By Stephen Downes
June 30, 2003

Bloggers Gain Libel Protection
Good news for bloggers and services (such as universities) that host blogs: in a U.S. court, they cannot be held liable for the truth of information passed on through this medium. When you think about it, it makes sense: "on blogs or e-mail lists, people aren't necessarily selling anything, they're just engaging in speech. That freedom of speech wouldn't exist if you were held liable for every piece of information you cut, paste and forward." Imagine what life would be like if you were responsible for the truth of everything that was said or repeated in your building. It would be absurd - and it would also be absurd in blogspace. By Xeni Jardin, Wired News, June 30, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Another Look at ELearning
Jay Cross gets it. "Our era could well be called The Age of Networks," he writes (long time OLDaily readers will know that I declared the start of the Network Age to have begun in April, 2002). "Humanity is awakening to the realization that everything's connected. If something's not a node, it's a connection. Each of us is enmeshed in social, communications, information, and neural networks." Cross traces some of the implications of this in learning: "Learning enables us to enjoy relationships and knowledge. Learning involves exploring new ground, making discoveries, and clearing paths that let us go deeper. To learn is to optimize one's networks." Exactly. Now we can begin to move forward. By Jay Cross, Internet Time, June 29, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Open Source Prepares to Kiss EU Patent Ass Goodbye
Every time I run an item from the Register I get an unusual number of bouces from content filters, and today's listing is no exception. But their ire in this case is understandable as the European Parliament is poised to align its copyright regime with that of the United States. What this measure does, in essence, is to relax the restrictions governing just what can be patented - in the United States, this has resulted in the patenting of computer processes and business methods (and peanut butter sandwiches). By Kieren McCarthy, The Register, June 29, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

XML for Federation and Content Management Services
This article doesn't go into a lot of depth but it provides an overview and some links around the idea of what are called 'federated services.' Think of a federated service as a single service that is provided through several sites. In a federated service, your logon identity is typically passed from server to server as you access different resources from each: in other words, the different sites have a common understanding of who you are and can coordinate their response. Though federation is important in some cases - such as travel planning - it creates a lot of overhead in others, and is not recommended. By Unknown, Content Wire, June 26, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

I Like Pie
The RSS community has gone through a difficult weekend as Dave Winer pulled his Scripting News site from the web for a few hours in order to muster support against the new Echo initiative (the name, once 'Pie', will change again because of conflicts). In a response to Aaron Swartz (now apparently offline) Winer decried this article, by Tim Bray, as "awful." The article is an explanation for the need for the new initiative, but while it touches technical and political questions, I certainly don't see the offense detected by Winer. For my own part, I remain neutral in this debate; I will support both formats (or, more accurately, all five). By Tim Bray, Antarctica, June 23, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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