Working in the parallel universe of the Internet, a loosely coordinated, global federation of digital tribes built a new kind of democratic culture. This culture is embodied in free and open source software, the blogosphere and hundreds of wikis on specialized topics. It can be seen in remix music and amateur videos, the flourishing social networking sites, and new types of “open business” models.
These innovations are not primarily creatures of government or the marketplace. They represent a new “commons sector” — a realm of collective wealth generated by ordinary people through their own resourcefulness and sharing, largely outside of the money economy.
Tom Watson, MP, Minister for Digital Engagement
Open Source has been one of the most significant cultural developments in IT and beyond over the last two decades: it has shown that individuals, working together over the Internet, can create products that rival and sometimes beat those of giant corporations; it has shown how giant corporations themselves, and Governments, can become more innovative, more agile and more cost-effective by building on the fruits of community work; and from its IT base the Open Source movement has given leadership to new thinking about intellectual property rights and the availability of information for re–use by others.
This Government has long had the policy, last formally articulated in 2004, that it should seek to use Open Source where it gave the best value for money to the taxpayer in delivering public services. While we have always respected the long-held beliefs of those who think that governments should favour Open Source on principle, we have always taken the view that the main test should be what is best value for the taxpayer.
Note: I pulled this up from the archives today when I read this.
Can I Get An Amen?, 2004
recording on acetate, turntable, PA system, paper documents
total run time 17 minutes, 46 seconds
Can I Get An Amen? is an audio installation that unfolds a critical perspective of perhaps the most sampled drum beat in the history of recorded music, the Amen Break. It begins with the pop track Amen Brother by 60’s soul band The Winstons, and traces the transformation of their drum solo from its original context as part of a ‘B’ side vinyl single into its use as a key aural ingredient in contemporary cultural expression. The work attempts to bring into scrutiny the techno-utopian notion that ‘information wants to be free’- it questions its effectiveness as a democratizing agent. This as well as other issues are foregrounded through a history of the Amen Break and its peculiar relationship to current copyright law.
This is why this blog talks about music, DRM and copyright control. If you have 20 minutes, check it out. Especially the Judge Alex Kozinski quote at the end.
“Overprotecting intellectual property is as harmful as underprotecting it. Culture is impossible without a rich public domain. Nothing today, likely nothing since we tamed fire, is genuinely new: Culture, like science and technology, grows by accretion, each new creator building on the works of those who came before. Overprotection stifles the very creative forces it’s supposed to nurture.”
* Dissenting in the White v. Samsung Elec. Am., Inc., 989 F.2d 1512 (9th Cir. 1993) ruling.
Architected to eliminate poor quality patents and ensure that only high quality patents issue, the Linux Defenders program enables individuals and organizations to efficiently contribute to:
1. “Defensive Publications” that codify ‘known’ inventions that have not previously been patented so that they can be brought to the attention of the patent office to ensure that later developed patent applications claiming such inventions do not issue. In general, defensive publications are a vehicle which allows the Linux and broader open source community to create valuable prior art that enables Linux and freedom of action/freedom to operate for those active in utilizing Linux to drive innovation in products, services, and applications;
2. “Peer to Patent” which solicits prior art contributions from the Linux and broader open source community to ensure patent examiners are aware of prior art relevant to published applications that are currently under review. In this way, the patent office is alerted to relevant prior art and only the most innovative and novel ideas are actually patented.
3. “Post-Issue Peer to Patent” which solicits prior art contribution from Linux and the broader open source community to permit the invalidation of previously issued patents that were issued in error because of the patent office’s lack of awareness of relevant prior art.
Use of Linux Defenders is free of charge to contributors and the hosting of Defensive Publications on databases accessible by patent and trademark office examiners around the world is borne by the program’s sponsors.
via Linux Defenders.
A Creative Commons video directed by Jesse Dylan.
Mozilla’s Director of Evangelism, Chris Blizzard writes about why open video is important.
The result of that has been an explosion of creativity and investment from single individuals all the way up to the largest companies. Anyone can have an impact and anyone can affect the technology direction of the web. Because anyone can build tools without permission that speak the lingua franca of the web, you can find tools to do just about anything. It’s a truly vibrant marketplace.
There’s one exception to this: video on the web. Although videos are available on the web via sites like Youtube, they don’t share the same democratized characteristics that have made the web vibrant and distributed. And it shows. That centralization has created some interesting problems that have symptoms like censorship via abuse of the DMCA and an overly-concentrated audience on a few sites that have the resources and technology to host video. I believe that problems like the ones we see with youtube are a symptom of the larger problem of the lack of decentralization and competition in video technology – very different than where the rest of the web is today.
Mozilla contributes $100,000 to fund Ogg development – Ars Technica
Mozilla has given the Wikimedia Foundation a $100,000 grant intended to fund development of the Ogg container format and the Theora and Vorbis media codecs. These open media codecs are thought to be unencumbered by software patents, which means that they can be freely implemented and used without having to pay royalties or licensing fees to patent holders. This differentiates Ogg Theora from many other formats that are widely used today.
A very condensed version of copyright history could look like this: texts (1800), works (1900), tools (2000). Originally the law was designed to regulate the use of one machine only: the printing press. It concerned the reproduction of texts, printed matter, without interfering with their subsequent uses. Roughly around 1900, however, copyright law was drastically extended to cover works, independent of any specific medium. This opened up the field for collective rights management organizations, which since have been setting fixed prices on performance and broadcasting licenses. Under their direction, very specific copyright customs developed for each new medium: cinema, gramophone, radio, and so forth. This differentiation was undermined by the emergence of the Internet, and since about the year 2000 copyright law has been pushed in a new direction, regulating access to tools in a way much more arbitrary than anyone in the pre-digital age could have imagined.
In Microsoft’s announcement, the company said it was adding native support for ODF due to increasing pressure from customers “and because we want to get involved in the maintenance of ODF”. The company now says OOXML support would require substantially more work.
Microsoft pushed OOXML through as a fast-track International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard, and OOXML became IS29500 in April. However, Microsoft on Thursday told ZDNet.co.uk that the changes OOXML had gone through in the ISO ratification process had made it more difficult to support OOXML than ODF in Office 2007.
This is a real shame. Patent Troll Tracker was a great blog that did most of my work for me. Quite a loss.
The Daily Journal’s Tuesday edition (not linkable) reports that Troll Tracker author Rick Frenkel, and his employer Cisco, have been sued for defamation by two East Texas attorneys who are players in that district’s patent litigation scene, Eric Albritton and T. John Ward, Jr.
John “Johnny” Ward, Jr. is a Texas lawyer who has filed a large number of patent infringement lawsuits in recent years. Between January and mid-October of 2007, his name was attached to 54 separate lawsuits by my count; in all but four, he represented the plaintiff. He is also, as I reported in October, the son of Judge T. John Ward, the judge who is largely responsible for making the Eastern District of Texas a hotspot for patent litigation.
There’s a lot more on this, here.