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Archive for the ‘copyright’ Category


So in the last few days I have had some conversations about the reuse of tweets, whether it is ethical to quote them, have you published when tweeting and generally around the whole concept of privacy and ethics.  I have had a few thoughts which I am going to share. Feel free to leap in and let me know where you think I have got it wrong.  O, and I am putting this on my writers’ blog The Worlds of Michael J Parry and my library blog The Room of Infinite Diligence because of many intersections.

The first question I considered is: “Is tweeting publishing”. The OED first defines publishing as “To make public”, or in fuller “To make public or generally known; to declare or report openly or publicly; to announce; (also) to propagate or disseminate (a creed or system). In later use sometimes passing into sense.” Which makes sense to me although from that you could say the act of speaking is publishing.

To me the act of publishing is when you take a thought, which up until that moment is privately held within your mind, and you then express it in some way that makes the thought more permanent and transmittable to others by some form of media.

By this definition, and by my way of thinking, then yes Tweeting is a form of publication.

So then the questions become even more complex. What rights do you as the originator of the tweet have other how the tweet is used? What responsibilities do the reader and potential re-user of the tweet have to you as the content creator?

For me it comes down, as it often does, to context. Do you have an expectation of privacy around your tweet? If you are tweeting from a locked account yes. You control who can see and read it. If you have a public account I don’t see how you can. A public account is by its nature, public.

To my mind, if you publicly tweet something, you are publishing it and giving it to the world for free to read and then potentially reuse. We implicitly agree to this through using the service and through our acceptance of such functionality as the ability to re-tweet.

Does the reader have any responsibility or special ethical considerations for the re-use of your tweet? Should a journalist say ask you permission before quoting? I would say if you have publicly tweeted then no.  They have no ethical considerations beyond the usual they should have when preparing a story.

But what about copyright? Fair use? Is a tweet a work, or a part of a work? Especially if it is published! This is a bit of a grey area for me.  It seems to me there is an implicit release of copyright in the act of tweeting. Especially in a public feed.

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Dr Matt Finch tweeted a link to his interview with Connor Tomas O’Brien and Chris Cormack, Popcorn? Connor Tomas O’Brien and Chris Cormack on the battle for libraries’ future He originally promoted it as a discussion about e-books in libraries. Since I was intrigued by Eli Neiburger’s statement at #LIANZA13 – “ebooks are bullshit! This is the truth. They are a transitory format, they will only be here for a little while.”  I was pretty interested to read the interview. (Eli made this statement in the context of advances in technology that disrupt what libraries think of as part of their traditional business. He suggested a way for libraries to think about their future was “Don’t transition…diversify.”) Then it moved into the question of “What do you think a public library should be doing in 2013?” Suddenly I’m watching Matt write eloquently about the plight of rural communities, and the concerns he has around equity of service for people who choose to live there. (There’s been a further discussion on Twitter and if anyone Storifys it, I’ll link it.)

In the #LIANZA13 Library future workshop (based on the #ALIAFutures workshops) we discussed the likelihood of people moving to urban centres. In New Zealand that may translate to suburban sprawl instead. (Imagine that – one big city from Whangarei to Hamilton!) We floated the idea that librarians may not work in a library but may rove the country running programmes that engage communities in their local-ness – what makes them unique? What is their heritage? etc.) Matt’s concerns for rural Australia are also applicable to rural New Zealand – what are we going to do about that NZ librarians/libraries?

Matt has also been asking questions about 3-D printers in libraries. “My 3D printer worry is simply this: libraries are spending a lot of time talking about this one gadget, which I don’t see communities crying out for.” He’s been given one answer by Baruk from Auckland Libraries. Baruk has been working on the Auckland Libraries Maker Space over the last few months. His final line “Thinking of 3D printers just as ‘tech’ is like thinking of a wheel as ‘a round thing’” really matches with what Nat Torkington was talking about in his #LIANZA13 keynote ‘When you see people who are doing things with tech, or their services “you don’t become like them by buying the artifacts. [there is] an ocean of possible artifacts and toys.“ What we don’t see is the pedagogy behind it which is how to understand how and why it’s being used.(My emphasis.) It’s not the tech that’s important, it’s what your library believes its role is in providing that tech to its community.

I guess it’s also a good reminder to be aware of what the stories are that are being told about your library. Bill McNaught, National Librarian of the National Library, in his #LIANZA13 keynote said that he was was concerned about ‘The news stories that go out about lending new artifacts tell the wrong story. Anything that undermines the fact that we are in the knowledge business is really unhelpful.’

So, to that end, THIS is what Auckland is getting from a 3-D printer as part of a MakerSpace in its largest library. (Some of @feddabonn’s tweets from launch weekend)

And finally this one to sum up.

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I take some time to form opinions approaching final, so I was hesitant to comment when the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Act 2011  was brought in under urgency in April.

I’ve had some interesting discussions about the act since that time, and read some mighty interesting things coming from other library industry professionals and groups. Myself, I’m not so sure we can predict the possible consequences as yet, mainly because we have yet to see the organisational structures surrounding this law in place and functioning, or even a clear proposal as to what those organisational structures might be.

We see lawlessness around us constantly in society. We constantly drive up to 9kph over the speed limit, which is so enshrined that the police are obliged to announce special weekends when they’ll apply punitive measures if we’re more than 5kph over. Very much any law that is on the books is only as good as the systems of enforcement that support it.

Is there a moral issue here? Should I mention the now-hackneyed Melissa Lee story? I found Ms. Lee, a list member (who by the way must have photoshopped her twitter background picture – she normally looks like a human being), to be repugnantly ignorant when she described a motorway extension as a way of channelling social undesirables through Mount Albert, so I don’t feel a need to hold her up as a special example of the ability of “citizens of good standing” to construct ways in which lawbreaking doesn’t count when they do it.

Frankly, it doesn’t matter to me. Breaches are happening all the time. I think we can agree to that even if I’m reluctant to identify a specific breach happening in a specific location, let alone any one library in New Zealand.

Sections 122J-O and 122T are where the meat is for me, in that they describe (a) what happens in a Tribunal situation, and (b) what the obligations of the IPAP (definitions) are.

From my non-lawyerly reading Section 122N, which deals with what pass for “evidence” here, allows the rights owners to make assertions of infringement. These assertions are presumed to “constitute an infringement”.

This is where I flounder. Isn’t the standard to ask the plaintiff and/or prosecutor to provide some evidence?

The “infringing party” is then required to submit evidence that they were not involved in said acts, when the they, like The Honorable Ms. Lee, may not have even known an “infringing act” was occuring.

The good news for them? IPAPs are required in section 122T to keep information on IPs assigned to rights holders for 40 days.

The bad news for us? That means we’re going to do the work to have these processes documented and potentially alter our digital environments so that’s possible in the first place.

Section 122U, “Fees Payable by Rights Owners to IPAPs”  is just plain weird to me:

(1) An IPAP may charge a rights owner for performing the functions required of IPAP under sections 122A to 122T

Sooo… we can just send a bill to AOL/Time Warner?

Here’s what I really think we should do: Let’s see what happens with this patchwork law, but more importantly strive to position ourselves at the forefront of friendly sharing. Isn’t that what we are all about?

Besides which, there are other models besides copyright we could be telling our users about.

In my latest solo musical project, I am sharing everything I do with a Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported licence. I enjoy content I own, have hired, or that has been released for free. I pay for some of that free content simply because I choose to support those creators.

I don’t think I’m unique in this, but I do think I’m living out some of the ethic I see in our profession in doing so. I think we can collectively live out that ethic by teaching and encouraging our users in recognising themselves as legal, celebratory sharers who have a relationship with libraries, because libraries can connect them with a lifetime of top-quality content.

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I’m posting this now so that I can maintain my contribution to the effort whilst deferring the actual work. Thus, TROID (an acronym I hate, by the way) gets to have its contributor posting on the correct day, but I get to feel I deliver something more effective.

So tomorrow I shall communicate some of my thoughts around the just-enacted copyright law and libraries, emphasising the need to educate the public around not just copyright but differing models – how to identify content released by creators who do not aim a punitive system against reusers.

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I read disturbing news in an article by Barbara Fister recently, that three academic publishers are in a lawsuit with Georgia State University over the right to share information.  Sage, Cambridge and Oxford University Press want their university clients to ‘ensure that their faculty, students, and staff will be “restrained from creating, reproducing, transmitting, selling, or in any manner distributing, or assisting, participating in, soliciting, encouraging, or facilitating the creation, reproduction, download, display, sale, or distribution in any manner of, copies, whether in hard copy format, digital or electronic computer files, or any other format, of any and all Works without permission.”‘  Read the full article here.

This draconian demand would mean that nothing could be copied or even displayed without the permission of the publishers.  As if academic publishers hadn’t got libraries over a barrel already over cost, they seem to want to go further and have complete control over research and scholarship, material which they didn’t even create.  This sets a dangerous precedent and we should all be worried.

But, as Barbara Fister says towards the end of the article this is the perfect time for open access to step in and take over and thumb the virtual nose at greedy corporations.  Let’s hope they lose the lawsuit.

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Lock downIt could have been this ugly for us too, without some sustained lobbying from many groups including LIANZA. It still could. The following article from the New Zealand Herald is a cautionary tale, which shows why we need to be vigilant in monitoring legislation before parliament. It is very easy sometimes to think that a bad law won’t be used in a way we fear, or to think that legislation won’t affect us, but copyright is one of laws that can and will impact on us. Actually that reminds me that I had better chase up where we are with the new laws. Just because we one the first round doesn’t mean we have one the battle.

Pirate gets town’s Wi-Fi unplugged By Pat Pilcher

The battle for the internet rights of individuals versus those of big business have taken a turn for the worse with the latest battlefront opening up in the small US town of Coshocton, Ohio.

The Coshocton county has provided Wi-Fi for a number of years as a free municipal service but last week was forced to shut it down after a single copyright infringing download saw the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) threatening legal action.

Unlike proposed copyright laws soon to come into force in New Zealand, US copyright infringement regulations lack any provisions for protecting for ISPs from the activities of their users.

This in effect leaves internet service providers such as Coshocton county potentially exposed to legal fallout for any copyright infringing downloads done on their networks.

Because it’s a free service with a public login, tracking down the persons who downloaded copyrighted material on the Coshocton network is at best tricky and will realistically be next to impossible.

Shutting down the network is expected to have impacts beyond inconveniencing visitors and the citizens of Coshocton.

According to statements made by the Coshocton CIO, Mike LaVigne to the Coshocton Tribune, The free Wi-Fi service is used by many people, including sheriff’s deputies.

The whole sorry saga sets an ugly precedent for public internet access providers across the USA, with many like Coshocton County forced to consider either no longer offering free public internet access or investing in network management software to prevent copyright infringing downloads.

The economics of implementing such a capability however are likely to be beyond the financial means of many smaller internet providers, with LaVigne stating such software would cost the small, fiscally-challenged county US$2,900 to implement along with US$2,000 for equipment and $900 per year.

While countries like Finland make broadband access a basic human right, the world’s most powerful democracy appears to be stuck in the past with clunky copyright laws that favour increasingly powerful organisations such as the MPAA.

Perhaps the US could take some learning’s from New Zealand’s soon to be enforced copyright legislation?

 

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LibWorldLife is certainly interesting at the moment for me. I have started up-skilling my web skills by doing the Certificate in Web Design through the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, so whilst studying I may miss a post here or there. Or I may not, as I really love this blogging thing. The editor-in-chief and myself are looking at picking up our house like turtles and moving it out to the acreage we have planted a few fruit trees on.  There’s no broadband out there except for the satellite wireless stuff. Not sure I could handle going back to dialup so decisions will need to be made.  🙂

Professionally I am digging the Kete thing, and can’t wait to get our one up and running. There are plans and plans, and I need to nail the boss to her chair for an hour and get a programme up and running. One of the parts which has got me curious to explore more is the Creative Commons licences associated with the Kete. Up until now I hadn’t had much to do with, or a reason to think about them, but with the Kete using them heavily I have had to get my head around them. I quite like them. I think they strike a great balance for those who wish to put their creative output out there.

In a bit of a segue, using the CC licence is LibWorld: Library Blogging Worldwide Edited by Christian Hauschke, Sarah Lohre, & Nadine Ullmann. By the terms of the licence I can download, share or even adapt, as long as I do so non-commercially and properly attribute. You can still purchase a hardcopy if you like. This is cool for the amount of work that has obviously gone into the work.

I downloaded this to read the chapter on New Zealand library blogs, written by Simon Chamberlain. What struck me was the danger in attempting to write and publish something on a topic as transient and developing like blogging. At the time of writing library blogging in New Zealand was fairly limited, so Simon had to bulk out his chapter with non library blogs. A number of the blogs mentioned have obviously folded with no content added in a while, and Simon’s own blog seems to be inactive. That being said it was an interesting read, I just think trying to write a book and then publish it was using the wrong format. Maybe somebody could develop the ITSig Wiki list of New Zealand blogs. It’s a great resource, that could do with some descriptive elements, and is missing a number of kiwi blogs. I would, but all my time looks booked for the next six months. . . 🙂 

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