Posts Tagged ‘creative commons’
Twitter users are accustomed to freely quoting other’s tweets (particularly when re-tweeting). But where does the law lie on tweets being published in a book?
Extanz document the case of the US travel site zipsetgo, where tweeters became angry when they realised their tweets were to be used in this way.
Apparently this is a grey area where legality is yet to be shaped… it is a question of the book as aggregator – should authors be able to profit from collecting other’s words together? How different is this from Google making money from advertising around collecting words from multiple sites?
All creative expressions are a collection of others’ work in some way; books quoting others without permission is common practice: unauthorised biographies, for example, rely on doing this.
But should there be new laws for publicly accessible social media commentary hitting print? I’d say no – but, as ZipSetGo found out, whether or not it’s legal, community norms may mean developing such compilations without member buy-in is, commercially, a very bad idea.
This video features Yochai Benkler discussing his incredibly important work on ‘the memetic economy.’ Key points:
The ‘memetic economy’ is an emerging technological-economic condition – a new stage of ‘the information economy’ whose two defining characteristics are:
- An increased role for non-market production
- Radically decentralised production of information
A meme in this sense is a unit of cultural transmission: covering all information, knowledge, culture. The memetic economy indicates the production of cultural units shifting to individuals – replicating more closely the diverse mechanisms in society more generally – reversing the control focus of the industrial information economy.
In the industrial information economy people have been constrained to consuming products from managerially determined, heavily advertised finished goods – but it is highly valuble to democracy, autonomy and social justice for individuals acting outside markets to determine information relevance and drive cultural content and wider production.
The emerging techno-economic situation where substantial components of information production is owned by end-users means productivity can be sustained with non-proprietary and non-market production – leading to radical decentralised information production, and intelligence at the edges of a network whose core is relatively quite stupid.
Efficiency of non-market production does vary from industry to industry, but in addition to non-market production, market-based indirect appropriation of revenue not reliant on information as property is also possible (e.g. the Spotify Freemium model).
It is of great social value for individuals to participate in direct discourse instead of relying on proxies for political conversation, and centralised and commercialised control structures determining what information they see. The ‘memetic economy’ means the opportunity for a radical shift in the extent to which people can participate in forming the cultural meaning of their society through talking to eachother.
There is / will be a battle over the institutional ecology of information (the giants of the industrial age will not go quietly) but it would be disastorous to allow the winners of yesterday’s economy to dictate the terms of tomorrow’s.
We move faster and faster in our cyber age, all knowing, ever-connected, always-on. Augmented reality beckons: the devices in our pockets become more powerful and our ability to connect digitally everywhere excites and exhilarates whilst pushing the odd few over the edge into internet rehab. Yet something else is happening scarily fast, something only the most obstinate dare deny. We are consuming the world’s resources at an unsustainable rate, the carbon we are producing as a result is doing extreme damage to our planet, and in the coming years we will all have to deal with the consequences.
Mark van Vugt writes hopefully in relation to climate change, that a destructive global free-for-all is not inevitable, that actually human beings may co-exist with one another and the earth. He uses the ‘tragedy of the commons’ as a frame for his position and his argument indicates we can rely neither on Corporate Social Responsibility or global law alone, rather behaving desirably (in terms of overall impact) depends on four elements existing and interacting with one another:
Putting all this together, I have identified four key conditions for the successful management of shared environmental resources: information, identity, institutions and incentives.
These conditions for harmonious administration of the environmental commons can be closely compared to Lawrence Lessig’s extensive work on what governs behaviour online:
Given these similarities, to explore this further we can match van Vugt’s four conditions to Lessig’s Code 2.0 paradigm:
information == architecture (This is probably the loosest match in terms of what each author means. Lessig is referring to what we physically have to work with, to the code, in the digital sense).
identity == norms
institutions == law
incentives == market
Perhaps this is an unsurprising correlation; after all intellectual property and environmental assets are elements that may be manipulated, conserved, enhanced, improved or exploited by human beings. While Lessig interrogates the composition of our digital future parallels can be easily drawn with the battle for our ecosystem – the need to achieve a balance of power conducive to a harmonious outcome.
Sitting between the (real-world) environmental paradigm and our expanding digital reality – at the intersection of online and offline – lies augmented reality. In a recent Telegraph article our uber-connected future loomed larger and nearer:
Reality, only better: Augmented apps overlay rich data from the web onto a view of the real world
Picture this: you’re sightseeing in London and stop at the Houses of Parliament. You want to know more about its history, where you can get a cup of tea and you need to find out how the Tube is running before you continue your tour.
The Telegraph piece and its related ‘Top 5 augmented reality applications‘ focus on entertainment and lifestyle benefits: describing how we could use stored contacts, online data and mobile devices to enhance our social lives. But could this technology also assist us in developing more sustainable living patterns?
How about a future where we can make on the spot decisions about what we do, knowing what impact this will have on the environment, while keeping constant track of measures such as our personal carbon footprint?
Mobile applications exist which are trying to help us be greener, but what augmented reality allows is for us to see before our eyes what difference each purchase we make will have. Furthermore, tying into the ‘identity’ or ‘norms’ side of things – we could keep track of ourselves and our social circle – or our local neighbourhood – in real time: using peer pressure in a positive way. Visualisations of the world around could be overlaid with the environmentally relevant activities of others – so your neighbour can get social kudos for growing vegetables for the street, while taking that fourth short-haul city break this year actually becomes a bit embarassing. And as with every virtual community – groups aiming to work together to live greener could be as geographically dispersed as we want: within schools, villages, countries, continents: the planet’s the limit.
I still have occasional conversations about ‘people coming to our website’ and ‘stealing our content’. The web’s facilitation of sharing and interactivity continues to rub up against traditional business and intellectual property rights models – and those who cling onto their familiarity.
The newly launched Tynt tracer is so simple it’s suprising it hasn’t been done before: it automatically adds attribution text whenever someone copies and pastes from a participating website. Although the copier can delete this if they wish, this turns the vulnerability of having work copied into a much better chance of being credited for great content.
“You put a lot of effort into creating interesting content for your site. And when someone copies and pastes it into their blog or website, you should know about it.
Each time users highlight or copy/paste content from your site, we record that user action and the copied content giving you unique insight into how users engage with your site. You learn exactly what content users are interested in. Page Views and Time Spent on Site are only part of the engagement story – when a user is moved to take action on your site, you know they are impacted by that content.”
This has a few benefits:
- Depending on a website’s goals, editors can make future content decisions based on what is most engaged with (tynt claim there is often a disparity between content that is most viewed and that which people most interact with).
- Editors can revise how content is displayed depending on the goals you have for your website- based on what tynt reports. For example if pages that have sub-headings and paragraphs do better than those with video or lists of tips they could increase that type of content layout.
- From the other side: When creating content – if including copied text from a site that has implemented tracer, time is saved because it means the editor doesn’t have to go back for the link.
- Usability gurus can compare the different sections and pages of a website people are interacting with – replicating what is working and revising what isn’t.
- When someone copies text from a website they will be encouraged to use the appropriate attribution – this will be good for driving traffic back to it and for its Search Engine Optimisation.
(Unfortunately I cannot test out the tracer myself on a WordPress hosted WordPress blog. grrr.)