Friday, September 16, 2005

The Charter on Intellectual Property

I hear the The Charter on Intellectual Property is to be launched at the RSA on the 13th of October.

Quote of the day

Quote of the day:
"Yet the distressing truth is that the marketization of the academy is eroding its historic commitment to the public interest. It is undermining the fabulously productive gift culture of the university and precipitating a greater array of conflicts of interest and ethical misbehaviour. One cannot blame a wary public for wondering if universities are still reliable, trustworthy institutions or a new breed of corporate shrill." David Bollier, Silent Theft (Routledge 2002), p136.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Doctors sue ex patients for defamation

From the WSJ free feature yesterday, "As Angry Patients Vent Online, Doctors Sue to Silence Them".

Stupid security

Again from Bruce, Infants on the Terrorist Watch List

Crypto-Gram 0509

Bruce Schneier's latest Crypto-gram is available, packed with his usual common sense about security, like Movie-Plot Threats

"Sometimes it seems like the people in charge of homeland security spend too much time watching action movies. They defend against specific movie plots instead of against the broad threats of terrorism...

One problem is that our nation's leaders are giving us what we want. Party affiliation notwithstanding, appearing tough on terrorism is important. Voting for missile defense makes for better campaigning than increasing intelligence funding. Elected officials want to do something visible, even if it turns out to be ineffective.

The other problem is that many security decisions are made at too low a level. The decision to turn off cell phones in some tunnels was made by those in charge of the tunnels. Even if terrorists then bomb a different tunnel elsewhere in the country, that person did his job.

And anyone in charge of security knows that he'll be judged in hindsight. If the next terrorist attack targets a chemical plant, we'll demand to know why more wasn't done to protect chemical plants. If it targets schoolchildren, we'll demand to know why that threat was ignored. We won't accept "we didn't know the target" as an answer. Defending particular targets protects reputations and careers.

We need to defend against the broad threat of terrorism, not against specific movie plots. Security is most effective when it doesn't make arbitrary assumptions about the next terrorist act. We need to spend more money on intelligence and investigation: identifying the terrorists themselves, cutting off their funding, and stopping them regardless of what their plans are. We need to spend more money on emergency response: lessening the impact of a terrorist attack, regardless of what it is. And we need to face the geopolitical consequences of our foreign policy and how it helps or hinders terrorism.

These vague things are less visible, and don't make for good political grandstanding. But they will make us safer. Throwing money at this year's movie plot threat won't."

If biometrics isn't perfect...

The Guardian reports on the government's charm initiative on the ID card scheme this morning.

Nothing particularly new except to reinforce the impression of experience Ian Watmore brings to the role of chief information officer. He has apparently convinced the government that authentication through biometrics should be the exception rather than the norm in the use of the card. Normal checking will apparently now be through chip and pin numbers. At a stoke that deals with one of the serious technical limitations of the original scheme - the need for a vast robust network of biometric readers. It also cuts the costs by a fair margin. The network of readers will still be required but not based on such ropey technology.

Of course it does undermine also the wild claims of David Blunkett, in particular, when he repeatly stated that the nature of biometric technology meant that it would be "impossible" for it to fail.

Patry says Google Print is copyright infringement

William Patry has weighed into the debate about whether Google are infringing copyright with the Google Print project.

"Google has gotten a lot of publicity lately about its efforts to digitally scan entire libraries, copyright be damned. I had differences with book publishers in the past (from the late 1980s to 1994) when a few mediocre, mid-level in-house counsel scared of their own shadows temporarily got in a position to set policy and did so disasterously: on issues such as fair use of unpublished works and repeal of Section 412, I believed their views at the time were frivolous and hypocritical. Under the current AAP Presidency of former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder, balance and dignity have been, fortunately, restored.

And on the Google issue, I share publishers' concerns. While I think the project is fantastic and would love for it to come to pass (it would greatly faciliate and democratize scholarship and thereby significantly increase learning), as to works under copyright, it can only be done with permission. Absent permission, I see no way for it to be considered fair use or covered by Section 108.

The chutzpadik manner in which Google has gone about this is breathtaking, and indeed what they have done so far is, in my opinion, already infringing, that is the copying of the books even without making them available. If I were a book publisher, I would file a declaratory judgment action and hope that Judge Rakoff, of fame, got the assignment. Telling publishers they can opt-out is not the way the Copyright Act works and "Judge Dread" is just the guy to cut down them down to size."

Making a real difference to the future

Susan Crawford believes that "the clueful are completely out of touch."
People don't care about progressive wireless-based platforms. People riding on the subway just want to get home and aren't thinking about the collective conversation. The most transformative of transformations, the electronic excitement of our age, has not touched the hearts and minds of the voting public.

This is bad news for our collective online future. If no one cares about openness, about connectedness, about interaction, it can all be quietly taken away.

We have some choices to make. We could keep going to conferences (boy, are there a lot of conferences). We could keep recognizing the coolest of the cool A-list blogcasters, and we could really get into the people's video. We could moan about how Skype doesn't have open APIs.

Or -- we could start working on true grassroots appreciation of the open internet and all it makes possible. That's what I want to do. I decided a while ago that life was short and that I had to dedicate myself to something that I believed in. I'll be meeting with people in Boston, DC, and SF about OneWebDay in the coming weeks, and we're building a great team...

...we're not making progress on the Hill or at the FCC. It's time to make a big public deal out of access to the open internet.

She's talking about getting ordinary folk energised about the importance of Net neutrality. I wish her luck but fear, that in spite of its crucial importance, this remains a concept way too abstract and far removed from most people's day to day radars, that the task will prove hugely challenging. Now if they had the funds to recruit some of the big PR firms like Burson-Marsteller to the cause, then you never know.

On RCUK plan for open access research

Belinda Isaac, Head of Intellectual Property & Life Sciences at Morgan Cole Solicitors, has some concerns about the Research Councils UK (RCUK) plan to condition research funding on the basis that any resulting publications be openly archived.

She believes it will involve significant archiving costs accruing to the host universities, that there will be an absence of peer reviewing if traditional academic journal publishers get bypassed (consequently suffering loss of revenues), that researchers will miss out on possible patent and copyright protections, and that the burden on researchers to keep up with all relevant openly published material will be excessive.

Her suggestions in the light of all that?

"Before publication, researchers should check with their legal advisers (or technology transfer centres) to ensure that patent protection is in place before publication.

Second, research institutions should ensure that policies and procedures are devised to check the quality of research before it is published... Research institutions should also take steps to protect the copyright or design rights in the research papers they publish...

Journal publishers that currently charge fees for publication need to think carefully about possible alternative sources of income in the face of Open Access...publishers need to adapt their roles so as to remain involved in research publication.

The UK and USA are leading the push for open access to research findings and trying to stop this tide is likely to prove fruitless. Open Access is a reality; its success however requires a thorough understanding of the costs involved for all concerned."

Peter Suber feels there is a degree of misunderstanding in Ms Isaac's analysis:

"A few quick replies. (1) The RCUK open-access policy is not likely to result in journal cancellations --hence in library savings-- even though other OA initiatives may well do so. (2) Running an OA repository is not expensive and brings direct benefits to the hosting institution by increasing its research profile and impact. Not supporting OA repositories would be even more expensive, by undermining the considerable national investment in publicly-funded research. (3) The work of depositing articles in OA repositories is distributed among the authors, who on average will only need 6-10 minutes to deposit an article. Authors who understand the benefits will do it from self-interest, to enlarge their audience and impact, and spend far less time on it than they spend e.g. bringing their work to the attention of department chairs, deans, and colleagues elsewhere. (4) Isaac seems to think that the deposited articles will bypass peer review, which is incorrect. The policy will only apply to articles that have been approved by the peer-review process at independent journals. (5) Isaac seems to think that the policy will force grantees to disclose patentable discoveries before they might be ready to do so, which is incorrect. The policy only applies to work that authors voluntarily publish in journals or present at conferences. (6) There is no copyright problem here. The deposited articles are under copyright. Authors remain free to transfer copyright to journals. In fact, the current draft of the policy even makes an exception to the OA mandate when journals insist on "copyright arrangements" incompatible with early or open access. (7) The policy will not disrupt the commercial value of articles, if only because scholarly journal articles have no commercial value in the relevant sense."

Suber is not impressed either at a Washington Times critique of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) open archive of articles based on research it sponsors.

UK Universities face sustainability audits

From ResearchResearch:

"Universities that cannot show their research and other work is sustainable in the long-term will face intervention from the higher education funding councils under a new system of scrutiny introduced by the government over the summer."

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Secrecy in science: who found 2003EL61 first?

Ed Felten has some helpful insights in the dispute between US and Spanish astronomers as to who discovered a solar system object called 2003EL61. He thinks the dispute

" describes an interesting dynamic that seems to occur in all scientific fields — I have seen it plenty of times in computer science — where researchers withhold results from their colleagues for a while, to ensure that they get a headstart on the followup research. That’s basically what happens when an astronomer delays announcing the discovery of an object, in order to do followup analyses of the object for publication.

The argument against this secrecy is pretty simple: announcing the first result would let more people do followup work, making the followup work both quicker and more complete on average. Scientific discovery would benefit.

The argument for this kind of secrecy is more subtle. The amount of credit one gets for a scientific result doesn’t always correlate with the difficulty of getting the result. If a result is difficult to get but doesn’t create much credit to the discoverer, then there is an insufficient incentive to look for that result. The incentive is boosted if the discoverer gets an advantage in doing followup work, for example by keeping the original result secret for a while. So secrecy may increase the incentive to do certain kinds of research.

Note that there isn’t much incentive to keep low-effort / high-credit research secret, because there are probably plenty of competing scientists who are racing to do such work and announce it first. The incentive to keep secrets is biggest for high-effort / low-credit research which enables low-effort / high-credit followup work. And this is exactly the case where incentives most need to be boosted."

I really like his final paragraph:

"What’s most notable about the scientific system is that it works pretty well, at least within the subject matter of science, and it does so without much involvement by laws or lawyers."

NTY pay barrier

From this coming Monday the New York Times are limiting access to "influential columnists in Op-Ed, Business, New York/Region and Sports" to paying subscribers. Ed Felten says he won't be reading the columnists any more, or citing them.

Asking permission kills...

Jennifer Granick reckons asking permission kills new tools.

"It's an accident of technology that data published on the internet must be contained on computer servers. By giving owners too many rights to control whether and when the public accesses those servers, we will lose the very openness that makes the internet particularly cool. We'll also lose the rights that we already have in the real world, to comparison shop, to search, to collect information or even to help hurricane victims find each other."

Rose proves girls bloom as scientists

Karlin Lillington in the Irish Times on inspiring children, particularly girls, to pursue science:

"Finding a way to inspire girls to go into science, engineering and computing isn't rocket science - but it may be theoretical physics.

That's going by the debut engagement for Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin of Mayo, better known to most people as the new Rose of Tralee, but more familiar to some as the one who took first-class honours in theoretical physics at UCD and spent the summer working on a student programme at CERN, the famed particle physics laboratory in Switzerland.

Ní Shúilleabháin joined several other Irish women scientists to give presentations about their work at the BA Festival of Science on Wednesday at Trinity College, under the auspices of the national organisation Women in Technology and Science (Wits).

All the presentations were a delight, ranging from Prof Catherine Godson on her love of biomedical research; engineer Anne Graham's tales of working for the city of Dublin; Dr Mary Bourke of the Planetary Science Institute's descriptions of how understanding flood plains in Australia helps her explore the Mars landscape, and maths whiz and former Young Scientist Sarah Flannery on the maths games she played with her father and her love of mathematics.

What a fantastic team this group would be to tour schools. They had me ready to return to university to do maths, physics and engineering, and left me feeling disappointed that I hadn't pursued these studies more diligently in school. In other words, they made science exciting, interesting, and fun."

Better Security?

Dilbert's better security test?

World Summit on Free Information Infrastructures

On the first weekend of October (1st and 2nd) the World Summit on Free Information Infrastructures is taking place in London.

Downloading in Finland

An Aussie studying in Finland has been contemplating permissions for downloading music in her homeland and her current abode.
But what does Finnish music sound like? What's a cooking demonstration if you can't taste the food at the end. You can check out some samples on the Finland Music Information Centre website. But I can't really do much more. In Finland I could help you out. In Finland, or indeed anywhere in Europe, anyone can download, copy and burn for personal use. Indeed, I could probably help you out in the US – a short sample, no profit motive, is probably fair use.

But not in Australia. In Australia, it's against the law to download, to copy, to burn, to create podcasts of copyright works without the copyright owner's permission. Even for private use. And it's against the law for me to encourage you, to provide any facilities or software like a file sharing network and tell you how to do it, knowing you will do it.

Sure, there is an exception for criticism or review. But it rarely applies to the whole of the work when the work is commercially available, and people usually want to check out the whole of the work. And there is a more fundamental problem – where is the reviewer supposed to get the song in the first place – will iTunes give it to you for free if you say you are a reviewer? Will your reviewing words magically break the DRM?

UK government back of envelope ID costs

The Register has been speculating on the UK government's back of an envelope calculations regarding the cost of their proposed ID card scheme, based on the government's response to the critical LSE report.

Access to ID card database to be limited

The FT says "Business and the public sector are to be given graded access to the national identity card database, depending on the need." They've been interviewing Katherine Courtney, ID card programme director at the Home Office.
Katherine Courtney, ID card programme director at the Home Office, said yesterday: "We don't want a situation where people want for some frivolous reason to check everyone's biometrics every time they show up.

"One of the safeguards we are building into the scheme to avoid the situation where people keep escalating the amount of verification they feel they need is to have a verification scheme that requires the user to justify to us the level of verification they want to use."

In addition, she said, people would be able to ask for a record of when their identity had been checked and by whom as a further safeguard against "people attempting frivolously to use the system when there is not a business justification for that".

Police get creative to catch murderer

Richard Smith points to a story (via Politech) from 2003 where a judge has said Seattle police did not violate a murder suspect's privacy rights when they tricked him into sending his dna to them. The suspect responded to a false letter saying he was eligible for some money and left his dna on the envelope when he licked it. The news report says the judge agreed the police broke the law by pretending to be lawyers. It would be interesting to get a look at the judgement to see precisely what she said.

(Richard Smith was also the person who identified the four UK officials who had worked on the now infamous, mostly-plagiarised Downing Sreet dossier that Colin Powell cited at the United Nations in his efforts to get support for the war on Iraq.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

When open standards really matter

Pamela Jones has been thinking about open standards in the aftermath of the hurricane.
If you have any doubts about the direction Massachusetts is following in requiring open standards for all government documents, consider what happened when Hurricane Katrina knocked out almost all communications except the Internet...
There are discussions between the government and companies about how to be better prepared next time and particularly how to set up the Internet to be a primary communications system for emergencies. Note what Microsoft is proposing:
Many industry executives are already talking about how to insure a less ad hoc response to the next disaster. For instance, Microsoft’s Markezich says the industry needs to develop common standards using the XML language (which enables software applications to interoperate), so information can be shared across sites in an emergency.

Jonathan Schwartz, president of Sun Microsystems, agrees with Markezich, but adds one serious caveat: “We ought to agree on a set of standards through which the government and private agencies can provide emergency services, but in no case should a company name be attached to those services.” Schwartz was alarmed this week when FEMA announced that online applications for Federal Disaster Assistance would only be accepted from victims who use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser. “I’d hate to see a day when one company would have to be paid before relief could come to a community,” he says...
While it may not bother Microsoft to have everyone required to buy and use their products in a disaster or to be able to communicate in an emergency, it bothers me a great deal, because I don't use their products. I don't trust their products to work reliably, for one thing. I heard on the news that the FEMA servers kept crashing. And I don't wish to be forced to use any one company's products, period. I'd be one of the dead bodies they find two weeks later, I'm afraid, because I won't be able to communicate, to let people know to come and rescue me.

Microsoft's answer to that is that I should just use their products. Monopolies always want everyone to have to have to use their products. Why wouldn't they want that? It's their bread and butter...

It is the role of government to protect the lives and property of citizens, to look after us. Didn't you feel that deeply when watching Katrina's aftermath? If governments don't play that role, then it's just every man for himself, and while the human spirit is more reliably kind than corporations or governments, as we've witnessed, the truth is that some things are too big for individuals to handle on their own. So we can be so grateful to those who built the Internet for us, that they chose not to make a bundle for themselves by patenting every bit of it and them balkanizing it into proprietary fiefdoms, but gave thought to creating a fail-safe communications system, something you can rely on no matter what. And it worked. Of course, it was the government that did that. I shudder to think what Microsoft would have done, if it had invented the Internet. Every bit of it would be patented, and we'd all be paying through the nose and would be restricted to whatever Microsoft chose to let us do.

She is possibly being a bit hard on Microsoft but she absolutely has a point about open standards.

Pfizer help Katrina victims

The largest drug company in the world, Pfizer, are temporarily offering free prescriptions to those affected by hurricane Katrina. Good for them.

Ofcom rule no TV ads for Make Poverty History

From Brand Republic:
Make Poverty History, the organisation backed by Bob Geldof that campaigns to end third-world debt, will no longer be allowed to run ads on UK television after being declared a political organisation by media regulator Ofcom.

Microsoft offer Eric Raymond a job

This is quite funny. John says someone at Microsoft has offered Eric Raymond a job.

Creative commons license problem?

There's an interesting essay on Kuro5hin suggesting there may be a problem in practice with creative commons non commercial licences.
One particular licensing option, however, is a growing problem for the free content community. It is the allow non-commercial use only (-NC) option. The "non-commercial use only" variants of the Creative Commons licenses are non-free, and in some ways worse than traditional copyright law -- because it can be harder to move away from them once people have made the choice.

Doctors criticise NHS £6 billion IT programme

Most NHS staff don't know anything about the massive £6.2 billion NHS IT project currently being implemented across the country, according to a recent survey.

Monday, September 12, 2005

James Boyle on expanding the public domain

James Boyle has been talking to the Association of Research Libraries about expanding the public domain.
Preserving the balance between intellectual property and the public domain is not an attack on intellectual property; rather, it’s about preserving a living ecosystem between intellectual property and the public domain...

We also need a richer understanding of the notions of the “public domain” as opposed to the “commons"...

Now the point is, that’s not the public domain. It focuses on many of the things that the library community cares about—access issues, sometimes price issues, sequential innovation issues—but it is built on the back of intellectual property rights.

In fact, there are currently developments in the scientific community, which some you may be aware of, where there is going to be a hard tactical choice along this front. For example, we’re right at the beginning of “synthetic biology”—creating entirely new molecules, entirely new biological entities, using, effectively, DNA as a programming code the way someone might use C++. Most of the sequences are probably not copyrightable. But some of the scientists who passionately want this stuff to be openly available wish that they were. Why? Because they want to attach a General Public License-like condition that says, if you want to use my building block, my enabling technology, then you have to add your innovation to the commons. They’re saying, this must be “property,” so it can be free...

as you know, intellectual property rights have expanded dramatically in recent years...

What arguments have been used to justify this expansion? One is what I call the “Internet threat” argument, which assumes that, as copying becomes cheaper, intellectual property protection must increase...

Now, this is not a dumb argument, but it is wrong. It’s not dumb in that there is a real problem. The Internet does lower the cost of copying, so it will magnify the amount of illicit copying. But it will also magnify the amount of licit copying. And it expands the size of the market, makes it easier for you to distribute things, lowers your advertising costs. On balance, are intellectual property holders betteror worse off? Well, even economists don’t think that you can decide that in the abstract. They say you actually need evidence, right?

Here’s another remarkable thing about intellectual property policy over the last 10 or 15 years: it is almost evidence-free. People criticize the FDA about Vioxx. But if we were doing FDA drug approvals the way we approved intellectual property expansions, this is how the process would go. The drug company would say, “This is my friend. He took the pill and he feels better.” Or sometimes even, “This is my friend, he needs to take a pill and he thinks it will make him better.” And then they would offer a model about as complicated as a picture of the person with a mouth and the pill in their stomach and say, “See?” That’s about as data-intensive as things have been...

My points are: lowering copying costs brings benefits, as well as costs. And we need evidence before we make policy.

If you have any interest in the technology and law debate in the intellectual property arena, read the whole transcript. It's worth it.

German court refuses to outlaw drm

A German court has rejected a consumer complaint against drm in CDs and DVDs. A French court took a different position when asked to rule in a parallel case earlier in the year.

RIAA push Congress for drm for digital radio

The RIAA and others have urged the US congress to implement copy protection for digital radio, according to Mike Godwin.

Trusted computing

Benjamin Stephan and Lutz Vogel have produced a video on trusted computing. It's a little generic unless you already understand what the debate is all about but anyone concerned about trusted computing proposals will probably be pleased with it.

PACE President warning to UK

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)issued this press release on Friday last (quoted in full because of what I believe to be its fundamental importance):

The President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), René van der Linden, today expressed his concern at recent statements by the UK Home Secretary, Charles Clarke.

Mr Clarke, speaking of the possibility of the European Court of Human Rights finding UK anti-terrorism legislation to be in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, had appeared to suggest that such a judgment could lead to a reconsideration of whether or not the UK should remain party to the Convention, since it would contradict the 'consensus' on how rights should be defended.

“The European Convention on Human Rights is the heart and foundation of the Council of Europe's human rights protection system,” said Mr van der Linden. “Its effectiveness depends upon its Court, the first international judicial mechanism for human rights protection in the world and a crowning achievement of civilised values. I find it very alarming that a politician may be making statements that could have the effect of undermining the judicial independence of that Court, by stating in advance that an undesired judgment might have negative political consequences.”

Mr van der Linden also replied to those who felt that the Convention was no longer relevant to the current circumstances of the fight against terrorism. “The Convention was drafted in the immedate aftermath of the bloodiest, most destructive war the world has ever seen. It is not a luxury for times of peace, but a necessity to prevent tyranny and conflict."

He puts his finger on what should be our instinctive response to the oft trotted out rhetoric of politicians on the "war on terror." Yes Mr Clarke and his counterparts have a difficult job overseeing security in the face of people prepared to engage in destructive acts to undermine their respective societies. But how can a blueprint for protecting human rights, drafted as René van der Linden says "in the immedate aftermath of the bloodiest, most destructive war the world has ever seen", be "outdated" just because it provides checks and balances on the actions of people in power, who, no doubt with the best of motives, want to be seen to be "doing something" in response to the perceived "new" terrorist threat. Reacting, as western governments have been, disproportionately to the real and perceived threat of terrorism, in haste, by dismantling fundamental protections for civil rights in the name of protecting those civil rights, will see us "repenting at leisure" the long term consequences.

Thanks to Caspar Bowden for the link.

Sky, water and soil commons in trust

Here's an interesting idea from Peter Barnes.

Left wingers complain the market is flawed and government the answer. Right wingers complain government is flawed and everything can be sorted out by the market. They're both wrong. Peter Barnes says:

They’re both right that market and state are flawed, and both wrong that either market or state can save us. But if that’s the case, what are we to do? Is there, perhaps, a third set of institutions that can help?

I began pondering this dilemma about ten years ago, when I joined the board of Redefining Progress, a San Francisco think tank that aspires to break out of the boxes of liberal and conservative orthodoxy. My initial area of focus was climate change caused by human emissions of heat-trapping gases. Some analysts saw this as a ‘tragedy of the commons.’ I saw it as a tragedy first of the market, which has no way of curbing its own excesses, and second of government, which fails to protect the atmosphere because polluting corporations are powerful and future generations don’t vote. This way of viewing the problem led to a hypothesis: if the commons is a victim of market and government failure, rather than a cause, the remedy might be to strengthen the commons rather than to blame it (and then enclose it).

But how might that be done? According to prevailing wisdom, commons are inherently difficult to manage because no one has an ownership role. If Waste Management Inc. owned the atmosphere, it would charge dumpers a tipping fee, just as it does with its terrestrial landfills; the amount of the fee would reflect both the demand for dumping and the remaining supply of storage space. But since no one (at the moment) has title to the atmosphere, dumping proceeds without cost or limit.

‘Who owns the sky?’ became a kind of Zen koan for me — a seemingly innocent query that, upon reflection, opens many unexpected doors. I wondered what would happen if title to the atmosphere were held by a trust whose beneficiaries were all citizens equally. Such a trust would do exactly what Waste Management Inc., if it owned the sky, would do: charge dumpers for filling its dwindling storage space. Pollution would cost more and there’d be steadily less of it. All this would happen without government intervention (other than assigning property rights to the trust). And there’d be a wonderful bonus: every American would get a dividend check! This model became known as the ‘sky trust’ and has made some political headway.

In time, I realized this model could be extended to multiple, if not all, forms of pollution, and to much else as well. Waste sinks like air, water and soil are shared inheritances that have limited absorption capacities. They (along with other depletable gifts of nature) can and should be placed in trust for future generations — not just figuratively, but literally. The trusts would have two fiduciary responsibilities: first, to preserve their assets for future generations, and second, to use revenue (e.g., from dumping fees) for the benefit of living citizens more or less equally.