Au revoir from Rosemary

Posted May 7, 2007 by unboundedfreedom
Categories: Uncategorized

Frankly, it’s impossible to keep up. Take four passing comments from the shoals of commentary – these in the Financial Times – in the last couple of months:

From ‘Traditional media may face extinction‘ by Mike Scott,
“The media sector is in the midst of a technological revolution that is undermining traditional business models. The rise of the internet, mobile phones, multi-channel television, social networking and other phenomena have had a huge impact on content, advertising, brands, and the way all of these are delivered… It is not content that is king, as Bill Gates said in 1996, Mr Ricketts suggests. “Historically, the channels have controlled content – now the customer is in charge. But no-one knows what the customer will do…”…

From ‘User revolt forces Digg copyright retreat‘ by Kevin Allison,
“The power of internet users was demonstrated on Wednesday when a popular news website said it would ignore requests to remove stories featuring a code that can be used to crack copy protection on high-definition video discs. The decision by, a “Web 2.0” site that relies on users to act as editors of news stories, came after users rebelled by voting for stories featuring a 32-digit key that can be used to hack HD-DVD copy protection…
Kevin Rose, Digg’s founder… wrote to users on Digg’s weblog: “You’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company…we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be. If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.”

From ‘MySpace cedes editorial control to users‘ by Matthew Garrahan
“MySpace, the social networking site owned by News Corp, is close to launching a news aggregation service that will allow its 160m members to rank news stories and headlines in order of importance and relevance.
The service, which could be announced as early as Thursday, effectively cedes editorial control of news selection to the MySpace user base and is the latest example of the company’s attempt to diversify into new areas…
“The response from advertisers so far has been fantastic,” said Brian Norgard, co-founder or Newroo, a news aggregation service that was acquired by News Corp last year and integrated with MySpace…”

From ‘GPL sparks openness debate in tech sector‘ by Richard Waters
“In future, if the latest compromise over the GPL is adopted, anyone with the technical competence will have the right to crack open a television set-top box or any other gadget that employs the software and add new capabilities and features to the device themselves.
“This is serving notice on all the consumer electronics makers,” said Mark Radcliffe. “They will have to give people the alternative of replacing the software [in their devices] and tell them how to do it.”…
The battle is central to the broader question of intellectual property rights in the internet age. It concerns an approach to licensing software that, over the past decade, has come to be seen as the model for an open approach to letting people share ideas over the Web.”

As an IBM document reputedly puts it, “Today, innovation is a dual-value proposition: a balanced foundation of open and proprietary collaborations”. James Boyle can turn his attention in the FT’s New Technology Forum to the hints of a different, ‘copy-friendly’ business model in every one of the businesses – recording, film, publishing and software industries – that not so long ago, as he put it, were so eager to ‘ have their cake and make your cake illegal’.

Read the rest of this post »


Posted April 13, 2007 by unboundedfreedom
Categories: Uncategorized

This blog was first created following the publication of Unbounded Freedom: a guide to Creative Commons for cultural organisations, which was published in September 2006.  Initially we had only planned to keep the blog live for a couple of weeks to enable a discussion around the issues and ideas in the book.  However, the amount of exciting debate it  generated meant that we wanted to keep it going for longer.  Now, six months later, we have taken the decision to finish the blog.  Rather that deleting it, we would like the discussion to remain online as a record; an interesting  snapshot of the thinking around Creative Commons and intellectual property rights in 2006, which moves in new, exciting and challenging directions every day.  Thanks to everyone who has joined in.

Let’s Copy America

Posted January 16, 2007 by unboundedfreedom
Categories: Uncategorized

The world’s biggest computer companies are being threatened by a host of new start-ups powered by open-source software, strings of inexpensive computers, and ‘mash-up’ websites which combine information in innovative ways. So argues Peter Day on Radio 4’s ‘In Business’ this Sunday after talking to some of the rising stars of the new wave computing revolution. He bemoans the conservatism of British business leaders compared to their American counterparts, in failing to recognise these developments. You can listen to the programme.

Another good American idea is the Californian website, which has noticed that, ‘The majesty of the commons is being neglected’. David Bollier expands on that thought in an Onthecommons’ Essay: Read the rest of this post »

Tie me up, tie me down?

Posted December 30, 2006 by unboundedfreedom
Categories: Uncategorized

This Xmas, I was disappointed to discover that one of my favourite movie directors, Pedro Almodovar, has been heading up an all-star cast in a ‘culture comes first’ campaign to defend EU artists’ levies on private copying. See euobserver on this and a wider ‘gloves-off’ debate on EU regulation entitled ‘Creative rights focus’.

Since I have personally expended quite a lot of effort in showing how even this original genius might be seen as standing on previous giants’ shoulders, I do hope he’ll reconsider and instead of being on the wrong side of history here, go into an alliance with his audiences against DRM constraints. I would like to point him to one of those ‘forward scoping’ articles in a recent FT about how ‘entertainment industry executives’ are discovering ‘distribution’.  Apart from anything else, his films are so pre-eminently remixable…

Gowers reports

Posted December 8, 2006 by unboundedfreedom
Categories: Uncategorized

Andrew Gowers, commissioned by the British government to map the next generation’s intellectual-property framework, reported his findings and made his recommendation this Wednesday. See Becky Hogge’s interview with Andrew Gowers on openDemocracy.

There’s some more detail at Intellectual Property Watch

We Are Smarter Than Me, We Think

Posted November 27, 2006 by unboundedfreedom
Categories: Uncategorized

There was an interesting story in the Wall St.Journal last week with the headline, ‘U.K’s Pearson Tests The Group Dynamic For a ‘Wiki’ Book’. I don’t know if they are given to hyperbole, but William M.Bulkeley, filing the report, thinks that this ‘could shake up the book industry’:

Publishing giant Pearson PLC is joining with two top business schools to create a business book authored and edited by a “wiki” — an online community dedicated to writing.
The effort is inspired, in part, by the best-known wiki-produced work — Wikipedia, a not-for-profit online encyclopedia. Despite occasional hiccups, Wikipedia is increasingly regarded as a reliable source for information, aided by community-enforced rules that it can’t contain either personal points of view or original research….
The wiki book, produced by a community of business experts and managers, will be called “We Are Smarter Than Me.” It will explore how businesses can use online communities, consumer-generated media such as blogs, and other Web content to help in their marketing, pricing, research and service

We Are Smarter Than Me won’t pay businessmen and consultants for their response to not much more than a series of chapter headings – but will reimburse a team of ghostwriters to turn their thoughts into a 120-page business book aimed at the fast-growing airport bookstore market for sale next autumn at $25.99. An Authors Guild spokesman was predictably scathing about this ‘wiki…about wikis’, arguing that, ‘Readers generally look for a strong, consistent author’s voice, which isn’t something a wiki can really provide.’

But the man who thought the idea up – Barry Libert, a former McKinsey & Co. consultant who is CEO of Shared Insights Inc., a Woburn, Mass., company – is convinced that the big community collectively will select solutions that are better than the answers provided by individual professors or consultants. Many companies have started using wikis internally and with partners for product development. How will they motivate their major contributors? Authors’ names will be printed on the book cover and on the web site, and as the MIT partner commented, “If you really are an expert in this area, you wouldn’t want to be left out.”

We Are Smarter Than Me is not however to be confused with another initiative which was bruited abroad on Start the Week last week – We-Think, described thus:

‘ a new form of creativity is being born, one based on participation… People can combine their ideas and skills without a hierarchy to co-ordinate their activities. Charles Leadbeater’s new book is called We-Think: The Power of Mass Creativity, but it is not published until June 2007. However, the author is attempting to put his ideas into practice: a draft of the book is available on the web and readers’ comments will be incorporated into the final version.’

It’s a fascinating read.

Meanwhile Charles Leadbeater last week also made an effort to sort out some of the ideas of Mick Hucknall from Simply Red. Mick went on record to say that yet another extension of the copyright term for bands like Simply Red was true socialism. This was a novel approach, to say the least. The ensuing debate was lively. See Peter Bradwell’s Friday Rant for some of the goss…  It is very early days for the reversal of the trend of lengthening terms, and hopefully the debate will now gather pace, and be taken seriously.

Open Shakespeare

Posted November 15, 2006 by unboundedfreedom
Categories: Uncategorized

“I’m sure there will be others out there who will do it differently and perhaps better. For me that is the big benefits of openness; it allows many minds to address the same problem.”

I like the sound of these guys – Rufus Pollock and colleagues. They are trying to free up Shakespeare. It is not an easy matter…

Considering the age of Shakespeare’s works, one might assume that all of it would be automatically in the public domain. Pollock explains the complexity at work, where at least three factors are at play: anyone can take a public domain work and, with modifications, release it as a proprietary work; if an old work is only now being published for the first time, it may still be in copyright; and scans of a public domain work may be copyrighted in places outside the US, particularly in Europe.’