Friday, February 26, 2010

Yahoo Pipes BAILLI feeds

Daithí MacSíthigh has just pointed out, via Twitter, a terrific BAILLI rss feed utility set up by Nick Holmes and others via Yahoo Pipes. Super Net strikes again.

U.S., Korea, Singapore, Denmark Do Not Support ACTA Transparency

From Michael Geist:
"Since full transparency requires consensus of all the ACTA partners, the text simply can't be released until everyone is in agreement.  Of course, those same countries hasten to add that they can't name who opposes ACTA transparency, since that too is secret.

No longer. In an important new leak from the Netherlands (Dutch, Google English translation, better English translation), a Dutch memorandum reporting back on the Mexico ACTA negotiation round names names, pointing specifically to which countries support releasing the text and which do not... the UK has played a lead role in making the case for full disclosure of the documents and is of the view that there is consensus for release of the text (there is support from many countries including the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, and Austria).  However, the memo indicates that several countries are not fully supportive including Belgium, Portugal, Germany, and Denmark.  Of these four countries, the Dutch believe that Denmark is the most inflexible on the issue.
Outside of the Europe, the memo identifies three problem countries.  While Japan is apparently supportive, both South Korea and Singapore oppose ACTA transparency.  Moreover, the U.S. has remained silent on the issue, as it remains unconvinced of the need for full disclosure.  In doing so, it would appear that the U.S. is perhaps the biggest problem since a clear position of support might be enough to persuade the remaining outliers."

Facebook patent on news feeds

This is a bit like the Blackboard patent on online learning:
"Facebook this week was awarded a patent pertaining to streaming "feed" technology, more specifically "dynamically providing a news feed about a user of a social network," complementing another patent filing that has been published but not yet approved.
The implications for this, as pointed out earlier on Thursday, are far-flung: Facebook may choose to pursue action against other social-media sites that potentially violate this patent. Twitter, as AllFacebook points out, is effectively one giant news feed, to the extent that it clearly has influenced some of the changes that Facebook made to its own feed technology."
How can we claim to encourage innovation with patents when this kind of thing gets through?

Update: Andres Guadamuz has taken the trouble to go through the patent and confirms it should not have been granted.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Microsoft DMCA notice leads Network Solutions to shut Cryptome

From Wired:
"Microsoft has managed to do what a roomful of secretive, three-letter government agencies have wanted to do for years: get the whistleblowing, government-document sharing site Cryptome shut down.
Microsoft dropped a DMCA notice alleging copyright infringement on Cryptome’s proprietor John Young on Tuesday after he posted a Microsoft surveillance compliance document that the company gives to law enforcement agents seeking information on Microsoft users. Young filed a counterclaim on Wednesday — arguing he had a fair use to publishing the document, a full day before the Thursday deadline set by his hosting provider, Network Solutions.
Regardless, Cryptome was shut down by Network Solutions and its domain name locked on Wednesday — shuttering a site that thumbed its nose at the government since 1996 — posting thousands of documents that the feds would prefer never saw the light of day.
Lawyers accidentally courting bad publicity again presumably?

Update: Someone in Microsoft with the requisite clout has seen and imposed some sense. Network Solutions emailed John Young:
"Date: Thu, 25 Feb 2010 12:22:59 -0500
From: "DMCA"
To: "John Young"

We would like to notify you that Microsoft has contacted us regarding Microsoft has withdrawn their DMCA complaint. As a result has been reactivated and this matter has been closed. Please allow time for the reactivation to propagate throughout the various servers around the world.
Linda L. Larsen, Designated Agent
Network Solutions, LLC
Telephone: 703.668.5615
Facsimile: 703.668.5959
Email: dmca[at]"

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Machine is Us/ing Us

Nigel Gibson has just been pointing out Michael Wesch's wonderful video on the value of web technologies, Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us to some of my OU colleagues.

A great way to begin to get web tech in just under 5 minutes.

Panton Principles for open data in science

Peter Murray-Rust, University of Cambridge (UK), Cameron Neylon, STFC (UK), Rufus Pollock, Open Knowledge Foundation and University of Cambridge (UK), John Wilbanks, Science Commons have just published the Panton Principles for open data in science.

Science is based on building on, reusing and openly criticising the published body of scientific knowledge.

For science to effectively function, and for society to reap the full benefits from scientific endeavours, it is crucial that science data be made open.

By open data in science we mean that it is freely available on the public internet permitting any user to download, copy, analyse, re-process, pass them to software or use them for any other purpose without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. To this end data related to published science should be explicitly placed in the public domain.
Formally, we recommend adopting and acting on the following principles:
  1. Where data or collections of data are published it is critical that they be published with a clear and explicit statement of the wishes and expectations of the publishers with respect to re-use and re-purposing of individual data elements, the whole data collection, and subsets of the collection. This statement should be precise, irrevocable, and based on an appropriate and recognized legal statement in the form of a waiver or license.
    When publishing data make an explicit and robust statement of your wishes.
  2. Many widely recognized licenses are not intended for, and are not appropriate for, data or collections of data. A variety of waivers and licenses that are designed for and appropriate for the treatment of data are described here. Creative Commons licenses (apart from CCZero), GFDL, GPL, BSD, etc are NOT appropriate for data and their use is STRONGLY discouraged.
    Use a recognized waiver or license that is appropriate for data.
  3.  The use of licenses which limit commercial re-use or limit the production of derivative works by excluding use for particular purposes or by specific persons or organizations is STRONGLY discouraged. These licenses make it impossible to effectively integrate and re-purpose datasets and prevent commercial activities that could be used to support data preservation.
    If you want your data to be effectively used and added to by others it should be open as defined by the Open Knowledge/Data Definition – in particular non-commercial and other restrictive clauses should not be used.
  4. Furthermore, in science it is STRONGLY recommended that data, especially where publicly funded, be explicitly placed in the public domain via the use of the Public Domain Dedication and Licence or Creative Commons Zero Waiver. This is in keeping with the public funding of much scientific research and the general ethos of sharing and re-use within the scientific community.
    Explicit dedication of data underlying published science into the public domain via PDDL or CCZero is strongly recommended and ensures compliance with both the Science Commons Protocol for Implementing Open Access Data and the Open Knowledge/Data Definition."