Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
December 17, 2002

ElcomSoft Verdict: Not Guilty The Russian computer company ElcomSoft is found Not Guilty in a California court of charges filedunder the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). "The government said ElcomSoft created a tool for burglars and characterized the company as an affiliate of hacker networks that was determined to sell the Advanced eBook Processor despite its questionable legality." By Lisa M. Bowman, CNet, December 17, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

New Premise in Science: Get the Word Out Quickly, Online The Public Library of Science will launch two open access journals later this week, PLoS Biology and PLoS Medicine. According to the article, "By providing a highly visible alternative to what they view as an outmoded system of distributing information, the founders hope science itself will be transformed. The two journals are the first of what they envision as a vast electronic library in which no one has to pay dues or seek permission to read, copy or use the collective product of the world's academic research." We could use a lot more of this. By Amy Harmon, New York Times, December 17, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

A Practical Guide for Writing Proposals Got a plan? Write a proposal. Here's how, with a nice template you can follow. By Alice Reid, May, 2001 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

School Praises Hacker So what would you do if one of your best students declared that he would like to try to hack into the school computer system? Administrators at Anzar High School in San Juan Bautista made the right call: they told him to go ahead and try. So the 4.0-average student went in and dropped his GPA (temporarily) to 1.9 as part of a wider presentation on hacking. By Larry Slonaker, San Jose Mercury News, December 16, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Intellectual Property on the Internet: A Survey of Issues This is a lengthy, comprehensive, but ultimately one-sided survey of issues related to copyright, patents and trademarks on the internet. There is some good documentation of the rise of online content and services. Following this, the report lists the bulk of infringement issues raised over the last few years. But as I said, this is a one-sided presentation. For example, while discussing the use of trademark names and logos, the report completely ignores any mention of the need for parody and fair comment. The report also discusses in some detail the question intellectual property in developing nations and asserts that there is a strong connection between strong IP protection and economic development. It cites the case of India in this regard, arguing that India's framework for protecting IP rights has resulted in a flourishing of Indian technoloy firms. That such a flourishing has happened is indisputable, yet the report offers no explanation for the fact that India trails China and even Senegal in bridging the digital divide. No doubt many policy makers will read this report, but if so, it must be read in conjunction with other studies (such as the British Integrating Intellectual Property Rights and Development Policy) that reach contrary conclusions. By Unknown, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), December, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

ED Pushes For National Digital File Format For Textbooks As a House Committee debates the Instructional Materials Accessibility Act the U.S. Department of Education is taking the initiative by developing a set of voluntary file format standards for textbooks in order to ensure that the material is accessible to the blind. By Cara Branigan, eSchool News, December 16, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Blogging for eBusiness The more specific the blog, the better. What this means in a business or enterprise setting is that "the business world is the need to collect, organize, share, link and retrieve information among a group of peers but in a project, rather than broadcast sense." By Jim Ericson, Line56, December 16, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2002 Stephen Downes