By Stephen Downes
May 5, 2004

Translate This Blog
It was a nice idea, but based on the comments in my Discussion area (remember, you can always comment by clicking on the [Reflect] link after each post) as well as emails sent to me overnight I am declaring the translation experiment to be an unmitigated failure. Oh well. Maybe next year. By Various Authors, Stephen's Web, May 3, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

GPL for Educational Material
This is the text of a comment I wrote to DEOS-L in response to this post from Clint Brooks. In it, I argue that "open source content, despite being distributed without cost, is a part of the marketplace, and hence subject to the same maket forces as other content. Or, it should be said, this would be the case were commercial producers willing to allow open source content access to the market in the first place." In addition to comments from Charles Winborne and Fred Cohen, readers should look at Clint Brooks' reply, in which he argues that I have oversimplified his argument. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, May 1, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Giving It Away (for Fun and Profit)
Good introductory account to the idea of Creative Commons and especially the idea that sharing content does not mean giving up on any hope of an income. "Inevitably, as more and more digital content is produced by so-called amateurs, sharing will increase no matter how Lessig's book -- or Creative Commons -- fares. As Allan Vilhan puts it, "I make music, and I want people to hear it." Yet if Creative Commons is successful, sharing will become even more pervasive. And a lot more money will be made along the way." Via elearnspace. By Andy Raskin, Business 2.0, May, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Wikis Described in Plain English
Someone yesterday wrote asking what a wiki is. Thanks to George Siemens (who must read the Stephen's Web discussion area) this account is a great introduction. "Everyone that uses the wiki has the opportunity to contribute to it and/or edit in the way that they see fit. This allows a wiki to change constantly and morph to represent the needs of the users over time." By Lee LeFever, Common Craft, April 30, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Top Blogs - May 2004
Yippee! I'm a Blogs Canada Top Blog for May, 2004 (the only awards I win are those I nominate myself for). By Briana Doyle, et.al., Blogs Canada, May, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Computer Makers Adapt Laptops for Tough School Market
We are nearing the crossing point in the technology exchange between computers and textbooks (the crossing point is that point in the price or sales graph where a rising technology's line crosses that of a declining technology's). "A child's set of textbooks costs $350," Smith said. "If they can get these notebooks down to $500, it gets cost-effective in a hurry." The crossing point will be reached when the cost of the computer (plus associated content) is lower than the cost of the texts. Won't be long now. By David Koenig, USA Today, April 26, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Free for Education Home Page
AEShareNet has launched a license called Free for Education. In essence, "The Free for Education mark indicates that material may be freely used for educational purposes. The mark may be applied by anyone to any material in which they own the copyright provided they agree with the conditions set out in these pages." Those of you who follow this stuff are aware that I have had a running dispute with Create Commons about exactly the same issue, as a Creative Commons 'education' license was being proposed. My objections to this are exactly the same, and the cause spelled out on the main page: education, according to the license, means "a structured program of learning and/or teaching for the benefit of a learner." So basically the license benefits educational institutions and penalizes individual or informal learners - in other words, it helps people rich enough to afford university or college tuition, but hinders people who cannot afford a structured program. By Various Authors, AEShareNet, May, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Record Labels Must Pay Shortchanged Performers
You know, it's pretty hard to take the music industry seriously when it complains about piracy after things like today's story. After years of investigation, the industry agreed to pay $50 million worth of royalties it had simply not paid artists. The film industry, meanwhile, by blocking distribution of a Michael Moore film, shows that it's not just about money, it's about power and control. No lectures from the other side, please, about morality. By Lola Ogunnaike, New York Times, May 5, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2004 Stephen Downes
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