SOPA Blackout

January 18th and 23rd are planned blackout days for a number of web sites in protest to passing the Stop Online Piracy Act. Existing legislation like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act already reveal copyright owners ask to shut down web sites even when there is no infringing material. Granting them more power seems like a bad idea.

So in my little way, I will participate. This blog will show a message on the 18th and 23rd on a visitors first visit. Get the Stop SOPA WordPress plug-in and participate too.

Information Should Be Free

Mark Guzdial makes the point teachers add value to the learning process. Normally, I would agree. However, I got hung up on a misquote from a Walter Isaacson article How to Save Your Newspaper in TIME offering micropayments as the solution to newspapers finding a working model to survive since advertisements are not the right one.

Mark said it was “information must be free.” TIME said, “[T]he Web got caught up in the ethos that information wants to be free.” Mark correctly attributed it to Steven Levy who said, “All information should be free,” but in the context of: “Access to computers — and anything which might
teach you something about the way the world works — should be
unlimited and total.” 

Higher education provides such access. However, we hide the access behind beaucracy and tuition. Is it worth it?

Another thought on all this came from a Dorothy E. Denning quoting Richard Stallman:

I believe that all generally useful information should be free. By ‘free’ I am not referring to price, but rather to the freedom to copy the information and to adapt it to one’s own uses. … When information is generally useful, redistributing it makes humanity wealthier no matter who is distributing and no matter who is receiving.

This reminds me of the concept of Creative Commons and open source. Restrictions to information like copyright ensure the creator makes money. At the same time copyright provides some opportunities for reusing it. (CC and open source just do it better than the Copyright Office.

links for 2007-11-26

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Public Performance and Universities

Since restaurants get sued for not paying royalties for public performances of copyrighted music, it seems likely playing a song at an athletic event is a public performance. I wonder how much the UGA Athletics or just UGA pays ASCAP for the ability to do this? Certainly, its not academic use.
🙂

Youuuuuuu – Red & Black Sports

In a craze that has swept much of the nation, the “Soulja Boy” dance has caught on in a big way with Georgia football. During home games against Ole Miss and Auburn when the Bulldogs were down, the song has cranked through the speakers and pumped up the players on the sideline, to the delight of the fans.

In an unrelated note: if the RIAA gets its way through a US House bill, then universities will have to pay millions for monthly subscription fees whether or not individual students are or are not downloading music. Plus, they have to prove they are stopping students from downloading illegally. The repercussions of not doing these being the loss of federal financial aid.

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CC License For No Political Use?

Will It Hold? Its interesting… Rob of Blue Sunbelt is using one of my photos to represent Georgia. It is one of my favorite photos of Grassy Pond near the Georgia-Florida border. My first thought was actually, “There is non-commercial use for Creative Commons. Why not a non-political use?” Not that it would have helped. This particular photo does not have a CC license which allows others to use it. Don’t worry, Rob, I probably will not start a lawsuit over this misuse. Though, how do you teach people to behave?

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links for 2007-07-18

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