Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Links for workshop on new media

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

These are the links for my presentation at a teachers’ workshop entitled ‘”Broadcast Yourself”: how the internet is transforming traditional media’.

On wikipedia

Nature report on wikipedia which concluded that, for a subset of science articles, it was not not much less reliable than the Encyclopedia Britannica:

Encyclopedia Britannica‘s response to Nature report:

Nature‘s rebuttal of Encylopedia Britannica:

The Guardian: Can you trust wikipedia?:,16541,1599325,00.html

On white phosphorus story

Correntwire blog entry on White Phosphorus which provided links to online sources showing the U.S. military had used White Phosphorus in Falluja:

correntwire blog story

BBC News story on White Phosphorus (largely a write up of the blogs):

BBC news journalist reflects on the power of blogging in the wake of the white phosphorus story:

Bill Thompson (BBC technology commentator) on the power of blogging:

New Media and Copyright Issues

Presentation on ‘Free Culture’ given by Lawrence Lessig in 2002 at the OReilly Open Source Conference. Note that this is a flash presentation with embedded audio of Lessig speaking:

Lessig’s book, Free Culture, is freely available online:

youtube clips played

Creative Commons wins

Monday, March 20th, 2006

Two wins for the Creative Commons. Firstly, the Open University have decided to release course materials under a Creative Commons license. It’s not yet clear which license they will use but this is a very positive move and, hopefully, will be followed by more U.K. universities.

The other piece of good news is that the Creative Commons license has been upheld by a Dutch court. Actually the news here is less unambiguously positive. Copyleft licenses (such as the CC licenses) use the letter of copyright law against the spirit of intellectual property: in other words they encourage the sharing and copying of ideas and creative works rather than discouraging them. But some CC licenses in fact place certain restrictions on the otherwise-free distribution of the works they cover. In this case the photographs in question were under an attribution-noncommercial-sharealike license. Essentially this means they can be freely used except in a commercial context, the original photographer has to be credited, and if you modify them you have to make your modified version freely available as well. So in this case the court has upheld the first two restrictive aspects of the particular license being used and not the copyleft aspect. From the restrictive point of view the CC license looks no different from any other copyright license. The ‘win’ here is simply that the restrictions of the CC license have been recognised as valid. I guess it would be more interesting if the ‘copyleft’ aspects such as the ‘share-alike’ requirement had been upheld.


Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

It’s nice to see <a href="”>Lord Falconer, Lord Goldsmith and Peter Hain condemning the Guantanamo camp. What a shame it’s taken them four years to get round to this! Of course Tony Blair still refuses to openly condemn the U.S. actions here, preferring only to call the camp an ‘anomaly’. Hain claims this is ‘part of a general approach to speak quietly to the Americans and not make big public statements’.

Phil points to a John Simpson piece that claims that only about 5% of the prisoners in Guantanamo were actually captured by the Americans. Simpson doesn’t cite his source other than to say ‘a thorough analysis by an American law professor’, so he won’t be getting a good grade for this essay, but the actual report appears to be here. The policy of internment for terrorists is of doubtful efficacy at the best of times, but when you have little reason to suppose that the majority of the people detained really are terrorists it becomes clearer than ever that this is purely a PR exercise for domestic consumption. The sad thing is that it appears to have worked for Bush.