"Back in 2010, Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig gave a lecture on copyright law. Speaking at a conference for the organization Creative Commons, he used YouTube clips of fans dancing to Phoenix's song "Lisztomania" as an example of proper "fair use" principles. He later uploaded the full lecture, which included the clips, to YouTube. Liberation Music, the firm that licenses the Phoenix song in Australia and New Zealand, disagreed with Lessig's take. The firm issued a YouTube takedown order, asking that the lecture video be removed, and later threatened their own lawsuit against Lessig. As perhaps was to be expected when one sues a law professor, Lessig and the Electronic Frontier Foundation countersued for "misusing copyright law." The flurry of suits finally came to an end this week, according to Billboard, after Liberation admitted being in the wrong and would pay compensation associated with the cases."
Friday, February 28, 2014
August Brown, Los Angeles Times; After suits, Phoenix backs fair use and copyright law changes:
Copyright meets “Innocence of Muslims”: Ninth Circuit orders removal of movie from YouTube, on copyright grounds; Washington Post, 2/26/14
Eugene Volokh, Washington Post; Copyright meets “Innocence of Muslims”: Ninth Circuit orders removal of movie from YouTube, on copyright grounds:
"Garcia’s theory is that (1) she owns the copyright to her own performance, (2) Youssef never properly acquired the rights to that performance — for instance, because there was no express assignment of rights — and therefore (3) a court should order Google to take down the video that infringes Garcia’s copyright. The Ninth Circuit held for Garcia, by a 2-1 vote. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote the majority opinion, and was joined by Judge Ronald Gould. Judge N.R. “Randy” Smith dissented."
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Ariel Smilowitz, HuffingtonPost.com; Unlocking the Benefits of Open Data:
"This past weekend marked the third annual Open Data Day, an international event that gathers people around the globe each year in an effort to support and encourage the adoption of open data policies by the world's governments and institutions. Open data is defined as "data that can be freely used, shared, and built-on by anyone, anywhere, for any purpose". With this in mind, over the weekend, designers, coders, statisticians, and those interested in open data participated in workshops and open data hackathons. Ultimately, each event provided participants with the chance to "write applications, liberate data, create visualizations, and publish analyses using public open data." In other words, participants were given a space to come together and collaborate on new ways to visualize, analyze, and spread information throughout the world. All in all, Open Data Day connected over 100 cities on five continents."
Michael Cieply, New York Times; Judge Likely to Dismiss Script Case:
"A federal judge here said she expected to grant summary judgment against a producer who accused Warner Bros. and others of basing the Clint Eastwood baseball film, “Trouble With the Curve,” on a script that belonged to him. At a hearing on Monday, Judge Dale S. Fischer of the United States District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles said she was unconvinced by expert testimony about similarities between the Eastwood film, which was directed by Robert Lorenz, and a script that had been written for the producer Ryan Brooks, who brought the suit. “They’re not substantially similar,” said Judge Fischer, who said she had watched the film and read the scripts."
Leslie Kaufman, New York Times; TV Networks Ask Supreme Court to Shut Down Aereo:
"Aereo, the start-up that uses tiny antennas to stream the free signals of TV stations to its customers’ Internet-connected devices for a fee, is stealing from the broadcast networks on a giant scale, the broadcasters asserted in a filing with the Supreme Court on Monday. “The Copyright Act does not tolerate business models premised on the unauthorized exploitation of the copyrighted works of others,” said the brief, which was filed by broadcasters including ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox. On April 22, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear American Broadcasting Companies v. Aereo, a case that has significant implications for a television industry undergoing profound changes, as well as challenges from upstart competitors like Netflix and Amazon."
Ed Christman, Billboard; New Legislation Seeks to Modernize Copyright Act to Benefit Songwriters:
"A member of Congress has introduced legislation this morning aimed at ensuring that the Copyright Royalty Board also consider fair market value when setting songwriter mechanical royalty rates for digital services. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), a member of the House Committee on the Judiciary, carrying the name the Songwriter Equity Act. Its purpose is to update provisions in the Copyright Act to level the playing field for songwriter, composers and publishers to receive fair compensation for the use of their intellectual property."
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Julia Fraser, Intellectual Property Watch; European Union Sees Flurry Of Activity On Copyright Policy:
"There have been several important developments related to copyright in the European Union in the past week. Below is a summary."
Joe Mullin, ArsTechnica.com; Aereo loses copyright fight, gets banned in 6 states:
"It's been clear for some time now: Aereo's fate will ultimately be decided by the US Supreme Court. Arguments are scheduled for this April. Notwithstanding the forthcoming argument at the high court, US District Judge Dale Kimball of Utah has gone ahead and issued a preliminary injunction (PDF), which will ban the Aereo service in Utah as well as the rest of the 10th Circuit, which includes Wyoming, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Colorado. Aereo is currently operating in two cities in the 10th Circuit, Salt Lake City and Denver... Like one of the dissenters in the 2nd Circuit, Judge Denny Chin, Kimball believes that Aereo's transmission constitutes a "public performance" under the law... The Supreme Court argument over Aereo is scheduled for April 22. A decision will likely come by June.
Canadian court ruling in Teksavvy file sharing case a blow to copyright trolls: Geist; Toronto Star, 2/21/14
Michael Geist, Toronto Star; Canadian court ruling in Teksavvy file sharing case a blow to copyright trolls: Geist: "The outbreak of copyright trolling cases in the United States and Britain in recent years has sparked considerable anger from courts, Internet providers, and subscribers. These cases, which typically involve sending thousands of legal letters alleging copyright infringement and demanding thousands of dollars to settle, rely on ill-informed and frightened subscribers, who would rather pay the settlement than fight in court. Canada was largely spared these cases until 2012, when Voltage Pictures, a U.S. film company, filed a lawsuit demanding that TekSavvy, a leading independent Internet provider, disclose the names and addresses of thousands of its subscribers who it claimed infringement its copyright. TekSavvy did not formally oppose the request, but it did ensure that its subscribers were informed about the lawsuit and it supported an intervention from the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, a technology law clinic, that brought the privacy and copyright trolling concerns to the court’s attention (I sit on the CIPPIC advisory board). The federal court issued its much-anticipated decision on Thursday, granting Voltage’s request for the subscriber names, but adding numerous safeguards designed to discourage copyright trolling lawsuits in Canada... The big remaining question is whether copyright trolls will now view Canada as hostile territory."
Patricia Cohen, New York Times; Photographers Band Together to Protect Work in ‘Fair Use’ Cases:
"To many photographers, a federal appeals court ruling last spring that permitted Richard Prince to use someone else’s photographs in his art was akin to slapping a “Steal This” label on their work. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reasoned that as long as Mr. Prince’s work transformed the images into original art, he was not violating anyone’s copyright. But photographers are pushing back against that interpretation. Several membership and trade organizations have banded together recently to press their cause in Congress and the courts. More than half a dozen groups, including the National Press Photographers Association, Professional Photographers of America and the Picture Archive Council of America, have joined together to submit a friend of the court brief to support the photographer Patrick Cariou, after part of his case against Mr. Prince was sent back to a judge for reconsideration."
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Widespread Vulnerability Found in Dozens of Government 'Open Data' Websites; Weekly Standard, 2/20/14
Jeryl Bier, Weekly Standard; Widespread Vulnerability Found in Dozens of Government 'Open Data' Websites:
"Nevertheless, while the pages are not official HHS information, neither are they technically cases of hacking. Rather, the creators have exploited a weakness in the "open data" system used by dozens of government websites. The platform was developed by a company called Socrata. The system allows users to create profiles and then manipulate data tables that various governments (federal, state, local) host on their websites. The results can be shared with others for statistical analysis, research, and other purposes, as some users have done. However, in cases like the ones above, a profile page itself can be used to promote a product or information in a way that gives viewers the impression that the host government entity approves or even endorses. A legitimate looking link could even be included in an email to direct recipients to what they may easily perceive as government-provided information."
Adam Turner, Sydney Morning Herald; Why deny US-style Fair Use copyright laws to Australians? :
"Why did we gain the restrictions of US copyright law but not the rights?... After an 18-month review, the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has backed calls to bring Australia's copyright laws into the modern age with "Fair Use" exemptions. The change would streamline our current hotch-potch copyright laws, which aren't designed to cope with the rapid pace of technological change. Australia's current copyright laws need to be rewritten to account for every new technology, an approach which saw everyone breaking the law for almost thirty years until we gained the right to record free-to-air television in 2007. The ALRC's "Copyright and the Digital Economy" report wants to replace this with proactive Fair Use laws which use four technologically-neutral "fairness factors" to determine whether an act of copying is within the law. Federal Attorney-General George Brandis agrees that copyright laws need an overhaul, describing them as "overly long, unnecessarily complex, often comically outdated and all too often, in its administration, pointlessly bureaucratic"... Brandis has already signalled his reluctance to embrace Fair Use law due to the supposed uncertainty it would create for copyright holders. This of course conveniently ignores the fact that the United States – one of the world's major content creators – has had similar Fair Use laws in place for decades."
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Michael Safi, Guardian; Copyright fair use clause fails to persuade George Brandis:
"The attorney general, George Brandis, says he “remains to be persuaded” that Australia needs a fair use clause in its copyright law. A report from the Australian Law Reform Commission, tabled in the Senate on Thursday, argues that a flexible fair use law would assist innovation, protect copyright holders and promote the public interest. “I am convinced that we can do much to improve how copyright works in this country,” Brandis told a copyright forum in Canberra on Friday, but he warned that reform must not “come at the expense of our creative industries”. The current law provides fair dealing exceptions for specific practices, such as copying CDs to a computer or performing a play in a classroom. Intellectual property specialist Kimberlee Weatherall said this approach failed to keep pace with rapid technological change."
Steve Knopper, Rolling Stone; Don Henley, Steven Tyler Condemn Potential Copyright Law Change:
"Numerous artists have been frightened since a Commerce Department task force submitted a 112-page "green paper" last July analyzing copyright laws and dealing with a huge range of topics, from remixes to YouTube cover songs to the record industry's lawsuits against 30,000 file-sharers. "The question is whether the creation of remixes is being unacceptably impeded," the task force wrote. "There is today a healthy level of production, but clearer legal options might result in even more valuable creativity." While the green paper only analyzes policy without making specific recommendations for action, the U.S. received dozens of comments from artists, songwriters, authors and companies such as Microsoft, Google and eBay. Some argued for artists' rights to sample older songs without fear of lawsuits or damages; a Future of Music Coalition letter quoted Public Enemy's Chuck D on hip-hop sampling: "By 1994, [sample licensing] had become so difficult to the point where it was impossible to do any of the type of records we did in the late 1980s because every second of sound had to be cleared.""
Friday, February 14, 2014
William New, Intellectual Property Watch; Interviews With The Candidates For WIPO Director General:
"Member states of the UN World Intellectual Property Organization, the global body for international IP policy issues, will vote on 6 March for the next WIPO director general for six years. Intellectual Property Watch asked the four candidates four key questions. Here are their responses. Intellectual Property Watch is an independent news publication based in Geneva, Switzerland, which closely follows the activities of WIPO and international IP policymaking. The WIPO Coordination Committee will choose a candidate at its 6-7 March meeting. For more on the WIPO election process, see (IPW, WIPO, 3 February 2014). The candidates are, in alphabetical order: Current DG Francis Gurry (Australia) Current Deputy DG Geoffrey Onyeama (Nigeria) Ambassador Jüri Seilenthal (Estonia) Ambassador Alfredo Suescum (Panama) Their official nominations and CVs are available on the WIPO Coordination Committee website, here. IP-Watch reporting is here (IPW, WIPO, 6 December 2013)."
Wendy M. Grossman, ZDNet; Open Data Now, book review: An optimistic view of a brave new world:
"In early February, the consultant Alan Patrick gave a talk at the Open Data Institute (ODI) on the dark side of open data. Essentially, he said that early adopter geeks are approaching open data with the same starry-eyed, innocent optimism with which they approached the early internet. All uses will be good! Empowerment for all! Bad guys won't be interested! Patrick's purpose was to warn: look what happened with the internet and security because we didn't plan ahead. Joel Gurin's Open Data Now focuses primarily on the economic benefits of open data. Gurin acknowledges the potential for improving government transparency, but it gets short shrift by comparison. He is, however, as optimistic and enthusiastic about the potential as they come."
Nicolas Rapold, New York Time; Even Good Films May Go to Purgatory:
""The answers vary according to the patchwork of rules governing motion picture copyrights at different times all the way back to the silent era. The earliest films are the easiest to explain: Those from before 1923 are in the public domain. Until the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act in 1998, films could generally enjoy 75 years of copyright protection. Anything that had fallen out by then, however, was understood to stay in the public domain. That alone covers a wealth of film history, including much of the work of foundational filmmakers including Griffiths and Keaton. After 1923, public-domain challenges arise when the copyright is not renewed. Later Congressional extensions of copyright complicate the matter (and have been the subject of debate), but the initial period is crucial. “Most commonly, a film’s copyright might not be renewed after its initial 28 years of protection had expired,” Michael Mashon, head of the moving image section at the Library of Congress, wrote in an email. He cited the examples of the Buster Keaton film “The General” (1926), “His Girl Friday,” “Meet John Doe” and “Nothing Sacred,” a 1937 screwball comedy starring Carole Lombard. Other films didn’t follow basic rules for maintaining copyright. For instance, “The Night of the Living Dead” and “Carnival of Souls,” a Herk Harvey horror film that has since received a Criterion Collection release, both failed to display a copyright notice clearly enough in the credits. That notification eventually ceased to be a requirement, but not before affecting Sam Peckinpah’s debut feature, “The Deadly Companions,” and “Charade.”
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Jennifer Jenkins, College & Research Libraries News; Last sale?: Libraries’ rights in the digital age:
"In July 2013, the Department of Commerce released a “Green Paper”8 on copyright that solicited comments on digital first sale. In response, the Library Copyright Alliance expressed concern about the “proliferation of licensing” and advocated “restrictions on the enforcement of contractual terms that attempt to limit exceptions to the Copyright Act such as first sale or fair use.”9 Why? Because copyright’s exceptions are as important to its scheme as the exclusive rights themselves. Many librarians are concerned that digital technology has upset the balance between users’ and owners’ rights. In effect, we are back to 1908, except that now the notice that the publisher inserted in that book would have legal force, and would be accompanied by more restrictions. What would legal reform look like? A farreaching option would be the introduction of a digital first sale right that cannot be waived by contract. Short of this, Congress could grant libraries specific rights allowing them to lend, preserve, and archive electronic materials. Courts might continue to allow fair use to shelter beneficial activities. Finally, private initiatives, such as the Digital Public Library of America and related academic projects, could step in to offer their own solutions to preserve libraries’ freedoms. These efforts to restore balance are important: publishers’ concerns are legitimate, but the cultural freedoms that first sale protects should not depend entirely on a licensor’s whims, either in 1908 or today."
David Malakoff, Science News; AAAS Launches Open-Access Journal:
"Joining a herd of other scientific societies, today AAAS (publisher of ScienceInsider) announced that it will launch the organization’s first online, fully open-access journal early next year. The new journal, called Science Advances, will give authors another outlet for papers that they are willing to pay to make immediately free to the public. The move marks a shift for AAAS, which has long been a target of complaints from some advocates of open-access publishing. They argue that the nonprofit organization, best known as the publisher of the high-profile subscription journal Science, has been slow to embrace open access, and over the past decade opposed certain proposals to require journals to make government-funded research papers immediately available for free. AAAS and other publishers have generally argued that such policies would imperil a business model that has served the scientific community well for more than a century. In recent years, however, the conflict has reached something of a resolution. Science and many other subscription journals have adopted a policy of making research papers freely available after 12 months; at the same time, many publishers have launched scores of new open-access journals, which charge authors a fee. For instance, the publishers of Nature, another high-profile subscription title that is considered Science’s main competition, in 2011 launched Scientific Reports, an open-access title."
Loek Essers, PC World; Linking to a website doesn't infringe copyright, Europe's Court of Justice says:
"The owner of a website does not require authorization of the copyright holder to link to freely accessible copyright works on another site, even if Internet users get the impression that the work is appearing on the site that contains the link, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) said Thursday."
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
U.S. Copyright Office/LC Announces Plans for Public Roundtable on Orphan Works and Mass Digitization Issues; Library Journal, 2/8/14
Gary Price, Library Journal; U.S. Copyright Office/LC Announces Plans for Public Roundtable on Orphan Works and Mass Digitization Issues:
"Two days of roundtable discussions/meetings on potential legislative solutions for orphan works and mass digitization under U.S. copyright law are scheduled to take place on March 10-11, 2014 at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. The public is also invited to submit comments. The two-day event will include nine sessions."
Saturday, February 8, 2014
Robinson Meyer, Atlantic; Catch My Diff: Github's New Feature Means Big Things for Open Data:
"On Wednesday, Github announced that maps would be “diffable”—a silly-sounding term that means much in the world of Github. It’s a small and even long-expected feature, but an important one, and one that aids Github’s role in the emerging ecosystem around open data. First, a gloss on some terms. Github is a San Fransisco-based startup whose main product—also called Github—helps developers manage different versions of a project’s code. Many developers already use a piece of software on their computer called git to manage versions of code, and Github gives them a place to store Git’s files in the cloud and collaborate with others about them. It also provides messaging functions that sometimes supplant company email. While it costs money to host a project on Github privately, the company provides free hosting to any open-source project. If you make your code public, hosting on Github is free. Github, then, already plays a happy home to code projects. In the past year, it’s tried to make itself friendlier and more useful for projects that use open data. Open data, meanwhile—the effort to make information already produced by the government available to the public—is a bigger and bigger deal. Late last year, the Knight Foundation gave $250,000 to explore the creation of a U.S. Open Data Institute, an organization centered around freeing data and making it easier for people to use. Freeing, for instance, municipal restaurant health code data will allow local review apps like Yelp to display it."
William New, Intellectual Property Watch; WIPO Director General Election: How It Works:
"On 6 March, the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization will hold its once-every-six-year election for a director general, a prized post in the multilateral system. Tomorrow (4 February), the candidates will face member states and answer their questions. Intellectual Property Watch explains the election process. On 6-7 March, the WIPO Coordination Committee, a rotating executive body of 83 WIPO member states (out of nearly 200), will hold an extraordinary meeting to decide on a director general (DG)... The new DG will take over in October 2014, until 2020... There are four candidates running for the DG post (IPW, WIPO, 6 December 2013), having been nominated by their governments by the December deadline. The candidates are current DG Francis Gurry (Australia), Deputy DG Geoffrey Onyeama (Nigeria), Amb. Jüri Seilenthal (Estonia), and Amb. Alfredo Suescum (Panama)."
Friday, February 7, 2014
Amina Elahi, Chicago Tribune; City lays out next steps in Open Data Plan:
"Using public civic data, developers have created Web apps such as legislation-tracker Chicago Councilmatic and the interactive 2nd City Zoning map. Others have used the data to build businesses. SpotHero won the 2011 Apps for Metro Chicago contest with a product built on data from the City of Chicago and other local agencies. Today, the parking app is available in seven cities. The city posts select data sets to GitHub, an open source code-sharing platform. Developers are free to build upon or manipulate that data, since it is covered by an MIT License. The City of Chicago's Data Dictionary, which anyone can search to find out whether the portal or GitHub hosts data sets on particular topics, is another such tool. In its current form, the technical results may turn off less experienced users, but Schenk says future plans include improving the interface and filtering."
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Thomas B. Edsall, New York Times; Free Trade Disagreement:
"Issa and other members of Congress have voiced concerns that the leaked versions of TPP suggest that the United States is promoting Internet policies that Congress specifically rejected in January 2012, when the House killed the Stop Online Piracy Act... Joseph Stiglitz – an economist at Columbia and a contributor to these pages – provided a particularly illuminating list of policies that he argues negotiators should explicitly reject, including: mandates for the extensions of patent terms; mandates for the granting of patents on surgical procedures; monopolies of 12 years on test data for biologic damages; increased damages for infringement of patents and copyrights; the requirement of life plus 70 years of copyright protection; and mandates for excessive enforcement measures for digital information and other restrictions on the dissemination of knowledge. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a leading nonprofit advocate of open access on the Internet, argues that under a cloak of secrecy, the TPP, “raises significant concerns about citizens’ freedom of expression, due process, innovation, the future of the Internet’s global infrastructure, and the right of sovereign nations to develop policies and laws that best meet their domestic priorities. In sum, the TPP puts at risk some of the most fundamental rights that enable access to knowledge for the world’s citizens. The US Trade Rep is pursuing a TPP agreement that will require signatory countries to adopt heightened copyright protection that advances the agenda of the U.S. entertainment and pharmaceutical industries agendas, but omits the flexibilities and exceptions that protect Internet users and technology innovators.”
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Copyright & The Changing Political Environment In Washington - Derek Khanna V. Ben Sheffner (MPAA VP); Forbes, 2/4/14
Derek Khanna, Forbes; Copyright & The Changing Political Environment In Washington - Derek Khanna V. Ben Sheffner (MPAA VP) :
"In January, 2014, I took part in a debate with Ben Sheffner (VP of MPAA) at the Copyright Society in New York City. We were discussing Copyright and the Changing Political environment in Washington, DC... Madison ominously warned that all monopolies, including copyright, must be “guarded with strictness agst abuse.” Abuse is precisely what we have seen, copyright terms have been expanded by 580%."
Marnie Schleicher, 90.5 WESA; Steel City Codefest Shows the Potential for Open Data:
"Pittsburgh's second Steel City Codefest is almost here. The second annual 24-hour technology competition aims to create relevant and useful apps for the Pittsburgh area... Open data has been made available in cities and counties across 39 states, according to Data.gov. This has given rise to numerous apps across the country."
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Jennifer Baker, PC World; EU's copyright do-over delayed a month:
"The planned overhaul of the European Union’s copyright laws has been set back by a month as a public consultation was extended. The European Commission had asked for feedback by Feb. 5, but following strong lobbying from all sides, has decided to extend that to March 5. The internal market department said that some interested parties had asked for more time to finalize and submit their contributions... LIBER, an organization that represents the library community, has also created a guide to help people answer the consultation. “Responding to the consultation is critical because its outcomes will affect anyone who works with researchers, or who cares about future library services and access to cultural heritage,” said the organization in a statement. The consultation has since received thousands of responses."
Monday, February 3, 2014
Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed; Timid About Fair Use? :
"Visual arts professionals, including art historians, let real and perceived fears about copyright law get in the way of their work, finds a new report from the College Art Association. And while the fundamentally visual nature of their discipline raises particular concerns among scholars of art, artists, editors and museum curators, experts say their fears are shared across academe -- although some disciplines have worked to develop codes to help scholars navigate the murky waters of fair use."
Harlan M. Krumholz, New York Times; Give the Data to the People:
"LAST week, Johnson & Johnson announced that it was making all of its clinical trial data available to scientists around the world. It has hired my group, Yale University Open Data Access Project, or YODA, to fully oversee the release of the data. Everything in the company’s clinical research vaults, including unpublished raw data, will be available for independent review. This is an extraordinary donation to society, and a reversal of the industry’s traditional tendency to treat data as an asset that would lose value if exposed to public scrutiny... This program doesn’t mean that just anyone can gain access to the data without disclosing how they intend to use it. We require those who want the data to submit a proposal and identify their research team, funding and any conflicts of interest. They have to complete a short course on responsible conduct and sign an agreement that restricts them to their proposed research question. Most important, they must agree to share whatever they find. And we exclude applicants who seek data for commercial or legal purposes. Our intent is not to be tough gatekeepers, but to ensure that the data are used in a transparent way and contribute to overall scientific knowledge... For the good of society, this is a breakthrough that should be replicated throughout the research world."
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Eric Roper, Minneapolis Star Tribune; Minneapolis sees civic push for open data:
"Residents of Chicago can track their city’s plows and pothole repairs in real time. In Seattle, 911 calls are quickly detailed online. New Yorkers can sift through city contracts with a simple mouse click. Minneapolis has kept a tight grip on the information it collects even as cities across the country open up streams of public data to developers, journalists and the public. But this past November’s election has spurred calls at City Hall to liberate that data, from food inspections to landlord violations, so it can be analyzed and manipulated for the public good. “I figured when I came to Minneapolis that I was going to find a liberal, open place — very progressive, etcetera,” Otto Doll, the city’s chief information officer, told a gathering of data enthusiasts last week. “And we are, in certain ways, but not with our data.”... “Really what this is doing is it’s transforming the way in which a government performs,” says Ian Kalin, open data manager for Socrata, a Seattle-based company that works with governments across the country to open data sets and store them online. He estimates that more than 100 governments in the U.S. have launched open data initiatives, mostly in the past five years. Socrata works with Chicago, which has released nearly 1,000 data sets. Developers there have created apps that allow the public to dig into detailed crime statistics, research the most active lobbyists, locate vacant buildings and track city legislation."
Michael Mandel, New York Times; New York, the Silicon City:
"New York has, over the last decade, become a tech city to rival San Francisco, Boston and Seattle... The rapid growth of minorities in New York tech jobs reflects, in part, the soaring number of tech degrees earned by minorities in recent years. For example, bachelor’s degrees in computer and information sciences granted to Hispanic students have risen by more than 40 percent nationally over the past three years, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics... What lessons does this have for the new mayor? New York’s gains came, in part, from the aggressive efforts of the Bloomberg administration to stimulate the technology and information sector. These included funding tech incubators; the “Made in NY” marketing campaign to support small tech companies; the rapid extension of broadband access across the city; the city’s broad-reaching Open Data initiative, which makes city data available to the public and software developers; and the selection of Cornell and Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, to open a huge new campus on Roosevelt Island. To achieve the laudable objectives laid out in his inaugural speech, most notably narrowing the income gap, Mr. de Blasio should continue these policies. The technology and information boom needs to be encouraged: It is creating jobs for all corners of the city and helping to reduce the excessive dependence on finance and real estate."
Saturday, February 1, 2014
Open Data Day, February 22, 2014:
[Excerpt] "What is this? Open Data Day is a gathering of citizens in cities around the world to write applications, liberate data, create visualizations and publish analyses using open public data to show support for and encourage the adoption [sic] open data policies by the world's local, regional and national governments... Librarians I heard you folks like books and eat catalogs of data for breakfast. You beautiful people are going to scour the earth for interesting data, help the rest of us figure out what’s important, and generally be useful."