A doodle from my Moleskine notebook, ink and watercolors, for Illustration Friday topic: packed. Started out goofing with the idea of a suitcase leaking water and went from there to here, surf stickers, band stickers, a CC sticker, and other stuff. She even has the gama go yeti on the left, and on the end, a Spore sticker.
Funny as in tricky and interesting to think about. It's also something I think all of us should be thinking about more. A friend of mine sent me a link to the cnet article about Carl Malamud's monumental effort to put laws, municipal codes, public records, all kinds of city, state, federal government documents online for public consumption.
Tech activist takes on governments over 'copyrighted' laws
This month, he's busy liberating California government codes, including San Francisco's building code, electrical code, fire code, and zoning code. That means purchasing printed copies for as little as $40 or as much as thousands of dollars, digitizing them, and posting them as PDF files without copy protection...One hitch is that San Francisco is one of those municipalities that claims its building code is copyrighted. (The notice says: "All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed by any means or stored in a database or retrieval system without prior written permission of the City and County of San Francisco.")
This all sounds good to me, commendable. As far as I'm aware almost all government documents (outside of security, defense, etc.) are public domain in the U.S. However, that doesn't mean they're accessible--which really is Malamud's point.
Here's what I find interesting. The tone of the article appears to me to make too big a deal of the various copyright notices on some of these city government (SF) and content aggregator (LexisNexis) works.
I know a bit about copyright law. I think we all know enough to be dangerous...which I'm sure is a good thing. And copyright law is tricky. It covers works and the arrangement of those works in a “fixed form.”
I don't need to register a work with the copyright office for it to be copyrighted. Under current U.S. law, I just need to put the work into fixed form, an RTF doc on a harddrive, a landscape on watercolor paper, my notes in my journal...all copyrighted. An idea cannot be copyrighted. You have to make it real, write it down, paint it, arrange it, record it, etc. (Registration with the copyright office is required, I believe, if you intend to sue infringers for damages).
I can post Aristotle’s public domain books on my web site—or anyone's PD books, pamphlets, poetry, and put a "Copyright © 2008..." at the bottom, and my intent might be to keep all the rights for the format of the web page, the layout, page structure, images, etc., and may have nothing to do with the actual content. And there’s no law to stop you from scraping my web site or feeding all the text through RSS and presenting it in its entirety—without my layout, designs, any specific designs I may hold the rights to. Perfectly legal.
As far as charging for copies of the regulations, that just sounds like the state covering their printing and handling costs--bound to be pricey.
This is interesting stuff anyway.
BTW, that copyright symbol up top is PD, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Just found this Googling. Haven't you always wanted to have a cool wait animated gif in the things you're coding? Check out the dynamically generated animated images at http://www.ajaxload.info A bunch of different styles, colors, transparent background.
Actually, this got me thinking...whatever happened to Beavis? Yup, he's a zombie--and still totally into Metallica--Ozzy's a close second. Which reminds of a really weird lunch I had the other day with Skott (http://textiplication.com) at a sort of mixed family restaurant and sports bar in Middleton. Right in the middle of lunch I tilt my head to get a better angle on the music playing in the background, hear Ozzy's wailing and Iommi's rolling and plummeting guitar lines. Sure enough they're playing War Pigs. When's the last time you heard War Pigs in a restaurant? Got to be 30 years--at least.