EFF Sues Universal Music to Protect Fair Use Rights in 29-Second Video

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has sued the Universal Music Publishing Group in order to protect the fair use and free speech rights of Stephanie Lenz, who uploaded to YouTube a 29-second recording of her infant son boogying to Prince's "Let's Go Crazy." YouTube took the video down after a complaint by Universal Music, then reposted it.

Here's an excerpt from "Mom Sues Universal Music for DMCA Abuse":

"Universal's takedown notice doesn't even pass the laugh test," said EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. "Copyright holders should be held accountable when they undermine non-infringing, fair uses like this video."

The lawsuit asks for a declaratory judgment that Lenz's home video does not infringe any Universal copyright, as well as damages and injunctive relief restraining Universal from bringing further copyright claims in connection with the video.

This lawsuit is part of EFF's ongoing work to protect online free speech in the face of bogus copyright claims. EFF is currently working with Stanford's Fair Use Project to develop a set of "best practices" for proper takedowns under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

CommentPress 1.0 Theme Released: Paragraph-Level Commenting in WordPress

After a year-and-a-half of development effort, the Institute for the Future of the Book has released the open-source CommentPress 1.0 theme for WordPress, which allows paragraph-level comments that are displayed side-by-side with the associated paragraph.

Here’s an excerpt from the announcement:

This little tool is the happy byproduct of a year and a half spent hacking WordPress to see whether a popular net-native publishing form, the blog, which, most would agree, is very good at covering the present moment in pithy, conversational bursts but lousy at handling larger, slow-developing works requiring more than chronological organization—whether this form might be refashioned to enable social interaction around long-form texts. Out of this emerged a series of publishing experiments loosely grouped under the heading "networked books." . . .

In the course of our tinkering, we achieved one small but important innovation. Placing the comments next to rather than below the text turned out to be a powerful subversion of the discussion hierarchy of blogs, transforming the page into a visual representation of dialog, and re-imagining the book itself as a conversation. Several readers remarked that it was no longer solely the author speaking, but the book as a whole (author and reader, in concert). . . .

We can imagine a number of possibilities:

— scholarly contexts: working papers, conferences, annotation projects, journals, collaborative glosses
— educational: virtual classroom discussion around readings, study groups
— journalism/public advocacy/networked democracy: social assessment and public dissection of government or corporate documents, cutting through opaque language and spin (like our version of the Iraq Study Group Report, or a copy of the federal budget, or a Walmart press release)
— creative writing: workshopping story drafts, collaborative storytelling
— recreational: social reading, book clubs

Web/Web 2.0 Resources and Tools

Here’s a list of a few Web/Web 2.0 resources and tools that developers may find useful.

The ticTOCs Project: Enhancing Table-of-Contents RSS Feeds

The goal JISC-funded ticTOCs Project is to greatly enhance access to and re-use of journal table-of-contents RSS feeds.

Here's an excerpt from ticTOCs in a Nutshell:

ticTOCs intends be a catalyst for change by incorporating existing technology plus Web 2.0 concepts in the smart aggregation, recombination, synthesization, output and reuse of standardised journal Table of Contents (TOC) RSS feeds from numerous fragmented sources (journal publishers). These TOCs, and their content, will be presented in a personalisable and interactive web-based interface that requires little or no understanding, by the user, of the technical or procedural concepts involved. It has been called ticTOCs because in certain instances it will involve the selective ticking of appropriate TOCs, and also because ticTOCs is a memorable name, something which is important in todays online environment.

ticTOCs will incorporate:

  1. A user-friendly web-based, AJAX enabled TOCosphere for the smart aggregation, personalisation, output and reuse of TOC RSS feeds and contents. It will allow users to discover, select, personalise, display, reuse and export (to bibliographic software).
  2. Within this TOCosphere there will be a Directory of TOCs to allow easy selection by title, subject, ISSN, and so on.
  3. Re-use of data this will involve embedding TOCs and combined TOCs in research output showcases, gateways, VREs, websites, etc.
  4. Easy links from a multitude of journals lists to ticTOCs using chicklet subscribe buttons
  5. Data gathered for analysis presents many possibilities.
  6. Community networking possibilities, within the TOCosphere. . . .

The ticTOCs Consortium consists of: the University of Liverpool Library (lead), Heriot-Watt University, CrossRef, ProQuest CSA, Emerald, RefWorks, MIMAS, Cranfield University, Nature Publishing Group, Institute of Physics, SAGE Publishers, Inderscience Publishers, DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals), Open J-Gate, and Intute.

steve: The Art Museum Tagging Project

The steve project has developed open source tagging software for museums called steve tagger that runs on Linux, Macintosh, and Windows platforms (see the Steve Tagger 1.0 Install Guide). You can see how the tagging works at their live system site.

Here’s an excerpt from the About Steve pages that describes the project:

"Steve" is a collaborative research project exploring the potential for user-generated descriptions of the subjects of works of art to improve access to museum collections and encourage engagement with cultural content. We are a group of volunteers, primarily from art museums, who share a common interest in improving access to our collections. We are concerned about barriers to public access to online museum information. Participation in steve is open to anyone with a contribution to make to developing our collective knowledge, whether they formally represent a museum or not.

You can find out more about steve from the November 2006 "Social Tagging and Folksonomy: steve.museum and Access to Art" presentation and from other project documents on the Reference page.

Web/Web 2.0 Tools and Techniques

Here’s a list of a few overviews of Web/Web 2.0 tools and techniques that developers may find useful.

Code4Lib Journal Established

The newly established Code4Lib Journal has issued a call for papers.

Here’s an excerpt from the call:

The Code4Lib Journal (C4LJ) will provide a forum to foster community and share information among those interested in the intersection of libraries, technology, and the future.

Submissions are currently being accepted for the first issue of this promising new journal. Please submit articles, abstracts, or proposals for articles to c4lj-articles@googlegroups.com (a private list read only by C4LJ editors) by Friday, August 31, 2007. Publication of the first issue is planned for late December 2007.

Possible topics for articles include, but are not limited to:

* Practical applications of library technology. Both actual and
hypothetical applications invited.
* Technology projects (failed, successful, proposed, or
in-progress), how they were done, and challenges faced
* Case studies
* Best practices
* Reviews
* Comparisons of third party software or libraries
* Analyses of library metadata for use with technology
* Project management and communication within the library environment
* Assessment and user studies . . . .

The goal of the journal is to promote professional communication by minimizing the barriers to publication. While articles in the journal should be of a high quality, they need not follow any formal structure or guidelines. Writers should aim for the middle ground between, on the one hand, blog or mailing-list posts, and, on the other hand, articles in traditional journals. . . .

The Journal will be electronic only, and at least initially, edited rather than refereed. . . .

Code4Lib Journal Editorial Committee

Carol Bean
Jonathan Brinley
Edward Corrado
Tom Keays
Emily Lynema
Eric Lease Morgan
Ron Peterson
Jonathan Rochkind
Jodi Schneider
Dan Scott
Ken Varnum

Web/Web 2.0 Toolkits

Here’s a list of a few information-packed directories of Web/Web 2.0 tools that developers may find useful.

PEDESTAL: Web 2.0 Meets Repositories at Loughborough

The JISC-funded Rights and Rewards Project at Loughborough University has made its proof-of-concept PEDESTAL system public, which uses Web 2.0 concepts in a learning repository.

Here’s an excerpt from the About: PEDESTAL page:

PEDESTAL is a demonstrator teaching and learning material repository. PEDESTAL is a service, which has been developed by the Engineering Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (EngCETL), for Loughborough staff to share their teaching material and expertise with other peers. . . .

PEDESTAL is not just about the sharing content, each user has their own blog which can be used to capture user’s thoughts and interests. Links to useful documents or webpage’s can be recorded, which also may be of interest to many others.PEDESTAL boasts a search mechanism. Within PEDESTAL, a search may retrieve more than just content. For example, a search using the term ‘Digital Photography’ may return;

  • Items to embed in to teaching (textual resources, diagrams, images etc)
  • Items to inform the teaching and learning process (teaching exemplars, how to guides)
  • A list of people who are interested in ‘Digital Photography’
  • A list of blog postings that have the term ‘Digital Photography’ within them

PEDESTAL is much different than a Virtual Learning Environment (Learn). The latter is structured around course modules and is a mechanism which delivers teaching material (usually specific to a course or module) to students. PEDESTAL is structured around people—i.e. the users. Each user is given a personal profile page which can be customised to show their teaching and research interests.

For further information, see the About: 10 Things About PEDESTAL page.

Web 2.0 for Content for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

JISC has released Web 2.0 for Content for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.

Here’s an excerpt from the report’s introduction:

In the main report, we provide a discussion of Web 2.0 together with a compilation of the more commonly used systems for education. We then examine progress at four universities which have taken a strategic approach and implemented Web 2.0 services in different ways at the institutional level. This is followed by a discussion of Web 2.0 content and its creation and use, together with an identification of issues affecting content creation and use. The next section considers the ways in which Web 2.0 is being used in learning, teaching and assessment, and important issues associated with pedagogy and assessment. We then turn to institutional policy and strategy and consider ways in which Web 2.0 impacts them.

Because of the relative immaturity of the technology and experimentation with its use, it is too early to make specific recommendations in most of the areas above. Consequently we make various recommendations to the JISC as to actions to guide and help the UK HE community in its ongoing exploration, adoption and adaptation of Web 2.0 systems.

Library 2.0

Walt Crawford has published a mega-issue of Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large on Library 2.0 that presents short essays on the topic by a large number of authors, plus his own view. At Walt’s request, I dashed off the following:

Blogs, tagging, Wikis, oh my! Whether "Library 2.0" truly transforms libraries’ Web presence or not, one thing is certain: the participative aspect of 2.0 represents a fundamental, significant change. Why? Because we will ask patrons to be become content creators, not just content consumers. And they will be interacting with each other, not just with the library. This will require what some have called "radical trust," meaning who knows what they will do or say, but the rich rewards of collective effort outweigh the risks. Or so the theory goes. Recent Wikipedia troubles suggest that all is not peaches and cream in Web 2.0 land. But, no one can deny (ok, some can) that participative systems can have enormous utility far beyond what one would have thought. Bugaboos, such as intellectual property violations, libel, and fiction presented as fact, of course, remain, leading to liability and veracity concerns that result in nagging musings over control issues. And it all is mixed in a tasty stew of enormous promise and some potential danger. This is a trend worth keeping a close eye on.

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