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by Stephen Downes
August 9, 2007

Blackboard Inc. V iParadigms LLC Is a Defensive Reaction
More information has come to light. As Michael Feldstein reports, "Apparently, Blackboard is not threatening Turnitin with a patent. Turnitin is threatening Blackboard with their patent. Blackboard is pro-actively filing suit in response to the threat." TurnItIn is, interestingly, a Blackboard partner, and according to Blackboard, part of the agreement stipulates that one party cannot sue the other. Meanwhile, John M. Barrie, the founder CEO of, the company behind TurnItIn, send me a press statement saying, "We were not intending to sue Blackboard. We were surprised by the lawsuit. We generally do not expect such things from our business partners." All I can say is that the patent crisis is in full swing. Seb Schmoller, Fortnightly Mailing August 9, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

I tried this out and got it to work within ten minutes (on the MacBook). It doesn't have all the features of Camtasia, but it's still a great way to very easily record imgaes and video from my computer. No cost, so far as I can tell. Via EDUCAUSE community blogs and Beth Kanter. Various Authors, Website August 9, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Open Education License Draft
Educational content is commercial content. That is the upshot, in my view, of David Wiley's launch of what he calls the 'Open Education License' draft. The license is, in essence, a Creative Commons license with no restrictions - it explicitly allows reproduction, distribution and derivative works, but does not restrict commercial use and does not even require attribution. This is a remarkable development because it signals, after eight years, a break from Creative Commons (which recently announced its own educational initiative). As I have argued in other posts, I do not support this sort of license for educational content because it permits others to block access to 'open' educational content. I continue to be perplexed at the ongoing efforts to allow commercial restrictions to be applied to open educational content. David Wiley, iterating toward openness August 9, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Schoolboards: Net Dangers Over-Rated; Bring Social Networks to School
This story has made quite a ripple in the U.S. blogosphere as the National School Boards Association, which represents 95,000 school board members, releases a study arguing that social networks are not as dangerous as we have previously been led to believe. These results are not surprising. But the study was funded by funded by Microsoft, News Corporation, and Verizon - organizations that are not exactly neutral about the outcome. Coverage from Ars Technica, Boing Boing, Tim Stahmer and Dave Warlick. David Cassel, Tech Blorge August 9, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Survey Says: Only DRM-Free Music Is Worth Paying For
I am now on my fourth MP3 player. This after a lifetime that has included vinyl albums, eight-track tapes, casette tapes and CD ROMs. Had my music been DRM-protected, I would have no music left. No way I would pay for anything but free and open MP3 music. Turns out, I am not aone in my assessment. Ken Fisher, Ars Technica August 9, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Google Mistakes Own Blog for Spam, Deletes It
Maybe now Google will admit that its AdWords program has created a problem it can't solve simply by filtering spam blogs. In the meantime - this is really funny. Robert McMillan, Yahoo News August 9, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

What Open Source Webpublishing Software has the Scientific Community for E-Journals?
Short article that profiles three open journal publishing systems, Digital Publishing System (DPubs), ePublishing toolkit (ePubTk) and Open Journal System (OJS). To view the paper, click on the link where it says "Full text available as: PDF" (I don't see why it should be so hard to find the link to click on an archive page - the link to the text should be big, bold and obvious). Chyla, Roman, Library and Information Science August 9, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Content Makers Are Accused of Exaggerating Copyright
A Battle Royale is shaping up between Google and content poducers such as sports leagues and other media companies over the warnings broadcast by those agencies (the now familiar "any use of the pictures or accounts of this game are strictly prohibited"). Google claims, accurately, that these warnings attempt to prohibit uses allowed under fair use or fail dealing provisions. "It is an attempt to convince Americans that they don't have rights that they do in fact have." The content producers - looking at things like Google video - argue that what Google wants is to be able to use content for free. Well sure - but they're allowed to. Just as you and I are allowed to use that very same content when we have an argument about last night's game in the bar.See also Michael geist on this issue. Jacqueline Palank, New York Times August 9, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Slap in the Facebook: It's Time for Social Networks to Open Up
Here's the big problem with Facebook: "When entering data into Facebook, you're sending it on a one-way trip. Want to show somebody a video or a picture you posted to your profile? Unless they also have an account, they can't see it. Your pictures, videos and everything else is stranded in a walled garden, cut off from the rest of the web." Gilbertson also follows up with clarifications in Monkey Bites. I am also unhappy with Facebook applications sending questions to all of my friends - questions I did not ask. Scott Gilbertson, Wired August 9, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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