Open Access/Data

Open Access usually refers to the open-access movement, the worldwide movement to disseminate scientific and scholarly research literature online, free of charge and free of unnecessary licensing restrictions. (See Wikipedia entry, Public Library of Science) See also the Open Definition initiative.

Information Meeting on Educational Content and Copyright in the Digital Age

The issue of "educational use of the Internet" will be one of the issues discussed at this meeting on November 21 in Geneva, Switzerland.

I am told that Bruce Couchman (Senior Legal Analyst, Intellectual Property Policy, Industry Canada) and Danielle Bouvet (Director, Legislative and International Projects, Copyright Policy Branch, Canadian Heritage) will be speaking about the situtation in Canada.

Geist: The Canadian Move Toward Open Access

Michael Geist's weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, Ottawa Citizen (November 10, 2005), freely available) focuses on the recent message
from Canadian national science advisor Dr. Arthur Carty who
argued that scientific success increasingly depends upon
fostering a "culture of sharing" based on open access models
of communication that leverage the Internet to disseminate
research quickly and freely to all. He notes that while
researchers rarely receive compensation for their
contributions, publishers have enjoyed a financial windfall
by charging thousands of dollars for journals filled with
the free content generated with the financial support of the
public purse through millions of dollars in research grants.

The Adelphi Charter on Creativity, Innovation and Intellectual Property

The Adelphi Charter on Creativity, Innovation and Intellectual Property responds to one of the most profound challenges of the 21st century: How to ensure that everyone has access to ideas and knowledge, and that intellectual property laws do not become too restrictive.

The Charter sets out new principles for copyrights and patents, and calls on governments to apply a new public interest test.

It promotes a new, fair, user-friendly and efficient way of handing out intellectual property rights in the 21st century.

The Charter has been written by an international group of artists, scientists, lawyers, politicians, economists, academics and business experts.

A global information system needs a culture of sharing

Arthur Carty, the national science advisor to Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, has written an op-ed piece for University Affairs that calls for greater scientific sharing and open access models. Carty argues that "an open-access philosophy is critical to the system' s success: if research findings and knowledge are to be built upon and used by other scientists, then this knowledge must be widely available on the web, not just stored in published journals that are often expensive and not universally available

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Consultation on Open Access

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) is hosting consultations on Open Access.

Open access is based on the idea that the results of publicly-funded research should be available free-of-charge to all Canadians.

Brewster Kahle: Build the library and the books will come

An article by Becky Hogge in the NewStatesman includes:

Kahle's goal is universal access to all knowledge, and so the Internet Archive aims to make every book ever written available over the web. "The ancient library of Alexandria collected 75 per cent of all the books of all the peoples of the world in 300BC. Our opportunity is to do that again, but then to one-up the ancients by making it available universally. It is technologically within our grasp and it could be one of the greatest achievements of humankind."

Wikibooks takes on textbook industry

As more competition to the legacy methods of production and funding used by Access Copyright's membership, the founders of Wikipedia want to launch into academic textbooks.

An article by Daniel Terdiman in CNet news includes:

because of Wikibooks' digital model, in which material written for the project can be as short or as long as needed, and be easily manipulated, read and edited, Wales and others believe it can pose a major challenge to the publishing industry's hold on the world of textbooks.

Star Wreck - In the Pirkinning

Star Wreck - In the Pirkinning is a parody made by fans of Star Trek® and Babylon 5®, available for free download (or purchase the DVD), and licensed under the Finland Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial license.

We have great respect for all those who have worked with the series that have inspired us to create this film. Our team consists of a few guys who've all worked for free with this movie over the last 7 years. The movie is made without commercial intentions and is available for free download over the internet. All the material seen on film was produced by the film crew and no aliens or space ships were harmed during the filming.

I am a major fan of science fiction, as well as new technologies (and legal support like Creative Commons) which make such a high quality (yet inexpensive enough to be volunteer) productions possible.

Open Content Alliance Rises to the Challenge of Google Print

This InfoToday article by Barbara Quint includes:

The just announced Open Content Alliance (OCA; creates an international network of academics, libraries, publishers, technological firms, and a major search engine competitor to Google—all working on a new mass book digitization initiative. The goal of the effort is to establish a flexible, open infrastructure for bringing large collections of digitized material into the open Web.
CA founding members include the Internet Archive; Yahoo! Search; Hewlett-Packard Labs; Adobe Systems; the University of California; the University of Toronto; the European Archive; the National Archives (U.K.); O’Reilly Media, Inc.; and Prelinger Archives.

Open Access to State-Collected Geospatial Data

A copyright issue that keeps coming up is Crown Copyright. Many world governments do not hold copyright at all, such as the United States where government created works are automatically in the public domain. Canada not only has crown copyright but often imposes very proprietary license terms on government owned works.

In the case of the postal code to riding database that a customer of mine paid Statistics Canada $2,900.00 for a one-year subscription, the proprietary copyright license was extreme.

While the Government of Canada should not have copyright at all, there are some specific types of works that should at least be released in a liberal copyright license. One example is state-collected geospatial data. There is a electronic petition hosted by the Open Knowledge Foundation Network (OKFN) that states that state-collected geodata should be openly available to citizens. I believe that Canadians need to include this issue in letters that they write politicians so that they recognize that reform (or abolishing) of Crown Copyright needs to be part of the shorter-term copyright issues to be dealt with.

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