Free Culture [en]
How is it possible that someone could face years in prison for sharing an academic paper online? How did we arrive at such extreme criminal punishments for accessing knowledge and information? Well, this has been long in the making. We got here because Big Content interests have dominated secretive, back-room copyright negotiations over several decades, resulting in laws that are increasingly restricting our speech, and our ability to comment, control, re-use, and access knowledge, culture, and the devices that we own.
This is especially relevant for Open Access Week, which is all about making publicly-funded information and knowledge available free of licensing restrictions. Although some forward-thinking governments and publishers are helping to realize this dream, in a majority of cases the full force of copyright law still applies to constrain access to knowledge, with dire consequences for those like Diego Gomez.
The Colombian law that is being used to prosecute Diego for sharing an article online was passed following the conclusion of the US trade agreement with Colombia completed in 2006. The law was designed to fulfill the trade agreement's restrictive copyright standards, and it expanded criminal penalties for copyright infringement—increasing possible prison sentences and monetary fines.
Although we have not seen a case like Diego's before, such extreme criminal provisions are not unique to Colombia, nor are the provisions in the trade agreement they signed with the US. There are close to a dozen bilateral US trade deals that contain copyright provisions that echo US law. For the most part though, they are actually worse because they do not contain many of the public interest protections that are built into US law, such as fair use.
But these bilateral agreements are just one part of a longer story. They followed a series of international agreements from the World Trade Organization and the UN World Intellectual Property Organization that initially bound its signatory nations to more stringent digital copyright enforcement provisions, and which in turn led to the US passing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Now, we are in a post-bilateral copyright agreement phase, where nations are entering (or at least trying to enter) into massive plurilateral agreements that also contain stronger copyright enforcement measures, such as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.Copyright Policy Laundering
This method of venue shifting is called policy laundering. That's when policymakers, at the behest of content industry interests, cycle unpopular policies through international negotiations that would otherwise fail if directly introduced back at home. These international law making bodies do not have the same standard of democratic oversight or transparency as many domestic-level rulemaking systems, and there is no single governing body that regulates these policies. So these venues have become a moving target, circumventing accountability while raising the global standards of copyright enforcement before our eyes.
Last week, there was another leak of the TPP's Intellectual Property chapter and it confirmed once again that the US Trade Representative (USTR) is pushing extreme copyright proposals in the trade agreement. In it, there are all kinds of limitations on users that could lead to greater restrictions on people's ability to access and share research and information. For instance, the USTR is proposing increased criminalization of copyright on multiple fronts, such as including acts that are not commercially motivated and situations where people may not even know, but may have "reasonable grounds to know", that what they are doing is illegal. Such broad, ambiguous definitions of what is a criminal copyright violation will continue to have a huge chilling effect for users who only seek to access works that may already be openly licensed or are in the public domain.
Ideally, countries forced to adopt these draconian policies would also enact a flexible system of exceptions and limitations to balance copyright's restrictions. But the language on exceptions and limitations in these trade deals are never robust enough to properly balance the interests of rightsholders with the public interest. They prescribe something called the "three-step" test, which is essentially a standard that countries must reach when passing a new exception and limitation to their copyright law. Colombia has a fair dealing system, a closed list of exceptions to copyright that must be passed legislatively, rather than the open-ended, flexible exceptions permitted by a fair use system (like in the US). Colombia's list of exceptions was issued more than 20 years ago, and are so narrowly tailored to some specific situations that they are not at all applicable to the digital age. Thus none of them are sufficient to apply to Diego's case, even if it was done for educational purposes.
The three-step test has previously been used to strike down new exceptions to copyright law at the national level. In the infamous Fairness in Music case, an international tribunal ruled US law in breach of the three-step test, by allowing music to be played in restaurants and retail stores without payment of royalties. The fact that these agreements do not have a robust requirement that signatory nations enact strong rights for users, but rather, includes terms that only seem to limit the kinds of rights that nations can adopt, speaks volumes.
While customs and practices around academic publishing will undoubtedly shift towards becoming more and more open, there's still a long way to go to fix state policies to enable and promote access to research and information. It does not help that many countries, like Colombia, are bound to international deals that oblige them to enact restrictive copyright laws that may undermine domestic efforts to improve access to knowledge. Unfortunately, that means that Diego is unlikely to be the last academic who faces imprisonment for simply sharing an article.
Between October 20 and 26, EFF is celebrating Open Access Week alongside dozens of organizations from around the world. This is a week to acknowledge the wide-ranging benefits of enabling open access to information and research—as well as exploring the dangerous costs of keeping knowledge locked behind publisher paywalls. We'll be posting on our blog every day about various aspects of the open access movement. Go here to find out how you can take part and to read the other Deeplinks published this week.Related Issues: Fair Use and Intellectual Property: Defending the BalanceOpen AccessInternationalTrans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
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We’ve been looking for Knight-Mozilla Fellows for four years now, and so you begin to notice patterns during the process. There’s that moment when you worry that there won’t be enough applicants, and then that other when you worry there will be too many. There’s that melancholy time when you realize that you won’t have a fellowship cohort quite like the current one and then the exhilaration when you realize that’s exactly right.
But the most important moment is the one when all the pieces begin to come together and you begin to see not an applicant but instead a fellow. That moment is magic: the sheer volume of applications (417 this year—our largest pool ever) disappears and where there was once a mass of qualifications and ideas, you begin to see truly extraordinary individuals.
It’s a great pleasure today to introduce those individuals—our 2015 Knight-Mozilla Fellows—to you. These folks will spend 10 months in 2015 experimenting in some of the best newsrooms in the world (they’ll be joined by one more Fellow, at Vox Media, who will be announced later this year), on a mission to try new things, to document them in the open, and to connect with the broader community of people writing code in journalism.
The work that the Knight-Mozilla Fellows do during their fellowship year doesn’t fit easily into a single sentence. Over the year a fellow will play the role of coder, teacher, mentor (and mentee), adventurer, colleague, and friend. They’ll push themselves, and journalism, in new directions. They’ll do work that has real impact—on themselves and on the web.
It’s a tall order, but a thrilling one, and the people we have lined up to do the work of a Knight-Mozilla Fellow in 2015 are among our very best yet. I can’t wait for you to meet them:Tara Adiseshan | NYT/Washington Post
Tara Adiseshan is a designer and data visualization engineer who is excited about civic media, learning tools, and community platforms. From designing search futures at Autodesk to conducting user research around rainwater harvesting in rural India, Tara has had the opportunity to apply design methodologies and build solutions in a variety of disciplinary spaces. Tara believes that access to and understanding of information and data can be a key leverage point through which social systems change. Tara will be a Fellow at the Coral Project, a collaboration between the New York Times, the Washington Post, and OpenNews.
Follow Tara on Twitter at @taraandtheworldJuan Elosua | La Nacion
Juan Elosua is a Spanish telecommunications engineer with broad experience in tech consultancy and financial services IT. In 2011, he discovered data journalism and became a data addict and freelance developer, and can now be found turning data upside down to extract knowledge from it. He strongly believes open data will play a key role in shaping the future of modern societies, and has trained journalists to help them find stories and work efficiently on data-related projects.
Follow Juan on Twitter at @jjelosuaLivia Labate | NPR
Livia Labate is a user experience designer and manager with a passion for in-house practice development. Livia is interested in how open source tools empower news creation and dissemination, and shape access to information and social participation. With over 15 years of industry experience, she has worked with large organizations such as Comcast and the BBC as well as heavily contributing to the development of the Information Architecture community of practice through the IA Institute. More recently, Livia has led Marriott’s Digital Standards and Practices group, focusing on stewardship and governance of digital experiences.
Follow Livia on Twitter at @livlabLinda Sandvik | the Guardian
Linda Sandvik is a creative technologist and proto-MacGyver who likes to make things that inform, educate, and empower people and communities. She previously worked in local government and at Last.fm, and is a co-founder of Code Club, and her particular interests lie in using play and technology to help people discover their natural affinity for teaching themselves new things. She has a passion for open data, open knowledge, and serious games.
Follow Linda on Twitter at @hyper_lindaJulia Smith | CIR
Julia Smith is a design professional from Omaha, NE. She’s held a variety of roles in journalism and IT, having worked as a designer and developer on news sites, mobile applications, enterprise software, and corporate websites. She is fascinated with civic media and loves exploring the connections between storytelling, design, and technology to create experiences that empower community change.
Follow Julia on Twitter at @julia67Francis Tseng | NYT/Washington Post
Francis Tseng is a programmer and interaction designer interested in natural language processing, internet socializing, demystifying technology, and systems modeling. After two years at IDEO, he became a Knight Foundation prototype grant recipient in 2014. He is currently teaching the News Automata course at the New School’s Design + Journalism program and designing and building _critical_ software with friends at Public Science. Francis will be a Fellow at the Coral Project, a collaboration between the New York Times, the Washington Post, and OpenNews.
Follow Francis on Twitter at @frnsys
I joined CC in June of this year, and immediately set out to update our strategy. I spent the summer working with our staff, affiliates, board, partners, and funders to understand the needs and the opportunities, and to plan for 2015 and beyond.
Today, we’re focused on three strategic objectives:
- A vibrant commons. Supporting the CC license suite so it’s easy to contribute to the commons —from improving the experience on platforms, to enhancing our license chooser, to translating the 4.0 licenses;
- A usable commons. Helping creators find and reuse the content they want and need, including exploring ways to improve search and content analytics, so creators can see where their content goes after they share it; and,
- A relevant commons. Leading a movement of individuals, organizations, and institutions who will inspire others to create the commons of creativity and knowledge we all want.
These three simple objectives will guide our work over the next year. If you share our goal of a more healthy and vibrant commons, we’re proud to work alongside you.
This month, we’ll launch our most ambitious annual campaign yet. We’re going to tell the story of the commons, its reach, and its potential, to make a compelling case for our work. We’ll share some exciting new projects that show how we’re building the next phase of CC.
I hope that you’ll make a donation, but equally as important, I hope you’ll help us spread the word and grow our community of donors to build a more sustainable organization.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Open Badges blog: #openbadgesMOOC Session 12 - Design Principles Documentation Project / Open edX and Beyond Project
James E. Willis, III, Ph.D. is a research associate in the Center for Research on Learning and Technology at Indiana University’s School of Education working with Dan Hickey and his research team on their digital badges projects, the Design Principles Documentation Project and the recently launched Open edX and Beyond project.
Open Badges Design Principles Documentation
In the 2012 Badges for Lifelong Learning DML Competition, 30 organizations were funded to develop ecosystems for open digital badges. Indiana University’s Center for Research on Learning and Technology has studied the development, implementation, and practice of badging within the scope of recognizing, assessing, motivating, and studying learning.
The research team analyzed project proposals and then conducted interviews as projects got underway and after the development period was over. This resulted in a forthcoming report and open database detailing intended practices (ideas outlined in general proposals), enacted practices (intentions unfolding in the world), and formal practices (what continues after funding ends) for using digital badges, with particular attention on the factors that supported the formalization of some practices while hindering others.
5 Buckets for Badge System Design
Sheryl Grant, Director of Social Networking at DML/HASTAC, defined five classes or ‘buckets’ for badge system design based on the same 30 badge projects from the 2012 Badges for Lifelong Learning DML Competition - read more on the HASTAC blog.
Here are Sheryl’s five badge system classes:
- New build. The badge system, learning content, and technological platforms are designed simultaneously.
- Integrated build. The badge system and learning content are co-created and integrated into a pre-existing technological platform.
- Layered build. The badge system is layered on top of pre-existing learning content and pre-existing technological platform.
- Responsive build. The badge system responds to pre-existing learning content, and the technological platform does not yet exist, is optional, or is distributed.
- Badge-first build. The badges are designed first and the learning content and technological platform are designed around the badges.
Sheryl identified a badge system as being comprised of three components: technology, learning content, and the badges themselves. Each of the five badge system classes starts with and requires a combination of these components, as shown in the table above.
The DPD Project team looked at the 30 badging projects, first identifying which bucket each system fell into, then looking at various levels of progress or status (including implementation, ecosystem and badges) and found the layered and responsive badge systems were more successful than the other three:
The team also looked more deeply at the various badge system proposals within each of the 30 projects, looking at the various practices that were formalized, proposed but not enacted, and unproposed but introduced. James Willis provided an overview of these for a handful of projects, including YALSA, UC Davis, Who Built America, and Badges for Vets:
The team’s general findings included:
- Digital badges are different to what many are used to - and open digital badges are even more different - so there were lots of new things to learn and adjust to;
- Claims and evidence are hard to define, and many of the projects struggled to define either or both of these;
- Information circulates within social networks - validity gets crowd-sourced;
- COPPA, FERPA and other legal constraints worried many initiatives;
- It’s not just about the badges: those that tried to build an ecosystem from scratch around badges weren’t as successful as those that integrated badges into existing learning systems;
Over the years we’ve heard a number of presentations on this work from Dan Hickey and Nate Otto on the Open Badges Community Calls, so it was great to see their findings presented by James on Monday. For anyone looking into building a badge system, this research will prove invaluable!
For more details on the other projects the team looked at, check out James’ slide deck.
For more information on the DPD Project, visit http://dpdproject.info/
Open edX and Beyond
To support widespread innovation around open digital badges in higher education, the Center for Research on Learning and Technology at Indiana University is working with IBL Studios, Inc. and Achievery to offer open badges in Open edX. The project is currently building badges into Lorena Barba’s Open edX MOOC, Practical Numerical Methods with Python.
When Professor Barba realized that Open edX requires authentication, she proposed the badges link directly to Github, where students will be working. This may be the first time badges have used direct links to Github as evidence, so we’re excited to see how this works as the course progresses. A series of badges should be available by mid-November, with seamless badge integration by spring 2015.
Building badges into Open edX has presented a number of technical and pedagogical challenges and opportunities for the team:
- Finding the ‘seams’ in Open edX coding to build a badges API connection;
- Assuring individual identity verification and management;
- Keeping open materials within the evidence of outcomes;
- Assessing student progress in specific, cumulative skills learned;
- Aligning outcomes for replication in future edX and Open edX MOOCs
Ongoing goals for the team at Indiana University’s Center for Research on Learning and Technology include facilitating further widespread use of digital badges in higher education - to more hybrid and standalone courses, across multiple platforms, and for faculty and staff learning. They also plan to publish their findings from this and ongoing projects, sharing their notes, challenges and results for future opportunities.
Learn more about the Open edX and Beyond project on Dan Hickey’s blog.
We look forward to continuing this course with you! See below for details of the next session.
Go to http://badges.coursesites.com/ to access more resources, information, and challenge assignments to earn badges.
Future sessions:Monday, Nov. 10, 2-3pm ET: Open Badges Policy - Anne Derryberry Monday, Dec. 8, 2-3pm ET: Open Badges Review - Sunny Lee and Jade Forester
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
I’m co-leading three sessions this year. I’ll update this post when I know when and where they all are! (Done!) Here’s an overview of what to expect in each session.Prototypes and Pathways for Web Literacy
Saturday, 2-3pm, Track: Build and Teach the Web
Learning pathways are either prescriptive or descriptive sequences of learning experiences. These often have a particular goal in mind.
This session will involve the creation of a privacy badge pathway. We will draw on the Web Literacy Map, Open Badges, Webmaker personas, and a document created by a Badge Alliance working group. By the end of the session we should have completed pathways to share, built to work in a particular context.
- Karen Smith (Mozilla & University of Toronto)
What we’ll be doing:
- Sharing our experiences of high-quality learning pathways
- Thinking through privacy from the point of view of one of eight Webmaker personas
- Exploring the badges created by the Badge Alliance working group on Digital & Web Literacies
- Creating a learning pathway based on the above contexts and badges
I’m looking forward to seeing what people come up with in this session. Preparing for it has involved much cutting out of colourful hexagons…Learning Analytics for good in the age of Big Data
Saturday, 3-4pm, Track: Science and the Web
According to the current Wikipedia definition, “Learning analytics is the measurement, collection and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimising learning and the environments in which it occurs.” In other words, using data to improve learning outcomes. At the moment, this is often done without the consent of users, so we want to build a better, more open, way to do it.
What we’ll be doing:
- Identifying the challenges and opportunities in this space
- Making connections between one another
- Building a shared list of questions
It’s early days for this, but there’s potential to form a working group as an output of this session.Toward v2 of Mozilla’s Web Literacy Map
Sunday, 12.30-1.30pm, Track: Build and Teach the Web
At the end of August we started the ball rolling for v2.0 of the Web Literacy Map. It’s not that there’s lots wrong with v1.1, it’s just that there’s ways we could improve it. Plus, we’ve committed to update it as the web evolves.
We began by interviewing stakeholders. This informed a community survey (still active – and now available in more languages). We’ve also just begun a series of community calls that will end in December. This session will give us extra data to help inform development the Web Literacy Map.
- Kim Wilkens (TechGirls)
- Ibrahima Saar (Teacher & Mozillian)
- Alvar Maciel (Teacher & Mozillian)
- Tom Salmon (Teacher & Mozillian)
What we’ll be doing:
- Answering any questions people may already have
- Spotting any gaps in v1.1 of the Web Literacy Map
- Grouping competencies (existing and new) in various ways
- Discussing what should be in/out of scope for v2.0
This will be an interesting session to lead, so I’m glad I’ve got such experienced co-facilitators. There’s likely to be both people well-versed in the Web Literacy Map as well as those coming to it for the first time.
Are you coming to MozFest? Please do come and say hello – or even better, come to one of the above sessions!
Today at an Open Access Week event in London, the Open Access Button was re-launched with new features “to help researchers, patients, students and the public get access to scientific and scholarly research.” The Open Access Button originally was created in response to researchers running into paywalls or other control mechanisms when they attempted to read and re-use scholarly journal articles.
The beta Open Access Button–released in November 2013–documented these stymied research efforts, tracking nearly 10,000 instances of denied access due to paywalls. The updated button is a browser plug-in that enables a person who conducts a similar search–but who is once again denied access–to explore other options in order to get access to the paper. It does this by conducting a search for a freely-available version of the research article on the web, for example a preprint or unformatted version of a finalized article manuscript. If this does not work the button provides the functionality to send an email to the author of the article to ask that a copy of the article be made available and shareable to others who need it. The button will do other things, too, such as creating a unique listing for each paper that is requested, so that authors can view demand for access to their works. Finally, the button aims to collect data and anecdotes arising from its use in order to feed advocacy and reform efforts related to the scholarly communications and publishing system.
The Open Access Button is an interesting tool because it both increases awareness of a problem within the academic publishing ecosystem and strives to deliver needed articles into the hands of the researchers to conduct their work. It is informational, empowering, and practical. Anyone can now install the Open Access Button. Congratulations to the terrific team on extending a creative and useful tool in support of open access to scholarly research.
This FAL-licensed photo was selected as Wikimedia Commons’ 2013 Picture of the Year.
Like CC Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA), the Free Art License (FAL 1.3) is a copyleft license, meaning that it requires licensees to share their adaptations under the same license. Therefore, it’s impossible to create an adaptation that combines works under both BY-SA and FAL. Until now.
With this compatibility declaration, anyone remixing a work under FAL can license her remix under BY-SA. Similarly, people can adapt works under BY-SA and license them under FAL, or mix works under both licenses and license the resulting works under either license or both.
From the beginning, Creative Commons ShareAlike licenses were designed with interoperability in mind. We believe that the commons is at its best when there are as few walls as possible preventing people from mixing and combining its works. As CC co-founder Lawrence Lessig noted when speaking of compatibility between BY-SA and the FAL, “Our idea was eventually that it [wouldn’t] matter which of the free licenses you were in as long as you could move into the equivalent free license that would be CC compatible.”
Today, this idea has been realized, and there is one less barrier preventing licensees from remixing and combining openly licensed works.
This is a special moment for another reason. Originally drafted in 2000, the Free Art License is one of the first copyleft licenses designed for content, not software. It’s only fitting that it become the first third-party license to be declared compatible with CC BY-SA.
What’s next? Since the CC licenses launched, many people have dreamed of compatibility between BY-SA and the GNU General Public License (GPLv3), a widely-used copyleft software license. Sometimes when reusing openly licensed content in software, it can be difficult to discern where the content ends and the software begins. Allowing developers to license their adaptations of BY-SA content under the GPL would prevent a lot of licensing headaches.
CC will begin to tackle GPL compatibility with a proposal and preliminary analysis in the coming weeks. If you’d like to listen in or get involved, subscribe to our license development list.
Artlibre.org announcement (français)
San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), along with reddit and the Internet Archive, today filed formal comments with the New York State Department of Financial Services opposing the state's proposed regulations for digital currencies such as Bitcoin. In the letter, EFF argues that on top of damaging privacy and harming innovation, New York's "BitLicense" regulatory scheme also risks infringing on First Amendment rights to freedom of expression and association.
The State of New York is currently considering BitLicense, a sprawling regulatory framework that would mandate licenses for a wide range of companies in the digital currency space. The regulations would force applicants to submit significant personal information to the state, including fingerprints and head-shot photographs. The policy would also require these companies to maintain detailed records about all transactions for 10 years, including identity data of users.
"Digital currencies such as Bitcoin strengthen privacy and are resistant to censorship," EFF Activism Director Rainey Reitman said. "We should consider this a feature, not a bug; it's an innovative way of importing some of the civil liberties protections we already enjoy offline into the digital world."
EFF notes that digital currency protocols are used for more than just payments—they have expressive and associational uses, too. Bitcoin-like systems are used for organizing and engaging with groups or communities. In addition, Bitcoin block chains frequently contain political speech, such as famous quotes and portraits of prominent historical figures. As currently written, EFF argues, the BitLicense regulations place an unacceptable burden on free speech and association.
"The courts have long recognized that code is speech protected by the First Amendment," EFF Special Counsel Marcia Hofmann said. "At their core, digital currency protocols are code. Attempts to regulate code must include robust protections to ensure constitutionally protected speech is not stifled, and the BitLicense proposal would undermine those First Amendment principles."
On Oct. 15, EFF launched an online activism campaign encouraging Internet users to oppose the BitLicense proposal by submitting comments to the New York State Department of Financial Services.
For the text of EFF's comments:
Electronic Frontier Foundation
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Logical fallacies are techniques that people use to make an argument appear convincing even when it is wrong. Learning how to identify and refute logical fallacies is one of the best ways to win in a discussion. Catching an opponent committing a fallacy will force him to retract his error or he will appear foolish or manipulative to his audience. There is a dark side to this. Once you learn to identify logical fallacies you will also be able to use them. Do not deliberately use them against fellow Pirates; it is extreme bad manners and you will most probably be caught out.The Logical Fallacy – Appeal to Fear
Fear is one of the most powerful motivators in making decisions. It can easily override rational thinking and lead to faulty decision making. It is also called argumentum ad metum or argumentum in terrorem. While it is easy to see it being used in justifying increased surveillance and invasions of privacy in response to perceived threats of terrorism it is not so easy to identify more subtle forms. In the tech world the acronym FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) was developed to identify subtle messages that corporates use to create fear and doubt about competitive companies and products. The Halloween documents revealed internal Microsoft conversations on how to use FUD against the Open Source Software.
Creating angst about financial or social security can be more effective than bombastic threats about physical safety. People are very bad at judging risk. We evolved to be more responsive to fear than rational thought as stopping for a moment to consider if a movement in the trees was indeed a danger could well lead to our ancestors becoming someone’s lunch. Hence many people are more afraid of flying than the much more dangerous act of driving. More afraid of being the victim of a terrorist bomb than a drunk driver.Examples:
There may be jihadists in our country that need to be surveilled. Therefore giving up our right to privacy will make us safer.
Ebola is a deadly disease. We need to shut the borders to anyone who may have come in contact with it.
Feminists are coniving to take over men’s roles. Real men should resist feminism.
You can read more about the ‘Appeal to Fear’ logical fallacy in a wikipedia post and logical fallacies in general in this wikipedia article.
Remember that just because someone commits a logical fallacy it does not mean their argument is necessarily incorrect. If you have the time and resources then use the principles of scepticism to test their reasoning objectively.
This article is a part of a series called Effective Pirating:
Winning Discussions: Poisoning the Well (Effective Pirating) 29/9
Winning Discussions: Begging the Question (Effective Pirating) 17/8
Winning Discussions – The Bandwagon Fallacy (Effective Pirating) 11/8
Effective Pirating: Winning Discussions – Tu Quoque 24/7
Effective Pirating: Winning Discussions – The Straw Man 17/7
Effective Pirating: Choose your Opponents Carefully 7/7
Featured image: CC BY-NC Filipe Varela
In his latest piece on LinkedIn, Influencer Don Tapscott writes:
Read the full post on LinkedIn.
The progress of knowledge is fueled by people who dedicate their lives to a field—to read, examine, and absorb everything they can out of passionate intellectual curiosity. Diego Gomez is one of these individuals, and is dedicated to the conservation of reptiles and amphibians.
Unfortunately, like so many scholars around the world, Diego’s work has been frustrated by a lack of access to research trapped by expensive paywalls. So he did what many researchers and academics do today when they see a barrier to knowledge: he shared the research with his colleagues. Due to excessive criminal copyright laws in his native country of Colombia, however, Diego is now being prosecuted by Colombian officials for sharing another researcher's Master's thesis online. He faces up to eight years in prison and crippling monetary fines.
The use of FLOSS was my first approach to the open source world. Many times I could not access ecological or statistical software, nor geographical information systems, despite my active interest in using them to make my first steps in research and conservation. As a student, it was impossible for me to cover the costs of the main commercial tools. Today, I value access to free software such as The R project and QGis project, which keep us away from proprietary software when one does not have the budget for researching.
But it was definitely since facing a criminal prosecution for sharing information on the Internet for academic purposes, for ignoring the rigidity of copyright law, that my commitment to support initiatives promoting open access and to learn more about ethical, political, and economic foundations has been strengthened.
I am beginning my career with the conviction that access to knowledge is a global right. The first articles I have published in journals have been under Creative Commons licenses. I use free or open software for analyzing. I also do my job from a social perspective as part of my commitment and as retribution for having access to public education in both Colombia and Costa Rica.
From the situation I face, I highlight the support I have received from so many people in Colombia and worldwide. Particularly, I thank the valuable support of institutions working for our freedom in the digital world. Among them I would like to acknowledge those institutions that have joined the campaign called “Let’s stand together to promote open access worldwide”—EFF, Fundación Karisma, Creative Commons, Internet Archive, Knowledge Ecology International, Open Access Button, Derechos Digitales, Open Coalition, Open Knowledge, Research rights Coalition, Open Media, Fight for the Future, USENIX, Public Knowledge and all individuals that have supported the campaign.
If open access was the default choice for publishing scientific research results, the impact of these results would increase and cases like mine would not exist. There would be no doubt that the right thing is to circulate this knowledge, so that it should serve everyone.
Thank you all for your support.
Diego A. Gómez Hoyos
Join the movement and stay connected! Together with the Right to Research Coalition, Creative Commons, Open Access Button, Fundación Karisma, and others, we created a platform for everyone to add their support for the open access movement. Sign here and share far and wide.
In the US? Send a message to your lawmakers to secure open access to taxpayer-funded research
Between October 20 and 26, EFF is celebrating Open Access Week alongside dozens of organizations from around the world. This is a week to acknowledge the wide-ranging benefits of enabling open access to information and research—as well as exploring the dangerous costs of keeping knowledge locked behind publisher paywalls. We'll be posting on our blog every day about various aspects of the open access movement. Go here to find out how you can take part and to read the other Deeplinks published this week.Related Issues: Fair Use and Intellectual Property: Defending the BalanceOpen AccessInternational
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As promised last week, here are the details around the formal launch event for School of Open Africa taking place in Nairobi tomorrow morning.
Our Creative Commons and School of Open volunteers in Kenya, including CC Regional Coordinator Alex Gakuru, are hosting a formal launch event of School of Open Africa in celebration of the School of Open programs launched last month in Africa, and to announce new programs in higher education. The event will feature a panel discussion with senior government officials from the Kenyan Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and Ministry of ICT along with Dr. Bitange Ndemo (University of Nairobi) and regional representatives from UNESCO and Google regarding the status of open education in Africa, School of Open’s contributions and future. Alex says,
“This event will help establish a conversation platform for policymakers around School of Open Africa, connecting and synchronising education and ICT policies with the innovative open education programs being led by Creative Commons volunteers in Africa. It will also connect current School of Open programs in primary and high school education to academia and NRENs1 — towards the realisation of the international aspiration for universal access to education.”
Additional attendees include professors from local universities and law schools; participants of the copyright law course, CopyrightX:Kenya, who will be awarded certificates of completion; our CC Kenya affiliates; and School Open Kenya leads.
In addition to the panel, SOO Kenya’s Simeon Oriko will present on School of Open Africa programs led to date, and Dr. Tonny Omwansa with C4DLab at the University of Nairobi will announce a new School of Open program to develop OER courses for higher education. This program will serve as a model for other universities across Africa to develop high quality open educational resources for use in higher education under CC BY. In celebration, CC t-shirts in Kiswahili will be distributed, “mwananchi mbunifu,” aka ‘creative commoner.’
The event is hosted at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi and will last from 9am-1pm, followed by a celebratory lunch. The event and new OER program in higher education is made possible with technical support from UNESCO and generous financial support from the Hewlett Foundation.About the School of Open
The School of Open is a global community of volunteers that provides free education opportunities on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, and research. Volunteers develop and run courses, workshops, and training programs on topics such as Creative Commons licenses, open educational resources, and sharing creative works. The School of Open is coordinated by Creative Commons and P2PU, a nonprofit that builds and supports learning communities on the web.