Monday, April 2, 2012

The potential for Creative Commons licences in the public sector

the Common Information Environment Group (CIE) have just released a study on the potential for Creative Commons Licences to simplify access to digital resources. The CIE fund ways of making digital work more widely available for reuse and so the CC licence is a big issue for them. The group was motivated by the needs of public and semi public groups, such as libraries & local government, to make available works for all: similar considerations to those of the BBC with it’s Creative Archive licence.

The report sets out a number of broad principles:

Resources should be made as widely available as possible unless there is a bona fide reason not to.
Re-use should be as unconstrained as possible.
The range of uses should be as wide as possible such as allowing modification and derivation of resources.
Redistribution on a global basis should be allowed.
Electronic discovery of resources, such as by search engines, should be made available along with direct access.
Conditions of use should be attached to the resource for easy reuse.

Based on these principles a number of recommendations were made:

Attribution-only (BY) licence meets the most general conditions of
principle 2.
Attribution-Non-commercial-Share-alike (BY-NC-SA) licence meets the
more specific conditions of principle 3.
Attribution-Non-commercial-No-derivates (BY-NC-ND) licence can be used
if modification is to be prevented.
the Creative Commons was the preferable licence or failing that then either the BBC’s Creative Archive licence or the Crown’s Click-Use licence. Learning a lesson from the Open Source experience the proliferation of open licences was best avoided.
Member organisations should make the licences widely known through workshops and briefing papers.
In some cases the cost of using the CC may be greater than just dealing with occasional queries from the public - so pilot studies should be done by the CIE member organisations.
Best practice guides, with examples, should be made available on how to aggregate and attribute resources.

If the licence doesn’t address issues the publisher feels may be a concern then they should attach extra detail to the licence that may help resolve the problem: e.g. how they would like to be credited, the validity of the content and an assertion that the right of re-use and redistribution doesn’t amount to an endorsement.

Biggest Ever UK Con - How Dumb do You Have to be to Fall for This?

Harry Metcalf writes to Geeklawyer with an astounding story of a man who persuaded banks to send him bundles of cash (£3.5 million) on a ludicrous pretext: "I’m a spy investigating terrorism/money laundering so send me all your money".


Geeklawyer is tempted to say "how dumb were these people?" but he has seen so many examples of this: e.g. the UK conman jailed for life a few weeks back who persuaded a lawyer a psychologist and other intelligent professionals that he was an MI5 spy. He kept them on the run for a decade while spending their money and making them sleep on parkbenches.

Why don’t any of these people ever say "this is wierd, big and wierd - I’ll call someone at head office. Stuff his instructions to tell absolutely no-one"?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The little bits

Several nights ago, I saw a local skunk. I haven't seen them up until then -- it was dusk but still quite light. Stephen saw a couple of little ones on the deck the other night, he sees them more frequently than I do. When he came home that evening, I told him about it and told him how they remind me of short little old ladies with big bums hobbling up the trail.

He told me that there was an old, ratty, mean skunk that had been around. Steve avoided this guy at all costs. I asked if he ever called animal control. I should have known. Stephen and a telephone are not a miscible combination. He said that if he had ever seen animal control in the area, he might have mentioned that there was a scary old skunk around, but make the effort to call?

We've learned that we can't spoil Diego. He doesn't like treats -- neither the commercial kind, nor bits of our dinner that we feed Chips. Chips, whose hearing is going, I think, can still hear us use a knife on a plate -- his signal to come and beg at our feet. He is getting very fussy, though; he doesn't like meats that are heavily sauced or spiced. A little plain chicken or ham, steak is appreciated, shrimp is quite nice, thank you. Diego turns away or tries to bury the treat. This makes us a little sad. We like spoiling cats.

Diego may never be a lap cat, but when I wake up in the middle of the night and go downstairs for the bathroom and a drink of water, he comes down with me for a drink himself -- cats always know that bathroom time is captive attention time. When I start to climb the stairs again, he races up around me so he can stand at the top as my head clears the floor and we can head butt and he purrs his tiny purr.

Sometimes he doesn't come down with me, but he jumps down from the chair he has been sleeping in to greet me and bump when I return.

I think he is the sweetest cat I've ever had.
Diego and Chips will stretch out and sleep on either side of me or Steve for an afternoon nap, but neither will sleep with us at night. Chips sleeps on a stack of pillows above my head. Diego sleeps on a chair, in a box, or on a stack of fabric on a platform over the stair.

While I am dealing with a singular lack of courage in my creative project, I realize that I am courageous in my gluten free life. Courage to attempt making things one would never have thought to try if it weren't for the fact the product doesn't exist in manufactured gluten free food.This week I made, with the help of a website, gluten free phyllo for some spanokopita. I did not get it rolled as thinly as it should have been, but I am looking forward do doing it again. Then I can make some baklava and galataboureko and tiropetes and…

The dough for these was very much like the dough I remember using for the gluten Chinese dumplings, so I will be trying it the next time I make those. It might very well be appropriate for Chinese scallion pancakes. Oh, my mouth waters. I may be making those soon. With some hot and sour soup, I think.

Sheet update. I mended our poor sheet two more times, but when the sheet was in shreds around the new mends that I had done the day before, I called it quits. Esther came through with a set jersey sheets. We weren't sure they would work -- we thought they would bind when Steve whirled. But the bottom sheet has been great, it stays on the corners and actually looks neater than any other sheet we've had on it. And the cats like it. They'd like me not to put the covers up over it. Diego looks great against it -- the sheet is a coral pink. Chips, not so much.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Business support for ID cards collapses

ElReg is saying what those active in the NO2ID campaign grooup knew for a while: business support for ID cards is collapsing. Blair’s pet scheme to fundamentally undermine civil liberties in the UK is going to morph into a new revenue generation scheme for government that imposes a stealth tax on business.

Under it you must check your employees ID cards or risk being fined if they turn out to be illegal immigrants. This also helps embed demand for ID cards by encouraging anyone wanting to work to get the ‘voluntary‘ card. It will allow the government to charge businesses for ID card readers and access to the big brother citizen database.

Most businesses labour under a horrific burden of red tape already: health and safety, employment, tax etc etc. much of it is useful and needed, albeit overly administratively intensive. ID cards will be a burden without a benefit, as businesses and the populace are slowly discovering.