronic securities markets and other activities in the country.

With headquarters in Washington, D.C. and operating in 11 regional offices throughout the US, the SEC aims to provide protection to investors and ensure that markets are fair, efficient, and in order. It also strives to create a market environment that people can trust.

History of the Securities and Exchange Commission

Before the creation of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, there were blue sky laws that were enforced at the state level. They were in charge of regulating the sale of securities to protect the investing public against fraud. However, said laws were found to be ineffective.

Congress then passed the Securities Act of 1933 to regulate interstate sale of securities at the federal level, while the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 regulates the sale of securities in the secondary market. The SEC was created by Section 4 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, also called the Exchange Act or the 1934 Act, to enforce federal securities laws.

Organizational Setup of the SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission comprises five Commissioners who are appointed by the US President. One of them is designated as the Chairman of the Commission. The law dictates that no more than three Commissioners may come from the same political party, to ensure non-partisanship.

Here are the five divisions within the SEC:

1. Division of Corporation Finance

This division is responsible for helping the Securities and Exchange Commission in performing its role of overseeing the corporate disclosure of important information to investors. When stock is sold, a corporation is required to adhere to regulations related to disclosure. The Division of Corporation Finance is tasked to review on a regular basis disclosure documents that are filed by corporations. It also helps interpret the rules of the SEC. It likewise gives recommendations related to new adoption rules to the SEC.

2. Division of Trading and Markets

This division assists the SEC in ensuring that markets are fair, orderly, and efficient. It oversees the day-to-day activities of major securities market participants, securities firms, securities exchanges, self-regulatory organizations, clearing agencies, transfer agents, credit rating agencies, as well as securities information processors.

3. Division of Investment Management

The division of Investment Management helps the Securities and Exchange Commission in executing its role of protecting investors and promoting capital formation. It oversees and regulates the country’s investment management industry. It ensures that disclosures about investments such as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds are useful to retail customers. The division also ensures that the regulatory costs are not too high.

4. Division of Enforcement

The division of Enforcement is responsible for the enforcement of securities laws. It gives recommendations on the commencement of investigations of securities law violations. It is also in charge of working closely with law enforcement agencies to take on criminal cases.

5. Division of Economic and Risk Analysis

This division is in charge of protecting investors and keeping markets fair, orderly, and efficient. It also provides economic analyses and data analytics, and interacts with almost all divisions and offices within the Commission.

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The Best Hearthstone Decks: Rise Through The Ranks

1. Mech Paladin

Mech Paladin is a Hearthstone deck that has been around for a while. It has always been decent thanks to the Magnetic keyword mechanic, but it has recently risen to top tier thanks to the addition of new Descent of Dragons cards which complement the archetype very well. It is a tempo deck that shines in the mid-game. Your goal is to build a strong board presence and overwhelm your opponent when the time is right. You can do so by magnetizing your mechs and by resurrecting and buffing your minions. Here is how to make the most out of the Mech Paladin deck.

In the early game, you’ll be relying on cards like Galvanizer and Micro Mummy to build up your board presence and buff minions. However, two of the best cards in your arsenal are from Descent of Dragons: Sky Claw and Sanctuary. The first not only gives other Mechs +1 attack but summons two 1/1 Microcopters with its Battlecry. Sanctuary, on the other hand, allows you to summon a 3/6 minion with Taunt if you can avoid damage for one turn. Both cards are excellent at pressuring your opponent to clear your board instead of going for direct attacks.

Sky Claw is one of your essential early cards.

From there, you’ll want to continue building up board presence with Magnetic cards like Replicating Menace and Annoy-o-Module and going on the offensive with Goboglide Tech, which gains +1/+1 and rush when you control other mechs. The mid-game is also when you’ll want to start magnetizing mechs to form powerful minions. You can even add a Faceless Manipulator to your deck for that extra punch. You shouldn’t get too greedy, though! When facing a control deck, for example, you’ll want to apply as much early and mid-game pressure as you can. This means not trading as much but focusing on direct attacks where possible instead. You’ll want to finish your opponent off before they can get their hands on their late-game clear or their own powerful minions.

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Game lists

If you do get to the late game, however, you could use Kangor’s Endless Army. It can bring back three of your destroyed mechs with all of their Magnetic upgrades intact, giving you all the power you need for that finishing move. This comeback ability and aggressive playstyle make Mech Paladin one of the best Hearthstone decks of the current meta. It might not be super easy to acquire, but it can take you far.

Deck import code: AAECAZ8FBK8EoIADxaEDn7cDDc8GrweY+wL2/QLW/gLX/gLZ/gLh/gLMgQOHrgPqsAPssAONtgMA

Goru is so mightree that he can singlehandedly turn the game around in your favor!

In the mid-game, you can continue your swarm with Garden Gnome. There is a huge variety of spells in your deck that will activate its effect of summoning two 2/2 treants when holding a spell, which costs 5 or more mana. Combine it with Soul of the Forest with its death rattle effect, and your board is practically impossible to clear. Make sure you are dealing chip damage and not just trading. If you are playing against an aggro deck, you might have to make some suboptimal plays and buffs, however. Getting bullied off the board usually spells a loss for the Treant Token Druid deck.

Plant a forest of five treants on your board with The Forest’s Aid!

Nevertheless, you still have a chance to devastate opponents in the late game. The key cards here are Goru the Mightree and The Forest’s Aid. The first is a powerful Taunt minion that will buff all of your treants for the rest of the game, including those already on the board. The Forest’s Aid, on the other hand, plants a full forest on your board with its ability to summon five 2/2 treants. You can then buff them with spells like Savage Roar and Power of the Wild for your closing lethal damage moves. This makes Treant Token Druid versatile and consistent and one of the best Hearthstone decks you can currently play.

Deck import code: AAECAZICAv0C960DDu0D9wPmBd/7Ar/9AtWDA8OUA86UA9OcA+2iA++iA/ytA/6tA/+tAwA=

Dragonqueen Alexstrasza is a late-game powerhouse and an essential part of your deck.

Things get a bit easier in the mid-game. This is your time to take hold of the board and begin chipping away at your opponent’s HP with direct attacks. One of the essential cards that will enable you to do so is Stormhammer. Once you have a dragon on the board, this weapon doesn’t lose durability. Spells like Kill Command and Deadly Shot, on the other hand, will make sure your opponent doesn’t overwhelm you with minions.

Deck import code: AAECAR8e+K8D/K8Dnp0DoIUDiq0Dx50DgQr8owO1A8UIjq0DqALeggP+rwOftwOLrQPbCYewA4iwA40I7IkDoIAD7Qn5lgPYsgPolAOmpQOEpwORsQObhQMAAA==

You can’t have a Galakrond deck without Galakrond!

But how do you activate Necrium’s Deathrattle in the mid-game? You’ll need Necrium Blade which allows you to trigger the Deathrattle of a random friendly minion. Don’t worry if you don’t draw this card right away though. You have plenty of other options. Your opponent can be slowed down with cards like Vendetta, Faceless Corruptor, and more. You can even combo Shadowstep with Flik Skyshiv, so he costs less and can eliminate all copies of two minions — an incredibly powerful ability.

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In the late game, of course, you’ll want to invoke Galakrond the Nightmare. If you are lucky, his Battlecry could hand you everything you need for zero mana. Ideally, you’d get Dragonqueen Alexstrasza or Knox Dragonhoof. The latter is an essential card in any Galakrond deck because it makes it easy to regain board control and compensate for tempo loss with its powerful devastations. You could even reuse Knox’s Battlecry if you’ve saved your Shadowstep to completely wipe the floor with your opponent. It’s not an easy deck to pull off, but when done right (and with some luck), the Highlander Galakrond Rogue is among the best and most enjoyable Hearthstone decks.

Deck import code: AAECAaIHHrQBsgLtAs0DrwSIB7T2Asf4At76AqCAA4+XA5CXA5KXA/uaA/6aA/yjA4SnA/GnA/WnA7euA7muA7uuA7+uA8GuA/6uA86vA4KxA5GxA+O0A8vAAwAA

Penance is essential for surviving the early game.

Once you get to the mid-game, you can finally get some minions out. Sandhoof Waterbearer is always a good choice because it restores five health to a damaged friendly character. Convincing Infiltrator and Khartut Defender have a lot of value too, especially when combined with Psychopomp. It can summon a random friendly minion that died this game and give it Reborn, reusing its effects. This will allow you to fulfill your Quest sooner rather than later.

Batterhead can clear your opponent’s board on his own.

The late game is where this deck truly shines, however. Mass Resurrection is your trump card — it can resurrect three different friendly minions. From there, you can buff them with Obelisk’s Eye for some serious damage. Zilliax is an excellent candidate for this, as is Batterhead thanks to Rush and the latter’s ability to attack once more every time it kills a minion. Use him to wipe your enemy’s board and then focus on direct damage. If you want to go all out, you can even add N’Zoth, the Corruptor to bring back all dead Deathrattle minions. It’s a deck that requires careful and meticulous play but using your late game cards is satisfying and fun, making Quest Resurrect Priest one of the best Hearthstone decks you can currently play.

Deck import code: AAECAa0GCNMKoIADjYID5ogD1pkDk5sDr6UD3asDC9YKl4cDgpQDmJsDmZsDg6ADoaED0aUDmakDn6kD8qwDAA==

These are our picks for the five best Hearthstone decks in the current meta. If you want to practice building your own decks like we have, also be sure to check out Hearthstone Top Decks.

How Two Top European Clothing Giants Overpowered The Search Marketing Competition

There has been a monstrous wave riding through Europe’s search market and it’s crushing the competitors with the force of Poseidon’s trident. The brilliant search marketing conducted by companies like Zalando in Germany and ASOS in the UK reveals strategies to be mirrored, no matter what industry or market you are in.

ASOS and Zalando: Search Marketing

Let’s take a quick look at the search marketing situation in the Clothing & Accessories Industry in Germany and the UK.

This data refers to the share of search of each domain on January 20, 2014. chúng tôi and chúng tôi are showing incredible search visibility in several Clothing & Accessories categories in the UK and Germany, respectively. The percentages in the infographic are based on the top 100 most visible domains in each category and the visibility of these domains derives from the top 20-25 most searched and competitive generic keywords per category.

These two domains take the #1 position in the categories above and what’s even more amazing is the share of search of the next ranking domain. The graph below shows the search market situation for Boots in Germany and the difference between chúng tôi and the #2 domain (which varies over time) is almost constantly about 30 percent. Do you think Zalando is lonely up there?

So who are these guys and why are they so good at being seen? Maybe we can get some tips to increase our own visibility and rise above the tide? Let’s take a closer look.

ASOS Reinvents Themselves

ASOS, originally As Seen on Screen Ltd., is a UK-based online fashion and beauty retailer that was established in 2000. They sell branded and own-brand fashion items almost all over the world. In 2008, they received high acclaim for their online store from famous magazines like Cosmopolitan, In Style and Maxim. In 2010, ASOS received e-commerce Awards for both Best Direct Retailer and Best Use of Social Media. I could go on about their awards and recognition online and off, but I won’t. The fact is, in almost 14 years of service, they have become UK’s largest online fashion and beauty retailer and Google doesn’t mind at all.

What Google is really happy about, is the augmentation of search engine marketing that ASOS underwent last year to make their website even more retail savvy. SEM is important for any company that plans to convert traffic into revenue, regardless of whether they are actually selling products online or not. According to Marketing Week, ASOS increased their digital marketing efforts in 2013, focusing on country-specific campaigns. Gemma Lovelock, Director of promotions marketing agency Lock-In Marketing, also said that ASOS made sure that their online store was accessible to customers from anywhere and with any device. You can find details about the search marketing strategies of ASOS in recent a blog post by Lara Vogel that compares brands and retailers online. They’re not doing so bad on social media either which supports their organic visibility with social linking.

Large e-commerce sites may find it challenging to implement good SEO, but ASOS has managed brilliantly. According to Ruth Attwood, SEO Manager at 4Ps Marketing, large e-commerce websites should “[c]ome up with a process for optimization, train [their] staff to do it properly, put quality procedures in place, measure the result of those changes, then rinse and repeat.” As someone who monitors share of search results on a daily basis, I can tell you that finding the right service to measure the results can be tricky, but it is definitely an important step. Apparently ASOS has done a great job and even managed the rinse and repeat with the unveiling of a new design for it’s men’s and women’s category pages, focusing strongly on product ideas and good content.

Zalando’s SEO Excellence success all started in October 2008, with a small range of products from selected brands. Now, Zalando is live in 14 European countries and offers thousands of different brands. It won the 2012 German Marketing Prize for outstanding marketing performance and the 2012 European e-commerce award for best transnational online shop at the Global e-commerce Summit.

In an interview by State of Digital in June 2012, Alessio Madeyski, the SEO Manager of Zalando at the time, states that Zalando practices only white hat SEO as it is not a matter of the color of the hat, but what the user gains. “I strongly believe that the brand belongs to the user, not to the company. So we, as Zalando, are trying to do all we can to listen to what the user wants.” He prefers the term “idea building” instead of link building, as he believes in developing authentic relationships brought on by good content and creativity.

Now you know more about the monstrous waves in European search marketing and as you can see, there was no Greek God behind their amazing share of search. They simply followed the rules that we all know and aim to master. Of course, there was a bit of creativity in the mix and that should always be welcome. Gain inspiration from the success stories like these and use them as a guide for your own success, regardless of your industry or market. It might even be an opportunity for a little fish to grab a trident of their own!

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