I Heart NY is *not* Public Domain

I had been wondering about this. The NY Government paid for it, so it should theoretically be the property of the so-called people, but they are busy suing other people for using it. Milton Glaser did it pro bono. Oh, copyright…

New York officials show no mercy in their bid to protect the “I ♥ New York” logo. The trademark, supplied free of charge by graphic designer Milton Glaser in 1976, helps beckon 140 million tourists to the Empire State each year. As others tried to tap the design over the years, state legal eagles have filed close to 3,000 trademark objections.

White House goes CC

White House goes CC. From the white house site (right next to George Washington’s face):

Pursuant to federal law, government-produced materials appearing on this site are not copyright protected. The United States Government may receive and hold copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise.

Except where otherwise noted, third-party content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Visitors to this website agree to grant a non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free license to the rest of the world for their submissions to Whitehouse.gov under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

is Cut and Paste a threat to educational ethics?

I cut and pasted this…

from an interview related to Harvard’s Digital Natives project.
(tx Rose)

Q: Does being exposed to many and varying media, including multiple sources on the Internet, make students think more critically about the information they consume? Or are digital natives increasingly used to trusting what they see online, so much so that a “cut-and-paste” culture is becoming a threat to educational ethics?

UG: …

With regard to the “cut-and-paste” question: We can indeed observe an increased level of interactivity between digital natives and content when compared to older generations. Recipients are no longer passive receivers of information, but increasingly active users. The level of interactivity — of what kids do with content — ranges from simple cut-and-paste on the one end of the spectrum to much more creative uses on the other end — including the making of mash-ups, where for instance video footage is combined with a song from a different source. While only a small percentage of digital natives use digital technologies in the most creative ways, we believe that the Internet has an enormous potential for creative expression that should be embraced and can lead to a participatory culture. To be sure, many of those forms of “doing things with content” have legal and/or ethical implications. It’s therefore important to educate children about the basic dos and don’ts when they use online content for their own purposes. Educators and parents have to work together to engage our children in a conversation about information ethics and teach them about the principles of copyright law. It’s important, however, that we teach our kids not only what they are not allowed to do, but also to show them what can be done with content in ethically sound and lawful ways. At the Berkman Center, we’re currently developing such a balanced educational tool for children and teachers.

Professors turn to Public Domain and Open Source Textbooks

More press coverage over students and professors trying to find alternatives to exorbitantly priced textbooks.  Ours will be a standard $50.  Thankfully not in the $150-$200 range that many “proper” textbooks hit.  From Ars Technica:

In 2006, Rice experimented with a wiki for his Introduction to Political Science class. In addition to online articles, the wiki links to books at Project Gutenberg for older texts. This kept the students’ reading list to below $40, an important consideration when tuition seems to go up every year. Students could also collaborate, posting class notes and helping to develop the course.

Update: R. Preston McAfee speaks about this on On The Media.   Great interview.

Creative Commons upheld in US Court

Lessig writes on this major ruling.

In non-technical terms, the Court has held that free licenses such as the CC licenses set conditions (rather than covenants) on the use of copyrighted work. When you violate the condition, the license disappears, meaning you’re simply a copyright infringer. This is the theory of the GPL and all CC licenses. Put precisely, whether or not they are also contracts, they are copyright licenses which expire if you fail to abide by the terms of the license.

Full post from Lessig.org here

Napstering textbooks

NYTimes reports on textbook piracy. Textbooks are being scanned and torrented on The Pirate Bay, et all.  Scanning the entirety of a text book seems like a lot of work, but I guess it pays off:

Time flies, however, if you’re having a good time plotting righteous revenge, and students seem angrier than ever before about the price of textbooks. More students are choosing used books over new; sales of a new edition plunge as soon as used copies are available, in the semester following introduction; and publishers raise prices and shorten intervals between revisions to try to recoup the loss of revenue — and the demand for used books goes up all the more.

So the Napster moment is coming for print publishers? I think they have a certain fear of this.  I think there is a willingness to try new things, but the problems is locking them down with DRM doesn’t work, and doesn’t make anyone happy.  I think this has a lot to do with why we were given a Creative Common license for Digital Foundations

Harper Collins: Gaimain giveaway a success

Harper Collins has analyzed the data, and concluded that their one month free access to Neil Gaiman’s American Gods had direct and measurable increase on sales.  They were only able to measure it among independent booksellers, as there was an alternate Gaiman promotion going on at the big box bookstores:

 The Browse Inside Full Access promotion of American Gods drove 85 thousand visitors to our site to view 3.8 Million pages of the book (an average of 46 pages per person). On average, visitors spent over 15 minutes reading the book.

The Indies [ie. independent booksellers — Neil] are the only sales channel where we have confidence that incremental sales were driven by this promotion. In the Bookscan data reported for Independents we see a marked increase in weekly sales across all of Neil’s books, not just American Gods during the time of the contest and promotion. Following the promotion, sales returned to pre-promotion levels.

Gaiman’s Journal for full post

Google Print: Author and Publisher disagree

Kottke reports on an author & publisher in dispute over Google Print.

To that end, she asked her publisher, Simon & Schuster, to put her book up on Google Print so it could be found, and they refused. Now they’re suing Google over Google Print, claiming copyright infringement. Meghann is not too happy with this development.

It is amazing to see the publishers *not* get it.  Every study shows that Google Print and Amazon’s Search Withing The Book increase sales.  And they benefit long tail authors.

Full Story

MiniBookExpo to get books to bloggers (in Canada)

Its only in Canada for the moment, but MiniBookExpo is a service to get books to bloggers for review.   Something we have thought about too.


The Rules


  • Claim It.

    * watch for a book you want
    * click through to claim it
    * make sure it’s not already claimed by someone else
    * leave a comment to claim it (max 2)

  • Get it.

    * we’ll confirm you claimed it in the comments.
    * then email you for your address
    * send me your address
    * Canada Post will bring you your book.

  • Read it.

    * can you really say anything if you haven’t read it?

  • Blog it.

    * Post something about the book within a month of getting it
    * include a link to the publisher and the author if possible
    * if you don’t have a blog, send me your review & I’ll post it here for you

IP Magic: IP “negative space” increases innovation

A Yale law paper looking at Magic as a site of Intellectual Property “Negative Space” where innovation flourishes, rather than dies. (From Steve Lambert.) From the abstract:

Intellectual property scholars have begun to explore the curious dynamics of IP’s negative spaces, areas in which IP law offers scant protection for innovators, but where innovation nevertheless seems to thrive. Such negative spaces pose a puzzle for the traditional theory of IP, which holds that IP law is necessary to create incentives for innovation.

This paper presents a study of one such negative space which has so far garnered some curiosity but little sustained attention – the world of performing magicians. This paper argues that idiosyncratic dynamics among magicians make traditional copyright, patent, and trade secret law ill-suited to protecting magicians’ most valuable intellectual property. Yet, the paper further argues that the magic community has developed its own set of unique IP norms which effectively operate in law’s absence. The paper details the structure of these informal norms that protect the creation, dissemination, and performance of magic tricks. The paper also discusses broader implications for IP theory, suggesting that a norm-based approach may offer a promising explanation for the puzzling persistence of some of IP’s negative spaces.