Personal perspectives on information science, the evolving Internet, delivery of public services online, Web 2.0, the Web of Data, the Semantic Web, communities, folksonomies and more. With an emphasis upon convergence between some or all of the above, and a UK slant.
“UK music fans no longer face the threat of prosecution for copying their own CDs on to PCs or MP3 players, as long as the songs are only for personal use.
Peter Jamieson, chairman of the British Phonographic Industry, said consumers would only be penalised if they made duplicates of songs for other people.
Currently anyone transferring music to portable devices breaks copyright laws.”
Isn't that soniceof the BPI? They have the generosity of spirit to magnanimously permit me to copy my own music from my own CDwhich I have paid (a lot, usually) for, so that I can listen to it on my own iPod.
About **** time!
Don't they understand that most peoplewantto do the right thing, and that their idiocy comes pretty close to actively driving the majority toward unwilling illegality?
I almost pointed to thenews(pointless and annoying subscription required) that Disney are to start releasing some of their popular programmes (one is being watched on video downstairs, as I type upstairs) online the day after they are broadcast.
I almost pointed to some of thecoverage. I almost pointed to the fact that theBBCis making full use of the freedoms afforded them by the licence fee and making sizeable chunks oftheirprogramming (such as theApprentice) available online already, at least to their licence fee payers in the UK.
I almost said how good all this was, and almost agreed with Jeff that Disney/ABC's immovable ads would soon be moved.
As you've probably worked out by now, I think that theGoogle Libraryproject is A Good Thing on the whole, and my non-legal view would be to suggest that those bringing the recent lawsuits don't have much basis for their suit. And if they do, the law is just plain wrong.
How, exactly, can someone with an interest in more than just maintaining thestatus quoconsider it a bad thing to have the hidden content of often obscure books found, and to have the finder directed to either borrow the book from a library or buy it from a book seller before they can see any more than the immediate area in which their search term occurs?
I've been following various discussions on both sides of this issue, but foundthe recent postby Intellectual Property lawyerDenise Howellcomprehensive, balanced, and informative.
Check it out, and be pleased that it makes sense without a law degree.
Oh, and if anyone has acompellingexplanation as to why these litigious dinosaurs might have a point, I reallywouldlove to hear it.
Writingin hisblog,IBM's Irving Wladawsky-Berger draws my attention to an important step they are taking today to support innovation and development in the fields of Health and Education.
“This week IBM is taking a major step toward ameliorating those IP concerns in the areas of health care and education by helping industry organizations in both areas develop the needed open standards and collaborative platforms. We are pledging open access to our entire present and future patent portfolio for specific standards initiatives around web services, open documents and electronic forms in the healthcare and education industries.”
Bob Sutor, VP of Standards and Open Source, has moredetails, and IBM's official page on all this ishere, along with lists of the included standards.
“A plan [discussed on this blogbefore] by the European Commission to digitise the contents of Europe's libraries has been branded a threat to copyright laws by the Federation of European Publishers.”
So they're being even-handed in their knee-jerk lashing out against progress and increased access to information. Well,that'sreassuring.
Google Print isn't planning to allow Internet users to read an in-copyright work from cover to cover online; they're going to offer options tobuyor (hopefully)borrowa copy, raising awareness of currently under-read works.
No organisation has a right to exist. No organisation has a right to their ancient business model. The world moves on. Move on too, or get out of the way.
There is scope for making money from the publication of other people's creative endeavours. There is undoubtedly a requirement to protect the rights of those creative individuals over a reasonable period of time. But locking 'published' content away and making itharderto access at the same time as so much else becomeseasierseems a sure way to have the world decide that you're increasingly irrelevant.
The recently launchedAdelphi Charteron creativity, innovation and intellectual property is couched in words that appear to strike a reasonable balance between the insane protectionism of some rights holders and the equally insane posturing of those who don't think that anyone should ever pay for anything.
“Laws regulating intellectual property must serve as means of achieving creative, social and economic ends and not as ends in themselves.
These laws and regulations must serve, and never overturn, the basic human rights to health, education, employment and cultural life.
The public interest requires a balance between the public domain and private rights. It also requires a balance between the free competition that is essential for economic vitality and the monopoly rights granted by intellectual property laws.
Intellectual property protection must not be extended to abstract ideas, facts or data.
Patents must not be extended over mathematical models, scientific theories, computer code, methods for teaching, business processes, methods of medical diagnosis, therapy or surgery.
Copyright and patents must be limited in time and their terms must not extend beyond what is proportionate and necessary.
Government must facilitate a wide range of policies to stimulate access and innovation, including non-proprietary models such as open source software licensing and open access to scientific literature.
Intellectual property laws must take account of developing countries' social and economic circumstances.
In making decisions about intellectual property law, governments should adhere to these rules:
* There must be an automatic presumption against creating new areas of intellectual property protection, extending existing privileges or extending the duration of rights. * The burden of proof in such cases must lie on the advocates of change. * Change must be allowed only if a rigorous analysis clearly demonstrates that it will promote people's basic rights and economic well-being. * Throughout, there should be wide public consultation and a comprehensive, objective and transparent assessment of public benefits and detriments.”
That sounds fair. The devil is, of course, in the detail.
Thanks to tech journalistBill Thompson, whosewrite-upmade me look at something that a lot of others had already been discussing.
Everyone in the room received quite a weighty hand-out, including Fenwick & West's recommended model policy for blogging. This draft policy doesn't appear to be available online (Shawna/Matt - anything we could do about that?), but I may talk about it in more detail later on.
Part of the point of the session was to explore the legal issues around running or facilitating blogs associated with organisations, and the difficulties in fitting their rapid and informal nature into the usual (weighty!) approval and PR processes. Notionally 'personal' blogs presumably complicate issues still further. A posting of mine topanlibusmight clearly be considered 'corporate'. What about a posting of mine tothisblog? It'smyblog. I pay for it. But I talk about work-related issues, and I post on work time.
According to Matt, they reckon that around 50 individuals have been 'terminated' (which seems somehow different from 'sacked'?) for reasons directly associated to their posting on a blog. Scary, but I wonder how many of those 50 would be considerednotto have contravened either Fenwick & West's model policy, or even more permissive policies such as Talis' “be sensible” ?
There was some discussion around the steps that a company should take to police blogs that they might, legally, be considered to be wholly or partially liable for. Broadly, this policing could be considered to be either after-the-factmonitoringor pre-postpreviewing. Previewing appears to be problematic, as it slows down posting, raises the spectre of censorship and, perhaps worse, creates a legal view that the company hasendorsedany post that does end up on the blog. Active after-the-fact monitoring every day or so, however, is safer, and it would be legally defensible if a company were taken to court for some posting to a blog to point out that this post (perhaps made at 0200 one morning) was removed within a reasonable time frame when the blog was monitored the next day.
I asked about passive policing (simply providing a link whereby an offendedreadercould complain about content), but Shawna suggested that harassment etc legislation would require active rather than passive action. That seems unreasonable to me (but then, the law often does). I wonder if the same is true in Europe?
And, as it's a session about legal things, I should probably say that I'm not a lawyer, and that any interpretation of Matt and Shawna's contributions is only my own interpretation, not legal advice!
Bob had some interesting things to say around the implicit contract that he feels a content creator enters into withany good faith aggregatorwhen they make a feed available “in a format that we understand” (RSS, Atom, etc), or ping a dedicated service.
Bob suggests that anyone doing so could be considered to be granting permission for that content to be gathered and passed on by a third party. By offering this post via afeed, Bob would suggest that I grant permission for it to appear inTypePad's list of recently updated blogs, that I grant permission forBloglinesorPubSuborTechnoratito extract their value from it, and that I grant permission for just about anybody to display the feed on their web site.
Up to this point, I think that I agree with him. I wonder to what extent the law does?Andrés?
There are, of course, some important considerations wrapped up in those innocent little words “good faith”. As the content provider, I would expect unambiguous attribution. I would expect me, my work (and probably my employer) not to be misrepresented. I would hope, although this is harder to define, that my work would not be used inappropriately. To what extent are my expectations reasonable?
One possible concern these days is that feeds are being created and pings ponged entirely automatically, and it's entirely possible that this is all taking placewithoutthe knowledge of the user. Is it still tenable to argue, as Bob does, that feeding and pinging areconscious actsthat the author undertakes with some knowledge of the consequences? Possibly not, which may begin to complicate the picture.
Where I disagree, quite vehemently, with Bob is around his assertion that my implicit contract with him also permits him to plaster advertising over my feed in order that he can recoup his costs. No. It most definitely does not. Let me amend ourimplicitcontract by quiteexplicitlystating that I don't wantanyoneslapping advertising on or in association with one of my posts without my explicit permission.
Bob has a lot of interesting things to say about those acts that he feels the implicit contract allows and does not allow, and he's clearly given it some thought. One downside with the podcast as a medium is the difficulty I have in quoting back to you things that I heard whilst driving several hours ago. I suggest you have a listen, and contribute your thoughts.
Thereisan implicit contract. In a Web 2.0 world of mix, re-mix, aggregation and recombination there simplyhasto be. We can't afford to enter into formal legal agreements with every potential source, collaborator and beneficiary, both upstream and down.
Creative Commonspossibly offers one solution for moving this contract towards lightweight explicitness, and I have more hope there than Bob appeared to. Thestudyinto Creative Commons funded whilst wearingmy old hatis finished, and publication simply requires me to find the time to read it through in detail and sign it off. Keep an eyeherefor notice of the publication.ODRL, too, might offer a technical solution, and it would be interesting to hear Bob's thoughts around that.
So - where and how do we draw the line? And how close is the position of the line drawn by a content author to one drawn by a content aggregator?