Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist

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19 April 2004

An interesting organization based in the UK Swap And Play is using the Internet as a way to get people together face to face to lend each other music, games and videos as physical objects – something that is somewhat more cumbersome than peer to peer network-mediated file sharing but is of course completely legal (as far as I can see). A friend of mine is already doing this on a “more private basis”:http://blog.cfrq.net/chk/archives/000598.html using the “Open Media Lending Database”:http://opendb.sourceforge.net/.

16 April 2004

Lessig’s arguments are familiar to me by now (as they will be to many readers) – what is striking and important about his work is that he buttresses these arguments about the rather dry topic of copyright law with well-chosen and interesting examples.

He suggests that copyright owners are no more entitled to use digital right management to hold back file sharing than “the Causbys had to hold back flight”:http://blogspace.com/freeculture/Introduction because property rights extend to the sky.

He points out that in the battle between the capabilities of new technology and law that would mis-regulate it, the common sense does not always win (citing the sad case of Edwin Howard Armstrong whose invention of FM radio was stifled by RCA in America).

And he slyly uses the example of “Disney’s own work”:http://blogspace.com/freeculture/Creators which was very often derived from or inspired by the work of others to suggest that it is wrong for corporations (like Disney) to prevent others from producing derivative works based on their own characters.

And that’s just what I’ve come across in the introduction and first chapter. Hopefully the accessibility and clear logic of this work will ensure it gets read more widely than just among us Internet policy wonks.

See my “earlier post”:http://blog.org/archives/cat_copyright.html#001080 for information about how to download or listen to the book – you may also wish to simply “buy it from Amazon”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1594200068/lessigorg-20?creative=125581&camp=2321&link_code=as1 or “read it online”:http://blogspace.com/freeculture/Main_Page in an annotatable wiki form.

15 April 2004
Filed under:Academia,E-democracy,London,Net politics at9:52 am

“NotCon”:http://www.notcon04.com/ on 6th June in London is a conference covering some, none or all of the following:

* Geolocation services
* Social software
* Hardware hacking
* Actual impacts of blogging
* Alternative media
* Politics on the net
* Politics *of* the net

It is being organized by a large proportion of the UK’s Internet policy wonk community…

Thanks to Tom Steinberg for the link and for helping to arrange the conference

14 April 2004
Filed under:Search Engines at2:26 pm

Before they redesigned, when you did a search using “Google”:http://www.google.com/ and some of the results were also found in Google Directory (which is really a re-skinning of the “Open Directory”:http://dmoz.org/ project) you would see a link straight to the relevant category page alongside the search results. The redesign they did recently seems to have removed this feature. So if you want to see what categories a search of yours fits into you have to search the google directory separately. And there is no way in the preferences to change this. Can I get my old Google back please?

11 April 2004

Thanks to AudioBerkman I can download MP3s of people talking about the legacy of WSIS or an interview with John Perry Barlow. Now I can spend every last second of my waking life thinking about the social impact of technology…

10 April 2004

“Free Culture”:http://www.free-culture.cc/, “Lawrence Lessig”:http://www.lessig.org/’s latest invaluable manifesto on the need to reform copyright which has been “taking the blogorati by storm”:http://allconsuming.net/item.cgi?isbn=1594200068 is available for free in “lots of digital formats”:http://www.free-culture.cc/remixes/ including “as audio”:http://akma.disseminary.org/archives/001253.html (which is how I intend to ‘read’ it).

Thanks to Tim Aldrich for the link

8 April 2004
Filed under:Academia at10:57 am

Check out This post from “Lilia Efimova”:http://blog.mathemagenic.com/ (elaborating on one from “Jill Walker”:http://huminf.uib.no/~jill/) telling about ways for academic digital media types to get money out of Brussels.

7 April 2004
Filed under:Humour & Entertainment at9:54 am

It appears I am a “grammar god”! How grammatically sound are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
Thanks Harald for the link.

5 April 2004

I’d like to collect a selection of weblogging “manifestos” containing descriptions of what weblogging is supposed to be “for” and who webloggers are (not statistical surveys, but people’s views). I sense that there is a growing self-awareness from “a list” bloggers and an emergent notion of what weblogging is supposed to be about but I would like to trace its roots. Can any of my readers suggest a good way of collecting and analysing what has been said in a way that is ‘unbiased’?

I want to write about the documents I have found wearing my academic hat so I can’t just say ‘here are some interesting links that I found’ – I have to be able to claim that these are in some way representative – or preferably that these are the most influential. I tried typing ‘weblog manifesto’ into various weblogging search engines and didn’t get much back that was useful. Googling for ‘weblog manifesto’ found some interesting stuff (a “commercial blogging manifesto”:http://radio.weblogs.com/0001011/2003/02/26.html and a “Draft Manifesto for the Role of Weblogs in the Larger Society”:http://www.thesentimentalist.com/archives/000076.html), but I sense that the links I found were not the most influential either. I didn’t find the paper on “Emergent Democracy”:http://joi.ito.com/static/emergentdemocracy.html that way for example – and I imagine it has been influential (or at least the views of its writers have been). I would be interested in the most important “old media” writers about weblogging as well. Any ideas?

4 April 2004

Disappointingly, the top entry if you search for “jew” in Google is an awful anti-semitic site. Fortunately, a weblog campaign has emerged and they are encouraging people to link “jew”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jew to the relevant Wikipedia entry. Please do likewise – if enough people do this, we can drive the anti-semitic site to number two. It’s a pity the Wikipedia entry, informative as it is, does not contain links to material explicitly challenging the lies peddled on ‘Jew Watch’ but I’m sure there is something around one could link to. I had a quick look at the “Anti-Defamation League”:http://www.adl.org site but didn’t find anything there and I have a dim recollection that they are themselves ideologically dubious anyway.

Thanks to “Crooked Timber”:http://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/001631.html for the link.

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