Information Architecture

SOPA & Protect IP Act Tabled...For Now...

Multiple outlets are reporting that the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act proposals are currently tabled. British tech publication The Register notes that this does not mean the bills are dead. The Editor-in-Chief of Mashable, Lance Ulanoff, tweeted asking what ideas people had about copyright protection, intellectual property, and piracy. Todd Wasserman of Mashable calls SOPA dead instead of tabled. A statement issued by the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid notes his belief that the issues raised over the Protect IP Act can be resolved. CNET blogger Don Reisinger notes that the bills are hardly dead and that while a battle was lost a war continues. Nate Anderson at Ars Technica reports that Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, a major opponent of the Protect IP Act, claiming that Internet policy should not be made on the fly.

Killing It With Legislation, Not Force

Rik Myslewski reports in The Register that Wikipedia is looking at a possible upcoming blackout. Declan McCullagh at CNET notes that this is part of a possible protest response to the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act being debated by the United States Congress that has potential extraterritorial effects. Meanwhile, The Hill reports that Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt characterizes SOPA as criminalizing the fundamental structure of the Web and all its interlinked nature.

"It’s not law — it’s a kind of thuggery"

David Post over at the lawprof blog The Volokh Conspiracy writes about the Stop Online Piracy Act and some of the disturbing consequences if it were enacted in the United States. Any library, and if appropriate their parent organization, should consider the consequences Post outlines if that library provides Internet to users let alone staff.

How the Internet is Ruining Everything

(Books by David Weinberger)

The ongoing argument about whether the Internet is a boon or a bust to civilization usually centers on the Web’s abundance. With so much data and so many voices, we each have knowledge formerly hard-won by decades of specialization. With some new fact or temptation perpetually beckoning, we may be the superficial avatars of an A.D.D. culture.

David Weinberger, one of the earliest and most perceptive analysts of the Internet, thinks we are looking at the wrong thing. It is not the content itself, but the structure of the Internet, that is the important thing. At least, as far as the destruction of a millennia-long human project is concerned.

Full article

RIP Steve Jobs

Wikipedia Editathon

Talk story by Lauren Collins about a Wikipedia “editathon” sponsored by the British Library.

(if you're a New Yorker Magazine subscriber) "Wikipedia has many cool features, but the coolest of them may be WikipediaVision, which László Kozma, the Romanian grad student who invented it, describes as a “visualization of edits” to Wikipedia at “almost the same time as they happen.” So: there’s . . . "(Subscription required.) Read more here (from the August 29, 2011 issue).

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for more information on the event, check out the Wikimedia UK entry or the British Library press release.

A Bookshelf the Size of the World

From the Boston Globe:

As the digitization of human culture accelerates, publishers and academics have had to begin addressing a basic question: Who will control knowledge in the future?

So far, the most likely answer to that question has been a private company: Google. Since 2004 Google Books has been scanning books and putting them online; the company says it has already scanned more than 15 million. Google estimates there are about 130 million books in the world, and by 2020, it plans to have scanned them all.

Now, however, a competitor may be emerging. Last year, Robert Darnton, a cultural historian and director of Harvard University’s library system, began to raise the prospect of creating a public digital library. This library would include the digitized collections of the country’s great research institutions, but it would also bring in other media - video, music, film - as well as the collection of Web pages maintained by the Internet Archive.

Violate Terms & Conditions, Get Indicted

The Bits Blog online with The New York Times reports that programmer Aaron Swartz was indicted for allegedly stealing 4 million documents from MIT and JSTOR. According to documents posted to Scribd, the arrest warrant cites alleged violation of 18 USC 1343, 18 USC 1003(a)(4), 18 USC 1003(a)(2), 18 USC 1003(a)(5)(B), and 18 USC 2. The Boston Globe summed up the charges stating:
Aaron Swartz, 24, was charged with wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer, and recklessly damaging a protected computer. He faces up to 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
Activist group Demand Progress, of which Swartz previously served as Executive Director, has a statement posted. Internet luminary Dave Winer also has a thought posted as to the indictment. Wired's report cites the current Executive Director of Demand Progress as likening the matter to checking too many books out of a library. (h/t Evan Prodromou and Dave Winer) (Update at 1641 Eastern: The Register has reporting here)

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