Malamud’s “By the People”, a Compelling History of the GPO

Cory shares this video of Carl Malamud explaining the historical antecedents of his work, his earlier efforts in opening government data and the results, and the issues and hurdles that still remain. There is also a transcript of this speech that Carl Malamud gave back in September at Government 2.0. It is available in a variety of formats (though no ePub) and you can purchase it as a printed pamphlet from Lulu.

With the recent Open Government Directive from the OMB, this speech is even more appropriate. Carl’s words resonate with the call to institute a culture of participation and collaboration, not just mere access to knowledge.

If you are moved by Carl’s words, come and meet him this Thursday at a special DC CopyNight event.

Help Carl Malamud Convince Congress of the Value of Public Domain Video

What Carl describes in the message Cory posted to Boing Boing on his behalf is admittedly gaming the system. If you watch the recommended videos between now and his testimony on December 16th, you’ll be helping to bulk up the statistics he will be citing to advance the case for public access. To be fair, the system as he describes it seems unfairly stacked towards pushing you to buy these videos on DVD rather than exercise what seems like it should be a more substantial public access right.

If you want to watch videos from the National Archives today, they try to talk you into buying a DVD from the official government partner, Amazon.Com. The government web site has a 320×240 2 minute preview, using an old Microsoft codec, and all the search results encourage you to purchase from “our partner, Amazon.Com.”

So let’s call this hacktivism, specifically targeting a considerable and immediate public good, and spare a few minutes here and there in the next two weeks to help Carl out.

Judicial Tech Illiteracy, Amazon and the Public Domain, and More

  • Radio Berkman podcast episode on anonymity and limits on free speech
    As I do not already listen to enough podcasts on legal matters. But I am grateful to TLF’s Adam Thierer for bringing this to my attention, especially this particular episode on an excellent subject that is very relevant to recent stories about anonymous speech circulating through the blogosphere. I will warn you that while there is an Ogg version of the podcast, the file I checked had a panning issue; sound only on the right channel.
  • New language on the JVM from Google
    The name, short for “No Operation”, sounds like a joke, but the piece I found via Hacker News appears to be legitimate. I understand the reasoning behind the laundry list of features but wonder, as I usually do, if their efforts would have been better served helping Scala or Groovy rather than creating a whole new language.
  • Amazon delaying public domain submissions for the Kindle
    Although the piece doesn’t say explicitly, I suspect that the Orwell incident is a large part of their reasoning. What they have said is suspicious, as the letter including in this article makes clear. At least they are not singling anyone out.
  • Tech illiteracy’s impact on judges’ rulings
    At Techdirt, Mike Masnick shares a good example of a case where illiteracy yielded an outcome one hundred and eighty degrees from how things would have gone if the judge were more clueful. It echoes the question I consider a while ago.
  • Big Content whines to FCC to perserve its internet filtering plans
    I really am not at all surprised by Nate Anderson’s coverage at Ars of another FCC workshop on their broadband plan in which the entertainment industry took over with flimsy rhetoric, easily debunked, intending to shore up their desire to deputize ISPs to police for infringing content.
  • An overreaching patent from Google on reading lists
    RWW supposes this may be a key patent underlying the Bundles feature in Reader. Further, they detail a response from Winer which seems to have the right of it, that at least judging from the abstract on the patent, there is a load of applicable prior art.
  • Ruling further limits interpretation of the CFAA
    According to Jacqui Cheung at Ars, in this instance the ruling on appeal was for a case around ex-employees accessing former employer’s data. It reins in another of the problematic, broadening claims brought to bear under the already overly vague and dangerous Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

More Debate on Defining Broadband, a Zombie Broadcast Flag, Google Launches a Project to Liberate Your Data and More

  • IBM mandates OOo for internal use
    According to Linux Magazine, it is actually their OpenOffice.org based product, Lotus Symphony. They are also adopting ODF as a standard, though, which is probably even more important. It is hardly surprising but may encourage other large companies fed up with Microsoft or who may be tired of the license costs.
  • WebKit project adds support for forthcomng 3D standard
    The standard, according to the article, is being developed by the same body responsible for OpenGL ES and OpenCL. I don’t think gaming is the killer application here, necessarily. OpenGL has been put to some very clever 2D animation uses, so I could see WebGL as another tool to help oust the proprietary Flash from the web.
  • Google launches group dedicated to liberating your data
    This is a really good start from Google and I hope it encourages other service providers to think about data portability. The web site to their credit already has some excellent information on how to export your data from Google applications. I still have a concern about data retention that I am not seeing addressed and for which Google as a whole has a poor track record. Exporting it is one thing, being confident Google will destroy my data afterwards is another.
  • Creative Commons releases results of its study of non-commercial term
    Read the entire post not just for a good summation of response from the survey but also for the implications going forward, in particular for the upcoming long haul deliberations for version 4.0 of the licenses. The underlying survey data as well as the findings are being made openly available. In short, there seems to be a pretty good coherent interpretation of the meaning of non-commercial. Where there is some skew, it falls on the forgivable side such as users interpreting the condition more conservatively than creators. There is some good food for thought, too, in the conclusion in the form of some best practices and guiding principles for using the non-commercial license condition to best effect.
  • Broadcast flag pops up and bites some consumers
    Matthew Lasar at Ars explains what seems like a bit of an anomalous case. A DVD-R based device ran afoul of a flag incorporated into a basic cable program’s broadcast via DirecTV. Lasar also gives a good backgrounder on the broadcast flag’s sordid history, reminding us that even though the courts ultimately killed Big Content’s bid for control of digital broadcasts, device makers (the most foolish ones anyway) can still voluntarily respect any such flags embedded in programming.
  • What is the state of city-wide WiFi?
    A bevy of links consider the question from a few angles netting conflicting answers. I am skeptical of the view that the deployment of WiMax has stalled municipal WiFi since, at least here in the US, WiMax isn’t faring much better in terms of availability. I also doubt that WiFi enabled phones will help drive further coverage since owners always have the option of just using their cellular data plan. Maybe if cell carriers continue to relegate high bandwidth, low latency applications to WiFi, that may inadvertently encourage more competitive wireless options but I am not holding my breath.
  • Japanese RIAA wants server based DRM on mobile phones
    Jacqui Cheung has the story at Ars. I suspect this may be very specific to the market there which has a much stronger focus on phones versus other options for taking your media with you. When I read that it was so heavily centralized beyond the natural questions about how it will work in a cell dead spot, I started worrying about the unanticipated risks and problems that arise from this sort of tethering of consumers media to a remote system that no doubt is inadequately secured.
  • Are Microsoft’s, Oracle’s open source efforts held up to a double standard?
    Matt Asay asks a fair questions, more so I think when it comes to Oracle. As for Microsoft, I strongly disagree with his view that they are getting an unfair cop from open source advocates. To this day, Microsoft continues to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt that reduces if not eliminates any benefit of the doubt they may deserve. This is not about the percentage of their code that is open or their upstream contributions compared to contributions by other commercial outfits. Rather it is about adversarial double dealing that no amount of openness can easily absolve.
  • AT&T excludes gaming from broadband in FCC’s attempts to define the term
    Matthew Lasar has the particulars at Ars. The gaming industry not surprisingly has their back up at AT&T’s remarks. Lasar includes some good research material to try to better understand whether gaming should be considered an essential part of broadband access. I am concerned that this sort of rhetoric is going to de-rail the broadband plan through squabbling over specific uses rather than considering it on simpler terms as a tool for access to knowledge of all kinds.
  • Jesse Brown suggest publicly funded media should be int the public domain
    He uses the example of a series he produced for the CBC which he cannot link or mirror. My answer is pretty unsurprising, “Yes!”, but I do think this is a question that needs to be put seriously to the Canadian, US and other governments that have publicly funded and supported media. I would go so far as to suggest this should be part of open governance, alongside access to voting records, campaign finance data, and the text of our legislation.