Friday, March 26, 2004

Larry Lessig has persuaded his publishers, Penguin, to make his new book, Free Culture, available online under a creative commons licence, Cory Doctorow style.

It looks as though Microsoft may have pulled a fast one on the EU according to Dan Gillmor and Andrew Orlowski. Regardless of whether you love or hate the company, in some ways you've got to have a sneaking admiration for Microsoft or at least the smart people they employ. Even when they are apparently under the cosh they're always looking to outwit the authorities and usually do.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Interesting essay in Spiked by Brendan O'Neill: Creating the enemy. Extract:

Over the past 10 to 15 years, the politics of fear and caution have come to dominate Western societies. Where political life previously consisted of debates and disagreements about what kind of society we wanted to live in, today it tends to focus on issues of safety and perceived risks to our health, environment or 'way of life'. The exhaustion of the political traditions of Left and Right has had a profoundly disorientating impact across Western society, shattering the consensus upon which basic questions of politics and morality have been decided throughout recent history. Faith in what were traditionally considered 'Western' values or institutions, from democratic politics to medical science, from the church to the monarchy, has been steadily eroded. Gaining agreement on any issue, from genetic modification and abortion to the role of the family and the issue of recreational drugs, has become increasingly fraught and subject to abitrary considerations.

We live in an era of great uncertainty, in which political leaders stand isolated from the public and unsure of what they believe in, and individuals have a weakened sense of community, solidarity or identity. This is enough to put society in a constant state of powerlessness and vulnerability - even without terrorist attacks."

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Mr Blunkett's ID card scheme is running on apace.

"Mr Harrison" [the head of the Home Office's identity card policy unit] "also outlined the latest Home Office thinking on on whether or not the one million Irish nationals living in Britain will have to carry UK identity cards...

Mr Harrison told a Law Society conference yesterday that
ministers had started with the assumption that information on
the pattern of everyday transactions involving each card would
not be kept on the central computer database.

But following representations from the information commissioner
they were now minded to keep information "about the audit of
transactions" to allow the authorities to investigate abuses of the

The senior Home Office official also revealed the current thinking
on how to deal with the Irish problem. The 1949 Ireland Act
specifies that Irish citizens living in Britain enjoy total freedom of
movement between the two countries...

Mr Harrison said the plan now was to allow Irish nationals in
Britain to choose whether to be treated on an equivalent basis to
a British national or as an EU foreign national. He said there
would be a separate document which Irish nationals could obtain
which would not be a foreign national's resident's permit to
reflect their special status. "
Donna is getting some help with Copyfight. Elizabeth Rader, Aaron Swartz, Jason Schultz, Wendy Seltzer and Ernest Miller. They don't come much smarter than that lot. I wonder if it is something about people with names with 'z' in them, that raises the IQ (Ernest being the exception that proves the rule)?

Donna's first post to the new collective relates to the latest challenge coming out of Stanford's CIS to the Copyright Term Extension Act. With Golan v Ashcroft also coming out of that stable Lessig and co. seem determined, as James Grimmelmann so eloquently suggests, to salvage the phoenix from the Eldred case Supreme Court ashes. Better go update my link to copyfight now it has moved back to Corante.

Monday, March 22, 2004

The Guardian leader today shares my perpective on David Blunkett's intention to take advantage of the Madrid bombings to introduce ID cards. The illusion of security is the enemy of security.
UK Home Secretary, David Blunkett, is back to his hobby horse of trying to get his national ID card scheme implemented again and has Cabinet colleagues complaining about his sneaky tactics.
According to Mary Hodder and the smoking gun, Donald Trump has applied for a trademark on the phrase "You're Fired". Mary notes that "You're Outsourced" is still available.