Latest  News


Google Books settlement at risk?

The US DoJ steps in and now the deal is being revised. [19sept09]

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a "Statement of Interest" recommending that Judge Chin disapprove the Proposed Settlement Agreement in the Authors Guild v. Google case. Although the DOJ recognized that the public would benefit from greater access to books if the settlement was approved, it has concluded that the agreement in its current form does not satisfy legal requirements. The DOJ recommended that the litigants modify the agreement in some important respects before Judge Chin considers approving a settlement of the case. This is the most significant development since the settlement itself was announced.

Read more on The Huffington Post.

“The news out of this is that there are frantic negotiations going on in back rooms right now,” said James Grimmelmann, an associate professor at the Institute for Information Law and Policy at New York Law School, which raised antitrust and other objections to the settlement. “The parties are scared enough to be talking seriously about changes, with each other and the government. The government is being the stern parent making them do it.”

Google, the guild and the publishers’ association said they were
encouraged by the department’s view that the settlement offered many
benefits, adding that they looked forward to addressing the department’s concerns.

Read more on The New York Times.

Celebration of the Online Commonwealth

Support the core values that have enabled the Internet to prosper. [13sept09]

The Center for Democracy & Technology invites you to join us in celebrating One Web Day by reading and signing the document: A Call to Defense and Celebration of the Online Commonwealth.

This document articulates core values that have enabled the Internet to prosper and highlights our shared duty to keep it open, innovative and free.

The CDT encourages you to read the document and attach your name in a show of support, and share it your friends.

On September 22 — One Web Day — the CDT will report how many supporting signatures have been collected.

Canadians overwhelmingly support moderate, fair copyright

Public consultation still open: "speak out on copyright" [09sept09]

The Canadian government's copyright consultation has received over 4,000 submissions from Canadians (through August 31). Of these, the overwhelming majority are in favour of more liberal copyright, against extending the term of copyright, against stiffer penalties for infringement (only three submissions advocated this) and against US-DMCA-style rules protecting DRM - as proposed in the Bill C-61.

Regarless of your view, there are just a few days left to join the thousands of Canadians who have spoken out. What are you waiting for - speak out on copyright today!

More details:

Google Books adds Creative Commons

CC-licensed books are now publicly available for download, use, remix, and share.[13aug09]

The new program makes it easy for participants in Google Books’
Partner Program to mark their books with one of the six Creative Commons licenses (or the CC0 waiver). This gives authors and publishers a simple way to articulate the permissions they have granted to the public through a CC license, while giving people a clear indication of the legal rights they have to CC-licensed works found through Google Books.

The project launched with a terrific starter collection of CC-licensed books that includes: 55 Ways to Have Fun with Google by Philipp Lenssen; Blown to Bits by Harold Abelson, Ken Ledeen, Harry R. Lewis; Bound by Law? by Keith Aoki, James Boyle, Jennifer Jenkins; Code: Version 2 by Lawrence Lessig; Democratizing Innovation by Eric von Hippel; Federal Budget Deficits: America’s great consumption binge by Paul Courant; The Future of the Internet — And How to Stop It by Jonathan Zittrain; Little Brother by Cory Doctorow; and A World’s Fair for the Global Village by Carl Malamud.

More info:



US: one-stop site for public data?

Enhancing government transparency and public access. [20july09]

The Sunlight Foundation, a non-partisan non-profit organization dedicated to government transparency, has announced that it will launch a National Data Catalog to go above and beyond of, the US federal government's new catalog of sets of public data.

According to ReadWriteWeb, the new site, "which is being developed with publicly visible open source code, will allow users to contribute sets of data, documentation to go along with data and links to places around the web that are using any set of data cataloged."

The projects aims at providing options and features "that, well, Government just can't do."

Read full article here.

Best license for education/research material?

A Dutch report recommends Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 [12july09]

The rise of the Internet and other new ICT tools have led to drastic changes in the options for distribution and reuse. These changes demand a reorientation in the rules for sharing educational and research materials.

Since sharing educational and research materials is high on the agenda of Dutch higher education and research institutions, SURFdirect and Creative Commons examined the different Open Content licenses that are available and that will make clear to reusers what they are permitted to do with material held in repositories.

SURFdirect has indicated that the choice of licence must not create barriers to the future use of educational and research material, that it can be applied at both research universities and universities of applied sciences [hogescholen], and that this can in fact be done in 80% of cases, this report recommends using the most liberal Creative Commons licence for textual output.

More details and full report on the SURF Foundation website.

Open Government in UK, not in USA...

"Making government information accessible and useful for the widest possible group of people" [11june09]

An article on today's New York Times, co-written by the ReadWriteWeb staff, points out that UK's Prime Minister has asked the help of Sir Tim Berners-Lee in "opening up of access to Government data in the web" - a move seemingly aimed at showing "Obama How It's Done".

Here below a few excerpts:

«"So that government information is accessible and useful for the widest possible group of people, I have asked Sir Tim Berners-Lee who led the creation of the world wide web, to help us drive the opening up of access to Government data in the web over the coming month." Can't you picture Barack Obama making that statement? He didn't though; that was the UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown in a statement about electoral reform, according to a report from Charles Arthur of the Guardian.

The Obama administration has had a mixed record so far in terms of opening up government data.

The White House said yesterday that it has clearly heard the public call for more open APIs (Application Programming Interfaces filled with open data) - so things certainly won't be standing still on this side of the Atlantic either. US CIO Vivek Kundra wrote an excellent blog post on the challenges and opportunities of open government data on Monday.

In other words, Berners-Lee is a hard core advocate of open data. It's hard to imagine a more high profile move for a government to take than to announce that he's coming on board to help the effort.»

Read the full article here.

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