Category Archives: Creative Commons

RIP: Aaron Swartz
Date Created: January 13, 2013  Date Modified: January 20, 2013

On January 25, to support the Aaron Swartz Memorial blackout, this site will only display this post.

Being peroccupied with social commitments meant I only found about this today, but over the weekend one of the technocrati, Aaron Swzrtz had passed away–alledgedly a suicide.

Aaron Swartz co-developed the RSS standard that all us bloggers love, was a co-founder of reddit and an advocate of open information;

Somewhere in there, Aaron’s recklessness put him right in harm’s way. Aaron snuck into MIT and planted a laptop in a utility closet, used it to download a lot of journal articles (many in the public domain), and then snuck in and retrieved it. This sort of thing is pretty par for the course around MIT, and though Aaron wasn’t an MIT student, he was a fixture in the Cambridge hacker scene, and associated with Harvard, and generally part of that gang, and Aaron hadn’t done anything with the articles (yet), so it seemed likely that it would just fizzle out.

Instead, they threw the book at him. Even though MIT and JSTOR (the journal publisher) backed down, the prosecution kept on. I heard lots of theories: the feds who’d tried unsuccessfully to nail him for the PACER/RECAP stunt had a serious hate-on for him; the feds were chasing down all the Cambridge hackers who had any connection to Bradley Manning in the hopes of turning one of them, and other, less credible theories. A couple of lawyers close to the case told me that they thought Aaron would go to jail.
http://boingboing.net/2013/01/12/rip-aaron-swartz.html

as Lessig states:

Aaron had literally done nothing in his life “to make money.” He was fortunate Reddit turned out as it did, but from his work building the RSS standard, to his work architecting Creative Commons, to his work liberating public records, to his work building a free public library, to his work supporting Change Congress/FixCongressFirst/Rootstrikers, and then Demand Progress, Aaron was always and only working for (at least his conception of) the public good. He was brilliant, and funny. A kid genius. A soul, a conscience, the source of a question I have asked myself a million times: What would Aaron think? That person is gone today, driven to the edge by what a decent society would only call bullying. I get wrong. But I also get proportionality. And if you don’t get both, you don’t deserve to have the power of the United States government behind you.
http://lessig.tumblr.com/post/40347463044/prosecutor-as-bully

UPDATE 15.1.12: The first thing in Google Reader this morning (well after I read yesturdays XKCD) was an Ars article about how charges against Mr Swartz have been dropped. A petition has been set up on the Whitehouse website calling for the removal of the prosecutor who was handeling the Swartz case.

Anon have voiced their condolences on a couple of MIT websites, showing just how much this man was respected in the web community

After MIT President L. Rafael Reif issued a statement this afternoon promising a “thorough analysis of MIT’s involvement from the time that we first perceived unusual activity on our network in fall 2010 up to the present,” Anonymous targeted at least two MIT Web sites. Lacking the loose-knit group’s usual feisty language, the message posted on the Web site was a call for reform in the memory of the late Internet activist.
After calling the prosecution of Swartz “a grotesque miscarriage of justice” and “a distorted and perverse shadow of the justice that Aaron died fighting for,” Anonymous outlined its list of goals under a section labeled “Our wishes:”

  • We call for this tragedy to be a basis for reform of computer crime laws, and the overzealous prosecutors who use them.
  • We call for this tragedy to be a basis for reform of copyright and intellectual property law, returning it to the proper principles of common good to the many, rather than private gain to the few.
  • We call for this tragedy to be a basis for greater recognition of the oppression and injustices heaped daily by certain persons and institutions of authority upon anyone who dares to stand up and be counted for their beliefs, and for greater solidarity and mutual aid in response.
  • We call for this tragedy to be a basis for a renewed and unwavering commitment to a free and unfettered internet, spared from censorship with equality of access and franchise for all.

CNET has contacted MIT for comment on the apparent hacking and will update this report when we learn more.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57563752-93/anonymous-hacks-mit-after-aaron-swartzs-suicide/

Academics are showing their respects too–by posting copy-protected joyurnal articles on twitter, which has gained momentum in the past few days; some only hearing of Swartz after his passing but still greatly supportive of his open-information initative.

The PDF campaign was born out of a desire to honor Swartz’s memory and his battle for open access to documents on the Internet, said Micah Allen, a researcher in the fields of brain plasticity, cognitive neuroscience, and cognitive science.

“A fitting tribute to Aaron might be a mass protest uploading of copyright-protected research articles,” Allen wrote yesterday on Reddit. “Dump them on Gdocs, tweet the link. Think of the great blu-ray encoding protest but on a bigger scale for research articles.”

As of Sunday morning, it appeared that hundreds were participating in the protest/tribute, posting links to thousands of documents on Twitter using the hashtag #pdftribute, the creation of which Allen attributed to Eva Vivalt and Jessica Richman.

“It gives us some action to take in response to our sorrow and frustration about Aaron’s death,” Richman told CNET. “I had met him several times and have friends that knew him well. It’s a tragic loss.”
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57563701-93/researchers-honor-swartzs-memory-with-pdf-protest/

No doubt this will continue to be the talk of the web for some time still.

[REPORT] The Google books settlement: a private contract in the absence of adequate copyright law
Date Created: January 10, 2013  Date Modified: January 10, 2013

I missed work yesturday so I had a lot of catching up to do today, this piked my interest because it references Lessig in the first sentence (and we all love Law professors who can internet like a pro). I will give it a more indepth read tonight when I have a bit more time…

The Google Books settlement has been hailed as an audacious and brilliant move by proponents and critics alike (Lessig, 2010; Samuelson, 2009a). Google’s goal of digitizing up to 20 million books drawn from participating libraries has been recast to cut authors and publishers in on the deal. With one comprehensive and complex legal document, Google, the Authors Guild, and the Association of American Publishers have crafted a deal that could transform the digital marketplace for books and could give Google a legal—and exclusive—method to clear rights for some copyrighted works neither it nor anyone else could acquire any other way, excepting changes to U.S. copyright legislation. The following discussion considers the circumstances that led to this settlement and explores its primary components, focusing on the amended class action settlement agreement of November 13, 2009, which in many respects remains similar to the original agreement of October 28, 2008. The settlement makes positive steps in the tricky areas of public access and digital rights, but it remains open to serious legal, economic, and cultural criticisms.
http://src-online.ca/index.php/src/article/viewFile/29/44

[VIDEO] How could have I missed this on rights-free?
Date Created: June 2, 2012  Date Modified: July 5, 2012

Hindsight helps a lot; I would have really liked to have embeded this in the original Digital Distribution essay post…

But thats the thing with hindsight and deadlines.

This rant was posted in Creative Commons, Digital Distribution, Music, Video on by .

New Media and Democracy: Wayback Machine
Date Created: September 23, 2011  Date Modified: April 9, 2012

I love archive.org, I go there an nab rights-free media all the time, and their wayback machine is a very useful tol for web designers and administrators to compare UI/UX changes over a long period of time–I used this many times when working at UNDA to highlight usability and design improvements I implemented (and once to recover a “missing” page, but thats another story…

However I never expected, possibly out of a narrow-mindset; that wayback would be defending our free expression of ideas, from Graham Readfearn (An Onymous Lefty):

A few days ago, when I was researching this piece for DeSmogBlog about the questionable coverage of climate change science by The Australian newspaper, I found that none of the links to my old News Ltd blog – GreenBlog – were working.
To be precise, the links worked, but there was no content on the pages. Just a white screen where about 650 posts and 14,000 comments used to be.
The record of an online blog session with then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd? Gone. The full Q&A with former UN general secretary Kofi Annan? Gone. My catalogue of critiques of News Ltd’s climate denial bloggers, Tim Blair and Andrew Bolt? All gone.

Obviously News Ltd’s editorial guidelines decided that the particular content did not reflect the values and opinions of Rupert Murdoch so they 404’ed it. But wayback, being impartial (as I am aware the crawlers do not hold any political opinion, but correct me if I am wrong) has saved some of the content–and even discussion of the above.

Kudos to wayback for protecting our political speach, lets just hope they dont end up permanb& when the cleanfeed kicks in. Of course its not just the media moguls who have editorial discression over the tubez, Google themselves have been known to remove content without explanation, remember to read the ToS.

rms speaks
Date Created: May 16, 2010  Date Modified: October 12, 2013

I havnt watched this yet–it was just sent to me then and Im not on my own system so I putting it here to watch at a later date when assignbments are not all due…

I wish this were the whole interview not just some sound-bites, but Im still glad to have a member of the technocrati here.

if you have no idea who rms is, then check out his homepage or google him.

This rant was posted in Copyright, Creative Commons on by .