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MIT Economist: Here's How Copyright Laws Impoverish Wikipedia

What do copyright law, baseball, Wikipedia and Google have in common? Read on:

Everyone knows that the flow of information is complex and tangled in society today -- so thank goodness for copyright law! Truly, no part of our national policy is as coherent, in the interest of the public or as updated for the Internet age as that gleaming tome in the US Code.

Not.

But one MIT economist, who recently presented his work recently at Wikimania, has found a way to test how the copyright law affects one online community -- Wikipedia -- and how digitized, public domain works dramatically affect the quality of knowledge.

Daniel Russell’s awesome Google search techniques

Daniel Russell’s awesome Google search techniques
There are plenty of Google search cheat sheets floating around. But it’s not often you get to hear advice directly from someone at Google who offers you his favorite search tools, methods and perspectives to help you find the impossible.

Here are some of my favorite tips shared by Russell at the 2012 Investigative Reporters and Editors conference. Some of these techniques are powerful but obscure; others are well-known but not fully understood by everyone.

Googler proposes '451' error code to signal Internet censorship, in honor of Ray Bradbury

A 451 Internet error code? Digital Trends has the details:

"Government-imposed online censorship has become increasingly prevalent over the past few years...When censorship does happen, we need a sign that clearly tells us that that’s the reason for a site’s inaccessibility.

Enter Tim Bray, a software developer at Google who has proposed a solution: a “451? error code that displays anytime you visit a site blocked by the government. The number 451 is in honor of late author Ray Bradbury, whose science fiction classic Fahrenheit 451, first published in 1950, warned of a dystopian world defined by government-imposed censorship (in the form of burning any house that contains books)."

Google vs. Bing - what's the difference?

Google vs. Bing - what's the difference?
And that's the biggest case against switching to Bing. If you're never really going to escape Google - and if Bing is pretty much exactly like Google - what's the point? Yes, Google and Bing are functionally identical. But Bing will need a lot more than parity with the most-popular search engine in the land if it wants people to switch en masse.

Google and Facebook Might Completely Disappear in the Next 5 Years

Google and Facebook Might Completely Disappear in the Next 5 Years

Considering how long Facebook dragged its feet to get into mobile in the first place, the data suggests they will be exactly as slow to change as Google was to social. Does the Instagram acquisition change that? Not really, in my view. It shows they’re really fearful of being displaced by a mobile upstart. However, why would bolting on a mobile app to a Web 2.0 platform (and a very good one at that) change any of the underlying dynamics we’re discussing here? I doubt it.

Google Argues for Dismissal of Authors’ Book-Scan Lawsuit

Google Argues for Dismissal of Authors’ Book-Scan Lawsuit
Google asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit brought by an organization representing authors over the search engine company’s project to digitally scan millions of books, saying the group can’t represent the copyright holders.

How does Google search work?

How does Google search work?

Do Personal Analytics Make Google Less Creepy?

Do Personal Analytics Make Google Less Creepy?
Unquestionably, there are abuses of user data that go too far. But the truly troubling stories have a halo effect. Early adopter culture is hardening against the idea of any kind of data collection about users. But cultural norms are always changing. Isn't it possible that there are some kinds of data collection that could be valuable to users?

Google itself has begun trying to change the norms around this. It created a new opt-in monthly account activity report that provides Google users with some basic analytics about their Googling habits.

Google abandons indies again — but says they really mean it this time

Google ends their ebook program for independant bookstores. Full story here.

Google loves Delia Ephron

Author Delia Ephron wrote a NYT opinion piece about losing her domain name. Google must love people like Delia.

Quote from Delia's NYT piece: I hadn’t looked at my Web site in a while, but I figured that, with a novel coming out, I should bring it up to date. So I Googled deliaephron.com (I never had gotten around to bookmarking it) and it wasn’t there.

She knows her entire domain name but instead of typing it into the address bar she Googles it. Delia writes an entire piece about how important a domain name is and then she uses Google to get to her site.

If you are at all tech savvy the piece has several lines that will make you quirk an eyebrow. Ms. Ephron sums thing up nicely when she says, "The Web can freak you out, and I freak out easily."

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