Great day for European Computer Industry! And for Democracy! Ane one less reason to leave “old Europe”….
Europe Parliament nixes software patent law
STRASBOURG, France Jul 6, 2005 — The European Parliament on Wednesday rejected a proposed law to create a single way of patenting software across the European Union, a blow to big tech companies who had pushed hard for its adoption.
The so-called software patent directive, turned down in a 648-14 vote with 18 abstentions, would have given companies EU-wide patent protection for computerized inventions
1) Stallman was in Trento and I got the chance to be pictured with him.
2) Gavin Hill found the picture and emailed me asking to use the picture for a video he was making. I release everything on my blog on a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 1.0 Creative Commons Licence but he preferred a more strict one and so I re-released this photo to him under a Attribution Creative Commons Licence.
3) He created a video about “How Software Patents Actually Work” with the picture. [He wrote me in first email that he would release the video under CC licence as well. At the moment, I think he forgot to write it on the video page so I emailed him about this] [UPDATE: he told me that “The video itself has details of the CC license at the end”]
4) I’m in the “thanks list” at the end of the video.
Everything thanks to CreativeCommonsLicenses, the copyright for the 21th century!
Napo is the guy that appears in the picture (and the guy I ask to when I have a problem with my GNU/Linux and the guy I share the office with every single day) and wrote about it on his blog on persone.softwarelibero.org an entry in Italian.
You can also translate the video in your language, if you like.
San Remo is the most known Italian Music Festival. Millions of people watching TV these days. So 3 Italian Ministers had the good idea to show off in TV signing an agreement against piracy and for protecting music authors; in reality it just defends big Music Labels and not citizens. Anyway this is normal: we have a media govern, they govern via television.
What is more interesting is that the Ministry for Innovation and Technologies released a report about Digital Rights Management (2.9 Mb Pdf file in Italian). I come to know via an article by Emanuele Somma (you can try the automatic translation in English if you don’t master Italian) that this report, besides being full of errors, also stole a sentence about Copyleft from the magazine “Il Mucchio Selvaggio”, n. 526, march 2003, precisely from an article titled “Il copyleft spiegato ai bambini” (copyleft explained to children) written by Wu Ming Foundation. Of course they didn’t cite the original article. So here we are at the incredible paradox: the government commision, that wants to regulate e-content, copies the copyright-protected e-content of someone else without even citying it!!!
Moreover the sentence contains a lot of errors and it is not at all precise. They copied and they copied from a wrong report! Geniuses! They also refused to hear the Free Software Foundation (there was no time!), while they were happy to listen all the Music Labels lobbyists.
The copied sencence is:
“Si è andata affermando negli ultimi anni la filosofia del Copyleft. Il termine (denso gioco di parole intraducibile in italiano) si traduce in diversi tipi di licenze commerciali, la prima delle quali è stata la GPL- GNU Public License ([in nota] La licenza GNU/GPL è stata realizzata dalla Free Software Foundation), nata per tutelare quest’ultimo e impedire che le grandi case di software si impadronissero, privatizzandoli, dei risultati del lavoro di libere comunità di utenti. Il software libero è a «codice-sorgente aperto», il che lo rende potenzialmente controllabile, modificabile e migliorabile dall’utente, da solo o in collaborazione con altri.”
You can find all the articles that use the copied sentence by searching in Google for “denso gioco di parole intraducibile in italiano” (that means “pun overloaded of meanings, untranslatable in Italian”). The first article is the original, the last one is the goverment’s one shamelessy stealing the sentence. The copied sentence is at page 81 of the Commission report.
Just to let you know: based on current law, in Italy, someone caught downloading copyright material off the Internet could go to jail.
Today I received a package from Ubuntu. It contains 50 cardboard folders containing both an UbuntuLinux Install CD and an UbuntuLinux LiveCD. And Ubuntu sends it for free. This is very timely since there will be Stallman (father of GNU and Free Software Foundation, the one who started it all) in Trento on February 28, 2005 and the intention is to give away hundreds of CDs with free software (ubuntu GNU/Linux, mandrake Linux, but also free software for Windows such as theopencd and gnuwin2) and creative-commons-licenced music. Most people still don’t understand that copying and giving away free software is totally legal, actually it is what people creating that software want you to do! Anyway, I want to thank Ubuntu, to invite you to order some free Ubuntu CDs as well and, if you feel like, to donate to Ubuntu.
(via TeledyN) An alliance announced today between MSN Music and Smithsonian Folkways Recordings will make tens of thousand of historic songs from legendary performers of folk, blues, jazz and world music available online for the first time, allowing music fans to discover a diverse world of music and sound. But from the archive I can get nothing, since the System Requirements are screamful and I don’t use the crappiest operating system ever. This is an example of e-exclusion: since I choose not to use that operating system, I am cut out of this experience. File formats (and songs formats obviously) MUST be open so that everyone can be free to write a program able to read them! Just try to imagine if Microsoft was more smart and understood earlier what the web could have been. We would have now: closed protocols (no TCP/IP, no HTTP, but M$TP!), no open formats for web pages (no HTML but M$ML). Of course you would not be able to use whatever program to communicate over the internet or to create a page but you would have been forced to pay for highly-unuseful and dangerous and closed-source M$ software! I’m so depressed that most people just don’t see it: the future Microsoft wants for us is a future of darkness. Following you can find the System Requirements for listening to “historic songs from legendary performers of folk, blues, jazz and world music”:
Interesting NYTimes’s article (if you don’t want to register, use BugMeNot where you can find shared login and password pairs). Mikhail Gronas discovers that “reviewers gave more five-star reviews than two-star reviews, creating an upward sloping curve”. (…) “But the most telling variable is the one star rating. Professor Gronas found that books high on what he called the “controversiality index” are given almost as many one-star as five-star ratings, creating a horseshoe-shaped curve. As it turns out, these books also tend to have high sales.”
I’ve found these patterns analyzing Epinions.com ratings and trust statements (chech the graphs’ on the paper (pdf)) but actually I don’t think they are that surprising: they seem pretty obvious and I just reported them passing by.
What is really depressing is that Dartmouth is now in the process of patenting software that will be used to determine the “controversiality index”.
I’m happy that in Europe we are still fighting against a so-stupid-policy of being able to patent everything, no matter how trivial it is. In this case the controversiality level of a book is something like “if a book received as much 5 ratings as 1 and if the 5 and 1 ratings together are the vast majority of ratings and if the number of received ratings is over a threshold (probably depending on release time), then the book is controversial” (putting it in formula that produces a controversiality value would require 10 minutes at most).
By the way, I’m currently working on the concept of controversiality of users and hopefully a paper is on the way. Controversial users are users who are trusted by many and distrusted by many. (Bush is a good example, but this can happen to highly visible persons in general). The idea is that Local Trust Metrics make sense expecially for highly controversial users (for example, users who are trusted by more than 200 users and DIStrusted by more than 200 users in the community). For those users, it does not make sense to predict a trust value of 0.5 saying that you should trust this user as 0.5 but, instead, to predict you should trust this controversial user as 1 if, for example, all your friends trust her and 0 if all your friends distrust her.
Creative Commons Italy is proposing a simple law: “everything that is funded with state funds must be public domain” (ciò che è finanziato con soldi pubblici deve essere di dominio pubblico). A Creative Commons licence would be better than public domain but I guess this is just a first step for igniting a nation-wide discussion … and anyway laws in Italy cannot be that simple, they must contains tons of words that you can’t understand (without a lawyer). ;-)
From BoingBoing, I come to know that billgates consider people that believe in free culture as communists. Such a comparison is so deeply wrong, I’m almost speechless. Free culture and communism are 2 completely different topics.
“There are fewer communists in the world today than there were. There are some new modern-day sort of communists who want to get rid of the incentive for musicians and moviemakers and software makers under various guises. They don’t think that those incentives should exist.”
Anyway I had a small glimpe of what americans on average think about communists (should I say “they don’t think”?) when I was there for some months. I guess billgates’strategy is simple: call them communists, have your media broadcast the idea and let televisions-truths-swallowers get the concept and burn the communists.
Making fun of this nonsense sentence, some people have created wallpapers, t-shirts and other gadgets with this “creative commies” propaganda. Check some of them on BoingBoing.
I would love to attend the Reputation and Trust class of Understanding Online Interaction course by david wiley! It seems he always writes down a short funny story for introducing the weekly topic (and the assignment…). I might borrow the idea if I’ll ever teach a class. Unluckly, from Italy, Utah is a bit too far away.
And since he releases the content of his blog under a Creative Commons Attribution – Share Alike license and i do the same for content of this blog, I happily and legally post here all his post, of course giving credit.
Reputation and Trust
B. Have you ever bought anything from Amazon.com?
B. And you felt comfortable giving them your credit card information because…
A. [incredulously] Because they’re Amazon.com!
B. But what about before they were “Amazon.com”?
A. Are you going to talk about walking uphill both ways through deep snow?
B. No, no. That would take us in the wrong direction. [thinking] How about Ebay? Ever buy anything from Ebay?
B. [with delight] A ha! Caught you in my little trap! You’ve actually never bought anything *from* Ebay. You’ve bought things from sellers who used Ebay as a front for their goods.
A. [unimpressed] Fair enough.
The WIRED CD: Rip. Sample. Mash. Share.. First example of creative commons cd, I hope many will follow this bright example. You can listen to the songs streaming the related WebJay compilation (once there, just click on “play page”).
Songs are released under 2 creative commons licences:
Sampling Plus: Songs under this license allow noncommercial sharing and commercial sampling, but advertising uses are restricted.
Noncommercial Sampling Plus: Songs under this license allow noncommerical sharing and noncommercial sampling.
Buy Wired if you want the cd. The front cover says: “Fight for your right to copy”.
UPDATE: I started reading Wired and found this great article: We pledge allegiance to the penguin, and the intellectual property regime for which he stands. One nation, under Linux, with free music and open source software for all. Welcome to Brazil!. Every day I found one more reason to move to Brazil, when I’ll finish my PhD.